Archive | Latin America Mining

Chile politics put Potash in tight spot on SQM stake sale – by Dave Sherwood and Felipe Iturrieta (Reuters U.S. – December 14, 2017)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – The chance to own a stake in Chile’s SQM, one of the world’s top lithium producers, has attracted several potential suitors as prices for the so-called white gold – a key ingredient in electric car batteries – have skyrocketed.

But the buyer of the 32 percent of SQM being sold by Canadian Potash Corp of Saskatchewan‘s, which needs to divest the stake as part of a merger, will need to navigate tricky politics well before any deal is inked.

With a presidential election in Chile on Sunday, conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera has emerged as the favorite with investors, but neither he nor his opponent in the second-round runoff, center-left candidate Alejandro Guillier, have expressed a favorable view of the scandal-plagued miner. Continue Reading →

Community leaders from Mexico protest in Canada against Almaden’s operations – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – December 13, 2017)

A protest action took place in Vancouver the same day Almaden Minerals announced the completion of a social impact assessment for its Ixtaca project, located in Mexico’s Ixtacamaxtitlán municipality in the eastern-central Puebla state.

The evaluation of Almaden’s gold-silver project was carried out by GMI Consulting and, according to a press release issued by the miner, it concluded that Almaden had consulted widely with the focus area communities, that the Ixtaca project was well understood, and that the SIA itself was successful in providing people with an opportunity to express their views on the impacts of the mine.

As this media statement was published, four community leaders from the Ixtacamaxtitlán Municipality led a rally near the company’s headquarters in Vancouver. Ignacia Serrano, Alejandro Marreros, Francisca Zamora, and Ignacio Carmona, accompanied by the Latin American not-for-profit organization PODER, protested against what they call “irregular operations” by Almaden Minerals in Mexico. Continue Reading →

Brazil, South Africa collaboration to improve mining sector “natural, appropriate”, says Brazil ambassador – by Mia Breytenbach ( – December 13, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – With the mining sector having played a significant role in the history and development of South Africa and Brazil, it is “natural and appropriate” that the two countries come together to discuss and exchange ideas about how to improve the mining sector in both countries, says Ambassador of Brazil Nedilson Jorge.

Speaking at a seminar hosted by the Embassy of Brazil in South Africa, in Johannesburg last week, where perspectives relating to the countries’ mining and legal frameworks were shared by industry stakeholders, he emphasised that the government of Brazil was committed to continuing proposing measures to encourage the growth of its mining industry.

Further, the country intends to promote technical cooperation and technical agreements with other countries and their academic institutions. South Africa is considered a priority in this regard. Continue Reading →

Guatemalan women take on Canada’s mining giants over ‘horrific human rights abuses’ – by Ashifa Kassam (The Guardian – December 13, 2017)

On the 20th floor of an office tower in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, Irma Yolanda Choc Cac’s bright pink embroidered blouse and handwoven skirt contrasted with the suits of the lawyers around her as she detailed the hardest day of her life.

It was the first time Choc Cac had ever left Guatemala. But the story that she and 10 other Maya Q’eqchi’ women had come to tell is at the heart of a precedent-setting legal challenge pitting indigenous people against a transnational corporation – and which has cast a chill over Canada’s vast mining industry.

The case centres on allegations dating back to 2007, when the women say hundreds of police, military and and private security personnel linked to a Canadian mining company descended on the secluded village of Lote Ocho in eastern Guatemala. Continue Reading →

Copper Giant Chile Gears Up for Busiest Year Ever of Wage Talks – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – December 12, 2017)

Copper forecasters are reassessing their projections as the top-producing country prepares for its busiest year ever for wage talks just as a new labor code comes into effect and higher prices inflate pay expectations.

Chilean mines will negotiate contracts with 32 unions next year, representing about three-quarters of the country’s copper output, or about one-fifth of world production. Globally, labor negotiations could trigger disruptions at mines producing about 40 percent of supply, according to Barclays Plc, which this week raised its price estimate.

While prospects of slower Chinese demand growth have sent copper back below $7,000 a metric ton in the past few weeks, supply is also constrained after years of cutbacks spurred by low prices. Continue Reading →

Lundin’s hurdle: Reassure investors after rock slide – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – December 11, 2017)

The chief executive officer of Lundin Mining Corp. says the base-metals miner has “some work to do to get confidence back” after the recent sharp selloff in its stock. But Paul Conibear is also shrugging off any suggestions that the company was slow to disclose a damaging rock slide at its flagship mine.

Shares in the Toronto-based company have fallen roughly a fifth since Nov. 29, the date it disclosed a rock slide is hampering operations at its Candelaria copper complex in Chile. Production at the mine, which accounts for more than half of its revenue, will be 20 per cent lower next year than previously indicated, due to the slide. The company waited about a month after the slide happened to disclose the news to investors.

“It should have come out much sooner,” said Haywood Securities Inc. analyst Pierre Vaillancourt in an interview on Dec. 1. “It’s a material event and you can’t just hold on to that information.” Continue Reading →

Displaced by mining, Peru villagers spurn shiny new town – by Mitra Taj (Reuters U.S. – December 7, 2017)

NUEVA FUERABAMBA, Peru (Reuters) – This remote town in Peru’s southern Andes was supposed to serve as a model for how companies can help communities uprooted by mining.

Named Nueva Fuerabamba, it was built to house around 1,600 people who gave up their village and farmland to make room for a massive, open-pit copper mine. The new hamlet boasts paved streets and tidy houses with electricity and indoor plumbing, once luxuries to the indigenous Quechua-speaking people who now call this place home.

The mine’s operator, MMG Ltd (1208.HK), the Melbourne-based unit of state-owned China Minmetals Corp CHMIN.UL, threw in jobs and enough cash so that some villagers no longer work. Continue Reading →

Lundin Mining stock drops as Chile production outlook is cut – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – December 1, 2017)

Shares in Lundin Mining Corp. fell the most in more than six years after the company cut its near-term production forecast at its flagship copper mine in Chile.

In a news release late on Wednesday, the Toronto-based miner said production at its Candelaria operation will be about 20 per cent lower in 2018 than previously indicated. Lundin is encountering production problems because of a recent rock slide, which has led to pit wall instability at the mine site. The base metals company said it is taking a “more conservative approach” to mining the deposit over the near term.

Candelaria is by far Lundin’s highest-producing asset. In the quarter ending Sept. 30, it accounted for about 62 per cent of Lundin’s revenue. In 2014, Lundin paid about $2-billion (U.S.) to acquire an 80-per-cent share in Candelaria from U.S. base-metals giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Continue Reading →

Chile’s Codelco plans environmental impact pricing for copper ( – November 30, 2017)

SHANGHAI – Chile’s Codelco will soon sell its first copper cathodes with pricing that takes into account the environmental footprint of production, its chairman said on Thursday.

The plan would mark a stark change from the traditional pricing model for copper producers where the quality of metal is the price differentiator for what is otherwise a standardized product.

Under the scheme, customers would pay different prices for copper depending on the carbon footprint or impact on a local community of its production. The move echoes steps taken by the palm oil industry to establish a sustainable supply chain to address a tarnished environmental reputation. Continue Reading →

Carube seeks to reignite Jamaica’s copper industry – by Richard Quarisa (Northern Miner – November 28, 2017)

Drilling at Carube Copper’s (TSXV: CUC) 100% owned copper-gold Bellas Gate property in Jamaica returned positive drill results this October.

Carube owns 11 properties across Jamaica covering 536 sq. km of mineral rights, but its focus is on Bellas Gate, which consists of two 100% owned prospecting licenses covering 84 sq. km. The licenses are located within highly deformed, altered and mineralized Cretaceous rocks within the central inlier of Jamaica.

From May to September, the company carried out a 1,900 metre drill program on Bellas Gate that targeted three main zones: Provost, Hendley, and Provost South East. Continue Reading →

‘New era’: Canadian mining industry closely watching three civil cases alleging human rights abuses – by Douglas Quan (National Post – November 28, 2017)

A trio of civil cases winding through the courts signal a breakthrough in efforts to hold Canadian-based mining companies accountable on home turf when they’re accused of violations abroad, human rights and legal observers say.

Historically, Canadian judges have been inclined to send such cases back to the jurisdictions where the alleged abuses occurred. But the three pending cases — two in British Columbia and one in Ontario — show that the legal landscape is shifting.

“Courts are now willing to hear these cases,” says Penelope Simons, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. “They’re not trying to punt them back to other places. That’s an important thing.” Continue Reading →

China’s electric-car push sparks gold rush for lithium – by Shunsuke Tabeta and Naoyuki Toyama (Nikkei Asian Review – November 27, 2017)

Companies chase deals with Chilean, Australian miners

GUANGZHOU/SAO PAULO — China’s aggressive promotion of electric vehicles has kicked off a global hunt for lithium, spurring record prices for the material vital to the production of batteries used in such cars.

“We must secure lithium resources to prepare for the era of electric vehicles,” said Heyi Xu, chairman of Beijing Automotive Group. The company, in negotiations with Chilean economic development agency Corfo, proposes industrial development that incorporates lithium mining, battery production and electric vehicle assembly in Chile.

Top Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD is speaking with Chilean lithium producers, with plans for a direct investment, an executive from the company’s regional headquarters told a local media outlet. Chinese lithium supplier Tianqi Group took a 2% stake in Chile’s SQM, one of the world’s largest producer of the light metal. Continue Reading →

Deadly mine strike highlights accusations NAFTA used to exploit Mexican workers – by Adrian Morrow (Globe and Mail – November 25, 2017)

It was a little after 10 p.m. Saturday when a convoy of pickup trucks carrying balaclava-clad men rolled up to a roadblock near Torex Gold’s mine in Mexico’s Guerrero state. As part of a wildcat strike, workers at the Canadian-owned operation had cut its water supply and were barricading a dirt road leading to the wells.

The attackers opened fire with assault rifles and shotguns, miners told The Globe and Mail in interviews at the scene, chased the protesters into the surrounding scrubland and beat them up. When the shooting stopped, two men lay dead: Brothers Victor and Marcelino Sahuanitla Pena. Locals said the pair had worked delivering diesel to the mine and were manning the blockade that night.

What exactly caused the violence is a matter of dispute. The protesters blame their trade union, the Confederacion de Trabajadores de Mexico (CTM), which they accuse of being too close to Torex and dealing with the company behind their backs. Continue Reading →

Lawsuit could be precedent-setting for Canadian mining companies operating abroad – by Andrew Topf ( – November 26, 2017)

Legal proceedings were held last week in Toronto related to a case against a Canadian mining company that formerly was operating through a subsidiary in Guatemala. The outcome of the case could have wider repercussions for Canada-based mining companies who do business overseas.

Base and precious metals miner Hudbay Minerals (TSX,NYSE:HBM) is defending itself against allegations that five women from a remote Guatemalan community were raped by employees of one of Hudbay’s former subsidiaries.

According to the CBC, the five women came to Toronto for pre-trial questioning by Hudbay’s lawyers, in connection with three civil suits filed against the Toronto-based firm. States CBC: Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto Isn’t Tesla; It Should Hold Fire On a Lithium Bet – by Nathaniel Taplin (Wall Street Journal – November 24, 2017)

Mining is an industry of big upfront investments and long periods of pain or gain, depending on whether the digger bets right or wrong.

It’s understandable, therefore, that Rio Tinto’s reported interest in acquiring a big stake in Chilean lithium-miner Sociedad Quimica y Minera is causing butterflies in the stomachs of some investors.

The miner’s interest in lithium makes sense strategically. Rio is more heavily dependent on iron ore than some of its competitors, and slowdown in Chinese demand seems likely. Boosting their exposure to lithium, a battery component and probable linchpin of an increasingly renewable and electric future, isn’t a bad idea. The problem is price. Continue Reading →