COLUMN-Tug-of-war: China’s steel sector grapples short-term bulls, longer-term bears – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – March 21, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

PERTH, March 21 (Reuters) – China’s steel sector, and the imported iron ore upon which it relies, are currently locked in a struggle between largely bearish longer-term structural factors and short-term cyclical influences, some of which are bullish.

It’s not unusual for an industry to grapple with competing narratives, but for China, which produces half the world’s steel and consumes two-thirds of seaborne iron ore, how the issues are resolved will have a flow-on effect through other parts of the economy, such as manufacturing, mining and construction.

The other impact of the tug-of-war of factors is likely to be volatility in prices as market participants try to reconcile the short-term drivers with the longer-term trends. Continue Reading →

THE DRIFT: Seizing on opportunity: John Mason is the City of Thunder Bay’s mining point man – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 21, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

John Mason always felt Thunder Bay missed the boat in capitalizing on the economic spinoffs from the Hemlo gold discovery in the mid-1980s. As a government geologist working the north shore of Lake Superior, he witnessed that all the exploration know-how, drilling and assay work originated in Timmins, and mine-building muscle came from Sudbury.

Thunder Bay isn’t situated in the so-called “shadow of the headframe.” The nearest mine, North American Palladium’s Lac des Iles Mine, is located 85 kilometres away. Historically, the city’s economy was heavily reliant on jobs in the forestry mills and the bustle of activity surrounding its Lake Superior grain port.

The mining and exploration sector wasn’t familiar, understood, nor appreciated by locals. The handful of junior mining companies, geologists and prospectors were tucked away in an industrial park in the city’s core on streets named Alloy, Tungsten and Cobalt. Continue Reading →

Resource nationalism risk to investment on the rise, led by Africa: study – by Robert Perkins and Diana Kinch (S&P Global Platts – March 21, 2019)

https://www.spglobal.com/

London — Indirect forms of resource nationalism, particularly in Africa, are on the rise, threatening the investment climate in some of the world’s biggest oil and mineral producing nations, according to global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

A total of 30 countries have witnessed a significant increase in resource nationalism risks over the last year, including 21 major producers of oil, gas and minerals, Verisk Maplecroft’s latest Resource Nationalism Index shows. The country now most at risk is the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been downgraded by five places in the rankings from a year ago to the highest globally alongside Venezuela.

Regionally, Africa is also home to 10 countries experiencing a growth in resource risks, including Tanzania (third highest risk), Zambia (17th) Gabon (23rd) and Equatorial Guinea (40th), according to the study. Continue Reading →

New £165m coal mine in Cumbria ‘unanimously approved’ by councillors despite escalating climate change crisis – by Tom Embury-Dennis (Independent – March 19, 2019)

https://www.independent.co.uk/

A new £165m coal mine has been unanimously approved by councillors in Cumbria, sparking protests by environmental campaigners. Cumbria County Council said it was putting jobs above climate change concerns after its development committee approved the plan on Tuesday afternoon.

West Cumbria Mining, which filed the application, wants to extract coking coal along the coastline between Whitehaven and St Bees in Copeland and process the fossil fuel at a plant nearby.

Last week, Copeland’s Conservative MP Trudy Harrison “wholeheartedly” endorsed the proposed undersea mine, touting new jobs and the “huge” investment it would bring to the area. International trade secretary Liam Fox has also given his backing to the project. Continue Reading →

Network closing gap between First Nation businesses and mining – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – March 20, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

More mining companies are seeking to do business with First Nation businesses to take care of supplying services. Waubetek Business Development Corporation in the Whitefish River First Nation is making it easier for those companies to find each other with the announcement of the Association of Indigenous Mining Suppliers, at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) on March 5.

Waubetek general manager Dawn Madahbee Leach and mining project manager Stacey Vincent Cress said the association has been in the works for months to meet the growing demand for more partnerships.

It is a nationwide initiative with dozens of companies already listed in the association and it is seeking out more. Cress said this announcement was just to let people know the association has been created. It is an initiative of the chiefs within Waubetek. Continue Reading →

Electric carmakers must make ‘ethical battery’: Amnesty – by Lewis Sanders IV(Deutsche Welle – March 21, 2019)

https://www.dw.com/en/

Customers face a false choice between people or the planet when buying electric cars, according to a rights watchdog. Amnesty International has called for the industry to make “radical changes” in five years.

The electric vehicle industry needs to “make the world’s first completely ethical battery with five years,” human rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Thursday. The London-based organization accused electric automakers of failing to curb human rights abuses, including child labor, linked to the mining of key minerals needed for batteries.

“Finding effective solutions to the climate crisis is an absolute imperative, and electric cars have an important role to play in this,” Amnesty International chief Kumi Naidoo said. “But without radical changes, the batteries which power green vehicles will continue to be tainted by human rights abuses.” Continue Reading →

How Venezuela’s Stolen Gold Ended Up in Turkey, Uganda and Beyond – by Lorena Meléndez and Lisseth Boon (Insight Crime – March 21, 2019)

Insight Crime

What do such distant countries as Venezuela, the Bahamas, Ireland, Morocco, Dubai and Turkey have in common? They were all part of the trade routes for illicit Venezuelan gold in 2018.

The Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) sold 73.2 tons of gold in 2018 to two companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and one in Turkey. The sales took place without the National Assembly’s approval, as mandated by Article 187 of the National Constitution.

The claim, presented in February 2019 by deputy Carlos Paparoni, president of the National Assembly Finance Commission, recalled there could be no contracts of national public interest with foreign states or companies without the approval of the parliament. Continue Reading →

Op-Ed: What can we expect from the future of Angola’s mining sector? – by Zandre Campos (CNBC Africa – March 20, 2019)

https://www.cnbcafrica.com/

Zandre Campos is the Chairman and CEO of ABO Capital.

Angola is currently the world’s fifth-largest producer of diamonds with 60 percent of the country’s diamond resources not yet utilized. Representing nine percent of the diamond value throughout the world, the country is mining high quality diamonds. Meanwhile, diamond mines around world are getting too old to explore.

Angola is primed to elevate its status as a diamond producer in Africa with the guidance of Angolan president João Lourenço who believes the country should flourish with the untouched natural resources in its mines. The vision by President Lourenço for mining production in the country will increase revenue and attract more investment opportunities in the nation.

The country’s plan to double diamond mining initiatives raises its expectations for growth worldwide in the industry as it affiliates with global trading center, Antwerp World Diamond Centre. The nation identified the importance of diversifying its exports to no longer be heavily reliant on oil, its leading export. Continue Reading →

Chicago Zoos Want You to Recycle Old Cellphones to Save Gorillas – by Alex Ruppenthal (WTTW.com – March 20, 2019)

https://news.wttw.com/

Recycling your used cellphone could help save an endangered gorilla species. How, exactly? Cellphones, tablets, battery chargers and other small electronics are manufactured using a mineral compound called coltan, which is hand-mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Central African country also happens to be a prime habitat for Eastern gorillas, and deforestation associated with coltan mining continues to displace large numbers of the animals.

Starting in February and continuing through the end of April, Lincoln Park Zoo is encouraging Chicago-area residents to drop off their old cellphones and other small electronic devices in the collection box at the zoo’s Searle Visitor Center. Continue Reading →

Philippine nickel producer DMCI sees tough year with mine shut, inventory declining (Reuters U.K. – March 20, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

MANILA, March 21 (Reuters) – Philippine nickel producer DMCI Mining Corp, a unit of conglomerate DMCI Holdings Inc, on Thursday said it expected 2019 to be a tough year, with one of its two mines still suspended and its inventory almost depleted.

DMCI’s mines, operated by subsidiaries Berong Nickel Corp and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp, were among those ordered shut in 2016 when the government launched an industry-wide crackdown on miners as part of a push to ramp up environmental protection.

The closures and the threat of more mines being suspended in what, at the time, was the world’s top nickel ore supplier dramatically lifted prices for nickel. Continue Reading →

Reason over emotion: Resource Works marks five years of fact-based activism – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – March 20, 2019)

http://resourceclips.com/

https://www.resourceworks.com/

One sign of encouragement for British Columbia’s embattled resource industries came in the province’s February throne speech, when the New Democratic Party government declared that B.C.’s “traditional industries—forestry and mining, oil and gas, fisheries and farming, and renewable electricity—power our economy and form the bedrock of our communities.”

Many saw the statement as a long-overdue acknowledgment, but Stewart Muir also sensed evidence of his organization’s success. “A few years ago people weren’t saying that,” the executive director of Resource Works points out. “People were saying, ‘We want a tech economy, we want to get Facebook and Microsoft jobs, because that’s our future.’”

If public awareness has shifted, he and his group can take considerable credit. As Muir looks back on five years of activity, he can contrast then and now. The genesis was actually 2013, when a provincial election campaign seemingly made an NDP government certain. Continue Reading →

200 gold bars have now been poured at Moose River mine in eastern Nova Scotia – by Paul Palmeter (CBC News Nova Scotia – March 21, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/

Atlantic Gold mine employs hundreds; environmentalist concerned about January tailings leak

Close to $150 million in startup costs are now behind Atlantic Gold Corp. at its Moose River gold mine, a project now in full swing and which has brought hundreds of jobs to a remote part of Nova Scotia.

During the first 18 months of production at the open-pit mine roughly 40 kilometres inland from Sheet Harbour, N.S., about 200 gold bars, some worth nearly $1 million each, have been poured.

“In our first year of production we were actually able to surpass our 90,000-ounce goal and produce 90,500 ounces,” said Craig Hudson, chief metallurgist with Atlantic Gold. “We’re now looking at higher targets and an increase in our production.” Continue Reading →

Column: LME zinc running on empty as stocks keep falling – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – March 19, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Another 100 tonnes of zinc were loaded out of the London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouse system on Monday. It wasn’t the most dramatic of moves but sufficient to reduce LME stocks to a fresh 12-year low of 58,325 tonnes – less than two days’ worth of global consumption and within touching distance of this century’s nadir of 58,100 tonnes recorded in October 2007.

Such desperately low inventory has rekindled zinc’s bull flames. The LME three-month price rose to an eight-month high of $2,882 per tonne last week, up 18 percent this year, before easing slightly to current levels of $2,800.

Time spreads remain tight and volatile but the premium for cash metal has so far failed to attract anything more than a smattering of fresh deliveries. The persistent tightness of LME stocks is forcing a collective rethink about the outlook for zinc, particularly the much anticipated shift to supply surplus. Continue Reading →

Global Witness says more needs to be done to halt human rights abuses in diamond mining – by Marleny Arnoldi (MiningWeekly.com – March 20, 2019)

http://m.miningweekly.com/

International nonprofit organisation Global Witness (GW) has welcomed the World Diamond Council’s (WDC’s) response to the government-led Kimberley Process (KP) certification scheme, but says more needs to be done.

The organisation pointed out in a release that the WDC had, in recent weeks, issued statements that acknowledge serious human rights concerns in the diamond mining sector, while it indicated a shift towards greater transparency in what has been a “notoriously opaque” industry.

GW said the KP had failed to break the links between diamonds and human rights abuses and agreed with the WDC in its highlighting of the critical need for industry to take steps towards responsible diamond sourcing. Continue Reading →

Miner Vale quashed dam safety audit efforts before Brazil disaster: prosecutor (Reuters U.S. – March 20, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Executives at Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore miner, quashed efforts by Brazilian authorities to audit one of the company’s mining dams months before it collapsed and killed over 300 people, a state prosecutor was quoted as saying by news website G1 on Wednesday.

William Garcia, a prosecutor in Minas Gerais where the January disaster occurred, told G1 his office had filed subpoenas with Vale last June to review safety documents regarding Vale’s dam.

But Vale’s lawyers responded in November arguing they had received positive reviews of the dam by an auditor the firm had hired, the German firm Tuv Sud, Garcia said. Continue Reading →