Chinese mining company Jiangxi targeting First Quantum for potential takeover bid, sources say – by Andrew Willis and Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – September 21, 2019)

State-controlled mining company Jiangxi Copper Corp. Ltd. is stalking Vancouver-based First Quantum Minerals Ltd., owner of the largest copper mine in Africa, an approach driven by the Chinese government’s drive to lock up supplies of natural resources in the continent.

First Quantum recently hired investment bankers and lawyers to deal with a potential takeover bid from Jiangxi, China’s largest copper producer, according to financial industry sources who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak for the company. These sources said Jiangxi has not made a formal offer, and may decide to abandon the chase.

First Quantum’s share price jumped a total of 20 per cent on Thursday and Friday. Bloomberg this week reported possible takeover interest by global miners and a toehold 9-per-cent investment in the Canadian miner by Jiangxi. First Quantum stock closed Friday at $12.21 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, valuing the company at $8.4-billion. Continue Reading →

Miners must earn this trust through action: Clearer rules will help bring about safer tailings dams – by Bruno Oberle (Financial Times – September 20, 2019)

Bruno Oberle is chair of the Global Tailings Review, was state secretary for environment in the Swiss government, professor for green economy and resource governance at EPFL, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and heads its International Risk Governance Center.

In January 2019, a tailings dam near the town of Brumadinho in south-eastern Brazil collapsed. Mining waste — or tailings — rapidly flowed down a valley, claiming the lives of 248 people (with 22 individuals still missing) and causing widespread destruction.

Sadly, this was not the first time tailings have been released from the dams built to hold them, with devastating impact on the nearby communities and the natural environment. Nor was this the first time an event of this magnitude has happened in Brazil.

Following the disaster at Brumadinho, I was appointed chair of the Global Tailings Review convened by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Continue Reading →

Column: Shanghai nickel surge morphs into London squeeze – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – September 19, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – There’s only so much bullish news even the red-hot nickel market can absorb. London nickel leapt to a five-year high of $18,850 per tonne this month as Indonesia confirmed it would bring forward to next year a ban on exporting nickel ore.

That will cut off the major source of feed for China’s nickel pig iron (NPI) producers. This week’s news that the Philippines will suspend indefinitely operations in the nickel mining hub of Tawi-Tawi province threatens supply from China’s second largest ore supplier.

But rather than extending its super-charged rally, nickel has retreated from the highs in both London and Shanghai, a telling sign of bull exhaustion. This particular chapter in the nickel story, nevertheless, is far from over, the original Shanghai surge morphing into a London squeeze. Continue Reading →

U.S. Says Saudis Must Forgo Enrichment for Nuclear Sharing Deal – by Ari Natter (Bloomberg News – September 19, 2019)

Saudi Arabia will be required to forgo enriching or reprocessing spent uranium if it wants to secure a nuclear-technology-sharing deal with the U.S., Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a letter to the kingdom that addresses bi-partisan non-proliferation concerns about the proposal.

The U.S. has been in negotiations with the Saudis for an agreement that could benefit Westinghouse Electric Co. and other American companies that want to construct or sell nuclear reactor technology to the kingdom.

But that prospect has been met with increasing alarm by Congress and others concerned that the Saudis could enrich nuclear fuel into weapons grade material. Those concerns were heightened after the Trump administration said it might not insist on the so-called “Gold Standard” barring such activities. Continue Reading →

[Trevali Mining] CEO bullish on buoying miner as zinc sinks – by Nelson Bennett (Business In Vancouver – September 18, 2019)

The stock market has not been kind of late to Trevali Mining Corp. (TSX:TV). The Vancouver-based zinc miner has doubled in size since acquiring two zinc mines from Glencore Plc in 2017, bumping it to mid-tier miner status, with a global head count of about 2,000.

It now has four operating zinc mines – one in New Brunswick, one in Peru and two in Africa (Namibia and Burkina Faso). Normally, that kind of production growth would be a good reason to hold onto a mining stock. But the company’s share price has recently fallen to below $0.20 from $1.68 at the end of January 2018.

Trevali is not the only zinc miner to experience a stock market pummelling. Glencore PLC (LON:GLEN), one of the world’s largest zinc producers, has suffered a 45% decline in share value since January 2018. Continue Reading →

Sudbury: Federal Green Party pledges investment in sustainable mining (CBC News Sudbury – September 18, 2019)

Platform includes a promise for $40 million for the proposed Sudbury mining innovation cluster

The leader of the federal Green Party of Canada is clarifying some misinformation about the party’s stance on mining. In the party’s platform, there is a line that states that “no new pipelines, or coal, oil or gas drilling or mining, including offshore wells, will be approved.”

The platform also states that the party plans to “support the transition of the mining sector to an innovation hub for greener technologies.”

It also pledges $40 million for the proposed Sudbury-based mining innovation cluster. Some have questioned what the promises mean for the mining sector. Continue Reading →

Inquiry into foreign funding of anti-Alberta energy campaigns could shake up enviro charities – by Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – September 18, 2019)

In a drive-by take-down editorial this past weekend, the Globe and Mail blasted Alberta’s public inquiry into foreign funding of anti-Alberta energy campaigns. The editorial had few facts on hand to support its claims, but it let loose with a series of cheap shots, glib commentary and a conclusion that fell back on an ancient tribal chant: “For Alberta to create a public inquiry to go after critics is a McCarthyesque misuse of power.”

Ah, McCarthyism, the old ideological cushion of the lazy lefty — although most Canadians under the age of 50 would have to Google it.

Alberta’s inquiry into the foreign funding of Canada’s green anti-oil activist groups is headed by Steve Allan, by all accounts a solid and objective forensic accountant who is as far from being Joe McCarthy as Mr. Rogers is from being Donald Trump. Continue Reading →

Laid off and owed pay: the Kentucky miners blocking coal trains – by Michael Sainato (The Guardian – September 18, 2019)

Harlan county, Kentucky, earned the nickname “Bloody Harlan” from a series of labor strikes and violent confrontations in the 1930s led by coalminers and union organizers against coal corporations and law enforcement. In 1973, Harlan’s coalminers went on strike for 13 months when contract negotiations with Duke Power Company broke down after miners voted to form a union.

There are no longer any unionized mines in Kentucky, but Harlan’s miners are currently continuing the region’s legacy of labor struggles against wealthy and powerful coal corporations: they are blocking the coal trains from leaving a mine that laid them off.

A collection of tents next to some rail tracks may not look like much compared to that rich legacy of labor struggle. A small group of families have occupied the site since 29 July, sitting on camp chairs, occasionally hosting live music and attracting sympathetic supporters from all over the US. Continue Reading →

Sirius Minerals shares crash after miner pulls $500m bond sale – by Neil Hume and Chris Tighe (Financial Times – September 17, 2019)

1,200 jobs at risk after UK government refuses to back $5bn project in Yorkshire

A $5bn project to build a huge potash mine under the North York Moors was plunged into fresh doubt after developer Sirius Minerals was forced to pull a crucial $500m bond issue and admit it had failed to secure government backing.

The company, which lost more than half its market value on Tuesday, now has six months to put in place fresh funding, otherwise it will run out of money and work on the UK’s biggest mining project in a generation will come to a halt, putting 1,200 jobs at risk.

Chief executive Chris Fraser said it was not possible to issue the junk bond — which was required to unlock a $2.5bn financing package for the mine — because of “ongoing poor bond market conditions”. Sirius’ shares tumbled by 60 per cent to 4p. Continue Reading →

Michigan, Wisconsin Could Face Mining Disaster – by Al Gedicks (Urban Milwaukee – September 18, 2019)


Regulators allowing open pit mine near Lake Michigan that could release catastrophic amount of toxic waste.

The willingness of top Michigan regulators to ignore their own scientific staff and approve a wetland permit for a controversial open pit mine next to the Menominee River on the Michigan-Wisconsin border has been reported by Urban Milwaukee, but is only the beginning of a dangerous decision-making process. The proposed Back Forty metallic sulfide mine is owned by Aquila Resources, a Canadian exploration company that has no experience with mining.

Despite steadily increasing scientific evidence of the danger of a tailings dam failure next to the Menominee River and the potential catastrophic release of toxic mine waste into Lake Michigan, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) appears ready to approve the dam’s design.

That design is associated with the January 2019 Brazilian tailings dam disaster that killed at least 250 people in Brazil’s deadliest-ever mining accident. Brazil has already banned this design from further use and ordered the decommissioning of 88 existing dams employing this design. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire ‘absolutely critical’ to his administration, premier says – by Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles (North Bay Nugget – September 18, 2019)

The development of the Ring of Fire remains a top priority for the Conservative government, said Premier Doug Ford. Ford was in Verner Tuesday attending the opening ceremonies at the International Plowing Match when he addressed questions from the media relating to everything from broadband service for rural Northern communities and education to autism and the Ring of Fire.

“The Ring of Fire is absolutely critical for our administration,” Ford said. “You will see me on that bulldozer, it’s one of our highest priorities for the government and the province.”

When asked if Ontario Northland will play an integral part in that development, Ford referred the question to Minister of Energy, Mines, Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford. Continue Reading →

Abandoned mine cleanup federal, provincial responsibility: Cook-Searson – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 18, 2019)

Liberal candidate Tammy Cook-Searson says both levels of government should help clean up the abandoned Gunnar mine.

The Liberal candidate in Saskatchewan’s vast northern riding says both the federal and provincial governments should be responsible for cleaning up the abandoned Gunnar uranium mine and other, similar sites in the region.

That aligns with the view of many Saskatchewan politicians, but breaks with the federal Liberals’ position that the province should put up virtually all of the cash for the massively over-budget project, which is currently estimated to cost $280 million.

“I think that both levels of government need to sit down and figure out what the fair share is. Negotiate it,” Tammy Cook-Searson said of the largest environmental remediation project in Saskatchewan history, which was originally expected to cost just $24.6 million. Continue Reading →

Canada primed for rare earth revival – by Sarah Treleaven (CIM Magazine – September 16, 2019)

As China threatens to halt exports of vital rare earth metals, some Canadian companies believe that their time has come

As the U.S.-China trade war heats up, with U.S. president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping placing tariffs on an increasing amount of goods, even while occasionally offering a more conciliatory appeal for new talks, a small but cautiously optimistic group of miners are wondering if this impasse might finally herald their time in the spotlight.

The focus of that spotlight is rare earths, a group of elements that are increasingly in demand because they make up crucial components of cell phones, electric vehicles, rechargeable batteries and medical devices, as well as many other industrial and military applications. The manufacturing of permanent magnets represents the single most important end use for rare earths, accounting for almost a quarter of total consumption.

Major reserves can be found in China, Australia, Brazil, Russia and Malaysia, though China currently produces close to 90 per cent of the global supply. (The only other meaningful producer is the Lynas Corporation in Australia.) Continue Reading →

BHP boss’ pay cut by almost 25% after worker’s death, runaway train – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – September 18, 2019)

BHP’s chief executive, Andrew Mackenzie, saw his annual pay shrink by almost a quarter after an unexplained death at one of the company’s Queensland mines and a runaway iron ore train cost him a portion of his short-term bonus.

Mackenzie, 62, had his short-term bonus reduced by more than $1 million from 2018 to $1.3 million. His base salary was kept at $1.7 million, taking his total earnings, including other benefits, to $3.5 million, from $4.6 million in 2018.

According to BHP’s 2019 annual report, the death of a 49-year-old worker at its Saraji coal mine on New Year’s Eve last year, the cause of which it was unable to determine, was the main reason for the pay-cut. It was the first time in more than 15 years that the company had failed to pinpoint the cause of a fatal accident, BHP said. Continue Reading →

‘Momentous day’ as Yukon’s newest mine pours 1st gold bar (CBC News North – September 18, 2019)

Yukon’s newest mine marked a milestone on Tuesday, as it poured its first gold bar — 1,001 ounces in size, and worth about $2 million. “A momentous day,” said Mark Ayranto, chief operating officer of Victoria Gold, which owns the Eagle mine near Mayo, Yukon.

Ayranto was in Whitehorse on Tuesday, in a roomful of people watching a live video feed from the mine site. On screen were two people decked head-to-toe in protective silver suits, ready to tip the molten gold into the mould.

Unrecognizable in one of those suits was Yukon Premier Sandy Silver. The $500-million mine will be the largest in Yukon’s history. It’s expected to be a major contributor to the territory’s economy. Continue Reading →