The truth about South Africa’s illegal mining industry – by Graeme Hosken, Shenaaz Jamal, Jan Bornman and Kyle Cowan (Rand Daily Mail – March 27, 2017)

https://www.businesslive.co.za/

It’s a multibillion-dollar transnational business empire with its own financial targets, line managers, security personnel and CEOs

It’s a multibillion-dollar transnational business empire with its own financial targets, line managers, security personnel and CEOs. The playing field is spread over 6,000 disused gold, diamond, chrome and platinum mines across South Africa.

With a workforce of up to 30,000 people – equivalent to the population of a small mining town such as Carletonville on the West Rand – the operations of illegal mining syndicates run day and night.

Many of the illegal miners are immigrants, often working in conditions reminiscent of slavery. Illegal mining has been identified as a national threat and a multi-agency team has been formed toco-ordinate government efforts to combat it, says the Chamber of Mines. Continue Reading →

New mine in Iran to add 800,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate every year – by Andrew Topf (Mining.com – March 26, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

Zinc has rallied of late, being the best performing commodity on the London Metal Exchange for the week March 13-17. Up 12% year to date, the corrosion-resistant metal is being buoyed by record refined output in China and tight supply after a number of mine closures.

News out of Iran this week, however, could stem price gains, especially if more zinc mines come on stream around the same time as plans to develop the massive Mehdiabad zinc mine, come to fruition.

Reuters reported that Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organisation (IMIDRO) signed a $1-billion deal with private investors over the weekend to build the mine, which is expected to become operational in four years and produce an annual 800,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate. Continue Reading →

The rush for cobalt in Cobalt, Ont: Mining companies snap up land in the north – by Marina von Stackelberg (CBC News Sudbury – March 25, 2017)

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

There’s an old school gold rush underway in northern Ontario, but the demand is for a special metal that is used in everything from smart phones to electric cars.

More than a dozen mining companies are staking out claims in Cobalt, Ont. as price of the mineral with the same name rises, according to the Northern Prospectors Association.

“The whole situation is a cobalt-style rush, just like an old fashioned staking rush,” said Gino Chitaroni, president of the Northern Prospectors Association and a geologist from the area. The town of Cobalt is located along the Quebec border, near Temiskaming Shores in northern Ontario, and is best known for the massive amounts of silver that were extracted a century ago. Continue Reading →

Dominion Diamond to explore strategic options, including sale (Reuters U.S. – March 27, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

Canadian diamond miner Dominion Diamond Corp (DDC.TO) (DDC.N), which is being pursued by Washington Cos and Stornoway Diamond Corp (SWY.TO), said it would explore strategic alternatives, including a sale.

U.S.-listed shares of Dominion, which has a market cap of C$1.41 billion ($1.06 billion), were up 7.3 percent at $13.70 in premarket trading on Monday. Dominion’s largest shareholder, M&G Investments, last week asked the company to run a formal sales process and open its books to interested parties.

Washington Cos, a group of privately held North American mining, industrial and transportation businesses founded by billionaire Dennis Washington, revealed its $1.1 billion unsolicited bid in March. Continue Reading →

Coal miner stereotypes shattered in humanizing ‘Black Rock Blues’ documentary – by Christina Gregg (AOL.com – March 23, 2017)

https://www.aol.com/

In President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech this past January, the newly-elected commander in chief shared a message aimed at America’s defeated and downtrodden, saying, “From mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again.”

Trump made this promise to many Americans while on the 2016 campaign trail, but he perhaps courted none with the vow of overdue consideration more so than coal miners working in one of the country’s most fragile industries.

A new Rated Red production, “Black Rock Blues,” features one such coal miner and father of three, who — despite being laid off twice in one year — says things have been “more hopeful” since Trump won the presidency. Continue Reading →

Indonesia Wants Control of Freeport’s Grasberg Within Two Years – by Yoga Rusmana and Eko Listiyorini (Bloomberg News – March 23, 2017)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg) — The dispute engulfing the world’s second-biggest copper mine deepened as Indonesia’s government said it planned to take a majority stake in the local unit of owner Freeport-McMoRan Inc. within two years while workers at the pit threatened to go on strike.

The state enterprises ministry has cleared a government-run company to buy a majority stake in PT Freeport Indonesia, the local unit that runs the massive Grasberg mine in Papua province, according to Fajar Harry Sampurno, the deputy minister for mining, media and strategic industries. Freeport-McMoran would have to divest its share to a state-owned entity under a new contract that the Phoenix-based miner is yet to sign.

“We’re ready,” Sampurno said at a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday. A local aluminum producer, PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium, will be turned into a holding company to purchase the stake, he said. “Once the holding company is formed, they will immediately work on it.” Continue Reading →

[Australia] ‘Coal miners stick together and we bleed black’ (Queensland Times – March 23, 2017)

https://www.qt.com.au/

WE BLEED black. That is what Bundamba MP and Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Select Committee chair Jo-Ann Miller said about coalminers and their families in a forthright speech to parliament today.

Ms Miller moved that the the House take note of report No. 1 of the Committee, titled Inquiry into the re-identification of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis in Queensland-interim report. Ms Miller started off by telling the parliament that coalminers are a tough breed.

“As a coalminer’s daughter and granddaughter, I know this well,” she said. “We stick together and, as we say, we do not bleed red; we bleed black. “Unfortunately, that is so true of black lung disease. Continue Reading →

Discover The World’s Most Beautiful Coal Mine – by Sheobi Anne Ramos (Travelers Today – March 23, 2017)

http://www.travelerstoday.com/

In Germany, there lies a treasure unlike any other: a coal mine. You might scoff at the idea, but the Zollverein Coal Mine in Germany is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as the most beautiful coal mine in the world.

Coal mining in this complex started in 1851 and was a vital part of Germany’s history. The famed “black gold” was dug here to fuel Germany’s industrial revolution, and during the Second World War, over 3.6 million tons of coal were produced.

Back then, the Zollverein Coal Mine was one of the most important industrial complexes in Europe, and for the years that followed, several more buildings and refurbishments were added to further increase the productivity of the place. For 135 years, the complex churned and the workers toiled in “Shaft XII” of the complex until it was decommissioned in 1986. Continue Reading →

Many Leagues Under the Sea: Proponents see glistening future in seabed mining, but environmentalists fret – by Megan Van Wyngaardt (MiningWeekly.com – March 24, 2017)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

With the current known mineral deposits on land increasingly being depleted globally, necessitating greater exploration, interest in deep-sea minerals is growing as mining companies look for future sources to exploit.

“The ocean is where future resources exist,” India Council of Scientific and Industrial Research National Institute of Oceanography chief scientist Dr Rahul Sharma said at South Africa’s Council for Geoscience Annual Conference 2017, earlier this month.

Sharma highlighted that minerals from the deep seafloor, such as polymetallic nodules, ferromanganese crusts and hydrothermal sulphides, are potential sources of millions of tonnes of metals such as copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese and iron. Continue Reading →

Peru’s minerals railway to take 2-3 weeks to resume: government – by Mitra Taj (Reuters U.S. – March 22, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

LIMA – A railway used by copper, zinc and silver mines to transport concentrates from Peru’s central Andes to port is likely be out of action for at least two to three weeks following deadly floods and mudslides, a minister said on Wednesday.

Repairs should take about two weeks, but work in the field was unlikely to start until next week once dangerous river levels had eased, transportation minister Martin Vizcarra told Reuters.

The railway has been closed since Friday, when torrential downpours triggered flooding and mudslides that killed at least 75 people and ruptured the rail line in several places. “The damage wasn’t mild, it was seriously damaged,” Vizcarra said by phone. “It’ll take at least two to three weeks.” Continue Reading →

Miners Regain Mojo to Spark $18 Billion in Exploration Hunt – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – March 24, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

A rebound in exploration by global miners could see spending hit $18 billion by 2025 with China the front runner in the search for a new generation of giant discoveries.

Exploration budgets are rising after they plunged to an 11-year low of about $10 billion last year as mining companies slashed costs in the wake of a collapse in prices, according to Richard Schodde, managing director of Melbourne-based MinEx Consulting Pty, an industry adviser.

“We are coming out of the bottom of the cycle. I actually see the opportunity for the exploration sector to regain its mojo and quickly deliver a pipeline of good discoveries,” Schodde said in an e-mailed response to questions. “It’s catch-up time for the industry.” Continue Reading →

The iron ore price has begun its slow descent back to ‘normal’ – by Tess Ingram and Lisa Murray (Australian Financial Review – March 23, 2017)

http://www.afr.com/

The iron ore price will fall but it won’t drop off a cliff. That’s the view of analysts who are predicting a drawn-out decline for the price of Australia’s most important commodity, rather than a “sharp crunch down”.

The spot price of iron ore fell 3 per cent in China on Wednesday to $US84.99 per tonne, taking the fall over the past two days to 7.7 per cent. Moves by Chinese regulators to cut property speculation are weighing on the prices of Chinese construction steel and iron ore prices.

While the price has held up surprisingly well in 2017, beating the expectations of most analysts, it has slid consistently since March 16 and is about $US10 per tonne lower than the peak of $US94.86 per tonne on February 21. Continue Reading →

[South Africa] Reviving King of Gold Means Getting Mine Workers Off Their Knees – by Kevin Crowley (Bloomberg News – March 24, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

During his early years as a miner in South Africa, Joas Mahanuque spent six hours a day on his knees drilling for Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. The dust-filled tunnels half a mile underground were too low for him to stand, and temperatures reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).

Today, he has essentially the same job 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) beneath the surface for Gold Fields Ltd. But unlike most of the precious-metals miners in the country, Mahanuque sits comfortably atop a new 7-ton vehicle, using a joystick to control an 8-foot drill as ventilated air blows behind him.

“It’s not hard,” the 37-year-old said while taking a break under the bright tunnel lights of South Deep, the country’s only fully mechanized underground gold mine. “You just sit and operate and make money.” Continue Reading →

Escondida workers to end strike as they opt for old contract – by Felipe Iturrieta (Reuters U.S. – March 23, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE – The strike at Chile’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, is ending after workers decided to invoke a rarely used legal provision that allows them to extend their old contract, the union said on Thursday.

Hours earlier, talks between the two sides failed, and Escondida, which is operated by BHP Billiton, said it would attempt to restart production. The workers said they would present their decision to the government on Friday and return to work on Saturday.

A swift restart of Escondida, which produced about 5 percent of the world’s copper last year, may bring some relief to the Chilean economy after a strike that has lasted 43 days. But there was little immediate effect on copper prices, with industry experts saying the two sides will still have to tackle major issues in 18 months, when talks must resume. Continue Reading →

Queensland suppliers awarded $900M of Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite project contracts – by Leo Oliver (International Business Times – March 23, 2017)

http://www.ibtimes.com.au/

Mining giant Rio Tinto has awarded contracts worth $1.38 billion for the development of the Amrun bauxite mine project. Of these, Queensland suppliers have received nearly two-thirds, amounting to $900 million, of the contracts. More than 500 companies have been associated with the project in the state.

The project, in Cape York Peninsula, includes the development of a mine, processing plant and bauxite stockpiles, warehouses, a power station and new barge, ferry and ship loading facilities. It is expected to substitute the East Weipa bauxite mine.

The volume of bauxite to be exported from Cape York following the development of the mine is forecast to surge by nearly 10 million tonnes a year. Production and shipping is expected to kick-off in the first half of 2019. Continue Reading →