Column: What do surging LME copper stocks say about China? – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – August 26, 2016)

LONDON – A wave of copper is currently washing up in London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouses. Arrivals of metal have totaled 73,325 tonnes this week, lifting headline exchange inventory to 271,575 tonnes, the highest level since October last year.

There’s no big mystery as to where this metal is coming from. Surging arrivals at LME sheds in Singapore and South Korea have broadly corresponded to export flows out of China. And in part this is no more than a continuation of the stocks rebalancing that has been playing out for several months, a refilling of a depleted LME system from high inventories in China that accumulated earlier this year.

But unlike the mini surge of LME arrivals in early June, there is no obvious bull-bear battle being waged across the front part of the London copper curve. If no-one is being forced to deliver metal against a short position, the alternative explanation would be that this is China pushing out surplus. Continue Reading →

Noront expands RoF land-holdings, outlines exploration and development strategies – by Henry Lazenby ( – August 26, 2016)

VANCOUVER ( – Northern Ontario-focused project developer Noront Resources has increased its position as the dominant land-holder in the prospective Ring of Fire (RoF) mining camp after closing the acquisition of 75% of MacDonald Mines’ claims in the region, the company said this week. Through the transaction, valued at about C$750 000, Noront has increased its claim blocks in the RoF from 375 claim units to 522.

Under the terms of the transaction, MacDonald has a 25% carried interest until a National Instrument (NI) 43-101-compliant resource has been issued on one of the properties, at which time MacDonald will have the option to convert the carried interest into a 1% net smelter return royalty.

Should MacDonald choose not to exercise its conversion right, Noront will be able to buy back MacDonald’s 25% interest for C$3-million, payable in cash or shares. If neither the conversion right nor the buyback right are exercised, the parties will form a joint venture to develop the properties. Continue Reading →

[Manitoba] Nervous times up north – by Martin Cash (Winnipeg Free Press – August 26, 2016)

Region ‘coming apart at the seams’ amid series of economic blows martin-cash

After being hit by a couple of recent crushing blows, northern Manitoba’s razor-thin economic base likely has more bad news looming. The suspension of the Port of Churchill’s 2016 shipping season, the reduction of freight shipments to Churchill from two trains per week to one and this week’s announced closure of the Tolko pulp-and-paper mill in The Pas are the latest in a string of bad news.

n addition to those hits, Vale Canada is planning to shut down its nickel smelter in Thompson in 2018, which could impact another 400 jobs, and Hudbay Minerals’ flagship 777 mine in Flin Flon is scheduled to run out of ore at the end of this decade.

It’s all contributing to a pall of anxiety being cast across the North. “Things look like they’re coming apart at the seams in northern Manitoba,” said Ron Evans — chief of Norway House Cree Nation and co-chairman of the Manitoba Mining Advisory. Continue Reading →

HISTORY: A look back at the Hollinger Mine – by Karen Bachmann (Timmins Daily Press – March 14, 2016)

Karen Bachmann is the director/curator of the Timmins Museum and a local author.

TIMMINS – If you live in Timmins (or you’ve just driven through), you’ve passed by this complex, for lack of a better word, many, many times. It is a local landmark, a symbol of the Porcupine then and now. It is a monument to the thousands of miners and their families who have called this community home; indirectly, it has helped countless others set up businesses and make a home in this community.

Its contribution to the social fabric of Timmins cannot be diminished – the people involved saw fit to start a hospital, a school, a train station, hotels, homes, sports facilities and clubs. The history of Timmins, like it or not, is intimately attached to the Hollinger Consolidated Gold Mines – even today.

The Daily Press published a brilliant supplement to their paper in July 1960, that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Hollinger Gold Mine. As part of that celebration, Jules Timmins, president and chairman of the company (at 72 years young), was called upon to pour the 18,490th gold bullion bar, marking the Hollinger’s total production (to that date – July 22, to be exact) at a half-billion dollars, the largest output record of its kind in Canada. Continue Reading →

[Barrick/Kinross] Mine makes way for wildlife – by Adella Harding (Elko Daily Free Press – August 26, 2016)

Bald Mountain Mine south of the Ruby Mountains has started expansion work now that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has approved an alternate plan that mitigates concerns about mule deer migration, including a major cut in the acreage that can be disturbed.

The plan also eases concerns about sage grouse habitat, wild horses and views from the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. “Water also was one of those considerations,” said Jill Moore, Bristlecone Field Office manager for the Ely BLM district.

The chosen alternative will disturb 3,097 acres, compared with the original proposal for an expansion that would disturb 7,097 acres. “That’s a 56 percent reduction in proposed disturbance,” said Stephanie Trujillo, assistant field manager for the Ely BLM District’s Bristlecone Field Office. “A lot of it is environmental impact reduction.” Continue Reading →

U.S. judge orders Teck Resources to pay aboriginal group $8.25-million – by Sunny Dhillon (Globe and Mail – August 25, 2016)

VANCOUVER — Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd. says it is “reviewing the implications” after a U.S. judge ruled it must pay an aboriginal group $8.25-million (U.S.) in costs.

Members of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation – which is comprised of 12 indigenous groups and located across the border in Washington State – brought a lawsuit against Teck in 2004 and alleged hazardous substances from its Trail, B.C., smelter were disposed of in the Columbia River. The group’s reservation borders that river.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lonny Suko in a ruling earlier this month awarded the Colville Tribes $8.25-million in costs, plus interest. Of the money awarded, approximately $3.4-million stems from the group’s investigative costs into the status of the water and expert analysis. About $4.85-million stems from its attorneys’ fees and litigation costs. Continue Reading →

What’s one more Ring of Fire road study? – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – August 26, 2016)

As the Ontario government sifts through three separate Ring of Fire road proposals, mine and railroad developer KWG Resources has now posted a preliminary plan of its own.

The Toronto exploration firm has decided to make public a once-confidential east-west access road study, outlining a permanent road to the Ring of Fire that would link four remote First Nation communities along the way.

The 2013 report was prepared by Green Forest Management of Thunder Bay. Their proposed 305-kilometre gravel road begins northeast of Pickle Lake and tracks eastward toward the mineral deposits of the Ring. The projected costs range between $83.6 million to $99.9 million. Annual maintenance costs are pegged between $4.2 million and $6.1 million. Continue Reading →

Make trade with China a priority – by Don Lindsay (Financial Post – August 26, 2016)

Don Lindsay is President & CEO, Teck.

The upcoming G20 summit in China and week-long visit by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are shining a light on Canada and China’s economic ties at a pivotal time for both our countries. Recent negative economic headlines aside, China remains a key trading partner and Canada’s prosperity now – and in the years ahead – continues to be closely tied with theirs.

But in order to move the Canada-China relationship forward in a way that supports Canada’s long-term prosperity, it is critical that we imbue our trade discussions with a sense of purpose and momentum. Our new government needs to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties with China.

China remains Canada’s most important trading partner next to the United States, yet we continue to struggle with how to best cultivate and grow this partnership. China is both the top overseas destination for our exports and the largest overseas source of imports to Canada. Continue Reading →

Canada — and particularly Alberta’s oil industry — paying higher price for climate change policy than U.S. – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – August 26, 2016)

As Alberta struggles with its most devastating recession ever, a new study highlights why different climate change policy choices made by Canada and the United States point to continued hardship for Canada’s top oil producing province.

The two trading partners are focusing on different areas for GHG reductions and are using different policy tools because of their unique resource endowments, geography, climate, history and politics, according to the study by IHS Energy, led by Kevin Birn.

In the U.S., the front line is power generation from coal, because that is its largest source of emissions. In Canada, the bull’s eye is on oil and gas, and particularly the oilsands. Continue Reading →

Wesdome Gold Mines stock soars on new gold discovery at shuttered Quebec mine – by Peter Koven (Financial Post – August 25, 2016)

When Quebec’s Kiena gold mine was shuttered back in 2013, it was believed that all the best pockets of ore were mined out. Now that assumption is being tossed out the window.

Shares of Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd. soared 49 per cent on Thursday, closing at $2.24, after the Toronto-based miner revealed spectacular drilling results from Kiena. They included a couple of long intercepts of more than 18 grams per tonne of gold.

Kiena, which opened back in 1981, was a relatively low-grade operation throughout its life. There was no recent indication that it had this kind of high-grade potential. Continue Reading →

Bolivia says deputy interior minister killed after kidnap by miners – by Daniel Ramos (Reuters U.S. – August 26, 2016)

LA PAZ – Bolivian Deputy Interior Minister Rodolfo Illanes was beaten to death after he was kidnapped by striking mineworkers on Thursday, the government said, and up to 100 people have been arrested as authorities vowed to punish those responsible.

“At this present time, all the indications are that our deputy minister Rodolfo Illanes has been brutally and cowardly murdered,” Minister of Government Carlos Romero said in broadcast comments.

He said Illanes had gone to talk to protesters earlier on Thursday in Panduro, around 160 km (100 miles) from the capital, La Paz, but was intercepted and kidnapped by striking miners. The government was trying to recover his body, Romero said, in a case that has shocked Bolivians. Continue Reading →

Five years after asbestos mine closure, Quebec town seeks new identity – by Morgan Lowrie (Canadian Press/Globe and Mail – August 25, 2016)

ASBESTOS, Que. — To residents of Asbestos, Que., the once-mighty Jeffrey mine that gave the town its identity is known simply as “the hole.” But almost five years after Canada’s largest asbestos mine stopped producing the controversial fibre, Asbestos is looking to move on from the industry that supported it for more than a century.

Key to the efforts is a $50-million regional diversification fund, put in place by the former Parti Quebecois government in 2012 after it cancelled a $58-million loan the Liberals had promised to help the mine renovate and reopen.

Mayor Hugues Grimard is hoping the subsidies available through the fund, paired with industrial know-how and a little hustle, will be enough to attract new businesses to the town of 7,000 residents two hours east of Montreal. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: KWG Tables Study of East-West Road to Ring of Fire Networking Eabametoong, Neskantaga, Webequie and Marten Falls With Nibinamik, Kingfisher, and Wunnumin Lake Connections Also Feasible

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TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Aug. 26, 2016) – KWG Resources Inc. (CSE:KWG)(FRANKFURT:KW6) (“KWG”) has posted on its website an all-weather road study that was previously prepared for it by Green Forest Management Inc. The report estimated that an all-weather gravel road starting in the west at the Northern Ontario Resource Trail Road northeast of Pickle Lake, projecting eastward to the Ring of Fire area over a distance of approximately 305 kilometres, would cost between $83.6 million to $99.9 million.

Trunk roads from it to connect the First Nations communities of Eabametoong, Neskantaga, Webequie and Marten Falls would cost between $36.1 million and $73.1 million depending on the route alignments selected. The study notes that additional trunk roads to connect Nibinamik, Kingfisher, and Wunnumin Lake are also feasible but required further research for construction budgeting purposes.

“We had this report prepared in 2013 to scope out the most rational options available to supply our railroad construction and address local aspirations,” said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “While we shared it extensively on a confidential basis, it’s very practical approach has not yet found traction, so we thought it timely to make the study public now as we prepare to discuss railroad construction financing options. Continue Reading →

Congo’s uranium: Rich pickings (The Economist – August 27, 2016)

An intriguing account of why America was so interested in Congo in the 1940s

“A HOTBED of spies”, remarked Bob Laxalt when he arrived in Léopoldville, capital of the Belgian Congo, in 1944. Why, wondered the fresh-faced young code officer for the American Consul-General, was his government so interested in this “dark corner of darkest Africa”? After all: “There’s no war here.”

Laxalt was not alone in his ignorance. America’s interest in the Congo—and, specifically, in the resource-rich south-eastern province of Katanga—was one of the best-kept secrets of the second world war. Beneath its verdant soil lay a prize that the Americans believed held the key to victory. It was the race to control this prize that brought the spooks to Léopoldville. The Germans, they feared, might be after it, too.

The prize, Susan Williams explains in “Spies in the Congo”, was uranium. Congo was by far the richest source of it in the world. As the architects of America’s nuclear programme (the “Manhattan Project”) knew, uranium was the atom bomb’s essential ingredient. But almost everybody else was kept entirely in the dark, including the spies sent to Africa to find out if the heavy metal was being smuggled out of the Congo into Nazi Germany. Continue Reading →

Enough Aluminum Already – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – August 26, 2016)

If you learned of a product that was about to see a ninefold surge in demand over 15 years, you’d be crazy not to start making it, right? Wrong. If you were in the commodity business, you’d first want to check what was about to happen to supply.

Take Chinese aluminum. Consumption rose from 3.4 million metric tons in 2000 to 31 million tons last year — but production capacity increased almost 14-fold, to 36 million tons. As a result, LME-traded aluminum forwards now cost about $1,650 a ton, almost exactly the same price as you’d have paid at the dawn of the millennium.

That supply-side problem explains why aluminum prices have consistently failed to fulfil the promise that fueled deals like Rio Tinto’s $38 billion 2007 takeover of Alcan. Continue Reading →