Archive | Asia Mining

RPT-COLUMN-High-grade iron ore outperforms as China steel margins recover – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – November 28, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 28 (Reuters) – The premium Chinese steel mills are willing to pay for high-grade iron ore has widened in recent months, suggesting both a recovery in profitability and a desire to maximise output at blast furnaces.

Iron ore prices have fallen for the past two sessions, with declines on Wednesday linked to a sharp 9.9% drop in profits at China’s industrial companies, the fastest pace of contraction in eight months.

However, spot 62% iron ore for delivery to north China MT-IO-QIN62=ARG, as assessed by commodity price reporting agency Argus, is still up 10.2% from the 10-month low of $78.15 a tonne on Nov. 11, ending on Wednesday at $86.10. Continue Reading →

The World’s Biggest Battery Recycler Is Helping Fuel The Future of Cars (Bloomberg News – November 26, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — The former university professor leading one of the firms most crucial to the future of transport has a warning for anyone eyeing his patch.

“I want to tell everyone who wants to enter this market: don’t do it, you are wasting your money,” said Xu Kaihua, chairman of Chinese battery metals maker GEM Co. “Only the top five will survive.”

The firm Xu founded in Shenzhen in 2001 has adopted an expansive business model that’s made it central to supply chains stretching from the cobalt and nickel mines of Africa and Southeast Asia to the motors of Volkswagen and BMW cars. GEM’s diverse footprint includes a plant in Indonesia that will allow it to avoid that nation’s export ban on nickel, a key raw material. And, the company is already the world’s biggest recycler of metals from used batteries. Continue Reading →

China boosting coal power despite global plea to cut emissions – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 22, 2019)

Less than four years after China vowed to limit the use of coal and cancelled more than 100 coal power projects, a new study shows the nation — the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter — is back in love with the fossil fuel.

According to the latest report by Global Energy Monitor, a non-profit group that tracks coal stations, the Asian giant is set to fire up enough coal-based power plants to match the entire capacity of the European Union, which currently sits at 149 gigawatts (GW).

Across the country, 148 GW of coal-fired plants are either being built or are about to begin construction, the study shows. The figure is also higher than the combined 105 gigawatts under construction in the rest of the world, it notes. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto faces having to renegotiate terms of Mongolian copper project – by Anand Dairtan (Reuters U.S. – November 21, 2019)

ULAANBAATAR (Reuters) – Rio Tinto faces renegotiating the terms of an agreement underpinning its Mongolian copper mine project, after lawmakers on Thursday approved plans to revise the deal to make it more beneficial for Mongolia.

The Oyu Tolgoi mine, Mongolia’s biggest foreign investment project, has already been subject to delays and ballooning costs, leaving Mongolian lawmakers impatient for income, while Rio Tinto says it has invested billions.

Rio Tinto-owned Turquoise Hill Resources has a 66% stake in the multi-billion-dollar project and the Mongolian state owns 34%, with investment terms agreed in 2015 in a deal known as the Dubai Agreement. Continue Reading →

Mining turned Indonesian seas red. The drive for greener cars could herald a new toxic tide. – by Ian Morse (Washington Post – November 20, 2019)

POMALAA, Indonesia — Where forested hills dip into the sea, Sahman Ukas scoops up rusty-red topsoil. His hands hold nickel that is more concentrated than many of the world’s richest deposits.

It’s no wonder, then, that on Sahman’s island of Sulawesi, companies have opened several mines in the past 15 years to feed the global market for stainless steel — made ductile and tough with nickel.

Now, a growing appetite for electric vehicles is creating new demand for nickel, whose chemical derivatives are increasingly used in cathodes of lithium-ion batteries. But the push for clean energy is coming at an environmental cost to forests and fisheries in one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. Continue Reading →

India looks to relax norms to attract global coal miners, industry skeptical – by Sudarshan Varadhan and Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – November 18, 2019)

NEW DELHI/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – India is looking to lower advance payments and offer larger mining blocks to attract global companies to invest in its coal sector for the first time, but industry sources say the measures may not be enough to draw in big international miners.

India plans to float global tenders for the first time for coal mining blocks before end-2019, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in August, a move that could end Coal India Ltd’s <COAL .NS> near-monopoly on the fuel.

The auctions, to be aimed at paring back the nation’s coal imports, are intended to attract global miners such as Glencore PLC, BHP Group, Anglo American PLC and Peabody Energy Corp. Continue Reading →

Indonesia’s competition watchdog looks into nickel sector after cartel complaint (Reuters U.S. – November 18, 2019)

JAKARTA, Nov 18 (Reuters) – Indonesia’s anti-monopoly agency has begun a preliminary study of the country’s nickel smelting sector, an agency official said on Monday, after a miners’ association accused big nickel smelters of conducting a cartel.

The agency will decide whether to launch a full investigation of pricing and other practices in the industry after completing its initial enquiries, Guntur Saragih, a commissioner at Indonesia’s Commission for the Supervision of Business Competition (KPPU), told a news briefing.

The Indonesian nickel miners association (APNI) has claimed that two giant smelters control 60% of the local nickel ore market and determine prices in Indonesia, the world’s biggest nickel ore exporter. It has not named the two smelters. Continue Reading →

Bre-X: The real story and scandal that inspired the movie Gold – by Suzanne Wilton (Calgary Herald – January 30, 2017)

Please note that this series of articles are from 2017!

It’s often been said that the story of Calgary’s Bre-X Minerals had all the makings of a Hollywood script: gold, love, betrayal and mystery. Two decades after stock-market darling was declared a colossal hoax, the mining firm’s amazing tale is finally getting the celluloid treatment — though loosely based on true events — in a new film called Gold, starring Matthew McConaughey.

Real life can be stranger than fiction, which is why stories from the news often form the basis of scripts for the big screen. Such is the case with the tale of Calgary’s Bre-X Minerals. It’s a story of greed, gold, and downright mystery even today, two decades after Bre-X became the Cinderella stock darling of the world before suffering a dramatic collapse.

What follows is a series of timelines, photos and newspaper articles that tell the story that inspired the movieGold, starringMatthew McConaughey. This is the real-life story and scandal of Bre-X. The compilation starts with a story published on the 10-year anniversary of the Bre-X collapse, in which two Postmedia journalists — Suzanne Wilton and Ted Rhodes — went back to the Indonesian jungles where the gold fraud started. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 4-China-backed consortium wins $14 bln Guinea iron ore deal, pipping Australia’s Fortescue – by Saliou Samb (Reuters Africa – November 13, 2019)

CONAKRY, Nov 14 (Reuters) – A consortium representing Chinese, French and Singaporean interests won a $14 billion tender to develop part of Guinea’s Simandou iron ore project, sources familiar with the talks told Reuters, edging out Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group.

The consortium – which includes Société Minière de Boké (SMB) and Singapore’s Winning Shipping as well as Guinean government interests – has committed to develop blocks 1 and 2 of the largest known deposit of its kind, holding more than 2 billion tonnes of high-grade ore.

Guinea has sought to develop the Simandou deposit for decades, but the project has been mired in protracted legal disputes and the high costs have curbed interest. Continue Reading →

China in focus as West debates critical minerals challenge – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – November 13, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Western powers will attend talks in Brussels next week on curbing China’s dominance of rare earths and other critical resources and EU officials will present their vision to create entire green supply chains.

The talks, on Nov. 19, have taken place annually for much of this decade, bringing together diplomats and industry representatives from the European Union, Japan and United States.

They have yet to weaken China’s power, especially over rare earths, and global trade tensions aggravate the situation. In a daily news briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said it was not possible to “guide or monopolize” a certain sector or market in a closely connected world. Continue Reading →

Is China locking up Indonesian nickel? – by Richard Mills ( – October 2019)

As it has done with cobalt, graphite and rare earths, China appears to be locking up the nickel market. Nickel’s top producer, Indonesia, in early September decided to accelerate a scheduled ban on ore export shipments, from 2022 to January 1, 2020.

The ban which instead took immediate effect on Oct. 28, is to encourage the building of domestic smelters instead of exporting raw nickel, and other metals, for processing abroad. (the country did the same thing in 2014 but lifted the ban three years later).

No coincidence

Is it any coincidence that Indonesia decided in September to ban nickel ore exports, just a few weeks after a meeting between Indonesian president Joko Widodo and Chinese industrial executives, including Xiang Guanda, who in partnership with his wife, runs Tsingshan Holding Group? Continue Reading →

COLUMN-India’s economic woes hit coal imports, but crude oil soldiers on for now – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – November 12, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 12 (Reuters) – A sharp plunge in India’s electricity demand in October has been matched by falling coal imports, but weakness in vehicle sales and fuel demand hasn’t yet showed up in crude oil imports.

Power demand in Asia’s third-largest economy slumped 13.2% in October from a year earlier, the steepest monthly decline in more than 12 years, according to government data.

Coal imports fell to 14.7 million tonnes in October, the lowest since January and the third straight month of declines, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Refinitiv. Continue Reading →

Shutting Down All Of Japan’s Nuclear Plants After Fukushima Was A Bad Idea – by James Conca (Forbes Magazine – October 31, 2019)

By now, more Japanese have died from the closing of Japan’s nuclear power plants following the 2011 Tohoku quake than from the tsunami and the earthquake combined, which was about 20,000 people. Of course, no one has died from any radiation released from the reactor, and no one ever will. There just wasn’t enough dose to anyone.

These conclusions are now echoed across the scientific and medical communities. The latest study, from Matthew Neidell, Shinsuke Uchida and Marcella Veronesi, discusses how after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, when all nuclear power stations ceased operation and nuclear power was replaced by fossil fuels, there was a significant increase in electricity prices and in public mortality.

The increase in price led to a reduction in energy consumption, which caused an increase in mortality during very cold temperatures. An increase in mortality also occurred from the burning of fossil fuels, especially coal, which causes upper respiratory effects. Continue Reading →

China Sets Record Rare-Earth Mining Quota as Demand Rises (Bloomberg News – November 11, 2019)

China set its annual rare-earth mining quota at the highest on record as domestic demand for the strategic materials, used in everything from electric vehicles to military hardware, increases.

The quota for six dominant producers, including China Northern Rare Earth Group High-Tech Co., was set at 132,000 tons for 2019, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement on Friday. That compares with 120,000 tons in 2018 and is the highest in data going back to 2014.

The higher quota follows requests from major companies in the industry to allow more production to meet rising demand, said Zhang Rui, an analyst at state-run researcher Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. Continue Reading →

Protests in Chile, Bolivia threaten India’s search for assets in ‘Lithium Triangle’ – by Ajoy K Das ( – November 11, 2019)

KOLKATA ( – Civil unrest and violence in Chile and prospects of tougher security norms, together with unrelenting protests over a disputed electoral process in Bolivia, have thrown a spanner in the wheels of Indian mining companies getting a toe-hold in the so-called ‘Lithium Triangle’.

As protestors continue to hit the streets, with widespread reports of violence, snowballing into a deeper anti-government movement, India’s recent push for lithium assets in Latin America is being forced to the backburner, if not becoming unstuck completely.

The perception among Indian mining companies planning forays in search of lithium assets in Latin America is that though unrest and violence in Chile was triggered by a marginal hike in subway fares, opposition to the right-of-center neoliberal economic policy of the incumbent Chilean government is at the heart of civil movement. Continue Reading →