Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Commentary: Zinc rally over? Bears think so but spreads bite back – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – June 21, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Is that it for the zinc rally? After hitting a 10-year high of $3,595.50 per tonne in February, the London Metal Exchange (LME) price has been sliding ever since. The retreat has extended to $2,946.50 so far on Thursday morning, the lowest level since August last year.

Expectations for one last bull hurrah have faded as exchange stocks have rebuilt, apparently calling time on the supply chain tightness that underpinned zinc’s two-year charge from the January 2016 low of $1,444.50 per tonne.

As ever with this particular metal, though, appearances can be deceptive, as shorts have just found out to their cost. Time-spreads across the front part of the LME zinc curve have tightened sharply over the last couple of weeks, a seemingly anomalous outcome given rising inventory. Continue Reading →

Trump’s Fickleness Is Dulling Gold’s Appeal, Deutsche Fund Says – by Luzi-Ann Javier (Bloomberg News – June 20, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Gold is failing in its traditional role as a haven in turbulent times, and a Deutsche fund manager has an explanation.

On Tuesday, as the deepening trade spat between the U.S. and China sent the S&P 500 index tumbling the most in a week, investors sought haven in the dollar, U.S. Treasuries and yen, overlooking gold. For Darwei Kung, a portfolio manager of the $3.3 billion Deutsche Enhanced Commodity Strategy Fund, the relatively higher transaction costs for bullion may be a contributing factor.

Abrupt changes in President Donald Trump’s policies, such as his alternating stances on North Korea, fuel speculation that his temperament toward tariffs on China could also change over the next few months, weakening the case for holding haven assets over a longer period, Kung said. Continue Reading →

Trump touts ‘America first’ policies in Duluth warehouse – by John Myers (Duluth News Tribune – June 20, 2018)

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/

President Donald Trump on Wednesday spent more than an hour in a Duluth harborfront warehouse talking about iron ore and copper mining, trade and his relentless effort to cut government regulations.

In one of his patented “roundtable” discussions, Trump was in friendly territory with about 200 supporters — many of them representing mining, construction and shipping interests — gathered in a spruced-up Lake Superior Warehousing building in the shadow of the Blatnik Bridge.

Trump talked about renegotiating trade deals to put American interests first, and he praised his administration’s efforts to slash government regulations across the breadth of the nation’s economy, including mining. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Stop exploiting Africa, share resources, Pope tells Europe – by Philip Pullella (Reuters U.S. – June 20, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Europe should stop exploiting Africa and invest in ways that benefit the continent more, including by sharing mineral wealth more equitably, Pope Francis said.

“We must invest in Africa, but invest in an orderly way and create employment, not go there to exploit it,” he told Reuters in a wide-ranging interview, while discussing the migration of Africans to Europe.

“When a country grants independence to an African country it is from the ground up – but the subsoil is not independent. And then people (outside Africa) complain about hungry Africans coming here. There are injustices there!” Continue Reading →

Eighty tonnes in a single scoop: Mega-mining iron ore – by Phil Mercer (BBC News/Sydney – June 21, 2018)

https://www.bbc.com/

It is the rock that has fortified Australia’s recession-defying economy. Iron ore has helped to raise living standards in the country, supercharge pension funds, and bankroll governments. It is the key ingredient of steel, and is Australia’s most lucrative export.

Last year, the trade, mostly to China, as well as South Korea and Japan, was worth 63bn Australian dollars ($45bn; £35bn).

Over the past decade booming export volumes have soared by more than 200%. It is without doubt an economic colossus, and Australia is the world’s largest exporter of iron ore. But given that global iron ore prices have fallen sharply over the past decade, should Australia try to move away from the sector? Continue Reading →

A Canadian firm wants to start mining on Utah lands that used to be part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument – by Brian Maffly (Salt Lake Tribune – June 21, 2018)

https://www.sltrib.com/

A Canadian firm has announced its intention to mine copper and cobalt on public lands in Utah’s scenic Circle Cliffs east of Boulder, telling potential investors it has acquired what appear to be the first mining claims filed on lands removed from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The move set off alarms among environmental groups seeking the monument’s restoration, but it remains unlikely that Glacier Lake Resources’ plans will be realized anytime soon. The Bureau of Land Management will continue to manage these lands as a monument until a new management plan is in place.

“No one has validly changed the status of these lands. It’s still a national monument. It’s still closed to mining and any mineral exploration. Any claims like this are invalid,” said Nada Culver, senior counsel to The Wilderness Society. Continue Reading →

Gold Street Is Where South Africa’s Mining History Goes to Die – by Ana Monteiro and Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – June 20, 208)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Miners laid off, mines closing, losses mounting—a huge headache for President Ramaphosa

The death rattle of the industry that once symbolised South Africa can be heard in the town of Carletonville—on Gold Street

That’s where Paseka Selemela has been guarding cars since 2010, when the scaffolding business he worked for closed. Prior to that, he was an assistant at a now-shuttered mine owned by AngloGold Ashanti. Nor has he found work in other gold mines around the town, home to the world’s deepest shafts.

Many of his friends and family members also have joined the legions of the retrenched, including 8 500 people in the area last year alone. Continue Reading →

De Beers playing poker with perception by launching Lightbox? – by David McKay (MiningMx.com – June 19, 2018)

https://www.miningmx.com/

ANGLO American’s 85%-owned De Beers may have pulled off a strategic coup by unveiling plans to launch a new brand of synthetic diamonds. These are the stones that are ‘grown’ artificially in a laboratory and against which the diamond giant has previously fought a marketing campaign.

In fact, the group spent some $140m in 2017 alone promoting naturally occurring diamonds which it says truly represent the profound emotions that inspire wedding bands and other anniversary gifts. Now, however, De Beers has performed an about-turn by unveiling its Lightbox range of synthetics. What could it portend?

According to analysts, this is not really the acknowledgement of diamond synthetics that it appears (although De Beers has its own line of synthetic diamonds which are used primarily for industrial purposes). Instead, it’s a clever commercial ploy aimed at better controlling the pricing and proliferation of lab-grown diamonds by other producers. Continue Reading →

Bust to boom: Minnesota’s Iron Range revives just as trade war looms – by Dee Depass (Minneapolis Star Tribune – June 19, 2018)

https://pilotonline.com/

HIBBING, Minn. — The taconite mines are back in action, factories are expanding and new stores and restaurants are popping up from Grand Rapids to Silver Bay.

Minnesota’s Iron Range is experiencing an economic revival that seemed unlikely as recently as two years ago, when idled mines and job losses battered the region.

“Obviously the entire economy up here rotates around the mines. So if the mines are doing good, then we all do good,” said Erik Leitz, who with his wife opened the BoomTown Brewery & Woodfire Grill in Hibbing six months ago. A newfound optimism will greet President Donald Trump when he makes his first visit to northern Minnesota on Wednesday. Continue Reading →

US risked Chinese battery monopoly had Gertler dispute escalated – by David McKay (MiningMx.com – June 19, 2018)

https://www.miningmx.com/

GLENCORE’S workaround the US sanctions placed on Dan Gertler, the Congo’s mining tycoon, was a remarkable piece of pragmatism on behalf of the Swiss miner and minerals trader, but it may have also been informed by a broader concern.

The concern is that in failing to settle the matter, the assets from which Gertler was demanding the resumption of royalties – the Mutanda and Kamoto Copper mines – would have been expropriated by the Congolese government with whom Gertler is close.

It’s quite likely then, given China’s obvious comfort in operating in the Congo, that its companies may have bought the mines and taken control of a large slug of world cobalt (and copper) supply that is crucial to battery manufacture. Controlling the cobalt market would give the Chinese unprecedented control over the world automotive sector. Continue Reading →

Weddings of the gold rush era – by Laurel Downing Bill (KTVA.com – June 18, 2018)

http://www.ktva.com/

June was a popular month for weddings long before the Klondike gold rush. People of medieval times often took their annual baths in May, which meant a bride would still smell fresh in June. To be safe, she carried a bouquet of flowers to hide any body odor. That’s where the custom of carrying a bouquet down the aisle comes from.

Many miners who came north in search of riches may have chosen brides at the beginning of summer for practical reasons. Once the ground thawed, and a miner found a plot that showed promise, he drove stakes into the ground to lay claim to mining rights. By 1897, only one claim per person was allowed in a district.

But a loophole in the mining laws allowed married couples the right to register a separate claim in the wife’s name, thus doubling the amount of land for prospecting. So taking a wife could mean untold riches from the ground. Continue Reading →

Why Indian traders are outraging over the sale of synthetic diamonds – by MG Arun (Daily O – June 18, 2018)

https://www.dailyo.in/

The market for real diamonds may feel the impact.

For an industry that is still reeling under the Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksy scams, there is fresh trouble brewing. This time, it is the announcement by London-headquartered De Beers, the world’s largest diamond company with mines in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada, that it is launching a jewellery brand using synthetic diamonds in India.

A synthetic diamond (also known as an artificial diamond, cultured diamond, or cultivated diamond) is produced using an artificial process, as opposed to natural diamonds, which are created using geological processes.

A section of traders in Surat and Mumbai, two main hubs for diamond trade in India, are up in arms against the launch of synthetic diamonds in India, since they believe that such diamonds will destroy the market for real diamonds here. Continue Reading →

Editorial counterpoint: On mining, let’s follow facts and the law – by Anne Williamson (Minneapolis Star Tribune – June 19, 2018)

http://www.startribune.com/

Anne Williamson is vice president of environment and sustainability for Twin Metals Minnesota.

The June 10 editorial “Mining near BWCA is risky business” expressed concern about recent information released by Twin Metals Minnesota regarding the underground copper-nickel mining project in northeastern Minnesota that the company is designing.

Twin Metals recognizes environmental protection and conservation as a core value. It’s only natural. After all, we live here, grew up here and have family here. And that is why we are designing a project proposal that will meet all state and federal environmental laws and protective standards.

Twin Metals also agrees with the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s call for “agencies to conduct a rigorous, technology-driven and independent analysis” of the proposal. Continue Reading →

Miners’ big spend shows commodities optimism – by Robert Guy (Australian Financial Review – June 18, 2018)

https://www.afr.com/

A $2 billion acquisition spree by South32 and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has underscored the more upbeat outlook on commodity prices among industry heavyweights, with the scramble to buy or develop world class assets and infrastructure heating up as the world’s largest miners emerge from years of austerity.

Australia’s largest miners have moved aggressively to stamp their dominance in key commodity markets amid expectations of strong Asian economic growth over the next decade, with South32’s $1.7 billion bid for Arizona Mining heralding its intent to be a bigger player in base metals, while Hancock Prospecting’s bold $390 million bid for Atlas Iron could position Australia’s wealthiest woman as a bigger player in iron ore shipments from Port Hedland.

The big miners are slowly opening their wallets after many years of cost cutting and a focus on improving shareholder returns, as management teams look to replace aging mines, maintain production and lay the foundation for future earnings growth. Continue Reading →

Graphic: Asian coal and gas markets roar into top gear as region revs up demand – by Henning Gloystein (Reuters U.S. June 13, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Thermal coal and gas prices have coursed into a bull run, propelled by particularly strong demand across Asia, where electricity consumption is surging thanks to healthy economic growth just as seasonal needs rise with the start of summer.

Spot thermal coal cargo prices for export from Australia’s Newcastle terminal last settled at $117 per tonne, the highest level since February 2012. That is up by more than 130 percent from 2016’s record lows.

Coal prices have not just been pushed up by firm demand, which has recovered from 2015 lows, but also by several mine closures and weak investment into capacity expansion. In gas markets, spot prices for Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) are at almost $10 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) – a 2018 high, and up by 145 percent from 2016 troughs. Continue Reading →