22nd October 2014

OBITUARY: Nelson Bunker Hunt, Texas tycoon who lost billions in silver gamble, dies at 88 – by Robert D. McFadden (Globe and Mail – October 22, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

The New York Times News Service – Nelson Bunker Hunt, the down-home Texas oil tycoon who owned a thousand race horses, drove an old Cadillac and once tried to corner the world’s silver market only to lose most of his fortune when the price collapsed, died Tuesday. He was 88.

Hunt died after a long battle with cancer and dementia, according to The Dallas Morning News.

“A billion dollars ain’t what it used to be,” he said in 1980 after silver stakes he amassed with two brothers, Herbert and Lamar, fell to $10.80 from $50.35 an ounce. In barely two months, their holdings and contracts for purchases – corralling a third to half the world’s deliverable silver – had plunged from a $7-billion value in January to a $1.7-billion loss in March.

With the Hunts unable to cover enormous margin calls, the debacle endangered financial markets and brokerage houses, forcing federal regulators and the nation’s banks to step in with a $1-billion line of credit, a bailout that saved the system from a stampede and the Hunts from an immediate meltdown.

But for Bunker Hunt, who used his middle name, and his brothers – scions of one of the world’s richest clans – the boom and bust led to years of lawsuits, civil charges, fines, damage claims and bankruptcy proceedings that gobbled up vast holdings in real estate, oil, gas, cattle, coal, thoroughbred stables and other assets. Still, they managed to salvage millions and were not subjected to criminal charges. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canadian Media Resource Articles, Gold and Silver, United States Mining and History | 0 Comments

22nd October 2014

Hopes for Ontario’s Ring of Fire doused as mining companies grow wary – by Rachelle Younglai (Globe and Mail – October 22, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” mineral belt was supposed to be a $60-billion natural resources treasure trove that would bring employment and economic prosperity to a remote part of the province’s north. It hasn’t worked out that way.

The project’s key player has given up, leaving the future of the deposit in question and hurting prospects that it will ever reach the lofty expectations of politicians.

Today, not much is happening in the Ring, a 5,000-square-kilometre crescent of mostly chromite in the boggy James Bay lowlands, 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

The region was said to be so rich in resources that it would rival Sudbury’s nickel basin and Alberta’s oil sands. Instead, the area remains undeveloped, a victim of the global slump in commodity prices and bureaucratic red tape.

“I’m disappointed that it hasn’t advanced more. It’s a long time, seven years after discovery,” said Neil Novak, the geologist who made the first discovery in the Ring and is now exploring for other metals as the chief executive officer of Black Widow Resources Inc.

In addition to the complete lack of infrastructure – there are no roads or power in the area – there is no real plan on how to mine the chromite, which is used to harden steel. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

Mining still thrives in bone dry, drought-stricken West – by Dorothy Kosich (Mineweb.com – October 21, 2014)


As the drought rages on in the U.S. West, mining operators and other water users may have to ride a Big Wave of regulatory change and higher water costs.

RENO (MINEWEB) – In speech to the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration national convention in Salt Lake City earlier this year, Hecla Mining External Relations Vice President, Luke Russell warned attendees that water quantity and quality issues are the fastest growing economic and social challenge the mining industry faces today.

Mining companies spent $12 billion globally in 2013 on water infrastructure, a 275% increase from 2009, Russell observed, yet mining production costs were only up 52% in the same period.

The Western Governor’s Drought Forum held in Arizona last week examined the challenges facing mining, manufacturing and industry during a 15-year long period of drought with more than 70% of the western United States in the grip of a water shortage that shows no signs of ending.

On Monday, the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institute and Stanford University Woods Institute for the Environment held a joint session in California to discuss the undeniable fact that the West is bone dry and the water crisis has become as much an economic issue as an environmental concern and demands focused national attention. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in International Media Resource Articles, Mining Environmental and Water Shortage Issues, United States Mining and History | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

Mexico’s Antidrug Push Weighs on Iron-Ore Trade With China – by Chin-Wei Yap (Wall Street Journal – October 20, 2014)


Mexico’s Total Iron-Ore Exports Likely to Fall 80%

TIANJIN, China—Mexico’s exports of iron ore have plunged in the wake of a bid by authorities to break the grip of drug cartels on parts of the country’s iron-ore industry, a Mexican official said.

Mexico will likely export just 2 million metric tons of iron ore this year, in part because of a crackdown on cartel-linked shipments to China, Mario Cantú, Mexico’s coordinator general of minerals, said on the sidelines of an industry conference in the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin. Last year, Mexico exported about 10 million tons of the mineral, 9 million of which were bound for China.

It isn’t clear the extent to which exports specifically to China will drop this year, Mr. Cantú said, but the decrease will likely correspond with the 80% drop in total Mexican iron-ore exports.

The export collapse is linked to Mexico’s moves to combat drug cartels operating in the country’s top ore-producing state, Michoacán, and their expansion into lucrative shipments of the mineral to China, the world’s biggest buyer of iron ore.

In addition to confiscating iron-ore that officials said was linked to drug cartels and closing facilities where the mineral was processed, Mexican authorities this year introduced a new export permit aimed at curbing illegal shipments. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Asia Mining, International Media Resource Articles, Iron Ore, Latin America Mining | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

Indonesia Mineral output plummets;new govt urged to lay out policies – by Raras Cahyafitri (Jakarta Post – October 20, 2014)


The national output of a number of commodities has dropped significantly this year, as expected, on account of the government’s mineral ore export ban.

The incoming administration, led by president-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, is expected to soon lay out clear policies in the mineral sector, which has been severely impacted by the ban.

Only a few million tons of ore were produced during the January to August period this year, most likely only to meet domestic demand, figures from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s directorate general of mineral and coal showed.

The production of bauxite, for example, was a mere 2.8 million tons during the January-August period, compared to almost 60 million tons throughout last year. This year’s output is expected to see a few additional tons by year-end.

“The production of several minerals was from newly established smelters, such as nickel pig iron products,” mineral and coal director general R. Sukhyar said. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Asia Mining, International Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

Iron Ore Risks Extending Collpapse on Supplies: Moody’s – by Phoebe Sedgman (Bloomberg News – October 20, 2014)


The collapse in iron ore prices may have further to run as global supply increases and steel-demand growth slows, according to Moody’s Investors Service, which said it may reduce ratings on producers.

About 300 million metric tons of new and expanded supply will come on stream over the next few years, analysts including Carol Cowan said in an e-mailed report received today. Global steel-production growth in 2014 remains muted with China, the key driver of consumption, continuing to slow, Moody’s said.

Iron ore tumbled 39 percent this year after companies including Rio Tinto Group (RIO), BHP Billiton Ltd. and Vale SA raised low-cost output in Australia and Brazil, spurring a global glut. The market is in the midst of a transition without precedent in recent commodity history as supply surges and some higher-cost mines are displaced, according to Macquarie Group Ltd.

“Iron ore prices have collapsed,” Moody’s said in the report, which was dated Oct. 17. “With slowing global steel-production growth rates, iron ore prices remain vulnerable to the downside and we expect continued volatility.”

Ore with 62 percent content delivered to Qingdao, China, posted a third straight quarterly loss in the three months to September, and dropped to $77.97 a ton on Sept. 29, the lowest level since September 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in International Media Resource Articles, Iron Ore | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

[Ferrochrome] Merafe Resources Falls on Output Drop, Mine-Halting Strike – by Andre Janse van Vuuren (Bloomberg News – October 17, 2014)


Merafe Resources Ltd. (MRF) declined the most in more than a year after the South African ferrochrome producer said third-quarter output fell 14 percent and some of its mines were shut by a strike.

Merafe, which owns 20.5 percent of the world’s largest ferrochrome operation in a venture with Glencore Plc (GLEN), dropped 8.9 percent in Johannesburg trading, the most since Aug. 7, 2013, to 1.03 rand by the close.

Ferrochrome output for the three months ended Sept. 30 decreased to 74,000 metric tons from 85,600 tons a year earlier as sales declined 18 percent to 60,200 tons, the company said in a statement today.

The venture’s western mines near Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, have been shut since the last week of September after the National Union of Metalworkers started a pay strike, Investor Relations Manager Kajal Bissessor said today by phone. Its eastern operations and all smelters are fully operational, she said.

Merafe’s mines are close to the platinum belt in South Africa, where the world’s biggest producers have operations that were crippled by a five-month strike this year. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Africa Mining, Chromium/Platinum Group Metals, International Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

Indonesia’s Choice: Coal vs. Environment – by David Fogarty (Epoch Times – October 19, 2014)


Indonesia cannot build power stations fast enough. And neither can most of its Asian neighbors. Rapid economic and population growth are driving equally rapid demands for electricity as the region builds out power grids to connect up millions of people to fuel prosperity.

Electricity generation is forecast to nearly triple in Southeast Asia between 2011 and 2035, the International Energy Agency says, with fossil fuels providing most of the energy.

With a population of 600 million, nearly twice that of the United States, and about 130 million people without electricity, Southeast Asia faces an immense challenge to meet that demand in a cost-efficient manner that doesn’t cause serious air and water pollution and drive up health costs.

For Indonesia, the Asia energy story is a blessing worth untold riches in terms of royalties, money it needs to develop its economy and provide jobs. The IEA says demand for coal in Southeast Asia will rise 4.8 percent per year, with Indonesia in the geographic sweet spot to be the region’s main supplier.

In the wider Asia-Pacific, demand for coal will increase by 52.8 percent from 2010 to 2035, according to the Asian Development Bank. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Asia Mining, Coal, International Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

News Release: Golden rule: Every new mine would improve Ontario’s finances

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Just one new gold mine in Ontario could provide more than 2,200 direct and indirect jobs and pay more than $102 million in tax revenue for all levels of government annually, according to a new study “An Au-thentic Opportunity: The Economic Impacts of a New Gold Mine in Ontario.” University of Toronto economists Peter Dungan and Steve Murphy presented the key findings of their report, which was completed for the Ontario Mining Association with assistance from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, today.

“With the increased value and relative importance of gold mining production in the province in recent years, as well as the number of announced projects currently the pipeline, it was decided that the impact of a gold mine would be the subject of our analysis,” said Mr. Dungan. “This study also recognizes the scope for the possible benefits that can be realized by Aboriginal groups.”

The four-pronged study demonstrates the positive economic impacts on an annual basis for both an underground and an open pit gold mine and for both types of operations during an estimated three-year construction phase of a new mine and the production phase of these mines, which could last for decades. The economists have used broad sources of public data, mining company disclosure documents and economic models from the Input-Output Division at Statistics Canada.

For example, an underground gold mine with about $300 million in sales annually with 620 direct employees, would create 894 jobs from mine supply companies and a further 690 induced jobs largely in the retail and service sector. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Gold and Silver, Ontario Mining, Ontario Mining Association | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

RPT-UPDATE 3-India’s Modi steps up economic reforms, eyes privatisation [coal sector] – by By Manoj Kumar and Krishna N Das (Reuters India – October 21, 2014)


NEW DELHI, Oct 20 (Reuters) – India promised on Monday to open up the coal industry to private players and moved closer to selling a stake in a state-run oil company, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi picked up the pace on economic reform days after relaxing fuel price controls.

Using an executive order, the cabinet agreed to allow private Indian companies to mine and sell coal at an unspecified future date, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. That sets the stage for the biggest liberalisation of the industry in more than 40 years.

The ruling party’s success in two state elections last week capped several days of action on the economic front and has given Modi more room to cut through a thicket of regulations and state controls he says holds back Asia’s third-largest economy.

“Reform is the art of the possible,” Jaitley earlier told TV network ET Now, hinting that more was to come. “In the first year, when people expect lot of reforms and there is lot of popular support behind the reform process, it is more easily possible.

Modi was elected in May on promises he would create jobs and rejuvenate the Indian economy, but investors and economists were disappointed by his first budget and a lack of early progress on fixing structural economic problems. In the last week, he has gone some way towards quelling those concerns, putting in a reform-minded team at the finance ministry that includes prominent economist Arvind Subramanian to help formulate the budget and policy. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Asia Mining, Coal, International Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

Maximizing the mess with Ontario’s electricity assets – by Parker Gallant (National Post – October 21, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Hydro One paid $93-million for Norfolk Power, about 28.5 times profits. That’s pure insanity

Ontario’s electricity sector is in rough shape, burdened with escalating costs and an interfering government. Not much change or improvement is likely if the government takes up the schemes promoted last week in a speech by Ed Clark, the former CEO of TD Bank who now heads the province’s “Advisory Council on Government Assets.” The objective of the council is to look at three current government monopolies so as to “maximize the value to the people of Ontario.”

We’ll leave Mr. Clark’s comments on the liquor business to others. When it comes to the two electricity monopolies – Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One – Mr. Clark and his council’s proposals seem destined to maximize the mess rather than the value of Ontario’s power sector.

On OPG, the $39-billion asset company that owns gas, hydro and nuclear power installations all over the province, Mr. Clark proposed that it be split into two entities: one to manage existing generation sources and another to manage the Darlington nuclear refurbishment. The speech is silent on what happens to the Pickering nuclear plant.

The OPG proposal looks like an effort to simply create another electricity bureaucracy. For that reason it is impossible to see what benefits will be generated that will “maximize value.” Many large European and U.S. generators successfully produce power from a variety of fuels and there is no reason why OPG cannot do the same if properly managed. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining Power Issues, Ontario Economy | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

[Deltion Innovations] Sudbury company works to develop space drill (CBC News Sudbury – October 20, 2014)


Deltion Innovations is working to develop drill that would prospect for water and ice on the moon

A Greater Sudbury mining innovation company is getting to literally take some of its equipment out of this world. Deltion Innovations Limited is in the process of developing a drill for the Canadian Space Agency and the goal is to have the drill mine for water and ice on the moon.

CEO Dale Boucher said the drill is being developed in the company’s test facility in Capreol. Testing is being done by using a liquid nitrogen tank that is used to cool down the sample, filled with simulated moon dirt and water, he said.

This test phase involves trying to drill through material at liquid nitrogen temperatures — about minus 180 degrees Celsius. “The moon is a little bit cooler than that,” he said. “The moon is actually about minus 220 Celsius.”

Benefits of space mining

Boucher said the prospecting tool will look for water and ice near the south pole of the moon. “Water is kind of the ore of choice for space mining right now,” he said.

“Water can be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen using a very simple solar cell system. So, if you break it into hydrogen and oxygen you have a couple of things: you have oxygen to breathe, you have hydrogen and oxygen which is the most powerful rocket propellant that we know of.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining Education and Innovation, Ontario Mining | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

How Covergalls [Workwear] inked a $75,000 deal that includes new dragon Michael Wekerle – by Mary Teresa Bitti (National Post – October 20, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

CBC’s Dragons’ Den is back with two new dragons who are wasting no time making their mark. Each week, Financial Post contributor Mary Teresa Bitti revisits the previous week’s episode. She captures what the cameras didn’t and in the process provides a case study for readers, zeroing in on what pitchers and dragons were thinking and what the challenges for the deal are going forward.

The pitch As sales director for an underground mobile equipment manufacturer, Alicia Woods spends her fair share of time underground, understanding the challenges of customers. She recalls the first time she had to go into a mine 14 years ago. She was handed full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), coveralls, belt, hard hat but nothing was designed for women. “I was given the smallest men’s sizes but nothing fit properly and it wasn’t convenient, especially if I had to use the washroom facilities, which are typically a port-a-potty,” Ms. Woods says.

The only alternative she found online was a shirt and pants. She preferred the coverall which offers better protection. She sketched a few concepts that got put to the side as her career started to grow and she and her husband started a family. For 10 years, she would have nothing to drink if she knew she’d be going down into a mine, to avoid having to use the washroom.

“Three summers ago, I was underground at a potash mine and before I knew it I had consumed three bottles of water because it was so dry and dusty,” Ms. Woods says. “I had to face what I had avoided for a decade. It was not a pleasant experience.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

Chilean copper boom is losing its lustre – by Fabian Cambero and Rosalba O’Brien (Reuters/Daily Mail – October 17, 2014)


SANTIAGO, Oct 17 (Reuters) – The shine may soon come off Chile’s decade-long copper boom as technical and regulatory problems in getting new mines into production highlight just how hard it will be to keep ratcheting up the supply.

Chile is expected to produce a record 5.83 million tonnes of copper this year, rising to 6.23 million next year, state copper commission Cochilco forecast on Friday. Many in the industry are confident new mines will keep boosting supply, and are worried more by falling demand in the key buyer, China.

But the optimism over output may be misplaced. Already, the official estimate for production in 2014 has been downgraded twice, cut from 6.07 million tonnes – a drop equivalent to the output of a medium-sized mine – after teething problems at three new projects and falling output at older ones.

And soon the growth of recent years will likely grind to a halt, industry experts say. “Next year and towards 2016 we will see the peak of production in this decade but I don’t think we will see very significant increases in Chile until the next decade, when we hope large projects in the pipeline will be unblocked,” said Juan Carlos Guajardo, head of local copper think-tank CESCO.

CESCO sees growth in new production falling off sharply after 2016, with a market “balanced or in deficit through to the end of the decade”, Guajardo said. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Copper, International Media Resource Articles, Latin America Mining | 0 Comments

21st October 2014

Namibia: Mining Industry Will Grow Phenomenally – Malango (All Africa.com – October 20, 2014)


Windhoek — Namibia’s mining activities are still the backbone of the economy and will be for many years to come as the industry grew by 6 percent during the second quarter of 2014, compared to a contraction of 6.6 percent recorded in the second quarter of 2013.

Also, during 2013 the mining industry paid profit tax of N$1.64 billion (2012: N$1.12 billion) and royalties of N$1.12 billion (2012: N957.7million) while dividends paid to government were just over N$500 million (Namdeb Holdings N$351 million and NDTC N$150 million).

This is according to Veston Malango, Chief Executive Officer at the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, who explained that Namibia currently has 17 mines, of which only one is not in operation due to being placed under care and maintenance.

However, with the ongoing construction of three new mines, the Husab Uranium Mine, the Otjikoto Gold Mine and the Tschudi Copper Mine, the country will soon have 20 mines ready for production.

“The mining industry continues to be the backbone of the national economy and will be for many years to come. Overall the industry is expected to grow phenomenally once new mines come into full production,” remarked Malango. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Africa Mining, International Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

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