Archive | Asia Mining

Countries Push to Extract More Cash from Big Mining Companies – by Rhiannon Hoyle and Alexandra Wexler (Wall Street Journal – November 18, 2018)

Jakarta/Kalumbila – From Congolese jungles to Indonesian highlands, a struggle is raging between governments and major mining companies over control of commodities vital to the production of everything from steel to electric cars to smartphones.

Developing-world leaders, spurred by rising mineral prices, are making their toughest demands on Western mining companies in years, squeezing them to pay higher royalties and taxes, process commodities locally and cede control of mines.

In Indonesia, Rio Tinto RIO 1.76% PLC and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. were pressed to sell majority control of the world’s second-largest copper mine, Grasberg, to a government that aims to transform its state-owned resources companies into industry behemoths. Continue Reading →

Philippines says nine suspended mines can resume if conditions met – by Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – November 16, 2018)

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines’ environment ministry said nine suspended mines will be allowed to resume operations if they rectify previous violations of environmental regulations, a move that could boost nickel output in the major supplier of the metal.

The nine mines were ordered permanently closed in February last year as part of an environmental clampdown on the sector. They appealed the decision, along with four other mines, and after a review, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu changed closure of the mines to a suspension.

Any re-opening of the nine mines – six of which are nickel – could improve the nation’s output of ore going forward, after the disruptions caused by the crackdown that began in 2016. The Philippines is the world’s second-biggest nickel ore producer after Indonesia. Continue Reading →

Searching for ‘black diamonds’ in the treacherous conditions of India’s ‘capital of coal’ – by Kenneth Dickerman and Sebastian Sardi (Washington Post – November 14, 2018)

In 2008, Swedish photographer Sebastian Sardi read an article about how mining-related deaths and injuries are often covered up by the various authorities who oversee such operations. Sardi was 25 at the time and had turned to photography three years earlier.

He had yet to pursue formal training as a photographer, but his interest was piqued, and he began photographing mines. Eventually, Sardi traveled to northern India’s Jharkhand state to photograph people working in Dhanbad, which many have dubbed the “capital of coal.” The resulting photos formed Sardi’s project “Black Diamond.”

When Sardi arrived in Dhanbad, he discovered people whose lives revolve around extracting coal. He photographed the men, women and even children living and working in the toughest of conditions. Sardi, in his upcoming book, describes the scene he came upon: Continue Reading →

Asia Gold-Key festivals light up Indian demand – by Rajendra Jadhav and Karen Rodrigues (Reuters Africa – November 9, 2018)

MUMBAI/BENGALURU, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Demand for physical gold gathered steam during a key festival week, shrugging off a recent downtrend going into the traditional busy wedding season, while other major Asian hubs saw limited activity.

India, the second biggest bullion consumer after China, celebrated the Dhanteras and Diwali festivals this week, when buying gold is considered auspicious.

“We were initially sceptical about Diwali demand but it jumped this week, despite higher prices,” said Harshad Ajmera, the proprietor of JJ Gold House, a wholesaler in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata. Continue Reading →

Chinese vessel collects cobalt samples in the Pacific: Xinhua (Reuters U.S. – November 11, 2018)

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese deep-sea exploration vessel has returned to port in Guangdong after collecting samples of so-called cobalt-bearing crusts during a 138-day survey in the west Pacific, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Cobalt is used in batteries for electric vehicles, an important industry for China, the world’s largest auto market. Chinese companies are some of the biggest investors in cobalt mining projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the world’s biggest producer.

The Ocean No. 6 vessel, designed in China, conducted a survey of cobalt-bearing crusts, found on the surface of underwater mountains, in more than 30 areas, Xinhua cited Yang Shengxiong, chief engineer at the Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey, as saying. Continue Reading →

Miners gouge hills near Indian capital ending protection, compounding pollution – by Alasdair Pal (Reuters U.S. – November 9, 2018)

SIROHI, India (Reuters) – A sandstone quarry near the village of Sirohi, on the outskirts of the Indian city of New Delhi, is a reminder that it’s not just fireworks and crop burning that are causing the capital’s pollution problems.

The site was previously part of the Aravalli mountain range, that stretches nearly 700 km (435 miles) through northern and western India. That was until hundreds of workers hollowed out one of its hills, mining for rocks and sand for construction.

It is the same in many other parts of the Aravallis, which used to protect Delhi from dust rolling in from the nearby Thar Desert. Beginning in October, stubble farmland around Delhi, along with vehicle and industrial emissions, and the lighting of firecrackers during Hindu festivals combine to create a toxic haze that can hang over the city for months. Continue Reading →

Tata Steel comes shopping for coal security – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – November 6, 2018)

Having failed very recently to acquire the security blanket of Australian metallurgical coal mines, global steel giant Tata Steel is promoting the need for a forum with Australian governments and miners to more productively align the central Queensland coal system with India’s surging raw materials needs.

An executive delegation from Tata, led by relatively new chief executive TV Narendran, landed in Brisbane on Monday with proposals that aim to take its relationship with Australian suppliers to a new level, moving it from its currently transactional standing to something more symbiotic.

It is understood that Tata management continues to investigate its ownership options in Australian coal after recent efforts to acquire projects or buy into joint ventures have come to nought. As one source told The Australian Financial Review, Tata has either been “outbid or beaten to the punch” in a number of recent sale processes. Continue Reading →

Mining in India’s Bundelkhand causes drought and destruction – by Inder Singh Bisht (Asia Times – November 7, 2018)

Spread across 13 districts in the neighboring Indian states Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, the Bundelkhand region has suffered from drought for over a decade. This has caused an exodus by the majority of its working population who have left to seek a living in other parts of the country.

With agriculture starved by the drought and an absence of alternative industries, mining is one of the few sectors that provides a semblance of regular income to locals. This helps keep a lid on popular opposition to mining activities in the area, even when the industy is also a major cause of environmental degradation and disease in the region.

Silicosis, a form of lung disease caused by the inhalation of crystalline silica dust, is common among people who work in mines or live near stone-crushing plants. Continue Reading →

China pledges bigger quotas for rare earth mining and exports – by Staff (Asia Times – November 8, 2018)

Beijing has again sought to refute rumors about its plans to exploit its stranglehold on the global supply of rare-earth metals. It also denies any intention to slash the mining of the 17 chemically-similar elements out of its ore deposits as well as their exports to major overseas markets.

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has pledged that the country’s planned mining and output of rare-earth minerals will continue to rise.

It further states that global manufacturers of magnets, catalysts, alloys and electronic devices can rest assured that there would never be any policy-driven curb on supplies. Continue Reading →

[Afghanistan Mining] How to Avoid the Resource Curse? Take Six Years to Approve Deals – by Eltaf Najafizada (Bloomberg News – November 7, 2018)

Afghanistan selected preferred bidders for three gold and copper mines in 2012. It took the war-torn nation six years to finally sign the contracts.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the deals in the past few weeks. The government took time to finalize the agreements because it wanted to ensure they were transparent and will help eliminate corruption in awarding contracts, Ghani said in an interview in his office in Kabul. After his election, Ghani ordered his administration to review 14 mineral and oil contracts that had stalled.

Harnessing “natural wealth around the world has been rarely successful. Most of the time it’s been called the curse of the natural resources,” Ghani, 69, said. “We were focused on avoiding this.” Continue Reading →

China’s Cosco Plans to Buy 25 Ships to Move Bauxite from Africa – by Costas Paris (Wall Street Journal – November 2, 2018)

Chinese Cosco Shipping Cop. is in talks with shipyards in China to order about 25 massive ships that will move bauxite from the West African country of Guinea for aluminum production in China, people involved in the matter said.

The move is part of a plan by state behemoth Aluminum Corp. of China (Chalco) to invest $700 million in Guinea’s Boffa project for a steady supply of the commodity over the next decade. Cosco is looking to add to its fleet on the back of a long-term contract with Chalco to move aluminum to China.

Guinea is a hotbed of mining activity in recent months as aluminum firms from the U.S., China and Russia, try to carve out a piece of its massive bauxite-ore deposits used to produce alumina and aluminum. About seven billion metric tons, or a quarter of the world’s bauxite resources, are estimated to be in Guinea. Continue Reading →

Centerra says it didn’t respond to $2-billion premium offer from London junior – by Niall McGee and Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – November 1, 2018)

Centerra Gold Inc. says it didn’t respond to a recent $2-billion takeover proposal by a little known London Stock Exchange-listed mining concern, citing doubts about the company’s ability to complete such a deal.

It was the second time that Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd., a small gold exploration and development company that operates in the Kyrgyz Republic, approached the Toronto-based gold miner this year.

In April, Centerra rejected Chaarat’s informal proposal to buy Centerra’s flagship Kumtor mine in the Kyrgyzstan for US$800-million, a transaction analysts dismissed as too low. Continue Reading →

China’s CNNC seeking overseas partners to secure uranium – exec (Reuters U.S. – October 31, 2018)

MELBOURNE, Oct 31 (Reuters) – China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) is looking to invest in overseas uranium mines to secure supply for an expected ramp-up in China’s nuclear power generation, a senior company executive said on Wednesday.

China and Japan have been ramping up nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels, and rising demand could pull uranium out of a years-long slump that has seen a swathe of projects put on care and maintenance in recent years.

“Our vision is to be the world’s leading uranium company,” Ni Tao, deputy manager of China National Uranium Co Ltd, said at the IMARC mining conference in Melbourne. Continue Reading →

Breakingviews – China’s Guinea snub sends bearish iron ore signal – by Clara Ferreira-Marques (Reuters U.K. – October 29, 2018)

SINGAPORE (Reuters Breakingviews) – A rare mining snub from China sends a bearish signal on iron ore. State-run giant Chinalco has stepped back from a 2016 deal to take control of the $23 billion-plus Simandou project in Guinea from partner Rio Tinto.

That’s a headache for the Anglo-Australian heavyweight and a blow to West Africa’s mining ambitions. It’s also a hint that even Beijing sees cooler long-term demand ahead for the steel ingredient.

Simandou is perhaps the world’s largest untapped deposit of iron ore. Rio’s portion alone could potentially satisfy nearly 10 percent of Chinese import demand, and it is top-quality material to boot. But it is also the most troubled. The Guinean government confiscated part of the reserve in 2008. Continue Reading →

Eliminate child labour from mica mining in Jharkhand: Kailash Satyarthi (The Indian Express – October 28, 2018)

Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Sunday stressed on the need to eliminate child labour from mica mining in Jharkhand and urged all stakeholders, including international brands, to become “champions in change”.

According to an official statement issued by his office here, Satyarthi said this while addressing a public event in Jharkhand, where the state government, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation have come together to eliminate child labour from mica mining.

“I earnestly call upon all stakeholders including national as well as international brands that use mica in their supply chains to become champions in change,” the statement quoted him as saying. “Today is a historic day as the government, village communities, business leaders and civil society have come together for a collective commitment for child labour free mica mining,” he said. Continue Reading →