Archive | Copper

Twin Metals changes its plan to deal with mine waste — to a strategy lauded by some environmentalists – by Walker Orenstein (Minn Post – July 18, 2019)

https://www.minnpost.com/

The safety of storing mining waste in a tailings basin has been a critical part of the debate over copper-nickel mining in northern Minnesota, with some environmental advocates warning that failures and spills could unleash toxic slurry into nearby waters.

Now, in a major shift, one of two companies hoping to build a copper-nickel mine says it plans to store much of its waste using a “dry stack” method, an emerging technology that many of the same environmental nonprofits — and some mining experts — argue will better prevent water pollution.

Twin Metals Minnesota, which plans to mine just outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, said Thursday it would abandon its plan to use a tailings basin, which entails waste rock being covered in a pond held back by a dam. Continue Reading →

Send in the troops: Congo raises the stakes on illegal mining – by Aaron Ross (Reuters U.S. – July 17, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

DAKAR (Reuters) – A Congolese army officer arrived in the village of Kafwaya in June and warned residents not to trespass on a major Chinese copper and cobalt mine next door. As night fell about a week later, the soldiers moved in.

“They didn’t say anything to anyone,” said Fabien Ilunga, an official in Kafwaya, which is home to thousands of miners eking out a living by illegally exploiting the nearby mineral resources. “The army started to burn down the tarpaulin houses.”

Deploying soldiers to clear tens of thousands of illegal informal miners from mining concessions is a new approach by the authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo, who have wrestled with the problem for decades. Continue Reading →

Column: Copper concentrates tightness threatens benchmark pricing – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – July 18, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – The copper market may be stuck in a well-worn trading range but there is plenty of action unfolding in the mine concentrates segment of the copper supply chain.

China’s copper smelters have just slashed their minimum charges for converting concentrates into refined metal. The 10-member China Smelters Purchase Team (CSPT) has set treatment and refining charges at $55.00 per tonne and 5.5 cents per lb respectively for third-quarter deliveries.

That’s down from $73 and 7.3 cents in the second quarter and from $92 and 9.2 cents in the first quarter. It is now sufficiently low to cause margin distress for higher-cost smelters. Tumbling treatment charges reflect a tightening market for copper raw material. Continue Reading →

Rockcliff gears up to drill in Snow Lake – by Stan Sudol (Northern Miner – July 15, 2019)

Rockcliff Metal’s founder Ken LaPierre at the 2019 PDAC Mining Convention. A $29 Million financing has turbo-charged junior Rockcliff Metals, which plans to complete over 100,000 metres of exploration drilling over next 18 months. Rockcliff is the 2nd largest landholder in the legendary Flin Flon/Snow Lake greenstone belt in Northern Manitoba after HudBay Minerals. (Photo by Stan Sudol)

Northern Miner

At the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in Toronto in March 2018, Rockcliff Metals (CSE: RCLF) was a struggling junior with a large land package in the lesser known but geologically rich Flin Flon–Snow Lake (FF–SL) greenstone belt, with eight high-grade, base-metal volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits and five gold properties.

It began as a tough year for Rockcliff, and it turned even rougher the week before the PDAC convention, when Kenneth Lapierre, Rockcliff’s president and CEO at the time, slipped on freshly fallen snow when taking out the garbage at home.

Not thinking much about his sore ankle, the six-foot-three-inch, former hockey-playing, karate-practising jock then started shovelling the driveway. Twelve hours later, the swelling and pain in his ankle demanded a trip to the doctor, where he learned that it was broken, and that he had torn all the soft tissue. Continue Reading →

‘Bisbee ’17’ Documents Dark History Of Mass Deportations In Arizona Mining Town – by Robin Young (WBUR.org – July 15, 2019)

 

https://www.wbur.org/

More than a century ago, nearly 2,000 copper miners — most of them immigrants — were deported from Bisbee, Arizona, to the desert of New Mexico. Those who survived the deportation were banned from returning.

At that point 1917, copper was critical for Americans fighting abroad during World War I. The miners, who were underpaid and worked in dangerous conditions, had joined the Industrial Workers of the World, which threatened a strike. Some residents saw the workers as communists who were undermining the war effort.

Authorized by the sheriff, residents dragged workers and their sympathizers from homes and businesses, forced them into cattle cars and deported them miles from town. Continue Reading →

Breakingviews – Rio sounds copper warning from Mongolian steppe – by Clara Ferreira-Marques (Reuters U.S. – July 16, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) – Rio Tinto has sounded a copper warning from the Mongolian steppe. The $104 billion mining giant says its flagship Oyu Tolgoi expansion in the country’s south will be up to 30 months late, and could cost as much as a third more than planned.

That’s a fresh blow to a project that has been battered by local politics and other troubles for years. It’s also a reminder of just how hard it has become to dig up the coveted red metal.

Oyu Tolgoi is critical for Rio’s growth, but also to its shift towards the ingredients for a greener economy. Currently, iron ore constitutes almost three-quarters of group earnings. When this mine’s underground operation is added to the existing pit, it will be one of the world’s largest sources of copper, and account for a gargantuan proportion of Mongolia’s GDP. Continue Reading →

Key permit for copper project in Peru fuels fears of new round of unrest – by Marco Aquino (Reuters U.S. – July 10, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LIMA (Reuters) – Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra’s decision to grant a green light for a long-delayed copper project is emerging as a key test of his ability to ease opposition to mining that has derailed billions in investments in the world’s No. 2 producer.

Opponents of Southern Copper Corp’s $1.4 billion proposed Tia Maria mine readied plans on Wednesday for an indefinite strike, a day after Vizcarra’s government granted the company a construction license that two of his predecessors had declined to issue.

Tia Maria is expected to add 120,000 tonnes of copper annually to Southern Copper’s production portfolio at the “very competitive cash cost” of $1 per pound, Moody’s Investors Service said. Continue Reading →

Hudbay CEO steps down after weathering Waterton proxy fight – by Danielle Bochove and Aoyon Ashraf (Bloomberg News – July 10, 2019)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

Just months after withstanding a hard-fought proxy battle, the chief executive officer of Hudbay Minerals Inc. is leaving the Toronto-based miner.

Alan Hair, who has been with the company for more than 20 years, has stepped down, the company said Wednesday in a statement. Board member Peter Kukielski will step in as interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

It’s been a tumultuous year for Hudbay, which saw one its largest shareholders, Waterton Global Resource Management, wage a public battle for sweeping changes to the miner, including, originally, Hair’s resignation. Waterton had sought to install Kukielski as CEO. Continue Reading →

Clean water or mining pollution for the nation’s favorite wilderness? – by Mike Dombeck (The Hill – July 8, 2019)

https://thehill.com/

When you picture wilderness, the first thing that comes to mind may be the shoreline of a clean, unpolluted lake. Which is reasonable given the protections we provide to national wilderness areas.

But that is likely to change if the Trump administration and Twin Metals Minnesota have their way. Twin Metals is a mining firm owned by Chilean conglomerate Antofagasta.

The aggressive push by the Trump administration to force approval of a sulfide-ore copper and nickel mine in northern Minnesota’s Superior National Forest will almost certainly pollute the waters of the nation’s third largest National Forest and vast Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The administration recently announced renewal of two mining leases for Twin Metals. Continue Reading →

Taseko Mines seeking court injunction after First Nation members block work at Fish Lake – by Andrea Woo (Globe and Mail – July 4, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

A B.C. mining company is seeking a court injunction after its crew was blocked from beginning work this week on a controversial open-pit mine near Fish Lake, also known as Teztan Biny.

Brian Battison, vice-president of corporate affairs for Taseko Mines Ltd., said the company has no other choice but to pursue the authoritative option after members of the Tsilhqot’in Nation blockaded access to the site on Tuesday. “What else can you do but rely on the law?” Mr. Battison said Wednesday.

The roadblock was set up roughly 80 kilometres from the site of the proposed New Prosperity copper and gold mine project, southwest of Williams Lake. When Taseko crews arrived on Tuesday, members of the Tsilhqot’in Nation told them they did not have access to the site. Continue Reading →

‘Poverty-driven’ artisanal mining in spotlight after tragedy hits Canadian miner’s Congo property – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – June 29, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

‘You need to find alternative ways for these guys to work’

The death of dozens of artisanal miners in Congo on the property of a Toronto-Stock Exchange-listed Canadian company highlights the fraught relationship between overseas mining companies and local communities.

At least 43 artisanal miners have reportedly died while digging for cobalt — a vital metal for the batteries found in smartphones, tablets and electric cars — on a spot of ground that overlooks Katanga Mining Ltd.’s vast Kamoto Copper Complex.

Throughout much of Africa and other parts of the world, artisanal miners are often found near mines, taking grave risks to scour tailings or waste rock in search of valuable metals. Their numbers appear to be growing, along with tragic accidents, which has provoked questions and challenges for mining companies. Continue Reading →

[Bougainville/Copper] Mining Hopes for Independence – by Geoff Hiscock (U.S. News – July 1, 2019)

https://www.usnews.com/

A copper quarry helps fuel Bougainville’s hopes for separation from Papua New Guinea, a move that would resonate across the Pacific.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — THE Pacific island of Bougainville is moving a step closer to potential independence from Papua New Guinea as preparations begin for a long-promised referendum later this year.

Whether it can survive as a stand-alone nation is a key question for its 250,000 inhabitants, and for other separatist movements in the Pacific. The future course of the island could ripple across the region, as the question of Bougainville’s independence will touch on a complicated mixture of business concerns, environmental worries and geopolitical interests stretching from Australia and New Zealand to China, Japan and the United States.

It’s an outsized international role for Bougainville, which lies 900 kilometers (560 miles) east of the Papua New Guinea mainland. The roots of the referendum stem from a bitter inter-clan and separatist conflict that ran from 1988 to 1997, fighting that claimed between 10,000 and 20,000 lives through a combination of violence, disease, poverty and dislocation. Continue Reading →

OUR VIEWS: GLENCORE TRAGEDY SHOWS WHY MINING SHOULD BE DONE HERE (Mesabi Daily News – June 29, 2019)

https://www.virginiamn.com/

As news filtered out Thursday that Glencore had established itself as the majority shareholder of PolyMet, which is looking to build Minnesota’s first-ever copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes, devastating headlines about the Swiss-based company were also breaking.

At least 43 “illegal miners” died at a Kamoto Copper Company mine, operated by Glencore’s subsidiary Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Glencore later said the incidents were not linked to the official “operations and activities” of the mine.

While clandestine miners, who access sites without approval or permits, are a common occurrence in Congo and across Africa according to Reuters, the incident raises several questions in light of Glencore’s new role on the Iron Range. Continue Reading →

CORRECTED-Glencore’s Congo tragedy highlights security conundrum for miners – by Edward McAllister and Mitra Taj (Reuters Africa – June 30, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

DAKAR/LIMA, June 30 (Reuters) – The deaths of 43 illegal miners at a Glencore facility in Congo last week highlighted a growing challenge for mining companies struggling to secure sites from small-scale prospectors digging for cobalt, copper and other minerals.

Many mines span hundreds of square kilometers across rural terrains, a tantalizing prospect for illegal miners, also known as artisanal miners, who break into sites in search of metals, some of which end up in electric cars and other products.

But even as last Thursday’s tragedy ratcheted up pressure on companies to make changes to security and community outreach, industry consultants and analysts say the task will be difficult given the geographic constraints and economic challenges faced by the world’s estimated 40 million artisanal miners. Continue Reading →

Protesters oppose Minnesota mine at PolyMet AGM in Toronto (CBC News – June 26, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/

Groups say Canadian-owned copper-nickel mine is threat to water flowing into Lake Superior watershed

Human rights and environmental groups protested at the PolyMet annual general meeting Wednesday over a proposed copper-nickel mine recently approved in Minnesota, about 50 kilometres from the Canadian border.

Ottawa-based PolyMet has recently obtained final state permits to move ahead with construction of the NorthMet mining complex, which would have three new open pits, waste rock heaps, and a permanent tailings waste dump on a site in the St. Louis River watershed which drains into Lake Superior.

The activists are concerned over the risk of tailings spills which could harm a sensitive watershed, kill fish and affect Indigenous wild rice beds. Representatives from Amnesty International Canada are framing it as a rights issue, pointing to the Mount Polley mine disaster in B.C. when a dam failure sent toxic tailings into a watershed used by Indigenous people. Continue Reading →