Archive | Asia Mining

Rio Tinto looming talks with Mongolia to decide Oyu Tolgoi’s fate – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – January 15, 2021)

The next three to six month will be crucial to the future of the vast Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia, as the companies behind the operation engage in talks to find a way to improve the government’s financial benefits from an ongoing underground expansion.

Based on a definitive estimate for the development of the new mine level, announced by Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) last month, the underground section of Oyu Tolgoi will begin production in October 2022. The project will cost $6.75 billion, about $1.4 billion higher than its original estimate, as established in the 2015 agreement.

That deal is commonly known in Mongolia as the “Dubai agreement”, because the nation’s then Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg struck it with former Rio Tinto’s boss Jean-Sebastien Jacques in a Dubai hotel, ending an impasse that had lasted close to three years. Continue Reading →

How a retired Indian professor took on a mining giant – and won (AlJazeera – January 7, 2021)

Thoothukudi, India – She spearheaded a decades-long campaign against a copper smelter over alleged environmental contamination in the south Indian seaside town of Thoothukudi.

Sterlite Copper, the Indian subsidiary of Vedanta Resources, a global mining and metals conglomerate, was forced to shut its plant in 2018, thanks to a sustained and spirited fight led by 67-year-old teacher-turned activist Fatima Babu.

The plant’s shuttering, said Fatima, “has boosted the morale of the townspeople, which is a very very big thing for us”. “But we would want Sterlite to pay for the damage it has done.” Continue Reading →

Chinese companies are betting heavily on Democratic Republic of Congo’s mines – by Jevans Nyabiage (South China Morning Post – December 27, 2020)

Chinese companies are betting big on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s mining industry as copper prices surged to a seven-year high driven by China’s strong recovery and the push for electric cars.

Chinese mineral mining and exploration giant, China Molybdenum Co. (CMOC), cemented its grip on the DRC’s mining industry after it acquired Arizona-based mining company, Freeport-McMoRan’s indirect 95 per cent interest in the Kisanfu copper-cobalt deposit for US$550 million.

The Chinese company said Kisanfu, located in Lualaba province, was one of the world’s largest, highest-grade undeveloped cobalt and copper projects, containing about 6.3 million tonnes of copper and 3.1 million tonnes of cobalt. Continue Reading →

Mongolia may revoke Rio Tinto’s plan for Oyu Tolgoi – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – January 11, 2021)

The Government of Mongolia may cancel and replace the development and financial plan for the country’s vast Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, Canada’s Turquoise Hill (TSX, NYSE: TRQ) said on Monday.

The Rio Tinto-controlled company said Mongolian authorities are dissatisfied with the top miner’s plans. They are particularly concerned about the costs of the expansion, recently updated to $6.75 billion, about $1.5 billion higher than its original estimate.

Mongolia believes the significant cost increase has eroded the economic benefits it expected to receive from the Oyu Tolgoi mine, Turquoise Hill said. Continue Reading →

Enter the dragon along the Himalayan border – by D Chandrasekharam (Times of India – December 26, 2020)

Why China is very keen on having its presence along the entire Himalayan border, extending from Nangaparbat to the Arunachal Pradesh ranges (including Nepal Himalayas)?

It is all due to abundant natural resources, metallic, non-metallic, and energy resources that include Oil, shale, and geothermal resources. The occurrence of these mineral resources have been documented since the British rule in India and I am sure China must have documented it much before it………maybe during the Qin dynasty by Ying Zheng.!!!!

In the NW Himalayas, the Zanskar region has rich deposits of sapphires. Part of the resources land falls within the occupied Kashmir. The world’s best sapphires are found in Zanskar ranges in Kashmir. These sapphires are also known as the king of the sapphire. Continue Reading →

Why the lights are going out in China – by ZHAO XUAN, YUAN RUIYANG, CHEN XUEWAN, BAI YUJIE, LUO GUOPING and HAN WEI (Nikkei Asia – December 29, 2020)

As China’s economy picks up steam following the pandemic, there’s been an unexpected consequence: power shortages that forced several cities to restrict electricity use by factories, offices and even streetlights.

As night fell Dec. 14 in Yiwu, the city in eastern China’s Zhejiang province that’s known as the world’s largest small-commodity trading hub, pedestrians were plunged into darkness as streetlights didn’t turn on as usual in some areas. Streets in Yiwu remained dark the next two nights under a government decision to “reduce power consumption and pollution.”

“This is the first time in many years the streetlights were shut down for that reason,” one resident said. Lighting of several landmark structures in Changsha, capital of southern China’s Hunan Province, was also turned off this month. Continue Reading →

Pandemic drives more people to risk lives in India’s illegal mica mines (Deccan Herald/Reuters – January 6, 2021)

When India went into lockdown last March and Tota Rai lost his cleaning job in the textile hub of Surat, he knew working in the illegal mica mining industry back home was his only option.

Rai, 45, and his three sons – two adults and one teenager – now spend their days scavenging for scraps of the valued mineral used to put the sparkle into make-up and car paint and in electronics to sell to local traders in eastern Jharkhand state.

But as the pandemic drives more families to mica, residents, researchers and campaigners have voiced concerns over failings by the government and private sector to regulate the often fatal trade sourced from abandoned mines and to create other jobs. Continue Reading →

Canadian government invokes national security to block Chinese takeover of Nunavut gold mine – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – December 23, 2020)

Shandong Gold Mining had proposed to pay about $230 million not including debt to purchase TMAC Resources

Canada has blocked a Chinese state-owned mining company from purchasing a gold mine in Nunavut on national security grounds, signalling a new escalation of already high tensions between the two countries.

Under the now terminated deal, Shanghai-listed Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd. had proposed to pay about $230 million not including debt to purchase Toronto-based TMAC Resources Inc., which in 2018 developed a gold mine in Hope Bay, Nunavut.

A spokesperson for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada declined to answer questions about why the deal was blocked, but provided a statement noting that all foreign investments are subject to review under the Investment Canada Act. Continue Reading →

Indonesia: Widodo steps up bid to woo investment from Tesla’s Elon Musk – by Resty Woro Yuniar (South China Morning Post – December 15, 2020)

President Joko Widodo’s personal invitation for Tesla chief executive Elon Musk to invest in Indonesia is the latest bid by Southeast Asia’s largest economy to become part of the global supply chain for the burgeoning electric-vehicle (EV) industry, which a 2018 European Commission report estimated could be worth up to US$66.7 billion annually.

On the Friday call, Widodo and Musk discussed the industry and the main components for EV batteries, the investment ministry said in a statement. The president also asked Musk to consider Indonesia as a potential launch site for SpaceX, his aerospace manufacturing and space transport venture.

Widodo’s call was another attempt by Jakarta to communicate with Musk after a delegation led by the president’s top envoy, coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment Luhut Pandjaitan, failed to meet him upon a visit to the United States last month. Continue Reading →

China’s Coal Industry Fights for Survival in a Greener World (Bloomberg News – December 15, 2020)

The dirtiest fossil fuel dominates the economy, but it’s at odds with the nation’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2060.

The future of coal looks like an ice-cream truck parked half a kilometer down a mine shaft in China’s Shanxi province. The yellow-and-white vehicle is equipped with a 5G router from Huawei Technologies Co. to gather data for the mine’s control center, where technicians monitor high-definition feeds on a screen the size of a two-story house.

They’re tracking temperature and methane concentrations while keeping watch over the black lumps zipping along conveyor belts on the way up to waiting trucks.

The data collection would previously have been done by workers down in the pit, but Yangquan Coal Industry Group has managed to eliminate some of those workers and virtualize the least appealing aspect of mine labor. Continue Reading →

Rio’s $6.75bn Oyu Tolgoi expansion to kick off production in 2022 – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – December 16, 2020)

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE:RIO) unveiled on Wednesday that underground production from the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia is slated to begin in October 2022, adding that it will come with a price tag of $6.75 billion.

When it was approved in 2015, Rio expected the expansion to cost $5.3 billion and reach first sustainable production in early of 2021.

Last year, however, the company flagged stability risks associated with the original project design, which translated into as much as an additional $1.9 billion cost. Expected production was then moved to between October 2022 and July 2023. Continue Reading →

[Philippines] The mining industry can save the economy – by Andrew J. Masigan (Business World – December 13, 2020)


Following an anticipated 9.8% economic contraction for 2020, Japanese investment bank Nomura expects the Philippines to recover at a slower pace of 6.8% next year, instead of the government’s projection of 7.5%.

The Philippines will only approximate the GDP levels of 2019 in the second semester 2022, said the Japanese financial giant.

This is due to the combined effects of having the smallest stimulus package in the region, slow-to-rebound consumer confidence, and the inability to attract FDIs at the same level as our neighbors. Exacerbating matters is the damage wrought on MSMEs and the slow recovery of the tourism, transport and hospitality sectors. Continue Reading →

What was touted as the world’s biggest development project is unravelling into what could become China’s first overseas debt crisis – by James Kynge and Jonathan Wheatley (Financial Post/Financial Times – December 2020)

How the wheels came off Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road ‘project of the century’

It has not taken long for the wheels to come off the Belt and Road Initiative. As recently as May 2017, China’s leader Xi Jinping stood in Beijing before a hall of nearly 30 heads of state and delegates from over 130 countries and proclaimed “a project of the century”.

This was not hyperbole. China has promised to spend about US$1 trillion on building infrastructure in mainly developing countries around the world — and finance almost all of this through its own financial institutions.

Adjusted for inflation, this total was roughly seven times what the U.S. spent through the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the second world war, according to Jonathan Hillman, author of The Emperor’s New Road. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore Is This Year’s Hottest Commodity on China-Fueled Surge – by Annie Lee and Krystal Chia (Bloomberg News – December 10. 2020)

(Bloomberg) — A surge in demand in China, the world’s key growth engine, risks a shortage of iron ore that’s pushed prices past $150 a ton and crowned it this year’s best-performing major commodity.

Futures in Singapore have surged almost 70% this year, hitting their highest since trading started in 2013, as China’s stimulus-led rebound fuels steel output and consumption.

The rally received an added boost from Vale SA’s cut to annual production guidance last week, while the first quarter is likely to bring elevated risks of weather disruptions for southern hemisphere producers. Continue Reading →

‘Green stimulus packages’ key driver for base metal demand, says analyst – Staff (Northern Miner – December 9, 2020)

“The path to economic recovery will be long and slow,” says Intl FCStone metals analyst Natalie Scott-Gray.

Demand for base metals outside China is not expected to recover back to 2019 levels until 2022 or 2023 due, in large part, to the impacts of the covid-19 pandemic on the global economy.

Although the U.K. is already administering vaccinations for covid-19 and multiple vaccines are forecast to be approved and distributed by the end of the year, Scott-Gray said, “To reach global herd immunity (when 60-70% of the population are immunized), the earliest dates being suggested are from late spring to December 2021,” she told The Northern Miner in an email. Continue Reading →