Archive | Europe Mining

Electric Vehicle Revolution Goes Underground With Mine Truck – by Niclas Rolander (Bloomberg News – November 14, 2018)

Electric vehicles are reaching global markets far and wide — and deep. Swedish mining equipment maker Epiroc AB now aims to electrify all its underground machines within five years.

The manufacturer on Wednesday launched a new range, including what it says is the largest battery-powered vehicle for mining below the Earth’s surface: a 42 ton-capacity truck that can haul blasted rock through narrow tunnels. It’s part of the company’s latest series of mobile excavators, including drill rigs and loaders, designed to cut emissions and lower energy costs for miners.

Reducing the use of diesel fuel could have significant cost benefits for the industry: as much as 40 percent of an underground mine’s energy outlay is spent on powering gigantic ventilation systems to remove pollutants from tunnels. The push for electrified mining got a further boost last month from an industry lobby, the International Council on Mining and Metals, which plans to minimize the impact of underground diesel exhaust by 2025. Continue Reading →

Rusal appoints CEO, third-quarter profit up as sanctions postponed (Reuters U.S. – November 5, 2018)

HONG KONG/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian aluminum giant Rusal (0486.HK) has appointed a chief executive, it said on Monday, after reporting a 42 percent jump in third-quarter recurring net profit on the previous quarter as sanctions imposed by Washington were postponed.

The U.S. Treasury Department in April blacklisted billionaire Oleg Deripaska and eight companies in which he is a large shareholder, including aluminum exporter Rusal, citing “malign activities” by Russia.

The sanctions, the toughest since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, have been postponed several times as the United States considers excluding Rusal from the U.S. blacklist if Deripaska drops his control over the company. The deadline was last extended to Dec. 12. Continue Reading →

Explore the great Wieliczka salt mine in Poland – by Mpho Rantao (Independent Online – November 3, 2018)

There are mines for various metals and minerals that are located around the world (or rather around the African continent), but there is the occasional mine that offers something different to society – like a salt mine.

If you travel to the town of Wieliczka, located just outside of Krakow, you will find one of the town’s greatest treasure – the salt mine. Considered one of the biggest salt mines in the world, the Wieliczka salt mine was in operation from the 13th century, producing table salt and only stopped its main functioning in 2007.

The attractions of the mine include dozens of statues and four chapels carved out of the rock salt by the miners, as well as supplemental carvings made by contemporary artists. Continue Reading →

Russia’s Putin hails Alrosa as begins output at new diamond field (Reuters U.S. – October 31, 2018)

MOSCOW, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Russia’s Alrosa said on Wednesday it had begun production at its new Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field in eastern Siberia, which President Vladimir Putin said would reinforce the state-controlled firm’s position as a world leader.

Alrosa, which is already the largest producer of rough diamonds in carat terms, competes with Anglo American’s De Beers, the biggest seller of rough diamonds by value. Together, they produce a half of the world’s rough diamonds.

“The launch of this field will certainly reinforce the positions of Alrosa… as an international leader. It currently accounts for 27 percent of global diamond production,” President Vladimir Putin, who took part in the start-up ceremony via video link, was quoted as saying in the Kremlin statement. Continue Reading →

World’s Largest Diamond Producer Alrosa Joins De Beers’ Blockchain Pilot – by Marie Huillet (Coin – October 29, 2018)

The world’s largest diamond mining firm, Russia’s Alrosa, has joined the pilot of fellow industry giant De Beers’ diamond supply chain blockchain platform “Tracr,” mining industry news outlet Mining Weekly reports Oct. 29.

Alrosa is reported to be the world’s largest producer of raw diamonds in carat terms; together with De Beers, the two firms produce around half of the world’s supply. In Q3 2018, the firm’s rough diamond sales rose 12 percent year-on-year to $949 million in value, even as sales in carats declined.

Tracr, whose pilot was first announced in January, aims to improve transparency and consumer trust across the diamond value chain from mine to retail. Continue Reading →

Spain to close most coalmines in €250m transition deal – by Arthure Neslen (The Guardian – October 26, 2018)

Spain is to shut down most of its coalmines by the end of the year after government and unions struck a deal that will mean €250m (£221m) will be invested in mining regions over the next decade.

Pedro Sánchez’s new leftwing administration has moved quickly on environmental policy, abolishing a controversial “sunshine tax” on the solar industry, and announcing the launch of Spain’s long-delayed national climate plan next month.

Unions hailed the mining deal – which covers Spain’s privately owned pits – as a model agreement. It mixes early retirement schemes for miners over 48, with environmental restoration work in pit communities and re-skilling schemes for cutting-edge green industries. Continue Reading →

Blood coal: Ireland’s dirty secret – by Noel Healy (The Guardian – October 25, 2018)

Burning coal is the single largest contributor to global climate breakdown. Human rights violations at the sites of fossil fuel extraction are often hidden.

The connections between County Clare, Ireland and La Guajira, Colombia may not be entirely obvious at first glance. Yet the regions are linked through a shared commodity: coal. Extracted in one region and burned in the other.

Coal extraction in La Guajira has a dirty secret, which I’ve witnessed first-hand: it is connected to a system of production entrenched in violence, bloodshed and environmental destruction.

Since 2001, almost 90% of coal burned at Moneypoint power station in County Clare in the west of Ireland has come from Colombia. Two-thirds of it was purchased from Cerrejón mine in Colombia’s northern department of La Guajira. Continue Reading →

A Push for Safer Fertilizer in Europe Carries a Whiff of Russian Intrigue – by Matt Apuzzo (New York Times – October 21, 2018)

BRUSSELS — The trade group Safer Phosphates would seem to have a pitch-perfect message for an environmentally conscious European Union. It advocates cleaner soil and healthier food, with a website showing pristine fields of wheat. It is also supporting legislation that would place tighter regulations on fertilizer.

But the group is not run by environmentalists. Its driving force is a Russian fertilizer giant that has ties to the Kremlin. And the environmental legislation it is backing would reset regulations in a way that could help the company, PhosAgro, push aside rivals and give it greater influence over the European food supply.

Fertilizer might not seem an obvious source of geopolitical tension. But with Moscow working openly and covertly to widen its sphere of power, the prospect of a politically connected Russian company cornering a key part of the European agricultural market has raised sharp concerns. Russia already wields tremendous clout as the European Union’s dominant provider of natural gas and as a growing source of nuclear fuel. Continue Reading →

Scotland closer to having its first commercial gold mine – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – October 18, 2018)

Scotland is one step closer to having its first commercial gold and silver mine as Scotgold Resources (LON: SGZ) said Thursday it had submitted the last application to secure planning permits for its Cononish project, near Tyndrum.

The company, which has decided to liquidate its French subsidiary, said that it had worked with the Trossachs National Park Planning Authority (NPA) to secure all the necessary licences required for planning approval, adding it expects a formal decision soon.

Scotgold is anticipating a number of conditions, but said that it had made the necessary preparations to deal with them “as promptly as possible”. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Spain to block Berkeley uranium mine project – sources – by Belén Carreño (Reuters U.S. – October 16, 2018)

MADRID (Reuters) – The Spanish government has decided not to deliver the permits necessary to open the European Union’s only open-cast uranium mine near Salamanca, dealing a serious blow to Australian mining company Berkeley Energia’s (BKY.AX) plans.

The project was granted preliminary approval in early 2013 but has since faced local opposition. Berkeley later requested a trading halt on its shares, which fell nearly 29 percent in Australian trading hours on Tuesday, citing media articles about the Salamanca mine.

The company asked the Australian Securities Exchange to suspend trading until it released a statement on the Salamanca mine or until the opening of trade on Oct. 19, whichever came first, according to the letter sent to the regulator. Continue Reading →

Why ‘pit brow lasses’ were coal mining’s unsung heroines – by Helen Pidd (The Guardian – October 14, 2018)

It is thought of as the ultimate man’s world, a sooty-faced fraternity deep under ground. But it is a little-known fact that many women also worked in Britain’s coal mines, doing crucial jobs to keep the collieries in operation.

The role of “tip girls” or “pit brow lasses” in the coal industry has largely gone unnoticed in history books, with women portrayed as wives or mothers, sitting at home.

A new exhibition at the Mining Art Gallery in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, challenges this long-accepted view. Breaking Ground: Women of the Northern Coal Fields tells the stories of women in the 19th -century mining industry via paintings and archive material, proving they did far more than wash their husbands’ sooty overalls. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: European Battery Alliance Q&A (European Commission – Fact Sheet – October 15, 2018)

Why does the EU need to produce batteries instead of importing them?

The battery will represent a high proportion of the value added in the car of the future. Since the car industry is a major player in the European economy, our aim is to retain as much of the value creation in Europe as possible.

If battery production is primarily sourced from third countries, European manufacturers will be vulnerable to disturbances in the supply chain. At the same time, Europe will have less influence over standards setting to minimise the environmental impact of battery manufacture.

Currently, the EU has no capability to mass produce battery cells. Europe relies on battery cells from foreign, mainly Asian suppliers. The lack of European cell manufacturing base puts the EU at a competitive disadvantage – it jeopardises the position of EU’s industry because of security of supply chain issues and increases costs due to transportation, time delays, weaker quality control or limitation on the design.

Europe has what it takes to become a world leader in sustainable battery technology. Continue Reading →

Germany Finds Local Coal Filthy and Irresistible – by Michelle Hackman (Wall Street Journal – October 10, 2018)

Nation promotes clean energy while miners keep digging; a village awaits its demolition

PÖDELWITZ, Germany—On the surface, this medieval idyll of timber-framed houses resembles most villages dotting the landscape of this rural, thinly populated region of Eastern Germany.

But empty streets, overgrown lawns and silence reveal a ghost town. Three years ago, most of the village’s 140 residents agreed to leave, accepting an offer from local mining company Mibrag mbH of new homes, moving costs and an additional €75,000 ($86,000).

The company, whose open-pit mine has swallowed up much of Pödelwitz’s surroundings, wants to dig up the hamlet so it can continue excavating brown coal, a cheap, plentiful and highly polluting fossil fuel. Unless, that is, Pödelwitz’s 27 remaining residents have their way. Continue Reading →

Poland’s power from coal seen down at 50 percent by 2040 – government official – by Nina Chestney (Reuters U.S. – October 2, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – Half of Poland’s electricity generation will come from coal by 2040 though coal production should remain at current levels as energy demand is expected to increase, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Poland and Germany are jointly responsible for over half of the EU’s carbon dioxide emissions from coal. Currently, around 80 percent of Poland’s power production is provided by coal-fired plant generation. It aims to cut that to half by 2040, with renewables and nuclear providing much of the rest and gas-fired generation providing back-up.

Earlier this year, Poland said it planned to lower the share of coal in its energy production to 60 percent in 2030 and around 50 percent in 2050. Continue Reading →

Randgold’s hook-up with Barrick to leave large void in London market – by Clara Denina and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – October 2, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – A tie-up between Randgold Resources and Barrick Gold will leave a void in the London market for investors seeking exposure to gold via companies that produce the precious metal.

Canada’s Barrick Gold has agreed to buy Africa-focused Randgold for $6.5 billion to create the world’s largest gold producer. It intends to list its shares in the new, enlarged company in New York and Toronto.

Randgold, listed in London for 21 years, is the second mining company to announce its departure from the British capital’s stock exchange in three months following Vedanta Resources. Continue Reading →