Barrick progressing towards modern miner goal – by Simone Liedtke ( – April 6, 2020)

Following its merger with Randgold Resources, NYSE- and TSX-listed Barrick Gold has made progress towards its goal of being a modern mining business, according to executive chairperson John Thornton in the company’s information circular for 2020 published on April 6.

The circular follows the recent publication of Barrick’s 2019 annual report, in which president and CE Mark Bristow said the work done during the past year had equipped management well to take Barrick to the next level.

Included in the report is Barrick’s ten-year production plan which projects production of around five-million ounces of gold a year over the next decade. Continue Reading →

FEATURE-Brazil indigenous community banishes miners to cut coronavirus risk – by Mauricio Angelo (Thomson Reuters Foundation – April 6, 2020)

BRASILIA, April 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As the new coronavirus reaches into Brazil’s indigenous communities for the first time, one village trying to protect itself in the Amazon rainforest has achieved a rare victory: getting illegal gold miners to agree to leave, indefinitely.

Kayapo leaders from Turedjam village negotiated with more than 30 prospectors, who all agreed to stop operations and remove their equipment over the course of last week, with no solid date on when – or if – they will return.

The move could help slow the country’s dizzying deforestation rate if other indigenous groups try to follow suit, environmentalists say. For the approximately 400 indigenous people living in Turedjam, in Brazil’s northern state of Para, the decision was a matter of life and death. Continue Reading →

Canned Food Sprees Won’t Save Aluminum – by Clara Ferreira Marques (Bloomberg News – April 6, 2020)

Aluminum isn’t the worst-performing base metal this year, an honor that goes to copper. Yet that’s only because it had less far to fall: Demand was ailing well before the coronavirus forced some three billion people to stay home.

Add the near-total shutdown of the world’s auto and aviation industry, crunching more than a third of demand, and the lightweight metal is fast heading for levels last seen during the global financial crisis.

That should translate into some of the mining industry’s deepest cuts as the pandemic forces producers such as Alcoa Corp. and Rio Tinto Group to take long-overdue decisions. Continue Reading →

Sudbury’s 1st COVID-19 case: Geologist calls experience ironic given prior concerns – by Angela Gemmill (CBC News Sudbury – April 6, 2020)

Stewart Hamilton calls it ironic that he contracted COVID-19 while attending a large international mining conference in Toronto. That’s because the Sudbury geologist had been concerned about the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus before he even went to the event.

At that time there were a growing number of cases already in Toronto, but that’s as far as it had spread in Ontario. Hamilton had even mentioned his concern about attending to his co-workers in the weeks leading up to the Prospectors Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference from Mar 1 to 4. The annual event is attended by thousands of people from dozens of countries.

Hamilton decided to continue on with his travel plans and attended for four of the five days. Despite his best efforts, he contracted the virus, and a week after returning to Sudbury test results confirmed his suspicions. Continue Reading →

Canada must return to being a grown-up nation, now and post-COVID-19 – by Conrad Black (National Post – April 4, 2020)

We must jettison this government’s insane energy policy and ensure national self-sufficiency

On Tuesday the National Post published an editorial asserting that Canada should become less dependent on foreign trade and the importation into this country of much that is vital, and which becomes more scarce in times of crisis such as the present public-health emergency.

The editors have invited me to comment on this, and I agree entirely with the piece they published. As readers would know, I have called in stentorian terms for a more self-reliant and constructively nationalistic foreign policy all my politically conscient life.

I said in 1959 (when I was 14) that it was a catastrophic error for John Diefenbaker to cancel the Avro Arrow and shut down almost all of our sophisticated aviation industry. I accept that we could not have found enough buyers to make the Arrow itself a profitable export-earner. But we had a platform, including a first-class jet engine manufacturer, to use to become a co-manufacturer with British, French, or even Swedish aircraft manufacturers. Continue Reading →

Black Lung and COVID-19 in Appalachia: A Lethal Mix – by Staff (Nature World News – April 6, 2020)

Black lung is prevalent in Appalachia. Vulnerable coal miners are wary that the rapid spread and the devastating effects of the COVID-19 can easily wipe their community out.

Jimmy Moore, a 74-year old black lung patient in Shelby Gap, Kentucky, does not know when the coronavirus gets to their area. However, if it does, ” It’s probably just going to wipe us out.” he said. Moore worked in the mines for 22 years and retired in 2000. His 51-year-old son also has a more severe case of black lung.

Two workers in Pennsylvania were tested positive for the coronavirus. The population has an increased risk of getting COVID-19 due to those already inflicted with a black lung. Continue Reading →

The future of FIFO mines is residential – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – April 6, 2020)

The coronavirus crisis will prompt mining and energy companies to permanently reduce their reliance on fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers in favour of those that live close to mines, says federal Resources minister Keith Pitt.

Australia’s biggest export industries, including iron ore and liquefied natural gas, rely on more than 50,000 workers who regularly fly from cities to work on remote sites, But that employment model has been thrown into chaos over the past fortnight as states limited cross-border travel to curb the spread of the virus.

The disruption forced hundreds of FIFO workers from south-eastern states to relocate their families to Western Australia and Queensland in a bid to keep their jobs, while the duration of shifts worked by FIFO workers has doubled and some cases tripled to reduce the amount of travel amid the pandemic. Continue Reading →

A remote First Nation prepares for its most daunting challenge: limiting the spread of coronavirus – by Marcus Gee (Globe and Mail – April 6, 2020)

First case of COVID-19 confirmed in Eabametoong First Nation, which has limited resources to deal with an outbreak

Isolation has so far protected many of Canada’s remote Indigenous communities from the coronavirus. Far from the big cities where the virus is taking the heaviest toll, they have largely been able to shield themselves from its spread. But isolation is also their greatest weakness. If the virus gets in, they are a long way from help. With crowded households, many residents in poor health and limited medical facilities, they could be devastated.

Few people know this better than Harvey Yesno. The veteran Indigenous leader from Eabametoong First Nation in Northern Ontario has spent his long career trying to build up his community and others like it. Conditions are still a long way from where he would like them to be. So, while hoping for the best, he is bracing for the worst.

“We have done everything we can to get ready for the worst-case scenario with the facilities we have, which is not very much,” he said on Friday. Eabametoong imposed a lockdown on April 1, limiting movement in and out of the community of 1,600, located 360 kilometres by air from the nearest city, Thunder Bay. Continue Reading →

Coronavirus highlights new logistics risk in battery supply chains – by Jacob Holzman (SPG Global Market Intelligence – April 2, 2020)

The coronavirus pandemic is uncovering new risk in the global supply chain for lithium-ion batteries as countries that are pivotal in producing lithium and other metals needed for battery manufacturing roll out restrictions in a bid to control the spread of the virus.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, an information provider specializing in the lithium-ion battery sector, wrote in a recent report that the coronavirus outbreak has led to a logistical slowdown throughout the supply chain, stretching around the world.

In Australia, a major producer of lithium, the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies warned members of stringent interstate travel restrictions. In South America, Chile has implemented a national curfew, and parts of Santiago are in quarantine, while Argentina has a countrywide quarantine. Continue Reading →

James Bay gold explorer raises close to $4 million in exploration financing: New Gold buys an ownership stake in Northern Superior Resources – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – April 6, 2020)

Pandemic-related market volatility hasn’t fazed a Sudbury gold exploration company from raising more than $3.9 million in private financing, much of it earmarked for a high-grade James Bay gold project.

Northern Superior Resources announced they have raised $3,924,000 by issuing Ontario charity flow-through shares and hard-dollar shares. The $3,219,000 raised through charity flow-through shares are destined for its ongoing exploration of its Ti-pa-haa-kaa-ning (TPK) property near the Ring of Fire in preparation for a drill program this summer.

TPK is a large, 47,796-hectare, property located 15 kilometres west of the Ring of Fire and 470 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, where the company has discovered gold, silver and copper. Continue Reading →

OPINION: The coronavirus pandemic is the breakthrough Xi Jinping has been waiting for. And he’s making his move. – by Terry Glavin (MACLEAN’S Magazine – April 3, 2020)

The plague that broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December has now spread to the four corners of the earth, and its coming ravages can only be glimpsed in the limited forecasting capacities of epidemiology. It’s a science that relies on predictive analytics and models that can be skewed by any number of confounding variables, so there’s little certainty about what’s in store for us all.

As the geopolitical upheavals set off by the pandemic shudder with a force without precedent since the Second World War, some things, however, are clear and plain. China’s most draconian lockdowns have been lifted. Beijing is claiming victory over the plague.

And the Chinese Communist Party is seizing what its senior officials are calling the “opportunity” of the pandemic to realize the party’s long-game objective of fully eclipsing North America and Europe in the global order. Continue Reading →

Gundlach Sounds Alarm on ‘Paper Gold’ ETFs Raking in Billions – by Katherine Greifeld and John Gittelsohn (Bloomberg News – April 1, 2020)

Jeffrey Gundlach has a warning for investors piling into gold-backed ETFs: Don’t think you’ll get the physical metal back.

State Street Corp.’s $50 billion SPDR Gold Shares ETF, ticker GLD, attracted $2.9 billion of inflows last week, its biggest haul since 2009, as haven demand amid escalating coronavirus fears boosted the metal. Meanwhile, assets in gold ETFs climbed to a record on Tuesday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The demand for such ETFs is flashing a warning sign for DoubleLine Capital’s chief investment officer, who cautioned against the products during a webcast Tuesday. Continue Reading →

Canadians had better brace themselves for an alarming new post-COVID economic world – by John Ivison (National Post – April 3, 2020)

“But it is an uncomfortable fact that China is the source of most of Canada’s antibiotics and raw materials for our drug supply. It is equally true that China effectively blocked export of face masks during the crisis and could do the same to the drug supply in a future emergency.”

Justin Trudeau’s reluctance to level with Canadians by releasing the government’s death-toll projections has understandably led to nervousness. Are the forecasts so bleak the prime minister is worried we can’t handle the truth?

Yet key decision-makers suggest that the main cause for apprehension in Ottawa is not over the immediate health crisis, or even the enormous debt levels accumulated as a result of the $200-billion COVID-19 response plan.

What is keeping policy-makers awake at night is how they will restart the economy once this is all over. On the health side, senior politicians and public servants are concerned about the spread of the virus from returning snowbirds and people who were on March break — those results have not yet worked their way into the daily updates from provincial agencies. Continue Reading →

BofA sees nickel taking big COVID-19 hit – by Henry Lazenby (Mining Journal – April 2020)

With global GDP forecast to grow at just 0.3% this year, translating into a 2.8% year-on-year contraction to nickel demand, about 150,000 tonnes of surplus metal or 10% of global supply could accumulate.

Industry players including Vale, Sumitomo, Glencore and South32 have all shown concern over nickel fundamentals, prompting production responses that “should ultimately limit the supply overhang”, according to the bank.

“Similar to copper, we therefore believe prices could rally, when a treatment (not necessarily a vaccine) is found or the isolation measures show success,” BofA said. Continue Reading →

Britain set to decide on new coal mine this month – developer – by Susanna Twidale (Reuters U.K. – April 1, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Banks Mining said it expects an end this month to its near four-year wait to see whether it can develop a coal mine in northeastern England, after it received a letter from the government department responsible outlining its time frame.

Northumberland County Council agreed in 2016 that the developer, a division of The Banks Group, could extract 3 million tonnes of coal by cutting an open cast, or surface, mine near Druridge Bay, Highthorn.

But the local government minister at the time, Sajid Javid, rejected the application following a public inquiry, saying the proposal could hamper the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change. Continue Reading →