Archive | Asia Mining

Exclusive: After crackdown, Philippines plans fresh mining curbs – by Manolo Serapio Jr and Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – April 23, 2018)

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines is planning to limit the amount of land that miners can develop at any one time to boost environmental rehabilitation, a move that miners say may cut output of nickel ore in last year’s top supplier to China.

The new curbs, contained in a draft government order reviewed by Reuters and confirmed by senior officials, follow a crackdown last year that has left more than half the country’s mines facing suspension or closure due to environmental breaches.

Mining is a deeply contentious issue in the resource-rich Southeast Asian country after past examples of environmental mismanagement. Continue Reading →

Chalco first quarter profits fall 19.4 percent on lower aluminum prices – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – April 23, 2018)

BEIJING (Reuters) – Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (601600.SS) (2600.HK), known as Chalco, said on Monday that first-quarter net profits fell by 19.4 percent from a year ago due to lower aluminum prices but one-off gains helped it avoid a much worse result.

The company, China’s biggest state-run aluminum producer, said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange that net profit during the January to March was 308.6 million yuan ($48.94 million), versus an adjusted net profit of 382.9 million yuan a year earlier. Revenues, meanwhile, fell by 10.5 percent to 36.7 billion yuan.

The numbers point to thinning margins for aluminum smelters in China, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, in a quarter when prices fell. Continue Reading →

Alrosa plans rough diamond trading in India, seeks reduction in 40% tax – by Dilip Kumar Jha (Business Standard – April 19, 2018)

Alrosa sells around 16 per cent of its annual rough diamond output directly to India through its 15 long-term and 140 spot and auctions clients

Russian diamond-mining major Alrosa will start rough diamond trading in India once the government brings the tax on it down to 0.56 per cent from 40 per cent now — to match the rates in other major trading hubs of the world.

The 40 per cent rate is applicable in special notified zones (SNZ), including the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), where Alrosa opened its first office in India on Thursday.

Alrosa is planning to service its Indian customers by contacting them daily. Apart from that, the India representative will help in market research and data analytics in various markets by giving information on trends in the demand for precious stones here. Continue Reading →

China can’t control the market in rare earth elements because they aren’t all that rare – by James Vincent (The – April 17, 2018)

You can’t handle the truth (about rare earth elements)

If you need to know one thing about rare earth metals, it’s that they’re crucial to modern technology, helping power everything from MRI machines and satellites to headphones and nuclear reactors. If you need to know two things, it’s that despite their name, they’re not at all rare.

This second fact is crucial when putting recent headlines about these 17 oddly named elements in proper context. Last week, many publications covered the news that a Japanese team of scientists had found a huge trove of rare earth elements off the coast of the country’s Minamitori Island. Some 16 million tons were estimated to be lurking in the deep-sea mud, enough to meet global demand on a “semi-infinite basis,” said the researchers.

This news was positioned as having great geopolitical significance. China currently produces more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of rare earth materials (the exact figure tends to fluctuate year-by-year), and in the event of a conflict, said reports, it could jack up prices for the West and its allies, or even shut them out altogether. Continue Reading →

[Japan] Discovery could smash China’s rare-earths stranglehold (Asia Times – April 18, 2018)

A mineral deposit has been found in Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Western Pacific, with a size and concentration comparable to China’s

A “semi-infinite” supply of rare earths, vital elements for the global production of batteries, hard disc drives, portable electronics, microphones and many others, has been found in a deep-sea ore deposit about 1,850 kilometers southeast of Tokyo, beneath the waves of the vast northwestern Pacific Ocean, The Wall Street Journal reported this month.

Researchers from Tokyo-based Waseda University have surveyed the roughly 2,500-square-kilometer region of the sea floor there, at depths of 5,600 to 5,800 meters, off the coral atoll of Minami-Tori-shima, aka Marcus Island, and affirmed the area could hold more than 16 million tons of rare-earth oxides.

They would include 780 years’ worth of the global supply of yttrium, 620 years’ worth of europium, 420 years’ worth of terbium, and 730 years’ worth of dysprosium, according to their paper that appeared in the journal Scientific Reports. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China’s Q1 imports of major commodities lose some momentum – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – April 16, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, April 16 (Reuters) – China’s imports of major commodities may be losing some of their strong growth momentum, with gains in the first quarter of this year failing to keep pace with those from the same period in 2017.

At first glance, China’s imports of crude oil, iron ore, coal and copper looked to have bounced back in March after a poor showing in February.

However, the first two months of the year generally result in some distortions in the data, depending on the timing of the Lunar New Year. This year’s holiday fell entirely within February, resulting in weaker import numbers. Continue Reading →

Billionaire Agarwal Hires AngloGold’s CEO to Run Vedanta – by Thomas Wilson, Felix Njini and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – April 16, 2018)

Anil Agarwal hired AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.’s Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan to run his Vedanta Resources Plc in a move that may hint at the Indian billionaire’s plans for his global commodity portfolio.

Venkatakrishnan, 53, has been CEO of Johannesburg-based AngloGold for five years and spent much of his career working in Africa.

That’s a first for a Vedanta CEO and points to the growing importance of the Indian group’s investments on the continent, where its assets include Zambian copper and South African zinc. Continue Reading →

South Korean companies scramble to gain reliable supplies of cobalt – by Cho Kye-wan (Hankyoreh Hani English – April 15, 2018)

As the price of cobalt skyrockets, major South Korean companies such as LG Chem and SK Innovation are scrambling to gain a supply of this key ingredient for electric car batteries.

Since the metal has become marked as a “conflict mineral” because of the prevalence of child labor in Congo, which accounts for more than half of its global supply, battery producers are looking to secure more stable supply channels.

On Apr. 11, LG Chem announced that it had inked a contract with China’s Huayou Cobalt to set up joint ventures to produce chemical precursors and cathodes. Huayou Cobalt is the global leader in its industry, refining 20,000 tons of cobalt that were imported from Congo in 2017. Continue Reading →

Can China fill aluminum shortage after Rusal sanctioned? – by Eric Onstad and Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – April 12, 2018)

LONDON/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Dominant aluminum producer China may help fill a gap in global supply after the United States slapped sanctions on Russia’s aluminum giant Rusal.

But a tangle of tariffs will obstruct flows to the United States so aluminum consumers will need to find other solutions as well, industry experts said.

International prices, which have shot up more than 10 percent since the sanctions were announced, will have to rise further to lure exports from China, whose metal faces a range of tariffs and duties. Continue Reading →

The Cold Frontier, Part Three: A journey along North Korea’s edge – by Sue-Lin Wong and Damir Sagolj (Reuters U.S. – April 12, 2018)

(Reuters) – Not far from Linjiang, people in thin, head-to-toe rubber suits were diving in the river. Locals said they were part of North Korea’s smuggling operations.

We couldn’t figure out what the divers were doing – mending pipes in the river bed, fishing? One local walking along the Chinese side of the river bank was happy to fill us in. “They’re mining for gold,” he said.

“Are they Chinese or North Korean?” I asked. “Ha! They’re North Koreans. Chinese aren’t desperate enough to resort to earning money like that.” Continue Reading →

‘Urban mining’ in South Korea pulls rare battery materials from recycled tech – by Jane Chung and Ju-min Park (Reuters U.S. – April 12, 2018)

GUNSAN, South Korea (Reuters) – Workers at a rural South Korean factory are busy extracting some of the world’s most coveted metals, used in the batteries that power electric cars.

But they’re not digging in the ground or refining ore. Instead, they are sorting through a pile of lithium-ion batteries from old mobile phones and laptops.

As China’s aggressive hunt for overseas cobalt and lithium for electric vehicles pushes up prices and causes a global shortage of the key metals, South Korea is increasingly turning to such “urban mining” to recover cobalt, lithium and other scarce metals from electronic waste. Continue Reading →

Japan Hopes Rare-Earth Find Will Give It an Edge Against China – by Mayumi Negishi (Wall Street Journal – April 11, 2018)

Japan found hundreds of years’ worth of the minerals used in batteries and electric vehicles

TOKYO—Japan has hundreds of years’ worth of rare-earth metal deposits in its waters, according to new research that reflects Tokyo’s concern about China’s hegemony over minerals used in batteries and electric vehicles.

The deposits were found in the Pacific Ocean seabed near remote Minamitori Island, about 1,150 miles southeast of Tokyo. Extracting them would likely be costly, but resource-poor Japan is pushing ahead with research in hopes of getting more control over next-generation technologies and weapon systems.

A roughly 965-square-mile seabed near the island contains more than 16 million tons of rare-earth oxides, estimated to hold 780 years’ worth of the global supply of yttrium, 620 years’ worth of europium, 420 years’ worth of terbium and 730 years’ worth of dysprosium, according to a study published this week in Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports. Continue Reading →

How Indonesia’s media-savvy miners became tourist attractions, turning sulphur into selfies – by Nadine Freischlad (South China Morning Post – April 1, 2018)

Indonesia’s largest sulphur mine is inside an active volcano and its miners risk their lives to harvest the yellow rock. It has turned into such a popular photo spot for tourists that many miners have quit to become tour guides

Ahmed Arifin makes his way slowly up the rocky path in the darkness, breathing heavily with 80kg of sulphite rock pressing down on his shoulders. One of his hands balances the load while the other carries a torch.

He carefully pushes his way through a stream of tourists who are on their way down to the volcanic crater lake where Arifin harvests the sulphite. Somehow he finds the strength to pose for a photo. Media-savvy Arifin, 47, has been a sulphur miner for 28 years and has had his picture taken dozens of times at this same spot, by tourists and international media alike. Continue Reading →

Philippines’ Duterte orders reforestation, threatens open pit mining ban (Reuters U.S. – April 9, 2018)

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered mining companies to conduct tree planting projects and threatened to ban all open pit mining next year.

The Southeast Asian nation’s mining sector has been under fire by Duterte’s government for environmental damage and alleged violations that include building mines in prohibited areas like watersheds. The fiery leader said miners should make an extra effort to plant trees in areas denuded by mining.

“I want trees as tall as me in six months. If there is none, consider your permit revoked. Do not wait for the day of your sorrow,” Duterte told reporters prior to departing for China. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto’s Mongolian comfort zone is shaken – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – April 9, 2018)

Confirmation that Mongolia’s anti-corruption authority has opened an “investigation” of the historic 2015 $US4.4 billion project financing deal for the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine has sucked Rio Tinto into the vortex of a controversy that started with a Swiss investigation into the contents of a bank account connected to a former Mongolian finance minister.

Ever since it became clear last month that Swiss authorities were taking serious interest in Bayartsogt Sangajav and how he came to fill a Swiss bank account with $US10 million back in September 2008, Rio has been able to take public comfort in the fact that whatever the circumstances were, they occurred at a time before the multinational miner had the capacity to influence negotiations between the government of Mongolia and Oyu Tolgoi’s Canadian-listed developer, Ivanhoe Mines.

At the time the claimed payment was made, Rio owned about 10 per cent of Ivanhoe. The Anglo-Australia stepped its way to control by 2012 and, to announce the changed circumstances, it changed Ivanhoe’s name to Turquoise Hill. Continue Reading →