There is a race for lithium going on in Nevada – by Phil LeBeau ( – July 25, 2016)

Ever since electric carmaker Tesla announced plans to build a battery plant outside Reno, Nevada, investors, fans of Elon Musk’s company and others around the world have started paying attention to the silver state’s large lithium deposits.

Lithium is a key component in the production of batteries used in cell phones and electric vehicles. As sales of electric vehicles, which topped 500,000 worldwide last year, increase, so is demand for lithium. “Every new mine that we can find needs to be brought online and it needs to be done as fast as possible,” said Patrick Highsmith, CEO of Pure Energy Minerals.

Highsmith’s company is exploring how much lithium is in the water tables deep below the Nevada desert in Clayton Valley. This valley, halfway between Las Vegas and Reno, is ringed by mountains and home to one of the largest lithium deposits in North America. Continue Reading →

Victoria’s other Nellie: Entrepreneur Nellie Cashman searched for gold and saved lives during the gold rush – by Patrick Perry Lydon and Donna Chaytor (Victoria Times Colonist – July 24, 2016)

The story of gold-rush entrepreneur Nellie Cashman, who is best known as “the Miners’ Angel,” is full of courage, fortitude, faith and determination. Cashman loved Victoria and returned here to die. She was buried in 1925 in Ross Bay Cemetery.

Cashman displayed an unquenchable concern for the sick and those in need. Her life declaration was: “We pass this way but once and we must help those who need our assistance.”

She was born in Midleton, Cork, Ireland, in August 1845, when great famine, starvation and despair ravaged Ireland. With her father dead, Cashman, her mother and her sister fled to America as refugees and settled in Boston. Cashman received a good basic education and her penmanship was excellent. Continue Reading →

More mining firms to undergo review over alleged violations – by Louise Maureen Simeon ( – July 26, 2016)

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has bared a new list of mining companies that would undergo extensive review following complaints from the indigenous people of Mindanao.

Lopez had a dialogue with the Lumads of Mindanao Sunday afternoon to hear their sentiments. “I met with them and they wanted to stop large-scale mining in their provinces. And they were very explicit to the names [of the companies],” she said.

In a phone interview with The STAR, Lopez said the Lumads revealed eight mining firms that are allegedly committing environmental and social violations. One of which is Canadian-owned TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. in Zamboanga del Norte which is being reviewed over alleged “human rights violation causing demolition and forced evacuation.” Continue Reading →

The dark side of gem stones in Colombia and beyond – by Eugen Iladi (Columbia Reports – July 26, 2016)

The global market for colored gemstones, such as emeralds and rubies, is dominated by a few major players. One of the largest is Gemfields Plc, a U.K.-registered, London Stock Exchange-listed company with significant mining operations in Zambia, Mozambique, India, Sri Lanka and, recently, Colombia.

At first glance, things appear rosy at Gemfields, but a closer look reveals questionable deals and associations. As with blood diamonds, the precious stone trade purports to offer transparency, but many of its practices are murky and dark.

In September 2015, Gemfields announced a series of acquisitions in Colombia. The main target was a 70 percent stake in the Coscuez emerald mine in the mountainous province of Boyacá, one of the world’s best sources of emeralds. Continue Reading →

GEMS: Gold is not all that glitters – diamonds act as hedge for rich – by David Brough and Atul Prakash (Globe and Mail – July 26, 2016)

GENEVA and LONDON — Reuters – In a packed Christie’s auction room in Geneva, one could hear a pin drop as two anonymous bidders slugged it out in their quest to own the world’s most exquisite blue diamond.

The room in the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues was filled with multimillionaire collectors and diamond dealers, listening intently as the bidders, each speaking by phone to a Christie’s representative, took turns adding a few hundred thousand dollars in a tense struggle dragging on for more than half an hour.

When the auctioneer’s hammer came down, spontaneous applause broke out as the winner, who retained anonymity, bought the 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue for a world record $57.5-million (U.S.) for any jewel sold at auction. The sale some weeks ago was the latest in a series of world record prices per carat paid at auction for extraordinarily magnificent and rare diamonds. Continue Reading →

Feds say no to Kiggavik uranium mine, back Nunavut Impact Review Board – by By Sima Sahar Zerehi (CBC News North – July 26, 2016)

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister supports the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s decision

The minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs has reviewed the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s final report on the proposed Kiggavik uranium mine and agreed with the board: “the project should not proceed at this time.”

The review board issued its final report on the proposed mine near Baker Lake in the spring of 2015.

The report rejected Areva Resource’s proposed Kiggavik mine on the grounds that it lacks a definite start date and a development schedule. The board concluded that without this information it was impossible to assess the environmental and social impacts of the mine. Continue Reading →

Development without Indigenous input illegal, says Rae – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – July 21, 2016)

The need to consult Indigenous people before development takes place is not a conceit of a particular political party or the whim of the current government, said former parliamentarian Bob Rae. It’s the law, he said, and municipalities would be wise to heed that notion so progress can move forward.

“The idea that you can develop the next big development in Northern Canada or Northern Ontario without the full participation of the First Nations is not only a fanciful idea, it’s also an illegal idea,” Rae said. “There’s no getting around it. I think it’s really important for all of us to take a deep breath and understand that is the case.”

Speaking to municipal representatives during the May Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) conference in Timmins, Rae drew on his experience in politics and law, and especially his current role as Ring of Fire advisor to the Matawa Chiefs Council, to speak about emerging relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Continue Reading →

Anti-Keystone XL group takes first shot at its new target: Energy East – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – July 26, 2016)

The big U.S. green group that led the assault against Keystone XL is firing its opening salvo Tuesday against Energy East, joining an already-crowded field of opponents and proving Alberta’s and Canada’s climate change plans are failing to moderate anti-pipeline campaigns.

The New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is holding a telephone press conference to talk about a report it prepared “documenting TransCanada’s plan and discuss the potential harm if it goes forward to communities (including those that depend on fishing), iconic species (among them whales), special places and the climate.”

In a news advisory, the NRDC paints Energy East as even worse than KXL. Both pipelines are proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. Continue Reading →

Peru Scrambles to Drive Out Illegal Gold Mining and Save Precious Land – by Suzanne Daley (New York Times – July 26, 2016)

A force of marines and rangers is outnumbered as it tries to protect the area anchored by the Tambopata reserve, one of the most biologically diverse places on earth.

ON THE BORDER OF THE TAMBOPATA RESERVE, Peru — The raid began at dawn. In four small wooden boats, the forest rangers and Peruvian marines, checking and rechecking their automatic weapons, headed silently downriver toward the illegal gold miners.

They didn’t have to go far. Around the first bend was a ramshackle mining settlement, tarps stretched over tree poles. Soon, the marines were firing into the air, the miners and their families were on the run, and the rangers were moving in with machetes.

They speared bags of rice and plastic barrels of drinking water, kicked aside toys and smashed tools before setting everything on fire. High above the Amazon rain forest, home to trees that are more than 1,000 years old, heavy plumes of black smoke spiraled toward the clouds. Continue Reading →

Chinese miners call for anti-dumping probe into iron ore imports – by Ruby Lian and David Stanway (Reuters U.S. – Juy 26, 2016)

SHANGHAI – Chinese iron ore miners have called for an anti-dumping investigation into imports of the steelmaking raw material from top suppliers Australia and Brazil.

More than 20 Chinese miners in a statement on the Metallurgical Miners’ Association of China website said “a huge volume of low-priced imported iron ore has had a severe impact on the domestic mining industry and even posed a big challenge for the security of steel production”.

“The capacity of major iron ore miners has continued to grow and requires a massive Chinese market to absorb their great excess,” the statement posted on Tuesday said. Australia’s BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, along with Brazil’s Vale, have embarked on massive expansion programs in recent years to supply the Chinese market. Continue Reading →

This study puts gold price at $1,850 with Trump win – by Frik Els ( – July 22, 2016)

On Friday, gold had another rough day as a stronger US dollar and a rise on stock markets already around record highs diminish appetite for the hard asset.

Gold futures in New York for delivery in August, the most active contract, fell to a low of $1,319.40 in early trade before regaining some lost ground at the close. Two weeks ago gold closed at a two-year high of $1,368. Year to date the metal remains higher by 24% or some $270 an ounce, the best annual performance in decades.

Georgette Boele of ABN Amro in a new research note charts gold movements during US presidencies going back to Gerald Ford 1974–1977 term to ascertain the possible impact on the price during a Hillary Clinton or Donal Trump presidency. Continue Reading →

De Beers unlikely to find buyer for Snap Lake mine, says analyst – by Guy Quenneville (CBC News North – July 26, 2016)

Current diamond prices a deterrent to buyers

Groundwater problems, weakened diamond prices and a thinning crowd of diamond producers mean De Beers is “very unlikely” to find a buyer for the Snap Lake mine before the company floods it later this year, says one diamond industry analyst.

“I don’t see somebody buying it and turning it back on and producing at current prices,” says Paul Zimnisky. He says his data indicates diamond prices are only up about five per cent since De Beers halted production at the N.W.T. mine in December.

If a junior mining company does agree to purchase Snap Lake, it will likely do so under a “call out option” — acquiring and sitting on a mine for the express purpose of reselling it once prices improve. Continue Reading →

AfroCan mine investment in South Africa falls apart amid dispute – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – July 23, 2016)

JOHANNESBURG — It was a saga that riveted South Africans: rescue workers blasting through tons of rock in a dramatic effort to save three miners who were trapped underground when they plunged into a giant sinkhole.

Despite weeks of struggle by the rescue workers, the miners were never found. And then the mine itself was closed, leaving 900 workers jobless – until a Canadian company emerged as a “white knight” to invest in the gold mine and restore it to operation.

But today the planned $11.3-million (U.S.) investment has fallen apart in a storm of recriminations, and the Vancouver-based company is facing an onslaught of criticism from South African trade unions and the mine owner. Continue Reading →

This U.S. Coal Miner’s Getting Paid to Buy Assets in Appalachia -by Tim Loh (Bloomberg News – July 25, 2016)

James Booth has done it again. In September, his Booth Energy coal group bought a collection of Appalachian mines from a Florida utility company for nothing beyond liabilities. On Monday, it acquired another two sites in West Virginia — this time, from Consol Energy Inc. — for nothing beyond liabilities.

In fact, Consol will pay a Booth Energy unit $27 million at closing and $17 million more over four years, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Monday. Such is the state of U.S. coal markets that Consol, looking to expedite its transition from mining coal to exclusively producing natural gas, is willing to part with non-core assets for, well, nothing.

For Booth and others, coal’s bust is yielding bargains. Last winter, West Virginia’s Jim Justice paid $5 million — and assumed liabilities — to buy back mines he’d previously sold for $568 million. Continue Reading →

Electric cars no ‘major disrupter’ to platinum business (Business Day TV – July 26, 2016)

Chris Griffith is CEO of Anglo American Platinum.

BUSINESS DAY TV: Free cash flow is up and net debt is down, but so too are first half profits. Anglo American Platinum continues to refocus its business in a tough environment. Joining me on News Leader with more is CEO Chris Griffith.

Chris … so interim headline earnings are down 58% to just over R1bn. Profit from lower metal prices though in the previous year did have an extraordinary item and that really skews the end result, doesn’t it?

CHRIS GRIFFITH: That’s correct. Last year, in the first half of the year, we had a massive stock gain which added about R2.2bn to earnings. And if you compare a stock gain that we had in this first half of the year of about R0.6bn, you see a net difference between the two periods of R1.6bn. Continue Reading →