Archive | Asia Mining

Pressure builds on China’s raw materials supply chains – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – April 2, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – China is ready to move on from the coronavirus and get back to business as usual. “With the spread of COVID-19 under control, we should actively carry out the resumption of work and production,” President Xi Jinping said this week.

Xi’s comments, reported by state media under the headline “Chinese president unpauses China’s economy”, were made during a tour of Zhejiang province. (CGTN, part of China Media Group, April 2, 2020)

As ever, Xi’s whistle-stop tour was an exercise in subliminal messaging. Those comments were made during a visit to an auto parts supplier in the Daqi industrial park in the city of Ningbo. He also dropped in on Ningbo Zhoushan port, one of the world’s busiest, and praised it for getting throughput back to pre-coronavirus levels. Continue Reading →

Waste molybdenum ore spill in China spreads 110 km downstream (Reuters U.S. – April 1, 2020)

BEIJING (Reuters) – A spill from a tailings dam at a molybdenum mine in northeast China on Saturday has contaminated water up to 110 km (68 miles) downstream, environmental authorities said on Wednesday.

Tailings dams are commonly used by mining firms to store waste remnants of ore but they have come under close scrutiny since the collapse of one in Brazil last year killed more than 250 people.

In China’s Heilongjiang province on Saturday, water containing waste molybdenum ore – mined for the metal used in stainless steel and tools – flowed out of a tailings pond belonging to Yichun Luming Mining Co Ltd and into a river system. There were no casualties reported. Continue Reading →

World’s Top Gold Market Freezes as Chinese Shoppers Stay Away – by Annie Lee and Jinshan Hong (Bloomberg/Yahoo – March 31, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — The coronavirus pandemic has frozen the Chinese gold market, torpedoing demand at a time when investors elsewhere in the world are clamoring for the safety of bullion.

China is the biggest buyer of gold bars, coins and jewelry, but the national shutdown to contain the virus has emptied malls, while the premium charged to buy the metal in China has evaporated. It leaves the industry staring down a long road to recovery, even as Beijing tries to jump-start broader consumption with a campaign to get shoppers out and about.

The market’s struggles in China may present a headwind for prices, which last month topped $1,700 an ounce for the first time in seven years. The traditional haven also faces a drag from slower retail consumption in India, Europe and the U.S., as well as Russia’s surprise decision to halt purchases by its central bank. Last year, Chinese consumers accounted for about a fifth of total gold demand of 4,356 tons, according to the World Gold Council. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Philippines’ nickel mining hub to suspend operations due to coronavirus – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – March 31, 2020)

MANILA, March 31 (Reuters) – Mining operations in the Philippines’ southern province of Surigao del Norte, home to most of the country’s nickel mines, will be suspended from April 1 as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, two mining companies said on Tuesday.

Nickel Asia Corp and Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc, the Southeast Asian country’s two biggest nickel ore miners and exporters, said in separate statements that they received a copy of the suspension order dated March 28 from the provincial government.

The two miners account for more than half of the country’s nickel ore output. Nickel Asia said the suspension order also covers the entry of foreign vessels to Surigao del Norte. The nearby province of Dinagat Islands, which also hosts nickel mines, has banned vessels shipping ore to China, local media has reported. Continue Reading →

Iron ore futures in China, Singapore fall on doubts over stimulus – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters India – March 30, 2020)

MANILA, March 30 (Reuters) – Iron ore futures in China and Singapore fell on Monday on renewed doubts whether the massive stimulus measures introduced across the world are adequate to buttress a global economy hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Worries about demand for metals also hit steel futures in China, which accounts for more than half of the world’s steel output and the top exporter of steel products.

The Dalian Commodity Exchange’s most-active May contract for steelmaking ingredient, iron ore, dropped as much as 3% to 640.50 yuan ($90.26) a tonne, before ending the morning session down 2.8%. Iron ore’s front-month April contract on the Singapore Exchange shed as much as 2.3%. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-China iron ore erases 2020 losses on supply concerns, stimulus – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters India – March 25, 2020)

MANILA, March 25 (Reuters) – Chinese iron ore futures rose more than 5% on Wednesday, the most since July last year, on worries over supply as more countries including top producers of the steelmaking raw material ordered lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Hopes for global stimulus and a revival in steel demand also buoyed overall sentiment, with U.S. lawmakers moving closer to passing a $2 trillion aid package and the Group of 20 major economies looking to advance a coordinated response to the pandemic.

Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange ended 5.1% higher at 665 yuan ($93.97) a tonne, wiping out its losses for this year. Futures on the Singapore Exchange rose 2.5% in afternoon trade. Continue Reading →

Massive silver price drop triggers a ‘rush to buy’ in India — INTL FCStone – by Anna Golubova (Kitco News – March 18, 2020)

(Kitco News) A recent plunge in silver to 11-year lows has awoken strong Indian demand for the precious metal as low prices present a not-to-miss buying opportunity, according to INTL FCStone.

Earlier this week, silver prices tumbled below $12 an ounce with May silver futures last trading at $12.250, down 1.96% on the day. “Silver has continued to slither lower, hit by the dual adverse effects of lower gold and a debilitating economic outlook,” said INTL FCStone’s head of market analysis for EMEA and Asia regions Rhona O’Connell.

“The dramatic fall in silver to eleven-year lows (compare gold, at three-month lows) has launched a rush to buy silver in India, the world’s largest silver consumer.” Continue Reading →

China’s January-February coal output drops 6.3% as coronavirus disrupts (Reuters U.S. – March 15, 2020)

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s coal output in the first two months of 2020 fell 6.3% from the same period a year earlier as the coronavirus outbreak stopped miners from getting back to work after the Lunar New Year holiday was extended in a bid to contain the epidemic.

China churned out 489.03 million tonnes of coal over January and February, down from 513.67 million tonnes in the same period last year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Monday.

Production of coke, widely used in steelmaking, fell 5.5% on the year in January-February to 70.64 million tonnes, statistic bureau data showed. The statistics bureau didn’t disclose numbers for January and February separately. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-China copper inventories near 4-yr high as supply swamps virus-hit demand; steel stocks build slows – by Tom Daly, Min Zhang and Mai Nguyen (Reuters U.S. – March 13, 2020)

BEIJING, March 13 (Reuters) – Shanghai Futures Exchange copper inventories rose another 10% in the past week to their highest in almost four years amid signs China’s production is holding up even as demand struggles to recover from the impact of the coronavirus.

Chinese steel stocks, meanwhile, remain at record highs, although the pace of the build has slowed. Inventories of copper CU-STX-SGH climbed by 34,959 tonnes from the previous week to 380,065 tonnes, the exchange said on Friday. That’s the most since March 25, 2016.

The boost comes after Chinese research house Antaike said February copper output in its smelter survey was flat from January at 656,000 tonnes, much higher than expected, and as key metal consuming sectors are slow to return to work. Continue Reading →

China $570 billion stimulus raises hopes for copper, iron ore price – by Frik Els ( – March 11, 2020)

Copper and iron ore prices have held up surprisingly well as markets in the West belatedly come to grips with the coronavirus pandemic and China shifts focus from containment to rebuilding its economy following more than two months of inactivity.

On Wednesday BMO Capital Markets held a conference call with PRC Macro, a consulting firm focused on China’s political economy, about the prospects for 2020 GDP growth in the country.

PRC Macro anticipates spending by Beijing of as much as $570 billion primarily focused on infrastructure. PRC Macro says “in order to declare an economic victory, a 5% growth rate is the absolute minimum that will be acceptable”: Continue Reading →

Death of coal financing is exaggerated as China steps up (MiningWeekly/Bloomberg – March 9, 2020)

Moves by some of the world’s biggest banks to end coal financing for the sake of the planet was supposed to create major headaches for companies like Whitehaven Coal.

Yet there was the Australian miner on a conference call last month announcing the refinancing and extension of a A$1-billion credit line, backed mostly by Chinese and Japanese lenders.

“Our banking relationships are strong, we are really well supported,” CFO Kevin Ball said. “That might come as a little bit of a surprise to people who aren’t familiar with coal.” Continue Reading →

China to Approve Developing Guinea’s Giant Simandou Iron Ore Mine (Bloomberg News – March 5, 2020)

(Bloomberg)-China is close to giving the go-ahead for some of its biggest state-owned companies to develop the giant Simandou iron ore mine in Guinea, potentially paving the way for the project to be built after years of legal wrangling.

China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, which oversees the biggest government-owned enterprises, is actively pushing forward with the project, the world’s biggest untapped iron ore deposit, according to people familiar with the plans who asked not to be identified as the talks are private.

For years, it seemed the super-rich ore under a jungle-covered mountain range might never be dug up. Simandou was practically forgotten by the wider mining industry as owners including Rio Tinto Group, Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz and authorities in the West African nation fought over rights to develop it. Continue Reading →

Global nickel production to decline significantly in 2020 – Fitch Solutions – by Simone Liedike ( – March 6, 2020)

Research agency Fitch Solutions expects global nickel production to decrease significantly over the course of this year, as major producer Indonesia’s nickel ore export ban comes into effect.

The ban in Indonesia was announced in September 2019, bringing it forward to go into effect from January this year instead of January 2022. As a result, Fitch expects global nickel ore production to decrease by 60% year-on-year to 269-million tonnes this year.

This compares with the agency’s previous forecast of 15% growth in global nickel ore output this year. Production growth in the Philippines, where some currently suspended mines will become operational again as the country aims to plug the supply gap caused by the Indonesian export ban, will offset the lower Indonesian output to some extent. Continue Reading →

As Myanmar farmers lose their land, sand mining for Singapore is blamed – by Sam Aung Moon, John Geddie and Poppy McPherson (Reuters U.S. – March 3, 2020)

YANGON/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – From a boat on the Salween River in southeastern Myanmar, Than Zaw Oo pointed to a brown stretch of water he said was once full of lush paddy fields. “This used to be my land,” said the 51-year-old farmer, frowning at the murky waves.

All but six of the 24 acres where he used to grow rice and vegetables have slipped into the water in recent years, he said. Another farmer, Than Tun, said he had lost 15 acres of his land to erosion. While official records were not available, other villagers backed their accounts.

Farmers and politicians in Chaungzon township, just outside the southern town of Moulmein, worry that erosion in the area is being exacerbated by the ships that dredge its bed for sand each night. The sand is mainly bound for Singapore, the world’s biggest importer, for use in reclamation and construction projects. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Seaborne coal’s struggles in Asia are more than just China coronavirus by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – March 3, 2020)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, March 3 (Reuters) – Asia’s seaborne coal markets stumbled in February and it appears the coronavirus outbreak in China may dodge most of the blame, with the weakness concentrated in other major importers of the polluting fuel.

South Korea’s imports of both thermal and coking coal were particularly hard hit, dropping to 6.9 million tonnes in February from 11.4 million in January and 9.4 million in February 2019, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Refinitiv.

That was the lowest monthly imports for South Korea since Refinitiv started vessel-tracking in January 2015. South Korea’s weak coal demand was sparked by the country’s decision to close up to 15 coal-fired power plants between December and February in order to limit air pollution over winter. Continue Reading →