Archive | Africa Mining

Analysts acclaim Glencore’s performance as good fundamentals return – by Martin Creamer (MiningWeekly.com – February 23, 2017)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Commodity market fundamentals are improving against a backdrop of better than expected demand and limited, if any, inventory build through the trough of the cycle, diversified mining and marketing company Glencore said on Thursday.

This comes against the background of the London-, Hong Kong- and Johannesburg-listed company reporting 18% higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) at $10.3-billion, 41% lower capital expenditure to $3.5-billion and operational unit cash cost performance in zinc at a negative –5c/lb.

The company, headed by CEO Ivan Glasenberg, also succeeded in managing down its full-year unit copper cost to 87c/lb, nickel to 265c/lb and thermal coal to $39/t with an $18/t margin. Continue Reading →

Toyota’s new technology a blow for platinum, palladium price – by Frik Els (Mining.com – February 22, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

Toyota sold more than 10 million vehicles last year placing it in a virtual tie with Volkswagen as the world’s number one automaker. Stricter pollution regulations around the world and intense competition mean that top priority for traditional car companies is to cut costs and reduce emissions.

A new technology unveiled by Toyota on Wednesday is win for the Japanese company on both counts. Toyota announced the availability of a new, smaller catalyst that uses 20% less precious metal in approximately 20% less volume, while maintaining the same exhaust gas purification performance.

Toyota’s “world’s first integrally-molded Flow Adjustable Design Cell (FLAD)” is not the first time researchers have found innovative ways to reduce pricey platinum group metals in exhaust systems. But those technologies seldom make it all the way to the assembly line. Continue Reading →

Uganda gold refinery raises alarm over conflict minerals (Daily Mail – February 22, 2017)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

AFP – The inauguration of Uganda’s first gold refinery sparked concern Wednesday over the possibility of dirty minerals from regional conflict zones making their way into the country.

Transparency International’s Peter Wandera told AFP the country’s failure to regulate the mineral sector meant there were “high chances” the refinery could contribute to conflicts, such as that in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where rebels are propped up by illegal mining.

“Uganda has continuously failed to implement the necessary components … to reduce the trade in conflict minerals from the DRC,” he said. Continue Reading →

Congo Miner Said to Get $100 Million to Clear China Moly Buy – by Tom Wilson (Bloomberg News – February 22, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s state mining company received $100 million as part of a settlement to drop its objections to the sale of the country’s biggest copper mine to Chinese buyers, according to people with knowledge of the agreement.

The cash payment was made last month after state-owned Gecamines agreed to abandon legal cases to block the sale of Freeport McMoRan Inc. and Lundin Mining Corp.’s interests in the Tenke Fungurume mine, the people said, asking not be identified as terms of the arrangement aren’t public. China Molybdenum Co. and Chinese private-equity firm BHR Partners bought the stakes for a combined $3.8 billion.

The settlement marks the end of a nine-month dispute between Freeport, Lundin, the Chinese buyers and Gecamines over whether the sales, which were a transfer of ownership in an offshore holding company, should have been subject to preemption or approval by the state-owned miner. Gecamines owns 20 percent of local operating unit Tenke Fungurume Mining. Continue Reading →

US has provided $315m in financing to supplier of mines accused of slave labor – by Eduardo Garcia (The Guardian – February 22, 2017)

https://www.theguardian.com/

An obscure US government agency has provided $315m in taxpayer-supported financing over the past decade to a company that has supplied equipment to African mines accused of slave labor, human rights violations and environmental destruction.

Between 2007 and 2015, the US Export-Import Bank provided 48 insurance policies to the New Jersey-headquartered Connell Company to pursue deals with at least 17 mining companies in seven sub-Saharan countries.

These included a $20,000 policy to supply equipment to the Bisha copper mine in Eritrea, which is being investigated by a Canadian court amid accusations of slavery, according to an investigation of the bank by the Guardian and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project. Continue Reading →

Rwanda: Is Trump’s Plan to Repeal Conflict Minerals Rule a Gift for Rwanda? – by Ivan R. Mugisha (All Africa.com – February 21, 2017)

http://allafrica.com/

Rwanda is counting on US President Donald Trump coming good on his intention to suspend a law that bars companies from handling conflict minerals to save the country more than $4 million spent annually on compliance.

President Trump had throughout his campaign threatened to do away with the law, known as the Dodd Frank Act, which he argued restricted the growth of manufacturing in the US. The Dodd Frank Act was signed into law by his predecessor Barack Obama in 2010. The legislation was intended to safeguard stability in mineral-rich conflict- prone countries like those in the Great Lakes region, by ensuring that natural resources were not used to fund conflicts.

Last week, a leaked memorandum from the White House showed that President Trump had drafted an executive order suspending the Dodd Frank Act for two years. Continue Reading →

Judge overturns halt in Ivanhoe grave relocations in South Africa – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – February 20, 2017)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

JOHANNESBURG — A South African judge has overturned a court injunction at a huge Canadian-owned platinum project, saying that any delay to the project would cause “significant prejudice” to the company and the local community.

The judge reversed an earlier court order, issued last November, that had halted the exhuming and relocating of dozens of ancestral graves at the site where Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. is developing a $1.6-billion platinum mine.

Hundreds of community members have been fighting against the mine for years. But the company says the project would provide thousands of direct and indirect jobs, along with education and training opportunities and a local ownership trust. Continue Reading →

Sherritt considering full exit from Madagascar mine project to reduce debt – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – February 17, 2017)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

JOHANNESBURG — After months of negotiations with its partners, Sherritt International Corp. is still considering a complete exit from its costly joint venture in Madagascar as it struggles to reduce its huge debt burden.

The Toronto-based company owns 40 per cent of the Ambatovy nickel and cobalt mine in Madagascar, which cost more than $5-billion (U.S.) to develop. Last year, it announced a $1.6-billion (Canadian) writedown of the value of its stake in the mine, where it is also the operator.

After borrowing about $650-million (U.S.) from its partners to pay for its share of developing the mine, Sherritt has seen this loan balloon to about $1.3-billion (Canadian) on its balance sheet as the interest compounded, according to David Pathe, Sherritt’s chief executive officer. “It’s an enormous debt number for a company our size,” Mr. Pathe said in an interview at an African mining conference in Cape Town. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Zimbabwe: Turning Our Mining Resources Into Blessings (All Africa.com – February 16, 2017)

http://allafrica.com/

PARADOXICALLY, despite the prospect of wealth that accompany the discovery of natural resources in Africa, such endowments all too often impede than rather than accelerate development. Zimbabwe is no exception.

Natural resources have been shown to play a key role in the conflicts that have plagued a number of African countries over the last decade, both motivating and fuelling armed conflicts. Revenues from the exploitation of natural resources are not only used for sustaining armies, but also for personal enrichment and building political support. As a result, they can become obstacles where predatory coalitions involved in exploitation of mineral resources are unwilling to give up control over these resources.

As long as the majority of African communities face poverty with increasing unequal distribution of income that is fuelled by skewed ownership of mining resources, Africa will continue to be underdeveloped. Continue Reading →

African states wary of potential repeal of ‘conflict minerals’ rule – by Aaron Ross and Ed Cropley (Reuters U.S. – February 15, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

A possible plan by U.S. President Donald Trump to suspend a rule on “conflict minerals” could help fund armed groups and contribute to a surge in unrest in central Africa, regional states said on Wednesday.

Sources told Reuters last week that Trump planned to issue a directive targeting a Dodd-Frank rule that requires companies to disclose whether their products contain minerals from war-torn parts of Africa, including Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

A leaked draft seen by Reuters calls for the rule to be suspended for two years. Competition for Congo’s vast mineral resources has fueled two decades of conflict in its eastern provinces, including a 1998-2003 regional war that killed millions, most from hunger and disease. Continue Reading →

Electric car boom spurs investor scramble for cobalt – by (Reuters U.S. – February 14, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

LONDON – Investors are buying up physical cobalt anticipating that shortages of the metal, a key component of lithium-ion batteries used in electrical cars, will spur prices to their highest levels since the 2008 financial crisis.

Prices for cobalt metal have climbed nearly 50 percent since September to five-year peaks around $19 a lb as stricter emissions controls boost demand for electric vehicles, especially in China, struggling with ruinous pollution levels in some cities. (For a graphic on how Lithium-ion battery works click tmsnrt.rs/2kOUBNQ)

Consultants CRU Group say electric car and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales could hit 4.4 million in 2021 and more than six million by 2025, from 1.1 million last year. By 2020, 75 percent of lithium-ion batteries will contain cobalt, whose properties allow electric cars to extend their range between charges, according to eCobalt Solutions, which produces battery grade cobalt salts. Continue Reading →

Glencore Buys Out Billionaire With $1 Billion Congo Mining Deal – by Franz Wild, Tom Wilson and Jesse Riseborough (Bloomberg News – February 14, 2017)

http://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc agreed to a $960 million deal that will boost ownership of two giant Congolese cobalt and copper mines, and sever its ties with controversial Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler.

For Glencore, the deal achieves two things: greater control of key assets at a time of booming copper and cobalt prices and a parting of ways from Gertler after his business in the Democratic Republic of Congo and relationship with President Joseph Kabila attracted scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Glencore will pay Fleurette Group, a company owned by Gertler’s family trust, $534 million cash after all debts are paid, the company said in a statement on Monday. The assets include a 31 percent stake in Mutanda Mining, the world’s biggest cobalt mine, and a 10.3 percent holding in Katanga Mining Ltd., which operates a nearby copper and cobalt mine. Continue Reading →

Trump may suspend rules on African ‘conflict minerals,’ say human rights advocates – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – February 13, 2017)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

JOHANNESBURG — Congolese warlords and unethical U.S. corporations will be the big winners if U.S. President Donald Trump goes ahead with a reported plan to suspend the restrictions on “conflict minerals” from Central African war zones, human-rights groups say.

The latest Trump plan would jeopardize many years of effort to identify minerals from conflict zones so that consumers aren’t inadvertently financing war and rape when they buy cellphones, laptops, jewellery and other products, the groups say.

Canadian researchers have been among the leaders in developing a certification system to ensure that minerals in consumer products are not supplied from mines controlled by armed militias in war-torn countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Continue Reading →

China May Be a Hitch in African Miner’s Bid for U.S. Platinum – by David McLaughlin and Kevin Crowley (Bloomberg News – February 9, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

What’s to keep South Africa’s biggest gold miner from buying a U.S. palladium producer? China, perhaps.

Sibanye Gold Ltd. is seeking regulatory approval for its $2.2 billion takeover of U.S.-based Stillwater Mining Co. Adding Stillwater’s two Montana mines — the only platinum-group operations in the U.S. and the biggest outside South Africa and Russia — would make Sibanye the world’s third-biggest palladium producer.

A Chinese consortium owns about 20 percent of Sibanye, making it the miner’s biggest single shareholder. That may spark concerns at the U.S. body that reviews whether purchases of businesses by foreign buyers could threaten national security. That regulator — the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. — has looked warily on some high-profile investments by Chinese investors. Continue Reading →

White House plans directive targeting ‘conflict minerals’ rule: sources – by Sarah N. Lynch and Emily Stephenson (Reuters U.S. – February 8, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is planning to issue a directive targeting a controversial Dodd-Frank rule that requires companies to disclose whether their products contain “conflict minerals” from a war-torn part of Africa, according to sources familiar with the administration’s thinking.

Reuters could not learn precisely when the directive would be issued or what the final version would say. However, a leaked draft that has been floating around Washington and was seen by Reuters on Wednesday calls for the rule to be temporarily suspended for two years.

Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the document. The sources spoke on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the plan. Continue Reading →