Trump’s plan to buy Greenland, explained – by Matthew Yglesias ( – August 16, 2019)

He’s not even the first president who’s tried, but the island is not for sale.

President Donald Trump would like to buy Greenland, according to an entertaining Wall Street Journal collaboration by reporters Vivian Salama, Rebecca Ballhaus, Andrew Restuccia, and Michael C. Bender.

Specifically, they report that “in meetings, at dinners and in passing conversations, Mr. Trump has asked advisers whether the U.S. can acquire Greenland, listened with interest when they discuss its abundant resources and geopolitical importance and, according to two of the people, has asked his White House Counsel to look into the idea.”

They also report that “some of his advisers have supported the concept,” though others dismiss it as an unrealistic flight of fancy. The truth is that though it sounds kind of silly, it makes perfect sense if you happen to share Trump’s indifference to environmental issues and indigenous rights. Continue Reading →

The World Has a Diamond Glut. Why Is That a Problem? – by Elizabeth Paton (New York Times – August 16, 2019)

LONDON — Is it ever possible to have too many diamonds? For many in the business of producing and trading these gems in recent years, the answer is yes.

The top diamond miners in the world, including the two largest, Alrosa and De Beers, have an inventory problem. So do many of the cutters and polishers who buy the rough stones and sell them to retailers. At every stage of the supply chain there are too many of these precious gemstones, whose marketing has long depended on their rarity.

A glut in many other industries would ordinarily lead to deep price cuts. But consumers are buying stones that have passed through many layers of middlemen: traders, polishers and cutters, who have absorbed much of the raw stones’ price volatility, as well as brands and jewelry houses that create rings, bracelets and necklaces. This has kept retail prices relatively constant, fueled by robust demand from shoppers all over the world. Continue Reading →

Local View Column: Let’s have honest conversations about copper-nickel mining – by Dean DeBeltz (Duluth News Tribune – August 16, 2019)

Dean DeBeltz is director of operations and safety for Twin Metals Minnesota. He is based in Ely.

As people gather for the Wild Waters Music Fest in Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park today, there will be much conversation about what needs to be done to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

As Twin Metals Minnesota’s proposed mine plan moves through the regulatory process, those of us who work in mining will be an important part of those conversations — not only because we, too, care deeply about the Boundary Waters but because we are committed to the health of the communities of Northeastern Minnesota, where our common future lives.

The Iron Range we know today was built on both mining and the wilderness. The forests of northern Minnesota have been home to mines and logging operations, outfitters and outdoor adventurers continuously for more than 130 years. Continue Reading →

Philippines’ top high-grade nickel ore miner set to shut down: government official – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – August 16, 2019)

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines’ top exporter of high-grade nickel ore is expected to shut its mining operations soon as ore deposits at a project in the nation’s southernmost province of Tawi-Tawi are nearly depleted, a ministry official told Reuters.

SR Languyan Mining Corp will shut “most likely” later this year, said Jaynul Ali Sambarani, head of mines and geoscience services at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

The closure will likely reduce the Philippines’ monthly exports of nickel ore to top metals consumer China by 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes, based on estimates by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). Continue Reading →

Here’s why silver could still outshine gold this year, despite weaker fundamentals – by Nicholas Sokic (Financial Post – August 16, 2019)

While gold enjoys all the spotlight, its poor cousin silver has been riding on its coattails and enjoying the safe-haven rally.

Silver has been up more than 11 per cent for the year to US$17.22 per ounce, but is still in gold’s shadow (which is in the midst of a blistering near-18-per-cent jump year to date).

Philip Newman, a founding partner at Metals Focus, a U.K.-based metals consultancy, estimates that silver could hit US$19 by the end of the year and, with central banks easing monetary policy and the U.S. dollar strengthening, prices could go higher. Continue Reading →

Junior Explorers Just Scratching the Surface In Northern Quebec’s Abitibi Gold Belt – by Neils Christensen (Kitco News – August 15, 2019)

(Kitco News) – Northern Quebec is one of the most prolific gold regions in the world; it is home to the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, which has produced 180 million ounces of gold during the last century.

The Val d’Or/Abitibi region is also home to Canada’s largest gold mine: Malartic, which is run by Agnico Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM, TSX: AEM) and Yamana Gold (NYSE; AUY, TSX: YRI). However, junior explorers working in the area are demonstrating that miners have just literally scratched the surface and the region’s potential is limitless.

Since the 1920’s the region has been home to about 100 different mines; at the same time, about 300 gold deposits have been identified in the area. “There is no doubt. This is mining country,” said Philippe Cloutier, president and CEO of Cartier Resources (TSX.V: ECR), just one of the junior explores breathing new life into existing mining camps. “The mines in Northern Quebec shut down because of economics not because they ran out of ounces.” Continue Reading →

Billionaire Koch brothers dump Canada’s oilsands leases as foreign exodus continues – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – August 15, 2019)

CALGARY – Once among the largest landholders in the oilsands, industrial conglomerate Koch Industries Inc. has sold off its upstream leases and abandoned licences in the heavy oil play, joining a stream of foreign companies exiting the bitumen-bearing formation.

Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries struck an agreement to sell thousands of hectares of land in the oilsands to Calgary-based Cavalier Energy Inc., a subsidiary of the Riddell family-controlled Paramount Resources Ltd., in a transaction that occurred in June, the Financial Post has confirmed.

Koch, one of the world’s largest private companies owned by American billionaires and Republican donors Charles and David Koch, has also abandoned the licences it did not sell in the transaction with Paramount and has been allowing its leases in the play to expire. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Coal may be dying, but growth in the seaborne market says not yet – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – August 15, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Aug 15 (Reuters) – The prevailing market view on coal is that the industry is now facing terminal decline, as renewables and natural gas displace the polluting fuel. The problem is the facts don’t quite fit the narrative.

The coal industry can be split into two broad sectors, namely coal mined and burnt domestically, and the seaborne market, where coal is mined and exported to countries that need to import energy.

Of these two, the seaborne market grabs the most attention, as it’s more visible to investors, traders and even environmentalists opposed to coal mining. Continue Reading →

Northern residents applaud pair of federal announcements paving way to long-awaited all-weather Arctic road – by Bob Weber (Globe and Mail – August 16, 2019)

CANADIAN PRESS: Two federal announcements this week are expected to kick-start a long-awaited road into the heart of the Canadian Arctic that would lower grocery costs for northern families and unlock billions of dollars in mineral resources.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau pledged more than $50-million to cover preliminary studies and planning for an all-weather road from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories to a deep-water port on Nunavut’s central Arctic coast.

“This will change the economy of Canada,” Wally Schumann, the NWT’s minister of industry, tourism and investment, said Thursday. A direct, all-weather connection to southern Canada’s highways – Nunavut’s first – would allow everything from fresh vegetables to construction materials to be shipped more cheaply and easily by trucks. Continue Reading →

Here’s a truth few dare to utter: Canada will benefit from climate change – by Joe Oliver (Financial Post – August 15, 2019)

“Unfortunately, at only 1.6 per cent of global GHG emissions, Canada
cannot achieve a measurable impact on global temperatures, even if
it met the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change target,
which would devastate our economy.”

Why should Canada fight climate change? Finally, someone proclaimed an obvious truth that few dare to utter publicly. According to Moody’s Analytics, Canada will benefit from climate change. Although it will shock many, this forecast should surprise no one.

Canada is a very large, cold country, with 90 per cent of its population huddled within 100 miles of its southern border and an enormous agricultural potential if the land warms up. There will also be new opportunities for oil, gas and mineral development in the Arctic. And let’s not ignore the greater personal comfort of living in a more hospitable climate.

According to a CBC story about Moody’s study, “when all the changes to things like tourism demand, crop yields and the growing season are factored in, there’s a slight net positive.” Continue Reading →

Incoming Codelco CEO ‘optimistic’ on long-term copper price – by Fabian Cambero (Reuters U.K. – August 14, 2019)

CHUQUICAMATA, Chile (Reuters) – The incoming chief executive of Chile’s state copper miner Codelco said he was “optimistic” about the long-term market price of copper despite the global volatility caused by the U.S.-China trade war.

“There is a lot of volatility at this moment because of everything that’s happening in the world, but we remain optimistic about the long-term outlook (of the copper price),” Octavio Araneda told journalists on Wednesday.

In April, Chile’s state copper commission Cochilco held its estimate for the price of copper at $3.05 per pound, rising to $3.08 for 2020 on improving prospects for growth in China. Continue Reading →

Gold is beating stocks on its best tear in 6 years — but watch these risks before wading in – by Martin Pelletier (Financial Post – August 13, 2019)

Speculators can easily get burned by this volatile commodity

What started off as a great rebound year for investors is starting to show signs of weakness, amid fears that the global economic slowdown may worsen in the face of escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

That uncertainty may be weighing on equity markets, but for investors in gold it has been a whole different story.

Over the past month, while the S&P 500 has fallen four per cent, gold has surged by nearly seven per cent, with the price of bullion surpassing US$1,520 and reaching its highest level since April 2013. Continue Reading →

Supply glut pushes down rare-metal prices – by Hiroki Masuda (Nikkei Asian Review – August 14, 2019)

China’s possible policy shift on hybrid cars further dampens market sentiment

TOKYO — Prices for rare-earth metals are falling sharply, with the price of cobalt dropping 30% since the start of the year, and that for lithium remaining sluggish.

Global markets are swimming in rare earths, as production has outstripped demand for the batteries used to power electric vehicles. Speculation is rife that demand for the commodities will slow further as China considers promoting production of hybrid cars, which require fewer rare earths. This is further stifling market sentiment.

Cobalt and lithium are mainly used to make cathodes for lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars. Spot prices for cobalt in Europe are near three-year lows. Continue Reading →

Gold rush-era rules to stop mining pollution are still in use – but they’re failing – by Susan Lawrence and Peter Davies (The Conversation – August 14, 2019)

Bento Rodrigues, Brazil, 6 November 2015

Wet, orange mud covers everything: streets, houses, cars, animals, trees, fields. The violent force of a torrent of mud has overturned cars and left them hovering on top of buildings. It has torn the roofs off houses and pushed over their walls.

The view of the town from helicopters flying above reveals a desolate landscape: sludge-caked animals struggle to free themselves, and rescue teams search desperately for survivors. Mud dyes the river orange for hundreds of kilometres downstream, and two weeks later it will flow out into the Atlantic in an expanding orange stain.

This devastation is the result of the catastrophic failure of a tailings dam: a vast settling pond built to store the muddy waste from Samarco’s Germano iron ore mine. Continue Reading →

Turning around Mexico’s mining meltdown – by Patrick Kingsland (Mining Technology – August 14, 2019)

Despite its large mineral wealth Mexico’s mining sector has struggled and investment has hit a 12-year low, rattled by political uncertainty and insecurity. Patrick Kingsland takes a look at the industry and asks what it can do to once again become an attractive investment opportunity.

Mexico’s mining industry dates back as far as the Aztec empire and the ancient Maya civilisation. The search for minerals like gold by Spanish immigrants gave rise to major population centres like Guanajuato, Taxco and Zacatecas.

But despite Mexico’s long tradition of mining and continued industrial potential – just 25% of the country has been explored for minerals and oil to date – the sector is currently in an uncertain place, as new government policies, social unrest, insecurity and challenging access to finance undermine investment. Continue Reading →