China is winning electric cars ‘arms race’: The global scramble for lithium – by Daniel Shane (NBC Montana – November 20, 2017)

http://www.nbcmontana.com/

HONG KONG (CNNMoney) – China is outmaneuvering the U.S. and other countries in the global scramble for a vital element for electric cars.

As demand for the vehicles surges, Chinese companies have been doing deals around the world to secure supplies of lithium, a silvery-white metal mined from rocks in Australia and brine pools in South America.

China is the top market for electric and hybrid cars, accounting for roughly half of global sales, and the government is pushing the development of the industry within its borders. That calls for a lot of lithium, a key component of the vehicles’ batteries. Continue Reading →

BHP, Vale inch toward Samarco dam spill settlement – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – November 21, 2017)

http://www.afr.com/

BHP Billiton and Brazilian miner Vale have inched closer to a settlement over the multibillion-dollar lawsuits that continue to hang over their Samarco joint venture following 2015’s deadly dam disaster.

While a full settlement appears unlikely to be reached before the end of 2017, the miners have at least agreed with Brazilian prosecutors over the pathway toward a more substantial agreement.

It is now 20 months since federal prosecutors in Brazil lobbed a 155 billion real ($63 billion) claim against the Samarco partners over the damage caused by the collapse of a tailings dam at the iron ore business in November 2015. Continue Reading →

Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk road finally connects Canada from sea to sea to sea – by Jim Coyle (Toronto Star – November 18, 2017)

https://www.thestar.com/

When Eddie Gruben got into the transportation business in the 1950s in the Northwest Territories, his means of locomotion for hauling supplies between Arctic communities was dogsled.

The corporate logo for E. Gruben’s Transport Ltd. is still a man with a pack on his back and a dog team. But the company — now grown into a successful contracting and project management firm with offices in Inuvik and Edmonton and headquarters in Tuktoyaktuk — has changed dramatically.

This week, so did the region, with the official opening on Wednesday of the Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk Highway, a road Eddie’s grandson helped build. “It’s a lot of years coming,” said Merven Gruben, a former mayor of the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk and current vice-president of the firm his late grandfather founded. “It’s something that we’ve been dreaming about for so many years.” Continue Reading →

[Norilsk] Metals Billionaire to Win Whether Electric Cars Boom or Bust – by Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – November 21, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

There are two major reasons mining billionaire Vladimir Potanin is within a hair’s breadth of regaining his ranking as Russia’s richest tycoon this year.

One is higher prices for nickel used in batteries as metals traders bet electric vehicles are the future of transportation. The other is a jump in palladium on wagers that gasoline cars will be here for a long time yet.

They’ve boosted the value of Potanin’s 30 percent in MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC, the top miner of both metals, lifting his net worth 12 percent this year to $19 billion. They also show how Nornickel, as it’s known, will gain from auto-industry changes even if optimism on electric cars is overdone. Continue Reading →

Policy confusion hobbles Indonesian mining (Nikkei Asian Review – November 21, 2017)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

The long-running dispute between the Indonesian government and U.S. minerals company Freeport-McMoRan over Grasberg, the world’s largest gold mine and second-largest copper mine, shows little sign of ending any time soon — despite optimistic government claims to the contrary.

Indeed, Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s confused and contradictory mining policies are damaging the country’s hopes of extracting maximum benefit from its natural resources.

If the government will not change course, and in particular reimpose a ban on the export of raw minerals, the courts or the voters must force his hand. Indonesia’s economic development hangs on getting things right in an industry crucial to the country’s future. Continue Reading →

Glencore Sees Nickel in Best Shape in Decade Before EVs Take Off – by Mark Burton (Bloomberg News – November 21, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Glencore Plc is seeing the best market conditions for nickel in at least a decade, and electric cars are barely playing a part yet.

The miner and trading giant expects nickel’s 2017 deficit at 170,000 metric tons — one of the biggest in years and more than most market estimates — driven by a 9 percent demand increase from the steel industry, the top user. The market is tightening amid falling stockpiles and rising premiums for physical deliveries, said Owen Gibbs, a senior nickel trader at Glencore.

Prices recently hit a two-year high amid forecasts from banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. that an electric-vehicle boom will boost demand for battery metals in the next decade.
Glencore also expects a strong lift in nickel consumption from electric cars, but not materially until 2020. Once that happens, miners will struggle to keep up with faster usage, Gibbs said. Continue Reading →

Afghanistan’s Beautiful Link to Da Vinci’s $450 Million ‘Salvator Mundi’ – by Suleiman Wali (Huffington Post – November 20, 2017)

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Itis difficult to imagine that the Renaissance-era painting by Leonardo da Vinci that was recently auctioned in New York for $450 million has any kind of relationship with Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world.

On the same day that the jaw-dropping Christie’s sale of Salvator Mundi (Italian for Savior of the World) shattered world records — and went for more than seven million times as much as it sold for in 1958 ($60!) — it was reported, coincidentally, that Afghanistan’s opium production also hit a new record high, rising 87 percent from last year.

However, it is not in the statistics, but in the aesthetics where an incredibly intimate connection can be made. The predominant color in the mesmerizing Salvator Mundi — the celestial, vivid blue that clothes Jesus Christ himself — hails from the rich and forbidding caves of the Sar-e-Sang valley in Afghanistan’s mountainous Badakhshan province. The source of this blue is the country’s lapis lazuli, a semiprecious gemstone that was once more expensive per ounce than gold. Continue Reading →

Platinum market deficit to expand sharply in 2018: WPIC – by Peter Hobson (Reuters U.S. – November 21, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – The global platinum market deficit will rise sharply next year thanks to resurgent demand from the jewellery and industrial sectors and declining production, an industry report said on Tuesday.

The shortfall will jump to 275,000 ounces from an expected 15,000 ounces this year, the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) said in its latest Platinum Quarterly report.

That would put the industry in deficit for a sixth consecutive year and cut above-ground stocks to 1.605 million ounces by the end of next year, said the WPIC, which is funded by platinum mining companies. Continue Reading →

Glencore executives resign from Katanga board amid regulatory probe – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – November 21, 2017)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Three Glencore PLC executives have resigned from the board of its Toronto-listed subsidiary Katanga Mining Ltd. after an internal review found “material weaknesses” in its financial reporting controls, amid a regulatory probe by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

On Monday, Switzerland-based Katanga announced it is restating a number of financial documents, including its consolidated financial statements for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years, and its management discussion and analysis (MD&A) for the quarters ending March 31, 2017 and 2016. The company also said its chief financial officer, Jacques Lubbe, was stepping down.

Katanga owns copper and cobalt operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is majority owned by Glencore, a giant Anglo-Swiss metals and mining conglomerate. Continue Reading →

How a young miner living in a small town spends his $92,000 salary – by Anna Sharatt (Globe and Mail – November 20, 2017)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

In Kirkland Lake, Ont., Patrick Adams has found happiness. Seven years ago, after graduating from Mohawk College in Hamilton in TV broadcasting, a friend got a job in one of the town’s local mines. Mr. Adams joined him on his trip north – and never left. He started in a job with Canadian Tire and eventually found entry-level mining jobs.

Now he works underground in a mine and pulls in $92,000 a year. “My work schedule is fantastic,” says Adams, who works less than half the year, while banking a fair bit of overtime.

In the past few years, Mr. Adams has married, had two kids, and bought two properties. His 2,000-square-foot home is a cushy bungalow, flanked by his ATV, boat, snowmobile and two vehicles. “It’s very nice that I have this lifestyle up here,” says Mr. Adams. “I have trails right outside my front door. I take it all in up here.” Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Nickel loses its electric car fizz, realises it’s still a steel play – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – November 20, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 20 (Reuters) – The nickel market is learning that there is a difference in believing you are the next big thing in battery metals and the reality that you are actually still beholden to the Chinese steel sector.

Nickel was one of the darlings at last month’s annual London Metal Exchange Week, with everybody from producers, to traders and consumers talking up its prospects on the back of the expected surge in electric vehicles.

The euphoria helped drive benchmark LME nickel to a more than two-year closing high of $12,920 a tonne on Nov. 6, but since then the price has stumbled. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Nominations for the 2018 Peter Munk and Eira Thomas Awards are Now Open to the Public

https://www.youngminingprofessionals.com/

Toronto, Ontario–(Newsfile Corp. – November 21, 2017) – Young Mining Professionals (“YMP”) is pleased to announce that we will be hosting, in partnership with The Northern Miner, the second annual Young Mining Professional of the Year Awards (“YMP Awards”) on Saturday March 3, 2018 at Toronto’s Shangri-La Hotel. The YMP Awards are named after two iconic entrepreneurs in the mining industry, Peter Munk and Eira Thomas.

YMP is asking the public for its assistance in identifying the best leaders in the mining and metals industry. The YMP Awards recognize two young mining entrepreneurs, a male and a female, who over the past year, and during the course of their careers, have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and innovative thinking to provide value for their companies and shareholders, as well as for themselves. The criteria for nomination are as follows:

  • Under the age of 40 as of December 31, 2017;
  • Currently engaged in the mining and metals industry; and
  • Domiciled in Canada, the United States or the United Kingdom.

Continue Reading →

Route for Keystone XL approved, clearing way for Alberta oil – by Shawn McCarthy and Jeff Lewis (Globe and Mail – November 21, 2017)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Nebraska has approved an alternative route for TransCanada Corp.’s $8-billion (U.S.) Keystone XL pipeline, a ruling that removes a key hurdle in the decade long-quest to link Alberta’s oil sands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast – but will create more uncertainty for the controversial project.

The Monday ruling is far from an unqualified victory and would add costs and further delays to the project. Still, the decision was immediately welcomed by the Alberta-based oil industry and governments in Edmonton and Ottawa.

The 3-2 decision is likely to face appeals by landowners and environmentalists, who contend the ruling approves a route with little actual study and invalidates the presidential permit issued by U.S. President Donald Trump last March that was based on the company’s preferred route. Continue Reading →

Anglo to halt Minas Rio in Brazil if expansion licence delayed further – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – November 20, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

Anglo American (LON:AAL) will have to shut its massive Minas Rio in Brazil next year if authorities for the state of Minas Gerais, where the iron ore operation is located, further delay a licence needed to kick off a final and key expansion.

The miner, which has already been granted permission for a second phase at Minas Rio, has been trying for months to secure the environmental license for the mine’s third and last expansion, but has faced several roadblocks along the way.

Chief executive of Anglo American Brazil, Ruben Fernandes, told local paper Hojeemdia (in Portuguese) the permit was first expected in July this year, but ongoing requests from the state’s public prosecutor and the rescheduling of necessary public hearings have pushed the deadline to December. Continue Reading →

United Steelworkers seeks Ottawa’s help for striking Mexican miners at Canadian-operated mine – by Levon Sevunts (Radio Canada International – November 20, 2017)

http://www.rcinet.ca/en/

One of the largest Canadian trade unions is calling on the federal government to intervene with Mexican authorities and a Canadian mining company after two people were killed near a Canadian-operated gold mine in the country’s southern Guerrero state on Saturday.

The United Steelworkers (USW) says the murder of two striking workers underscores the widespread repression of basic labour rights in Mexico even as these fundamental rights are a key part of the proposed changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement being renegotiated now.

“On Saturday, November 18 – four days after the Canadian government was warned of the potential for such violence – an armed group murdered two striking workers from the Canadian-owned Media Luna gold mine in the state of Guerrero,” Ken Neumann, the USW’s national director for Canada, said in a statement. Continue Reading →