Analysts acclaim Glencore’s performance as good fundamentals return – by Martin Creamer ( – February 23, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Commodity market fundamentals are improving against a backdrop of better than expected demand and limited, if any, inventory build through the trough of the cycle, diversified mining and marketing company Glencore said on Thursday.

This comes against the background of the London-, Hong Kong- and Johannesburg-listed company reporting 18% higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) at $10.3-billion, 41% lower capital expenditure to $3.5-billion and operational unit cash cost performance in zinc at a negative –5c/lb.

The company, headed by CEO Ivan Glasenberg, also succeeded in managing down its full-year unit copper cost to 87c/lb, nickel to 265c/lb and thermal coal to $39/t with an $18/t margin. Continue Reading →

Vale Dusts Off Crystal Ball, Sees $70-$75 ‘Floor’ for Iron Ore – by Paul Kiernan ( Street Journal – February 23, 2017)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian mining company Vale SA is back to forecasting iron-ore prices after a four-month rally in the market injected executives with a level of optimism not seen in years.

Vale’s iron-ore director dusted off his so-called crystal ball Thursday to predict that prices for the commodity will have a “floor” of $70 to $75 and could average above $80 for the year.

“In summary, 2017 is going to be a very strong year,” the executive, Peter Poppinga, said in a conference call. “Steel demand is greater than in 2016. New supply that’s going to come is less than in 2016, and stocks are unbalanced. Therefore, prices will be significantly higher than in 2016.” Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Erin O’Toole announces Energy & Natural Resources Policy

“Making the opportunities of Ontario’s Ring of Fire a national priority
by declaring chromite a nationally significant resource and the development
of the Ring of Fire as a project of national significance. This will allow
the Government of Canada to take the lead on the Ring of Fire and expedite
the transportation corridor urgently needed to attract more investment into
the many northern Ontario communities which sought to host the Ring of Fire’s
infrastructure.” Erin O’Toole

OTTAWA, February 23, 2017 – Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Erin O’Toole today announced his plan to reinvigorate Canada’s economy by advancing major energy and natural resource projects.

O’Toole announced that, as Prime Minister, he will support the energy and natural resource sectors by:
• Passing a National Strategic Pipelines Act, declaring major pipeline projects, including Energy East, as strategic to Canada’s economic interests. Continue Reading →

Toyota’s new technology a blow for platinum, palladium price – by Frik Els ( – February 22, 2017)

Toyota sold more than 10 million vehicles last year placing it in a virtual tie with Volkswagen as the world’s number one automaker. Stricter pollution regulations around the world and intense competition mean that top priority for traditional car companies is to cut costs and reduce emissions.

A new technology unveiled by Toyota on Wednesday is win for the Japanese company on both counts. Toyota announced the availability of a new, smaller catalyst that uses 20% less precious metal in approximately 20% less volume, while maintaining the same exhaust gas purification performance.

Toyota’s “world’s first integrally-molded Flow Adjustable Design Cell (FLAD)” is not the first time researchers have found innovative ways to reduce pricey platinum group metals in exhaust systems. But those technologies seldom make it all the way to the assembly line. Continue Reading →

Can commodity producers resist the temptations of the up cycle? – by Clyde Russell (Daily Mail/Reuters – February 23, 2017)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Anytime you hear the mantra “this time it will be different,” it’s probably best to assume the same old cycle will repeat itself.

This is especially true for commodity producers, who often appear to lurch from boom to bust and back to boom with little regard for learning from past mistakes. Perhaps this is because commodity cycles can take decades to play out, meaning institutional memory is lost over time, allowing executives to repeat the mistakes of their predecessors.

But more likely it’s because most chief executives in listed commodity majors are either forced by investors to be seen doing something to boost growth, or by nature are driven to build and buy new mines. Continue Reading →

Increase in procurement from indigenous suppliers in Canadian mining sector: report – by Kylie Williams (CIM Magazine – February 2017)

Click here for full report:

Indigenous involvement in the Canadian mining sector is growing. In 2015, an estimated 230 indigenous suppliers provided goods and services to mining operations, according to a Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) report, and 40 per cent of all indigenous businesses were working in mining or extraction, up from 13 per cent in 2010.

The report, produced by the CCAB and Engineers Without Borders Canada’s (EWB) Mining Shared Value initiative and released in late November, made several recommendations to increase these numbers further.

The report documents the range of working relationships between mining companies, indigenous entrepreneurs and aboriginal economic development corporations (AEDCs) across Canada, from joint-venture partnerships and impact and benefit agreements, to maintaining and promoting indigenous supplier directories in key mining districts. Continue Reading →

Uganda gold refinery raises alarm over conflict minerals (Daily Mail – February 22, 2017)

AFP – The inauguration of Uganda’s first gold refinery sparked concern Wednesday over the possibility of dirty minerals from regional conflict zones making their way into the country.

Transparency International’s Peter Wandera told AFP the country’s failure to regulate the mineral sector meant there were “high chances” the refinery could contribute to conflicts, such as that in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where rebels are propped up by illegal mining.

“Uganda has continuously failed to implement the necessary components … to reduce the trade in conflict minerals from the DRC,” he said. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Kambalda faces future with no nickel output – by Josh Chiat (The West Australian – February 22, 2017)

Kambalda has run on nickel dust since it kicked off the base metal’s Australian boom in the 1960s. It is now facing having virtually no nickel production in the town by February next year, with Independence Group saying reserve life extensions at the harvesting phase Long nickel mine have proved unsuccessful.

Long — which delivered 2365 tonnes of nickel to the BHP Billiton Kambalda concentrator in the December quarter — and RNC Minerals’ Beta Hunt, which is now largely a gold operation, are the only producing nickel mines in Kambalda, where a series of operations have been put on care and maintenance amid low prices for the stainless steel ingredient since 2015.

Independence Group managing director Peter Bradford, who is also grappling with lagging development at the company’s flagship Nova nickel- copper mine 160km east of Norseman, said drilling at Victor West had proven unsuccessful. Continue Reading →

ETF Investors Miss Out on the Best Commodity Trade of the Year – by Luzi-Ann Javier (Bloomberg News – February 22, 2017)

Exchange-traded fund investors are missing the silver party. Instead of piling into the asset that’s offered the biggest gain among 22 raw materials on the Bloomberg Commodity Index this year, ETF investors are retreating. iShares Silver Trust, the biggest ETF backed by the metal, is poised for a fifth straight monthly outflow, a trend not seen since the fund listed in 2006.

Holdings in all silver-backed ETFs tracked by Bloomberg have shrank by 6.2 million ounces and are near the lowest in seven months.

Silver is surging amid demand for haven assets and bets that industrial use will rise at a time of tightening mine supply. While investors in commodity ETFs have shied away the metal in favor of gold, hedge funds are reaping the gains. Continue Reading →

Mining industry, environmental groups watch as Canada plans new coal effluent rules – by Paul Withers (CBC News Nova Scotia – February 22, 2017)

Environment and Climate Change Canada is considering plans to impose new effluent limits that would reduce harmful discharges from coal mining by 2019.

Ottawa’s proposal would require new coal mines to collect and monitor all effluent through a final discharge point where it would have to meet new limits for suspended solids, nitrates and a toxic byproduct called selenium.

For existing mines, effluent limits would be monitored after discharge into the environment. The department held its first stakeholder consultation in Nova Scotia on Wednesday. More meetings are scheduled for Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia in coming weeks. Continue Reading →


Students win in two mine rescue categories and overall title

Sudbury, ON (FEBRUARY 21, 2017) – Laurentian University’s Bharti School of Engineering students won the 2017 Intercollegiate Mines Emergency Response Development (MERD) competition in Golden, Colorado. The team placed first in the first aid and the field competitions and earned the overall title.

The competition was held over two days and consisted of teams from University of British Columbia, Freiburg University (Germany), Montana Tech, South Dakota School of Mines and Colorado School of Mines. The first intercollegiate MERD was held in 2011.

The competition consists of mock disasters that are created in an underground mine to train collegiate mine rescue teams in a realistic emergency search and rescue setting. It included a field competition where teams had to put out an actual underground fire, a technician test, and a first aid test. Continue Reading →

Congo Miner Said to Get $100 Million to Clear China Moly Buy – by Tom Wilson (Bloomberg News – February 22, 2017)

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s state mining company received $100 million as part of a settlement to drop its objections to the sale of the country’s biggest copper mine to Chinese buyers, according to people with knowledge of the agreement.

The cash payment was made last month after state-owned Gecamines agreed to abandon legal cases to block the sale of Freeport McMoRan Inc. and Lundin Mining Corp.’s interests in the Tenke Fungurume mine, the people said, asking not be identified as terms of the arrangement aren’t public. China Molybdenum Co. and Chinese private-equity firm BHR Partners bought the stakes for a combined $3.8 billion.

The settlement marks the end of a nine-month dispute between Freeport, Lundin, the Chinese buyers and Gecamines over whether the sales, which were a transfer of ownership in an offshore holding company, should have been subject to preemption or approval by the state-owned miner. Gecamines owns 20 percent of local operating unit Tenke Fungurume Mining. Continue Reading →

Iron ore rockets towards $US100 a tonne – by Jessica Sier (Sydney Morning Herald – February 22, 2017)

The price of iron ore has surged higher still, reaching its highest level since mid-2014, and flirting with the $US100 a tonne mark. A pick up in steel futures has sent Australia’s largest export soaring 21 per cent so far this year, and up 84 per cent in the last twelve months.

Iron ore, with a ferrous content of 62 per cent was fetching $US94.86 a tonne on Wednesday morning. China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange, most-active futures surged as much as 30 per cent this year to 723yuan ($136).

Consolidation in the Chinese steel industry, which iron ore fuels, has seen steel exports are slump 5 per cent month on month and down 24 per cent year on year, while iron ore imports are up 12 per cent year on year. Continue Reading →

Wall Street challenges U.S. regulator over proposed commodities rule – by Olivia Oran (Reuters U.S. – February 21, 2017)

Wall Street is pushing back against a proposed rule to force U.S. banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc to hold more capital against investments in commodities, placing what some see as an overly restrictive limit on banks’ ties to the sector.

In a comment letter filed late on Friday and not yet made public, the industry argues the proposed rule would hurt the economy, and that fears about environmental risks from physical commodities activities are overblown.

The U.S. Federal Reserve handed down the proposal in September, after a public backlash stemming from the belief that big banks’ involvement in commodities markets hurt consumers by driving up prices. The comment letter, filed by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Institution of International Bankers and seen by Reuters, comes as big banks face an uncertain future in Washington. Continue Reading →

Coal ‘an attractive business’: BHP Billiton chief Andrew Mackenzie – by Matt Chambers (The Australian – February 23, 2017)

BHP Billiton says Chinese coalmining policy that has reined in production means it could develop more Queensland coking coalmines after three years of focusing on squeezing the most cash it could out of the mines and not promoting their growth.

Speaking to investors last night after delivering a $US3.2 billion ($4.2bn) first-half profit, chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said coal remained an attractive business.

“There is no doubt the Chinese tried to restructure their mining activities in both coals, and indeed in iron ore, through their restructuring of steel,” Mr Mackenzie said. “It has probably made the bulks a little bit more investable than they would otherwise have been.” Continue Reading →