UPDATE 1-Second activist targets Canadian miner Detour, seeks board changes – by John Tilak (Reuters U.S. – October 16, 2018)


TORONTO, Oct 16 (Reuters) – U.S. hedge fund Livermore Partners has called for an overhaul of the board at Detour Gold Corp and a strategic review, becoming the second activist to target the Canadian mining company.

Livermore sent a letter dated Oct. 16 to Detour in which Livermore Managing Director David Neuhauser said the board had failed its shareholders on “numerous governance and operational matters.” The letter was seen by Reuters.

Livermore has engaged in other activist campaigns including at Canadian and UK media company Entertainment One Ltd. Livermore declined to reveal the size of its stake in Detour due to the fund’s policy not to disclose stakes unless it has to file with regulators. Continue Reading →

Maryjane and mining don’t mix despite the new relaxed law – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – October 17, 2018)


Mining companies have no tolerance for marijuana usage or any other drug that would impaired the ability of their employees to work safely.

No matter what the federal government has to say about the relaxed law regarding the use of recreational marijuana that comes into effect on Wednesday October 17, it won’t change the drug use policies set down by any of the major mining operations in the Timmins area.

Given that the people employed in the local mines and milling complexes often work with heavy equipment, expensive equipment and in some hostile environments, the buzzword is that any employee showing up for work must be unimpaired.

Pierre Noël, the Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator at Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM) said safety is the key concern. “Being fit for work. That is the still the golden rule at PGM,” he said. Continue Reading →

Africa: Thousands Flock to Remote, Lawless Sahara in Search of Gold – by (Wall Street Journal – October 16, 2018)


Miners flock to a remote desert region in impoverished Niger marked by migration, jihadist terrorism and narcotics smuggling

TCHIBARAKATEN, Niger—A teeming tent city is rising here in a remote Saharan outpost where vast migration, jihadist terrorism and narcotics smuggling often cross paths.

Over the past two years, some 35,000 people have flocked from West and Central Africa to this lawless region separating Niger from Algeria, the Ministry of Mines said, most seeking a literal pot of gold.

Tchibarakaten has the largest functioning artisanal gold mine in Niger, a poverty-stricken nation with the world’s highest birthrate that has become a key ally in the West’s war on terror and efforts to curb migration. Continue Reading →

Brazilian miner Vale will not chase big acquisitions – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – October 16, 2018)


Brazilian mining company Vale will deploy its cash wisely and “does not need” to chase big acquisitions because it has a big opportunity to grow organically in nickel.

Speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, Vale chief executive Fabio Schvartsman said big dealmaking “adventures” were not on his agenda and any acquisitions would be small bolt on deals, probably in iron ore.

“We don’t need to do it given the potential of our nickel business,” he said. Although Vale is best known for its huge iron ore business, it is also the world’s biggest producer of nickel, a metal that will be needed in greater quantities as electric vehicles go mainstream. Continue Reading →

Lab-Grown Diamonds: They’re Real, and They’re Spectacular – by Stephanie Talmadge (GQ Magazine – October 16, 2018)


Getting engaged just got 30% cheaper.

It’s rare that an imitation, Frankensteined into existence, is anything more than a watered-down, flimsy version of the original. Real Rolexes and Folexes. Charcuterie and “ham”-and-“cheese” Lunchables. Coke and Diet Coke. (Fight me, Diet Coke fans.) But when it comes to diamonds—items we’ve historically been conditioned to think of as exceptionally precious—that might not be the case.

Lab-grown diamonds are exactly what they sound like: diamonds that were manufactured in a lab, rather than mined from the earth. These aren’t knockoffs; they’re not cubic zirconia; they’re not Swarovski crystals.

They’re bona fide diamonds—chemically identical to their earthen counterparts, so declared by the FTC this summer, except they cost about 30% less than mined diamonds. Excellent news if you’re shopping for a diamond…and less excellent if you’re selling them. Continue Reading →

OPINION-ON TARGET: Canada’s mission in Mali: modern colonialism – by Scott Taylor (Halifax Chronicle Herald – October 15, 2018)


There was a news story last week about Canada’s United Nations peacekeeping mission to Mali wherein an internal UN report noted that the violence level in that war-torn African nation has actually increased since Canadian troops first deployed in August.

Now probably even the most self-delusional of Canada’s defence pundits would have realized that the comparative handful of troops and equipment that we have committed — four Chinook heavy lift helicopters, four Griffon utility helicopters and about 250 personnel — were going to tip the balance in Mali as soon as they arrived on the ground.

This flareup of violence in Mali ignited in 2012 and the UN stood up the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in 2013. There are 56 nations contributing nearly 15,500 personnel to this peacekeeping mission, which is considered the most dangerous of all current UN operations. Continue Reading →

Vanadium price leaps to near-record high – by Frik Els (Mining.com – October 15, 2018)


While not as exciting as the transformation in the auto market with the shift to electric vehicles, demand growth from batteries used for renewable energy storage has the potential to have a bigger impact on mining.

One of the prime technologies that could grab market share from lithium ion for large scale storage systems is so-called vanadium redox flow cells.

The rally in vanadium prices is only accelerating with vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) flake used in energy storage systems leaping to $27.50 a pound in China putting it within shouting distance of the all-time high reached in 2005. V2O5 is up more than 550% since September 2016. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China’s resilient commodity imports show trade war yet to factor – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – October 15, 2018)


LAUNCESTON, Australia, Oct 15 (Reuters) – It’s tempting to look at the relative resilience of China’s imports of major commodities in September and conclude that the world’s second-biggest economy is weathering the trade dispute with the United States quite well.

The problem with this view is that while the trade conflict certainly looms as an issue in China’s commodity trade, it’s not yet the driving factor and any strength, or weakness, in various imports is largely a result of different dynamics.

Take copper for example, where imports of unwrought metal in September were 521,000 tonnes, up 24 percent from the 420,000 tonnes in August to the highest in 2-1/2 years. Continue Reading →

Aussie iron miners struggle to keep pace with Vale – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – October 16, 2018)


Australian iron ore miners have struggled to keep pace with Brazilian miner Vale, with BHP and Fortescue expected to follow in Rio Tinto’s footsteps by reporting softer exports of the steelmaking ingredient in recent months.

Rio confirmed on Tuesday that maintenance disruptions and the death of an employee had contributed to weaker than expected iron ore exports in the three months to September 30, and data from Port Hedland suggests its tenants (BHP, Fortescue, Roy Hill, Mineral Resources and Atlas Iron) exported six per cent less iron ore in the period compared to the previous quarter.

BHP is scheduled to confirm its iron ore exports on Wednesday morning, with RBC predicting its Australian division shipped 72 million tonnes in the three months to September 30. Continue Reading →

Feds give nod to expansion plan for western Nunavut gold mine – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – October 15, 2018)


But “high levels of Inuit employment” sought at TMAC Resources’ Madrid-Boston project

CAMBRIDGE BAY—The planned expansion for TMAC Resources Inc.‘s gold mine near Cambridge Bay has cleared one of its final hurdles.

On Friday, Caroline Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, and Dominic LeBlanc, minister of intergovernmental and northern affairs and internal trade, issued a letter saying they accepted the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s recommendation to issue a project certificate for the company’s proposed Madrid-Boston project.

Last June, the review board spelled out 39 recommendations for the project. In their letter, dated Oct. 10, the ministers accepted all the terms and conditions recommended by the review board. But they agreed with a call from the Kitikmeot Inuit Association to tweak one recommendation on Inuit employment, so TMAC will now be obliged, through various committees, to report and examine “barriers and opportunities to achieving the high levels of Inuit employment.” Continue Reading →

Global market swoon giving Canadian gold miners a boost – by Victor Ferreira (Financial Post – October 15, 2018)


With the U.S. dollar under pressure, investors are flocking to gold as their preferred safe haven

As North American markets limp through declines not seen since February, investors are scurrying to park their money in a familiar “safe haven”: gold.

The yellow metal has undergone a mini rally since last Wednesday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed more than 800 points amid a bout of global market skittishness.

Last Thursday, the price of gold jumped to US$1,227.60/oz from $1,193.40 and, after a small dip Friday, prices continued to rise Monday, surpassing US$1,230/oz as the Toronto Stock Exchange closed. Continue Reading →

Why ‘pit brow lasses’ were coal mining’s unsung heroines – by Helen Pidd (The Guardian – October 14, 2018)


It is thought of as the ultimate man’s world, a sooty-faced fraternity deep under ground. But it is a little-known fact that many women also worked in Britain’s coal mines, doing crucial jobs to keep the collieries in operation.

The role of “tip girls” or “pit brow lasses” in the coal industry has largely gone unnoticed in history books, with women portrayed as wives or mothers, sitting at home.

A new exhibition at the Mining Art Gallery in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, challenges this long-accepted view. Breaking Ground: Women of the Northern Coal Fields tells the stories of women in the 19th -century mining industry via paintings and archive material, proving they did far more than wash their husbands’ sooty overalls. Continue Reading →

The battle for one of Canada’s largest gold mines flares up anew – by Gabriel Friedland (Financial Post – October 13, 2018)


Fresh blows landed Friday in the battle for control of Detour Gold Inc. — which operates one of the largest gold mines in Canada — with the company’s current board and hedge fund Paulson & Co., each accusing the other of rejecting settlement offers.

The first salvo came from Detour which issued a press release with details of a settlement offer that it said Paulson & Co., the New York hedge fund run by U.S. billionaire John Paulson, rejected.

By midday, Paulson & Co.’s partner Marcelo Kim offered a different version of events: His firm had countered the settlement offer with its own offer on Friday morning, and Detour’s chairman Alex Morrison had said he would present it to the board for consideration over the weekend. Continue Reading →

Battery metals appear to be losing their spark as prices start to fall – by Courtney Goldsmith (World Finance – October 16, 2018)


Cobalt and lithium prices have surged as a rise in renewable energy has increased the need for battery storage solutions. However, the bubble may be about to burst for these metals

The automotive industry is on the verge of an electric revolution. The International Energy Agency has predicted the number of electric vehicles on the world’s roads will triple to hit 13 million by the end of the decade – and by 2030 that number could soar to 125 million.

Meanwhile, the rise of renewable energy generation has boosted demand for battery storage, which can balance intermittent power from green energy sources. The global energy storage market is expected to grow to more than 300GWh between 2016 and 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

These new industries are powering demand for batteries, which has thrust a number of little-known metals into the spotlight. This has led to the price of lithium – a key component in lithium-ion batteries – doubling between 2016 and 2018. Meanwhile, the price of cobalt – a by-product of copper or nickel mining that is used in battery cathodes – has more than tripled since January 2016 (see Fig 1). Continue Reading →

Canadians are suckers. Just look at our oil exports – by Kelly McParland (National Post – October 16, 2018)


We could all pat ourselves on the back if we were serving the environment and the greater good of a sustainable earth. But no, we’re not

If you haven’t been reading the business pages, you might not know that Canadian ingenuity has developed a stunning new business model: producing expensive oil and giving it away cheap.

The gap between Canadian and U.S. oil is nudging US$50 a barrel. Alberta gets around US$26 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate is in the neighbourhood of US$72. The discount is so juicy that China has started switching away from Venezuela towards bargain-basement Canada. That tells you something — even claptrap, broken down, corruption-riddled Venezuela can’t undersell Canada’s sad-sack inability to peddle its oil.

If the brainy entrepreneurs who figured out how to extract a valuable commodity from Alberta’s challenging oilsands had known the result would be treated like a loss-leader at Walmart, they might have directed their creativity elsewhere. Most countries recognize that natural limits on resource supplies dictate that they be husbanded carefully, for maximum advantage. Continue Reading →