Archive | Europe Mining

Britain set to decide on new coal mine this month – developer – by Susanna Twidale (Reuters U.K. – April 1, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Banks Mining said it expects an end this month to its near four-year wait to see whether it can develop a coal mine in northeastern England, after it received a letter from the government department responsible outlining its time frame.

Northumberland County Council agreed in 2016 that the developer, a division of The Banks Group, could extract 3 million tonnes of coal by cutting an open cast, or surface, mine near Druridge Bay, Highthorn.

But the local government minister at the time, Sajid Javid, rejected the application following a public inquiry, saying the proposal could hamper the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change. Continue Reading →

Covid-19 robs diamond sector of recovery hopes – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 1, 2020)

The rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic has quashed diamond miners’ dawning hopes of a recovery in a sector severely hit by weak prices and demand since late 2018.

The market began suffering from the effects of the covid-19 spread in early March and measures to contain it has already pushed De Beers, the world’s largest producer by value, to cancel its April sales event.

Russia’s Alrosa, the world’s No.1 producer by carats, is studying options for online trade as global travel restrictions make traditional physical inspection of gemstones almost impossible. Continue Reading →

World’s Rich Stuggling to Get Hold of Gold in ‘Crazy’ Moment – by Ben Stupples (Bloomberg/Financial Post – March 25, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Ludwig Karl is stuck at home, worried about his elderly relatives. All the while his business is booming. He’s a board member of Swiss Gold Safe Ltd., an operator of high-security vaults in the Alps that’s storing growing sums of precious metals for wealthy foreigners as the Covid-19 pandemic worsens.

The company usually helps customers buy gold, but governments have closed scores of businesses amid the crisis, making it increasingly difficult for people to get their hands on the physical product.

“It’s absolutely crazy what’s going on,” Karl said. “Right now, if somebody wants to buy gold, I wish them all the best in finding it. Most of the bullion dealers are closed.” Continue Reading →

Alrosa CEO says virus outbreak affects 2020 sales outlook – by Mariaan Webb ( – March 11, 2020)

The outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus, Covid-19, has weighed on diamond demand in February and will negatively impact on Alrosa’s sales outlook for 2020, CEO Sergey Ivanov said on Wednesday.

The Russian miner reported rough and polished diamond sales of $346.4-million in February, down 14% on January’s sales. “Though our January and February sales were healthy, currently we are seeing a decrease in demand,” Ivanov said in a transcript of a conference call, published on its website.

Alrosa had given its customers additional flexibility in terms of sales in March, he said, adding that the group would have to wait and see how the situation played out in April and May. Continue Reading →

Special Report: Sleeping Beauty – How suspect gold reached top brands – by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, Mitra Taj and Peter Hobson (Reuters U.S. – March 2020)

LA RINCONADA, Peru (Reuters) – From the Andes mountains, thousands of artisanal gold-diggers for years sent fragments of metal to a Swiss valley. There, a refinery purified the gold to sell to banks, watchmakers, fine jewelers and electronics companies. It circulated as ingots, phones and trinkets – some branded with names including Apple and Tiffany & Co.

A trade worth billions of dollars, it was championed by the Swiss refinery, Metalor Technologies, as part of a program with Peru’s government to integrate gold prospectors into the economy.

In early 2018, Metalor stopped taking the gold. The reason: It couldn’t be sure where the metal came from. Peruvian prosecutors had come to suspect Metalor’s main supplier was a front used by criminals to filter illegally produced gold into the world market. Continue Reading →

Ex-boxer mayor seeks EU green funds to get Polish coal town off the ropes – by Agnieszka Barteczko (Reuters U.S. – March 3, 2020)

BYTOM, Poland (Reuters) – As a teenager, Mariusz Wolosz was a promising boxer in Bytom in southern Poland, where his club was funded by one of the city’s many coal mines.

When the mines began closing in the 1990s, however, so did the club, halting Wolosz’s boxing career and condemning his once-bustling hometown to decades of poverty and decline.

Today, as Bytom’s mayor, Wolosz is fighting again, this time for a share of a new European Union fund designed to shift coal-dependent regions towards a greener economy. Continue Reading →

The search for Kolar’s gold – by Shrabonti Bagchi (Live Mint – February 29, 2020)

A multimedia project explores the lives and music of Cornish miners who made Kolar, in Karnataka, their home in the early 20th century

One rainy evening in the summer of 2018 in Cornwall, UK, Laura Garcia was watching a documentary about Indian music on the BBC, wondering if there was any link between this tiny part of England—with its distinctive culture and language—and India. Curious, she did a Google search.

Garcia wasn’t expecting to find anything but after a few pages of inconclusive results, she stumbled upon a cursory mention of Cornish miners making their way to a small town in southern India to work in the country’s only gold fields in the early 20th century. The find kicked off an obsession for Garcia, a member of Cornishfolk band The Rowan Tree.

The history and movement of the Cornish diaspora is well documented but the stories of the miners who went to the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), now in Karnataka, are not as well known as, say, the histories of those who went to Australia or Canada. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Russia’s Nornickel warns of coronavirus risks, reports leap in profit (Reuters U.S. – February 26, 2020)

MOSCOW, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) said on Wednesday it expected uncertain times ahead in two of its key markets — nickel and copper — as the coronavirus outbreak continues to disrupt both demand and supply.

The company, which reported 2019 net profit up 95% compared to the previous year, said the outbreak, which originated in China, made the future health of these markets hard to predict.

“The Chinese government restrictions on mobility, extended work holidays and mandatory closures have imposed a significant disruption to the supply chain and already had a significant impact on end consumption,” Nornickel said, referring to nickel markets. Continue Reading →

Europe Floors It in the Race to Dominate Car Batteries – by Laura Millan Lombrana, Chris Reiter and Richard Weiss (Bloomberg News – February 19, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Outside the German town of Arnstadt, workers for China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) are hustling to build Europe’s biggest electric-car battery plant.

The site, which covers an area equivalent to about 100 football fields, previously housed one of the continent’s largest solar-panel factories. During a visit in October, wooden crates filled with surplus equipment were stacked up outside the metal-clad structure to make way for car-battery-making equipment. Roaring bulldozers swarmed a nearby lot to prep for construction of a new building.

The $2 billion project—one of about a half dozen battery factories under construction in Germany alone—worries European policymakers, who are desperate to ensure their auto industry doesn’t lose competitiveness in the transition to electric vehicles. Continue Reading →

Miners at Poland’s biggest coal group protest over pay, energy plans (Reuters U.S. – February 17, 2020)

KATOWICE, Poland, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Miners at Poland’s biggest coal producer, state-run PGG, staged a two-hour strike early on Monday, warning they will not renounce demands for a 12% pay rise and a clear national energy plan guaranteeing a future role for coal.

The protest comes as PGG grapples with falling demand for coal and EU pressure to fight climate change.

“We hope that this week we can meet with the government representatives, because the issue of a salary rise is still unsolved. We also want to know what Poland’s future energy mix will look like,” said Boguslaw Hutek, the head of coal trade union Solidarity. Continue Reading →

Poland puts Polish coal first; halts imports: minister – by Agnieszka Barteczko (Reuters U.S. – February 4, 2020)

WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish state-run power producers will halt coal imports, State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin said on Tuesday, after protests by mining trade unions over foreign supplies they say are a threat to the domestic industry.

Poland generates most of its electricity from coal, but domestic output has fallen because of cost-cutting and geological problems in old mines, which had led to higher imports, mostly from Russia.

Last week around 100 miners blocked trains carrying coal to a power plant in the southern town of Laziska Gorne in protest at imports from Russia by state-run energy groups, including PGE and Tauron. Continue Reading →

INSIGHT-Struggling state-owned firms hold Balkan economies back – by Daria Sito-Sucic (Reuters Africa – January 30, 2020)

MOSTAR, Bosnia, Jan 30 (Reuters) – The aluminium smelter in the Bosnian town of Mostar has fallen eerily silent since its electricity was cut in July. The only visitors to what was once a model factory in former Yugoslavia are staff filling in redundancy papers.

The closure of debt-laden Aluminij Mostar is symptomatic of the challenges facing countries across the Balkans as they try to keep loss-making state-owned businesses inherited from the communist era afloat in market economies.

The demise of the aluminium exporter also shows how 25 years after the end of the Bosnian war, everything from ethnic rifts to weak corporate governance to corruption are hindering growth, just as the world economy is slowing and European Union membership looks ever more remote. Continue Reading →

Greece to sell troubled nickel producer Larco’s assets: minister (Reuters U.S. – January 24, 2020)

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece plans to liquidate Larco, one of Europe’s biggest nickel producers which is struggling under heavy debt, and then look for an investor for some of the company’s assets, its energy minister said on Friday.

The European Commission said in November it was taking Greece to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over its failure to recover 135.8 million euros ($150.7 million) of illegal state aid to Larco.

The ECJ ruled in 2017 that Greece needed to recover the money, based on a Commission decision in 2014 related to capital injections and state guarantees. Continue Reading →

World’s biggest nickel miner has a plan for its crisis-ridden border town: here could come a hub for Arctic tourism – by Atle Staalesen (The Barents Observer – January 23, 2020)

There is a sense of crisis in the small town of Nikel located on the border to Norway and Finland. Here, most men and women have for the past three generations had their lives closely connected with the local nickel smelter.

Now, the cornerstone industry is closing and several hundred people will be dismissed in the course of the year. Locals fear that Nikel will be abandoned and turned into a ghost town.

However, local authorities and the nickel company assure that there will be new industries created that locals can be re-trained and re-employed in new jobs. Continue Reading →

Spain Nears Life Without Coal Sooner Than Anyone Thought – by Akshat Rathi and Jeremy Hodges (Bloomberg News – January 22, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — From Galicia in the north to Andalucia in the south — Spain’s old coal plants are running out of steam. The Iberian nation last year cut use of the dirtiest fossil fuel faster than anyone else in western Europe as renewable energy and cleaner natural gas take over.

The combustible rock, which has kept the region humming through world wars and economic boom times, is increasingly out of favor with lawmakers and executives under pressure to do more to stop global warming.

“We are in a hurry, we have to move fast, everybody has to move fast,’’ Iberdrola SA Chief Executive Officer Ignacio Galan said on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The Spanish utility plans to permanently shut its two remaining coal-fired power stations this year, replacing them with new wind and solar capacity. Continue Reading →