Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

Trafigura, New Caledonia group complete takeover of Vale’s Goro nickel, cobalt unit – by Diana Kinch (S&P Global – March 31, 2021)

London — The Prony Resources New Caledonia consortium announced March 31 it has completed acquisition of Vale Canada’s Nouvelle-Calédonie S.A.S. (VNC) nickel and cobalt operation. Prony Resources is owned by New Caledonia entities together with international commodities trader Trafigura.

Operations at Prony Resources recommenced in the week of March 28 with the restart of nickel production expected mid-April, the company said in a statement.

The operation, designed to produce up to 57,000 mt/year of processed nickel, with cobalt as a byproduct, is believed to have been at a standstill since mid-December 2020, following protests by independence activists on the Southwest Pacific French island territory of New Caledonia. Prior to this it had been producing below capacity. Continue Reading →

Top Nickel Miner Vale Turns Page on 14-Year New Caledonia Foray – by James Attwood (Bloomberg News – March 31, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Vale SA, the biggest producer of mined nickel, closed a deal to divest its underperforming New Caledonian mine to a group that includes the operation’s managers and workers.

The divestment will allow operations to continue and gives Vale the right to a portion of output amid growing demand for the battery metal, Rio de Janeiro-based Vale said in a statement Wednesday.

Tesla Inc. will support the operation through a “technical and industrial partnership” with the consortium, called Prony Resources. Continue Reading →

Vale sells New Caledonia nickel assets to Trafigura – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – March 31, 2021)

Vale (NYSE: VALE) said on Wednesday it had concluded the sale of its nickel and cobalt operations in New Caledonia, a French territory in the Pacific, to a consortium called Prony, which includes commodity trader Trafigura.

While the Brazilian miner did not disclose the exact terms of the deal, it said that $1.1 billion will be invested in the New Caledonia assets, with $555 million coming from its subsidiary Vale Canada Ltd.

“Vale’s intent from the beginning of the divestment process was to withdraw from New Caledonia in an orderly and responsible manner. This deal accomplishes that,” chief executive Eduardo Bartolomeo said in the statement. Continue Reading →

Opening of Cassini mine marks start of new era for Kambalda’s historic nickel mining industry – by Jarrod Lucas (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – March 29, 2021)

WA’s Mines Minister Bill Johnston will officially open a new nickel mine at Kambalda today, more than 50 years after the town was put on the map by the discovery of Australia’s first nickel mine.

The Cassini underground mine is Kambalda’s first new nickel development in two decades — since the Miitel mine began production in the year 2000.

More than 200 jobs have been created since September’s decision by Perth-based miner Mincor Resources to green light its $98 million restart plan for Kambalda’s once-booming nickel industry. Continue Reading →

Coal markets roiled as Australia’s flood crisis worsens – by Jason Scott (Bloomberg/Moneyweb – March 23, 2021)

The deluge that’s inundating Australia’s eastern states is hampering shipments from the world’s biggest coal export terminal.

Heavy rainfall and damaging winds are expected to continue on Tuesday, including in the key coal regions of the Hunter Valley and the Port of Newcastle. That is likely to see prices of the power-station fuel extend Monday’s climb to a two-year high, as coal in Europe also gained on the news.

Overnight there were 870 rescue operations in New South Wales state, as dams overflowed and catchments flooded. A further 15 000 people may be evacuated today, after 18 000 people were forced to leave their homes on Monday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters earlier today. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Evolution Mining doubles down on Red Lake; makes $343-million play for Battle North Gold – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 16, 2021)

Evolution Mining Ltd. is offering $343-million to buy Battle North Gold Corp. in a friendly transaction that would see the Australian miner double down on Ontario’s Red Lake gold district.

Melbourne-based Evolution is offering $2.65 a share in cash for Battle North, a 45-per-cent premium to Friday’s close. Battle North is urging its investors to vote for the deal in a coming shareholder vote, saying the acquisition reduces the execution risk of getting its Bateman gold mine into production.

Toronto-based Battle North has spent the past few years resurrecting an underground gold project with a notorious past. About five years ago, a previous iteration of the company, Rubicon Minerals Corp., rushed the project into production, with only a preliminary engineering study in hand. Continue Reading →

Entire villages would be wiped out if natural disaster hit dam on PNG mine, critics say – by Lyanne Togiba and Ben Doherty (The Guardian – March 14, 2021)

A proposed dam to hold billions of tonnes of mine waste near the head of Papua New Guinea’s longest river is a potential environmental disaster that could wipe out entire villages if there was a natural disaster, government officials, environmental advocacy groups and villagers living along the river say.

The Frieda River gold and copper mine – slated for development by Chinese state-owned, Australian-based miner PanAust for northern New Guinea island – would be the largest mine in PNG’s history, and one of the biggest in the world.

Part of the mine’s proposal would be a 12,000ha reservoir built to hold more than 4.6bn tonnes of waste rock and mine tailings. The reservoir would hold 9.6bn cubic metres of water – twice the size of Sydney harbour – and the embankment built to hold it would be 187 metres high. Continue Reading →

Ripples from Juukan: WA traditional owners back Arizona tribe fighting Rio Tinto – by Hamish Hastie (Sydney Morning Herald – March 8, 2021)

The Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people have thrown their support behind a North American first nations tribe locked in a battle with a Rio Tinto-owned copper miner.

San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona have fought Resolution Copper’s plans to build one of the world’s biggest copper mines on sacred land known as Oak Flat for a decade, but regulators have supported the land swap necessary for the mine to go ahead.

Resolution Copper is a joint subsidiary of Australian miners BHP and Rio Tinto, with the latter company drawing international condemnation in May 2020 after destroying the Juukan Gorge rock shelters to expand its Brockman 4 mine. The rock shelters contained evidence of 46,000 years of human habitation. Continue Reading →

Tesla partners with nickel mine amid shortage fears (BBC News – March 5, 2021)

Tesla has decided to become a technical partner in a nickel mine – which is needed for lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars.

Elon Musk’s car firm will also buy nickel from the Goro mine on the small Pacific island of New Caledonia to secure its long-term supply. The move comes amid growing concerns about future supplies of nickel.

New Caledonia is the world’s fourth largest nickel producer, which has seen a 26% rally in prices in the past year. Continue Reading →

Vale returns to profit, eyes ‘dramatic opportunity’ for nickel – by Staff (Mining Journal – March 2, 2021)

Adjusted EDITDA rose 20% to $4.2 billion, after $4.8 billion in expenses of which $3.9 billion was related to the R37.7 billion (US$7 billion) Brumadinho settlement reached in January.

Vale’s ferrous minerals division achieved its second largest adjusted EBITDA of $8.8 billion, thanks to a 17% rise in realised prices and 26% higher sales volumes compared with the third quarter.

It put its iron ore fines and pellets C1 cash cost ex-third party purchases up slightly, quarter-on-quarter, at $12.70/t, while the cash cost (ex-ROM, ex-royalties) FOB was $15.30/t. Continue Reading →

Les Kanaks en marche: A French Pacific territory gets a pro-independence government (The Economist – February 18, 2021)

Governments come and go in New Caledonia, a French territory of 270,000 in the south Pacific. There have been 16 since 1998, when the French government and local politicians signed the Nouméa Accord, a power-sharing deal that aimed to end violent agitation for independence.

The new government named this week, however, stands out. It is the first dominated by pro-independence parties, with six of 11 ministers. That, in turn, means New Caledonia should soon have its first indigenous and first pro-independence president.

The indigenous Kanaks, although the largest ethnic group, are less than half the population. (Europeans and migrants from other parts of the Pacific are most of the rest.) Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto’s New CEO Looks to Take More Risks – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – February 17, 2021)

SYDNEY—The new chief executive officer of Rio Tinto PLC wants to change a risk-averse culture at the world’s second-largest mining company that could see it pursue commodities vital to the energy transition more aggressively.

Jakob Stausholm said mining companies had become too cautious after overpaying for deals around a decade ago during a rush to feed China with metals and minerals vital to its industrialization, which left them vulnerable to hefty asset write-downs when commodity prices fell.

Facing an investor backlash at the time, companies including Rio Tinto moved to prioritize dividends to shareholders and buying back shares over deals or investments in new mines that could turn sour. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore’s Rally Shields BHP From Pain of China Trade Dispute – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – February 16, 2021)

SYDNEY—As ships with its coal remain stranded at sea because of a diplomatic dispute between Australia and China, BHP Group Ltd. showed another side of the trade relationship with its best underlying profit in seven years as it rode a rally in iron-ore prices.

BHP reported a $6.04 billion profit before exceptional items for the six months through December, up 16% compared with a year ago, as China’s big bet on infrastructure spending to drive its economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic stoked demand for iron ore.

The company also declared a record half-year dividend of $1.01 a share. Prices of iron ore, used to make steel, recently surged to a nine-year high of $176.90 a metric ton. Continue Reading →

Traditional owners go mining, bypass iron ore giants – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – February 12, 2021)

The newest player in the lucrative Pilbara iron ore industry also happens to be the region’s oldest.

Fed up with mining companies that don’t adequately care for their country and cultural heritage, the traditional owners of Australia’s busiest iron ore mining district are taking matters, and drill rigs, into their own hands.

In a stark illustration of the changing relationship between Australia’s biggest export industry and the nation’s original inhabitants, the Eastern Guruma people have established their own mining company and applied for nine exploration permits within their native title area. Continue Reading →

Northern Territory sinks seabed mining plans (Australian Mining – February 8, 2021)


The Northern Territory Government has decided not to lift a ban on seabed mining in its waters following a public consultation last October.

The territory has kept a moratorium on seabed mining activities since 2012, which was due to expire on March 5, but will now be extended for up to another six months.

There are very few seabed mining projects globally and the mining activity has never been undertaken in the Northern Territory. Continue Reading →