A sustainable plan for Ontario’s Ring of Fire – by Cheryl Chetkiewicz, Justina Ray, Richard Lindgren (Policy Options – July 17, 2018)

http://policyoptions.irpp.org/

Cheryl Chetkiewicz, PhD, is a conservation scientist at Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. Justina Ray, PhD, is president and senior scientist at Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. Richard Lindgren is a staff lawyer with the Canadian Environmental Law Association and represents citizens’ groups on environmental issues.

Newly elected Premier Doug Ford has declared that resource development within northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire mining area will be a priority for his government. However, from an environmental planning and First Nations perspective, this may be more easily said than done.

Mineral deposits in the Ring of Fire lie beneath globally significant carbon-rich peat lands in the Far North of Ontario. The enormous economic potential of the chromite and nickel deposits has sustained industry and government buzz since these deposits were discovered over a decade ago.

While there has been intensive exploration and some limited impact-assessment work, little progress in developing these deposits has occurred to date. Continue Reading →

Millennials like their diamonds ethically sourced or man-made, and jewellers are responding – by Divia Harilela (South China Morning Post – July 7, 2018)

https://www.scmp.com/

According to industry insiders, he is not the only one among his peers who is concerned about where diamonds are sourced from. While many have lamented that diamonds have lost their lustre for the new generation, the truth is that millennials view these precious stones differently from their predecessors.

In addition to colour and clarity, they are more likely to consider social and ethical concerns before they make a diamond purchase.

“New generations equally value what we call natural diamonds, but they are even more demanding about what they buy in this category, like in most of their consumption. Consumers, now more than ever, want to be assured of quality and integrity,” says François Delage, CEO of De Beers Diamond Jewellers. Continue Reading →

[Diamonds] Africa’s Blue Economy: An overlooked opportunity? – by David Thomas (African Business – July 16, 2018)

African Business

Honing in on a promising area using geophysical mapping, a crawler cuts and dredges the seabed, sucking some 60 tonnes of sediment per hour through a giant pipe and onto the vessel. Without any human contact, the sediment is washed and sorted for the glittering stones, which are sealed into small, barcoded containers for the first stage of their journey to the boutiques of Europe and Asia.

To many, subsea diamond mining may sound like a far-off vision of the future, a fanciful innovation on a par with asteroid mining. But with 1m carats recovered from the seabed in 2015 alone by global mining giant De Beers, the technology is already well into its infancy.

For the firm, which has made a vast fortune sifting the soils of Southern Africa for 130 years, heading to the oceans is not just a technological luxury but also an economic necessity. Continue Reading →

Smelting constraints make zinc’s price plunge look overdone – by Pratima Desai (Reuters U.S. – July 17, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Expectations for a rise in zinc concentrate supplies in coming years have driven down the metal price to one-year lows, but smelting capacity constraints suggest the sell-off is premature.

Benchmark zinc on the London Metal Exchange (LME) hit $2,473.85 a tonne on Monday, its lowest since mid-June 2017 and 31 percent below February’s 11-year high of $3,595.50. Prices of the metal, which is used to galvanise steel, have underperformed other LME metals this year.

Projects that will deliver more zinc concentrate to market include Vedanta’s Gamsberg mine in South Africa and three Australian projects, namely Dugald River owned by MMG, another mine run by New Century Resources and Glencore’s Lady Loretta mine. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto, BHP, Vale tipped to report strongest ever quarterly iron ore exports – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – July 15, 2018)

https://www.afr.com/

The world’s three biggest iron ore miners are expected to confirm the industry’s strongest ever quarterly export figures this week, helping to explain recent weakness in prices for the bulk commodity.

Big miners have exercised restraint in both supply and rhetoric in recent years in a bid to calm fears the iron ore market could be flooded with supply, but port statistics suggest the miners’ inexorable export growth reached new heights in the three months to June 30.

Brazilian miner Vale is expected to announce record quarterly production of 96.3 million tonnes when it kicks off reporting season early on Tuesday morning Australian time, and Rio Tinto is expected to report strong numbers of its own several hours later. Continue Reading →

China’s cobalt dominance meets blockchain-backed resistance – by Rurika Imahashi and Nikki Sun (Nikkei Asian Review – July 17, 2018)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

TOKYO/HONG KONG — The equation could not be simpler. Electric cars are widely considered the future of the auto industry. Each electric car battery requires about 10 kg of cobalt. Control the cobalt supply, win the future. China, clearly, has done the math.

Most of the cobalt produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo — the world’s top source of the metal by far — is purchased by Chinese companies like Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt and refined back in China. The strategy appears to be to control the supply chain so that electric car production is virtually impossible without Chinese involvement.

“If cobalt falls into the hands of the Chinese, yeah you won’t see EVs being produced in Europe, etc.,” Ivan Glasenberg, the chief executive of Swiss miner Glencore, warned in March at the FT Commodities Global Summit. Continue Reading →

TRANSFORMATION: Digging out from a mine closure: Sussex gives itself a shake and tries new things – by Connell Smith (CBC News New Brunswick – July 16, 2018)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/

Southern New Brunswick town lost 1,000 jobs almost overnight when PotashCorp pulled out

Uwe Fiehn has a numbers problem. Despite a fairly steady stream of lunch-time customers exclaiming over the pastries and European breads, the owner of the Country Home Bakery knows a lot more people should be stopping in.

“Every day we need 100 to 110 customers, then you have a very good business,” Fiehn said. “If you have 80 customers every day, that’s also perfect. “But we have at the moment just 50 to 55, you know?” Fiehn and his wife, Linda, bought the property in Sussex Corner, outside Sussex, in August 2015.

1,000 jobs gone

Five months later, PotashCorp delivered the shattering news to Sussex and surrounding communities that it was closing its mine in nearby Penobsquis. Continue Reading →

Lundin makes another move to buy Nevsun – by Mariaan Webb (MiningWeekly.com – July 17, 2018)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

Keen to bring the Timok copper project, in Serbia, into its fold, Canadian firm Lundin Mining has announced that it will take a C$1.4-billion offer directly to Nevsun Resources shareholders, after unsuccessful attempts to engage with the company over the past five months.

Lundin, which earlier this year tried to buy Nevsun in a deal with Canadian junior Euro Sun, is now going at it alone, with a C$4.75 a share cash consideration, which it points out is a 82% premium to the target company’s closing price of C$2.61 a share when it first expressed interest in acquiring Timok.

The offer is also a premium to Nevsun’s closing price of C$4.21 a share on Monday. The prize for Lundin will be the Timok project, which has a probable reserve of 27-million tonnes at an average grade of 3.3% copper and 2.1 g/t gold, containing 0.89-million tonnes of copper and 1.8-million ounces of gold. Continue Reading →

Trade war jitters have halted the commodity rally and could disrupt miners’ plans for big projects – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – July 14, 2018)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Speaking at a conference in early June, Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd.’s chief executive Don Lindsay raved that his company invested “in the right commodities at the right time,” with a nod to one of its biggest bets — copper.

Lindsay predicted copper soon would hit US$3.50 per pound, at which point his company’s long-planned Quebrada Blanca 2 project — a 300,000-ton per year copper mine to be constructed in northern Chile’s high desert — would add $1 billion dollars per year in cash flow.

“That price is not far off,” he said at the June conference in Chicago, organized by Deutsche Bank, at a time when copper had experienced nearly a year of gains. Continue Reading →

Mayor optimistic after Timmins makes Noront shortlist – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – July 17, 2018)

http://www.timminspress.com/

TIMMINS – Timmins Mayor Steve Black said he is confident and optimistic that Timmins is still offering the best possible solution for Noront Resources Inc. in its bid to find a new ferrochrome processing facility. It was only Friday that Noront revealed that Timmins was one of two communities that made the new shortlist for consideration for a new facility.

Timmins had been one of four Northern Ontario cities in the running as a possible site for Noront’s future plans. Noront is the company with the largest area of active mining claims in the Ring of Fire area, which is touted to have $50-billion worth of chromite, nickel and other valuable minerals.

While the mining prospect is still a few years away from development, Noront has been actively seeking a Northern Ontario community where a ferrochrome facility could be located. Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie were all being considered. Continue Reading →

Canada Eyes New Quotas, Tariffs to Halt Flood of Diverted Steel – by Josh Wingrove (Bloomberg News – July 16, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Canada is considering both quotas and tariffs to stop a spike in imports of foreign steel being diverted from the U.S. by Donald Trump’s trade policies, the industry minister said.

Navdeep Bains, speaking by phone from the Farnborough International Airshow, said Justin Trudeau’s government is weighing so-called safeguard measures to curb the influx of cheap foreign steel and could expand the list of products as needed. It previously identified three — energy tubular, steel plates and rebar — but the minister said that was only a first step.

“We did that based on the data and the information that we have” Bains said Monday. “That by no means is the final list so we’ll look at what option, either tariff or quotas, that we need.” Continue Reading →

Compass Minerals and Unifor reach tentative deal in Goderich salt mine strike (CBC News Canada – July 15, 2018)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/

A vote will be held on Monday in Goderich to possibly end the 12-week strike

Compass Minerals and the union representing striking Goderich salt mine workers have reached a tentative three-year deal, days after both sides returned to the bargaining table. Unifor Local 16-0 and the company both announced the progress late Saturday.

“There is no doubt that the support from hundreds of members of Unifor and other unions, along with the ongoing support from the Goderich community made a powerful impact to help get Unifor back to the table,” said national union president Jerry Dias in an online news release.

A vote will be held on Monday at 9 a.m. in Goderich at the Knights Of Columbus Community Hall at 390 Parsons Court. It could possibly end the 12-week strike. Continue Reading →

Why Saudi Arabia’s Aramco IPO remains a pipeline dream – by David Olive (Toronto Star – July 14, 2018)

https://www.thestar.com/

As the largest oil exporter in the world, Aramco is the means by which Saudi Arabia has de facto control over the world oil price. Aramco was Saudi Arabia’s device in waging a ruinous price war against U.S. shale-oil producers, causing the world oil price to collapse, and driving foreign investment out of the Alberta oilpatch.

A more transparent Aramco would help Athabasca and other world producers to more accurately calculate anticipated rates and return on their costly long-term investments.

For now, the Saudi oil industry is opaque. For competitive and national-security reasons, Saudi Arabia provides only the sketchiest data on the true extent of its massive reserves, rivaled only by those of Athabasca and Venezuela. Continue Reading →

World’s Biggest Miners Want More Copper But Nobody’s Selling – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – July 17, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

It’s the mining world’s biggest dilemma: everyone’s hunting for copper deals, but even the richest producers just can’t pull the trigger.

The largest miners all say they’re bullish on copper and looking for growth in the metal that’s forecast to be in ever-greater demand as cities expand and electric vehicles gain traction.

The industry has deep pockets for deals right now — Rio Tinto Group may end the year having raised $8.5 billion from asset sales and rivals like BHP Billiton Ltd. and Glencore Plc are churning out massive profits. Continue Reading →

Miners test greener ways to dig – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal/Toronto Star – July 16, 2018)

https://www.thestar.com/wsj/

Miners are considering new ways to make the dirt they dig up green.

Across the U.S. border in Quebec, a research facility will fine-tune a technology that its owners—Alcoa Corp. and Rio Tinto PLC—believe could turn aluminum smelters carbon-free for the first time. Another initiative under way in Sweden could see hydrogen replace coking coal in manufacturing steel.

Miners have long seen investing in technology as a way to bring costs down and protect profits during swings in the global economy. But a new force for change has recently emerged: customers such as Apple Inc. and Audi AG that see a marketing advantage in ensuring their products are cleaner and greener than before.

Nestlé SA’s coffee brand Nespresso, for example, wants to source all the aluminum for its capsules from sustainably managed operations by 2020, which includes strict limits on greenhouse-gas emissions. Continue Reading →