Archive | International Media Resource Articles

UK Serious Fraud Office launches probe into Rio Tinto over Simandou – by Frik Els (Mining.com – July 24, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

The UK’s anti-fraud investigating body said Monday it is probing Rio Tinto’s dealings in Guinea involving the giant Simandou iron ore project.

“The Serious Fraud Office has opened an investigation into suspected corruption in the conduct of business in the Republic of Guinea by the Rio Tinto group, its employees and others associated with it,” the SFO said in a statement on Monday.

In November last year Melbourne-based Rio fired two executives involved in the project after an internal investigation uncovered a $10.5m payment in 2011 to a French national acting as a go-between with the West African nation’s government. Continue Reading →

After China-induced price spike, coal set to resume long-term decline – by Nina Chestney and Henning Gloystein (Reuters U.S. – July 24, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Coal prices’ march to eight-month highs, driven by China’s huge appetite for power consumption, looks like an interlude in a longer-term decline and is seen losing traction later this year.

Investors widely anticipate a slow demise for coal use due to policies encouraging cleaner natural gas and renewable energy generation, but the shorter-term outlook for the industry has seen a sharp reversal of fortunes.

Asia’s benchmark physical coal prices GCLNWCPFBMc1 have gained more than a third from lows seen in May to nearly $98 per ton, while European benchmark API2 2018 coal futures are at eight-month highs of around $74 a ton. Recent gains are largely due to high demand in China, where power consumption has jumped more than 6 percent since the beginning of the year. Continue Reading →

This Miner’s $190 Billion Tax Bill Would Take Centuries to Pay – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – July 24, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Tanzania sent Acacia Mining Plc a tax bill equal to almost two centuries worth of the gold producer’s revenue.

The government issued the company, which mines all of its gold in the African country, with a $40 billion tax bill and another $150 billion in interest and penalties, Acacia said in a statement Monday. The charge covers alleged under-declared export revenues from the Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines over periods between 2000 and 2017.

Acacia reiterated that it has fully declared all revenues. The stock sank as much as 17 percent on Tuesday to the lowest since December 2013. In just three days, the company has lost 42 percent of its value.

The giant tax bill is the latest twist in an increasingly ugly spat between the government and Acacia. Continue Reading →

Protesters dig in against Taiwan mining rules – by Chris Horton (Nikkei Asian Review – July 25, 2017)

http://asia.nikkei.com/

Aborigines and environmentalists attack Asia Cement rights extension

TAIPEI — Outside a metro station in Taiwan’s capital, musician Nabu Husungan Istanda sits shirtless in his wheelchair, smoking a cigarette while chewing betel nut. The evening traffic zips by, while young Taiwanese of both indigenous and Chinese ancestry laugh and dance arm-in-arm in a circle next to a protest site they are occupying.

Aboriginal Taiwanese and environmental activists have found themselves opposed on other issues, including development and hunting rights, but are fighting together against a mine producing materials for cement in Taroko Gorge, one of the country’s most famous scenic areas.

“We didn’t know any of these young people before, now we’re working together,” said Nabu, an ethnic Bunun. “We’ve become friends.” The new friends were brought together by a 20-year extension of mining rights held by Asia Cement, one of the country’s largest cement producers, in Sincheng Township, Hualien County, at the mouth of Taroko National Park. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto moves big Jadar lithium and boron deposit in Serbia to the front burner – by Matt Chambers (The Australian – July 25, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

Rio Tinto has upgraded the status of the big Jadar lithium and boron deposit in Serbia to that of its most likely growth project, revealing that if it gets approvals and the economics support it, it will start construction in 2020 and reach first production in 2023.

The announcement, made in Serbia on Monday night, makes Jadar (a potential top-three global lithium producer) the only unapproved medium-term growth project in Rio’s portfolio.

The supply it could bring to the market may be a concern for Australian lithium producers and hopefuls, whose shares have been running hot lately on expected growth in demand for lithium-ion batteries as intermittent renewable power and electric cars take more market share. Continue Reading →

World’s Biggest Miner Speeds Hunt for Copper in ‘Last Frontier’ – by David Stringer, Laura Millan Lombrana and Stephan Kueffner (Bloomberg News – July 25, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest miner, has opened an office and is seeking to add staff in Ecuador as it advances a search for copper in a nation that’s becoming the sector’s exploration hot-spot.

Melbourne-based BHP’s local unit, Cerro Quebrado, will spend about $82 million on exploration, having established a base in the capital, Quito, and advertised for workers including a senior geologist. The value of Ecuador’s mining sector could rise to $7.9 billion by 2021 from $1.1 billion this year as major players arrive, according to Fitch Group’s BMI Research.

BHP joins Australian competitors including billionaire Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting Pty, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. and Newcrest Mining Ltd. in establishing offices or adding exploration licenses in the nation, according to Rodrigo Izurieta, president of Ecuador’s Mining Chamber. Continue Reading →

Electric vehicles could be a game changer for high-grade nickel producers – by Tess Ingram (Australian Financial Review – July 25, 2017)

http://www.afr.com/business/

Strong interest in a new battery-grade nickel product Western Areas plans to produce reinforces suggestions the growing electric vehicles sector could deliver a “renaissance” for the flagging nickel market, Western Areas managing director Dan Lougher says.

Western Areas started work in the June quarter on its mill recovery enhancement project, which plans to produce a high-grade nickel concentrate product from its Forrestania nickel operations in Western Australia from the March quarter of 2018.

While the project will produce only about 1400 tonnes of the 45 to 50 per cent nickel concentrate, compared to Western Areas’ annual nickel production of about 25,000 tonnes, Mr Lougher said the Perth-based miner had already fielded interest in the product from multiple global battery market players. Continue Reading →

Spongy zinc battery may beat lithium-ion on safety, price, recycling – by James Dunn (North Bay Business Journal – July 24, 2017)

http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/

If nearly 500,000 deposits of $1,000 each on the new Tesla Model 3 indicate bridled demand, the electric cars have a sure future. Tesla plans to start delivery of the $35,000 vehicles on July 28, when it will release the first 30. Palo Alto-based Tesla aims to crank out about three cars a day in August, boost output to 1,500 in September and build to a rate of 20,000 a month by the end of 2017.

Tesla electric cars rely on lithium-ion batteries. The company is building a gargantuan battery factory in Nevada — some 5.8 million square feet — slated for completion in 2020. The enormous production capacity could drive down battery costs by about 30 percent, Tesla said, from batteries now produced by Panasonic in Japan.

But a Marin-based aerospace engineer sees problems with lithium-ion technology: potential for explosions as occurred in Samsung phones in 2016; high cost; and poor recyclability. He suggests zinc, the metal used to stop corrosion in galvanized steel, as an alternative. Continue Reading →

BHP defends plan to invest $6bn in Canadian potash project – by Matt Chambers (The Australian – July 24, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

BHP Billiton has defended its contentious plans for a fresh $US4.7 billion ($5.9bn) investment to bring the Jansen potash project in Canada’s Saskatchewan into production, saying low prices are expected to rise as oversupply eases. The mining giant added that the project would only go ahead if strict investment hurdles were overcome.

The defence, posted to its website earlier yesterday, comes after US fertiliser giant Mosaic cast doubt on the plan’s timing and economics and as US activist fund Elliott uses the plans to open up a new front in its campaign to restructure BHP.

BHP’s principal potash analyst, Paul Burnside, said the Jansen project, where BHP has already approved $US3.8bn to access the 1km deep ore body ahead of a development decision, could support attractive shareholder ­returns over decades. “We’re excited to have this option in our portfolio, and there are many ways we can realise value from it,” Mr Burnside said. Continue Reading →

Philippines’ Duterte warns miners: ‘I will tax you to death’ – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – July 24, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he wanted to stop exporting mineral resources and might close the mining sector completely and tax miners “to death” if damage to the environment persisted.

“The protection of the environment must be made a priority ahead of mining and all other activities that adversely affect one way or another,” Duterte said in his State of the Nation address, his second since assuming power in June last year. “This policy is non-negotiable.”

The Philippines is the world’s biggest supplier of nickel ore and also among the top producers of copper and gold. However, the sector contributes less than 1 percent to the country’s economy, based on data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau. Continue Reading →

Diamonds Bring New Life to War-Torn Central African Republic – by Fleury Koursany (Bloomberg News – July 24, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Rough diamonds enabled Abdoul Raouf to marry three women and put his nine children through school. Now that his town in western Central African Republic can legally export the gems to world markets again, his neighbors are expecting similar fortunes.

“Diamonds are my life,” said Raouf, who trades the stones bought from artisanal miners in the town of Gamboula, near the border with Cameroon and a 10-hour drive to the capital, Bangui. “It’s because of diamonds that I can take care of my family.”

Gamboula is one of five areas in the west that can freely trade in diamonds again after the gradual easing of an export ban imposed three years ago. While fighting has flared in the southeast, forcing tens of thousands to flee, the western Mambere-Kadei prefecture has embraced a tentative peace, enabling residents to return to the diamond sites. Continue Reading →

[Australia Mining] “This is Adani” -by Domanii Cameron (Townsville Bulletin – July 22, 2017)

http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/

INDIAN mining conglomerate Adani has launched a $1.4 million national advertising campaign in a bid to quash the myths that are plaguing the controversial Carmichael coal mine.

“This is Adani” kicked off today with the new branding to circulate across TV, radio, newspapers and digital sites. Adani Australia’s chief executive officer and Head of Country Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the campaign showed the “real Adani”.

“We will soon start the largest industrial project in Australia by an Indian company, an investment that will deliver 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, and an investment that will generate more than $40 billion in state and Federal taxes and royalties,” he said. Continue Reading →

Zinc Rally Set to Last as Producer Sees Best Price in Decade – by Swansy Afonso (Bloomberg News – July 20, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The rally in zinc prices has the potential to jump this year to levels not seen in a decade as demand continues to outstrip supply amid mine output disruptions, according to Hindustan Zinc Ltd., Asia’s biggest producer by market value.

Prices may rise to about $3,000 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange in the next couple of quarters, Sunil Duggal, chief executive officer of the Vedanta Ltd. unit, said in a phone interview from Udaipur in Rajasthan. The last time prices hit that level was in 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Zinc, used to galvanize steel, has spearheaded an advance in base metals, gaining about 23 percent in the past year, as production cuts by Glencore Plc and other suppliers helped spur shortages. Higher prices and an increase in output saw Hindustan Zinc on Thursday report an 81 percent increase in net income to 18.8 billion rupees ($292 million) in the three months to June. Continue Reading →

Minnesota mining’s place in American history: Soudan state park showcases mining’s impact on country – by Lisa Kaczke Duluth News Tribune – July 22, 2017)

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/

SOUDAN — Imagine walking three-quarters of a mile through a mine tunnel in complete darkness to find iron ore, park interpreter James Juip tells the tour group. The lights click off to help people imagine that scenario and the 20 people stand in darkness at level 27 of the Soudan Underground Mine, unable to see each other or Juip at 2,341 feet below the surface of the Earth.

Standing on the last level to be mined before Minnesota’s first iron ore mine closed in 1962, Juip lights a candle in the darkness. Its flame only extends to a few faces near him, leaving the rest of the group still in the dark. He places the candle and sconce on his hard hat, similar to how miners would have placed a candle on their soft leather cap before electricity, freeing their hands to mine the ore.

“By the light of one candle, it would be the job of a crew of three men to find the iron that’s hidden here in the wall, drill it, blast it and get it out of here,” Juip told the tour group on July 13. Continue Reading →

Oil Giants Make a Play for Millennial Hires – by Polly Mosendz (Bloomberg News – July 17, 2017)

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Faced with a retiree tsunami, the industry tries to woo a generation that largely sees it in a negative light. “This ain’t your daddy’s oil,” the commercial proclaims, cutting to shots of spray paint being made and a wall covered in fanciful graffiti. “Oil strikes a pose. Oil taps potential. Oil pumps life.”

Oil, in short, is cool, the industry’s branding braintrust has declared. The 30-second spot rolled out this year is part of a broader American Petroleum Institute campaign to “raise awareness about the role natural gas and oil has in economic growth, job creation, environmental stewardship, and national security.”

Dubbed Power Past Impossible, the ads by the lobbying arm of America’s oil giants are all about millennials, the generation of roughly 21 to 35 year olds which out-sizes any other and makes up the largest chunk of the American workforce. Continue Reading →