Policy upheavals buffet mining in Philippines, Indonesia – by Cliff Venzon and Wataru Suzuki (Neikkei Asian Review – May 25, 2017)


Governments and companies struggle for common ground amid shaky recovery

SANTA CRUZ, Philippines/JAKARTA — In the eyes of Diosdado Alota, chief of Guinabon village in the northwest Philippines, the mining industry is key to his community’s health.

Until the national government ordered a suspension of operations in 2014 over alleged river pollution, a nickel mine belonging to LNL Archipelago Minerals employed 80% of the village’s men and annually financed 3 million pesos ($60,000) worth of road work, streetlights and other infrastructure.

“These anti-mining [campaigners] ruined everything,” Alota said. “They say [mining] is destructive to the environment, but I believe natural resources are God’s gift to people.” Not all villagers agree with Alota’s view. On May 14, a number of them joined a group of 20 protesters for a Mother’s Day rally against mining in front of the town hall in nearby Santa Cruz, whose surrounding hills have been stripped of vegetation by miners. Continue Reading →

A minority government in British Columbia means political risk just skyrocketed for resource projects – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – May 26, 2017)


British Columbia’s election results are finally in. No matter how you cut them, they are not encouraging for planned resource projects. Those that are already advanced, like Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and some liquefied natural gas proposals, may try to march forward. A lot of money has been spent and such projects are designed to withstand electoral change over decades.

There is no denying that if B.C. was a risky place to do business when it had a majority Liberal government, due to its unique combination of having an aggressive environmental lobby and a powerful aboriginal population. But now that the Liberals have been reduced to a minority and will need the support of the Greens to stay in power — or that the left-leaning NDP and the Greens could get together to form a government of their own — the political risk has skyrocketed.

To be sure, B.C. is known as a place of wacky politics. The difference this time is that the world is watching, since much of the cash on the line comes from abroad, whether Malaysia, Europe or the United States. Continue Reading →

Acacia Mining fights back in Tanzania gold ore battle – by Henry Sanderson and Neil Hume (Financial Times – May 26, 2017)


Shares in Acacia Mining bounced 8 per cent on Friday after the crisis-hit miner fought back against accusations that it had misstated the value of its gold shipments from Tanzania by up to 10 times.

The London-listed company said the claims made by a presidential committee in the east African country this week that it was under-reporting exports from its Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines did not stand-up to scrutiny.

“If the committee’s published findings were based on accurate data, Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi would be the world’s two largest gold producers,” the company said in a statement. “Given the magnitude of this discrepancy, we believe there should be an independent review.” Continue Reading →

Farewell to the man who literally wrote the book on Canadian business – by Joe Martin (Financial Post – May 26, 2017)


I will never forget when Northern Enterprise was published in 1987. I was a businessman, the partner in charge of what was then the Canadian practice of Touche Ross Management Consultants (now Deloitte Consulting). We were rapidly approaching our 30th anniversary as a consulting practice and planned a big celebratory meeting. To impress our partners, principals and international guests, I ordered 100 copies of Northern Enterprise, historian Michael Bliss’s monumental book on the history of business in Canada.

In return for my purchase, Bliss autographed my copy “To Joe — who tells the northern entrepreneurs how to do it. With best wishes, Michael.” Underneath his autograph I wrote “Outstanding! Simply Outstanding! Especially the last chapter.”

The University of Toronto, where Bliss was professor of history, announced last week that he had died. For the most part, reports on his unexpected death rightly highlight his medical work. The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame described Bliss as “the pre-eminent medical historian of our era.” Continue Reading →

Mining interests, partners seek to polish Iron Range’s image – by Peter Passi (Duluth News Tribune – May 25, 2017)


Some of the Northland’s most prominent players aim to reboot the Iron Range’s image with a new promotional publication unveiled during a press conference at Glensheen Mansion Thursday morning.

The glossy 16-page magazine is meant to burnish the Range’s reputation, said Mark Phillips, commissioner of the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board.

Often, Phillips said he encounters “very antiquated visions of the region” that date back to the days of miners working with picks and shovels instead of state-of-the-art technology. He said the notion of the Range as an economically depressed area also seems to persist. Continue Reading →

Strike impacts Freeport’s Grasberg mine, workers ‘resigned’ – by Susan Taylor (Reuters U.S. – May 25, 2017)


TORONTO – Freeport McMoRan Inc said Thursday that mining and milling rates at its Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia have been affected by an extended strike, and a “large number” of approximately 4,000 absentee workers were deemed to have resigned.

Escalating labor tension is a further disruption for Freeport, entangled in a lengthy dispute with Indonesia over rights to the giant mine, which has cost both sides hundreds of millions of dollars. Arizona-based Freeport is now trying to mitigate the impact of workforce issues on mining and milling rates, which it would not quantify, by re-allocating resources, training additional workers and supplementing its mill throughput with available stockpiles, spokesman Eric Kinneberg said.

Benchmark copper prices hit three-week highs Thursday as worries about prolonged disruptions at Grasberg triggered short-covering, ahead of a long holiday weekend in Europe and top consumer China. Freeport Indonesia union industrial relations officer, Tri Puspital, told Reuters on Saturday that the strike had halved Grasberg’s output. Continue Reading →

PDAC 2017: Lukas Lundin on patience and
 his early successes – by Salma Tarikh (Northern Miner – March 25, 2017)

Global mining news

Mining tycoon Lukas Lundin, chairman of the Lundin Group, spoke with The Northern Miner at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada convention in March about his early successes in Argentina and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), before touching upon his latest adventure in Ecuador.

Starting with the Bajo de la Alumbrera project in Catamarca, Argentina, Lundin says in 1990 he began investigating the classic copper-gold porphyry deposit, but was unfamiliar with porphyries at the time. “I was a bit naive. I didn’t know what a porphyry system was in the nineties. I thought it was a heap-leach gold project.

“It probably helped not to know too much, because if you knew too much, you’d probably think it was too far in the interior or too long to go to the coast … the majors thought it was too complicated.” Despite these challenges, Alumbrera has become one of the world’s top-10 copper producers. Continue Reading →

Ontario Premier pushing for quick action on Ring of Fire project – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – May 26, 2017)


“Very soon.” That’s the best answer Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne gave while commenting on when Ontario might see some progress on the Ring of Fire mining development, located in the James Bay Lowlands.

Wynne made the comment in Timmins Thursday morning where she was speaking at the Timmins Family YMCA and meeting with community leaders. While the premier was promoting her government’s Children and Youth Pharmacare Program, she also met with reporters to talk about her tour across Northern Ontario.

In responding to a question about the fact that Timmins is a mining supply community, as well as being a mining town, the premier was asked when the government might be expected to be more proactive in helping the Ring of Fire project to move forward. Continue Reading →

Cambrian gets $2.1M for mining initiative – by Staff (Sudbury Star – May 26, 2017)


Sudbury as mining’s ‘Silicon Valley’

Cambrian College’s applied research division, Cambrian Innovates, and local mining industry partners will benefit from a $2.1-million dollar investment from the federal government’s National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada College and Community Innovation program.

Nickel Belt MP Marc Serre and Sudbury’s Paul Lefebvre announced the funding on behalf of science minister Kirsty Duncan during a press conference at Cambrian on Thursday.

“Greater Sudbury has produced multiple integrated mineral processing facilities making it a region with the highest concentration of mining and mining associated activity in North America,” Lefebvre said in a statement. “Cambrian College’s work and this investment solidifies Sudbury’s place as a global mining leader.” The funds were secured through an innovation enhancement grant that will support a five-year Mine Environmental Stewardship Initiative. Continue Reading →

SA ranks third, behind Australia and Canada, in terms of number of mines – by Robert Laing (Business Day – May 26, 2017)


SA ranks a distant third behind Australia and Canada in the number of mines it has, and the gap is likely to widen because the two leading mining countries have far more new projects under way.

Australia has about 540 mine projects under way, Canada about 290 and SA 137, according to a graph in a report titled Currency Movements: Winners and Losers in the Mining Industry, released by BMI Research on Friday morning.

Australia’s lead is extending its lead because 320 of its projects are new developments, followed by Canada, with 190. SA is in third place again, with about 50. BMI forecasts that mines in Russia, China, India, Canada, Australia and Brazil will benefit from their currencies weakening against the dollar from 2017-2021. Continue Reading →

Tanzanian president fires mining minister and chief of state-run agency – by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala (Reuters U.S. – May 24, 2017)


DAR ES SALAAM – Tanzania President John Magufuli fired his mining minister and the chief of the state-run mineral audit agency on Wednesday after an investigation into possible undeclared exports by mining companies to evade tax.

Magufuli’s decision, announced in a televised speech, signals an escalation of tensions between the government and the mining industry, which has denied engaging in tax evasion. Mining accounts for about 4 percent of the East African nation’s gross domestic product.

Magufuli said the investigation report revealed that Acacia Mining declared the presence of gold, copper and silver in its mineral sand exports but did not declare other precious metals in the consignments. Continue Reading →

Innovation, First Nations key to resource development – by Ben Leeson (Sudbury Star – May 26, 2017)


The Ontario government’s goals of fostering a culture of innovation and enhancing relationships with Indigenous people and communities are key to its mineral development strategy, including development of the Ring of Fire in Northern Ontario, Christine Kaszycki said on Thursday.

Kaszycki, the assistant deputy minister for the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines mines and minerals division, also spoke about opportunities for the Sudbury region during a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Copper Cliff Italian Club.

“I think most folks would agree that innovation to improve productivity, decrease costs, will be key to the long-term sustainability of the mining sector,” Kaszycki said. “In order to foster the innovation that’s required, requires an environment of collaboration.” Continue Reading →

Dawson City miners wary of UNESCO World Heritage bid – by Dave Croft (CBC News North – May 23, 2017)


Desigination would see Klondike area recognised by the United Nations for its history and culture

Some Dawson City placer miners are opposed to World Heritage status for parts of the Klondike, despite a letter from three levels of government pledging mineral exploration and development will not be affected by the designation. The miners raised their objections at a public meeting in Dawson City over the weekend.

An application for World Heritage status was made in January to the United Nations Educational Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), by a committee that includes representatives of the Yukon Chamber of Mines and the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association.

If granted, it would make the Klondike an area officially recognized by the United Nations for the history of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, the 1898 Gold Rush, and the activities of the people currently living there. A decision is expected before July 2018. Continue Reading →

Adani’s $16.5 Billion Aussie Mine Rattled by Tax Deal Delay – by Perry Williams (Bloomberg News – May 24, 2017)


India’s Adani Group could walk away from its $16.5 billion Carmichael coal project in Australia unless a royalties deal can be reached with the state government, according to federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan.

The Queensland government’s failure to agree the terms of the royalty regime for the mine may jeopardize the development in the state’s Galilee Basin, Canavan said in a phone interview on Wednesday. Adani was due to make a final investment decision on May 29 for the Carmichael mine, but delayed that on Monday citing uncertainty over royalty payments.

Adani’s approval for the project “is contingent on the Queensland government coming to a decision on their royalties policy,” Canavan said. “You can’t expect Adani to make a multi-billion dollar decision if they don’t know what tax they will pay. The ball is now in the Queensland government’s court.” Continue Reading →

People and Wildlife Are Both Casualties of Illicit Mining – by Richard Ruggiero (National Geographic – May 24, 2017)


Central Africa’s natural treasures are a blessing. They are also a curse.

A Voice for Elephants – The vast Congo Basin — spanning six Central African countries – supports more than 10,000 animal and 600 tree species, many of which are unique to this area. The region represents the second largest contiguous moist tropical forest in the world and provides critical habitat to the last populations of several globally important species, including African forest elephants and three of the world’s four species of great apes.

Despite its vast size and relative intactness, Congo’s forest area and wildlife are under severe threat. Between 2002 and 2011, forest elephants experienced a devastating 62 percent population decline and a 30-percent loss of range. The Grauer’s gorilla — the world’s largest primate — which is only found in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), suffered staggering declines.

In the span of one generation, their numbers dropped by 77 percent across their range. In Kahuzi-Biega National Park, they fared even worse — plummeting by 87 percent. Continue Reading →