Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

Coronavirus pandemic a further blow to WA’s multi-million-dollar lithium industry – by Jacqueline Lynch (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – May 20, 2020)

https://www.abc.net.au/

A few years ago there were high hopes that demand for West Australian lithium would skyrocket, but the industry has been plagued with a slow uptake of electric vehicles, falling lithium prices and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

The valuable metal, found in abundance across regional WA, is largely used in the production of electric vehicles and energy storage systems. In an effort to cut costs during the coronavirus pandemic, United States lithium giant, Albemarle, has slowed down progress on what was set to be the state’s largest lithium refinery, near Bunbury.

The vice president of the company’s lithium division, David Klanecky, said while no jobs would be lost the move would delay the plant’s completion by several months. Continue Reading →

State of emergency: how vulnerable is the mining supply chain? – by Scarlett Evans (Mining Technology – May 21, 2020)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

The coronavirus pandemic has proven devastating not just to healthcare systems but also in its impact on manufacturing and financial markets. We examine the mining supply chain and see whether it is fit for purpose in the face of crisis, and look at what moves have already been made to strengthen the industry in the pandemic’s wake.

A statement released by Australian mining unions described the pandemic as the ‘most significant disruption to daily life since the Second World War’.

One doesn’t need to look far to see the reality of this claim, with borders closing and businesses grinding to a halt – the knock-on effects trickle down to reach every facet of home and industry life. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-In the coming renewable energy boom, Australia is once again the “lucky country”: – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 21, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 21 (Reuters) – Which commodities and countries are best placed to emerge as winners in the post-coronavirus world, especially if the anticipated boost to investment in renewables energies actually happens?

One of the themes emerging for a post-coronavirus world is that investment should flow into renewable energies, both as economic stimulus and as a way of limiting the impact of climate change.

To this end, the World Bank released a report on May 11 stating that global production of minerals such as lithium, cobalt and graphite would have to increase by as much as 500% by 2050. Continue Reading →

New Century mulls trip to New Caledonia – by Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald and Tim Boyd (Australian Financial Review – May 20, 2020)

https://www.afr.com/

New Century Resources is getting ready to spend some nickels (and dimes).  Street Talk understands the ASX-listed mining player is close to buying a New Caledonian operating nickel mine off the world’s largest iron ore and nickel producer, Vale.

While a deal had not yet been signed on Wednesday evening, sources said it was close to being finalised and expected an announcement in the coming days. New Century’s shares went into a trading halt on Tuesday, regarding “a potential material acquisition”.

The mine in question – called Goro – is located in southern New Caledonia in the South Pacific and has been on the market for the past six months. Continue Reading →

Mining companies rush to shield indigenous communities from coronavirus – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – May 19, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Big mining companies that rely on indigenous workforces or operate near remote communities have acted fast to curb the spread of the coronavirus and avoid a public health crisis that could damage their reputations.

From Australia’s outback to Canada’s Arctic wilderness to the Andes, mining firms have changed rosters to stop outsiders infecting remote communities, paid staff with potential health issues to stay at home and given food to indigenous families so they don’t have to shop in nearby mining towns.

Investors already weighing up holdings in miners because of their contribution to climate change say a bad outbreak of COVID-19 among indigenous communities near mining operations might also make them reassess their investment decisions. Continue Reading →

Column: China targets Australian barley, but what matters is coal, LNG, iron ore – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – May 19, 2020)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – If China was looking to send a political message to Australia by effectively banning the import of a commodity, then barley fits the bill almost perfectly.

China on Monday imposed what it termed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties totalling 80.5% on Australian barley imports from May 19, a move likely to end trade that has been worth between $980 million and $1.3 billion in recent years.

Australia’s official reaction has so far been muted, with Agriculture Minister David Littleproud saying the government will consider approaching the World Trade Organization for a ruling on China’s action. Continue Reading →

How China could stoke iron ore prices – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – May 18, 2020)

https://www.afr.com/

Surging iron ore prices have kick-started the Australian economy’s exit from coronavirus lockdowns amid hopes the Chinese government could further stoke prices by unleashing stimulus spending at its annual congress meeting later this week.

A 13 per cent rally in iron ore prices since April 30 has pushed shares in Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group to record highs. The rally appears to have further to run with futures prices more than 5 per cent higher in Monday’s trading session.

Strong Chinese demand for steel has coincided with weak iron ore supply from rival exporter Brazil, where the rapid spread of the coronavirus has added to the ongoing disruption caused by last year’s catastrophic Brumadinho dam collapse. Continue Reading →

Politics and Porgera: why Papua New Guinea cancelled the lease on one of its biggest mines – by Jonathan Pryke and Shane McLeod (The Guardian – May 12, 2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Late in April, in the middle of a global pandemic and slow-boiling domestic economic crisis, the government of Papua New Guinea made the surprising announcement not to extend the mining lease on a goldmine that contributes roughly 10% of the country’s total exports.

The announcement not to renew the special mining lease for the Porgera mine was a shock, not least to the mine’s operator, Barrick Gold, and their joint venture partner Zijin Mining.

Porgera is one of Papua New Guinea’s longest running goldmines. Operating for 30 years in the highlands province of Enga, this large mine was expected to produce around 250,000 ounces of gold in 2019. Continue Reading →

Australian state launches enquiry into Anglo coal mine blast (Reuters U.S. – May 11, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s Queensland on Monday ordered an independent enquiry into an explosion at a coal mine run by Anglo American in the state that last week critically injured five workers.

The accident took place 15 months after another Anglo American worker was killed at a nearby mining complex and comes just months after a review called for tighter regulation of the sector that has seen at least 48 deaths since 2000.

The probe will be led by a retired judge or Queens Counsel who will be able to conduct hearings, call witnesses and make broad inquiries relating to the blast, state mines minister Anthony Lynham said. Continue Reading →

Drought: how water scarcity could affect mining in Australia – by Scarlett Evans (Mining Technology – May 11, 2020)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

Water is one of the most vital elements across the entire mining production process. Now, with record low rainfall severely limiting the availability of water resources across vast swathes of Australia, we speak to Associate Professor Claire Côte, director of the Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry at the University of Queensland, about the impact of drought on mining operations.

From dampening dust to cooling machinery, crushing ore to transporting tailings, water is a crucial resource for miners. However, it is one that is becoming increasingly scarce in Australia and fears over the effects of an ongoing drought are beginning to ripple through the industry.

Is it a question of operations adapting in the face of dwindling water supplies, or are we looking for answers in the wrong place? With Australia already in the eye of the storm when it comes to climate issues and their relationship to the mining industry, the issue is one unlikely to be easily resolved. Continue Reading →

Coronavirus: cut green tape delay on projects, miners say – by Geoff Chambers (The Australian – May 10, 2020)

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/

Australia’s six peak mining and ­resources groups are pushing for a major overhaul of environmental laws, calling for the removal of “unnecessary duplication and complexity” to provide greater certainty for businesses.

In a joint submission to the independent review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, led by former Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chair Graeme Samuel, the mining sector warns companies are facing delay costs of up to $1m a day.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable said Australia was facing an unprecedented economic and social threat from the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing reforms of the EPBC Act would help reduce ­delays in project approvals and fast-track projects. Continue Reading →

Papua New Guinea seeks $191-million in back taxes from Barrick, Chinese partner as mining row escalates – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – May 7, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Papua New Guinea wants Barrick Gold Corp. and its Chinese joint-venture partner to fork over US$191-million in back taxes, as the world’s second biggest gold producer dukes it out in court over whether it has the right to continue mining in the country.

Late last month, Papua New Guinea (PNG) refused Barrick’s request to renew its mining lease on the Porgera gold mine, citing environmental and other legacy issues.

Barrick subsequently took legal action against the government, filing a judicial review with the National Court of Justice. The court ordered both sides to negotiate and report on their progress on Friday. If the two can’t reach an agreement, a mediator will be appointed to hash out a settlement. Continue Reading →

Vale mulling offers for New Caledonia nickel assets – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – April 29, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

Vale (NYSE: VALE), the world’s top producer of nickel and iron ore, has received non-binding offers for its operations on the Pacific island of New Caledonia, it said in a conference call on Wednesday.

The Brazilian mining giant said it expected to have “relevant news” on the topic within a month or two.

Vale put its New Caledonia nickel assets on the block in December. The decision came after it had to write down $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter related to the ailing mines, the world’s biggest nickel operations. Continue Reading →

Zijin warns Papua New Guinea of China anger over end of gold mine lease – by Tom Westbrook and Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – April 29, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

SINGAPORE/BEIJING, April 29 (Reuters) – China’s Zijin Mining has warned Papua New Guinea that its failure to renew the lease of a gold mine it jointly owns with Barrick Gold Corp there could damage bilateral relations.

Papua New Guinea on Friday said it would not renew a 20-year mining lease at its Porgera gold mine, citing environmental damage and social unrest even as gold prices have soared to more than seven-year highs.

Barrick (Niugini) Limited (BNL), the local venture in which both miners have a 47.5% stake, suspended operations on Saturday, saying the government had not given it formal notification that it would not renew the lease, or any details of a planned transition. Continue Reading →

Papua New Guinea lashes out at Barrick for halting Porgera – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – April 28, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

Papua New Guinea is threatening to take immediate control of Barrick Gold’s (TSX: ABX) (NYSE: GOLD) Porgera mine after the company’s local unit halted operations over the weekend following news that the mining lease would not be renewed.

Barrick, the world’s second largest gold miners, and its joint venture partner, China’s Zijin Mining, had applied in June 2017 for a twenty-year renewal of the mine lease, which expired in August.

Since then, the company has faced backlash from landowners and residents over what they claim are negative social, environmental and economic impacts from the mine. Continue Reading →