Iron ore has further to fall to knock out unconventional supplies – by Clyde Russell (Daily Mail/Reuters – April 28, 2017)

SINGAPORE, April 28 (Reuters) – Now that the euphoria of iron ore’s all too brief rally has evaporated, the question the market is grappling with is what is a fair price level for the steel-making ingredient.

Spot iron ore prices in China <.IO62-CNO=MB> ended Thursday at $66.42 a tonne, down 30 percent from the 17-month peak of $94.86 reached on Feb. 21. The problem for industry participants is how to wrestle with the factors that have driven, or are likely to drive, prices for the rest of the year.

The traditional method of looking at the supply-demand balance and assessing the cost of marginal supply does provide a starting point. But if there is one thing that the market has learnt in the past year, it’s that the main driver of the market is policy decisions in China, and how participants react to them. Continue Reading →

Westshore urges Ottawa to keep border open to U.S. thermal coal – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – April 28, 2017)

Westshore Terminals Investment Corp., the operator of a B.C. coal-shipping facility that exports to Asia, is urging Ottawa to maintain the flow of imports of thermal coal by train from U.S. mines in an unexpected twist during a week of rising trade tensions between the two neighbouring countries.

Westshore, whose largest shareholder is B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison, is upset that B.C. Premier Christy Clark has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ban exports of thermal coal from British Columbian ports – a move that would effectively block train deliveries of U.S. coal from crossing the Canada-U.S. border.

Thermal coal is used to fuel plants that generate electricity. That type of coal is “dirty” and bad for the environment, Ms. Clark said Wednesday morning while campaigning for the May 9 provincial election. Continue Reading →

Goldman Sachs Sees Bullion Heading to $1,200 Within Months – by Ranjeetha Pakiam (Bloomberg News – April 27, 2017)

For all the unpredictability of President Donald Trump’s policies in his first 100 days, gold has failed to reclaim the heights before his win in November, and some investors doubt this will happen any time soon.

After closing at $1,305.06 an ounce on the Friday before Trump’s election, prices cratered more than 13 percent through Dec. 22. They ground back to $1,289.76 this month after Trump’s airstrikes on Syria and Afghanistan, and on worries over North Korea and the outcome of the French presidential vote, before slipping to as low as $1,263.17 on Thursday.

Without huge surprises from Trump, some investors are inclined to see more losses as the U.S. economy stays strong, the Federal Reserve tightens, bond yields rise and inflation remains subdued. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicts gold at $1,200 in three months after Emmanuel Macron won the first round of the French election and is projected to beat Marine Le Pen in the runoff. Continue Reading →

Budget missing Ring of Fire cash, says Conservative critic – by Leith Dunick ( – April 27, 2017)

Ontario budget also guts Northern Development and Mines spending by $70 million, says Vic Fedeli

TORONTO – The Conservative’s finance critic has slammed the Ontario budget, saying it proves the governing Liberals have given up on Northern Ontario. Vic Fedeli said the budget, released on Thursday, includes a $70-million cut to Northern Development and Mines and the $1 billion promised for Ring of Fire infrastructure has mysteriously disappeared.

“The Ministry helps to establish mining operations all over Northern Ontario, creating good well-paying jobs that help to grow our Northern economy — obviously not a concern of this government,” Fedeli said.

“It came as a serious shock to see that this year’s budget removed all mention of the Ring of Fire. After three years of promises the Wynne government has completely abandoned this critical mining project,” Fedeli said. Continue Reading →

One dead as riots in Guinea mining hub enter fourth day (Reuters U.S. – April 27, 2017)

One person was killed and several others injured as riots by disgruntled residents of Guinea’s main bauxite mining hub extended into a fourth day on Thursday, police and residents said.

The West African nation’s largest mining companies Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB) and Companie Bauxite de Guinee (CBG) said they had resumed normal operations but said equipment was damaged and tensions remained.

Guinea possesses about a third of the world’s reserves of the aluminum ore bauxite, but mining has stoked discontent among a population that remains largely poor and unemployed. The unrest erupted on Monday night when residents erected barricades and burned tyres in the city of Boke to protest high pollution levels and power cuts, according to government and company officials. Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Liberals feed another budget to the Big Green Central-Planning Monster – by  Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – April 28, 2017)

The question all Ontarians must begin asking is how much economic pain — high transportation costs, soaring electricity rates, rampaging housing-market shortages and costs, stalled transit development, soaring debt — are they willing to endure to satisfy the Central Planning Monster.

The beast is everywhere, lurking in the background of every twitch in government policy and every legislative lurch. It’s thick claw-marks are all over Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s new Ontario budget, tabled Thursday, taking control of more and more economic activity and extending policy-making’s reach far beyond the iron grip it already holds on health care.

In the name of climate change and carbon control, Ontario’s Liberal government sent electricity prices soaring, the predictable product of the 2009 Green Energy Act that allows the government to seize control over an expanding range of energy operations. Continue Reading →

The loneliness of Canada mine’s long-distance ice-road truckers – by Allan Seccombe (Business Day – April 28, 2017)

Drivers face dangers on road over frozen lakes and featureless tundra to reach the remote Gahcho Kué mining camp

With a voice like warm, liquid chocolate Denise Clarke welcomes drivers to the Gahcho Kué diamond mine after a long, tedious and sometimes dangerous drive across frozen wastes to reach the remote mining camp in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

Her voice is a beacon for hundreds of drivers traversing the road made a legend by the television show Ice Road Truckers, a series dismissed as overly dramatic by the mine’s staff and drivers. But there are real challenges and dangers on the road carved out 40m wide over frozen lakes and nearly featureless snow-smothered tundra.

“It’s not that dangerous at all if you mind your p’s and q’s,” says Kyle Cannon, who looks younger than his 32 years, at the end of a long haul to bring diesel to Gahcho Kue from Yellowknife 280km to the southwest. Continue Reading →

[Australia Mining] Political Fury As Australia’s Second Largest Bank Refuses To Fund Adani’s Mega Coal Mine – by Anthony Sharwood (Huffington Post – April 28, 2017)

With Westpac out, Adani’s proposed Carmichael mega coal mine looks in doubt again.

There’s a lot of love for Westpac this Friday, and plenty of anger too. It’s all because Australia’s second largest bank has overhauled its policy of lending to coal mining projects.

An announcement by Westpac overnight effectively killed off any potential commitment by the bank to help fund Indian mining giant Adani’s proposed Carmichael “mega coal mine” in Queensland. The backflip means Westpac will pay more than lip service to its long-stated commitment to combating climate change, and can be interpreted as a direct response to intense public pressure.

But senior Turnbull government figures are furious. Queensland Senator Matthew Canavan, who has long cast the potential mine as an issue about jobs, jobs and jobs, accused the bank of turning its back on Queensland. Canavan reportedly has urged Queenslanders to take their mortgage business elsewhere. Continue Reading →

Goldcorp shares slide after drop in output – by Frik Els ( – April 27, 2017)

Shares in Goldcorp Inc (NYSE:GG)(TSX:G) dropped sharply Thursday after the company reported first quarter results that surprised to the upside in terms of profits, but fell well short of expectations for gold production.

Vancouver-based Goldcorp ended the day more than 5% lower in New York for a market capitalization of $11.8 billion after reporting a 122% jump in earnings to $170m or $0.20 per share against forecasts of $0.08.

Investors were unhappy about the fall in gold production however with output going from 799koz during Q1 2016 to 646koz in the same period this year leading to 6.6% fall in revenues for the quarter to $882 million. Continue Reading →

Aluminum’s Shine Won’t Last – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – April 27, 2017)

The most boring industrial metal has been looking a bit more exciting of late. Aluminum’s dispersed supply chain and huge exchange inventories have meant that for the most part, the price doesn’t do much.

While copper, zinc and nickel have whipsawed on strikes, deliberate shutdowns and political turmoil, the lightweight metal has plodded along between $1,500 and $2,000 a metric ton for the best part of five years.

Things seem to be changing. Aluminum is the best performer of the London Metal Exchange’s major metals this year, up 17 percent as those exchange inventories head toward a nine-year low and China plans further smelter shutdowns in Xinjiang, the main growth region for capacity. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Russia’s Nornickel says could miss 2017 output forecast by 3 pct (Reuters U.S. – April 27, 2017)

Russia’s Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) could miss its 2017 production forecast for nickel and platinum group metals (PGMs) by up to 3 percent after first-quarter output fell, it said on Thursday.

Nornickel, one of the world’s largest nickel and palladium producers, added its management was looking at ways to mitigate this risk and confirmed its previous 2017 production guidance.

This year Nornickel, part-owned by Russian tycoon Vladimir Potanin and aluminium giant Rusal, plans to produce from Russian feedstock 206,000-211,000 tonnes of nickel, 377,000-387,000 tonnes of copper, 2.6-2.7 million troy ounces of palladium and 581,000-645,000 ounces of platinum. Continue Reading →

Bright Future: Analysts paint sparkling picture of coloured gemstone market – by Ilan Solomons (Mining – April 28, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – The shift from small-scale artisanal mining to larger mechanised mining, owing to the increasing involvement of larger mining companies and greater formalisation of the sector, is expected to increase the distribution channel of the coloured gemstone industry, which will continue to consolidate as smaller market participants disappear.

This is also likely to result in improved transparency of the coloured gemstone industry over time, as larger mining houses are accountable to their shareholders as well as local and international operating regulations.

This is according to nonprofit organisation representing the coloured gemstone industry the International Coloured Gemstone Association former VP and senior industry analyst Jean Claude Michelou, who predicts that, in time, there will be “strong growth” in the sale of coloured gems in Brazil, Russia, India and China, particularly in India and China, which have a long-standing affinity for coloured gems. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-Brazil’s Vale slumps as ore price outlook, profit disappoints – by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Marta Nogueira (Reuters U.K. – April 27, 2017)

Shares in Vale SA slumped the most in two weeks on Thursday, as executives signaled lackluster trends for iron ore prices this year and investors reacted to a first-quarter profit miss with disappointment.

Preferred shares, world No. 1 iron ore producer Vale’s most widely traded class of stock, shed as much as 4 percent. The decline thwarted a recovery in the stock that had made gains this week on expectations Vale would report a near record quarterly profit.

On a results conference call, company executives said supply and demand of the main ingredient for steel look balanced, helping prices stay at $70 reais per tonne or less. In February, Vale’s head of ferrous minerals Peter Poppinga expected prices hovering around $80 a tonne this year. Continue Reading →

Vale’s first quarter profit lower than expected as rains hurt iron ore output – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 26, 2017)

Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE), the world’s No.1 iron ore miner, logged Thursday net income for the first quarter that missed estimates, reflecting the impact of heavy rains that hampered output in the so-called northern system, which groups the Carajás, Serra Leste and S11D mines in northern Brazil, as well rising financial expenses.

The Rio de Janeiro-based company reported a net income of $2.5 billion, no less than a billion off the average consensus estimate of $3.325bn in profit. It was, however, the largest since the first quarter of 2014, according to Vale.

The miner had already announced a production record in iron ore of 86.2 million tonnes for the January-March period, which it credited to the ramp-up of its massive S11D mine in Pará, and the Itabirito project, in Minas Gerais. Continue Reading →

A 1917 coal mine explosion in southern Colorado killed 121. But it’s just a faint memory in the state’s history. – by Jesse Paul (Denver Post – April 27, 2017)

A strike of a match probably led to Colorado’s deadliest disaster. In an instant, the Hastings Mine, outside Trinidad, became a mass grave, leaving 121 men — most of them immigrants from Europe — entombed by an explosion and collapse triggered by a well-respected safety inspector.

Just outside the mine’s entrance, groups of children and weeping women crowded around and waited for news of the men. Those tasked with searching for survivors quickly came to the grim realization that there were none. “I won’t say we found three men,” a rescuer told a reporter, according to historical records, “but we did (find) parts of them.”

It was April 27, 1917, just a few weeks after the U.S. joined World War I. The explosion was the blackest mark among a series of mining disasters that over decades had killed hundreds of men who were working risky jobs to provide for their families. And yet, it’s not been a major narrative in Colorado’s economic history. Continue Reading →