Archive | International Media Resource Articles

U.S. Opens Inquiry Into Uranium Imports in Sign That Trade War Is Spreading – by Ana Swanson and Brad Plumer (New York Times – July 18, 2018)

https://www.nytimes.com/

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said on Wednesday that it was starting an investigation into uranium imports, potentially opening another front in an expansive trade war that has shaken alliances with countries around the world.

Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, said the department would investigate whether imported uranium ore and related products — key ingredients in America’s nuclear arsenal, and used in power production and nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers — threatened national security.

Uranium produced domestically now fills only 5 percent of America’s needs, Mr. Ross said, down from half in 1987. The uranium inquiry is the latest of several trade-related steps the Trump administration has taken with an eye toward imposing stiff tariffs on imports. Continue Reading →

What you are getting wrong about Appalachia – by Leah Hampton (Los Angeles Times – July 18, 2018)

http://www.latimes.com/

The history of Appalachia is one of exploitation and extraction — and dogged resistance to both. This region, my family’s home for seven generations, has literally powered American life since the 19th century. There is no song, labor union or machine built east of the Mississippi that does not arguably owe its existence to Appalachia or that at least engages with our culture and ecology.

The ecosystems of the mountain South, its uniquely influential art and its interdependent communities (particularly communities of color) have been systematically misrepresented and pillaged for centuries now. In these hills, “we’re accustomed,” says Elizabeth Catte in her debut nonfiction book, “What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia,” “to serving as passive subjects for others.”

Writers who set their work here are therefore responsible for embracing (or at least acknowledging) that history and for recognizing their own work as but a patch on a large, complex quilt, one that has been touched by both ravaging and patient hands. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto posts jump in iron ore output, flags stronger 2018 (Reuters U.S. – July 16, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Global miner Rio Tinto said on Tuesday that its second-quarter iron ore shipments from Australia rose 14 percent and indicated its annual production would be at the upper end of its guidance.

The miner said it expected iron ore shipments for the year to be at the upper end of its range of 330 million to 340 million tonnes, driven by productivity improvements and fewer weather-related disruptions compared with the same quarter last year.

It had said earlier it did not expect tensions over a global trade war to materially affect steel demand. Each of the four big iron ore miners are expected to log record production in the second quarter, given a ramp up in China’s steel demand in the quarter, Shipbroker Clarksons Platou Securities said. Continue Reading →

Guest view: Critical minerals and metals must come from Montana too – by Courtney Young (Montana Standard – July 16, 2018)

https://mtstandard.com/

Courtney Young is a Lewis S. Prater Distinguished Professor and the department head of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at Montana Tech.

Our country has a great abundance of mineral resources used to manufacture goods of all kinds. For weapons systems and consumer electronics, the value alone is estimated at $6.2 trillion; however, because cumbersome regulations and permitting processes hamper mining, we now rely on foreign suppliers for more than half of our needs.

The situation has become so dire that various government agencies assessed our supply and demand of minerals and metals and labeled many as critical materials.

The largest share is minerals imported from China or from mines elsewhere in the world that are owned by Chinese companies. For instance, we rely on China for over 96 percent of rare earth minerals that are needed in the production of military items such as night-vision goggles, advanced radar and electronic warfare systems, and precision-guided weapons. Continue Reading →

Copper Prices Are About to Go on Steroids, Citi Says (Bloomberg News – July 18, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Copper’s slump amid a deepening global trade conflict offers a long-term buying opportunity, according to Citigroup Inc., which shrugged off fears for world growth to boost its long-term forecasts.

“Prepare for a decade of Dr. Copper on steroids,” analysts including Max Layton and Tracy Liao wrote in a July 17 note. The bank sees average annual prices at $8,000 a metric ton in 2022, passing $9,000 a ton by 2028 under its baseline scenario.

The metal, often viewed as a barometer of world economic health, closed Tuesday at $6,152 a ton in London. Copper has spiraled lower in the past six weeks as President Donald Trump upends global trade with disputes involving multiple nations, most critically with No. 2 economy China. Continue Reading →

Indonesia mine nationalization shakes top copper producer – by Jun Suzuki (Nikkei Asian Review – July 18, 2018)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

JAKARTA — Indonesia’s nationalization of a major copper and gold mine formerly run by U.S. metals company Freeport-McMoRan is a win for Indonesian President Joko Widodo who has been calling for the reclamation of strategic resources. But the lack of agreement over future investments puts one of the world’s biggest sources of the red metal on shaky grounds.

According to the basic agreement reached on Thursday, Freeport and Anglo-Australian peer Rio Tinto will sell their shares in the local joint venture that runs the Grasberg mine to state-owned resources company Indonesia Asahan Aluminum, or Inalum.

Inalum will pay a combined $3.85 billion to the two companies to acquire all of Rio Tinto’s interest and lift its overall stake to 51%. Freeport will hold onto the remaining 49% stake in the operator of the mine in eastern Indonesia’s Papua province. A final deal is expected this year. Continue Reading →

Guinea’s mining minister says there will be Simandou deal, talks go on (Reuters U.K. – July 17, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) – Guinea is in constant talks with Rio Tinto and Chinalco to finalise a deal on the Simandou iron ore project, its mining minister said on Tuesday, adding he was confident an agreement would be reached.

Rio Tinto said in October 2016 said it had signed an outline agreement to sell its major stake in Simandou to Chinalco, a move many hoped would revive the long-stalled scheme.

Mines Minister Abdoulaye Magassouba said he was confident a deal would be achieved. He gave no indication of how much more time was needed, but said that as soon as the parties had agreed, the project would be relaunched. Continue Reading →

Millennials like their diamonds ethically sourced or man-made, and jewellers are responding – by Divia Harilela (South China Morning Post – July 7, 2018)

https://www.scmp.com/

According to industry insiders, he is not the only one among his peers who is concerned about where diamonds are sourced from. While many have lamented that diamonds have lost their lustre for the new generation, the truth is that millennials view these precious stones differently from their predecessors.

In addition to colour and clarity, they are more likely to consider social and ethical concerns before they make a diamond purchase.

“New generations equally value what we call natural diamonds, but they are even more demanding about what they buy in this category, like in most of their consumption. Consumers, now more than ever, want to be assured of quality and integrity,” says François Delage, CEO of De Beers Diamond Jewellers. Continue Reading →

[Diamonds] Africa’s Blue Economy: An overlooked opportunity? – by David Thomas (African Business – July 16, 2018)

African Business

Honing in on a promising area using geophysical mapping, a crawler cuts and dredges the seabed, sucking some 60 tonnes of sediment per hour through a giant pipe and onto the vessel. Without any human contact, the sediment is washed and sorted for the glittering stones, which are sealed into small, barcoded containers for the first stage of their journey to the boutiques of Europe and Asia.

To many, subsea diamond mining may sound like a far-off vision of the future, a fanciful innovation on a par with asteroid mining. But with 1m carats recovered from the seabed in 2015 alone by global mining giant De Beers, the technology is already well into its infancy.

For the firm, which has made a vast fortune sifting the soils of Southern Africa for 130 years, heading to the oceans is not just a technological luxury but also an economic necessity. Continue Reading →

Smelting constraints make zinc’s price plunge look overdone – by Pratima Desai (Reuters U.S. – July 17, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Expectations for a rise in zinc concentrate supplies in coming years have driven down the metal price to one-year lows, but smelting capacity constraints suggest the sell-off is premature.

Benchmark zinc on the London Metal Exchange (LME) hit $2,473.85 a tonne on Monday, its lowest since mid-June 2017 and 31 percent below February’s 11-year high of $3,595.50. Prices of the metal, which is used to galvanise steel, have underperformed other LME metals this year.

Projects that will deliver more zinc concentrate to market include Vedanta’s Gamsberg mine in South Africa and three Australian projects, namely Dugald River owned by MMG, another mine run by New Century Resources and Glencore’s Lady Loretta mine. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto, BHP, Vale tipped to report strongest ever quarterly iron ore exports – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – July 15, 2018)

https://www.afr.com/

The world’s three biggest iron ore miners are expected to confirm the industry’s strongest ever quarterly export figures this week, helping to explain recent weakness in prices for the bulk commodity.

Big miners have exercised restraint in both supply and rhetoric in recent years in a bid to calm fears the iron ore market could be flooded with supply, but port statistics suggest the miners’ inexorable export growth reached new heights in the three months to June 30.

Brazilian miner Vale is expected to announce record quarterly production of 96.3 million tonnes when it kicks off reporting season early on Tuesday morning Australian time, and Rio Tinto is expected to report strong numbers of its own several hours later. Continue Reading →

China’s cobalt dominance meets blockchain-backed resistance – by Rurika Imahashi and Nikki Sun (Nikkei Asian Review – July 17, 2018)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

TOKYO/HONG KONG — The equation could not be simpler. Electric cars are widely considered the future of the auto industry. Each electric car battery requires about 10 kg of cobalt. Control the cobalt supply, win the future. China, clearly, has done the math.

Most of the cobalt produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo — the world’s top source of the metal by far — is purchased by Chinese companies like Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt and refined back in China. The strategy appears to be to control the supply chain so that electric car production is virtually impossible without Chinese involvement.

“If cobalt falls into the hands of the Chinese, yeah you won’t see EVs being produced in Europe, etc.,” Ivan Glasenberg, the chief executive of Swiss miner Glencore, warned in March at the FT Commodities Global Summit. Continue Reading →

World’s Biggest Miners Want More Copper But Nobody’s Selling – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – July 17, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

It’s the mining world’s biggest dilemma: everyone’s hunting for copper deals, but even the richest producers just can’t pull the trigger.

The largest miners all say they’re bullish on copper and looking for growth in the metal that’s forecast to be in ever-greater demand as cities expand and electric vehicles gain traction.

The industry has deep pockets for deals right now — Rio Tinto Group may end the year having raised $8.5 billion from asset sales and rivals like BHP Billiton Ltd. and Glencore Plc are churning out massive profits. Continue Reading →

How Mining Tycoons Are Trying to Foil a Big U.K. Bribery Probe – by By Franz Wild (Bloomberg News – July 16, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

A trio of Kazakh oligarchs accuse their London lawyer of conspiring with Britain’s top cop

It’s a faint echo of the defense being floated by targets of the Mueller probe in the U.S.—an unaccountable circle of bureaucrats manipulating the system to their own ends. But in London, it’s the last ditch effort by a trio of Kazakh oligarchs to derail the U.K.’s biggest bribery investigation.

The mining tycoons behind Eurasian Natural Resources Corp., the former FTSE 100 company suspected of paying bribes to buy mines in Kazakhstan and Africa, say their own lawyer conspired with Britain’s top cop to incriminate them so he could fleece them for millions of pounds.

Even if they can’t convince a court of this hypothesis, the case will undoubtedly frustrate attempts to bring criminal charges against them and drag out proceedings for months, if not years. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Vale notches record Q2 iron ore, pellet output despite trucker strike (Reuters U.K.  – July 16, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 16 (Reuters) – Brazil’s Vale SA achieved record iron ore and pellet production for a second quarter despite a nationwide trucker strike that paralyzed Latin America’s largest economy in May, the miner said in a filing on Monday.

Vale, the world’s top iron ore producer, said iron ore output reached 96.755 million tonnes in the period while pellet output hit 12.838 million tonnes, despite the strike over rising diesel prices.

The pickup came after a slip in iron ore production in the first quarter due to heavy rains, and as a campaign in China to cut pollution boosts demand for Vale’s top-quality iron ore. Continue Reading →