Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

[Rio Tinto] The blast felt around the world – by Lynn Greiner and Carolyn Gruske (CIM Magazine – January 11, 2021)

Rio Tinto’s destruction of 46,000-year-old rock shelters sacred to the local Indigenous population in Australia’s Juukan Gorge during mine expansion, although legal, not only tarnished the company’s reputation and cost senior executives, including the CEO, their jobs, it triggered an inquiry in the Australian parliament and renewed focus on the nature of free, prior and informed consent.

The initial blasting and the reaction sent shockwaves through the international mining community, especially since there seemed to be a discrepancy between what the mining company considered to be consent to go ahead with the project and what the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people understood.

“We have operated on PKKP country under a comprehensive and mutually agreed Participation Agreement since 2011,” Rio Tinto wrote in a statement after the caves’ destruction. “At Juukan, in partnership with the PKKP, we followed a heritage approval process for more than 10 years.” Continue Reading →

Eramet faces continued challenges in New Caledonia, despite rescue plan success – by Simone Liedtke ( – Janaury 12, 2021)

Global mining and metallurgical group Eramet’s rescue plan, which aims to ensure the sustainable recovery of the group’s New Caledonian subsidiary, is achieving the expected impact under normal operating conditions, the company confirmed on January 12.

It noted that the subsidiary, Société Le Nickel (SLN), had, in particular, managed to achieve an improvement in production costs.

SLN’s rescue plan is based on three levers, which include implementing a new business model based on plant ferronickel production and low-grade ore exports, improving productivity and reducing energy prices. Continue Reading →

Deep dive to new resources – by Graham Lloyd (The Australian – January 1, 2021)

Gerard Barron wants to secure a battery-powered future — from the sea floor.

In the global race to remake the world for a low emissions future, Gerard Barron just may be Australia’s Elon Musk.

Where Musk is obsessed with electric cars and deep space, Barron is focused on the abyssal plains located 4500m below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Barron is leading a gathering push to exploit a base metals resource that has been known about a long time but has been too difficult to exploit for political, environmental and logistic reasons. Continue Reading →

Junior miners bring abandoned iron ore projects back to life – by Jamie Smyth and Neil Hume (Financial Times – January 5, 2021)

Six years after a once-in-a-generation commodities crash forced Noble Group to close the Frances Creek iron ore mine in remote northern Australia, its new owners are restarting it.

Darwin-based NT Bullion is among a host of junior miners from Australia to Canada that are resuscitating operations abandoned by larger producers of the steelmaking ingredient.

Their bets made at the bottom of the mining cycle could prove lucrative. The price of iron ore surged 65 per cent last year to a nine-year high of $166 a tonne on the back of sustained strong demand in China and supply constraints in Brazil, the world’s second-biggest producer. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto’s new CEO pledges to ‘restore trust’ after destruction of sacred Indigenous site – by Michelle Toh (CNN Business – December 17, 2020)

Hong Kong (CNN Business)Rio Tinto (RIO) has found a new chief after a crisis this year led to the ouster of its top executive.

On Thursday, the mining giant named Chief Financial Officer Jakob Stausholm as CEO. Stausholm will assume the role on January 1, the same day outgoing CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques is slated to step down.

Jacques resigned under pressure from investors in September over the company’s destruction of a 46,000-year-old sacred Indigenous site in Australia. It demolished the Juukan Gorge caves in Western Australia in May to expand an iron ore mine. Continue Reading →

New Caledonia’s triple opportunity – by Nic Maclellan (Inside Story – December 10, 2020)

Front Page

The young people gathered early in Noumea, preparing for action. Soon they had blocked the main road along the waterfront in New Caledonia’s capital with barricades, burning tires and rocks.

Riot police moved in, firing rounds of tear gas and flash balls to disperse the demonstrators, and hours of running battles between Kanak activists and police began.

The clash on 7 December followed a month of roadblocks and demonstrations across the French Pacific dependency of New Caledonia. The protests were called by the “Usine du Sud = Usine Pays” collective, which unites customary chiefs, environment groups, trade unionists and members of the independence coalition Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste, or FLNKS. Continue Reading →

Rio Should Make Restitution to Juukan Land Owners, Report Finds – by James Thornhill (Bloomberg News – December 9, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Rio Tinto Group should to agree a restitution package with traditional landowners over mine blasts this year that badly damaged two ancient Aboriginal heritage sites, Australian legislators recommended in a sweeping report after four months of hearings into the incident.

The inquiry’s interim report called on Rio, and all other mining companies operating in Western Australia, to put on hold any applications under a controversial section of the state’s indigenous heritage law that gives companies with mining rights permission to damage a site.

It also advised that the state government replace the law with stronger protections. “Rio Tinto’s role in this tragedy is inexcusable,” the report said. “Rio knew the value of what they were destroying but blew it up anyway.” Continue Reading →

Australian mining investor takes controlling position in Ring of Fire mine developer – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – December 8, 2020)

Western Australia’s intense interest in the exploration and mining potential of northwestern Ontario has now stretched north into the Ring of Fire.

Noront Resources, the leading mine developer in the James Bay region, landed a new “cornerstone” strategic partner in Wyloo Metals Pty., the mining division of Tattarang, one of Australia’s largest private investment groups.

They take over from Resources Capital Fund (RCF) as Noront’s biggest shareholder at nearly 38 per cent. Wyloo invests in operating mines and exploration projects in mostly nickel, copper, platinum group metals and potash in Western Australia. Continue Reading →

Corporate buyout threatens civil war in New Caledonia – by Hamish McDonald (Asia Times – December 8, 2020)


SYDNEY – As a long-running struggle between indigenous Kanaks seeking independence and well-off mostly white settlers wanting to stay with France nears its end-game in the South Pacific colony of New Caledonia, the ownership of its nickel industry has become a violent contest between the two camps.

This week, its capital Noumea – in pre-Covid times a languid tropical resort center where locals of all races played pétanque in its squares – was shrouded in black smoke from burning tires and cars as Kanak protestors set up barricades and police fired tear gas.

Dozens of protesters were arrested, and several police officers injured, Radio New Zealand reported. Continue Reading →

An all-out trade war with China would cost Australia 6% of GDP – by Rod Tyers and Yixiao Zhou (The Conversation – November 30, 2020)

China accounts for more than a third of export dollars earned by Australia. The figures, for the 12 months to October, cover the period of coronavirus disruptions and disputes over trade.

They apply to physical exports rather than harder to measure services, and are dominated by record high Chinese takings of Australian iron ore. But they mightn’t last.

China is changing, transitioning from growth driven by the iron-ore hungry expansion of cities and manufacturing to growth driven more by the supply of services. Continue Reading →

WA establishes battery taskforce – by Esmarie Iannucci ( – November 30, 2020)

PERTH ( – The Western Australian government on Monday named the members for its Future Battery Industry taskforce who will actively explore global opportunities to grow the state’s critical minerals industry.

The taskforce includes 19 mining companies, industry bodies and union groups, including BHP Nickel West, Lynas, Independence Group, Northern Minerals, Pilbara Minerals, Albemarle Lithium, Australian Vanadium, the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Amec), the Australian Manufacturing Worker’s Union, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy for Western Australia (CME) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, besides others. Continue Reading →

There’s $500 million of coal on anchored ships off China’s coast – by Aaron Clark and Kevin Varley (Bloomberg News – November 24, 2020)

More than $500 million worth of Australian coal is on ships anchored off Chinese ports, as a diplomatic spat between the two countries cuts into trade, idles a portion of the world’s dry bulk carriers and threatens to spiral into a humanitarian crisis.

More than 50 vessels have been waiting a month or longer to offload coal from Australia, according to separate analyses of shipping data conducted by Bloomberg and data intelligence firm Kpler.

There’s about 5.7 million tonnes of coal and approximately 1,000 seafarers on the anchored vessels, which are mostly Capesize and Panamax-sized vessels, according to Kpler. Continue Reading →

Pike River: The 29 coal miners who never came home – by Phil Mercer (BBC/Yahoo News – November 19, 2020)

The Pike River mining disaster was a tragedy that shocked the world. Twenty-nine men who were in the New Zealand coal mine died when it collapsed in a series of explosions. The BBC’s Phil Mercer covered the accident 10 years ago and has been talking to families of victims still coming to terms with their loss.

The day after his 17th birthday, Joseph Ray Dunbar began his first shift underground at the Pike River coal mine in New Zealand.

He was a “strong-minded boy” who wanted to carve his own path in life, but on that day in November 2010 he became the youngest victim of a mining disaster that killed 29 men. Continue Reading →

Barrick denies meddling in PNG political affairs ( – November 18, 2020)

orgera mine operator Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL) has dismissed claims that the company has meddled with Papua New Guinea’s political affairs and has said it will take legal action against individuals making false claims on social media platforms.

A number of statements on Facebook and other social media have alleged BNL’s involvement in the actions of Parliamentarians to move from the government to the opposition and attempts have been made to draw a link between the political events and the recent visit of Barrick CEO Mark Bristow to the country.

“Those statements are false, defamatory and the company will be taking civil and criminal action against the individuals who have made these irresponsible and false statements,” BNL said this week. Continue Reading →

Barrick looking to reopen Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea (Mining Technology – November 13, 2020)

Barrick Gold president Mark Bristow reportedly held discussions on royalty arrangements with landowners in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The latest move comes as the company seeks to ‘negotiate a reopening’ of the Porgera gold mine, Reuters reported citing landowners. The Porgera gold mine is located in Enga Province, 600km north-west of Port Moresby.

Barrick’s lease over the gold mine, which it operated alongside Zijin Mining, expired when PNG Prime Minister James Marape refused to extend it in April this year. Continue Reading →