Archive | Global Mining History

How the US government seized all citizens’ gold in 1930s – by Chris Colvin and Philip Fliers (The Conversation – May 21, 2020)

https://theconversation.com/

Chris Colvin is a Senior Lecturer in Economics, Queen’s University Belfast and Philip Fliers is a Lecturer in Finance, Queen’s University Belfast.

With global financial markets in disarray, many investors are turning to classic safe havens. Gold is trading above US$1,750 (£1,429) per troy ounce, which is the standard measure – more than 15% above where it started 2020.

Even after a strong rally since March, the S&P 500 stock market index is down nearly 10% over the same period.

Gold confers familiarity during downturns. Its returns are uncorrelated with assets like stocks, so it tends to hold its value when they fall. It is also a good way of avoiding currency devaluation. Continue Reading →

Review: Worn by Tools and Time is a beautifully produced history of metal mining in Wales – by Jon Gower (Nation Cymru – August 22, 2020)

https://nation.cymru/

The time frame of the metal-mining endeavours chronicled in this beautifully-produced book reach way, way back into prehistory. Around 2000 BC the copper mine at Ross Island in Ireland ran out of metal which provoked a widespread hunt for new sources.

As a consequence therefore, in the Early Bronze Age, some of the earliest metal mines in Britain opened in Mid Wales, with stone hammers and wedges used to open up the earth.

They found metals other than copper such as tin and by the time the industry was modernised, with the creation of an institution called the Society of Mines Royal in 1568, silver was being successfully sought in a range of places such as Cwmystwyth, Goginan and Cwmerfyn. Continue Reading →

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

https://www.livemint.com/

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 →

Blood, diamonds and dynasties on a little explored Indian plateau – by Ute Junker (Australian Financial Review – February 7, 2020)

https://www.afr.com/

The forgotten empires of the southern highlands left behind some of the subcontinent’s most remarkable ruins, temples and palaces.

They say it took months to sack the city. The palaces went up in flames; so did the elephant stables. The raging heat from the conflagration cracked the famous singing columns in the temples and the fearsome stone walls that ringed the city, and evaporated the water from the canals that sluiced water to the orchards and the ornamental pools. It was a spectacular fall, one that matched the dazzling rise of India’s richest city, Vijayanagara, the City of Victory, the hub of a mighty empire.

Never heard of Vijayanagara? You’re not alone. While the former princely strongholds of Rajasthan are among India’s most popular tourist destinations, the royal dynasties that flourished on the Deccan – the highlands that dominate much of India’s southern half – are far less well known. Yet for millenniums, empires rose and fell here.

The Pallava and Satavahana, Kakatiya and Maratha are names that are virtually unknown outside India, yet the dynasties of the Deccan offer some of India’s most remarkable sights to explore. Continue Reading →

Dreaming of an Artisanal Christmas – by Ann Mah (New York Times – December 18, 2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/

A Southern California native went looking for an old-fashioned Christmas. She found it in the “Christmas ornament town” of Seiffen, tucked in Germany’s Ore Mountains.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this image of Christmas: a village nestled in a snowy valley, candlelit windows glowing against a night sky. I’m not sure where it came from. Growing up in sunny Southern California, my family strung lights on the palm trees in our yard and went to the beach on Christmas Eve. Most kids know about Santa’s sleigh, but I believed he traveled on a magic speedboat.

As an adult, I’ve searched for that old-fashioned Christmas, one of snow-tipped Yuletide cheer, sleigh rides, sugarplums and freshly cut pine trees trimmed with handcrafted ornaments. Though I visited the Christmas markets in European capitals like London, Paris and Vienna, I never really found it.

Yes, the fairy lights twinkled, the sweet scent of mulled wine drifted, and sometimes snow crunched under my heels. Yes, the market stalls displayed an array of glittering ornaments for the tree and home. Yet upon closer inspection, the decorations were flimsy, their designs repeating from vendor to vendor as if they shared the same supplier: an industrial factory in a distant land. Continue Reading →

Next up for precious metals: An IPO for a company that funds mining projects – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – November 27, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

It’s the latest sign that rising gold prices are giving Canada’s mining market a shot in the arm

In the latest sign that rising gold prices are giving Canada’s mining market a shot in the arm, Toronto-based Triple Flag Precious Metals Corp. has announced plans to raise $360 million through an initial public offering scheduled for next year.

The company, which finances mining projects for a cut of the revenue produced by the mine, known as royalties or streams depending on the details, was founded in 2016 by former Barrick Gold Corp. executive Shaun Usmar with backing from Elliott Management, a U.S. hedge fund known for its activism.

Now, with gold prices rising and the equity financings still slow for mining companies, Triple Flag said it plans to open up a 17 per cent stake in the company to public investment, by issuing 20 million shares, priced between $15 and $18. Elliot Management would retain control of 83 per cent of the company, or about 97 million shares. Continue Reading →

The Tragic True Story Behind The Crown’s Aberfan Mining Disaster Episode – by Samantha Vincenty (Oprah Magazine – November 20, 2019)

https://www.oprahmag.com/

In its three seasons, The Crown has educated many of its viewers on events that their history books may have skipped, such as the Profumo affair, the Great Smog of 1952, and the life and death of Princess Alice. “Aberfan,” the third episode of season 3, tells the story of a particularly horrifying day in U.K. history: The Aberfan mining disaster, which killed over 100 children at the Pantaglas Junior High School.

The Netflix series also attempts to explain why it took eight days for the queen to pay a visit to the site of the tragedy. Here’s what really happened at the Aberfan disaster portrayed on The Crown, and how Queen Elizabeth II reportedly feels about her reaction years later.

How did the Aberfan disaster happen?

It was a Friday morning on October 21, 1966, shortly after 9:00 a.m. In the South Wales coal mining village of Aberfan, students at the Pantglas Junior School had just began their day’s lessons after singing the hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” as they did on every other school day before it. Continue Reading →

How The Mines Of Laurion Saved Ancient Greece And Made Western Civilization Possible – by David Bressan (Forbes Magazine – December 17, 2019)

https://www.forbes.com/

In 480 BCE, the Persian army defeated the Greek forces at the Battle of Thermopylae and invaded parts of Greece. When all seemed lost, a young Athenian politician named Themistocles proposed an unusual plan: the Greeks should not face the Persian soldiers on a battlefield, but rather invest in a fleet. In the naval battle of Salamis, the newly-built ships managed to destroy the Persian fleet.

One year later, without a navy to support their armed forces, the Persians retreated to Asia. A number of historians believe that a Persian victory would have hamstrung the development of Ancient Greece, and by extension western civilization, leading them to argue that Salamis is one of the most significant battles in human history.

The ships that helped to win the battle of Salamis were paid for with silver from the mines of Laurion. The Laurion silver mines are located just south of Athens and are world-renowned for the excellent mineral samples the area still produces today, not just in its storied past. Continue Reading →

[British Mining] Norma Gregory on the Hidden History of Black Miners and Her New Exhibiton – by Alex Kuster (Leftlion.co.uk – November 10, 2019)

https://www.blackcoalminers.com/

https://www.leftlion.co.uk/

Nottingham has plenty of things to be proud of. Our roots being one of them; history is so deeply embedded in many of the things that we all love about this city. But the narrative isn’t fully complete. Historian Norma Gregory has spent the past few years unearthing the untold stories of several black coal miners who lived and worked in the UK.

We spoke to her about her new exhibition, Digging Deep: Coal Miners of African Carribean Heritage which features photos, audio recordings and oral histories that have previously been left unheard…

Tell us a little bit about the exhibition…

The exhibition is currently at The National Coalmining Museum in Wakefield. It’s been a multi-level, multi-pronged, all-hands-involved project. We have interviewed over 67 miners in total so far – we have a database of over 200 names, and that’s all come from word of mouth. Continue Reading →

Nickel Relives The Failed Attempt By The Hunt Brothers To Corner Silver – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – October 20, 2019)

https://www.forbes.com/

Attempts to “corner” a metal market invariably end in tears, if not jail time, which is what happened with silver in 1980 and copper in 1995, so when the market in nickel “inverted” last week warnings were issued that an old game was being played in one of the new generation of battery metals.

The term inverted essentially means that the short-term price of a product, whether a metal or a government bond, rises above the long-term price, which is unnatural and a sign of trouble ahead. An inverted bond yield can be interpreted as a recession pointer.

Three Brothers And A Silver Plan

Silver had its crisis when three brothers who were heirs to the Hunt Oil fortune acquired, or attempted to acquire, one-third of the global supply of the metal. Continue Reading →

Iamgold under fire for alleged poor disclosure over miner death at Rosebel site in South America – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – August 9, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Shares in Iamgold Corp. fell 14.6 per cent Thursday – their steepest drop in nearly five years – as the Canadian miner faces heavy criticism for its alleged poor disclosure over the death of a miner at a South American mine site.

Last week, the Toronto-based company suspended mining at its second-biggest mine, Rosebel in Suriname, after an “unauthorized” artisanal miner was killed, following a confrontation with police. Iamgold said the fracas, which involved an unspecified number of artisanal miners, also caused equipment damage. The company said there are continuing security concerns for its staff at Rosebel.

Artisanal mining is common in Africa and South America, often involving impoverished locals mining by hand. While occasionally legal, artisanal miners often trespass on concessions controlled by international mining companies. Continue Reading →

Poldark and Cornish mining at heart of Perranporth events (The Falmouth Packet – July 29, 2019)

https://www.falmouthpacket.co.uk/

Talks on Poldark and beach art are among the free activities helping families learn more about the the mining history of Perranporth.

Experts have been studying the little-known mining history of the vulnerable cliffs overlooking the beach at Perranporth, to show if the search for tin and copper in the area began in medieval or even prehistoric times.

Thousands of visitors enjoy the town’s beach each year, but many don’t realise that many of the caves and huge rock arches in the cliffs are man-made. The coast was used for mining rather than leisure in the past, with the solid rock being tunnelled through by miners. Continue Reading →

10 Gold Rushes You Should Know About – by Brandon Christensen (Real Clear History – July 12, 2018)

https://www.realclearhistory.com/

Gold! Gold! Gold! What is it about this precious metal that causes such a rush among human beings? Throughout history, the discovery of gold veins has sparked mass movements of people and capital to hitherto unknown parts of the world. Gold rushes have been documented as far back as ancient Rome, but most of the major gold rushes occurred during the modern era, which runs roughly from 1500 AD to the present.

The most famous gold rush in American history is the California Gold Rush of 1849, (RealClearHistory covered it recently), but the history of gold rushes deserves a bit more scrutiny. Why on earth would a precious metal cause so much upheaval in population transfers, in spending on infrastructure, and on violence and property rights adjudication? Here are 10 gold rushes in history that deserve more attention:

10. Klondike Gold Rush (1896-99), Yukon Territory, Canada. Let’s start with Canada’s most famous gold rush. While gold was discovered in 1896, the Klondike was so hard to reach (the Canadian government required each potential miner to travel with a year’s worth of supplies before embarking on the journey) that the gold rush didn’t really get going until 1898. Continue Reading →

CZECHS, GERMANS HOPE TO WIN UNESCO LISTING FOR KRUŠNÉ HORY–ERZGEBIRGE MINING SITES – by Brian Kenety (Radio Praha – July 2019)

https://www.radio.cz/en/

The Ore Mountains have formed a natural border between Bohemia and the German state of Saxony for some 800 years. Known in Czech as Krušné hory, the uniquely preserved landscape is also among the most heavily researched mountain ranges in the world.

In total, the Czech delegation to Azerbaijan has nominated five sites in this country for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. A German delegation, with which it submitted a joint bid, has nominated 17 sites on their side of the border.

Michal Urban of the non-profit Montanregion Krušné hory – Erzgebirge, formed to coordinate public and private regional groups in hopes of getting the listing explains how it would help the region. Continue Reading →

Mineweb: Anglo American through the ages – by Ciaran Ryan (Money Web.com – June 13, 2019)

https://www.moneyweb.co.za/

It launched South Africa’s industrial age to support its mining activities, but since 2012 has halved the number of its assets. Where to now?

When the EFF’s Julius Malema talks of white minority capital, he is referring of course to Johann Rupert and the Oppenheimers for the most part. These are the families that helped build South Africa and, for better or worse, guided its political discourse in a direction favourable to their business interests.

Anglo American founder Ernest Oppenheimer would be hard put to recognise the group he founded in 1917. By the 1980s it accounted for a staggering 25% of SA’s GDP and owned an estimated 60% of the JSE – the result of an international embargo that forced SA companies to reinvest profits locally, turning the JSE into an incestuous and distended bubble.

The group that built its castle on diamonds and gold in southern Africa is now a very different animal. Since 2012, it has halved its number of assets, but now delivers 30% more product from each retained asset. Continue Reading →