Archive | Gold and Silver

Reopening of Boungou mine in Burkina will depend on security: Semafo (Reuters Canada – November 11, 2019)

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Canadian gold miner Semafo will not resume operations at its Boungou mine in Burkina Faso until security in the area is assured following last week’s deadly ambush on a road to the site, the company said on Monday.

At least 39 people were killed in the attack on the Semafo convoy last Wednesday, the latest in a series of high-profile actions in a country plagued by jihadist violence.

A total of 241 employees, contractors and suppliers were caught up in the attack, which killed at least 39 and wounded 60 with one person still unaccounted for, Semafo said. Continue Reading →

A Canadian company wants to build Brazil’s largest open-pit gold mine: Now that Bolsonaro is in power, it just might succeed – by Jacob Lorinc (Toronto Star – November 9, 2019)

On the morning of the annual Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, in February 2017, a group of samba dancers stood solemnly in front of a massive parade float depicting five venomous snakes, their forked tongues protruding from the back of a bearded man with bloodshot eyes.

The gruesome display was a publicity stunt — a symbol of agribusiness invading the eastern edge of the Amazon rainforest, said the dancers in a press conference that morning. To the delegation of Indigenous leaders in attendance, the monster allegorized several industrial projects recently encroaching on their territories.

For some, it represented the Belo Monte, a massive government-owned hydroelectric dam that flooded the shores of the lower Xingu River, a tributary to the Amazon River. For one delegate, the leader of the Juruna tribe, the monster represented a more recent perceived threat to the communities living near those shorelines — a Canadian mining company by the name of Belo Sun. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Gold drifts sideways as China, India buyers evaporate – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – November 5, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Gold’s impressive rally from May to the start of September has since stalled, even though the drivers of geopolitical tensions and positive investor sentiment remain in place.

What has gone missing is physical demand from the world’s two biggest buyers, China and India, and it’s likely that gold will battle to mount a renewed rally until this source of support returns.

The spot gold price rallied 23% from a low of $1,265.85 an ounce on May 2 to a high of $1,557 on Sept. 4 as investors flocked to exchange traded funds (ETFs) amid the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China, heightened tensions in the Middle East and emerging signs of slower global economic growth. Continue Reading →

Semafo suspends work at Burkina Faso gold mine as death toll from attack rises – by Nicolas Van Praet, Geoffrey York and Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – November 8, 2019)

Montreal-based gold miner Semafo Inc. has halted operations at its Boungou gold mine in eastern Burkina Faso as the fallout widens from one of the worst-ever terrorist attacks on employees of a Canadian company.

Semafo said on Thursday it was suspending work at its flagship mine in the West African country, a day after insurgents ambushed a convoy carrying its employees to the mine site.

Burkina Faso’s President, Roch Marc Kaboré, said 38 people were killed, increasing the previous day’s tally. More than 60 others were injured, and dozens are still believed to be unaccounted for after the raid, which occurred on a road 40 kilometres from the mine site. Continue Reading →

‘Obsession’ with world class assets leads Barrick Gold where others fear to tread – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – November 7, 2019)

Barrick Gold Corp. chief executive Mark Bristow pledged to continue exploring in West Africa and Latin America, even as a “rising tide of resource nationalism” has scared away other mining companies who see too much risk there.

“If you want to focus on world class assets, which is our stated objective, and my obsession, asset quality always overrides jurisdiction,” Bristow told the Financial Post on Wednesday when the company reported its third quarter earnings.

The reason why so many mining companies run into problems in emerging economies is because they’re unwilling to share benefits from mining with the local community, he said. Continue Reading →

Attack on Canadian miner in Burkina Faso threatens gold’s final frontier – by David Lewis, Helen Reid and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters Canada – November 7, 2019)

NAIROBI/JOHANNESBURG/LONDON (Reuters) – As jihadists wreaked ever more havoc in the last two years, mining firms in Burkina Faso rolled out extra security measures, from barracks for government troops protecting them to safe rooms for workers behind barbed wire and mounds.

Expatriates generally fly in and out, while local staff still drive but in guarded convoys. That has added millions of dollars to security costs for foreign companies, mainly from Canada and Australia, operating in the West African nation where industrial miners are forecast to produce 60 tonnes of gold this year.

Yet this week’s attack on a convoy ferrying hundreds of local employees and contractors from a mine owned by Canada’s Semafo (SMF.TO) has exposed how vulnerable firms still are. At least 37 civilians died, with another 60 injured and dozens more feared missing. Continue Reading →

Environmental assessment of proposed Nova Scotia gold mine paused as feds seek more info – by Frances Willick (CBC News Nova Scotia – November 7, 2019)

Atlantic Gold’s environmental impact statement did not meet requirements, federal agency says

The federal agency responsible for conducting environmental assessments has paused its work on a proposed Nova Scotia gold mine, saying Atlantic Gold’s environmental impact statement for the Fifteen Mile Stream project does not meet the requirements.

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) notified Atlantic Mining NS Corp. — a subsidiary of Atlantic Gold — on Monday that the company must submit a revised environmental impact statement before the assessment process can resume.

Atlantic Gold wants to develop a 280-hectare open-pit gold mine about 30 kilometres north of Sheet Harbour, N.S. It already runs Touquoy, the province’s only currently operating gold mine. Continue Reading →

Barrick’s dividend boost looks like a harbinger for the normally tightfisted gold industry – by Justina Vasquez (Bloomberg/Financial Post – November 7, 2019)

Bullion giant Barrick Gold Corp. pleasantly surprised the market by raising its dividend 25 per cent. Will the move portend a new era of largess from the normally tightfisted gold miners?

There are certainly reasons for investors to be hopeful. Producers have been striving to cut costs and consolidate operations, while the price of gold has climbed over 20 per cent in the past year to hover around US$1,500 an ounce. Barrick’s move Wednesday was echoed a few hours later when Canadian rival Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. raised its quarterly payout 50 per cent. B2Gold Corp. preceded both by announcing its first-ever dividend a day earlier.

“The companies are positioned to start to pay dividends and give more back to shareholders,” Joe Foster, a portfolio manager and strategist at VanEck, said by phone Wednesday. Continue Reading →

Barrick CEO Bristow Sees Long-Term Potential for Freeport Tie-Up – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – November 6, 2019)

Barrick Gold Corp.’s chief said there’s a logic to combining with Freeport-McMoran Inc. as a way to expand into copper, but isn’t committing to any deals yet.

A tie-up with Freeport could bolster Barrick’s U.S. presence, where it already operates gold mines in Nevada, said Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow, who cautioned that it’s not something currently being considered.

“Everyone has been fingered as a potential suitor of Freeport,” said Bristow, when asked if he was interested in a combination. “There’s a bit of work for us to do before we can get our head around broadening our scope.” Continue Reading →

Gold prices are trading near record highs, so why are Australia’s mineral explorers crying poor? – by Jarrod Lucas (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – November 6, 2019)

The movers and shakers in Australia’s mineral exploration industry could be channelling Tom Cruise’s character from the movie Jerry Maguire because they constantly seem to be shouting: “show me the money!” Known as the lifeblood of the mining industry, exploration is an expensive game which is as much a gamble as it is an investment.

There are never any guarantees a rich mineral deposit lies beneath the surface and for all the mining industry’s technological advances in recent decades, the best way to make new discoveries is by drilling into the earth. The pay-off can be big if a company strikes it lucky.

Case in point is one-time penny dreadful stock Sirius Resources, which was almost broke when it discovered the Nova nickel-copper deposit in Western Australia in 2012 before completing one of the great rags-to-riches stories in 2015 with Independence Group’s $1.8-billion takeover. Continue Reading →

Dozens dead in attack on Canadian miner Semafo’s convoy in Burkina Faso – by Nicolas Van Praet and Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – November 7, 2019)

Assailants ambushed a convoy carrying employees of Canadian gold miner Semafo Inc. in Burkina Faso and killed dozens of people, one of the deadliest insurgent attacks in the West African country in recent years.

The raid occurred on a road between the town of Fada and Semafo’s flagship Boungou gold mine in Burkina Faso’s eastern region of Est, the Montreal-based mining company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The local governor for the region said 37 people were killed and more than 60 injured in what he called an “ambush” by unidentified individuals. “The governor firmly condemns this barbaric and cowardly attack,” regional governor Lieutenant-Colonel Saidou T.P. Sanou said in an official statement. Continue Reading →

Close offices, cut jobs, Barrick CEO says as he calls for consolidation in the gold industry – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – November 6, 2019)

Barrick Gold Corp.’s chief executive officer says the gold-mining sector needs more merger activity to capitalize on the cost savings that come from closing head offices and cutting staff.

Mark Bristow helped kick start a wave of deal making in the industry last year when his Africa-focused Randgold Resources Ltd. agreed to be sold to Barrick for US$6-billion. A few months later, Newmont Mining Corp. announced it would acquire Goldcorp Inc. for US$10-billion, creating the world’s largest gold mining company. Barrick and Newmont also agreed this year to combine some operations in Nevada in order to reduce costs.

Now, he says, the time has come for more deals and more job cuts at gold companies. Under Mr. Bristow, Randgold was known for employing a skeleton crew at its head office. Continue Reading →

Goldcorp mines weigh on Newmont gold output as it cuts forecast – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – November 6, 2019)

A little more than six months after buying Goldcorp Inc., Newmont Goldcorp Corp. is struggling to make the acquisition work.

On Tuesday, Denver-based Newmont missed analysts’ estimates for the third quarter and cut its production forecast for the year, as the world’s biggest gold company contends with operational problems at mines formerly owned by Vancouver-based Goldcorp.

During the quarter ended Sept. 30, Newmont dealt with the aftermath of a serious fire at its Musselwhite mine in Northern Ontario, and a blockade at its Penasquito mine in Mexico. Grades at Éléonore, a mine in Quebec, also disappointed in the quarter. Continue Reading →

Blood Gold in the Brazilian Rain Forest – by Jon Lee Anderson (The New Yorker – November 4, 2019)

Indigenous people and illegal miners are engaged in a fight that may help decide the future of the planet.

One day in 2014, Belém, a member of Brazil’s Kayapo tribe, went deep into the forest to hunt macaws and parrots. He was helping to prepare for a coming-of-age ceremony, in which young men are given adult names and have their lips pierced. By custom, initiates wear headdresses adorned with tail feathers. Belém, whose Kayapo name is Takaktyx, an honorific form of the word “strong,” was a designated bird hunter.

Far from his home village of Turedjam, Belém ran across a group of white outsiders. They were garimpeiros, gold prospectors, who were working inside the Kayapo reserve—a twenty-six-million-acre Amazonian wilderness, demarcated for indigenous people.

Gold mining is illegal there, but the prospectors were accompanied by a Kayapo man, so Belém assumed that some arrangement had been made. About nine thousand Kayapo lived in the forest, split into several groups; each had its own chief, and the chiefs tended to do as they pleased. Continue Reading →

Miners have lost interest in Mexico due to insecurity, over-regulation: Torex Gold (Mexico Daily News – October 28, 2019)

International mining companies have lost interest in investing in Mexico due to over-regulation and insecurity among other factors, says the CEO of Canada’s Torex Gold.

“Mining companies don’t feel comfortable in places where governments change the rules of the game,” Fred Stanford told the newspaper El Universal during the International Mining Conference in Acapulco, Guerrero.

He cited excessive regulation, difficulty to obtain permits, higher taxes, mine blockades, weak rule of law and insecurity problems due to the presence of organized crime as factors that have caused Mexico to lose its attraction as an investment destination. Continue Reading →