Archive | Asia Mining

Top Indian Iron Ore Miner Targets 50% Output Jump Next Year – by Swansy Afonso (Financial Post/Bloomberg News – February 12, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — India’s biggest iron ore miner plans to raise production by as much as 50%, potentially boosting supplies and alleviating concerns of shortages of the key raw material.

State-run NMDC Ltd. is targeting production of 48 million tons in the year starting April, and will surpass 32 million tons this year, Amitava Mukherjee, director of finance, said.

The growth in supplies will come mainly from its mines in Chhattisgarh and includes 7 million tons of iron ore from the Donimalai mine in Karnataka state that is currently closed. Continue Reading →

Indonesia accused of putting profit ahead of the environment with new bill – by Gayatri Suroyo and Ed Davies (Reuters U.S. – February 13, 2020)

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s plans to relax environmental rules to encourage investment have drawn criticism from activists who say the government is putting profit ahead of protecting the archipelago’s rich natural surroundings.

The “Job Creation” bill, submitted to parliament on Wednesday, aims to open up industries and includes proposals to relax the need for companies to conduct environmental studies and eases rules on coal mining.

It is one of President Joko Widodo’s so-called “omnibus laws”, which aim to change scores of existing laws to cut red tape and attract investment into Southeast Asia’s largest economy. Continue Reading →

Column: Virus another wild card in nickel’s year of uncertainty – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – February 11, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – Nickel is the weakest performer in the London Metal Exchange (LME) base metals pack so far this year. It’s a dramatic change of fortune after last year’s bull rally.

At a current $13,135 per tonne London nickel is down by almost 8% since the start of January and back to where it was last July, when Indonesia announced it was bringing forward a ban on the export of nickel ore from 2022 to this year.

The ban “remains a structurally bullish event”, according to analysts at Citi, given the flow of Indonesian ore to China accounts for around 12% of global mined nickel production. (“Nickel: it gets worse before it gets better, but still a medium-to-long term buy,” Feb. 5, 2020) Continue Reading →

BHP tries to delay China shipments due to virus – by Sarah Danckert and Nick Toscano (Brisbane Times – February 9, 2020)

BHP Group is starting to feel the impact of the coronavirus on its business with the mining giant in talks with its Chinese customers to delay shipments of copper concentrate as plants are shutdown around the nation.

BHP confirmed on Sunday that it is working with its customers in China to stem the impact of the virus on its exports after importers in China were offered force majeure certificates by the country’s international trade promotion agency.

In response, suppliers are considering giving buyers in China flexibility on deliveries to discourage them from declaring force majeure, offering them a way out of contractual obligations. Continue Reading →

India’s ancient tribes battle to save their forest home from mining – by Brian Cassey (The Guardian – February 10, 2020)

Laksmi Shankar Porte emerged from the forest. In his hands were an axe, a small scythe and a large crop of grass. Like many of the Gond people living in India’s Hasdeo Arand forest, he will use the grass to make ropes, brooms and mats.

The Hasdeo Arand is one of the largest contiguous stretches of dense forest in central India, covering about 170,000 hectares (420,080 acres) of the state of Chhattisgarh. It is rich in biodiversity, contains many threatened species and is home to elephants, leopards and sloth bears.

It is also home to the Gond, one of India’s Adivasis, the name given to the country’s original indigenous peoples. Unfortunately for Porte, the Gond and other Adivasis forest dwellers, the Hasdeo Arand sits on top of more than a billion metric tonnes of coal reserves. Continue Reading →

[India Diamonds] Mine-swept out of the game – by M Ramesh (The Hindu – June 24, 2016)

India’s last functioning diamond mine faces closure next week. Where did it all go wrong for a country that was once the only supplier of diamonds? On June 29, Lesedi la Rona, the second biggest diamond ever discovered, will go under the hammer at the auctioneer Sotheby’s.

A day later, India — the first diamond miner and the world’s only supplier until the 18th century — will see the closure of its only diamond mine in production today. Supreme Court’s orders!

And so, it is a happening week for diamond enthusiasts in India. I was not one, would never have been one, given my inveterate dislike for jewels, but I slowly got sucked into the world of sparkling stones when I was researching for my novel, Silence of the Cicadas, which has something to do with diamonds. Continue Reading →

Blood, diamonds and dynasties on a little explored Indian plateau – by Ute Junker (Australian Financial Review – February 7, 2020)

The forgotten empires of the southern highlands left behind some of the subcontinent’s most remarkable ruins, temples and palaces.

They say it took months to sack the city. The palaces went up in flames; so did the elephant stables. The raging heat from the conflagration cracked the famous singing columns in the temples and the fearsome stone walls that ringed the city, and evaporated the water from the canals that sluiced water to the orchards and the ornamental pools. It was a spectacular fall, one that matched the dazzling rise of India’s richest city, Vijayanagara, the City of Victory, the hub of a mighty empire.

Never heard of Vijayanagara? You’re not alone. While the former princely strongholds of Rajasthan are among India’s most popular tourist destinations, the royal dynasties that flourished on the Deccan – the highlands that dominate much of India’s southern half – are far less well known. Yet for millenniums, empires rose and fell here.

The Pallava and Satavahana, Kakatiya and Maratha are names that are virtually unknown outside India, yet the dynasties of the Deccan offer some of India’s most remarkable sights to explore. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-China Feb copper output to fall on virus woes, zinc backlog builds – Antaike – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – February 5, 2020)

BEIJING, Feb 5 (Reuters) – China’s copper smelters will reduce output by more than 15% in February from last month due to the coronavirus outbreak, research house Antaike said, warning zinc production could also drop if transport restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the disease are not eased soon.

Base metal prices slumped last week as the number of coronavirus deaths and infections rose, spurring fears the outbreak will reduce economic activity and metals demand in China, the world’s biggest copper and zinc consumer.

The death toll in China rose to 490 on Wednesday. Weak downstream demand, high inventories of sulphuric acid and logistical problems mean it is inevitable there will be some reduction in copper output this month, Antaike said in a note late on Tuesday, adding its estimate of more than 15% was conservative and March output may also be affected. Continue Reading →

Japan Races to Build New Coal-Burning Power Plants, Despite the Climate Risks – by Hiroki Tabuchi (New York Times – Feburary 3, 2020)

Just beyond the windows of Satsuki Kanno’s apartment overlooking Tokyo Bay, a behemoth from a bygone era will soon rise: a coal-burning power plant, part of a buildup of coal power that is unheard-of for an advanced economy.

It is one unintended consequence of the Fukushima nuclear disaster almost a decade ago, which forced Japan to all but close its nuclear power program. Japan now plans to build as many as 22 new coal-burning power plants — one of the dirtiest sources of electricity — at 17 different sites in the next five years, just at a time when the world needs to slash carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

“Why coal, why now?” said Ms. Kanno, a homemaker in Yokosuka, the site for two of the coal-burning units that will be built just several hundred feet from her home. “It’s the worst possible thing they could build.” Continue Reading →

Column: China’s commodities got smashed as expected. Now what? – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – February 3, 2020)

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – It’s no surprise that commodity prices in China were hammered on Monday when the virus-hit country reopened its exchanges after a week-long Lunar New Year holiday. What will be more important is what happens on Tuesday.

It was a sea of red ink as domestic investors got to trade for the first time since Jan. 23, with Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) iron ore dropping the maximum allowed 8% to 606.5 yuan ($86.64) a tonne at the opening bell.

Iron ore wasn’t the only commodity smashed. Shanghai steel rebar futures reached their down limit of 8% as well, dropping to 3,233 yuan a tonne before recovering slightly in early afternoon trading to around 3,260 yuan. Continue Reading →

Thousands on virus lockdown at China-backed plant in Indonesia (Jakarta Post/Agence France-Presse – January 31, 2020)

More than 40,000 workers at a vast Chinese-controlled industrial complex in Indonesia have been quarantined over fears about the spread of a deadly coronavirus strain which has killed more than 200 people in China, it said Friday.

PT Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park has sealed off its nickel mining hub on Sulawesi island and is barring any of its 43,000 staff from entering or leaving without written permission.

There are some 5,000 guest workers from mainland China at the sprawling site which hosts nickel ore smelters and stainless steel production. Continue Reading →

China Lithium Giant Faces Debt Mountain After Deal at Cycle Top (Financial Post/Bloomberg – January 31, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — After borrowing billions to fund an overseas expansion to ride a lithium boom, a collapse in prices has left one of the world’s top producers straining under a mountain of debt.

Valued at more than $6 billion, Tianqi Lithium Corp.’s predicament highlights the risks of boom-and-bust cycles in commodity markets that can punish mistimed or over-extended ventures, even in sectors fated to become dominant.

While long-term prospects for lithium are bullish as demand for electric-vehicle batteries booms, the sector is reeling from a prolonged price slump triggered by an explosion in supply and reduction of EV subsidies in China, the biggest auto market. Continue Reading →

Freeport CEO ‘looking forward’ to deals once expansion projects done – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters Canada – January 28, 2020)

(Reuters) – Freeport-McMoran Inc (FCX.N), the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer, would consider acquisitions, mergers or other deals once three ongoing expansion projects finish by 2022, Chief Executive Richard Adkerson said in an interview on Tuesday.

Demand for copper is projected to surge this decade because of the rising popularity of electric vehicles, which use twice as much copper as internal combustion engines. That, in turn, is expected to fuel an M&A wave across the sector.

Despite that, Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport’s shares are worth half what they were in 2010, dragged down by uncertainty over the company’s stake in a major Indonesian mine and debt from an ill-fated oil and gas venture. Continue Reading →

China’s raw materials strategy: The next chapter in the US-China rivalry? – by Bashar Malkawi (Policy Forum – January 24, 2020)


“Without a domestic supply, the United States must rely on Chinese
sources of rare earths to build ‘Made in America’ military equipment.
It makes little sense to rely upon a security competitor for access to essential
military materials. Rare earths are not the only strategic

metal. Lithium, chromium, cobalt, graphite, copper, and manganese
are also essential for industrial purposes.”

The United States cannot rely upon products that originate in, or supply chains that run through, a potential adversary, Bashar Malkawi writes.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), publicly released in 2013 and formerly named ‘One Belt, One Road’, would, at first look, seem to be a force for good. China views the BRI as a way to enhance its trade connectivity, reduce surplus domestic industrial capacity, develop poorer interior provinces, promote energy security, and internationalise Chinese industrial and financial standards.

The BRI builds China’s commercial ties abroad by financing, constructing, and developing major transport, energy, technology, and other infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. Continue Reading →

Freeport Looks Poised to Turn Corner After Five-Year Bumpy Road – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – January 22, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — It’s been a rough haul for Freeport-McMoRan Inc., but the future may be looking up.

In the past five years, the world’s largest publicly traded copper miner was forced to sell assets and shares to manage debt as it weathered fall-out from the collapse of the commodity super cycle. It emerged from multiyear talks over its Indonesian mine to secure long-term rights, and hung on as production at the flagship operation tumbled during the switch from open pit to underground mining.

And in the past year, it has been buffeted by global trade winds and hit by crossfire from demonstrations against a competitor in Peru. Continue Reading →