Archive | Asia Mining

Palace tells mining firms: Go to court – by Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star – February 16, 2017)

MANILA, Philippines – Companies affected by the environment department’s cancellation of mining projects would be given due process and are free to turn to the courts for legal remedies, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella gave the assurance to companies which have been targets of Environment Secretary Regina Lopez’s crackdown on mining operations in watersheds. On Tuesday, Lopez announced the cancellation of 75 mining contracts or mineral production sharing agreements (MPSA) for posing threats to watersheds and to overall water supply.

“The cancellation of 75 mineral production sharing agreements by Secretary Regina Lopez is consistent with Republic Act 7942 that mining applications are closed to proclaimed watershed forest reserves,” Abella said in a statement. Continue Reading →

Freeport Indonesia mine grinds to complete halt: union – by Fergus Jensen and Wilda Asmarini (Reuters U.K. – February 16, 2017)

JAKARTA – All work has stopped at Freeport-McMoRan Inc’s giant copper mine in Indonesia and its workers are planning a demonstration against the government’s move last month that halted exports of copper concentrate to boost domestic industries, a union said.

A prolonged stoppage at the world’s second-biggest copper mine would support copper prices, near 21-month highs this week, but would also deny the Indonesian government desperately needed revenue from one of its biggest taxpayers.

Freeport had said the Grasberg mine would have to slash output by 60 percent to approximately 70 million pounds of metal per month if it did not get an export permit by mid-February, due to limited storage. Continue Reading →

China Mulls Resuming Coal Output Curbs for Six Months (Bloomberg News – February 15, 2017)

China may not be done trying to manage coal prices. The world’s biggest producer and consumer is considering reinstating output restrictions to avoid the return of a glut after it eased limits during winter, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

The National Development and Reform Commission may resume curbs that cap output at an equivalent of 276 days of capacity after heating season ends in mid-March, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The NDRC, the nation’s top planner, didn’t respond to a faxed request for comment and nobody answered calls to its press office Wednesday. China sent coal prices and mining shares on a tear last year after President Xi Jinping’s government imposed output restrictions aimed at easing an oversupply and supporting indebted miners. Continue Reading →

Environmental justice: The Philippines mining industry – by Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid (Manila Bulletin – February 14, 2017)

Pro-environment activists hailed President Duterte’s support for Environment Secretary Gina Lopez’s order to close 23 mining corporations that had violated environmental laws. The basis of the DENR ruling on the closure of these 23 mining firm(out of a total of 41 firm) was that they were operating in functional watersheds.

They shall not be operating unless they appeal the decision which would become final when the President says it is. Water is important, Lopez says, and the green economy can actually create more jobs.

The 23 firms include One Asia Mining and Development Corp. in Bulacan, the Benguet Corporation, the country’s oldest mining company, the Benguet Corporation’s Nickel Mines, Inc., the Diversified Metals Corporation in Zambales, the Eraman Minerals, three mining companies in Homonhon, six firms in Dinagat Islands, and seven other firms in Surigao del Norte. In addition, five corporations were also suspended. Continue Reading →

Malaysia’s shooting-star bauxite industry faces burn up – by Emily Chow (Reuters U.S. – February 13, 2017)

KUALA LUMPUR – Already under fire for widespread environmental damage, Malaysia’s once lucrative bauxite mining industry is facing a likely death knell from neighboring Indonesia’s move to allow a resumption of exports.

This time last year, Malaysia was the world’s biggest supplier of the aluminum-making raw material to top buyer China, but its exports tumbled after government action aimed at reining in the little regulated industry.

The latest move could spell the end for a sector that only sprang to life in late 2014 after Indonesia banned ore exports, and illustrates the risks facing miners across Southeast Asia from increasingly uncertain government policy. Continue Reading →

Nickel market rebalancing put on hold as divergent Indonesia, Philippines strategies signal standoff – by Henry Lazenby ( – February 14, 2017)

VANCOUVER ( – A rebalancing of the nickel market has been cast into doubt as divergent strategies by major producers Indonesia and the Philippines muddle the outlook, a recent report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) has found.

While Indonesia looks to increase nickel exports, the Philippines is shuttering mines, the banking group’s global commodity research team said in its ‘Global Metals Weekly’ publication.

Nickel has seen a significant improvement in fundamentals over the past 12 months. This has been heavily influenced by a decline in nickel pig iron output in China, on the back of Indonesia’s ore export ban. Continue Reading →

Saying mining is ‘raping’ us, Philippines minister continues crackdown (Deutsche Welle – February 14, 2017)

The Philippines’ environment minister on Tuesday ordered the cancellation of 75 mining contracts, two weeks after ordering the closure of half the country’s operating mines for causing environmental damage.

A long-time environmentalist, Regina Lopez ordered the halt of so-called mineral production sharing agreements as part of a stepped-up campaign to stop damage to watersheds and coastal waters and farmlands.

“You kill the watershed, you kill life. You kill the river, you kill agriculture, you kill the drinking water,” Lopez told a media briefing, adding the country did not want projects that are “raping” us. Continue Reading →

Surging Iron Ore Won’t ‘Fall Off a Cliff,’ Says Rio Tinto – by David Stringer and Haidi Lun (Bloomberg News – Februay 13, 2017)

Iron ore will defy forecasts for a dramatic price collapse as China’s economy remains strong and the top buyer boosts demand for higher-quality imports, according to Rio Tinto Group, the second-largest exporter.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s going to fall off a cliff,” Chief Financial Officer Chris Lynch said Monday in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Daybreak Australia. “I guess the key issue is that we have to be robust in case the price goes up, down or sideways, and that’s what we set out our business to do.”

Global exporters are benefiting as mills in China, the world’s top steelmaker, increasingly prefer higher-quality raw materials to raise efficiency and cut pollution, according to Lynch. Continue Reading →

Old Kolar Gold Fields mines can never be reopened – by Gayatri Chandrashekar (Times of India – February 13, 2017)

The pioneering gold mining town in India, Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), has a fascinating history. Over two decades bridging the 19th and 20th centuries, a remote corner of the Old Mysore state’s people were transformed by a British company into a close-knit industrial community with special skills in mining at great depths.

By sheer doggedness, professionalism, perseverance and a bit of luck, John Taylor & Sons established a profitable and pioneering industry at KGF and the labour force ran to tens of thousands right up to the 1930s. For the poverty-stricken neighbourhood, jobs in the pits ensured regular meals and a place to stay.

The mines were nationalised in 1956 but closed 15 years ago, after losses due to inept management, wrong pricing policy and lack of investment in new exploration. The mines were allowed to be inundated by water. Continue Reading →

Duterte backs mine closures in southern Philippines – by Karen Lema (Reuters U.S. – February 12, 2017)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he would not stand in the way of his minister’s decision to close several mines in the southern Philippines after he saw the damage they had done to the environment.

Duterte flew by helicopter from Butuan to Surigao City on Sunday to inspect areas hit by Friday’s powerful earthquake that killed six and damaged public infrastructure.

Of the 23 mines ordered shut by environment minister Regina Lopez for good, seven are in nickel-rich Surigao del Norte and another seven in nearby Dinagat Island, nearly all of them producing nickel. Continue Reading →

Uranium market conditions last year were the worst in 30 years, says Cameco Corp CEO – by Sunny Freeman (Financial Post – February 11, 2017)

Uranium market conditions in 2016 were the toughest that Cameco Corp. CEO Tim Gitzel has seen in his 30 years in the business, but he says he remains cautiously optimistic about the long-term picture.

“We’ve been saying for some time that uranium prices are neither rational nor sustainable,” Gitzel told investors during a conference call Friday to discuss its dismal 2016 earnings. “Current prices are failing to incent the investment decisions required to ensure reliable supply is available to meet growing demand out into the future.”

Cameco reported a fourth-quarter net loss attributable to shareholders of $144 million, or 36 cents per share, which was more than 10 times larger than the loss of $10 million, or three cents per share, reported in the year-earlier period. The fourth quarter of 2016 included an impairment charge of $238 million. The company booked a $210 million impairment charge in the 2015 quarter. Continue Reading →

ANALYSIS-As coal shortfall looms, miners enjoy unexpected boom – by Henning Gloystein (Reuters U.K. – February 9, 2017)

SINGAPORE, Feb 10 Many a swan song has been sung for thermal coal markets as renewable power generation and a push towards using more natural gas have gained traction. Yet a coal price spike last year, driven by a Chinese change in regulation that capped local mining operations, has shown how easily markets can swing from oversupply to shortfall.

While many analysts and investors see the long-term outlook for coal as bleak due to policies and technological advances that favour cleaner natural gas and renewable in power generation, the shorter-term outlook for the industry has seen a sharp reversal of fortunes.

This year, strong demand growth in Asia’s emerging markets will create a supply shortfall for the first time in at least half a decade. Consumption could even soon rise past the 2014 peak, according to Asia’s largest commodity trading house, Noble Group. Continue Reading →

Eco-warrior lays waste to Philippines’ mining industry – by Manolo Serapio Jr and John Chalmers (Reuters U.S. – February , 2017)

MANILA – Mining industry chiefs had just assailed her order to shut down more than half of the Philippines’ mines, and Regina Lopez was in a combative mood: but, to keep her cool before an interview, she slipped into a side room and meditated for a few minutes.

There is a spiritual side to Lopez, the daughter of a media mogul who, at 18, left a life of privilege behind in the Philippines, took a vow of celibacy and became a yoga teacher and missionary in Africa, living in slums among the poor.

But Lopez is also a fiery environmental crusader. She has no qualms about attacking the powerful and flouting convention, just like the country’s blunt-spoken president, Rodrigo Duterte, who appointed her as his environment minister last year. Continue Reading →

Barrick Sale of Super Pit Stake to China Buyer Stalls – by Brett Foley, Scott Deveau and Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – February 8, 2017)

Barrick Gold Corp.’s plan to sell its stake in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit mine to a Chinese bidder has stalled, as the buyer faces delays securing financing for the $1.3 billion deal, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Minjar Gold Pty, a unit of property developer Shandong Tyan Home Co., is also still seeking Chinese regulatory clearance for the purchase, according to the people. Barrick is awaiting an outcome and remains interested in selling to Minjar, which outbid other suitors by a large margin, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Barrick may still decide to re-enter talks with other buyers or keep its 50 percent stake in the Western Australia asset, which is the country’s largest open-pit gold mine, the people said. Continue Reading →

Choking China Backs Australia in Race for Cleaner Iron Ore – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – February 8, 2017)

Chinese engineers who carved a railway through the Tibetan plateau and built the world’s longest sea-bridge across Hangzhou Bay have a new challenge: developing a $3.4 billion project on Australia’s remote Eyre Peninsula to meet increased demand for cleaner iron ore.

China Railway Group Ltd., the world’s second-largest infrastructure builder, is backing the mine, port and rail-road project that aims to supply high-quality, lower-emission ore to Chinese steel mills facing stricter environmental rules.

The project would be a major step toward South Australia’s goal of securing A$10 billion ($7.6 billion) of investments to fund a stable of new iron ore mines by 2021. China Railway’s partner Iron Road Ltd. aims to bring the 24 million ton-a year mine into production in late 2020 after tests showed its product can help customers meet the tougher standards. Continue Reading →