Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Policy upheavals buffet mining in Philippines, Indonesia – by Cliff Venzon and Wataru Suzuki (Neikkei Asian Review – May 25, 2017)

http://asia.nikkei.com/

Governments and companies struggle for common ground amid shaky recovery

SANTA CRUZ, Philippines/JAKARTA — In the eyes of Diosdado Alota, chief of Guinabon village in the northwest Philippines, the mining industry is key to his community’s health.

Until the national government ordered a suspension of operations in 2014 over alleged river pollution, a nickel mine belonging to LNL Archipelago Minerals employed 80% of the village’s men and annually financed 3 million pesos ($60,000) worth of road work, streetlights and other infrastructure.

“These anti-mining [campaigners] ruined everything,” Alota said. “They say [mining] is destructive to the environment, but I believe natural resources are God’s gift to people.” Not all villagers agree with Alota’s view. On May 14, a number of them joined a group of 20 protesters for a Mother’s Day rally against mining in front of the town hall in nearby Santa Cruz, whose surrounding hills have been stripped of vegetation by miners. Continue Reading →

Acacia Mining fights back in Tanzania gold ore battle – by Henry Sanderson and Neil Hume (Financial Times – May 26, 2017)

https://www.ft.com/

Shares in Acacia Mining bounced 8 per cent on Friday after the crisis-hit miner fought back against accusations that it had misstated the value of its gold shipments from Tanzania by up to 10 times.

The London-listed company said the claims made by a presidential committee in the east African country this week that it was under-reporting exports from its Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines did not stand-up to scrutiny.

“If the committee’s published findings were based on accurate data, Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi would be the world’s two largest gold producers,” the company said in a statement. “Given the magnitude of this discrepancy, we believe there should be an independent review.” Continue Reading →

Mining interests, partners seek to polish Iron Range’s image – by Peter Passi (Duluth News Tribune – May 25, 2017)

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/

Some of the Northland’s most prominent players aim to reboot the Iron Range’s image with a new promotional publication unveiled during a press conference at Glensheen Mansion Thursday morning.

The glossy 16-page magazine is meant to burnish the Range’s reputation, said Mark Phillips, commissioner of the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board.

Often, Phillips said he encounters “very antiquated visions of the region” that date back to the days of miners working with picks and shovels instead of state-of-the-art technology. He said the notion of the Range as an economically depressed area also seems to persist. Continue Reading →

SA ranks third, behind Australia and Canada, in terms of number of mines – by Robert Laing (Business Day – May 26, 2017)

https://www.businesslive.co.za/

SA ranks a distant third behind Australia and Canada in the number of mines it has, and the gap is likely to widen because the two leading mining countries have far more new projects under way.

Australia has about 540 mine projects under way, Canada about 290 and SA 137, according to a graph in a report titled Currency Movements: Winners and Losers in the Mining Industry, released by BMI Research on Friday morning.

Australia’s lead is extending its lead because 320 of its projects are new developments, followed by Canada, with 190. SA is in third place again, with about 50. BMI forecasts that mines in Russia, China, India, Canada, Australia and Brazil will benefit from their currencies weakening against the dollar from 2017-2021. Continue Reading →

Tanzanian president fires mining minister and chief of state-run agency – by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala (Reuters U.S. – May 24, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

DAR ES SALAAM – Tanzania President John Magufuli fired his mining minister and the chief of the state-run mineral audit agency on Wednesday after an investigation into possible undeclared exports by mining companies to evade tax.

Magufuli’s decision, announced in a televised speech, signals an escalation of tensions between the government and the mining industry, which has denied engaging in tax evasion. Mining accounts for about 4 percent of the East African nation’s gross domestic product.

Magufuli said the investigation report revealed that Acacia Mining declared the presence of gold, copper and silver in its mineral sand exports but did not declare other precious metals in the consignments. Continue Reading →

Adani’s $16.5 Billion Aussie Mine Rattled by Tax Deal Delay – by Perry Williams (Bloomberg News – May 24, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

India’s Adani Group could walk away from its $16.5 billion Carmichael coal project in Australia unless a royalties deal can be reached with the state government, according to federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan.

The Queensland government’s failure to agree the terms of the royalty regime for the mine may jeopardize the development in the state’s Galilee Basin, Canavan said in a phone interview on Wednesday. Adani was due to make a final investment decision on May 29 for the Carmichael mine, but delayed that on Monday citing uncertainty over royalty payments.

Adani’s approval for the project “is contingent on the Queensland government coming to a decision on their royalties policy,” Canavan said. “You can’t expect Adani to make a multi-billion dollar decision if they don’t know what tax they will pay. The ball is now in the Queensland government’s court.” Continue Reading →

People and Wildlife Are Both Casualties of Illicit Mining – by Richard Ruggiero (National Geographic – May 24, 2017)

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/

Central Africa’s natural treasures are a blessing. They are also a curse.

A Voice for Elephants – The vast Congo Basin — spanning six Central African countries – supports more than 10,000 animal and 600 tree species, many of which are unique to this area. The region represents the second largest contiguous moist tropical forest in the world and provides critical habitat to the last populations of several globally important species, including African forest elephants and three of the world’s four species of great apes.

Despite its vast size and relative intactness, Congo’s forest area and wildlife are under severe threat. Between 2002 and 2011, forest elephants experienced a devastating 62 percent population decline and a 30-percent loss of range. The Grauer’s gorilla — the world’s largest primate — which is only found in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), suffered staggering declines.

In the span of one generation, their numbers dropped by 77 percent across their range. In Kahuzi-Biega National Park, they fared even worse — plummeting by 87 percent. Continue Reading →

Nevada gold production increases in 2016 – by Adella Harding (Elko Daily Free Press – May 18, 2017)

http://elkodaily.com/

Gold production in Nevada rose 2.4 percent in 2016 to nearly 5.47 million ounces, while silver production was down 6.4 percent to a nearly 8.89 million ounces, show new figures from the Nevada Division of Minerals. Total gold production in 2015 was nearly 5.34 million ounces, and 2015 silver production totaled a little less than 9.5 million ounces.

“The value of production won’t be available until the Department of Taxation releases their Net Proceeds of Minerals bulletin,” however, said Michael Visher, deputy administrator for the minerals division, in an email in May.

The two largest gold producers were Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp. Barrick produced nearly 2.64 million ounces of the total gold production and 200,757 ounces of silver from operations on the Carlin Trend, the Cortez operations near Crescent Valley and Turquoise Ridge in Humboldt County. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Mining Bust Town Reawakens – by James Thornhill (Bloomberg News – May 23, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

House-buyers seeking a bargain amid the wreckage of Australia’s mining boom might want to get in quick.

Port Hedland, a shipping hub for the Pilbara iron ore region in Western Australia, saw house prices collapse nearly 70 percent in the past four years as workers lost their jobs and left amid the end of a resources investment boom. But prices there have reached a bottom and are now even rising.

“We’re starting to get multiple offers on properties,” said Peter Dunning, a real estate agent at Ray White Group in Port Hedland, who says local values have risen about A$50,000 ($37,470) in the past six months. “People realized that prices had got so cheap, they probably weren’t going to get any cheaper. So they started buying.” Brighter spots in housing is one of three chunks of evidence adding to a growing sense that Australia’s resource-based economies are improving. Continue Reading →

Miners ready for new Mongolia boom with one-fifth of the country to be opened for digging – by Blanche Lim (CNBC.com – May 23, 2017)

http://www.cnbc.com/

A new mining boom may be just around the corner in Mongolia, mining industry executives said, as it moves to open nearly 21 percent, a bit more than one-fifth, of the country for exploration to shore up its finances following an IMF-led bailout.

This month Mongolia’s government removed the main obstacle to its $5.5 billion IMF-led bailout. It annulled a controversial banking law that would have required companies like Rio Tinto to funnel all sales revenues from foreign investment projects through Mongolian banks and proposed the wider exploration area.

Andrew Stewart, managing director and CEO of Xanadu Mines, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” that the reform along with other steps to opening the mining sector should see investment grow. Continue Reading →

Mining industry looks towards a new wave of automation – by Eric Barker (Australain Broadcasting Corporation Rural – May 23, 2017)

http://www.abc.net.au/

Australia’s mining industry continues to push the boundaries of automation with the use of robots and remote-controlled equipment expanding in the industry. Automation in mining has a long history as companies look to extract minerals more efficiently and more safely.

However, the new wave of automation has been tipped to change the employment landscape of the industry. James Cook University professor Ian Atkinson said it was likely some jobs would be lost but expected it to happen over a long period of time.

“It’s not just taking workers out and putting a machine in, it’s going to happen really quite gradually for a long time yet.” Professor Atkinson said although automation had the potential to take some jobs it could also provide new employment opportunities. “You’re not going to be using machines to build new mines, people will still be doing that because that’s very non-routine,” he said. Continue Reading →

[Australia Coal] Adani takes brinkmanship to new levels – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – May 23, 2017)

http://www.afr.com/

The circumstances of Adani Group’s very public decision to delay boardroom debate on a final investment decision for the opening stanza of its $16.5 billion, 60-year Carmichael coal campaign would suggest the economics Queensland’s much-vaunted new coal horizon are far more fragile than the potential miner wants us to appreciate.

Either that or we are seeing a very rare level of brinkmanship between Adani and its host governments over the financial mechanics by which the Indian conglomerate might invest in building a massive new mining complex in Queensland’s Galilee Basin and in constructing the railway need to carry Carmichael coal to an Adani-owned export terminal at Abbot Point.

I mean, here we have a coal project proponent that has spent seven years driving through jungles of red and green tape, and more recently through a brutal wilderness of anti-coal resistance, only to belatedly find itself in desperate need for about $1.2 billion of government assistance if the project is to happen. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Barrick’s Argentina mine may be allowed full operations in June – by Maximiliano Rizzi (Reuters U.S. – May 22, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

BUENOS AIRES – The government of Argentina’s San Juan province has approved a plan for improving Barrick Gold Corp’s Veladero mine following its third spill of cyanide solution in 18 months and could allow full operations to resume in early June, a government official said.

Eduardo Machuca, the province’s secretary of environmental management and mining control, told Reuters in a phone interview that local authorities had reviewed and discussed Barrick’s improvement plan and improvements to the mine were well under way.

“I think that around June 10 there will be conditions to enable the mine, once the pneumatic, hydraulic and all engineering tests are done,” Machuca said on Monday. Continue Reading →

The Race to Build a Better Battery for Storing Power – by Ken Wells (Wall Street Journal – May 21, 2017)

https://www.wsj.com/

Long-term, utility-scale storage would turn solar and wind energy into on-demand sources of electricity

There’s the battery in your watch. There’s the battery in your mobile phone. And then there’s the battery at Green Mountain Power’s Stafford Hills solar farm in Rutland, Vt.

The lithium-ion gargantuan is housed in two trailer-truck-size green metal containers. It sits atop a 10-acre former landfill and captures electricity from 7,722 nearby solar panels—enough to power 2,000 homes on a sunny day. What’s revolutionary about this system isn’t the solar farm; it’s the size and purpose of the battery, which offers 3.4 megawatt-hours of storage, enough to supply backup power to about 170 homes for a day, if needed.

The rap on solar and wind is intermittence—they don’t produce power when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing, making them unreliable as the primary source for power grids. But if vast amounts of renewable energy—say, enough to power entire cities—could be captured and stored in giant batteries and deployed when needed, that downside would fade away. Continue Reading →

BHP talks up Saskatchewan potash project – by Matt Chambers (The Australian – May 23, 2017)

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

BHP’s board could have the most expensive ­single development approval ­decision in the miner’s history in front of it next financial year, in the form of a $US4.7 billion ($6.3bn) investment in the Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan.

Lost in the ramp-up of activist fund Elliott Management’s hostilities last week was the revelation that the miner is nearly ready to give approval to the first production stage of the Jansen project, where it has approved $US3.8bn to sink 1km-deep shafts to get to the big potash deposit.

The enthusiastic BHP mood around potash will create trepidation among some investors that the Elliott push to create value through an oil and gas restructure and share unification is accelerating potash development, while Canadian analysts have queried whether the global potash market can support it. Continue Reading →