Booming thermal coal price on China demand cheers miners – by Henning Gloystein and Jim Regan (Reuters U.K. – August 17, 2017)

https://uk.reuters.com/

SINGAPORE/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian thermal coal prices for spot cargoes above $100 a tonne, lifted by reports of strikes and strong Chinese demand, are providing a boost in earnings and share prices for miners like Glencore and Whitehaven Coal.

A crackdown on illegal mining and pollution in China has curbed domestic supplies, just as a heat wave and lower hydro power output have boosted demand for coal for power generation, forcing up prices. A similar squeeze in 2016 pushed prices to $114 a tonne and miners are again eyeing windfall profits, despite warning that the market is volatile.

“Coal demand remains strong, especially in Asia,” said Paul Flynn, managing director of Whitehaven Coal (WHC.AX). “Imports of thermal coal into China have been higher than anticipated, and when combined with weather related constraints on supply from Indonesia and some production issues in Australia, have pushed up the price of seaborne thermal coal.” Continue Reading →

BHP commits $2.5bn to extend life of Spence copper mine in Chile – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – August 17, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

Mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP) greenlighted Thursday a long-awaited $2.46 billion expansion of its Spence copper mine in Chile, which will add another 50 years to the operation’s productive life.

The decision comes at a time when copper prices have reached their highest levels since late 2014 and will boost BHP’s annual copper production by around 185,000 tonnes of copper over the first decade of the expanded operation, with first production expected in 2021.

Spence’s expansion contemplates the construction of a concentrator plant and a desalination plant at Mejillones port, located about 60 km north of Antofagasta city, which will be built and operated by a third party. BHP has committed to a 20-year lease nominally worth $1.43 billion. Continue Reading →

Zinc Breaks Through $3,000 Barrier as Metals Rally Gathers Pace (Bloomberg News – August 16, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Zinc surged above $3,000 a metric ton for the first time in almost a decade while aluminum approached a three-year high, adding momentum to a metals rally fueled by bets on tightening supplies and robust demand.

Zinc jumped as much as 5.8 percent to $3,132.50 a ton on the London Metal Exchange, the highest since 2007, before settling at $3,119 at 5:51 p.m. in London. Aluminum rose as much as 2.7 percent to the highest since September 2014, while nickel, copper and lead also advanced. The rally boosted mining shares, with Freeport-McMoRan Inc. among the biggest gainers.

An index of base metals has climbed to a more-than two-year high amid better-than-expected demand in China and a weakening dollar. The Asian nation is stepping up efforts to shut illegal aluminum and steel plants to cut emissions and excess capacity. Continue Reading →

Rare earths make electric comeback after bust – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – August 16, 2017)

https://www.ft.com/

After a spectacular bust in 2012 and several years of stagnant prices, rare earths mined mainly in China are making a comeback.

The expansion of electric vehicles and the renewable energy industry are partly behind this year’s renaissance for the 17 minerals, which are also used in smartphones and consumer electronics. Back in 2010 their soaring price caused such angst in Washington over China’s stranglehold on the market that the subject earned a subplot on the House of Cards TV series.

Additional mining capacity, as well as end users turning to alternatives, triggered a dramatic price collapse in 2012. Five years on and it is the role of rare earths in permanent magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines that has reignited interest. Continue Reading →

Sudbury gold explorer ready to take a chunk out of Quebec: Wallbridge Mining chases permit for bulk sample at high-grade gold project – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – August 17, 2017)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

A Sudbury junior miner is making preparations to extract a large bulk sample at an advanced gold project in northwestern Quebec. Wallbridge Mining announced that it has received a Certificate of Non-Liability from the Government of Quebec for the dewatering of the pit and ramp at its Fenelon Gold Project, and to take a 35,000-tonne bulk sample at the property, located 75 kilometres north of Mattagami.

The company said this allows them to proceed with an application for a certificate of authorization from the regional authority responsible for issuing permits. This review process is underway and typically takes 60 to 75 days.

After acquiring the old mine property last October, Wallbridge announced a positive prefeasibility study at Fenelon last February. Located in the gold-rich Abitibi region, it’s roughly on the same latitude – and just over the Quebec border – from the Detour Lake open-pit mine in northeastern Ontario. Continue Reading →

Editorial: Terrorist attacks plague Burkina Faso – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – August 16, 2017)

 

Global mining news

This week has been a particularly bloody one for sub-Saharan, West Africa mining nations, with major terrorist attacks on targets a day apart in Burkina Faso and Mali.

In Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou on Aug. 13, two attackers arriving on motorcycles — described as “very young” by one witness — shot dead 16 people, including at least eight foreigners, in a Turkish restaurant named Aziz Istanbul in what Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré condemned as “a despicable attack that has Ouagadougou in mourning.”

The restaurant was said to be packed with foreigners, who had gone to spend the evening watching soccer on TV. In a counter assault that lasted until morning, the two attackers were killed by state security forces, five of whom were among the additional 22 people wounded, according to Agence France Presse. Some 40 people were freed by the counter assault. Continue Reading →

Lonmin was once valued at billions, take a look at the troubled mine – by Dineo Faku (Independent Online – August 16, 2017)

https://www.iol.co.za/

CAPE TOWN – As South Africa commemorates the fifth anniversary of the Marikana shooting, Lonmin – which saw police gun down 34 mineworkers at a koppie outside the platinum producer’s Marikana Mine – today is a shadow of its former self and the platinum sector decimated. Around 80% of platinum mines in South Africa are under water and earnings negative at current spot prices.

In the past five years 70000 jobs have been lost in the industry as companies grappled to stay afloat, and another 20000 mine workers face the prospects of losing their jobs as AngloGold Ashanti, Bokoni Platinum Mine and Sibanye Gold flagged that they would mothball shafts.

Since 2012 Lonmin once valued in billions, has lost most of its market capitalisation and is now South Africa’s worst performing platinum stock on the JSE. On August 14, 2012, its market cap was £18.32bn (R317.38bn) and yesterday it was only at £307.85 million. Continue Reading →

Casanova of the Klondike – by Pierre Berton (Globe and Mail – December 24, 2004)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Of all the eccentric characters who made their pile in the Klondike, my favourite is Swiftwater Bill Gates, a moon-faced little American smooth-talker who was transformed from a penniless dishwasher in Circle City, Alaska, to a potential millionaire.

He might have become a millionaire, had he managed to hold on to his wealth, the bulk of which came from a share he held in Claim No. 13 on Eldorado Creek. Considered unlucky at first because of its number, it turned out to be one of the richest pieces of ground in the gold fields.

A legendary gambler and skirt-chaser, he dropped $500 in less than five minutes at faro and promptly stood drinks for the crowd at a cost of $112. He also lost $5,000 on one bet during a stud poker game he was just watching. When short of cash, he would borrow it at 10 per cent a month in interest so he could shoot pool at $100 a frame. Continue Reading →

First Nations-owned company receives ‘up to $60M’ to connect Pikangikum to Ontario power grid (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 17, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/

Canada’s Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs says the federal government has pledged “up to $60 million,” for a long-awaited power project in Ontario’s far north.

Carolyn Bennett announced in Thunder Bay on Thursday that Wataynikaneyap Power — a transmission company owned by 22 First Nations in partnership with Fortis, a Canadian utility — will receive the money to connect Pikangikum to the province’s electricity grid.

The announcement, which sets the stage for work to be done to ensure a reliable flow of electricity to the community, is “thrilling,” Chief Dean Owen said. “The community will just be jubilant about it now, and now we can move forward,” he said. Construction on a 117 kilometre-long power line from Red Lake to Pikangikum is scheduled to begin in October, 2017, according to officials with Watay Power, with an estimated completion date of November, 2018. Continue Reading →

No cause found between McIntyre Powder exposure and neurological disease in miners, says WSIB – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – August 17, 2017)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Organization promises further study to explore potential links in Northern miners

A WSIB-commissioned review of scientific research into the connection between aluminum powder exposure in the workplace and adverse health effects in humans has failed to find a link between exposure and illness.

On Aug. 17, the WSIB issued a release with the findings of the review — titled Systematic Review of Occupational Aluminum Exposure and Adverse Health Conditions — which Intrinsik Corp. launched earlier this year. “Overall, the systematic review and the statistical analysis conducted showed that the question of health risks from workplace aluminum exposure is complicated,” reads the study’s summary.

“The findings across the literature were inconsistent. Epidemiological studies have failed to establish consistent associations or clear exposure response relationships between workplace aluminum exposure and nervous system-related diseases, cognitive outcomes, lung function outcomes, and other negative outcomes.” Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Lead gets unforeseen boost from North Korean sanctions – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – August 17, 2017)

http://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON, Aug 17 (Reuters) – Lead has been an unlikely and unforeseen beneficiary of the North Korea missile crisis. A new round of U.N. sanctions includes North Korean exports of lead concentrate. China, which signed up to the U.S.-drafted resolution, will lose an increasingly significant flow of raw materials to its lead smelters.

The news has reinvigorated a market that had lost its bull narrative thread. London Metal Exchange (LME) lead for three-months delivery hit a nine-month high of $2,537 per tonne on Thursday morning.

Not as exciting as zinc, which has just surged to its highest level in over a decade. But being overshadowed by its more glamorous sister metal is nothing new for lead. Characterised by a lack of statistical clarity and only sporadic news flow, lead tends to get regularly punished on the London market in the form of the popular relative value trade against zinc. Continue Reading →

Cameco wins procedural victory in offshore ‘transfer pricing’ tax battle – by Drew Hasselback (Financial Post – August 15, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Cameco Corp. has defeated the Canadian government’s attempt to force about 25 of the company’s senior executives to submit to questioning on how the company uses offshore entities to reduce its tax bill.

The Minister of National Revenue sought a federal court order that would have compelled a long list of the company executives, including current chief executive Tim Gitzel and former CEO Gerry Grandey, to be interviewed by Canada Revenue Agency staff.

The Minister’s request relates to audits of Cameco’s 2010, 2011 and 2012 tax returns. In particular, the CRA says it wants more information on how Cameco uses foreign subsidiaries to reduce its tax bills. The process is called “transfer pricing,” and Canada has rules on when and how it can be done. Continue Reading →

USW on expected Vale layoffs: ‘They’re looking for efficiencies. Manpower is one.’ (CBC News Sudbury – August 16, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Union representative Myles Sullivan hoping members stay focused at work

Click here for interview: http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1025770563541

Myles Sullivan, the area coordinator for the USW in northeastern Ontario, is cautioning members of the union to stay focused on safety while at work. Not an easy task, when many of Vale’s workers have questions after the mining giant released a company-only video that suggested impending layoffs for staff.

“It’s a very concerning video, outlining the financial situation of the company,” Sullivan said. “There’s a good future [in Sudbury,] a lot of reserves, but the mines need to produce profits.”

Sullivan said the company hasn’t made any final decisions on layoffs, but with new CEO Fabio Schvartsman at the helm of the company since May, all cards are on the table. “They didn’t say a number, but a global company like Vale they’ll invest where they have the best returns,” Sullivan said. “They’re looking at efficiencies. Of course manpower is one.” Continue Reading →

As Good as It Gets: Iron Ore Risks a Reversal as China Cools – by Jasmine Ng (Bloomberg News – August 15, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Iron ore in the $70s a ton may be as good as it gets for some time. After rallying hard in June and July, the commodity may see its gains unravel over the second half as steel production in China eases back from a record pace just as global miners pump up volumes.

The robust demand that’s supported gains may fade as steelmakers start to dial back output, according to Capital Economics Ltd., which came out first among forecasters in the second quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Others expecting a drop include Citigroup Inc., Sucden Financial Ltd., Axiom Capital Management Inc. and hedge fund Academia Capital.

“There was some fundamental support for iron ore’s rally, namely strong growth in China’s steel output,” Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics, said by email. “Stocks at China’s ports are now stubbornly high and if, as seems likely, steel production and demand eases back later in the year, then we see iron ore prices coming under renewed pressure.” Continue Reading →

Copper price surges to 32-month high as hedge funds place $20 billion bet – by Frik Els (Mining.com – August 16, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

Copper futures trading on the Comex market in New York raced ahead on Wednesday as global supply disruptions came back into view and large-scale speculators place huge bets on rising prices.

In massive volumes of more than 3 billion pounds by lunchtime copper for delivery in September jumped to a high of 2.9795 a pound ($6,569 per tonne), up more than 3% from Tuesday’s close to the highest since end-November 2014.

Copper’s 2017 year to date gains in percentage terms now top 18% and the red metal has recovered 54% in value after falling to six-year lows below $2.00 a pound in January last year. Continue Reading →