Archive | Asia Mining

Why Indian traders are outraging over the sale of synthetic diamonds – by MG Arun (Daily O – June 18, 2018)

The market for real diamonds may feel the impact.

For an industry that is still reeling under the Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksy scams, there is fresh trouble brewing. This time, it is the announcement by London-headquartered De Beers, the world’s largest diamond company with mines in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada, that it is launching a jewellery brand using synthetic diamonds in India.

A synthetic diamond (also known as an artificial diamond, cultured diamond, or cultivated diamond) is produced using an artificial process, as opposed to natural diamonds, which are created using geological processes.

A section of traders in Surat and Mumbai, two main hubs for diamond trade in India, are up in arms against the launch of synthetic diamonds in India, since they believe that such diamonds will destroy the market for real diamonds here. Continue Reading →

Graphic: Asian coal and gas markets roar into top gear as region revs up demand – by Henning Gloystein (Reuters U.S. June 13, 2018)

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Thermal coal and gas prices have coursed into a bull run, propelled by particularly strong demand across Asia, where electricity consumption is surging thanks to healthy economic growth just as seasonal needs rise with the start of summer.

Spot thermal coal cargo prices for export from Australia’s Newcastle terminal last settled at $117 per tonne, the highest level since February 2012. That is up by more than 130 percent from 2016’s record lows.

Coal prices have not just been pushed up by firm demand, which has recovered from 2015 lows, but also by several mine closures and weak investment into capacity expansion. In gas markets, spot prices for Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) are at almost $10 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) – a 2018 high, and up by 145 percent from 2016 troughs. Continue Reading →

[ Philippine Mining] Cautious steps to unleash a trillion-dollar potential – by Orlando Oxales (Manila Standard – June 18, 2018)

Not long ago, the local mining industry was besieged in practical disarray in the wake of the former Department of Environment and Natural Resources secretary’s unabashedly anti-mining stance. At one-point entire operations and pending projects, including the livelihood of thousands, were on standstill, if not altogether compromised, awaiting a decisive move from government and policymakers to resolve a long drawn impasse that has stymied the Philippine mining industry.

As it is, the country’s mineral wealth—estimated by some to be worth more than a trillion dollars—sits underground largely untapped. While other nations with a similar mineral profile such as Australia and even Indonesia have taken strides to take advantage of such wealth, the Philippines has, for the most part, been unable to do the same, mired in prolonged legal and regulatory confusion that Lopez’s crusade only exacerbated.

Months after that unfortunate episode, there appears to be a sliver of clarity policy-wise. Incumbent DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu recently announced plans to possibly amend the controversial Executive Order 79 and DENR Memorandum Order 2016-1, a move that some industry observers say crucially signals the government’s new direction in terms of fixing and clarifying, once and for all, its fiscal regime in mining. Continue Reading →

China Marks Cobalt, Copper Ascendancy in Congo With New Group – by William Clowes (Bloomberg News – June 18, 2018)

More than 30 Chinese companies active in the Democratic Republic of Congo formed a business association backed by both countries’ governments, further cementing China’s ascendancy in copper and cobalt production in the central African nation.

The 35-member Union of Mining Companies with Chinese Capital will facilitate “communication and exchange between the Chinese mining companies and the government of our country,” Cheng Yonghong, the group’s president, said at an inauguration event in Lubumbashi in southeast Congo on June 16.

The group, known by the French acronym USMCC, was founded at the initiative of China’s embassy and on the advice of Congo’s mines minister, he said. Continue Reading →

Centerra dispute with Kyrgyz flares up as takeover campaign simmers – by Gabriel Freidman (Financial Post – June 14, 2018)

Centerra Gold Inc.’s conflicts with political leaders in the Kyrgyz Republic continue to rear their head

Centerra Gold Inc.’s conflicts with political leaders in the Kyrgyz Republic, a mountainous former Soviet state where its flagship goldmine is located, continue to rear their head.

Last September, the Toronto-based gold company said it had reached a settlement to resolve environmental, legal and other disputes with Kyrgyz authorities, but it has twice extended its deadline to finalize the deal, with a target date now set for June 22.

On Tuesday, a Kyrgyz news station reported that the country’s prime minister, who took over in April, is studying the settlement anew and also wants a parliamentary review. Continue Reading →

‘Avatar’ tribe poses second challenge to Vedanta after deadly India protests -by Krishna N. Das and Jatindra Dash (Reuters U.S. – June 12, 2018)

LANJIGARH, India (Reuters) – After an Indian state shut a copper smelter run by Vedanta Resources following deadly protests, the company faces another challenge 1,000 miles away, where axe-toting tribesmen and environmentalists have joined forces to demand the closure of an alumina refinery.

An alliance of activists and local people have for years blocked London-listed Vedanta’s plans to mine bauxite in the green, jungle-clad Niyamgiri hills of eastern Odisha state, which the tribespeople consider sacred.

The killing by police of 13 people protesting against the copper smelter in Tamil Nadu, to the south, has given fresh impetus to their campaign to also close the Odisha refinery run by the company’s Indian unit, Vedanta Ltd. The company is seeking to expand the plant. Continue Reading →

Activists fear Indian proposal for coal reserves in Indonesian-ruled Papua – by Febriana Firdaus (Asia Pacific Report – June 13, 2018)

Asia Pacific Report

Jakarta – As it seeks to diversify its sources of fuel, India is looking to get in on the ground floor of coal mining in previously unexploited deposits in Indonesian-ruled Papua.

In exchange for technical support and financing for geological surveys, officials say India is pushing for special privileges, including no-bid contracts on any resulting concessions a prospect that could run foul of Indonesia’s anti-corruption laws.

The details of an Indian mining project in Papua are still being negotiated, but Indonesia’s energy ministry welcomes the prospect as part of a greater drive to explore energy resources in the country’s easternmost provinces. Continue Reading →

Gov’t won’t lift ban on open-pit mining – by Madelaine B. Miraflor (Manila Bulletin – June 8, 2018)

t is now the job of mining companies to look for an alternative to open-pit mining method as ordered by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu — who, for the nth time, said the government is not keen to lift the ban on the destructive method.

“We have to reinvent mining in the Philippines or we will shut you down by the end of the year,” Cimatu told mining companies during the Philippine Mining Club Luncheon in Makati yesterday.

During the meeting, Cimatu said miners should prepare for a scenario where there is no longer open-pit mining in the country. “We will discuss what will be the alternative to this mining method,” Cimatu said. Continue Reading →

Australian coal prices hit 6-year high as Asia demand spikes – by Henning Gloystein and Sonali Paul (Reuters U.S. – June 7, 2018)

SINGAPORE/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian thermal coal prices have risen to their highest level since 2012 as hot weather across North Asia spurs buying ahead of the peak summer demand season.

Spot prices for thermal coal cargoes for export from Australia’s Newcastle terminal last closed at $115.25 per tonne, the highest level since February 2012. Thermal coal, the world’s most used fuel for electricity generation, has surged by 130 percent since its record lows below $50 per tonne in 2016 following a years-long decline.

Prices have been driven up by economic growth, especially in Asia, along with constraints on supply due to earlier mine closures and high hurdles to developing new mines amid concerns about pollution and global warming. Continue Reading →

How much gold can be mined in India? – by RN Bhaskar (Free Press Journal – June 07, 2018)

Officially, India mined just 1.61 tonnes of gold in India during 2017-18. That was essentially from primary sources. But ask geologists, and they will tell you that India should be mining a lot more gold. This is because the terrain from Australia to China has similar geological features. There is a lot of gold to be found there.

For instance, points out an Australian geologist, “In Australia, we produce around 300 tonnes (9.7 million troy ounces) compared to barely 2 tonnes in India. We think India could produce a lot more. In fact,” he adds, “look at China. Even China has a similar terrain. In 1994, India produced around 2 tonnes, and China produced around 3 tonnes. Today, China produces 450 tonnes”. Clearly the potential for India is huge.

Thanks to the Supreme Court, which demanded that all natural resources ought to be auctioned, in May 2016, the Parliament approved an amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 (MMDR). It allowed private companies to bid for mining licences through a competitive bidding (auction) process. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Coal prices boosted by rare simultaneous demand from Asia’s top buyers – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – June 7, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, June 7 (Reuters) – Coal prices in Asia are being driven to multi-year highs by a rare combination of simultaneous demand growth in the region’s top four importers.

Depending on the price used, thermal coal is either close to a two-year high or near the strongest in six years as China, India, Japan and South Korea imported more of the polluting fuel in the first five months of this year compared to the same period in 2017.

The Australian thermal coal benchmark, the weekly Newcastle Index, ended last week at $108.89 a tonne, not far from the $110.60 hit in late February, which was the highest price since March 2012. Continue Reading →

China iron ore futures rise on mine closures, but stocks high (Reuters India – June 4, 2018)

BEIJING, June 5 (Reuters) – China’s Dalian iron ore futures edged up on Tuesday, lifted by market concern about tight supplies after a report that Tangshan city plans to shut hundreds of mining companies, although prices remain under pressure from mounting stockpiles at ports.

Tangshan, the country’s No.1 steelmaking city in Hebei province, said it will close 226 mining firms – half iron ore miners – that do not have legitimate licenses as part of efforts to curb illegal mining and cut pollution.

The central government, meanwhile, has sent teams of inspectors to 10 regions to check rectification measures after previous probes uncovered thousands of environmental violations. Some regions have promised to beef up anti-pollution curbs. Continue Reading →

Giant Waste-Spewing Mine Turns Into a Battleground in Indonesia – by Danielle Bochove and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – June 5, 2018)

Every year, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. dumps tens of millions of tons of mining waste into the Ajkwa River system in Indonesia. The company has been doing it for decades, and is demanding the right to keep at it for decades to come.

The discharge of what are called tailings, the leftovers of mineral extraction, is perfectly legal under Freeport’s current contract with the government. But recently, after more than a year of tense negotiations over the terms of a new deal, Indonesia suddenly changed the rules: The Grasberg mine in the highlands of Papua province would have to operate by heightened standards.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise, really, considering most every other miner in the world has been forced or has elected to stop discarding tailings in rivers. Continue Reading →

China goes all out to secure lithium, cobalt supplies – key to dominating the world electric car market – by Eric Ng (South China Morning Post – June 4, 2018)

Cobalt, however, faces bigger challenges than lithium, which has seen bigger price gains over the past two years amid lack of certainty over new supplies, stockpiling and traders taking speculative positions

The emergence of electric vehicles has seen Chinese companies go on a global hunt to secure lithium resources. Now they are rapidly clinching deals to get hold of cobalt whose supply is even more concentrated geographically.

Cobalt, a hard, shiny, greyish metal, a by-product of copper and nickel mining, has seen the biggest price increase among various metals used to make electric vehicle batteries after a demand boom began two years ago, according to Ciaran Roe, global manager of metals pricing at S&P Global Platts.

“Unlike manganese, lithium and nickel, cobalt is limited in supply not just in terms of tonnage but also origin,” he said. “I can’t think of another commodity where supply is so reliant on one origin nation than cobalt.” Continue Reading →

Afghanistan’s Mineral Resources Fueling War and Insurgency -by Ahmad Shah Katawazai (Foreign Policy Journal – May 29, 2018)

Afghanistan’s rich mineral resources could prove to be the best substitutes for foreign aid and could decrease the country’s dependence on donor countries and foreign support. These resources, if properly managed, provide an opportunity for Afghanistan to write its own story of economic success.

With an estimated value of between one to three trillion dollars,[1] Afghanistan’s mineral resources have long held intriguing potential. But they also threaten to fuel conflict. In a country already plagued by rampant corruption, active insurgency, and lack of infrastructure and institutions, Afghanistan’s minerals represent yet another possible source of instability.

Through illegal mining, millions of dollars are funneled into the pockets of armed groups, insurgents, and strongmen, while only a tiny fraction of the wealth generated from these projects have benefitted the Afghan people.[2] Continue Reading →