Archive | Africa Mining

Acacia Mining fights back in Tanzania gold ore battle – by Henry Sanderson and Neil Hume (Financial Times – May 26, 2017)

Shares in Acacia Mining bounced 8 per cent on Friday after the crisis-hit miner fought back against accusations that it had misstated the value of its gold shipments from Tanzania by up to 10 times.

The London-listed company said the claims made by a presidential committee in the east African country this week that it was under-reporting exports from its Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines did not stand-up to scrutiny.

“If the committee’s published findings were based on accurate data, Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi would be the world’s two largest gold producers,” the company said in a statement. “Given the magnitude of this discrepancy, we believe there should be an independent review.” Continue Reading →

PDAC 2017: Lukas Lundin on patience and
 his early successes – by Salma Tarikh (Northern Miner – March 25, 2017)

Global mining news

Mining tycoon Lukas Lundin, chairman of the Lundin Group, spoke with The Northern Miner at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada convention in March about his early successes in Argentina and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), before touching upon his latest adventure in Ecuador.

Starting with the Bajo de la Alumbrera project in Catamarca, Argentina, Lundin says in 1990 he began investigating the classic copper-gold porphyry deposit, but was unfamiliar with porphyries at the time. “I was a bit naive. I didn’t know what a porphyry system was in the nineties. I thought it was a heap-leach gold project.

“It probably helped not to know too much, because if you knew too much, you’d probably think it was too far in the interior or too long to go to the coast … the majors thought it was too complicated.” Despite these challenges, Alumbrera has become one of the world’s top-10 copper producers. Continue Reading →

SA ranks third, behind Australia and Canada, in terms of number of mines – by Robert Laing (Business Day – May 26, 2017)

SA ranks a distant third behind Australia and Canada in the number of mines it has, and the gap is likely to widen because the two leading mining countries have far more new projects under way.

Australia has about 540 mine projects under way, Canada about 290 and SA 137, according to a graph in a report titled Currency Movements: Winners and Losers in the Mining Industry, released by BMI Research on Friday morning.

Australia’s lead is extending its lead because 320 of its projects are new developments, followed by Canada, with 190. SA is in third place again, with about 50. BMI forecasts that mines in Russia, China, India, Canada, Australia and Brazil will benefit from their currencies weakening against the dollar from 2017-2021. Continue Reading →

Tanzanian president fires mining minister and chief of state-run agency – by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala (Reuters U.S. – May 24, 2017)

DAR ES SALAAM – Tanzania President John Magufuli fired his mining minister and the chief of the state-run mineral audit agency on Wednesday after an investigation into possible undeclared exports by mining companies to evade tax.

Magufuli’s decision, announced in a televised speech, signals an escalation of tensions between the government and the mining industry, which has denied engaging in tax evasion. Mining accounts for about 4 percent of the East African nation’s gross domestic product.

Magufuli said the investigation report revealed that Acacia Mining declared the presence of gold, copper and silver in its mineral sand exports but did not declare other precious metals in the consignments. Continue Reading →

People and Wildlife Are Both Casualties of Illicit Mining – by Richard Ruggiero (National Geographic – May 24, 2017)

Central Africa’s natural treasures are a blessing. They are also a curse.

A Voice for Elephants – The vast Congo Basin — spanning six Central African countries – supports more than 10,000 animal and 600 tree species, many of which are unique to this area. The region represents the second largest contiguous moist tropical forest in the world and provides critical habitat to the last populations of several globally important species, including African forest elephants and three of the world’s four species of great apes.

Despite its vast size and relative intactness, Congo’s forest area and wildlife are under severe threat. Between 2002 and 2011, forest elephants experienced a devastating 62 percent population decline and a 30-percent loss of range. The Grauer’s gorilla — the world’s largest primate — which is only found in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), suffered staggering declines.

In the span of one generation, their numbers dropped by 77 percent across their range. In Kahuzi-Biega National Park, they fared even worse — plummeting by 87 percent. Continue Reading →

Botswana Clash With Billionaires Could Tarnish Its Reputation As Resource Investor’s Paradise – by Kenneth Rapoza (Forbes Magazine – May 2, 2017)

At first glance, there is simply no country like it in Africa. Within the continent, Botswana is considered to be the crème de la crème. It’s corruption perception score is better than every BRICS nation plus Mexico, according to Transparency International. It’s resource rich, known mainly for its diamond wealth, and has rolled out the red carpet for foreign firms with what seems like reliable, steady rule of law. This is the place to be.

Some say not so fast. Deloitte Botswana senior manager, Brian Watts, argues that appearance belies a true scale of graft. It is done by multiple actors all throughout the value chain. Watts estimates at least 5% loss due to fraud even in the private sector, in telcos.

Most cases are not disclosed to the public, Watts said during an event for whistleblowers back in March. In mainly state-controlled natural resources sector the stakes are much higher. Continue Reading →

Dungeons of gold: Sex, booze and braais in underground mine cities – by Graeme Hosken and Jan Bornman South Africa Times Alive – May 22, 2017)

Millions of rands in sex, food and alcohol is being traded in secret underground cities linked to illegal mining activities in small towns such as Welkom in the Free State.

The town, once a hive of legal mining activity, was the site of one of the worst illegal mining disasters South Africa has seen when at least 34 “zama zamas” were killed in an underground explosion last week. In the aftermath of the explosion illegal miners, police and mine security experts have told stories of underground passages and tunnels in which everything is available for a steep price.

The existence of more than 6000 disused gold, chrome, diamond and platinum mines across South Africa has allowed for the creation of a thriving underground economy. One mining expert says the underground industry supports thousands above ground. Continue Reading →

Morocco phosphate ship held in Panama over Western Sahara challenge – officials – by Patrick Markey (Daily Mail/Reuters – May 18, 2017)

ALGIERS, May 18 (Reuters) – Panama authorities have detained a Moroccan phosphate shipment from the disputed territory of Western Sahara after the Polisario independence movement claimed the cargo had been transported illegally, Polisario and officials said on Thursday.

The detention of the vessel carrying phosphate rock cargo from Morocco’s OCP for Canada’s Agrium is the second tanker stopped this month by a Polisario legal challenge, a new tactic the independence movement has been using in its conflict with Morocco.

Western Sahara has been disputed since 1975, when Morocco claimed it as part of the kingdom and the Polisario fought a guerrilla war for the Sahrawi people’s independence. A 1991 ceasefire split the region in two between what Morocco calls its southern provinces and an area controlled by Polisario. Continue Reading →

Canada’s Trevali picks up Glencore zinc mines in Africa – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – May 18, 2017)

Trevali Mining’s (TSX:TV) shareholders approved Thursday a planned acquisition of Glencore’s two African zinc mines, in a transaction that makes of the Canadian miner one of the few multi-asset, low-cost global zinc producers.

The acquisition of about 80% of Rosh Pinah mine in Namibia and a 90% stake in in the Perkoa mine in Burkina Faso, will help the Vancouver-based firm’s total production double to about 410 million pounds per year.

The deal also includes gives Trevali an effective 39.24% interest in the Gergarub project in Namibia, an option to acquire the Heath Steele property in Canada, and certain related exploration properties and assets, it said in the statement. Continue Reading →

Steinmetz Said to Skip $1.2 Billion Vale Hearing, Risking Loss – by Jesse Riseborough and R.T. Watson (Bloomberg News – May 19, 2017)

Billionaire Beny Steinmetz’s mining company may be asked to pay as much as $1.2 billion to former partner Vale SA after choosing not to attend an arbitration hearing in London in a dispute over one of the world’s richest mineral assets, two people with knowledge of the case said.

The decision by Steinmetz’s BSG Resources Ltd. to back out of hearings earlier this year will probably cost him the case, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is confidential. BSGR felt it wouldn’t be “treated fairly,” according to a letter sent by its lawyers Mishcon De Reya to Vale’s legal representatives dated Jan. 31 and seen by Bloomberg News.

An unfavorable ruling would be the latest setback for the 61-year-old Steinmetz, who’s facing a string of corruption investigations around the world resulting from his failed investment in the giant Simandou iron ore deposit in Guinea. Yet, Vale would still face years of legal battles to enforce any award from the case. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe plans $200 million platinum refinery with Australia’s Kelltech (Reuters U.S. – May 17, 2017)

Zimbabwe is planning to build a $200 million platinum refinery next year in a joint venture with Australia’s Kelltech Ltd, the Mines Minister said on Wednesday.

The southern African nation holds the world’s largest deposits of platinum after South Africa and has been pushing mining firms operating in the country to build refineries to stop the export of raw platinum ore.

Walter Chidhakwa said the government’s mining arm, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, would own 30 percent of the refinery, privately-owned Kelltech would own 49 percent and the balance would be held by Golden Sparrow, a Zimbabwean firm. Continue Reading →

Startup uses blockchain to ensure minerals come from ethical sources – by Darren Campbell (Globe and Mail – May 18, 2017)

Dawn Jutla says her company has the technology to help put an end to the shady practice of mining precious and industrial metals to finance war.

Ms. Jutla, the president and CEO of Halifax-based startup Peer Ledger, is staking its future on a blockchain technology called Mimosi that it says can track precious metals throughout the supply chain to ensure every milligram purchased by buyers has come from an ethical source and is not funding armed conflict in war-torn countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“This is important because of the damage buyers are seeing being done at the source mines among the Indigenous people who live in the area,” says Ms. Jutla, a professor of technology, entrepreneurship and innovation at St. Mary’s University in Halifax. “When I say damage I am talking about children being raped and used for labour in mines. End users of these metals are trying to use their purchasing power to prevent that.” Continue Reading →

Violence in Central African Republic diamond mining hub, UN sends troops to tackle (African Review – May 18, 2017)

The United Nations plans to send additional peacekeeping forces to Bangassou, a diamond-mining town in Central Africa with 35,000 inhabitants, to tackle raising violence in the city that causes human right violations

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, replied in email that the law and order condition in Bangassou needs immediate assistance following a recent flare of attacks on civilians that has cost hundreds of lives in the past two months.

The violence in Bangassou started in 2013 when a coalition of Muslim Seleka rebels ousted the President Francois Bozize. The recent violence in the diamond-mining town is a fresh escalation of the four-year old conflict. Continue Reading →

Platinum output grinds lower, but not fast enough to boost prices – by Jan Harvey and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – May 17, 2017)

LONDON – South Africa’s platinum output is grinding lower as producers cut capital expenditure and shutter unprofitable areas, but it is not happening fast enough to tackle the industry’s bigger problem – rock-bottom prices for the metal itself.

Platinum prices in dollar terms are up just 4 percent this year in the face of a much bigger rally in other precious metals like palladium and gold, and are 32 percent below their 10-year average of $1,375 an ounce. In rand terms, they have fared even worse this year, pushing into the red as the rand strengthens versus the dollar, eroding what little support the miners had.

That is not making the sector particularly attractive for investors, with the Johannesburg platinum index underperforming the main stock index this year. That reflects the failure of the sector to respond more dramatically to the economic realities of falling prices while also battling a strengthening rand and regulatory uncertainty. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Chinalco proposes taking entire Guinea Simandou iron ore mine – by Tim Cocks (Reuters U.S. – May 15, 2017)

CONAKRY – Chinalco has asked Guinea to let it take over the whole of the troubled Simandou iron ore mine project, sources familiar with the matter say, as Beijing pursues a global strategy to secure key resources for its vast economy for decades to come.

Mired in legal disputes, located in Guinea’s remote interior and being planned at a time of depressed world prices, the mine has nevertheless attracted intense interest from China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of steel.

The Chinese state-owned miner’s written proposal for Simandou, one of the world’s largest untapped resources of high-grade iron ore used to make steel, seeks more favorable terms than laid out by the poor West African country’s mining code. Continue Reading →