Archive | Asia Mining

China’s Grip on Rare Earths May Have Proven Too Strong for Trump – by Martin Ritchie (Bloomberg News – September 18, 2018)

The U.S. appears to have shelved its plan to levy tariffs on a critical collection of minerals used in everything from hybrid vehicles to electronic gadgets and military hardware.

Rare earths including scandium and yttrium are absent from the latest list of about $200 billion of Chinese goods on which the Trump administration plans to impost duties from next week. They were among a number of items scrubbed from the preliminary target list released in July along with car seats and Bluetooth devices.

Their inclusion in the first place was odd. China produced more than 80 percent of the world’s rare-earth metals and compounds in 2017, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Continue Reading →

Coal Exports From Top Shipper Hobbled With Miners Facing Constraints – by Yoga Rusmana and Fathiya Dahrul (Bloomberg News – September 19, 2018)

Coal exports from Indonesia will be restrained this year, which could frustrate a plan by the government to ease a burgeoning trade deficit while keeping prices elevated, according to an industry group.

Producers in the world’s largest shipper face an order backlog of 18 months as they aren’t able to get hold of additional mining equipment, Pandu Sjahrir, chairman of the Indonesian Coal Mining Association, said in an interview in Jakarta. The slow rampup in supply will probably keep coal prices buttressed at about $100 a metric ton through the end of next year, he said.

“Supply restriction is still quite real,” Sjahrir, who’s also finance director at miner PT Toba Bara Sejahtra, said on Monday. “It’ll be the end of 2019 before they can fulfill some of their orders today.” Continue Reading →

Silkroad Nickel inks heads of agreement for joint venture to build smelter facilities in Sulawesi – by Vivien Shiao (Business Times – September 19, 2018)

CATALIST-LISTED Indonesian nickel mining group Silkroad Nickel announced that its subsidiary PT Teknik Alum Service (PT TAS), and PT Artabumi Sentra Industri (PT ASI) have entered into a non-binding heads of agreement with PT Anugrah Tambang Smelter for its entire equity interest.

Through the acquisition, it aims to build and operate smelter facilities for the production of nickel pig iron on the group’s mine site in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

PT Anugrah Tambang Smelter, a limited liability company established under Indonesian law, holds valid principle and location permit licences for the construction of a smelter factory in Buleleng Village, Bungku Pesisir Subdistrict, Morowali Regency, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Continue Reading →

Philippine Miners Trapped in Typhoon: Drawn by Gold, Drowned in Mud – by Hannah Beech (New York Times – September 17, 2018)

ITOGON, Philippines — A month ago, Jes Feliciano struck gold. The ingot was the size of a coin, and it brought the 16-year-old miner more money than he ever imagined.

On Monday evening, Mr. Feliciano got a reminder that what the Cordillera Mountains give, they also take away. That is when he identified the body of his uncle, Mordecai Bahatan, one of dozens of miners feared killed when a torrent of earth, loosened by a typhoon’s rain, engulfed their encampment in the mountains.

The bounty of the Cordilleras, which form the northern spine of Luzon, the main island in the Philippines, is legendary: gold, hydropower and fertile farmland. But the mountains’ danger is equally fabled to the people who make the cloud-wreathed peaks home. Continue Reading →

Philippine leader again vows to shut mines after deadly landslides – by Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – September 17, 2018)

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte repeated his call on Monday to shut all mines in the country following deadly landslides, hours after his minister halted all small-scale mining in a mountainous gold-rich region.

“If I were to try to do my thing I will close all mining in the Philippines,” he said, presiding over a televised meeting of the government’s disaster response team two days after a powerful typhoon struck.

Duterte has often criticized the mining industry, saying the environmental damage far outweighs any benefit to the economy. His latest comments followed an order earlier by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu to stop all small-scale mining in the Cordillera region, where landslides killed 24 people. Continue Reading →

Economic nationalism is back in Indonesia as election approaches – by (Straits Times – September 17, 2018)

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) – Nothing sells like economic nationalism in Indonesia’s election season. Facing a challenge from a self-proclaimed nationalist, President Joko Widodo has used speeches after his nomination for April’s vote to tout his success in wresting control of the nation’s prized natural resources from foreign companies.

Now the campaign in the lead up to the April 2019 poll is expected to develop into a battle built around economic nationalism. While it may risk a retreat by foreign investors from South-east Asia’s biggest economy, it’s still likely to be a vote winner, according to analysts.

Widodo, known as Jokowi, has carried forward the resource nationalism championed by his predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono by taking steps to take back assets managed by multinationals such as Freeport-McMoRan Inc., Total SA and Chevron Corp. His government recently ordered all oil producers to sell their crude to state refiner PT Pertamina as it sought to cut imports. Continue Reading →

100 miners feared buried – by Raymund Catindig (The Philippine Star – September 17, 2018)

TUGUEGARAO, Cagayan – Nearly 100 people are feared dead in a landslide that buried a mining shelter in Itogon, Benguet during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong on Saturday. Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said the small-scale miners were trapped in a bunkhouse buried by a landslide.

Along the path of devastation left by Ompong (international name Mangkhut), officials said at least 56 people were confirmed killed mostly in landslides in mountain areas.

Earlier, two rescue workers died in a landslide in Itogon while trying to retrieve several people buried in the mud. Palangdan said rescue workers retrieved as many as 30 dead from the mining bunkhouse. Continue Reading →

RPT-Nickel producers eye Indonesia to plug into EV battery market – by Fergus Jensen (Reuters U.S. – September 16, 2018)

JAKARTA, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Several global metals producers have set their sights on Indonesia’s nickel reserves to tap an expected surge in demand for the metal for electric vehicle batteries.

Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd (SMM) said on Thursday that it and nickel miner PT Vale Indonesia are conducting a feasibility study to build a nickel processing project in Pomalaa, Southeast Sulawesi. A spokesman for Vale said the plant would make an intermediate nickel and cobalt product that would then be processed into nickel sulphate for batteries.

Major nickel producers are taking a closer look at Indonesia whose large nickel laterite ore reserves are already prized for nickel pig iron used in stainless steel production. Continue Reading →

Japan’s Sumitomo to focus on battery material supply to Panasonic, Toyota – by Yuka Obayashi and Ritsuko Shimizu (Reuters U.K. – September 13, 2018)

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd (SMM) (5713.T) plans to focus on two key customers for its battery materials, Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and Panasonic Corp (6752.T), supplier of car power packs to Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), SMM’s new president said.

While Toyota and Panasonic are already SMM’s biggest customers, rising sales of electric cars – led by Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 – mean the Japanese miner and smelter is in a sweet spot it needs to protect.

SMM has spent 37 billion yen (254.44 million pounds) over the past four years to boost capacity of the nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) cathode materials used in Panasonic’s lithium-ion battery that powers Tesla’s Model 3 and Model X. Continue Reading →

Power plant delays fuel tensions over Rio’s giant Mongolia copper mine – by Barbara Lewis and Munkhchimeg Davaasharav (Reuters U.S. – September 13, 2018)

LONDON/ULAANBAATAR (Reuters) – Nearly 10 years on from the launch of a giant copper and gold project in Mongolia, Rio Tinto is still looking to secure a domestic power source it needs for the mine under an agreement with the government.

Oyu Tolgoi, located in the South Gobi region near landlocked Mongolia’s southern border with China, is scheduled to complete a $5.3 billion underground expansion for first production by 2020, creating one of the world’s biggest copper suppliers.

The project, launched in 2009 and 34 percent-controlled by Mongolia, is set to transform the country’s tiny economy, and is also key for Rio as the biggest potential growth area for its copper business. But it has been beset by squabbles over cost overruns and claims of unpaid taxes. Continue Reading →

‘Let me buy Rio Tinto’: China’s brazen bid to buy our companies – by Peter Hartcher (Sydney Morning Post – September 11, 2018)

Within two days of being sworn in as the 38th Treasurer of Australia, Joe Hockey found himself in a traditional-style hut on the island of Bali. Chinese officials had been back and forth to the hut again and again to arrange to the last detail the meeting that Hockey was about to have with China’s finance minister.

But when Lou Jiwei entered, Hockey was utterly unprepared for his opening words. Lou shook the Australian’s hand, sat down, lit a cigarette without asking Hockey’s permission and said: “Why won’t you let me buy Rio Tinto?” the giant Anglo-Australian mining conglomerate.

It was Hockey’s first meeting with his Chinese counterpart, once ranked by Forbes magazine as the 30th most powerful person on earth. Recovering from his surprise, Hockey replied: “That’s fine – as long as you’ll let Qantas buy China Southern”, one of the Middle Kingdom’s big three airlines. Continue Reading →

Coal Shows Resilience in Global Comeback – by Neanda Salvaterra (Wall Street Journal – September 3, 2018)

Asian and African countries are counting on the hydrocarbon to expand access to electricity

Coal is clinging to the top spot in power generation, accounting for as much of the world’s electricity as it did two decades ago, despite heightened concerns about climate change and a slowdown in financing for projects involving the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

U.S. exports of coal more than doubled in 2017 and are set to grow this year, according to the Energy Information Administration. Countries across Asia and Africa are expected to increase their use of coal for expanding power generation through 2040, says the EIA.

The rebound shows coal’s resilience, especially in emerging regions, and recent events suggest the market for black combustible rock will remain strong. In the U.S., the Trump administration has proposed to reverse U.S. rules on coal emissions, and countries including India and Vietnam are planning major coal projects. Continue Reading →

Nickel: New king of PH minerals – by Jimbo Owen B. Gulle (Manila Standard – September 10, 2018)

The Philippines used to be known for its gold, silver, and copper, but a new element has taken the throne as the country’s top mineral product: nickel. As the world’s second-biggest supplier of nickel ore, the country exported 577,000 metric tons of it in 2016 and 2017 combined.

Last year’s nickel ore exports came in at 230,000 metric tons — a third less than the 2016 figure—but still raked in $455.21 million (P24.533 billion) for the country in 2017, according to the United Nations Comtrade database on international trade.

That dollar figure shows the bright potential of the versatile element for the Philippine economy, perhaps even more than the precious metals mined elsewhere in the country. Continue Reading →

Philippines implements fresh nickel mining curbs in environment protection drive – by Enrico dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – September 6, 2018)

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines, one of the world’s top suppliers of nickel ore, will this week start limiting the land that miners can develop at any one time as new rules to protect the environment take effect.

The new curbs, backed by President Rodrigo Duterte, target 29 of 48 mines operating in the Philippines, which are nickel producers supplying ores to the world’s leading market, China. Reuters first reported the new set of restrictions in April.

Mining is a deeply contentious issue in the resource-rich Southeast Asian country after past examples of environmental mismanagement. The industry group Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said it supports the government order. Continue Reading →

Battery Maker Eyes India’s $300 Billion Lithium-Ion Market – by Archana Chaudhary and Swansy Afonso (Bloomberg News – September 6, 2018)

Amara Raja Batteries Ltd., India’s second-biggest traditional battery maker by value, will build a lithium-ion assembly plant as it seeks to grab a slice of the market for electric vehicle power packs that is set to grow to $300 billion by 2030.

The battery maker is in the process of building a 100 megawatt-hour assembly plant in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh and the company is working closely with the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai, Chief Executive Officer S. Vijayanand said in an interview in New Delhi.

“There’s incubation work going on because we are at a beginning stage both from the market-demand and product-development perspective,” Vijayanand said. “We are very focused on building solutions for the early stage of electrification of vehicles and work with the OEM programs at the same time.” Continue Reading →