Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Analysts acclaim Glencore’s performance as good fundamentals return – by Martin Creamer ( – February 23, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Commodity market fundamentals are improving against a backdrop of better than expected demand and limited, if any, inventory build through the trough of the cycle, diversified mining and marketing company Glencore said on Thursday.

This comes against the background of the London-, Hong Kong- and Johannesburg-listed company reporting 18% higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) at $10.3-billion, 41% lower capital expenditure to $3.5-billion and operational unit cash cost performance in zinc at a negative –5c/lb.

The company, headed by CEO Ivan Glasenberg, also succeeded in managing down its full-year unit copper cost to 87c/lb, nickel to 265c/lb and thermal coal to $39/t with an $18/t margin. Continue Reading →

Vale Dusts Off Crystal Ball, Sees $70-$75 ‘Floor’ for Iron Ore – by Paul Kiernan ( Street Journal – February 23, 2017)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian mining company Vale SA is back to forecasting iron-ore prices after a four-month rally in the market injected executives with a level of optimism not seen in years.

Vale’s iron-ore director dusted off his so-called crystal ball Thursday to predict that prices for the commodity will have a “floor” of $70 to $75 and could average above $80 for the year.

“In summary, 2017 is going to be a very strong year,” the executive, Peter Poppinga, said in a conference call. “Steel demand is greater than in 2016. New supply that’s going to come is less than in 2016, and stocks are unbalanced. Therefore, prices will be significantly higher than in 2016.” Continue Reading →

Can commodity producers resist the temptations of the up cycle? – by Clyde Russell (Daily Mail/Reuters – February 23, 2017)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Anytime you hear the mantra “this time it will be different,” it’s probably best to assume the same old cycle will repeat itself.

This is especially true for commodity producers, who often appear to lurch from boom to bust and back to boom with little regard for learning from past mistakes. Perhaps this is because commodity cycles can take decades to play out, meaning institutional memory is lost over time, allowing executives to repeat the mistakes of their predecessors.

But more likely it’s because most chief executives in listed commodity majors are either forced by investors to be seen doing something to boost growth, or by nature are driven to build and buy new mines. Continue Reading →

Uganda gold refinery raises alarm over conflict minerals (Daily Mail – February 22, 2017)

AFP – The inauguration of Uganda’s first gold refinery sparked concern Wednesday over the possibility of dirty minerals from regional conflict zones making their way into the country.

Transparency International’s Peter Wandera told AFP the country’s failure to regulate the mineral sector meant there were “high chances” the refinery could contribute to conflicts, such as that in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where rebels are propped up by illegal mining.

“Uganda has continuously failed to implement the necessary components … to reduce the trade in conflict minerals from the DRC,” he said. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Kambalda faces future with no nickel output – by Josh Chiat (The West Australian – February 22, 2017)

Kambalda has run on nickel dust since it kicked off the base metal’s Australian boom in the 1960s. It is now facing having virtually no nickel production in the town by February next year, with Independence Group saying reserve life extensions at the harvesting phase Long nickel mine have proved unsuccessful.

Long — which delivered 2365 tonnes of nickel to the BHP Billiton Kambalda concentrator in the December quarter — and RNC Minerals’ Beta Hunt, which is now largely a gold operation, are the only producing nickel mines in Kambalda, where a series of operations have been put on care and maintenance amid low prices for the stainless steel ingredient since 2015.

Independence Group managing director Peter Bradford, who is also grappling with lagging development at the company’s flagship Nova nickel- copper mine 160km east of Norseman, said drilling at Victor West had proven unsuccessful. Continue Reading →

ETF Investors Miss Out on the Best Commodity Trade of the Year – by Luzi-Ann Javier (Bloomberg News – February 22, 2017)

Exchange-traded fund investors are missing the silver party. Instead of piling into the asset that’s offered the biggest gain among 22 raw materials on the Bloomberg Commodity Index this year, ETF investors are retreating. iShares Silver Trust, the biggest ETF backed by the metal, is poised for a fifth straight monthly outflow, a trend not seen since the fund listed in 2006.

Holdings in all silver-backed ETFs tracked by Bloomberg have shrank by 6.2 million ounces and are near the lowest in seven months.

Silver is surging amid demand for haven assets and bets that industrial use will rise at a time of tightening mine supply. While investors in commodity ETFs have shied away the metal in favor of gold, hedge funds are reaping the gains. Continue Reading →

Congo Miner Said to Get $100 Million to Clear China Moly Buy – by Tom Wilson (Bloomberg News – February 22, 2017)

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s state mining company received $100 million as part of a settlement to drop its objections to the sale of the country’s biggest copper mine to Chinese buyers, according to people with knowledge of the agreement.

The cash payment was made last month after state-owned Gecamines agreed to abandon legal cases to block the sale of Freeport McMoRan Inc. and Lundin Mining Corp.’s interests in the Tenke Fungurume mine, the people said, asking not be identified as terms of the arrangement aren’t public. China Molybdenum Co. and Chinese private-equity firm BHR Partners bought the stakes for a combined $3.8 billion.

The settlement marks the end of a nine-month dispute between Freeport, Lundin, the Chinese buyers and Gecamines over whether the sales, which were a transfer of ownership in an offshore holding company, should have been subject to preemption or approval by the state-owned miner. Gecamines owns 20 percent of local operating unit Tenke Fungurume Mining. Continue Reading →

Iron ore rockets towards $US100 a tonne – by Jessica Sier (Sydney Morning Herald – February 22, 2017)

The price of iron ore has surged higher still, reaching its highest level since mid-2014, and flirting with the $US100 a tonne mark. A pick up in steel futures has sent Australia’s largest export soaring 21 per cent so far this year, and up 84 per cent in the last twelve months.

Iron ore, with a ferrous content of 62 per cent was fetching $US94.86 a tonne on Wednesday morning. China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange, most-active futures surged as much as 30 per cent this year to 723yuan ($136).

Consolidation in the Chinese steel industry, which iron ore fuels, has seen steel exports are slump 5 per cent month on month and down 24 per cent year on year, while iron ore imports are up 12 per cent year on year. Continue Reading →

Wall Street challenges U.S. regulator over proposed commodities rule – by Olivia Oran (Reuters U.S. – February 21, 2017)

Wall Street is pushing back against a proposed rule to force U.S. banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc to hold more capital against investments in commodities, placing what some see as an overly restrictive limit on banks’ ties to the sector.

In a comment letter filed late on Friday and not yet made public, the industry argues the proposed rule would hurt the economy, and that fears about environmental risks from physical commodities activities are overblown.

The U.S. Federal Reserve handed down the proposal in September, after a public backlash stemming from the belief that big banks’ involvement in commodities markets hurt consumers by driving up prices. The comment letter, filed by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Institution of International Bankers and seen by Reuters, comes as big banks face an uncertain future in Washington. Continue Reading →

Coal ‘an attractive business’: BHP Billiton chief Andrew Mackenzie – by Matt Chambers (The Australian – February 23, 2017)

BHP Billiton says Chinese coalmining policy that has reined in production means it could develop more Queensland coking coalmines after three years of focusing on squeezing the most cash it could out of the mines and not promoting their growth.

Speaking to investors last night after delivering a $US3.2 billion ($4.2bn) first-half profit, chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said coal remained an attractive business.

“There is no doubt the Chinese tried to restructure their mining activities in both coals, and indeed in iron ore, through their restructuring of steel,” Mr Mackenzie said. “It has probably made the bulks a little bit more investable than they would otherwise have been.” Continue Reading →

Citigroup says copper fever may raise the temperature for Australian miners – by Myriam Robin (Sydney Morning Herald – February 22, 2017)

Copper prices may soar to $US8000 a tonne, or $US3.60 a pound, by the end of the decade according to Citi analysts, who have also upgraded their forecasts for a number of Australian miners highly exposed to the commodity.

The spot price of copper has risen strongly over the past year, particularly since October. It’s up 30.3 per cent on February last year, last trading at $US6045.50 a tonne.

Copper, the world’s third most widely-used metal after iron and aluminum, is used in cyclical industries such as construction and industrial machinery manufacturing. For this reason, copper is seen by many as a key leading indicator of global growth and even has the nickname “Dr Copper”, a reference to its use as an economic barometer. Continue Reading →

Should we mine the deep ocean? – by Kendra Pierre-Louis (Popular Science – February 21, 2017)

Behind the deep sea “gold rush” for increasingly rare minerals

You’ve probably heard of peak oil—the point at which oil production reaches its maximum and begins to decline—but what about peak copper? Copper helps send the electrical signals that make modern electronics like cellphones and tablets work. But there’s growing concern that the prevalence of key minerals like copper is on the decline.

In 2016 the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilisco) released a report that looked at 15 years of copper exploration data. They found that most new copper deposits had been found before 2010. The world hasn’t stopped looking for copper, but we’ve stopped finding it.

And copper isn’t even the mineral that makes companies most nervous—it’s still pretty abundant. Minerals like tantalum, tungsten, and molybdenum are another matter entirely. They’re vital to manufacturing high-tech devices and don’t have ready substitutes. These minerals are often not mined directly but are byproducts of other types of mining. Continue Reading →


ELY — Ely has always been a mining town. It was in the days when 177 people moved from the village of Florence in 1880 after ore was discovered and the community was mined through. It was when those residents named the town after mining executive Samuel B. Ely, a Michigander, who as legend has it, never stepped foot in the Vermilion Range.

And Ely cemented itself as a mining town when the Pioneer Mine — and 41 million tons of ore — opened in 1889. By the time it closed in 1967, 11 mines opened near the city’s limits.

What makes Ely unique from the others situated on the old Vermilion Range and the current Iron Range is that it has always been a tourist town, too. Even before 1978, when Congress established the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, people flocked to the northern edge of Minnesota for its pristine lakes and access to nature largely unbeknownst to the urban jungle of the metro. Continue Reading →

CLIFFS MARKS 170 YEARS OF MINING – by Jim Romsaas (Mesabi Daily News – February 21, 2017)


Founded by 11 men from Cleveland in 1847, Cliffs Natural Resources is now known as North America’s largest producer of iron ore pellets. Celebrating 170 years as a company in 2017, Cliffs has been independent for all of the company’s long history and has a very positive outlook for this year, as well.

“The significance of this milestone cannot be over-emphasized. How many U.S. companies can state that they have been instrumental in building and shaping our society since 1847? Not many,’’ said Lourenco Goncalves, chairman, president and CEO of Cliffs.

Cliffs, which has weathered the ups and downs of the industry and also world events, now has Minnesota operations at United Taconite (Eveleth), Hibbing Taconite, and Northshore Mining in Silver Bay. Continue Reading →

BHP to Trump: protectionism will hurt growth, commodity demand – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.K. – February 21, 2017)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist stance is likely to erode economic growth over the longer term and therefore demand for raw materials, the chief executive of the world’s biggest miner, BHP Billiton, said on Tuesday.

Mining stocks rallied on expectations Trump’s policies would lead to increased infrastructure spending in the United States and, just before Trump took office, Mackenzie had a meeting with the president-elect, which officials said was productive.

Andrew Mackenzie said it would be good news for the resources sector if Trump could unlock “the challenge of bringing more money into infrastructure”. But he said Trump’s protectionist stance was likely to be bad for growth and therefore ultimately for commodities demand. Continue Reading →