Freeport stock soars 15 percent on copper prices, permit progress – by Susan Taylor (Reuters U.S. – July 25, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

TORONTO (Reuters) – Freeport-McMoRan Inc shares jumped to a 16-month high on Tuesday, as soaring metal prices and progress in a long-running, costly permit dispute with Indonesia buoyed the world’s biggest publicly traded copper miner.

Investors brushed aside quarterly results and full-year forecasts that were short of expectations, focusing instead on a two-year high for copper prices and Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson’s confidence in securing a new mining agreement by October for Freeport’s giant Grasberg mine.

Freeport’s stock surged nearly 15 percent on the New York Stock Exchange by mid-day Tuesday, making it the top performer on the S&P 500 Index as it outpaced gains by fellow copper miners. Continue Reading →

Clean electric cars are built on pollution in Congo – by David Pilling (Financial Times – July 26, 2017)

https://www.ft.com/

Behind every clean electric car there is cobalt. And behind cobalt is the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Cobalt is a critical element in lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars. Such batteries already consume 42 per cent of the metal and demand will soar as the world switches from petrol and diesel cars to electric ones.

This week, Britain followed France in declaring a ban on such vehicles from 2040. Soon, almost anyone in the rich world will be able to drive safe in the knowledge that they’re being kinder and gentler to the planet.

Did I mention the Democratic Republic of Congo? Some 60 per cent of the world’s cobalt comes from this central African country, one the size of western Europe and with gargantuan problems to match. Some industry analysts are predicting a 30-fold increase in cobalt demand by 2030, much of which will come from Congo. Continue Reading →

No one has done more for indigenous Australians than the mining industry – by Marcia Langton (The Australian – July 26, 2017)

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

Marcia Langton is foundation chair of Australian indigenous studies at the University of Melbourne.

Australians concerned about the “Uluru Statement from the Heart” and the subsequent Referendum Council call for constitutional reform and a Makarrata Commission should look to the mining industry as an example of what such change might bring.

The definition of the Makarrata Commission in the Uluru Statement is “the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination”.

Across the public, private and community sectors, no one has done more to advance a better future and self-determination for indigenous Australians than the mining industry, and to lead the transition from highly adversarial relationships to one of mutual respect, common goals, and partnerships through agreement. Continue Reading →

Canadian Mines Create Indigenous Middle Class in Nunavut – Not in Ring of Fire – by Stan Sudol (July 26, 2017)

It’s been ten years since the world-class Ring of Fire mineral district was discovered in the isolated James Bay Lowlands, about 500 kms northeast of Thunder Bay. Not one mine has been built. During those ten years the equally isolated territory of Nunavut has built two gold mines (Agnico Eagles’ Meadowbank and TMAC Resources’ Doris) and one iron ore operation (Baffinland’s Mary River).

A fourth gold mine (Agnico Eagle) should be in production in 2019 – and Sabina Gold and Silver Corp., a junior exploration company with a very rich precious metal deposit has just been given continued development approvals by the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

Noront Resources is the only significant company in the Ring of Fire with a potentially bankable mineral asset, their nickel/copper Eagle’s Nest deposit, as well as the owner of 75 per cent of the valuable staked claims in the region. The company also has plans to develop an adjacent chromite deposit using the Eagle’s Nest underground infrastructure and is currently looking for a suitable site in northern Ontario to build a ferrochrome processing plant to supply the American market. Continue Reading →

Trump Finds Reason for the U.S. to Remain in Afghanistan: Minerals – by Mark Landler and James Risen (New York Times – July 25, 2017)

https://www.nytimes.com/

WASHINGTON — President Trump, searching for a reason to keep the United States in Afghanistan after 16 years of war, has latched on to a prospect that tantalized previous administrations: Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth, which his advisers and Afghan officials have told him could be profitably extracted by Western companies.

Mr. Trump has discussed the country’s mineral deposits with President Ashraf Ghani, who promoted mining as an economic opportunity in one of their first conversations. Mr. Trump, who is deeply skeptical about sending more American troops to Afghanistan, has suggested that this could be one justification for the United States to stay engaged in the country.

To explore the possibilities, the White House is considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials. Last week, as the White House fell into an increasingly fractious debate over Afghanistan policy, three of Mr. Trump’s senior aides met with a chemical executive, Michael N. Silver, to discuss the potential for extracting rare-earth minerals. Mr. Silver’s firm, American Elements, specializes in these minerals, which are used in a range of high-tech products. Continue Reading →

Protecting Canadians from fake eco news – by Peter Foster (Financial Post – July 26,2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

There seems to be a radical disconnect between the claim — splashed breathlessly atop the front page of The Globe and Mail on Monday — that Canada is failing to protect its environment and the fact that securing approval for any piece of hinterland development these days amounts to a slog through an endless bog of regulation and review.

According to the Globe story, which was based on the annual report conveniently leaked in advance to it by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, CPAWS, Canada is lagging commitments made under the UN’s Convention on Biodiversity. Since 2010, its “protected” areas have increased from “only” 9.6 per cent to 10.6 per cent of the country, versus the commitment of 17 per cent by 2020 made by the Harper government.

The first question is why the Harper government would have allowed itself to be roped into such an exercise in subversive calculation. All such commitments really do is to provide a fundraising soapbox for radical environmental NGOs. Continue Reading →

‘A tragedy for Canada’: Petronas cancels $36B LNG project as B.C. jacks up demands – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – July 26, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

British Columbia’s new NDP/Green coalition government was in damage control mode after the most ambitious of the province’s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, the $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG, was cancelled Tuesday.

Both the province and the Malaysian company that proposed it blamed poor global LNG market conditions. The truth is that what should have been a magnificent new Canadian industry, building middle-class jobs from exporting Western Canada’s world-class Montney shale gas to reduce carbon pollution in Asia, has unraveled due in large part to government mishandling — plus fears it would have only accelerated under the new, anti-development provincial government.

The proof is that the LNG export industry is thriving in the United States under the same global market conditions, while B.C. has yet to see the construction of a single project out of 20 or so proposed since 2011. Dennis McConaghy, a former senior executive at energy company TransCanada Corp., called the decision “a tragedy for Canada … a real condemnation of this country and the utterly unproductive entities in it that simply make any development virtually impossible.” Continue Reading →

Globe editorial: The unspoken problem in Pikangikum (Globe and Mail – July 26, 2017)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

“There’s no doubt in my mind,” Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said last week of the First Nations community of Pikangikum, “that it’s a community in crisis.” With all due respect to Dr. Hoskins, it would require willful blindness to arrive at any other conclusion.

Pikangikum, a remote Ojibwa community of about 2,800 in northwestern Ontario, has been in a state of crisis for decades. In 2000, a British sociologist calculated that it had the world’s highest suicide rate, at 213 suicides per 100,000 people.

In 2012, Maclean’s magazine famously dubbed it “the suicide capital of the world,” after the rate reached 250 per 100,000 people. Many more have died by suicide since then, the latest being four youths this month, including two 12-year-olds. Continue Reading →

Ring of Pants-on-Fire: Kathleen Wynne’s ‘weeks, not months’ deadline blows by – by John Michael McGrath (TV Ontario – July 25, 2017)

http://tvo.org/

OPINION: This spring, Ontario’s premier seemed determined to speed up negotiations on developing the mineral-rich Ring of Fire — then, nothing happened.

Neither Premier Kathleen Wynne nor the Ontario Liberals generally are predisposed to playing the heavy with Indigenous communities. The Grits won the 2003 election partly on a pledge to establish better relations with Indigenous people, in contrast with the acrimony — and violence — of the Mike Harris years. Wynne has made reconciliation a personal mission in her time as premier.

So it was notable that she wrote a letter this spring to the Matawa Chiefs Council urging a speedy resolution to negotiations on developing the Ring of Fire, a mineral-rich region northeast of Thunder Bay that’s smack-dab in the middle of multiple First Nations territories. Wynne said she hoped for “meaningful progress in weeks, not months” on an agreement to build transportation infrastructure to the chromite and nickel deposits there.

Well, it’s been months, not weeks, yet the government has announced no major progress on an agreement, and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines had no new details to report this week in response to inquiries from TVO.org. Continue Reading →

UK Serious Fraud Office launches probe into Rio Tinto over Simandou – by Frik Els (Mining.com – July 24, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

The UK’s anti-fraud investigating body said Monday it is probing Rio Tinto’s dealings in Guinea involving the giant Simandou iron ore project.

“The Serious Fraud Office has opened an investigation into suspected corruption in the conduct of business in the Republic of Guinea by the Rio Tinto group, its employees and others associated with it,” the SFO said in a statement on Monday.

In November last year Melbourne-based Rio fired two executives involved in the project after an internal investigation uncovered a $10.5m payment in 2011 to a French national acting as a go-between with the West African nation’s government. Continue Reading →

After China-induced price spike, coal set to resume long-term decline – by Nina Chestney and Henning Gloystein (Reuters U.S. – July 24, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Coal prices’ march to eight-month highs, driven by China’s huge appetite for power consumption, looks like an interlude in a longer-term decline and is seen losing traction later this year.

Investors widely anticipate a slow demise for coal use due to policies encouraging cleaner natural gas and renewable energy generation, but the shorter-term outlook for the industry has seen a sharp reversal of fortunes.

Asia’s benchmark physical coal prices GCLNWCPFBMc1 have gained more than a third from lows seen in May to nearly $98 per ton, while European benchmark API2 2018 coal futures are at eight-month highs of around $74 a ton. Recent gains are largely due to high demand in China, where power consumption has jumped more than 6 percent since the beginning of the year. Continue Reading →

This Miner’s $190 Billion Tax Bill Would Take Centuries to Pay – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – July 24, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Tanzania sent Acacia Mining Plc a tax bill equal to almost two centuries worth of the gold producer’s revenue.

The government issued the company, which mines all of its gold in the African country, with a $40 billion tax bill and another $150 billion in interest and penalties, Acacia said in a statement Monday. The charge covers alleged under-declared export revenues from the Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines over periods between 2000 and 2017.

Acacia reiterated that it has fully declared all revenues. The stock sank as much as 17 percent on Tuesday to the lowest since December 2013. In just three days, the company has lost 42 percent of its value.

The giant tax bill is the latest twist in an increasingly ugly spat between the government and Acacia. Continue Reading →

Protesters dig in against Taiwan mining rules – by Chris Horton (Nikkei Asian Review – July 25, 2017)

http://asia.nikkei.com/

Aborigines and environmentalists attack Asia Cement rights extension

TAIPEI — Outside a metro station in Taiwan’s capital, musician Nabu Husungan Istanda sits shirtless in his wheelchair, smoking a cigarette while chewing betel nut. The evening traffic zips by, while young Taiwanese of both indigenous and Chinese ancestry laugh and dance arm-in-arm in a circle next to a protest site they are occupying.

Aboriginal Taiwanese and environmental activists have found themselves opposed on other issues, including development and hunting rights, but are fighting together against a mine producing materials for cement in Taroko Gorge, one of the country’s most famous scenic areas.

“We didn’t know any of these young people before, now we’re working together,” said Nabu, an ethnic Bunun. “We’ve become friends.” The new friends were brought together by a 20-year extension of mining rights held by Asia Cement, one of the country’s largest cement producers, in Sincheng Township, Hualien County, at the mouth of Taroko National Park. Continue Reading →

Aboriginal-owned Mine company goes belly-up – by Keith Dempsey (Sudbury Star – July 25, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

A company operating in the Sudbury area has gone bankrupt, despite a $4.3-million infusion from the provincial government in 2013. That information came to light after the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change revealed last week that Mohawk Garnet Inc. was fined more than $300,000 for discharging a harmful contaminant — in this case, dust.

It’s unclear, however, whether the fine will ever be paid, since Mohawk Garnet, which operated on the Wahnapitae First Nation near Capreol, appears to have no money.

“It’s disappointing this company has gone out of business,” said Norm Miller, a Conservative Parry Sound MPP and critic for Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. “This is further proof that the Liberal government’s Northern Growth Plan that was implemented in 2011 is just not working.” Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto moves big Jadar lithium and boron deposit in Serbia to the front burner – by Matt Chambers (The Australian – July 25, 2017)

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

Rio Tinto has upgraded the status of the big Jadar lithium and boron deposit in Serbia to that of its most likely growth project, revealing that if it gets approvals and the economics support it, it will start construction in 2020 and reach first production in 2023.

The announcement, made in Serbia on Monday night, makes Jadar (a potential top-three global lithium producer) the only unapproved medium-term growth project in Rio’s portfolio.

The supply it could bring to the market may be a concern for Australian lithium producers and hopefuls, whose shares have been running hot lately on expected growth in demand for lithium-ion batteries as intermittent renewable power and electric cars take more market share. Continue Reading →