BRICS mining: the lay of the land – by Chris Lo (Mining – January 5, 2012)

The so-called BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are the world’s emerging powerhouses, in more ways than one. As well as exerting an ever-growing influence on the global political stage, these burgeoning economies are building up an industrial base that is closing the gap with the developed western world – or, in some cases, even surpassing it.

No sector illustrates this process better than mining. Competition from low-cost, large-scale mining projects in the BRICS nations has simply been too much for many European and US operations, which are struggling with higher overhead costs and more complex regulatory regimes. As a consequence, countries such as Brazil and China have become hotbeds for international investment.

BRICS countries look outward

BRICS mining investment, however, isn’t just a one-way street – increasingly, these countries are looking to tap into overseas resources in addition to their own domestic deposits. Indian companies including Adani Mining and Lanco Infratech have been assertively investing in Australian coal mining projects, while Brazilian iron ore giant Vale’s funding of iron ore projects in China proves that there are lucrative opportunities in inter-BRICS investment.

In Africa, BRICS countries, particularly China, are becoming more prevalent as investors in new mining projects, both for profit and to provide materials for massive infrastructure and construction projects.

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After Conflict Minerals Comes The Death Metal: Tin. And It’s Apple’s Fault Again.- by Tim Worstall (Forbes Magazine – November 24, 2012)

Given that the well meaning types have now solved the problem of conflict minerals through the Dodd Frank act and the requirements for companies to report their use there’s obviously a new frontier needed for the well meaning to conquer. And of course the conflict minerals problem has been solved as M-23′s move into Goma shows. Now that people can’t make money out of mining in the area no one at all is fighting for control over the area are they?

The Guardian tells us all about this new frontier being staked out. It’s tin mining in Indonesia now. Much of what they actually say they get right. There is indeed a belt of alluvial tin ore ranging from Burma down to Indonesia. In the poorer countries there it is indeed mined by very primitive methods. Miners are badly paid while they do so and yes, some of them die while they do it. The poor pay and primitive methods are because the places are poor: they’re actually the exact same statement.

Just as a little background, and without too much technical guff. The only ore of tin that we care about is cassiterite. Sometimes we find vast mountains of it as in Peru. Sometimes small mountains of it as in the Erzgebirge/Krusny Hory on the German Czech border (disclosure, I’m currently waiting, rather nervously, to find out whether my application for a mining license there is going to be granted. I’m not looking for tin but for the closely related, in an ore sense, tungsten but tin will be a by-product and it’s the main product of the mine right next door.).

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22 people die in China coal mine accident – by Geoff Candy ( – November 26, 2012)

According to government figures out in October, 1,146 people have died in 650 mining accidents so far this year in the country.

GRONINGEN (MINEWEB) – 22 people have died and one remains missing after an accident at a coal mine in China’s southwest Guizhou province.

According to media reports, a coal-gas outburst hit the Xiangshui Coal Mine in Panxian County on Saturday morning while 28 people were underground. To date, five miners have been brought to safety and rescue workers continue to search for the remaining miner.

According to Xinhua, the State Administration of Work Safety and the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety launched an investigation following the accident and, as a result, Lu Hongzhuan, chairman of the mine’s operator, Pannan Coal Exploitation, the mine’s General Manager Wu Chao and Chief Engineer Zhao Qingping were sacked.

The newswire reported that, according to a statement from a temporary office designed to oversee the rescue work and the investigation, the deputy general manager of the Guizhou Panjiang Group, which controls the coal mine, also resigned.

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Is Indonesia China’s new mining investment hotspot? – by Jeff Hutton ( – October 23, 2012)

Indonesia’s upcoming ban on mineral exports is drawing a wave of Chinese investors but for some it may already be too late to jump on the bandwagon.

JAKARTA (AUSTRALIAN MINING) – Indonesia’s upcoming ban on mineral exports is drawing a wave of Chinese investors and equipment suppliers as local miners are forced to beef up ore processing capability before a 2014 deadline.

The wave may be one of the few bright spots for aspiring Chinese suppliers, many of whom are venturing out of their home markets for the first time, in bid to offset a construction and investment downturn in their home market.

One small example? Tonghua Jianxin Metalurgy Co. The company based in Jilin province, opened its first office outside of China in Jakarta this month, after sealing only its second overseas contract to design, build and commission a nickel ore smelter in July.

The company will build a smelter capable of processing 50 tons of nickel ore a day for Bukaka Forging Industries, whose specialty products include automotive parts and passenger air bridges at Indonesia’s airports.

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Gillard maps out plan for Australia in ‘Asian Century’ – by Natasha Odendaal ( – October 29, 2012)

JOHANNESBURG ( – The scale and pace of Asia’s rise in the coming decades offered opportunities for Australia across all sectors of the economy, including natural resources, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan said at the weekend.

In a statement following the release of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s foreign policy plan aimed at improving Asian ties, Swan said demand for raw materials had already created a boom in minerals and energy investment, and that the region’s ongoing industrialisation and urbanisation would continue to drive demand for a wide range of mineral resources.

The ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ white paper pointed out that Asia was set to overtake the combined economic output of Europe and North America and, by 2025, hold 4 of the 10 largest economies.

Further, it was expected that the continent would become the largest goods and services producer, as well as consumer, globally by 2025, with the average gross domestic product a person doubling. “The structural shift of global economic gravity towards our region mean the scale and pace of Asia’s rise in the coming decades will be truly transformative,” Swan said.

Over the past decade, foreign direct investment into Australia has more than doubled, from $850-billion in 2001, to $2-trillion in 2011, with the mining sector accounting for more than 30%.

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Australia in the Asian Century White Paper (October 2012)

Executive Summary

Asia’s rise is changing the world. This is a defining feature of the 21st century—the  Asian century. These developments have profound implications for people everywhere.

Asia’s extraordinary ascent has already changed the Australian economy, society and strategic environment. The scale and pace of the change still to come mean Australia is entering a truly transformative period in our history.

Within only a few years, Asia will not only be the world’s largest producer of goods and services, it will also be the world’s largest consumer of them. It is already the most populous region in the world. In the future, it will also be home to the majority of the world’s middle class.

The Asian century is an Australian opportunity. As the global centre of gravity shifts to our region, the tyranny of distance is being replaced by the prospects of proximity. Australia is located in the right place at the right time—in the Asian region in the Asian century.

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Israel wants details on Potash Corp. bid for Israel Chemicals Ltd. – by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – November 3, 2012)

Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. has been asked by Israeli authorities to clarify its intention to acquire parts or all of Israel Chemicals Ltd., one of the country’s largest companies and a key supplier of potash to Europe.

Israel’s Finance Ministry told the Canadian fertilizer giant that it would only make a recommendation on a potential merger once a detailed application is submitted, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

The ministry could not be reached for comment about the report, which came a day after statements from Tel Aviv that there was no deal under consideration.

Saskatoon-based Potash Corp. already holds a 14-per-cent stake in ICL, a $16.4-billion company and one of the few major producers of the crop nutrient that is not part of the world’s two marketing groups. The other major supplier to Europe is K+S, which is also independent.

Most of the world’s potash supply is in the hands of Canpotex, the international marketing arm of producers that include Potash Corp., Mosaic Co. and Agrium Inc., or Canpotex’s Russian counterpart Belarus Potash Co., the trading joint venture of Uralkali and Belaruskali.

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Potash Corp. eyes Israeli rival by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – November 1, 2012)

Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., facing sharply lower demand in India and China, is setting the stage for a possible takeover of Israel Chemicals Ltd., in a politically sensitive move aimed at securing new markets for the world’s biggest producer of the crop nutrient.

Potash Corp., the world’s largest fertilizer maker, is looking to buy either all or a part of Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL), a $16.4-billion company in which it already owns a 14-per-cent stake.

“Discussions have occurred with Israeli government officials around potential options to increase our ownership stake in Israel Chemical Ltd.,” Potash Corp. said in a brief statement, in response to news out of Israel that it was in merger discussions.

The politically charged talks have involved state officials including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, underscoring the importance of ICL – which holds mining rights to the Dead Sea – to the government, which has a golden share in the company.

A merger would put key state assets into the hands of the fertilizer giant at a time when its production capacity is growing but it needs to find new markets. A merger would put key state assets into the hands of the Canadian fertilizer giant at a time when it is already targeting large organic capacity growth.

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India emerges as unknown factor for Asia’s iron ore market – by Clyde Russell ( – October 31, 2012)

It’s likely that China will account for the bulk of growth in seaborne iron ore demand, with recession-plagued Europe expected to be steady at best and modest growth likely from the rest of the world.

LONDON (REUTERS) – India is emerging as the unknown factor for Asia’s iron ore market in 2013, which otherwise looks to be in a fair balance between supply and demand.

The key results from a Reuters poll of analysts on Monday showed median forecasts for iron ore prices next year at $120 a tonne and for Chinese import demand to gain 6 percent to 774 million tonnes from an estimated 730 million this year.

The scenario that the poll presents is for solid growth in iron demand from the world’s biggest user and steady prices as well, given Asian spot prices closed Monday at precisely $120 a tonne, near the highest level since late July.

It’s also likely that China will account for the bulk of growth in seaborne iron ore demand, with recession-plagued Europe expected to be steady at best and modest growth likely from the rest of the world.

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In Russia, patience proves a virtue for Kinross Gold – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – October 22, 2012)

Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

MOSCOW — Kinross Gold Corp.’s new chief executive officer had no speaking role at the Russian Prime Minister’s Foreign Investment Advisory Council meeting, but his mere presence a week ago at the table with Dmitry Medvedev said a lot about the company’s connections to the Kremlin elite.

Kinross occupies a curious and unusual spot in Russia, not just because its mines, in the country’s far east, are closer to Toronto than to Moscow. It is because the Canadian company is the only foreign gold miner in Russia and one of the few foreign companies of any description to operate without local partners. It is also the only Canadian company on FIAC, whose 40 members, from Pepsi to General Motors, represent the country’s top foreign investors.

“I believe it’s important to have a presence here,” Paul Rollinson, who replaced Tye Burt as Kinross chief in August, said on the sidelines of the annual FIAC meeting. “We are definitely on the radar at both the federal and regional government levels.”

At the FIAC event, Mr. Medvedev talked about Russia’s desire to attract more foreign investors. He needs them to modernize an economy whose industries rumble along like an old steam train compared to their Western, Chinese and Japanese equivalents.

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Canada, Russia will share Arctic riches, scientist predicts – by Matthew Fisher (Postmedia News – October 9, 2012)

ST. PETERSBURG – The scientist responsible for preparing Russia’s claim to seabed rights at the top of the world says Canada and his country are both poised to reap staggering economic benefits when a deal on who owns title to what in the northern ocean is finally struck.

“Canada has a wonderful shelf and basin, so of course Canada can get very rich from this,” said Victor Posyolov, deputy director of Russia’s Institute of World Ocean Geology and the head of its Arctic research program.

Poring over maps tracking the evidence that he is amassing for Russia’s claim, Posyolov estimated that his country, with the longest Arctic coastline, would gain rights to about 1.2 million square kilometres of seabed. He reckoned Canada would get about 800,000 square kilometres of sub-surface territory. That would be about twice as much seabed as the other claimants, Denmark and the United States, are likely to get.

“The biggest shelves and basins are in Canadian waters and it will benefit the most. The U.S. and Denmark have modest sectors,” Posyolov said in a room dominated by a circumpolar map that Canada and Russia jointly produced in 1992.

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MPs arrested over Canadian mine protest – by Olga Dzyubenko (Globe and Mail – October 5, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

BISHKEK — Reuters – Kyrgyzstani police on Thursday arrested three members of parliament who had led a crowd that tried to storm government headquarters in a protest over a Canadian-owned gold mine, Centerra Gold.

Wednesday’s clashes between police and supporters of the opposition Ata Zhurt party in the former Soviet republic were the most violent in the capital, Bishkek, since the April, 2010, revolt that ousted then-president Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

The protesters want the mine, crucial to Kyrgyzstan’s fragile economy, to be nationalized. The three parliamentarians – Kamchibek Tashiyev, Sadyr Zhaparov and Talant Mamytov – are being held on suspicion of trying to seize power. Prosecutors have 48 hours to decide whether to charge them.

On Thursday, about 1,000 supporters rallied in the main square of the southern city of Jalalabad, their power base, to demand their release. There was no violence. “Parliament, the President, the government should resign because they are not resolving the Kumtor issue,” one demonstrator shouted through a megaphone.

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China joins nations seeking treasure in warming Arctic – by Elisabeth Rosenthal (New York Times/NBC News – September 19, 2012)

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Bid to join Arctic Council is so ‘it won’t be shut out from decisions on minerals and shipping,’ expert says

NUUK, Greenland — With Arctic ice melting at record pace, the world’s superpowers are increasingly jockeying for political influence and economic position in outposts like this one, previously regarded as barren wastelands.

At stake are the Arctic’s abundant supplies of oil, gas and minerals that are, thanks to climate change, becoming newly accessible along with increasingly navigable polar shipping shortcuts. This year, China has become a far more aggressive player in this frigid field, experts say, provoking alarm among Western powers.

While the United States, Russia and several nations of the European Union have Arctic territory, China has none, and as a result, has been deploying its wealth and diplomatic clout to secure toeholds in the region.

“The Arctic has risen rapidly on China’s foreign policy agenda in the past two years,” said Linda Jakobson, East Asia program director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia. So, she said, the Chinese are exploring “how they could get involved.”

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China denies it is “gobbling up” India’s iron ore – by Shivom Seth (September 24, 2012)

An exhaustive report into illegal mining in the Indian state of Goa has also accused China of using up all of India’s iron ore reserves.

MUMBAI (MINEWEB) – The China Iron and Steel Association has rejected assertions that it is to blame for “gobbling up India’s iron ore reserves” while, at the same time strategically choosing not to mine its own deposits of the metal.

The charges were laid at the feet of the Asian giant by a report into illegal iron ore mining in Goa by the Justice M.B. Shah Committee. The report, which pegged Goa’s mining scam at nearly $6.5 billion, also noted that “China had strategically stopped short of tapping its deposits of 200 billion tonnes”…and suggested that the “Central government should consider banning exports of Indian ore.”

It added, “Planning and conservation of iron ore for at least 50 years is required for Goa so that future generations may not be required to import entire steel from China and likewise countries.”

The report added that while India was exporting ore to China, China was exporting steel back to India and had stopped tapping its domestic deposits. “It would not be out of context to state here that China…prefers to import from countries like India and others.

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B2Gold to buy Philippine miner for $1.1-billion – by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – September 20, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

A small Vancouver miner has struck the first major gold deal in months, marking what may be the start of a new wave of buying in the sector as bullion prices rise within reach of record highs from a year ago.

B2Gold Corp., which prides itself on mining for gold where others do not, said on Wednesday that it reached a $1.1-billion all-stock deal to acquire CGA Mining Ltd., owner of the largest operating gold project in the Philippines.

It is offering 0.74 B2Gold shares for each share of CGA, a 26 per cent premium to CGA’s closing price as of Sept. 17. Gold prices are near $1,800 (U.S.) an ounce, just off record levels near $1,900 an ounce a year ago.

“I think in a more buoyant market like we have now, there is a greater chance of things getting done,” said Jens Mayer, co-head of investment banking at Canaccord Genuity Corp., which advised B2Gold on the deal. “People are getting accustomed to the new world in terms of valuations.”

The B2Gold/CGA deal is one of the largest involving a Canadian company in recent months, adding some shine to what has been a lacklustre year for deal making in the sector.

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