Iron Ore From Paradise Wins No Takers as China Upends Market – by Swansy Afonso (Bloomberg News – December 8, 2017)

A China-led flight to quality in the global iron ore market is punishing producers of the lower-grade material, with miners in India facing an increasing battle to find buyers for their cargoes as demand dwindles.

In Goa, exporters are struggling to sell even a quarter of what they shipped last year, according to Glenn Kalavampara, secretary at the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters’ Association. “There’s absolutely no market,” he said by phone from Panaji, capital of the western state that’s better known for its sparkling beach resorts. “The preference for higher-grade ore is a major concern.” he said.

While Indian exports account for just a fraction of the global seaborne market of about 1.4 billion tons that’s dominated by Vale SA, Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd., the plight of the low-grade shippers highlights the new dynamic. Continue Reading →

Platinum’s discount to palladium hits 16-year-high – by Renita D. Young (Reuters U.S. – December 7, 2017)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Platinum’s discount to fellow precious metal palladium reached its highest level since 2001 on Thursday, as the latter soared on heightened vehicle demand and an ongoing supply deficit.

Palladium hit a high of $1,022.70 on Thursday, just off a 16-year high from last week, while platinum hit a low of $887.50 per ounce, putting it on track for its biggest weekly loss in nine months.

The platinum discount widened to around $120 on Thursday, the steepest since April 2001, according to Reuters data going back to 1985. “Palladium is powering on with the demand for more vehicles,” said George Gero, managing director of RBC Wealth Management in New York. Continue Reading →

Nunavut’s Dolphin and Union caribou herd deemed endangered – John Thompson (Nunatsiaq News – December 7, 2017)

A national committee of wildlife scientists now considers Nunavut’s Dolphin and Union caribou herd to be an endangered species. These stocky, large-hoofed animals spend their summers on Victoria Island and overwinter on the North American mainland. Their twice-a-year migrations across the sea ice of the Coronation Gulf have become increasingly perilous in recent years, as climate change causes the ice to freeze up later in the fall and to thaw earlier in the spring.

The growing use of icebreaking in the area is also being flagged as a major concern by scientists. The herd migrates across one of the routes of the Northwest Passage, which is seeing a growing number of transits.

And the herd roams not far from the proposed Grays Bay port and road that’s being aggressively pushed by the Government of Nunavut as a means of jump-starting mining projects in the region. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe flatters to deceive as reform doesn’t extend to mining – by Memory Mataranyika (MiningMx – December 7, 2017)

ZIMBABWE’S new cabinet has retained the controversial 51% indigenisation thresholds for foreign diamond and platinum miners, but it has deferred a 15% tax on unprocessed and semi-processed platinum exports as the country implements policy reforms to attract foreign investment.

The reforms follow the exit of Robert Mugabe as President of Zimbabwe last month and the subsequent swearing in of a new leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa. The new Zimbabwean leader has committed himself to restoring respect for property rights and investment protection.

Zimbabwean Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, laid out some of the new policy measures in his 2018 budget statement on Thursday. He said the contentious 51% indigenisation ownership framework for foreign firms had been scrapped for all the other sectors of the economy, except parts of the mining sector. Continue Reading →

Mining foe: No. No matter what; Twin Metals project, MINER Act injected into Joint Powers meeting – by Tom Coombe (The Ely Echo – December 8, 2017)

An item that wasn’t even on the agenda stirred some of the most passionate discussion at Monday’s sit-down with area legislators and other key officials.

One of the area’s leading opponents of copper-nickel mining, Ely business owner Steve Piragis, declared that he’d continue to oppose the Twin Metals Minnesota project even if federal regulators conclude it would “meet or exceed” current environmental standards.

That came during a mini-debate with Aurora Mayor-Elect Dave Lislegard and was spawned by discussion of the MINER Act, legislation approved just days earlier by the U.S. House of Representatives. As the bill advanced by U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) awaits action in the Senate, Elyite Becky Rom railed against it in an appeal to aides of both U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D), and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Continue Reading →

HOW ETHICAL IS YOUR JEWELLERY? – by Ali Gray (Elle U.K. – December 8, 2017)

If you’re not asking questions about your gemstones, now’s the time to start

Thanks partly to Paris Hilton and the Ab Fab ladies, excessive opulence was everywhere during the ’90s and early ’00s. The “bling” mentality was the cultural norm – and, when it came to jewellery, many consumers were more concerned with the status it brought them than where the stones were sourced.

But over the past decade, the tides have been turning. Our stronghold on materialism has relaxed, making way for a generation that’s favouring more considered purchases.

When it comes to jewellery, that added consideration has led to an increased demand for ethical gemstones. If you saw the 2006 film Blood Diamond and began to question your own jewellery collection, you’re not alone. The impact from the Leonardo DiCaprio drama seemed to add to a conversation that was already gaining traction. More and more women were receiving the message: our jewellery decisions matter. Continue Reading →

China exports growth hits eight-month high, imports defy pollution curbs (Reuters U.s. – December 7, 2017)

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s exports and imports unexpectedly accelerated last month in an encouraging sign for the world’s second-biggest economy, though analysts expect growth to continue cooling amid a government crackdown on financial risks and polluting factories.

As global demand has surprised with its strength, consumers have lapped up Chinese goods at a rapid rate this year, giving the economy a boost and providing policy makers room to tighten rules to curb high-risk lending.

Exports in November rose 12.3 percent year-on-year, the fastest pace in eight months, led by strong sales of electronics and high-tech goods, while commodity purchases helped lift imports.The number beat analysts’ forecast of a 5.0 percent increase and compared with 6.9 percent growth in October. Continue Reading →

New frontiers – by Hogsback Column (Australian Mining Monthly – December 8, 2017)

AUSTRALIA was once famously called “the lucky country.” Hogsback reckons in 2017 that should be changed to “the myopic country”. Yes, we may have beaten the English cricket team in the second Test of the Ashes. Yes, we have claimed the Rugby League World Cup Championship on home soil thanks to another sterling effort by captain Cameron Smith and half back Cooper Cronk. And yes our economy is humming along at a fair clip as we head into another Christmas.

But what about the big picture of our future as a globally competitive exporter of minerals to the fast developing nations to our north? We don’t see entire news bulletins dedicated to this very important feature of our economy.

The Greens movement and other sundry protestors are getting a great lot of free publicity by telling everyone that Adani’s proposed $16.5 billion Carmichael coal and infrastructure project is going to kill the Great Barrier Reef. Continue Reading →

This One Weird Thing Making Canada a Global Financial Hub for the Mining Industry ( – December 7, 2017)

The second-largest country in the world by landmass, Canada, has a vast wilderness and is blessed with an abundance of natural and mineral resources. Even so, it seems like a stretch to say that it possesses three-quarters of the world’s minerals. Why then are 75 percent of mining companies based in Canada?

The answer is metal streaming, a unique financial arrangement that makes Canada a prime spot for mining companies to make public offerings, even if they do not intend to operate mines in Canada. In attracting mining businesses, Canada draws off reserves, prices, financing, exploration, and capital investment, a combination which other countries, including the U.S., are not able to match.

Just looking at the numbers, Canada’s involvement in the mining industry is staggering. The Toronto Stock Exchange and Toronto Venture Exchange accounted for $12.5 billion, or 40% of global mining equity capital in 2011. Canadian law makes both listing mining companies and complying with federal regulations less burdensome than in other financial centers, including London and New York. Continue Reading →

Australian Mining Cities Alliance is launched in Canberra – by Derek Barry (Northwest Star – December 8, 2017)

The Alliance is to ensure Australia’s mining cities have
a collective voice and to maximise cooperation with
Australia’s mining industry which underpins their economies.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan has joined the mayors of the mining towns of Mount Isa, Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Broken Hill to formally launch the Australian Mining Cities Alliance in Canberra.

Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch said the three cities all had similar issues. “We’ve all got questions around a successful future of our communities and sustaining the population as it is and growing it,” Cr McCulloch said.

“Mining is an industry that does rely on the world economy and we see booms and busts so we are coming together and working collaboratively and being recognised by the federal parliament as a body that can create and shape policy for the future.” Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto puts its faith in driverless trucks, trains and drilling rigs (The Economist – December 7, 2017)

FOR millennia, man has broken rocks. Whether with pickaxe or dynamite, their own or animal muscle, in a digger or a diesel truck, thick-necked miners have been at the centre of an industry that supplies the raw materials for almost all industrial activity.

Making mining more profitable has long involved squeezing out more tonnes of metal per ounce of brawn. Now robots, not man, are settling themselves into the driving seat.

Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining firms, is leading that transformation in its vast iron-ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is putting its faith in driverless trucks and unmanned drilling rigs and trains, overseeing them from the office equivalent of armchairs about 1,000km (625 miles) south, in Perth. Continue Reading →

Mine Fatalities in South Africa Rise First Time in Decade – by Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – December 8, 2017)

For the first time in almost a decade, more people are dying in South African mines, the world’s deepest and among the most dangerous.

There were 81 fatalities from January through November, according to data from the Chamber of Mines, an industry lobby group. Harmony Gold Mining Co. reported a death at its Tshepong Mine Thursday, bringing the total to 82. That’s the first increase in nine years, and compares with 73 in 2016, the lowest on record.

South Africa has gone from being by far the deadliest place to work in a mine to ranking near rivals including the U.S. and Canada for fatality rates. Conditions have improved in the decades since whites-only rule ended in 1994 — a year in which 484 workers died. Continue Reading →

Back River gold mine could break ground this spring in Kitikmeot – by Sara Frizzell (CBC News North – December 07, 2017)

Minister Carolyn Bennett has given Sabina Gold and Silver the go-ahead for Back River project

Sabina Gold and Silver announced Wednesday it had received approval from Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, to build a gold mine approximately 400 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

The minister’s decision follows approval of the Back River gold mine project from the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) in July, after previously rejecting the project in 2016.

“The government of Nunavut and the Inuit associations have acknowledged for some time that resource development is an important part of their potential future, so they are always cautious about industrial development, including mining, but at the same time they’re very supportive,” said Matthew Pickard, Sabina’s vice president of environment and sustainability. Continue Reading →

Vale to mothball New Caledonia nickel mine if no stake buyers found – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – December 8, 2017)

Vale will mothball its troubled nickel project on New Caledonia in the second half of next year if it has not found a strategic partner prepared to purchase a stake of 20 to 40 per cent, according to its chief executive.

Speaking to journalists in London, Vale boss Fabio Schvartsman said the Brazilian miner would not continue to “invest and lose money” on the loss-making mine, which cost billions of dollars to build and has been dogged by problems.

Asked when the sale process would end Mr Schvartsman said June after which time the mine would be put on care and maintenance if a partner had not been found. Continue Reading →

Massive Oyu Tolgoi mine to more than double gold production in 2018 – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – December 7, 2017)

Rio Tinto-controlled Turquoise Hill (TSX:TRQ) is expecting its majority-owned Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia to churn in 2018 more than double the amount of the precious metal forecast for this year, with operating costs dropping about 2.8%.

In an update that went almost unnoticed, the Canadian miner said earlier this week it expected the massive Mongolian mine to produce 240,000 to 280,000 ounces of gold concentrate next year, more than double the 100,000 to 140,000 ounces initially expected for 2017.

The Vancouver-based company also forecast the mine to generate 125,000 to 155,000 tonnes of copper in 2018, slightly less than the 130,000 to 160,000 tonnes predicted for this year. Continue Reading →