Archive | Asia Mining

UPDATE 1-Ecuador exports first copper concentrate from Chinese-owned Mirador mine – by Alexandra Valencia (Reuters Africa – January 16, 2020)

QUITO, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Ecuador made its first export of 22,000 tonnes of copper concentrate from the Chinese-owned Mirador mine, the energy ministry said on Wednesday, marking a new milestone in the country’s effort to develop a large-scale mining industry.

Ecuador, an Andean country neighboring No. 2 copper producer Peru, has large mineral reserves but is only beginning to establish industrial-scale mining projects.

Mirador is run by Ecuacorriente, a subsidiary of the Chinese consortium CRCC-Tongguan, which has a 30-year concession. It started production in July 2019. Continue Reading →

Adani’s coal mine plans, and why coal is still so lucrative – by Jeannette Cwienk (Deutsche Welle – January 16, 2020)

According to the MCC, there are 256 coal-fired power plants with a
capacity of 246 gigawatts being built worldwide, as well as another
359 power plants with a capacity of 311 gigawatts in the planning phase.

Siemens’ support for Adani’s coal mine in Australia has outraged environmentalists, but it’s not a unique case. Hundreds of companies and countries around the world are planning to expand their coal activities. But why?

An estimated 500 tankers a year will travel back and forth between Australia and India in the future. Fully loaded with coal, they’ll sail right through the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world, which is already under threat.

And that’s just one reason why environmental activists are outraged by Indian Adani Group’s plans for mining coal. Once completed, its Carmichael mine in the northeastern Australian state of Queensland will be one of the largest in the world, emitting 705 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere each year, according to climate protection alliance Fridays for Future. Continue Reading →

China to buy rare earths from U.S. as part of trade pact – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

(Reuters) – China has agreed to buy two types of rare earth metals from the United States as part of an initial trade deal inked on Wednesday, a move likely to boost U.S. production of the strategic minerals.

The agreement, signed in Washington by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. President Donald Trump, gives China two years to ramp up purchases of hundreds of U.S. products, including scandium and yttrium, two of the 17 rare earths commonly used in lighting and computers.

It was a surprising about-face for China, whose status as the top global producer of the specialized minerals used to make electronics, military weapons and other high-tech equipment was seen as giving it leverage in its trade war with Washington. Continue Reading →

This Canadian won millions in a legal fight with Kazakhstan. Was it worth it? – by Nick Taylor-Vaisey (MACLEAN’S Magazine – January 14, 2020)

A Canadian mining exec’s decades-long tussle with Kazakhstan is finally over—he hopes. But even though he won, Paul Carroll doesn’t see much to celebrate.

The town of Stepnogorsk, a remote speck of civilization in the northern steppe of Kazakhstan, is straight out of a Cold War thriller. For decades, it was a secret—nowhere to be found on a map. It was a company town, and its business was, in part, producing weaponized anthrax.

After the Soviet Union dissolved, Stepnogorsk moved away from biological warfare, turning to exploiting vast uranium deposits in the region. But its residents soon found themselves at the centre of a dispute between their national government and a Canadian company that had set up shop there. Continue Reading →

Freeport-McMoRan Isn’t Looking for Strategic Deals in Coming Years, CEO Says – by Alistair MacDonald (Wall Street Journal – January 13, 2020)

U.S. mining company Freeport-McMoRan Inc. FCX 4.90% has no interest in major strategic deals over the next three years, its chief executive said Monday, potentially stymieing informal overtures from Barrick Gold Corp. GOLD -2.24% to merge.

Barrick Gold Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow has told reporters that there is logic in merging with Freeport. That has stoked expectations among some investors and bankers that the two sides could get together. Alongside copper, Freeport’s massive Indonesian mine, Grasberg, is also one of the world’s largest gold producers.

But Freeport is too focused on the engineering challenge of turning Grasberg from open pit mining into an underground operation to think about mergers and acquisition deals, said the company’s veteran CEO, Richard Adkerson. Continue Reading →

Billionaire Targeted by Greta Thunberg Undeterred by Coal Protesters – by P R Sanjai (Bloomberg News – January 13, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — The Indian conglomerate coming under increasing pressure over its controversial coal mine in Australia said it won’t let protests dissuade it from completing the project.

The group, controlled by billionaire Gautam Adani, is responding to an uptick in scrutiny over the Carmichael development, including from high-profile teen activist Greta Thunberg.

While the mine and rail project has been a target of environmentalists since it was proposed in 2010, its facing fresh global attention as Australia suffers unprecedented brushfires and as Germany’s Siemens AG comes under attack for its contract to provide rail signaling systems. The Munich-based company said Sunday that it will honor that commitment, defying demands of demonstrators in Germany. Continue Reading →

Indonesia approves environmental study for battery-grade nickel plants: minister – by Fransiska Nangoy and Wilda Asmarini (Reuters U.S. – January 8, 2019)

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia has approved environmental impact studies for factories to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals in Morowali, Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan said on Wednesday.

The approval will allow investors, such as China’s stainless steel giant Tsingshan Group, to continue the construction of their high-pressure acid leaching plants in Morowali, Central Sulawesi.

There are at least five of these plants being built in Indonesia currently as the government seeks to use its nickel resources to create an integrated industry, including production of nickel chemicals used in car batteries and the building of electronic vehicles. Continue Reading →

Philippine nickel output seen growing at about 8% a year (Business World – January 8, 2020)


NICKEL production is expected to increase by over 8% a year in the next few years despite policy uncertainty that could limit project development, Fitch Solutions Macro Research said in a report.

“We expect Philippine production to continue rising over the coming years although high levels of policy uncertainty could constrain project development, posing downside risks to our forecasts. We forecast nickel production to average 8.6% year-on-year growth over 2020-2028,” Fitch Solutions said in its industry trend analysis published Jan. 8.

It said that the Philippines will regain its spot as the mineral’s top producer due to Indonesia’s nickel ore export ban, which took effect this year. Indonesia hopes to accelerate the establishment of domestic smelters to capture more value than the current practice of exporting ore. Continue Reading →

Dalian iron ore futures hit over 5-month closing high on restocking demand (Reuters U.S. – January 7, 2020)

BEIJING (Reuters) – Iron ore futures in China surged to their highest close in over five months on Wednesday, on hopes of strong restocking demand from mills ahead of local holidays.

The most active May contract for iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange jumped as much as 2.85% to 685 yuan ($98.69) per ton in morning trade, before settling up 2.1% at 680 yuan, the highest close since Aug. 2.

“Steel mills in south and east China are restocking actively before the upcoming Spring Festival holiday… but inventories at northern mills are still at relatively low level,” Tianfeng Futures wrote in a note. Continue Reading →

INSIGHT: Watching China’s Continuing Investment Push in Latin America – by Michael J. McGuinness (Bloomberg Law – December 23, 2019)

China has dramatically ramped up its investment in Latin America in recent years, raising speculation about its long-term interests and intentions. This conversation has taken on renewed importance in light of the trade war between China and the United States, which could irrevocably shift the complex commercial and political dynamics among the three regions.

Despite the mounting speculation and China’s economic slowdown, China remains in for the long haul in Latin America. In addition to straightforward trade pursuits, it is also advancing what it calls its “Going Global” development policy, an initiative stretching back to 1999 that promotes overseas investment by streamlining procedures, simplifying currency rules, and increasing credit support for Chinese companies investing overseas.

As investors seek to more fully understand China’s role in Latin America, they would be well advised to pay close attention to Brazil, which will play an outsized role in the relationship between China and Latin America more broadly. Continue Reading →

Why Scott Morrison slammed calls to end coal mining as ‘reckless’: Australia’s $52billion industry employs 50,000 – as China builds dozens of power plants and India’s power consumption surges by 22 per cent – by Stephen Johnson (Daily Mail Australia – December 23, 2019)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected calls from radical climate change activists to ban the export of coal – an industry worth $52billion a year. For the first time since the early 1970s, Australia exports are worth more than imports, thanks to strong demand from China and India for this electricity-generating commodity.

Radical climate change activists, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, want Australia to immediately cease exporting coal, as the world’s two most populated nations build new coal-fired power stations – with Australian coal.

They stormed the Prime Minister’s Kirribilli House residence in Sydney last week, as he holidayed in Hawaii, demanding that he ban the fossil fuel. Doing so would cost Australia more than $52billion and jeopardise the jobs of 50,000 people involved in coal mining. Continue Reading →

OEMs ‘fail to understand need to source EV battery raw materials’ – by Steve Garnsey (Automotive Logistics – December 23, 2019)

OEMs and companies in the automotive supply chain show a lack of comprehension of how serious the situation is in accessing key metals required for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, according to Scott Williamson, managing director of Australian mineral explorer and mine developer Blackstone Minerals.

“I don’t think they [the automotive industry] understand how critical and difficult it is to get hold of these metals,” he told Automotive Logistics.

“There’s a disconnect between the amounts of money at the automotive level and what comes down to us,” he added. “If the money doesn’t come down to the mining level, there will be no EV revolution.” Continue Reading →

China tightens rules on tailings dam safety – by Min Zhang and Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – December 19, 2019)

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has tightened rules covering the safety management of tailings dams, including banning them in some areas, authorities said on Thursday, as the country aims to prevent risks after a fatal disaster in Brazil in January.

Downstream areas with a high density of people – such as residential neighborhoods, industrial premises or markets – or with production and living facilities within one kilometer, will be off limits for new, rebuilt or expanded tailing dams, the Ministry of Emergency Management said in a statement on its website.

Tailings dams are the most common waste disposal methods for mining firms, whether they are extracting iron ore, copper or gold. They can tower dozens of meters high and stretch for several kilometers. Continue Reading →

China has big stake in Bougainville independence – by Alan Boyd (Asia Times – December 12, 2019)

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is likely to take a hard line on complete independence for Bougainville, despite the breakaway island province’s recent overwhelming vote to establish its own nation.

How the situation is handled will have major implications for regional stability, particularly as China aims to pull Bougainville as a new independent nation into its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

PNG Prime Minister James Marape has accepted the referendum result, announced on Wednesday, but committed his government only to developing “a road map that leads to a lasting peace settlement” in consultation with Bougainville authorities. Continue Reading →

The future of nickel: tensions, trade bans and technology – by Umar Ali (Mining Technology – December 10, 2019)

It’s an interesting time for nickel on the global markets. Prices have risen dramatically despite trade tensions between the US and China, and are expected to explode as Indonesia and the Philippines prepare for nickel export bans. We assess the market dynamics of this important metal.

Indonesia’s export ban

With increased demand for stainless steel production and recent developments in technologies such as electric vehicles, demand for nickel is higher than ever. Unfortunately, this demand is struggling against an increasingly tightening supply of the essential metal.

In response to the risk of this increasing demand tightening local supply, the Indonesian government announced in September 2019 a ban on the export of raw nickel ores, bringing the ban forward from 2022 to January 2020. Continue Reading →