Alcoa Sees Global Aluminum Market Balancing on China’s Curbs – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – October 18, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Alcoa Corp. sees Chinese cuts in aluminum production returning the global market to “relative balance” as the Asian nation’s supply-side reforms begin to bite.

The largest U.S. aluminum producer reduced its global surplus forecast for the lightweight metal this year as China appears to be holding to its promise to curb capacity to meet pollution-control targets.

“The improvement is mostly due to planned and actual curtailments in Chinese smelting capacity as well as increased Chinese demand,” Alcoa said Wednesday in its third-quarter earnings statement. Continue Reading →

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: The Truth About the Cobalt Crisis: It’s Not a Crisis, Yet – by Jason Deign (Green Tech Media – October 8, 2017)

https://www.greentechmedia.com/

Volkswagen’s failure to secure long-term cobalt supplies has highlighted concerns over one of the most precarious elements in the lithium-ion battery supply chain.

There is sufficient cobalt worldwide to meet foreseeable demand for the mineral, according to Caspar Rawles, an analyst at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. The real question “is whether we can access it quickly enough,” he said.

Volkswagen last month sought to secure a €50 billion ($59 billion) contract to supply enough cobalt for 150 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion battery storage by 2025, which Rawles said could amount to roughly 30,000 tons of the metal a year. Continue Reading →

75,000 manufacturing jobs lost — that’s the price of Ontario’s electricity disaster – by Ross McKitrick and Elmira Aliakbari (Financial Post – October 19, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Global factors cannot explain Ontario’s performance. Clearly electricity prices are to blame

In the 1990s and into the 2000s, Ontario was a low-electricity-cost jurisdiction. This was a competitive advantage for the province, helping attract business and foster economic growth.

Of course, in recent years, due largely to the Green Energy Act and its inefficiencies, Ontario electricity prices have soared, hurting industrial competitiveness, especially in the manufacturing sector where electricity is a major cost.

The results have been devastating. Between 2005 and 2015, Ontario’s manufacturing output fell by 18 per cent and manufacturing employment fell by 28 per cent. More specifically, from 2008 to 2015, Ontario’s manufacturing job levels fell from 805,170 to 688,735. Continue Reading →

Secret of gold finally found: precious metals are forged in cataclysmic collision of neutron stars – by Sarah Knapton (The Telegraph – October 16, 2017)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

The secret of creating gold has fascinated alchemists for thousands of years, but now scientists have finally solved the mystery. Precious metals are forged in the cataclysmic collision of neutron stars and then flung out into the universe where they eventually aggregate with other stardust into larger bodies, like planets or comets.

Previously scientists had theorised that such cosmic smashes could create the vast amount of energy needed to create gold, platinum and silver, but for the first time, they have actually recorded it happening.

On August 17, astronomers in the US picked up a signal from two neutron stars crashing together 130 million years ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. Continue Reading →

Western Nunavut to pressure new government on Grays Bay – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – October 18, 2017)

http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/

CAMBRIDGE BAY—The Kitikmeot Inuit Association wants to make sure the Grays Bay Road and Port project remains a top government priority, because the Oct. 30 territorial election could see western Nunavut left out of the territory’s leadership circle.

That’s because two of the Grays Bay project’s biggest champions, Peter Taptuna and Keith Peterson, are not seeking re-election.

The upcoming election could result in “a cabinet that may have quite different priorities than the ones which we have enjoyed under [outgoing] Premier Peter Taptuna,” KIA President Stanley Anablak said Oct. 16 in his president’s report to the annual general meeting of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association in Cambridge Bay. Continue Reading →

Nunavut Inuit call for public hearing on iron mine expansion – by Beth Brown (Nunatsiaq News – October 13, 2017)

http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the Hamlet of Pond Inlet have called on the Nunavut Planning Commission to hold a single in-person public hearing in the North Baffin community before the commission considers a land use plan amendment that would allow a new railway and winter shipping route to service the Mary River mine.

The call comes by way of public submissions made to the NPC after Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. submitted a proposed amendment to the land use plan, Aug. 31, for the second phase of its iron ore project.

The amendment asks to construct a 110-km railway along the route of the existing tote road between the mine and the Milne Inlet port and to allow winter icebreaking in Milne Inlet and Eclipse Sound so freight can be shipped in December, January and February. Continue Reading →

BMO: Miners may revisit dormant mega-projects – by Matthew Keevil (Northern Miner – Matthew Keevil)

Northern Miner

VANCOUVER — The last five years have seen large-cap miners shelve — and often write-down — ambitious, greenfield development projects that carry significant development price tags and heightened risk.

The majors instead focused on stronger operating margins and lighter balance sheets, which were typically characterized by improved free cash flow generation and lower debt.

The last 18 months have marked a shift in sentiment for metal producers, however, as metal prices have strengthened and risk capital markets entered the nascent stages of recovery. Continue Reading →

Amazon rainforest deforestation: ‘Almost 10 per cent’ due to development around mines – by Nick Kilvert (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – October 18, 2017)

http://www.abc.net.au/

Almost 10 per cent of clearing in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest is being driven by unregulated development around mine sites, a new study has found. Researchers analysed satellite data from 2005 to 2015, contrasting areas within a 70-kilometre radius of mine sites, with areas not proximal to mines.

In the study published today in Nature Communications, they found that an extra 11,670 square-kilometres of Amazon rainforest had been cleared where mines were within that radius.

“This is an unregulated source of deforestation, we didn’t know it existed and we assumed it was much smaller than what our results have shown,” said lead author Dr Laura Sonter of the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute. Continue Reading →

Electric Car Makers Have an Africa Problem – by Leonid Bershidsky (Bloomberg News – October 17, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Automakers find it hard to lock in the price of cobalt for batteries.

Volkswagen’s recent failure to lock in the price of cobalt for five years points to a serious problem with the optimistic projections of an electric vehicle revolution. These projections are based on gradually declining battery prices, but the scarcity of certain minerals and their concentration in politically unstable countries may interfere with that dynamic.

The high price of batteries necessary for a solid EV range is the biggest reason EVs now need government subsidies to sell in noticeable quantities. In a recent paper, Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s MOBI Research Group projected, however, that the price will fall to $100 per kilowatt-hour from the current $432 sometime between 2020 and 2025.

If that happens, electric mobility without much “range anxiety” (the worry your battery will run out en route) will be within the reach of most people who can buy a gasoline-powered car today. Continue Reading →

U.S. SEC charges Rio Tinto, former top executives with fraud – by Jonathan Barrett and Brendan Pierson (Reuters U.S. – October 17, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

SYDNEY/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday charged mining company Rio Tinto Plc (RIO.L) (RIO.AX) and two of its former top executives with fraud, saying they inflated the value of coal assets in Mozambique and concealed critical information while tapping the market for billions of dollars.

The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also said on Tuesday it had reached a settlement with Rio Tinto under which the company would pay a fine of £27 million ($35.6 million) to settle claims that it breached accounting rules in connection with the Mozambique assets.

The Mozambican coal business, which relied on barging the product down the Zambezi River to port, was acquired for $3.7 billion in 2011 from Riversdale Mining and sold a few years later for $50 million. Continue Reading →

Electric cars driving BHP’s nickel dream – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – October 18, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

BHP has flagged it could double down on its foray into supplying nickel chemicals to the growing electric vehicle market as it looks to capitalise on the “new energy revolution”.

The head of BHP’s resurgent Nickel West nickel division, Eddy Haegel, told The Australian Nickel Conference in Perth yesterday that the company was looking to bring forward stage two of its proposed nickel sulphate processing plant at its Kwinana refinery after being inundated with inquiries from the world’s biggest battery manufacturers.

He also revealed the company was investigating the economic and technical feasibility of moving even further downstream with the potential development of a cathode precursor plant at Kwinana. “The new energy revolution is coming and it will be very good news for our local nickel industry,” Mr Haegel said. Continue Reading →

Workers to begin mining operations at the US nuclear waste dump in New Mexico following a radiation release that contaminated part of the repository (Daily Mail/Associated Press – October 17, 2017)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Workers are expected to begin mining operations at the US nuclear waste dump in New Mexico for the first time in three years following a radiation release that contaminated part of the underground repository, the Energy Department said Tuesday.

The work to carve out more disposal space from the ancient salt formation where the repository is located will begin later this fall and should be completed by 2020, the department said in a statement.

Workers will remove more than 112,000 tons of salt, making way for seven disposal rooms. Each will have space for more than 10,000 drums containing up to 55 gallons of waste. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto’s Scramble for Africa – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – October 18, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

It would be easy to suppose that the fraud claim against Rio Tinto Group filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is ancient history.

The miner’s Australian shares closed down 0.8 percent on Wednesday, only a slightly bigger loss than arch-rival BHP Billiton Ltd., which slipped 0.5 percent in the absence of a court case.

That would be a mistake, though. Rio Tinto’s scramble for Africa at the peak of the last mining boom may not have been anywhere near as destructive as the one sparked in the 19th century by another ambitious miner, Cecil Rhodes. Still, it carries a stark warning to an industry gearing up for a fresh round of spending as copper bursts through $7,000 a metric ton for the first time since 2014. Continue Reading →

New bid to get at the Kimberley’s rare fancy yellow diamond deposits – by Courtney Fowler (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – October 18, 2017)

http://www.abc.net.au/

The Kimberley is believed to be home to the world’s largest deposits of rare, yellow diamonds and some of the biggest mining companies have tried and failed to profit from them.

Now a Perth-based company is about to have another go and thinks there may be a ”bonanza of hidden diamonds” waiting to be extracted and sold on the world’s diamond markets. The company is convinced it has what it takes to get at the “fantastic stones” known as fancy yellows which are coveted by wealthy dealers and buyers.

POZ Minerals and the Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation signed a Mining Agreement this week for the Blina diamond project, about 100 kilometres east of Derby. Continue Reading →

After racist note, Marc Faber resigns from Sprott, Ivanhoe, NovaGold – by Nial McGee (Globe and Mail – October 18, 2017)

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/

Marc Faber, the markets prognosticator known as “Dr. Doom,” has resigned his board seats at Sprott Inc., Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and NovaGold Resources Inc. on Tuesday after his latest newsletter ignited international outrage, with the publication of a litany of inflammatory and racist comments.

“Thank God white people populated America and not the blacks,” wrote Mr. Faber, who is managing director with investment advisory and fund management firm Marc Faber Ltd., in his latest monthly newsletter.

“Otherwise the U.S. would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority.” Continue Reading →