Archive | Canada Mining

Gecamines Says Lundin Withdrawal From Congo Would Be Problematic – by Thomas Wilson (Bloomberg News – September 23, 2016)

Gecamines, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s state-owned miner, warned that any decision by Lundin Mining Corp. to withdraw from the Tenke Fungurume copper mine could scupper Freeport McMoRan Inc.’s proposed sale of its stake in the project.

By exiting at the same time as Freeport and transferring full ownership of the project to new parties without securing Gecamines’ approval, Lundin and Freeport would further violate the state-owned miner’s rights, Chairman Albert Yuma said by e-mail Friday. Gecamines must be permitted to match any offers for Lundin’s stake, or it could block the deal, he said.

Freeport announced in May it sold its indirect 56 percent stake in Tenke Fungurume to China Molybdenum Co. for $2.65 billion. Gecamines, which owns 20 percent of the mine, said it hadn’t been informed about the transaction and would investigate the deal in order to “assert its rights.” Continue Reading →

The 54M carat gem: De Beers’ new diamond mine is a rare thing that could be the gem giant’s best friend – by Jesse Snyder (Financial Post – September 24, 2016)

GAHCHO KUÉ, N.W.T. — Seen from inside an approaching aircraft, the Gahcho Kué diamond mine seems to materialize out of nowhere, a speck of industrial development amid an endless stretch of low vegetation and tiny lakes imprinted on the northern Canadian rock face. Here, there are no natural points of reference. The view looking out from one side of the mine is nearly indistinguishable from any other.

But beneath the surface, the location is distinct from its surroundings. Under the cap rock at Gahcho Kué are three vertical tubes of mineral — known in the industry as pipes — rich with diamonds. The mine is expected to produce 54 million carats of diamonds during its 12-year lifespan, making it the world’s largest new diamond mine to be constructed in 13 years.

The joint-venture operation, located about 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, is 51-per-cent owned by De Beers Group of Companies, a privately owned diamond mining and retail company, and its massive London-based parent, Anglo American PLC. Toronto-based Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. owns the other 49-per-cent stake. Continue Reading →

[British Columbia gold rush] 1858: How a violent year created a province – by Justine Hunter (Globe and Mail – November 18, 2008)

On a Sunday late in April of 1858, the governor of Vancouver Island stepped out of church in Fort Victoria and learned that the gold rush was on. The U.S. steamer Commodore had just arrived in the harbour from San Francisco, delivering 450 passengers bound for the Fraser Canyon.

The miners were driven by a “mania for gold” and soon would find themselves at war with local native populations, and confronting the will of a scheming politician with great ambitions for the wild and lawless territory that is now the mainland of British Columbia.

“It will require I fear the nicest tact to avoid a disastrous Indian war,” the governor, James Douglas, warned his political masters in London in a June 15 dispatch. By the time the letter arrived, U.S.-based militias were already charging through the Fraser Canyon, intent on killing every Indian they could find. Continue Reading →

[Nevsun Resources] We were forced to work at Western-run mine, say migrants who fled Eritrea – by Allison Martell and Edmund Blair (Reuters U.S. – September 26, 2016)

A Canadian company operating in one of Africa’s poorest countries faces compensation claims from some workers. They say they were military conscripts and suffered harsh conditions.

TORONTO/ASMARA – Bemnet Negash never got to say a proper goodbye to his family. In February 2006, government officials arrived at his school in the highlands of Eritrea and put him and his classmates on a bus to a military training camp. He was 20 years old, and still at school because a childhood illness had interrupted his education.

Bemnet’s father heard what was happening and rushed to the school. “He tried to pass to me my medication and some money through a window of the bus on which I was being taken away, but it was not possible,” said Bemnet in an affidavit filed with a Canadian court last year.

For much of the next five years, Bemnet toiled for the Eritrean national service, a massive conscription program instituted by the country’s autocratic ruler in the mid-1990s. The conscripts become not just soldiers, but an army of cheap labor, forced to work for years for little pay, according to the United Nations. The U.N. has said the program is “similar to slavery in its effects” – a claim the Eritrean government rejects. Continue Reading →

The hollowing out of Canadian mining: Vale’s takeover of Inco, 10 years on – by Andrew Bell (Business Network News – September 23, 2016)

Ten years ago this Saturday, a global mining gem slipped out of Canadian fingers. In 2006, Canadian nickel miner Inco agreed to be bought by Brazil’s Vale in a $19-billion takeover. The announcement of the acquisition came just weeks after fellow nickel giant Falconbridge was acquired by Xstrata of Switzerland (now part of Glencore) in an $18-billion deal. The previous year, Falconbridge had combined with another Canadian mineral giant, Noranda.

The Inco sale “further undermines Canada’s status as a force in the mining industry,” the New York Times proclaimed at the time of the acquisition.

The two takeovers rankled because both Inco and Falconbridge sat atop a mineral lode in in Sudbury, Ont., which is among one of the greatest deposits on Earth. Vale itself calls the northern Ontario city “the mining capital of the world,” adding that its operations there “are among our largest on the planet, employing approximately 4,000 people.” Continue Reading →

Check-up with the rock doctor: It’s a long way to the top, but CEO Catharine Farrow has made it – by Kyle Born (Canadian Mining & Energy – September 2016)

Most of us will never know what it’s like to be a CEO of an organization, but perhaps you’ve wondered what it’s like to walk in their shoes. Catharine Farrow has attained that coveted position within TMAC Resources Inc. As you might imagine, there’s not a whole lot of free time available to someone who’s accountable to so many. On this August morning Farrow is working away on emails at her home in Lake Nipissing, Ontario.

“My son is still off school, my husband has gone back to work, so this weekend I’m working from the cottage,” Farrow said. “I’m taking some downtime before the fall. I enjoy being a hockey mom to my son. He’s 12. Once I get into the fall I’m basically not home very much so I’m taking this week to hang out with the boys a little bit.”

If this is what downtime looks like, then what happens when things are busy? “I work out of the Toronto office,” Farrow said. “I basically get up in the morning and give ’er all day, see as many people as I can, do meetings.” TMAC owns the Hope Bay Project, which is a high-grade gold deposit located in Nunavut. Farrow oversees Hope Bay. Continue Reading →

Gold bug heaven: Fund manager predicts $4,000 an ounce – by Scott Barlow (Globe and Mail – September 22, 2016)

Investors have learned in the past decade that almost anything can happen in global markets, but a lot would have to change for the gold price to reach $4,000 (U.S.) an ounce.

Nonetheless, fund manager Diego Parrilla of Old Mutual Global Investors told Bloomberg he believes there’s “a few thousand dollars of upside” in the gold price.

Mr. Parrilla was somewhat coy about his investment thesis for bullion, noting, “As some of the excesses in other asset classes get unwound, gold will perform very strongly. … [T]he perfect storm scenario will mean that gold will perform best when other classes are doing worst.” Continue Reading →

Big gold miners see muted M&A as bullion’s rise limits bargains – by Nicole Mordant (Reuters U.S. – September 22, 2016)

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. – The world’s biggest gold miners will stay shy of big acquisitions, top executives said this week, noting that a jump in the price of bullion has made potential purchases pricey, and memories of failed deals linger.

The need for financial discipline was the dominant theme at the Denver Gold Forum this week, an annual conference for top miners, as the sector emerges from a deep, four-year slump. Executives met as the spot gold price surged by 30 percent in the first seven months of the year to as high as $1,374 an ounce. It has since slid to $1,326, still up 25 percent.

Had the industry experienced lower gold prices for longer this year, there would likely have been more mergers and acquisitions, said Gary Goldberg, Chief Executive of Newmont Mining Corp, the biggest gold miner by market value. Continue Reading →

The all-natural ‘environmental disaster’: The Yukon creek that has been dyed red by rust for millennia – by Tristin Hopper (National Post – September 20, 2016)

Normally, when a river turns pumpkin orange, it’s a clear sign that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong: A chemical spill, a burst tailings pond or some kind of unearthly algae bloom.

But just at the side of the Yukon’s Dempster Highway — a gravel road running from the Klondike to Inuvik — it’s possible to view a remote waterway that has been opaque with pollution since Gwich’in peoples first entered the area. “It’s rust,” said Matt Herod, a geoscientist who has studied Red Creek, one of two “rusty” waterways along the Dempster Highway.

Herod describes the creek’s distinctive hue as a kind of “milky, coffee colour.” On his blog, he’s called it a “pretty wild place geochemically.” Red Creek, along with nearby Engineer Creek, gets its colour from iron deposits that have broken to the surface. Specifically, the water becomes jet black after picking up minerals from an exposed seam of black shale, and progressively turns red as it meanders downstream. Continue Reading →

Lundin’s agonizing Congo decision – by Frik Els ( – September 20, 1016)

Top publicly-held copper producer Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX) in May announced the sale of its largest African copper mine to China Molybdenum (CMOC) for up to $2.65 billion.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s state-owned Gecamines controls 20% of the high-grade Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine. Lundin Mining (TSX:LUN) indirectly owns 24% which includes a right of first offer provision to pick up Freeport’s stake.

Toronto-based Lundin first received a notice from Freeport offering the company the right to acquire its effective share of 56% back in May and last week Phoenix-based Freeport granted the Canadian miner a second extension to make a decision on the purchase to September 29. Continue Reading →

Tough farm conditions right time for Potash merger: Agrium CEO – by Rod Nickel (Reuters Canada – September 20, 2016)

Reuters) – Plunging crop and fertilizer prices may not have hit rock bottom yet, and the market’s weakness makes it the right time to merge leading farm input suppliers, the chief executive officer of Agrium Inc said on Tuesday, making his pitch to skeptical investors for a $26 billion union with Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc.

“Are we at the bottom yet? We don’t know. We know there’s more upside than downside,” said Agrium CEO Chuck Magro, adding that fertilizer demand is growing. “This is the time in the cycle where it makes sense to do mergers and acquisitions.”

The all-stock deal would combine Potash’s crop nutrient production capacity, the world’s largest, with Agrium’s farm retail network, North America’s biggest. Some Agrium investors are concerned the tie-up would leave them with greater exposure to the slumping crop nutrient potash. Continue Reading →

Gold Bull McEwen Sees Prices as High as $1,900 by End of Year – by Danielle Bochove and Millie Munshi (Bloomberg News – September 20, 2016)

Robert McEwen, one of the gold’s industry’s most unabashed bulls, is predicting prices could surge as much as 44 percent by the end of the year as confidence in the economy buckles.

The metal could trade in a range of $1,700 an ounce to $1,900 by the end of 2016 as uncertainty builds around the stability of global currencies and sovereign debt, said McEwen, who’s so enamored by bullion that he’s founded two producers: McEwen Mining Inc. and Goldcorp Inc. Record-low global interest rates will cause a “huge amount of anxiety” for investors, who will turn to gold as a store of value and an alternative asset, he said.

Gold “is a currency that doesn’t have a liability attached to it,” McEwen said Tuesday in an interview at a gold conference in Colorado Springs. “A store of value that has gone for millennia. And the big argument against gold used to be it costs you money to store it. Right now, it’s costing you money to store your cash.” Continue Reading →

Barrick says Argentina mine may resume within two weeks – by Nicole Mordant(Reuters U.S. – September 19, 2016)

DENVER – Barrick Gold’s Veladero gold mine in Argentina, one of its five core mines, could resume operations in the next two weeks, Barrick President Kelvin Dushnisky said in an interview on Monday.

“I am hopeful that it could be up and going in that kind of two-week window depending on how the reparation work goes,” Dushnisky said.

Barrick Gold said on Thursday that mine operations were temporarily suspended by the government after a “small quantity” of processing solution containing cyanide leaked outside a processing area. Continue Reading →

N.W.T.’s Gahcho Kué diamond mine marks grand opening today – by Kate Kyle (CBC News North – September 20, 2016)

Mine is estimated to become one of the 10 largest diamond mines in the world

Just over two decades in the making, Canada’s newest diamond mine is set to officially open Tuesday in the N.W.T. at a ceremony involving Indigenous leaders, mining and territorial officials. The Gahcho Kué mine, located on the tundra about 280 kilometres of Yellowknife, is estimated to be one of the 10 biggest diamond mines in the world.

The mine is poised “to help our people move out of that last rung on society’s ladder,” said Bill Enge, head of the North Slave Metis Alliance, one of six Indigenous groups who have signed confidential impact and benefits agreements related to Gahcho Kué.

The remote mine is co-owned by De Beers Canada (51 per cent) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49 per cent). “It’s a very significant development in the Northwest Territories,” Enge said. Continue Reading →

Top Gold Miners Locked in Standoff in Australian Outback – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – September 20, 2016)

Deep in the heart of Australia’s dusty outback, the world’s biggest gold mining companies are locked in a standoff.

At the center of the impasse is a 50 percent stake in the country’s largest open-pit gold mine, known as the Kalgoorlie super pit. Barrick Gold Corp., the No. 1 bullion producer, wants to sell its 50 percent holding of the pit. Newmont Mining Corp., which stands at No. 2 and already owns half the mine — and operates it — wants to buy. That’s where the simplicity ends.

Toronto-based Barrick has opened up a bidding process for its half of the mine, and President Kelvin Dushnisky expects the auction to be competitive. Initial indications are very positive,” Dushnisky said Monday in an interview from Colorado Springs during the Denver Gold Forum. “We think it’s going to be a strong process.” Continue Reading →