Archive | Asia Mining

Philippines bans open-pit mining as minister toughens crackdown – by Enrico Dela Cruz and Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – April 27, 2017)

MANILA – Philippine Environment Secretary Regina Lopez said on Thursday she will ban open-pit mining in the country, toughening a months-long crackdown on the sector she blames for extensive environmental damage.

The ban comes just days before the outspoken environmentalist-turned-regulator faces a confirmation hearing in Congress that could lead to her removal as minister after a storm of complaints from pro-mining groups.

Lopez, who has already ordered the closure of more than half the country’s operating mines and has previously described open pit mines as “madness”, said it was within her prerogative to ban the practice, which is allowed under Philippines mining law. Continue Reading →

Climate-stressed Mongolia urged to put yaks before mines – by Thin Lei Win (Reuters U.S. – April 25, 2017)

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Mongolia should diversify its economy in the face of climate change and other stresses, as reliance on mining at the expense of its livestock industry has put people at risk of commodity price shocks and rising unemployment, an international aid group said.

Ramesh Singh, Mongolia director for Mercy Corps, said strengthening rural livestock markets and establishing centers of economic activity outside the over-stretched capital would enrich the nation’s coffers, provide work for young people, and boost the country’s resilience.

Mongolia has struggled with an economic crisis since 2016 due to government over-spending and declining revenues from its exports, which include copper and coal. “We have reached a tipping point,” said Singh, whose U.S.-based organization has worked in Mongolia since 1999. Continue Reading →

Freeport cuts copper production targets after Indonesia spat – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – April 25, 2017)

Freeport-McMoRan, the world’s largest publicly traded copper company, has cut its production forecasts following a stand-off with the Indonesian government stop exports from its Grasberg mine banned.

The Arizona-based miner company had previously expected to sell 4.1bn pounds of copper this year, a figure it has now revised to 3.9bn after Jakarta banned shipments from Grasberg, the world’s second biggest copper mine.

The new guidance was revealed in a trading update that saw Freeport report adjusted net income of $220m for the three months to the end of March, against a loss of $196m a year ago when commodity prices were much lower. Continue Reading →

Winner of “Green Nobel” says India is plundering not protecting tribal lands – by Nita Bhalla (Daily Mail/Reuters – April 24, 2017)

NEW DELHI, April 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – India is plundering the land of its indigenous people to profit from mining, with little regard of the devastation caused to poor tribal communities, said an Indian land rights activist who won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize on Monday.

Prafulla Samantara, 66, from India’s eastern state of Odisha is one of six winners of the annual prize – often known as the “Green Nobel” – which honours grassroots activists for efforts to protect the environment, often at their own risk.

Samantara, recognised by the Goldman jury for winning a 12-year legal battle to stop a multi-national firm mining bauxite on tribal lands, said he was honoured by the award but voiced concern at the continued mining threats faced by India’s tribes. Continue Reading →

In the quest of yet another Koh-i-noor – by Appaji Reddem (The Hindu – April 23, 2017)

Prospectors flock to Kollur mine area as the KL Sagar waters recede

While India’s battle to reclaim the Koh-i-noor diamond continues, summer has given a new lease of life to the mines along the Krishna river that spawned the crown jewel. They have surfaced after months under the waters of the Pulichintala irrigation project in Guntur district.

And as the deserted villages in the 2.4 lakh sq. km. catchment area reappear, prospectors flock to the area, hoping to find another Koh-i-Noor. The Kollur mine, the ‘Eldorado’ that yielded the enigmatic diamond and the eponymous village in Andhra Pradesh lie in a forested region some 100 km from Vijayawada, enveloped by Pulichintala project or the Dr KL Rao Sagar project on the Krishna river.

The region has been home to diamond mining for centuries, reaching its zenith under the Qutub Shahi dynasty with their capital Golconda a global hub of the trade. Millions of carats of diamonds are believed to have been mined from Kollur between the 15th and the 19th century. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China ratchets up the pressure on its aluminium producers – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – April 21, 2017)

Is aluminium the new steel for China’s policy-makers? The country’s steel producers are already being subjected to a host of measures intended to weed out excess capacity. A wholesale restructuring of the enormous steel sector is a key component of the country’s declared war on pollution.

It also provides some negotiating leeway for China when it comes to dealing with the growing international pressure to rein in exports. China’s aluminium producers, which like their steel counterparts now dominate global supply, seem to be next in line for “supply-side reform”.

Threats to close capacity in the region around Beijing over the winter heating months had already propelled aluminium prices higher. They have just been given a further boost by news that Beijing has ordered the suspension of new capacity in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. Further measures seem certain to follow. Continue Reading →

Koh-i-Noor: India says it should not claim priceless diamond from UK (British Broadcasting Corporation – April 19, 2017)

The Indian government has told the Supreme Court that it should not try to reclaim the priceless Koh-i-Noor diamond from Britain. The gemstone came into British hands in the mid-19th Century, and forms part of the Crown Jewels on display at the Tower of London.

Ownership of the famous gem is an emotional issue for many Indians, who believe it was stolen by the British. But the solicitor-general said it was “neither stolen nor forcibly taken”.

Ranjit Kumar said the 105-carat diamond had been “gifted” to the East India company by the former rulers of Punjab in 1849. The case is being heard by the Supreme Court after an Indian NGO filed a petition asking the court to direct the Indian government to bring back the diamond. Continue Reading →

Despite slower growth, China still key market for miners and Africa – by Keith Campbell ( – April 21, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – There can be no doubt that, for the past two decades-and-a-half or so, the biggest single influence on the global mining industry has been China. Between 2002 and 2012, that country experienced an annual average real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 10.4%, compared with India’s 7.6%, the UK’s 1.3%, Germany’s 1.2%, France’s 1.0% and Japan’s 0.8%.

During the period 1992 to 2002, China’s average annual real GDP growth rate had been 9.8% (India’s had been 5.8%). (These figures are from The Economist: Pocket World in Figures 2015.)

The result was the “commodity supercycle” and a global mining boom. But Chinese economic growth has, of course, decelerated significantly since 2012. In 2015, it grew at 6.9% and last year at 6.7%, according to official data released in Beijing. (The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, has estimated India’s 2016 growth rate at 6.6%, which makes China again the world’s fastest- growing economy. Continue Reading →

Diamond miners have India in sight with Real is Rare slogan – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – April 21, 2017)

The world’s top diamond producers will try to spur demand in India with the launch of their “Real is Rare” slogan in September, after the withdrawal of high-value bank notes dented the world’s third biggest diamond market.

The marketing slogan was launched in the United States in 2016 by the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), which groups the biggest producers including De Beers, part of Anglo American, Russia’s Alrosa and Rio Tinto.

DPA Chief Executive Jean-Marc Lieberherr told Reuters early indications were that the slogan was effective and diamonds had captured the interest of the millennial generation, which the DPA’s research found wants “fewer and more meaningful things”. Continue Reading →

Shandong No Longer Pursuing Barrick’s Super Pit Stake – by by Scott Deveau and Linly Lin (Bloomberg News – April 19, 2017)

Shandong Tyan Home Co. said it has ended talks to acquire Barrick Gold Corp.’s stake in its Kalgoorlie Super Pit mine in Australia because of recent tightened controls in China on outbound investment.

Toronto-based Barrick began the process to sell its stake in the mine, a 50-50 joint venture with Newmont Mining Corp., last year. Talks between Barrick and Minjar Gold Pty, a Shandong Tyan subsidiary, stalled in February after the buyer faced delays securing financing for a $1.3 billion bid, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

“The company is no longer pursuing this project,” Shandong Tyan said in an exchange filing, citing both the tightened controls on outbound investment and foreign exchange. Continue Reading →

Philippine minister wants to work with Maoist rebels in mine rehab – by Enrico Dela Cruz and Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – April 20, 2017)

MANILA – The Philippine environment minister said she has been given the greenlight by President Rodrigo Duterte to explore an unorthodox strategy to rehabilitate and develop the country’s mining areas: recruit communist rebel fighters to help.

The plan of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez, who has ordered the closure of more than half of mines in the world’s top nickel ore supplier, may be tough to carry out given the decades-long conflict between the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and the Philippine government that has killed more than 40,000 people.

Lopez, an environmentalist-turned-regulator, believes it can work though. “What I’ve seen with the NPA, they just really want to get people out of poverty, they’re really not bad people,” Lopez told reporters on Thursday. “We might have a situation where miners work with the NPA. We must come from the same page.” Continue Reading →

China’s Shandong Tyan says talks over on bid for Barrick’s Kalgoorlie – by Susan Taylor (Reuters U.S. – April 19, 2017)

TORONTO – Shanghai-listed Shandong Tyan Home (600807.SS) said on Wednesday its negotiations with Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) to buy the Canadian operator’s 50-percent stake in Kalgoorlie mine have ended without a deal, citing new capital and acquisition rules in China.

Toronto-based Barrick had been reviewing the financial backing behind an approximate $1.3 billion bid for its stake in Kalgoorlie mine by Minjar Gold, a unit of Shandong Tyan, Reuters reported in November. Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer, declined to comment on the matter. It reports first-quarter financial results on April 24.

In February, Barrick President Kelvin Dushnisky said “advanced negotiations with a proposed buyer,” were under way and Barrick would be “happy sellers” at the right price. “We’re also very happy to continue to own that asset,” he said. Continue Reading →

Iron ore price collapse wipes billions off top mining stocks – by Frik Els ( – April 18, 2017)

The Northern China import price of 62% Fe content ore plunged 5% on Tuesday to a six-month low of $61.50 per dry metric tonne according to data supplied by The Steel Index. The price of the steelmaking raw material is now down by more than a third over just the last month.

The knock-on effect on the market value of the world’s top iron ore miners have been dramatic with world number four, Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group, a pure play iron ore producer, hardest hit. FMG stock has lost more than 23% of their value over the last month and the Perth-based firm is now worth US$15.6 billion on the ASX following a 7.5% drop in Tuesday trading.

World number one Vale is down 16.1% over the same period knocking $8.5 billion off the Rio de Janeiro-based company’s market capitalization. Diversified giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton between them have given up $19 billion between them since the iron ore price peak mid-March. Continue Reading →

El Salvador mining ban may cause a rethink in Philippines – by Ben Kritz (Manila Times – April 18, 2017)

ON March 29, the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador passed what activists are hailing as a “landmark” law that essentially bans all forms metallic mining in the small Central American country. The ban on mining has been brewing since 2007, when the Catholic Church, which wields formidable political influence in the country, took a stance against mining.

The following year, the right-wing Salvadoran government at the time canceled the exploration permit of the Canadian mining company Pacific Rim (absorbed by OceanaGold in 2013), prompting the mining firm to take the government to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Singapore.

Two successive leftist governments in El Salvador maintained the exploration moratorium, and in October 2016, ICSID dealt a blow against OceanaGold (who inherited Pacific Rim’s case), ruling the company must pay the government $8 million in legal costs, which it has so far not done. Continue Reading →

China Proves Rare Earth Minerals are the new Oil (Edgy – April 12, 2017)

Rare Earth Minerals are growing in demand, becoming a necessary and controversial commodity in today’s trade in production.Their status as a natural resource that is essential to the advancement of defense, tech, and clean energy will only be elevated as technology advances.

Although the REM trade has sparked backlash from environmental watch dogs, it’s becoming more apparent that they are taking hold as the “new oil” in the natural commodities market.

Rare Earth Minerals (REMs) consist of 17 elements from the periodic table. They are plentiful in the Earth’s crust and are often found concentrated near each other. They are classified into subgroups by weight, some being “heavier” and thus more valuable than others. Continue Reading →