De Beers playing poker with perception by launching Lightbox? – by David McKay (MiningMx.com – June 19, 2018)

https://www.miningmx.com/

ANGLO American’s 85%-owned De Beers may have pulled off a strategic coup by unveiling plans to launch a new brand of synthetic diamonds. These are the stones that are ‘grown’ artificially in a laboratory and against which the diamond giant has previously fought a marketing campaign.

In fact, the group spent some $140m in 2017 alone promoting naturally occurring diamonds which it says truly represent the profound emotions that inspire wedding bands and other anniversary gifts. Now, however, De Beers has performed an about-turn by unveiling its Lightbox range of synthetics. What could it portend?

According to analysts, this is not really the acknowledgement of diamond synthetics that it appears (although De Beers has its own line of synthetic diamonds which are used primarily for industrial purposes). Instead, it’s a clever commercial ploy aimed at better controlling the pricing and proliferation of lab-grown diamonds by other producers. Continue Reading →

Bust to boom: Minnesota’s Iron Range revives just as trade war looms – by Dee Depass (Minneapolis Star Tribune – June 19, 2018)

https://pilotonline.com/

HIBBING, Minn. — The taconite mines are back in action, factories are expanding and new stores and restaurants are popping up from Grand Rapids to Silver Bay.

Minnesota’s Iron Range is experiencing an economic revival that seemed unlikely as recently as two years ago, when idled mines and job losses battered the region.

“Obviously the entire economy up here rotates around the mines. So if the mines are doing good, then we all do good,” said Erik Leitz, who with his wife opened the BoomTown Brewery & Woodfire Grill in Hibbing six months ago. A newfound optimism will greet President Donald Trump when he makes his first visit to northern Minnesota on Wednesday. Continue Reading →

US risked Chinese battery monopoly had Gertler dispute escalated – by David McKay (MiningMx.com – June 19, 2018)

https://www.miningmx.com/

GLENCORE’S workaround the US sanctions placed on Dan Gertler, the Congo’s mining tycoon, was a remarkable piece of pragmatism on behalf of the Swiss miner and minerals trader, but it may have also been informed by a broader concern.

The concern is that in failing to settle the matter, the assets from which Gertler was demanding the resumption of royalties – the Mutanda and Kamoto Copper mines – would have been expropriated by the Congolese government with whom Gertler is close.

It’s quite likely then, given China’s obvious comfort in operating in the Congo, that its companies may have bought the mines and taken control of a large slug of world cobalt (and copper) supply that is crucial to battery manufacture. Controlling the cobalt market would give the Chinese unprecedented control over the world automotive sector. Continue Reading →

Ignore the green lobby, Doug Ford. Ontarians voted for affordable energy this time – by Peter Shawn Taylor (Financial Post – June 12, 2018)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Peter Shawn Taylor is a journalist, policy research analyst and a contributing writer for Canadians for Affordable Energy.

Elections are often considered to be referendums on the economy. When the economy is performing well, incumbent governments are supposed to benefit from a contented electorate. That’s not what happened in Ontario.

By most measures, the Ontario economy is doing just fine. Unemployment, one of the most important indicators for voters, is the lowest it’s been in several decades. GDP growth is in the two-per-cent range — decent, if not spectacular. Housing starts and other measures of consumer spending seem reasonably strong as well.

Nevertheless, Ontario’s long-governing Liberals were just shown the door in spectacular fashion. Voters were willing to look past the Liberals’ ugly scandals in previous elections for the sake of predictability. But when voters looked at the economy this time, they plainly could not get past one aspect of it that was actually in horrible shape: Energy affordability. Continue Reading →

Weddings of the gold rush era – by Laurel Downing Bill (KTVA.com – June 18, 2018)

http://www.ktva.com/

June was a popular month for weddings long before the Klondike gold rush. People of medieval times often took their annual baths in May, which meant a bride would still smell fresh in June. To be safe, she carried a bouquet of flowers to hide any body odor. That’s where the custom of carrying a bouquet down the aisle comes from.

Many miners who came north in search of riches may have chosen brides at the beginning of summer for practical reasons. Once the ground thawed, and a miner found a plot that showed promise, he drove stakes into the ground to lay claim to mining rights. By 1897, only one claim per person was allowed in a district.

But a loophole in the mining laws allowed married couples the right to register a separate claim in the wife’s name, thus doubling the amount of land for prospecting. So taking a wife could mean untold riches from the ground. Continue Reading →

Why Indian traders are outraging over the sale of synthetic diamonds – by MG Arun (Daily O – June 18, 2018)

https://www.dailyo.in/

The market for real diamonds may feel the impact.

For an industry that is still reeling under the Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksy scams, there is fresh trouble brewing. This time, it is the announcement by London-headquartered De Beers, the world’s largest diamond company with mines in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada, that it is launching a jewellery brand using synthetic diamonds in India.

A synthetic diamond (also known as an artificial diamond, cultured diamond, or cultivated diamond) is produced using an artificial process, as opposed to natural diamonds, which are created using geological processes.

A section of traders in Surat and Mumbai, two main hubs for diamond trade in India, are up in arms against the launch of synthetic diamonds in India, since they believe that such diamonds will destroy the market for real diamonds here. Continue Reading →

Mineral deposits at Voisey’s Bay ‘exquisite,’ says geology professor – by Terry Roberts (CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador -June 19, 2018)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/

Experts call Labrador operation ‘perfect battery metals mine’

Questions about the fate of mining operations at Voisey’s Bay over the past year have been replaced by unbridled hope and enthusiasm.

A green light for a multibillion-dollar underground expansion, a lifespan extended by many years, a workforce that will nearly double, and an operation poised to capitalize on what many expect will be an explosion in the demand for electric vehicles in the coming years.

You only need to pick up a metallurgical core sample from Voisey’s Bay to understand what all the hype is about, and you don’t need to be a geologist to know you’re holding something unique. Continue Reading →

Editorial counterpoint: On mining, let’s follow facts and the law – by Anne Williamson (Minneapolis Star Tribune – June 19, 2018)

http://www.startribune.com/

Anne Williamson is vice president of environment and sustainability for Twin Metals Minnesota.

The June 10 editorial “Mining near BWCA is risky business” expressed concern about recent information released by Twin Metals Minnesota regarding the underground copper-nickel mining project in northeastern Minnesota that the company is designing.

Twin Metals recognizes environmental protection and conservation as a core value. It’s only natural. After all, we live here, grew up here and have family here. And that is why we are designing a project proposal that will meet all state and federal environmental laws and protective standards.

Twin Metals also agrees with the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s call for “agencies to conduct a rigorous, technology-driven and independent analysis” of the proposal. Continue Reading →

Miners’ big spend shows commodities optimism – by Robert Guy (Australian Financial Review – June 18, 2018)

https://www.afr.com/

A $2 billion acquisition spree by South32 and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has underscored the more upbeat outlook on commodity prices among industry heavyweights, with the scramble to buy or develop world class assets and infrastructure heating up as the world’s largest miners emerge from years of austerity.

Australia’s largest miners have moved aggressively to stamp their dominance in key commodity markets amid expectations of strong Asian economic growth over the next decade, with South32’s $1.7 billion bid for Arizona Mining heralding its intent to be a bigger player in base metals, while Hancock Prospecting’s bold $390 million bid for Atlas Iron could position Australia’s wealthiest woman as a bigger player in iron ore shipments from Port Hedland.

The big miners are slowly opening their wallets after many years of cost cutting and a focus on improving shareholder returns, as management teams look to replace aging mines, maintain production and lay the foundation for future earnings growth. Continue Reading →

Graphic: Asian coal and gas markets roar into top gear as region revs up demand – by Henning Gloystein (Reuters U.S. June 13, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Thermal coal and gas prices have coursed into a bull run, propelled by particularly strong demand across Asia, where electricity consumption is surging thanks to healthy economic growth just as seasonal needs rise with the start of summer.

Spot thermal coal cargo prices for export from Australia’s Newcastle terminal last settled at $117 per tonne, the highest level since February 2012. That is up by more than 130 percent from 2016’s record lows.

Coal prices have not just been pushed up by firm demand, which has recovered from 2015 lows, but also by several mine closures and weak investment into capacity expansion. In gas markets, spot prices for Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) are at almost $10 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) – a 2018 high, and up by 145 percent from 2016 troughs. Continue Reading →

Commodities Slide as U.S.-China Spat Hits Soy to Steelmakers – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – June 19, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

A rout in commodities deepened as the threat of a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies intensified, hitting markets from steelmakers to soybeans.

As the tit-for-tat trade dispute between the U.S. and China stepped up, a Bloomberg gauge of commodities fell to the lowest since early April, with agriculture being the worst hit. . Almost all raw materials fell after President Donald Trump threatened tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods.

A Bloomberg agriculture index fell to the lowest since at least 1991, while global mining stocks sank to the lowest in 18 months. Industrial metals fell, with copper, nickel and zinc all giving up more than 2 percent. Continue Reading →

[Quebec Mining] Urban Barry gold camp gold explorers merge – by Esmarie Swanepoel (MiningWeekly.com – June 19, 2018)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

TSX-V-listed junior Bonterra Resources and Metanor Resources have struck a merger agreement to create an advanced Canadian gold exploration and development company.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bonterra will acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares in Metanor for C$0.73 in equity consideration, at an exchange ratio of 1.6039 Bonterra shares, for each Metanor share.

Following the acquisition, Bonterra shareholders will hold some 58% of the combined company with Metanor shareholders holding the balance. Continue Reading →

[U.S.A. Mining] Laxalt looks to intervene in case challenging EPA decision to scrap mining regulation – by Daniel Rothberg (The Nevada Independent – June 19, 2018)

https://thenevadaindependent.com/

After the Environmental Protection Agency announced in December that it would not move forward on regulations for hardrock mines, six environmental groups took the agency to court last month, arguing that the decision could harm cleanups for mines throughout the U.S.

On Friday, 14 states, including Nevada, entered the legal fray, filing a motion to intervene in the case over whether the environmental agency was meeting its congressional mandate to require financial assurances from mining operators to clean up pollution.

The case is the latest in more than a decade of wrangling over the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA. In its decision last December, the EPA argued that the move would leave more power to states, like Nevada, which has bonding requirements for miners. Continue Reading →

Lustre may be set to return to gold mining stocks after long decline – by David Dias (Financial Post – June 19, 2018)

http://business.financialpost.com/

After a five-year decline, beaten-down Canadian gold miners may be setting themselves up for a turnaround in 2019, analysts say, as healthier cash flows lead to more spending on exploration and development, and more attractive dividends.

The price of gold has only recently come off its bottom. From 2011 to 2013, prices peaked at around US$1,800 an ounce, before the precious metal commenced its plunge to US$1,050, ending in late 2015.

Since then, prices have come back up to around US$1,300, but those higher prices have not benefited Canadian gold mining stocks, according to analyst Andrew Kaip at BMO Capital Markets. Continue Reading →

South African Miners Say Free Carry Will Kill New Projects – by Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – June 19, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The biggest threat posed by South Africa’s new Mining Charter may be to mines that haven’t been dug yet.

The draft rules, published Friday by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, lay out several requirements for new mining rights, including that nearby communities and employees each get a 5 percent free-carried interest in either the asset or the company that owns it. The charter is aimed at distributing the industry’s wealth more widely among South Africans to make up for racial discrimination during apartheid.

New mines are already scarce in the country, which has been mined commercially for more than a century and where producers have struggled with rising costs, regulatory uncertainty and a restive labor force. The industry argues that the free carry — which means the respective groups don’t have to buy their shares or pay their way — will make new developments even less likely. Continue Reading →