Archive | Asia Mining

Indonesia mine nationalization shakes top copper producer – by Jun Suzuki (Nikkei Asian Review – July 18, 2018)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

JAKARTA — Indonesia’s nationalization of a major copper and gold mine formerly run by U.S. metals company Freeport-McMoRan is a win for Indonesian President Joko Widodo who has been calling for the reclamation of strategic resources. But the lack of agreement over future investments puts one of the world’s biggest sources of the red metal on shaky grounds.

According to the basic agreement reached on Thursday, Freeport and Anglo-Australian peer Rio Tinto will sell their shares in the local joint venture that runs the Grasberg mine to state-owned resources company Indonesia Asahan Aluminum, or Inalum.

Inalum will pay a combined $3.85 billion to the two companies to acquire all of Rio Tinto’s interest and lift its overall stake to 51%. Freeport will hold onto the remaining 49% stake in the operator of the mine in eastern Indonesia’s Papua province. A final deal is expected this year. Continue Reading →

How Mining Tycoons Are Trying to Foil a Big U.K. Bribery Probe – by By Franz Wild (Bloomberg News – July 16, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

A trio of Kazakh oligarchs accuse their London lawyer of conspiring with Britain’s top cop

It’s a faint echo of the defense being floated by targets of the Mueller probe in the U.S.—an unaccountable circle of bureaucrats manipulating the system to their own ends. But in London, it’s the last ditch effort by a trio of Kazakh oligarchs to derail the U.K.’s biggest bribery investigation.

The mining tycoons behind Eurasian Natural Resources Corp., the former FTSE 100 company suspected of paying bribes to buy mines in Kazakhstan and Africa, say their own lawyer conspired with Britain’s top cop to incriminate them so he could fleece them for millions of pounds.

Even if they can’t convince a court of this hypothesis, the case will undoubtedly frustrate attempts to bring criminal charges against them and drag out proceedings for months, if not years. Continue Reading →

When Rio Tinto Met China’s Iron Hand – by Kit Chellel, Franz Wild and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – July 13, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

In 2010, four employees of the mining giant were jailed and accused of stealing commercial secrets. Today, the company is more reliant on China than ever.

For eight years, Stern Hu rose every morning at 6 a.m. in Qingpu Prison near Shanghai. He and the dozen men who shared his cell would blearily pull on their blue-and-white-striped uniforms and line up in front of their bunks for the day’s first duty: greeting the guards. “Good morning, officer!” they’d shout. “Thank you for taking care of us, officer!”

Everyone in Brigade No. 8, the foreign prisoners unit, knew Hu. The quiet 61-year-old stood a head taller than the rest. Chinese-born, with an Australian passport and a shock of white hair, he’d been a star at Rio Tinto Group, one of the world’s largest mining companies, before being sent to prison in 2010 for stealing trade secrets and taking bribes. The Chinese government said his actions had cost the country’s steel industry as much as $100 billion.

To the members of Eight Brigade, Hu was also the guy who ran the library. After a breakfast of rice gruel with a spoonful of pickled vegetables, he’d take his post at a small desk next to some bookshelves at one end of the common room. Continue Reading →

Hurting for Buyers, U.S. Coal Miners Are Learning to Love India – by Tim Loh and Rajesh Kumar Singh (Bloomberg News – July 11, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The big bright spot for U.S. coal miners is located halfway around the world. India almost tripled its imports of the rock from America in the first quarter from a year earlier, helping fuel its fast-growing economy and making it the largest foreign buyer of U.S. coal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The South Asian nation is extending a lifeline to U.S. miners who are struggling to find buyers at home as cheap natural gas and renewable energy continue to force coal-fired power plants into retirement. Miners are increasingly relying on overseas sales to maintain — or at least slow the decline in — production levels.

The U.S. may export 104 million tons of coal in 2018, up 7.2 percent from a year ago, the EIA forecast in its July Short-Term Energy Outlook published Tuesday. Through April, India had brought in almost 7 million tons, approaching a fifth of all U.S. exports of the fossil fuel. The next largest customers included South Korea, Japan, Brazil and the Netherlands. Continue Reading →

Indonesia to pay $3.85 billion for majority stake in Freeport’s Grasberg copper mine – by Wilda Asmarini and Bernadette Christina Munthe (Reuters U.S. – July 11, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia on Thursday struck an agreement with Freeport-McMoRan Inc and Rio Tinto to buy a controlling stake in the world’s second-biggest copper mine via a series of transactions valued at $3.85 billion.

The heads of agreement establishes a structure for Indonesia, through its state-owned mining holding company PT Inalum, to gain control of the Grasberg mine located in the country’s eastern province of Papua. The deal should cap years of wrangling over the rights for the site as Jakarta seeks to gain greater control over its mineral wealth.

Last August, the two sides agreed to let Freeport (FCX.N) keep operating the mine possibly until 2041 while ceding control over its local unit, PT Freeport Indonesia. Continue Reading →

First there were blood diamonds. In India, there are suicide diamonds (South China Morning Post – July 10, 2018)

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Investigations spread over a year in the western Indian state of Gujarat found a pattern of suicides – many shrouded in silence – in the industry that cuts and polishes 90 per cent of gems sold globally, with many workers paid per stone

After polishing diamonds destined for luxury stores from New York to Hong Kong for nearly 10 hours in a cramped workshop in western India, Vikram Raujibhai went home, waited for his family to leave, and locked the front door. Raujibhai doused himself in kerosene and lit a match.

His family returned to find the 29-year-old’s charred body, his case the latest in a series among workers with low wages and poor work conditions in India’s booming diamond industry, as uncovered by a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation.

Investigations spread over a year in the western Indian state of Gujarat found a pattern of suicides – many shrouded in silence – in the industry that cuts and polishes 90 per cent of gems sold globally, with many workers paid per stone. Continue Reading →

Turkish court jails executives over 2014 mine disaster – by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu (Reuters U.S. – July 11, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A Turkish court sentenced five mining executives to up to 22 years in jail on Wednesday for their role in the coal mine disaster in May 2014 that killed 301 people, the ruling showed.

The deaths were caused by a fire that swept through the mine in the town of Soma, 480 km (300 miles) south of Istanbul. It was Turkey’s worst industrial disaster and the world’s biggest mining disaster this century.

Critics said the accident, which triggered mass protests, showed the government was too close to industry bosses and was insensitive, after Tayyip Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time and is now president, said the disaster was part of the profession’s “destiny.” Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Philippines nickel ore exports seen dropping up to 17 pct on low prices – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – July 10, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

MANILA, July 10 (Reuters) – The Philippines’ nickel ore exports could drop by up to 17 percent this year as weaker prices curb output in the world’s second-biggest supplier, the head of a nickel mining industry group said on Tuesday.

Shipments of nickel ore, used to make stainless steel, could fall to 30-35 million tonnes from 36 million tonnes in 2017, Dante Bravo, president of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association, told a media forum.

“As a whole, we expect exports this year to be less than what we saw last year because the price of low-grade nickel now is weak,” he said. The Philippines is the world’s No.2 nickel ore supplier after Indonesia, shipping the bulk of its output to top buyer China. Continue Reading →

Barrick forges closer ties with Chinese partner in bid to revive South American mine – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – July 9, 2018)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Barrick’s deal with Shandong shows how Chinese companies have in recent years stepped up their involvement with Canadian mining companies

Barrick Gold Corp. may be the largest gold miner in the world, but that hasn’t stopped it from asking a state-owned Chinese conglomerate to help in its decades-long quest to dig up a vast gold deposit near the border between Argentina and Chile.

On Monday, the Toronto-based company announced China’s Shandong Gold Group Co. Ltd. will study whether it makes sense to build an open pit, heap leach mine squarely inside Argentina — after Chilean authorities last year ordered the closure of mining activities on its side of the border.

The announcement, which came while Barrick’s senior management team visited China, shows the company’s growing reliance on Shandong as a partner. In April 2017, Shandong paid $960 million and formed a 50/50 joint venture in Barrick’s Veladero gold mine in Argentina, and the two agreed to explore future opportunities together. Continue Reading →

Four Underground Rescue Efforts That Riveted the World – by Christina Caron and Julia Jacobs (New York Times – July 8, 2018)

https://www.nytimes.com/

After two weeks of huddling in a flooded cave in northern Thailand, several of the 12 boys who were trapped with their soccer coach have been rescued in a harrowing extraction that could take days to complete.

Divers on Sunday began pulling the boys to safety through long, narrow passageways that are challenging for even the most skilled cave divers. With the world watching, the rescue team was racing against rising floodwaters in what has become one of the most engrossing rescue missions in recent years.

Here is a look at other underground rescue attempts — some successful, some not — that have transfixed people around the world.

1975: Indian Mine Explosion Kills Hundreds

A blast at a coal mine in northeast India triggered flooding from a nearby reservoir that killed hundreds of miners. Continue Reading →

In ironic twist, drive for clean energy creates Asian coal boom – by Shotaro Tani (Nikkei Asian Review – July 9, 2018)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

Public outcry over dirty fuel overshadowed by power needs of growing economies

JAKARTA — Coal, one of the world’s most polarizing commodities, has now become an Asian irony. Efforts to curb use of the so-called black diamond in the West have been a boon for coal companies in the East, more so now that the benchmark price for thermal coal exceeded $120 per ton in July, the highest since 2012.

No one was surprised in March when Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam, one of Indonesia’s largest coal producer, posted a 123% year-on-year jump in net profit to 4.4 trillion rupiah( $325 million) for the period ended December. That was because only a week prior to the results, Adaro Energy, the country’s second-largest coal miner, posted a 45% surge in net profits to $483 million.

The common denominator for both companies was rising coal prices. “The revenue increase is a result of continued efforts by the corporate management … amid improving global coal prices,” said Bukit Asam, while Adaro noted, “2017 was a good year for Adaro Energy … within the more supportive coal sector.” Continue Reading →

Japan’s Mitsui may raise its stake in Vale: executive – by Yuka Obayashi and Yoshiyasu Shida (Reuters U.S. – July 6, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co (8031.T) may boost its stake in Brazil’s Vale SA (VALE3.SA) if other shareholders sell part of their holdings, a senior executive said, giving it greater influence over the iron ore giant’s management.

Several Brazilian pension funds and BNDESPar, the investment arm of state development bank BNDES have been considering the sale of part of their stakes in Vale, equating to about 3 percent of the miner’s shares in total and worth up to 8 billion reais ($2 billion).

Buying an additional stake was “an option”, Yukio Takebe, Mitsui’s senior executive managing officer who oversees the energy and metals business, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. Continue Reading →

Rio and BHP to win from China’s blue-sky wars – by Matthew Stevens(Australian Financial Review – July 5, 2018)

https://www.afr.com/

China has moved to further embed pollution controls across a broader sweep of its industrial landscape in a move that reinforces the shared view of Australia’s biggest miners that price premiums being earned by quality iron ore and coal are now enrichingly structural.

A new three-year action plan announced on the official government website more than doubles the number of major cities targeted for pollution with the migration of the regime south beyond the provinces that surround Beijing to the Yangtze delta and Shanghai.

Confirmation of reforms that were first flagged towards the end of last winter’s successful blue-skies campaign acts as reinforcement of BHP’s planned changes to the Pilbara product mix and of Rio Tinto’s pursuit of mining capacity flexibility that will allow it to best respond to China’s increasingly seasonal raw-materials demand pull. Continue Reading →

Anil Agarwal faces shareholder resistance to $1 billion Vedanta bid  – by Ben Martin (Reuters U.S. – July 3, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Billionaire Anil Agarwal faces investor resistance to his $1 billion bid to buy out minority shareholders in Vedanta Resources (VED.L) and take the London-listed Indian miner private.

Vedanta, chaired by its 64-year-old founder Agarwal, on Monday announced that its independent board directors were prepared to back an 825 pence-a-share bid from Agarwal’s family trust, Volcan, to acquire the 33.5 percent of the company that it does not already own and delist the group.

Under the proposal, Volcan would spend 778 million pounds ($1 billion) buying out minority investors in a deal which would value Vedanta as a whole at about 2.35 billion pounds. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-Indonesia extends permit for giant Freeport copper mine as talks continue – by Wilda Asmarini (Reuters U.S.- July 4, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

JAKARTA, July 4 (Reuters) – Indonesia has extended a temporary operating permit for Freeport McMoRan Inc’s Grasberg project, the world’s second-biggest copper mine, until the end of the month while discussions continue over long-term rights.

Freeport’s local unit, PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), has been given a temporary operating permit for Grasberg until July 31, Coal and Minerals Director General Bambang Gatot Ariyono told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport has been in negotiations with Indonesia to secure long-term operating rights at Grasberg after the government introduced new rules last year aimed at giving Jakarta greater control over the nation’s resources. Continue Reading →