Archive | Asia Mining

Rio Tinto, Mongolia sign power deal for Oyu Tolgoi copper mine – by Barbara Lewis and Munkhchimeg Davaasharav (Reuters U.S. – December 31, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON/ULAANBAATAR (Reuters) – Rio Tinto and Mongolia have signed a deal for the supply of power to the miner’s giant copper mine extension at Oyu Tolgoi by mid-2023, with both sides saying the framework agreement marked a step forward after a protracted dispute.

The Oyu Tolgoi project is central to Rio Tinto’s push to diversify its portfolio away from iron ore, but it has faced a series of challenges as Mongolia’s fragile government wrangles over how to maximize benefits for the country.

First production at the $5.3 billion underground expansion located near the southern border with China is scheduled for early next decade, creating one of the world’s biggest copper suppliers. Continue Reading →

China to step up crackdown on rare earth sector: ministry (Reuters U.S. – January 4, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China will step up efforts to eliminate illegal mining, production and smuggling of rare earth materials, while at the same time, encourage more high-end processing, the industry ministry said in new guidelines published on Friday.

China is responsible for more than 90 percent of the global supply of rare earth elements, a group of 17 metals used in high-tech and strategic sectors such as renewable energy and defense.

However, the country has spent the last decade trying to bring “order” to the sector by closing down illegal mines, restricting exports and domestic production. Small private firms have been shut down and control over the industry has been put in the hands of six state-owned mining groups. Continue Reading →

India disaster exposes lack of enforcement against deadly illegal mines – by Roli Srivastava Reuters U.S. – January 4, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Ongoing efforts to reach victims of a mining disaster in northeastern India have exposed what campaigners say is poor enforcement against such illegal mines, where undocumented workers risk injury or death.

At least 15 people were trapped when an illegal coal mine in Meghalaya state flooded on Dec. 13. Rescue efforts continue, although relatives said this week they had lost hope that the miners were still alive.

Environmental concerns have led to India imposing bans on the mining of coal, mica and sand, among other minerals. Yet, workers across the country continue to put themselves at risk as illegal mining continues. Continue Reading →

Japan’s Sumitomo Metal sees global nickel deficit nearly halving in 2019 (Reuters U.S. – December 25, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

TOKYO, Dec 25 (Reuters) – A global nickel market deficit will nearly halve to 49,000 tonnes in 2019 from 93,000 tonnes this year on higher output of primary metals by global suppliers and of lower-grade nickel pig iron (NPI) in Indonesia, Sumitomo Metal Mining said on Tuesday.

Sumitomo Metal, Japan’s biggest nickel smelter, said global demand for nickel is seen increasing by 3.4 percent in 2019 from this year to 2.339 million tonnes, while supply is expected to climb 5.5 percent to 2.29 million tonnes.

“We expect to see higher demand for stainless steel and rechargeable batteries next year,” Masanori Ohyama, general manager of Sumitomo Metal’s nickel sales and raw materials department, told reporters. Continue Reading →

Trapped Miners Reveal Dirty Secret Of Meghalaya’s Elites – by Silvester Phanbuh (Huffington Post India – December 31, 2018)

https://www.huffingtonpost.in/

The disaster has cast an uncomfortable light on how some of the wealth in cities like Shillong comes from the narrow, unstable tunnels of the rat-hole mines in the countryside.

KSAN, Meghalaya — On 11 December, Melambok Dkhar (22), Dimonme Dkhar (20), Shalabas Dkhar (20), three cousins from Lumthari village in the East Jaintia Hills district, showed up at the illegal ‘rat-hole’ coal mines of Ksan to earn a little extra money for Christmas.

“From the bottom of the mine, the light of the surface literally looked this small — that was what they told me after their first day,” said Pressmeky Dkhar, bringing his thumb and index finger together. Pressmeky is Melambok and Dimonme’s youngest uncle. “The brothers never wanted to work at the mine for too long — just to make some quick money, help at home, and spend during the Christmas season.”

Three days later, the cousins were amongst the 15 miners trapped when waters from the adjacent Wah Lytein river flooded the mineshaft. Now, as Christmas gives way to the new year, the families of these three young pillars of the Lumthari village community are slowly giving up hope of ever seeing their sons alive. Continue Reading →

Breakingviews – China will outdo U.S. in scramble for Africa – by Ed Cropley (Reuters U.S. – December 28, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) – China and the United States’ global Cold War has an increasingly important theatre: Africa. On different metrics Uncle Sam and the Middle Kingdom can claim to be the continent’s biggest player. In 2019, China will pull ahead.

The United States has $57 billion of FDI stock, United Nations data shows, narrowly ahead of Britain and France. But China had cumulative investment worth $40 billion in 2016, against just $16 billion in 2011.

In trade terms it has been Africa’s main partner for a decade. Its sum of exports and imports in 2017 was $170 billion, over three times America’s. Washington has noticed. In mid-2018, as Donald Trump launched his trade war, the U.S. president recognised China’s threat by doubling development finance to $60 billion – a far cry from Trump’s previous dismissal of unspecified African countries as “shitholes”. Continue Reading →

Are Afghanistan’s Mineral Deposits the Answer to the Country’s Economic Woes? – by Tamim Asey (Global Security Review – December 31, 2018)

Global Security Review

Afghanistan’s mineral deposits are a potential glimmer of hope for the country’s suffering economy.

As it stands, a mineral-based economy is one of the few options available when it comes to establishing a solid foundation on which to develop Afghanistan’s economy. The development of the country’s mineral sector has been hampered by insecurity, political instability, poor policy direction, the absence of a basic legal framework, and a lack of necessary infrastructure and transit agreements with neighboring countries.

However, Afghanistan’s mineral deposits present an alternative to the country’s increasing over-reliance on an economy dependent on foreign aid. Afghanistan’s mineral deposits consist of metals and non-metals. Many strategically essential minerals can be found in the country, including beryllium (used in airplanes, helicopters, ships, missiles, and spacecraft), uranium, lithium, and niobium (a rare soft-metal use in semiconductor production).

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Afghanistan’s mineral wealth is estimated at around (US) $1 trillion. This figure is based on previously conducted Swedish, British, and Soviet geological surveys, in addition to more recent studies performed by the USGS. In total, however, only about 30% of Afghanistan’s territory was covered by previous geological surveys. Continue Reading →

Mitsubishi kisses thermal coal goodbye, sells Aussie mines – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – December 18, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

Mitsubishi Corporation is selling its interest in two Australian thermal coal mines for A$750 million ($539 million) to its joint venture partners Glencore and Sumitomo Corp., in a move that marks the end of its involvement in upstream fossil fuels.

The company, which is Japan’s biggest trading house, will sell its 31.4% stake in the Clermont coal mine to GS Coal, the 50-50 joint venture between Glencore and Sumitomo, and its 10% stake in the Ulan coal mine to Glencore.

The Swiss miner and commodities trader said the deal value was $530 million. Glencore noted it would only spend $130 million, mainly on the Ulan asset, while GS Coal will use its own funds for the Clermont stake. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-China steel prices tick up on winter curbs, stimulus hopes: – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – December 17, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Dec 17 (Reuters) – China’s steel and iron ore prices have started to climb in response to winter production curbs, but recent gains are far from suggestive of a rosy outlook for the sector.

The catalyst for the rebound in prices would appear to be signs that the authorities in steel-making centres are starting to clamp down harder on air pollution, after earlier indications that this winter’s output curbs wouldn’t be as severe as those for the previous cold season.

Benchmark steel rebar in Shanghai closed on Dec. 14 at 3,427 yuan ($497) a tonne, up 3.7 percent from the close of Dec. 11, and 7.4 percent higher than a recent closing low of 3,192 yuan on Nov. 26. Continue Reading →

Commentary: China, India pull back from coal imports, hurting prices – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – December 6,, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – It’s not shaping up as a merry Christmas for coal exporters to Asia as the region’s top buyers, China and India, pull back from the recent trend of strong imports.

The Chinese authorities appear to be making good on a commitment to try and limit the country’s imports of the polluting fuel to levels the same as 2017. The restrictions have led to a sharp drop in the daily import of coal so far in December, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Refinitiv.

Seaborne imports in the first five days of the month stood at 1.5 million tonnes, or a daily rate of just 300,000 tonnes. This compares to total seaborne imports of 226.2 million tonnes in the first 11 months of 2018, a daily rate of about 677,000 tonnes. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 3-U.S. locks in duties on Chinese aluminum sheet imports (Reuters U.K. – December 7, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Friday it made a final determination that American producers were being harmed by imports of common alloy aluminum sheet products from China, a finding that locks in duties on the products.

The ITC determination means that duties ranging from 96.3 percent to 176.2 percent previously announced by the U.S. Commerce Department would be put in place for five years. The department said last month the products were being subsidized and dumped in the U.S. market.

The decision marked the first time that final duties were issued in a trade remedy case initiated by the U.S. government since 1985. Usually, trade cases are launched based on a complaint from a U.S. producer or group of producers. Continue Reading →

Race to the bottom? India plans deep dive for seabed minerals – by Annie Banerji (Thomson Reuters Foundation – December 5, 2018)

http://news.trust.org/

As expanding technology and infrastructure fuel global demand for resources, manufacturing powerhouses India and China, are eyeing the ocean

CHENNAI, Dec 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In the 1870 Jules Verne classic “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, underwater explorer Captain Nemo predicted the mining of the ocean floor’s mineral bounty – zinc, iron, silver and gold.

India is catching up with that only now, as it prepares to unearth treasures down below, aiming to boost its economy. The floor of the world’s seas is scattered with vast beds of black potato-shaped polymetallic nodules comprising copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese, iron and rare earth elements.

These natural goodies are key to making modern gadgets, from smartphones and laptops to pacemakers, hybrid cars and solar panels. As expanding technology and infrastructure fuel global demand for these resources – whose supply is dwindling fast onshore – more and more countries, including manufacturing powerhouses India and China, are eyeing the ocean. Continue Reading →

20% drop in PH nickel output seen in 2019 – by Eireene Jairee Gomez (Manila Times – December 6, 2018)

Manila Times

The country’s nickel mine production is expected to decrease by up to 20 percent next year due to various regulations set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as well as the movement of nickel prices in the world market.

“It’s likely that the production would be reduced [by] 10 to 20 percent,” said Dante Bravo, president of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA), in a press conference in Quezon City on Wednesday.

Nickel mine output for this year reached about 30 million wet metric tons (WMT) or 19.5 million MT, after separation from the fluid. In 2017, nickel production was 36 million WMT or 23.4 million MT. Continue Reading →

‘An elephant starting to run’: With China’s economy slowing, all eyes turn to India in search of growth – by Joe Chidley (Financial Post – December 6, 2018)

https://business.financialpost.com/

The sixth-largest economy, India’s GDP growth was recently upwardly revised more than half a point to 7.3%

When Donald Trump, who is no stranger to Twitter hyperbole, describes a meeting with another world leader as “hopefully historic,” it’s hard not to consider it a case of damning with faint praise. But that’s the way he described his talks with Xi Jinping, China’s president, in Argentina at the G20 summit last week.

And no wonder. Days after the summit, what kind of trade truce the two superpowers actually struck seems to depend on which White House official you listen to, which Chinese state-controlled media outlet you read, or which way the wind is blowing. At best, it looks like the U.S. has agreed to withhold raising the tariff rate on US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports for 90 days while negotiators try to work out a longer-term deal. Hopefully.

In any event, investors who had been hoping for even a short-term respite from trade jitters — and the gathering storm of global economic gloom — didn’t get much of one from the G20. And until there’s clarity, worries over China’s economic growth won’t diminish. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Risky rocks: Open up US mines or let China control strategic minerals – by Mark J. Perry (Washington Examiner – December 4, 2018)

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/

It is time to recognize that the United States will benefit economically and politically by ending our reliance on imports of strategically important minerals needed for weapons systems and an array of high-tech consumer products ranging from lithium-ion EV batteries to cellphones and flat-screen televisions.

The political and economic costs of foreign minerals dependency are far too high, particularly in a period of intense trade competition with China, the world’s No. 1 supplier of minerals. Instead, we should strengthen our own domestic mining capability.

Meaningful legislation to address the problem is needed before the situation gets much worse. The real danger is not that the cost of minerals commodities could get out of hand (last year the U.S. spent more than $7 billion on imports of minerals and metals), but rather that U.S. mines that are essential to our nation’s well-being are closing. Continue Reading →