Archive | Europe Mining

BMO: Miners may revisit dormant mega-projects – by Matthew Keevil (Northern Miner – Matthew Keevil)

Northern Miner

VANCOUVER — The last five years have seen large-cap miners shelve — and often write-down — ambitious, greenfield development projects that carry significant development price tags and heightened risk.

The majors instead focused on stronger operating margins and lighter balance sheets, which were typically characterized by improved free cash flow generation and lower debt.

The last 18 months have marked a shift in sentiment for metal producers, however, as metal prices have strengthened and risk capital markets entered the nascent stages of recovery. Continue Reading →

25 years ago today… moment they killed King Coal – by David Behrens(Yorkshire Post – October 13, 2017)

Ackton Hall, Wheldale, Ledston Luck… the roll-call of names reads like a list of old, abandoned railway stations. They were among the 28 pits in Yorkshire that had already been swept away when, 25 years ago today, the government passed what was to be a death sentence on the rest.

It fell to Michael Heseltine, president of the Board of Trade in John Major’s Cabinet, to swing the axe. Some 31 out of 50 remaining deep mines would close, he announced. 31,000 jobs would go at a stroke.

It was the biggest redundancy ever announced in Britain. After years of decline, the news was not a surprise but it was a shock. “Politically there was no appetite for coal. Not after the strikes,” said Shaun McLaughlin, who heard the news, with the rest of his shift, at Stillingfleet pit in Selby. Continue Reading →

Talvivaara: Finland’s biggest environmental crime case returns to court (YLE Uutiset – October 9, 2017)

Finland’s most notorious corporate environmental crimes case returned to court on Monday. The founder and owner of the Finnish nickel mine Talvivaara – as well as other leaders of the company – could face massive fines and suspended jail sentences in appeals court.

An environmental crime trial about mining company Talvivaara’s past operations began at the Rovaniemi appeals court on Monday.

Under scrutiny in the trial are the construction and use of Talvivaara’s gypsum waste pond, alleged scheduled and uncontrolled dumping of effluents into nature, as well as issues surrounding the handling and placement of the mine’s various waste components.

Prosecutors claim that Talvivaara bosses committed their first environmental crimes as early as 2004 when the mine was in its planning and building stages. Continue Reading →

Robots under Swedish forest breathe life into ancient mines – by Eric Onstad (Reuters U.S. – October 4, 2017)

GARPENBERG MINE, Sweden (Reuters) – Hundreds of meters below the lush forests of rural Sweden, one of the world’s most ancient mines has been transformed into one of the most modern.Sensors linked to robotic equipment in Boliden’s Garpenberg zinc mine – which has been in operation since the 13th century – feed data to operators above ground as screens blink and flash in a nearby control room.

Boliden is at the forefront of a global transformation in which mining companies are exploiting huge amounts of data being crunched by computers to dramatically boost productivity and cut costs.

The advances at Garpenberg, however, have only scratched the surface in exploiting the new technology. Fully automated mines are on the horizon. “We have a way to go. There’s a big possibility of working 24 hours a day with more automation,” said Jenny Gotthardsson, general manager at Garpenberg. Continue Reading →

More opposition to Berkeley’s uranium mine in Spain – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – September 28, 2017)

Nuclear energy experts from a variety of countries expressed their support this week to the actions carried out by Stop Uranio, a social platform that opposes Berkeley Minera España’s plans to open a mine in the Spanish town of Retortillo.

Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaigner, Raquel Montón, said that Spain doesn’t need nuclear plants or mines because the country is on a promising path towards developing sustainable sources of clean energy.

According to EFE news agency, Greenpeace and other organizations such as WWF, worry about the impacts nuclear debris might have on both the environment and the local population. Continue Reading →

Diamond Dealers Cling to the Old Days – by Thomas Biesheuvel and Franz Wild (Bloomberg News – September 28, 2017)

Ashit Mehta was stunned. Without notice, the representatives of Dutch bank ABN Amro marched into the offices of his global diamond empire, confiscated $150 million of rocks, locked them in a vault and left with the key.

What began on that overcast December day in 2012 turned out to be just the start of the problems for the secretive family-run diamond trading houses that have defined the Belgian city of Antwerp for centuries.

They make up the invisible link between African mines and jewelry stores in New York, London and Hong Kong, and are being squeezed like rarely before. The banks whose loans they relied on to buy gems are pulling out of a business they no longer think is worth the risk in the post-financial crisis age of increased regulation and scrutiny. Continue Reading →

Canadian miner’s plan incite protest in Irish town – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – September 27, 2017)

Anti-mining activists from Cookstown, Northern Ireland, were escorted out of a hotel by police after they tried to enter an invite-only conference where they thought representatives from Dalradian Resources (TSX:DNA) (LON:DALR) would be in attendance.

The protesters belong to a group called Greencastle Community Voices and, together with another local organization called Save Our Sperrins, they oppose Toronto-based Dalradian’s plans to build a gold mine at Curraghinalt, in County Tyrone, due to its potential environmental impact.

Dubbed “The Future Search,” the event the activists broke into is being held this week under the sponsorship of four different local governments, which spurred the activists’ fury. They say that there was a lack of transparency in releasing both the guest list and a detailed account of how the district councils involved are spending the £40,000 destined to cover the costs of the meeting. Continue Reading →

(Russia Mining) World’s Biggest Country Doesn’t Have to Go Far for Cheaper Labor – by Anna Andrianova and Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – September 25, 2017)

Just a seven-hour drive south of Moscow, Stary Oskol could be a world away when it comes to the costs of running a business. For Metalloinvest Holding Co., the bargain was too good to pass up.

Starting in July, Russia’s largest iron-ore producer is relocating some management personnel from the capital to the old mining center that’s perhaps best known as the home of the country’s most celebrated mixed-martial-arts fighter.

And once its new service hub there is up and running, the company expects to cut its expenses for operations such as bookkeeping and human resources by almost a third. Billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s Metalloinvest is the latest among a slew of major companies that are seizing on the discrepancies in pay and costs, queuing up for smaller towns left behind during the oil boom years of the past decade. Continue Reading →

How Merkel’s Green Energy Policy Has Fueled Demand for Coal – by Brian Parkin and Weixin Zha (Bloomberg News – September 21, 2017)

Germany still gets 40 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants.

By 2030, the eastern German town of Poedelwitz will likely be razed to get at the rich veins of coal beneath its half-timbered houses. The reason: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s effort to steer Germany toward greener energy, which has unexpectedly meant booming demand for dirty coal.

While Merkel aims to wean the country from nuclear power and boost renewable energy, the shift has been slow—Germany’s 140-plus coal-fired plants last year supplied 40 percent of the country’s electricity—and Poedelwitz is flanked by open-pit lignite mines that feed a 2 gigawatt power plant a few miles away.

“This is unparalleled destruction of the environment,” says Jens Hausner, a farmer who has seen 17 of his 20 hectares consumed by digging equipment that looks like something out of a Mad Max movie. In a bit more than a decade, the hulking machines are expected to claw through the town’s 13th-century church and 40 or so remaining homes. Continue Reading →

Eldorado backs down on threat to halt Greek investment, for now – by Angeliki Koutantou (Reuters Canada – September 21, 2017)

ATHENS (Reuters) – Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) EGO.N on Thursday postponed a decision to freeze its investment in Greece, saying that talks with the country’s leftist-led government, which granted it key permits last week, were “constructive”.

The Canadian miner last week threatened to halt new investment in its Olympias, Skouries and the Stratoni mines in the northern Greek region of Halkidiki from Sept. 22 unless the Greek government granted it permits and showed a willingness to engage in talks.

Eldorado also said it would only reassess its decision to freeze its investment if it got a permit for a flotation plant in Skouries. Since then Athens has issued permits to allow Eldorado’s Olympias project to become fully operational and has also launched an arbitration process to settle a long-running dispute over a metallurgical plant in Madem Lakkos. Continue Reading →

Russian Nuclear Giant Joins Scramble to Supply Electric-Car Boom – by Jack Farchy and Elena Mazneva (Bloomberg News – September 19, 2017)

Russia’s state-owned nuclear corporation is joining the lithium rush. After a collapse in the price of uranium, Rosatom Corp. plans to start mining and trading the metal used in batteries as it seeks to profit from the rapid rise of electric vehicles.

“The evolution of the car business is going much faster than predicted,” Kirill Komarov, the company’s first deputy head, said in an interview. “We plan to accumulate the whole integrated line of everything starting from lithium and up to final batteries or even some cooperation with car producers.”

Rosatom is the latest company to join a global scramble for lithium projects to supply growing demand for batteries used in electric cars such as Tesla Inc.’s Model 3 and General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Bolt. Continue Reading →

Palladium price consensus forecasts point to end of the rally – by Frik Els ( – September 18, 2017)

Monday was a bleak day on precious metals markets with the glaring exception of palladium which added more than 1% to $930 an ounce, closing the gap with sister metal platinum to only $30.

At the beginning of the month, palladium futures trading in New York jumped to just shy of $1,000, the highest since 2001. The metal, mainly used to scrub vehicle emissions, is trading up 37% so far this year on a combination of strong global sales for gasoline vehicles and persistent undersupply.

2016 was the fifth year in a row of substantial deficits (1.2m ounces or 37 tonnes) as production in South Africa continues a painful decline and Russia, which together with the African nation is responsible for more than 70% of global PGM output, navigate sanctions imposed by the West. Continue Reading →

Greece to grant mining permits to Canada’s Eldorado as workers protest – by Angeliki Koutantou and Alkis Konstantinidis (Reuters Canada – September 13, 2017)

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece said on Wednesday it would grant Canada’s Eldorado Gold outstanding permits this week to enable it to fully operate one of its three Greek projects, days after the miner threatened to suspend a major investment in the country.

Eldorado’s investment in northern Greece is among the biggest since its debt crisis began seven years ago and has long been viewed as a litmus test of Greece’s resolve to attract foreign capital. But differences have dragged on for years, especially over compliance with environmental regulations.

Eldorado Gold said on Monday it would halt new investment into its Olympias and Skouries projects and the Stratoni mine from Sept 22 due to permit delays and lack of clarity on an upcoming arbitration process. Continue Reading →

Eldorado Gold’s suspension threatens Greece’s investment image – by Sotiris Nikas and Paul Tugwell (Bloomberg/Globe and Mail – September 11, 2017)

Eldorado Gold Corp. has put Greece on the spot. The Canadian mining company’s decision on Monday to suspend all its operations in Greece, citing delays in acquiring routine permits, puts the Syriza government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a difficult position.

Eldorado Gold is the largest foreign investor in Greece and its decision comes as the country, which is working on creating a sustainable path to exit its bailout program, tries to lure foreign investments. “Irrespective of what will happen next, the damage for Greece as an investment destination is done and it is very significant,” said Wolfango Piccoli, co-president of Teneo Intelligence in London.

The Greek economy has shrunk by more than 25 per cent since Europe’s sovereign debt crisis began in 2008. Since 2010, the country has been under bailout programs with stringent belt-tightening requirements. It has been working on attracting investments such as Eldorado’s to end the bailouts and tackle high unemployment. Continue Reading →

Canada’s Eldorado suspends Greek investment over regulatory hurdles – by Karolina Tagaris (Reuters U.S. – September 11, 2017)

ATHENS (Reuters) – Canada’s Eldorado Gold Corp said on Monday it would suspend investment at its Greek mines and development projects, blaming regulatory hurdles for halting one of the biggest investments in Greece since the country’s debt crisis.

Citing delays in permits from the Greek government, Eldorado said no additional investment would be made into the Olympias and Skouries projects and the Stratoni mine, which has been operational, in Greece. It will place all its projects on care and maintenance from Sept. 22.

The Skouries mine on the Halkidiki peninsula in northern Greece, a landscape of pristine beaches and lush forests, has long been a flashpoint with the authorities and a test of Greece’s resolve to push ahead with foreign investments. Continue Reading →