Archive | Africa Mining

Report: Madagascar’s mica mines rely on child labor – by Editor (Africa Times – November 20, 2019)

https://africatimes.com/

There are at least 11,000 children working in Madagascar’s southern mica mining region, where poverty means that sometimes entire families are exposed to dangerous health and safety conditions.

That’s according to a new report from human rights advocates at Terre des Hommes, which found that between 56 and 62 percent of children between ages 5 and 17 are working in the island nation’s three main regions for producing mica.

The mineral is used in a range of common products, including cosmetics and paints, but researchers focused on the supply chain to China because 87 percent of the mica in Madagascar is shipped by boat to Chinese ports. Ultimately it ends up being used in Japanese electronics manufacturing, Dutch and Italian telecom firms, and Swiss-held firms in similar industries. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: [Semafo Inc.] Mine workers demanded more protection before deadly Burkina Faso attack – by Edward McAllister (Reuters U.S. – November 19, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

DAKAR (Reuters) – Five months before an ambush killed 39 colleagues, local workers at a Canadian-owned gold mine in Burkina Faso pleaded with managers to fly them to the site rather than go by a road that was prone to attacks, two people present at the meeting said.

The employees wanted the same protections as expatriate staff who had been flying to the mine in helicopters since three workers were killed in two earlier attacks in August 2018.

Shortly after those deaths, the mine’s owner, Quebec-based Semafo Inc. (SMF.TO), said it had added a military escort to bus convoys taken by Burkinabe workers to the site each week. But local employees of Semafo and its Accra-based contractor African Mining Services (AMS) did not think it was enough in an area notorious for bandits and jihadists. Continue Reading →

Burkina Faso: A terrorist gold mine – by Philipp Sandner (Deutsche Welle – November 17, 2019)

https://www.dw.com/en/

Gold mines in isolated areas of Africa’s Sahel region have become a welcome source of income for terrorists. Recent attacks in Burkina Faso show that security forces in the region are unable to gain the upper hand.

There is a gold rush in Africa’s Sahel region. A number of new mines have been opened there since a vein of gold was discovered in 2012. The Boungou mine in northeastern Burkina Faso, for instance, was opened between 2017 and mid-2018. But the region is also increasingly under threat from Islamists. Last week, at least 39 people were killed in attacks on buses carrying workers to Boungou; another 60 were injured.

Guiro Abdoul Kader was asleep when the attack occurred: “I was sleeping when I heard one of the windows shatter, at the same time I got a bullet in my back and I fell down. My colleague was next to me and he also lay down and he was on top of me.

I told him he didn’t have any cover and that he should come further down. He said he was hit. He told me to do what I could and that he would stay a little higher up and that we were going to pray to God,” as Kader told Reuters news agency. Continue Reading →

Copper, cobalt miners urged to do more to fight DRC corruption, child labour practices – by David McKay (MiningMX.com – November 18, 2019)

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COMPANIES mining copper and cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been urged to do more to fight corruption and child labour, said Bloomberg News citing a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD).

Companies should be “proactive about addressing risks, for example by improving working conditions in artisanal mining or taking action to address corruption in their supply chains,” Ben Katz, co-author of the OECD report, said in a statement.

Citing the US Geological Survey, the newswire said the DRC was the world’s largest cobalt producer and the fifth largest producer of copper. As demand for the two minerals has soared with the growth of the electronic and electric-vehicle industries, so have worries about the conditions under which they are mined, it said. Continue Reading →

Sunday Strategist: Diamond Merchants’ Headaches Are Forever – by Peter Coy (Bloomberg News – November 17, 2019)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg Businessweek) — You know you have a marketing problem when you find yourself arguing that the competitor’s product is “simply too perfect looking.” Or when you fall back on warning people that if they buy the competitor’s product they may not be able to resell it—when reselling it was never their intention anyway.

That’s the diamond business for you. It gets harder every year for diamond merchants to fetch a good price for their product because the competition is insane. First there’s mounting production of natural diamonds. And now synthetic diamonds have gotten so good that for average customers they’re indistinguishable from the kind that come out of the ground.

On top of all that, some customers are turned off by the violence endemic in parts of diamond mining, featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s film Blood Diamond. What’s a strategist to do? For De Beers, the diamond-mining unit of Anglo American Plc, conflict diamonds may be the smallest of its problem. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 4-China-backed consortium wins $14 bln Guinea iron ore deal, pipping Australia’s Fortescue – by Saliou Samb (Reuters Africa – November 13, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

CONAKRY, Nov 14 (Reuters) – A consortium representing Chinese, French and Singaporean interests won a $14 billion tender to develop part of Guinea’s Simandou iron ore project, sources familiar with the talks told Reuters, edging out Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group.

The consortium – which includes Société Minière de Boké (SMB) and Singapore’s Winning Shipping as well as Guinean government interests – has committed to develop blocks 1 and 2 of the largest known deposit of its kind, holding more than 2 billion tonnes of high-grade ore.

Guinea has sought to develop the Simandou deposit for decades, but the project has been mired in protracted legal disputes and the high costs have curbed interest. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Zimbabwe to enforce “use it or lose it” policy for mining assets (Reuters Africa – November 13, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

HARARE, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe will vigorously enforce a policy to force companies to develop their mining assets and not keep the land for speculative purposes, mines minister Winston Chitando said on Wednesday.

Chitando said some investors had not developed gold and platinum assets that they had held dating back to the 1960s and the mines ministry had asked some companies to justify why they should keep their claims to those assets.

“This is to prohibit the holding of mining title for speculative purposes. We will deal with that more vigorously,” Chitando told a meeting of the mining industry in Harare. Continue Reading →

Jihadist Groups Cash In on Artisanal Gold Rush in West Africa – by Katarina Hoije (Bloomberg News – November 14, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Artisanal gold mines in West Africa’s Sahel zone have become a source of financing and recruits for Islamist militants in the region as they secure sites or levy illicit taxes, according to the International Crisis Group.

“The main jihadist groups in the Sahel benefit financially from gold extraction — an activity that they consider lawful — in their areas of influence,” the Brussels-based advocacy group said in a report. “They do so in ways that vary from region to region.”

Armed groups with links to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have claimed hundreds of lethal attacks in West Africa. An insurgency that began in northern Mali in 2012 has spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and is threatening coastal states including Benin and Ivory Coast. Continue Reading →

In Kimberley, the world’s diamond capital, illicit mining fight flounders – by Tanisha Heiberg and Helen Reid (Reuters U.S. – November 11, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

KIMBERLEY, South Africa (Reuters) – The first South African project to bring illegal miners into the formal fold has been plagued by violence in diamond capital Kimberley, dealing a major blow to national efforts to stem a booming illicit trade.

The project was launched 18 months ago in Kimberley, the site of a 19th-century diamond rush that lured fortune-seekers from the world over. Mine owners granted more than 800 unlicensed, or informal, small-scale miners the right to legally mine around 1,500 acres of diamond-rich waste fields.

The aim of the government-backed scheme was to curb illegal mining and black-market trade of diamonds, and serve as a blueprint for future attempts elsewhere in the country, not only in the diamond sector, but also potentially manganese, gold and chrome. Continue Reading →

Semafo faces criticism for lax security after deadly attack on workers in Burkina Faso – by Nicolas Van Praet and Geoffrry York (Globe and Mail – November 12, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Montreal gold miner Semafo Inc. is coming under criticism for ineffective security measures in Burkina Faso after one of the worst terrorist attacks on employees of a Canadian company.

“We have concerns about just how safe” the situation was for Semafo’s workers and business partners, said Odette Napina, project leader at Organisation pour le Renforcement des Capacités de Développement, an independent group that monitors the social and economic impact of the mining industry in Burkina Faso.

Assailants ambushed a convoy of five buses carrying Semafo employees, contractors and suppliers under military escort last Wednesday in one of the deadliest insurgent attacks in the West African country in recent years. No one has claimed responsibility for the incident. The company on Monday finally provided a clearer picture of the human toll from the raid. Continue Reading →

Reopening of Boungou mine in Burkina will depend on security: Semafo (Reuters Canada – November 11, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Canadian gold miner Semafo will not resume operations at its Boungou mine in Burkina Faso until security in the area is assured following last week’s deadly ambush on a road to the site, the company said on Monday.

At least 39 people were killed in the attack on the Semafo convoy last Wednesday, the latest in a series of high-profile actions in a country plagued by jihadist violence.

A total of 241 employees, contractors and suppliers were caught up in the attack, which killed at least 39 and wounded 60 with one person still unaccounted for, Semafo said. Continue Reading →

Impala’s Zimbabwe Mine Is Said to Be in Talks on Amplats Land – by Godfrey Marawanyika and Brian Latham (Bloomberg News – November 11, 2019)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. is in talks to buy land in Zimbabwe from rival Anglo American Platinum Ltd. as the world’s second-biggest producer of the precious metal seeks to boost output from the southern African country, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

The purchase of the claims by the Mimosa mine, which is jointly owned by Impala and Sibanye Gold Ltd., could be finalized by the end pf the year, according to the people who asked not to be identified because the discussions aren’t public.

Impala and Amplats mine most of their platinum group metals in neighboring South Africa, which has the world’s biggest reserves of platinum. But Zimbabwe’s deposits, second only to South Africa’s, are shallower and therefore cheaper to mine. Continue Reading →

Cost of Ivanhoe’s giant copper project in Congo hits $1.3 billion – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – November 8, 2019)

https://www.mining.com/

Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) said Friday that initial capital costs for its Kakula copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is now estimated at $1.3 billion, and 18% increase over planned costs.

The fresh figure, which includes expanded plant capacity, additional mining fleets and pre-production ore stockpile, will allow the company to begin production at the mine in the third quarter of 2021, Ivanhoe said.

Capacity of Kakula’s processing plant modules increased by 26% in the three months to Sep. 30, from 3 Mtpa to 3.8 Mtpa, significantly boosting projected early-stage copper production, the Toronto-based miner noted. Continue Reading →

The Hidden Cost of Gold: Birth Defects and Brain Damage – by Richard C. Paddock (New York Times – Novmeber 9, 2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/

CIDAHU, Indonesia — Thousands of children with crippling birth defects. Half a million people poisoned. A toxic chemical found in the food supply. Accusations of a government cover-up and police officers on the take. This is the legacy of Indonesia’s mercury trade, a business intertwined with the lucrative and illegal production of gold.

More than a hundred nations have joined a global campaign to reduce the international trade in mercury, an element so toxic there is “no known safe level of exposure,” according to health experts.

But that effort has backfired in Indonesia, where illicit backyard manufacturers have sprung up to supply wildcat miners and replace mercury that was previously imported from abroad. Now, Indonesia produces so much black-market mercury that it has become a major global supplier, surreptitiously shipping thousands of tons to other parts of the world. Continue Reading →

Semafo suspends work at Burkina Faso gold mine as death toll from attack rises – by Nicolas Van Praet, Geoffrey York and Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – November 8, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Montreal-based gold miner Semafo Inc. has halted operations at its Boungou gold mine in eastern Burkina Faso as the fallout widens from one of the worst-ever terrorist attacks on employees of a Canadian company.

Semafo said on Thursday it was suspending work at its flagship mine in the West African country, a day after insurgents ambushed a convoy carrying its employees to the mine site.

Burkina Faso’s President, Roch Marc Kaboré, said 38 people were killed, increasing the previous day’s tally. More than 60 others were injured, and dozens are still believed to be unaccounted for after the raid, which occurred on a road 40 kilometres from the mine site. Continue Reading →