Lucara says diamond market “healthiest” in years – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – November 24, 2021)

https://www.mining.com/

Lucara Diamond (TSX: LUC) said on Wednesday the global market for rough stones and diamond jewellery has reached a healthy balance thanks to supply improvements and fundamentals. The Vancouver-based miner said it expected the positive trend to continue in years to come and set its 2022 targets accordingly.

Next year, which marks its Karowe mine’s tenth year of operations, Lucara anticipates producing up to 340,000 carats, to be sold through its multi-sales channel approach, which should generate revenues of between $185 million and $215 million.

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B2Gold weighs acquiring gold assets in Zimbabwe – by Felix Njini and Katarina Hoije (Bloomberg News – November 25, 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

B2Gold Corp., the Canadian company that owns mines in Africa and the Philippines, is interested in acquiring gold assets in Zimbabwe.

The mid-tier gold producer which has mines in Mali, Namibia and the Philippines, has held talks with the government and other officials in the southern African nation “to see if they are ready for us to come in,” said Clive Johnson, chief executive officer at the Vancouver-based company.

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How Congo could become low-cost, low-emissions producer of battery materials – report – by Staff (Mining.com – November 25, 2021)

https://www.mining.com/

In a report launched at the DRC-Africa Business Forum 2021 taking place this week in Kinshasa, BloombergNEF (BNEF) states that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could leverage its abundant cobalt resources and hydroelectric power to become a low-cost and low-emissions producer of lithium-ion battery cathode precursor materials.

The research paper estimates that it would cost $39 million to build a 10,000 metric-tonne cathode precursor plant in the DRC. This is three times cheaper than what a similar plant in the US would cost, whereas if it were to be built in China or Poland, it would cost $112 million and $65 million, respectively.

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RACE TO THE FUTURE: How the U.S. Lost Ground to China in the Contest for Clean Energy – by Eric Lipton and Dionne Searcey (New York Times – November 21, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Americans failed to safeguard decades of diplomatic and financial investments in Congo, where the world’s largest supply of cobalt is controlled by Chinese companies backed by Beijing.

WASHINGTON — Tom Perriello saw it coming but could do nothing to stop it. André Kapanga too. Despite urgent emails, phone calls and personal pleas, they watched helplessly as a company backed by the Chinese government took ownership from the Americans of one of the world’s largest cobalt mines.

It was 2016, and a deal had been struck by the Arizona-based mining giant Freeport-McMoRan to sell the site, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which now figures prominently in China’s grip on the global cobalt supply. The metal has been among several essential raw materials needed for the production of electric car batteries — and is now critical to retiring the combustion engine and weaning the world off climate-changing fossil fuels.

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GUEST COLUMN: Country with ‘widespread human rights abuses’ to become vice-chair of Kimberley Process – by Sam Lewis (Professional Jeweller – November 23, 2021)

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The country of Zimbabwe is set to become the vice-chair of the Kimberley Process in 2023, according recent reports. Zimbabwean publication NewsDay stated that a vote was held in Moscow earlier in November. Russia is the current chair.

But, asks Ryan Atkins, CEO of Nightingale, is Zimbabwe the right country to head up the Kimberley Process? It’s common knowledge for those in the diamond industry that the Kimberley Process scheme is in somewhat of an existential crisis at the moment.

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A Power Struggle Over Cobalt Rattles the Clean Energy Revolution – by Dionne Searcey, Michael Forsythe and Eric Lipton (New York Times – November 20, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

The quest for Congo’s cobalt, which is vital for electric vehicles and the worldwide push against climate change, is caught in an international cycle of exploitation, greed and gamesmanship.

KISANFU, Democratic Republic of Congo — Just up a red dirt road, across an expanse of tall, dew-soaked weeds, bulldozers are hollowing out a yawning new canyon that is central to the world’s urgent race against global warming.

For more than a decade, the vast expanse of untouched land was controlled by an American company. Now a Chinese mining conglomerate has bought it, and is racing to retrieve its buried treasure: millions of tons of cobalt.

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Global Atomic to break ground at Niger uranium mine in January – by Mariaan Webb (MiningWeekly.com -November 18, 2021)

https://www.miningweekly.com/

Uranium developer Global Atomic would move ahead with construction of its Dasa uranium project, in Niger, and would break ground in January, president and CEO Stephen Roman said this week, announcing the results of its feasibility study.

The study confirmed that the Dasa project was economically compelling, even at a price of C$35/lb of uranium oxide. The decision to proceed was based on the feasibility study, the strong uranium market and anticipated supply deficits, the company stated.

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Mozambique’s Illicit Gemstone Trade: Downward Spiral of Corruption – by Henry Pope (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project – November 10, 2021)

https://www.occrp.org/en/

The opaque nature of Mozambique’s illicit artisanal and small-scale mining industry has siphoned millions from the country’s economy, trapped its workers in a perpetual state of poverty, and has become a significant source of government and police corruption, according to a Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GITOC) report.

Buried under East Africa is a wealth of gemstone deposits, including rubies, sapphires, and garnets, to name a few. Rubies are the most sought after gemstone, with large deposits unearthed in northern Mozambique.

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Royal Dealmaker Sinks Creation of Largest Platinum-Group Miner – by Felix Njini and Loni Prinsloo (Bloomberg News – November 10, 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd.’s decade-long quest to buy a smaller rival that owns assets key to prolonging the life of its own mines in South Africa came to a shuddering halt on Tuesday.

Chief Executive Officer Nico Muller thought he finally had a deal to acquire 100% of Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd., after gaining the backing of the company’s management and board. Implats, as the miner is known, was preparing to make an offer this week after announcing it was in talks on Oct. 27, according to people familiar with the matter.

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WDC President urges industry to expand definition of conflict diamonds (Diamond World – November 10, 2021)

https://www.diamondworld.net/

Speaking to the full assembly of delegates during the Opening Session of the 2021 Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary, World Diamond Council President Edward Asscher has reasserted the need for Kimberley Process members to agree to expand the conflict diamond definition in order to support long-term consumer confidence.

Asscher noted that the Plenary was taking place at a time when young consumers are increasingly expressing their demands for assurance about the social and environmental credentials of the products they buy, and highlighted that the diamond industry has the ability to deliver on these consumers’ expectations. But Kimberley Process members must act to expand the definition.

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‘You make money by finding men’: DR Congo’s gold rush sex trade – by Olivia Acland (Al Jazeera.com – November 7, 2021)

https://www.aljazeera.com/

Luhihi, Democratic Republic of the Congo – Deborah* walks down a mud alley between houses cobbled together with plywood and sheets of tarpaulin. On the corner, fuzzy beats emanate from a tin-roofed nightclub. It is only 2pm but drunk men are already hovering at the door, necking beers and milky glasses of moonshine.

Inside it is dark, except for some disco lights that flash green and red. A small group of people are huddled at a table. This place will fill up in the evening, Deborah says, but right now most men are up on the hillside, digging for gold.

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‘Like slave and master’: DRC miners toil for 30p an hour to fuel electric cars – by Pete Pattisson (The Guardian – November 8, 2021)

https://www.theguardian.com/

The names Tesla, Renault and Volvo mean nothing to Pierre*. He has never heard of an electric car. But as he heads out to work each morning in the bustling, dusty town of Fungurume, in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s southern mining belt, he is the first link in a supply chain that is fuelling the electric vehicle revolution and its promise of a decarbonised future.

Pierre is mining for cobalt, one of the world’s most sought-after minerals, and a key ingredient in the batteries that power most electric vehicles (EVs). He says his basic wage is the equivalent of £2.60 ($3.50) a day, but if he works through lunch and puts in hours of overtime, he can make up to about £3.70.

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Africa’s crackdown on informal gold miners spreads to Mali – by Katarina Hoije (Bloomberg News – November 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

Mali is getting closer to bringing in new rules to better control artisanal gold mining and overtake South Africa as the continent’s second-biggest producer.

The country has struggled to keep tabs on informal output that’s sold on the black market or smuggled out, and gold is also being illegally funneled through the nation from its neighbors. While a mining code that came into force in late 2020 set out plans to overhaul the sector, no measures were implemented.

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Iamgold beefing up security amid repeated terror attacks in Burkina Faso – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – November 1, 2021)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Canadian gold miner Iamgold Corp. is attempting to reassure investors after the company suffered its second attack on a bus convoy of workers inside of three months, amid growing jihadist violence in West Africa.

On Friday, a convoy of buses and supply trucks carrying 33 employees and contractors to Iamgold’s Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso was ambushed. Immediately following the attack, which occurred twelve kilometres from the mine, one employee and one contractor went missing.

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China wants to dominate the global electric vehicle market – and it’s using Congolese minerals to do it – by James Griffiths and Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – November 1, 2021)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The video flashed around WhatsApp groups, Twitter and Facebook. Shot at a Chinese-owned copper mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it showed two men screaming and writhing on the dusty ground as soldiers kicked and whipped them, while helmeted managers watched.

It was one of many videos and photos that went viral on Congolese social media in recent months – some real, some fake – all provoking outrage at the alleged mistreatment of local workers by Chinese mining companies.

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