Mineweb: Anglo’s seen the future of mining, and it looks a lot like farming – by Ciaran Ryan (Money Web.com – June 24, 2019)

https://www.moneyweb.co.za/

The sector has to clean up its act while still making a profit – and it’s a race the group intends to win.

Addressing analysts in London recently, Anglo technical director Tony O’Neill outlined a vision of the future where mines will be similar to farms.

Virtually all mining activity, including the extraction of minerals, leaching and processing will take place below ground. Rock cutting will be done without vibration and only material of value will be brought to the surface. No more convoys of trucks or surface conveyor belts delivering material to the processing plant, no more mechanical shovels scarring the countryside.

On the surface, you may see green fields, cows, and perhaps a wind turbine or two and some solar panels. Surplus power generated by the mines will be supplied to local communities. Exploration will be done by satellite and minimal use made of water. Perhaps even no water at all. Continue Reading →

Mineweb: Anglo American through the ages – by Ciaran Ryan (Money Web.com – June 13, 2019)

https://www.moneyweb.co.za/

It launched South Africa’s industrial age to support its mining activities, but since 2012 has halved the number of its assets. Where to now?

When the EFF’s Julius Malema talks of white minority capital, he is referring of course to Johann Rupert and the Oppenheimers for the most part. These are the families that helped build South Africa and, for better or worse, guided its political discourse in a direction favourable to their business interests.

Anglo American founder Ernest Oppenheimer would be hard put to recognise the group he founded in 1917. By the 1980s it accounted for a staggering 25% of SA’s GDP and owned an estimated 60% of the JSE – the result of an international embargo that forced SA companies to reinvest profits locally, turning the JSE into an incestuous and distended bubble.

The group that built its castle on diamonds and gold in southern Africa is now a very different animal. Since 2012, it has halved its number of assets, but now delivers 30% more product from each retained asset. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Boom-and-bust lithium market needs a pricing rethink – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – June 24, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) – Albemarle Corp., the world’s largest lithium producer, is not impressed by the London Metal Exchange’s (LME) plans to launch a lithium contract.

“An exchange contract tends to support a commodity market, and that’s not what we believe this (lithium market) is,” David Ryan, the company’s head of corporate strategy and investor relations, told an industry conference in Chile earlier this month.

The conference was hosted by Fastmarkets, which has been chosen by the LME to provide the reference price for the new contract, but Albemarle won’t be contributing, for now at least. It and other established producers believe that lithium is a specialty chemicals market and should be priced on a contract-by-contract basis. Continue Reading →

Soaring iron ore and gold prices boost WA’s economic outlook – by Frances Bell (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – June 24, 2019)

https://www.abc.net.au/

A predicted “mini gold rush” in Western Australia, combined with skyrocketing iron ore prices, is renewing optimism about the state’s long-subdued economy.

The price of gold in Australian dollars has reached a record high, hitting $2,000 an ounce for the first time last week. The precious metal also broke through $US1,400 ($2,014) an ounce for the first time in almost six years.

“Psychologically it’s a very important level to have broken through,” Katana Asset Management portfolio manager Romano Sala Tenna said. He said the price increase was fuelled by demand from central banks, which were buying gold as a store of value, as countries such as the US and China diluted their currencies. Continue Reading →

Plummeting cobalt price takes toll on Democratic Republic of Congo – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – June 23, 2019)

https://www.ft.com/

Lubumbashi: The price of cobalt — a key metal in electric cars — has plummeted 65 per cent over the past year, putting a strain on the economy of the world’s largest producer, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Economic growth in the DRC, one of the world’s poorest countries, is likely to fall to 4.3 per cent this year from 5.8 per cent in 2018 — in part due to lower cobalt prices, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The DRC produces more than 60 per cent of the world’s supply of cobalt, a metal that is used in lithium-ion batteries for smartphones and electric cars. Last year the country’s former president Joseph Kabila declared the metal “strategic” and launched new regulations that require miners to pay 10 per cent of their revenues on sales of the metal to the state. Continue Reading →

France’s Eramet gives go-ahead to lithium project in Argentina (Reuters U.S. – June 24, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

PARIS, June 24 (Reuters) – Eramet has approved the development of a lithium mine in Argentina as the French group pursues a shift towards minerals used to power electric vehicles to meet burgeoning demand.

The miner expects to invest 525 million euros ($597 million) in the Centenario deposit with the aim of producing 24,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year in a first phase that could start at the end of 2021, it said on Monday.

The estimates were in line with previous guidance given by the company earlier this year. A final investment decision would be made at the earliest in the fourth quarter of this year once financing has been obtained, it said in a statement. Continue Reading →

Chinese Rare-Earth Magnet Producer to Expand as EV Demand Booms (Bloomberg News – June 23, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Industries around the world producing a host of electrical appliances will increasingly be forced to compete for rare-earth magnets with China’s burgeoning market for new energy vehicles, according to one Beijing-based magnet producer.

Jingci Material Science Co. is expanding its production capacity of neodymium-iron-boron — NdFeB for short — magnet material to 8,000 tons by the end of the year, from about 6,500 tons currently, sales director Qiu Yi said on the sidelines of an industry conference in Shanghai last week. The eventual goal is to raise capacity to 12,000 tons, he said, without giving a time-frame.

The importance of rare earths, ubiquitous across a range of applications from consumer goods to military gear, has been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks as China mulls whether to use its position as the world’s dominant supplier as a counter in its trade war with Washington. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Nuclear power is the key to fighting climate change. So why don’t we embrace it? – by Dan Gardner (Globe and Mail – June 22, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Dan Gardner is the author of Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear and a principal at Tactix, an Ottawa consultancy

One in three Canadians thinks nuclear power emits as much carbon dioxide as burning oil. Almost three in 10 think it emits more.

There are several reasons to marvel at these facts, which were uncovered by Abacus Data earlier this year. First, they’re spectacularly wrong. After construction, nuclear power is effectively zero-emission electricity, while oil is one of the leading causes of climate change.

Second, the fight against climate change is about replacing fossil fuels such as oil with the short list of zero-emission energy sources. And yet it seems most Canadians don’t know what’s on the list. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Justin Trudeau’s climate mess – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – June 22, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

How’s this for incoherence? Last week the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported that Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax – his signature initiative on global warming – won’t be nearly high enough to make a difference.

To get people to change their carbon-hungry habits, the tax would eventually have to double from the $50 level it is scheduled to reach by 2022 (if the Liberals are still in power, that is).

The government immediately denied that it plans to do any such thing. “The price will not go up,” vowed Catherine McKenna, Mr. Trudeau’s earnest but preachy environment minister. Continue Reading →

Lynas optimistic about rare earths boom (Australian Mining – June 24, 2019)

https://www.australianmining.com.au/

Lynas Corp has updated its 2025 growth plans, detailing a positive outlook on the rare earths market and regulatory issues in Malaysia.

The shareholder update emphasised the boom of rare earths in response to “global macroeconomic issues”, including the United States-China trade war that led to increased interest in Australian companies as the US looks to diversify supply sources.

It also reported that despite short term increases in the market, including prices for neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) increasing by 40 per cent over the past 60 days, the company “remains focussed on longer term trends.” Continue Reading →

Scheer and Trudeau both continue their tiresome climate charades – by Rex Murphy (National Post – June 22, 2019)

https://nationalpost.com/

“Daddy, what did you do in the Climate War?” “Son, I carpooled twice a week, and (his voice breaks, a tear bleeds down his cheek) gave up stir sticks and plastic coffee lids.” Quoted from It was Hard: Tales from the Climate War (Patmos Publications, 2077).

It is a fiction and a delusion that Canada is in any way now or ever will be a significant influence, for good or ill, in the dreary, endless, pup-chasing-its-own-tail “fight against climate change.”

Canada’s leverage over the future climate of the entire planet is incidental and trivial. We are as a toothpick among redwoods. This is acknowledged. Were we to halt this country’s entire energy output, the race to eco-apocalypse that the doom-mongers say we’re on would not be slowed by a week. The coal mines of India and China would see to that. Continue Reading →

A photo of a dead fisherman left many questions for a Swiss-Russian mine in Guatemala – by Marion Guégan and Cécile Schilis-Gallego (Toronto Star – June 22, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com/

A group of fishermen from an Indigenous community in Guatemala demanded to know more about the environmental impact of a ferronickel mine established on their ancestral land. One of them was killed, and a local reporter was criminalized for covering the story.

Forbidden Stories, an international consortium of 40 journalists publishing in 30 media organizations around the world, joined forces to continue the reporter’s work. This is part of the “Green Blood” series, a project pursuing stories of journalists who have been threatened, jailed or killed while investigating environmental issues.

If it were not for a journalist taking pictures that day, some might claim that it is unclear how Carlos Maaz’s last moments unfolded. There was a cloud of tear gas, the chaos of an improvised protest, the echo of bullets and rocks flying through the crowd. Continue Reading →

Acacia Mining says Barrick offer undervalues the company – by Noor Zainab Hussain and Nichola Saminather (Reuters U.S. – June 24, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – Acacia Mining on Monday strongly disagreed with majority shareholder Barrick Gold Corp’s valuation of the company, saying Barrick’s proposal undervalued its life of mine plans and appears to have ignored the value of its exploration and development assets.

However a fair value buyout offer from the world’s No. 2 gold miner would be attractive, it added.

Barrick’s proposal to take full control of its African unit to resolve a long-standing tax dispute with Tanzania has drawn the ire of Acacia’s minority shareholders, who may have the ultimate vote on a deal. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Russia-Africa Economic Partnership Under The Spotlight – by Kester Kenn Klomegah (Eurasia Review – June 24, 2019)

Eurasia Review

Squeezed between European and American sanctions, Russia has stepped up efforts to elevate its existing relationship, mostly focusing on trade, investment and economic cooperation with several African countries, to include areas spanning the financial sector, energy, the mining industry, railway infrastructure, digital technologies, cybersecurity, healthcare, education, and food security.

The latest additional step taken in propelling partnership efforts was an open Economic Conference held within the Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM2019) from June 20-21 in Moscow.

Afreximbank, the African Export-Import Bank, is a supranational financial institution bringing together 51 African countries. The bank aims to expand and incentivize trade between African countries and others outside the continent. Russia became one of the bank’s shareholders in 2017. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Enormous lithium waste dump plan shows how shamefully backward we are – by Emma Young (Sydney Morning Herald – June 24, 2019)

https://www.smh.com.au/

We are all – well, all of us who are privileged enough – existing on a spectrum somewhere between “concerned” and “downright panicking” about human impact on the environment.

We look forward to the day our economy transitions to 100 per cent renewable energy, the sun and wind power our homes and lithium batteries store this energy to be used when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. But here’s the rub: the lithium used to make these batteries must be torn from underground, just like oil, gas and coal.

Western Australia holds some of the world’s richest known lithium deposits and now has an emerging industry to process that lithium here, not just ship it to China as previously done. It’s part of a plan to make us more than just the world’s quarry; a bigger player in an industry promising big money, and bring jobs and industry to the South West. Continue Reading →