Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Mining’s Biggest Jobs Are Up for Grabs. Here Are the Contenders – by Thomas Biesheuvel, Jack Farchy and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – January 16, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Who will lead BHP, Anglo American and Glencore into the next decade?

Some of the mining world’s top executives are starting to plan their departures, driving speculation about who will lead their companies into the next decade.

The changing of the guard raises the prospect of a strategic shift, as the industry searches for ways to enthuse investors after a belt-tightening era characterized by asset sales and cost control. Here, based on conversations with executives, investors and industry decision makers, are some of the key names to watch.

BHP Group

There has been near-constant speculation for years around the future of BHP Group CEO Andrew Mackenzie. By 2017, the chatter was so loud that the new chairman’s first meeting with the press was preceded by a statement backing his CEO. Continue Reading →

Club Med: Israel, Egypt, and Others Form New Natural Gas Group – by Keith Johnson (Foreign Policy – January 15, 2019)

https://foreignpolicy.com/

Countries around the Eastern Mediterranean took a potentially important step toward realizing their dreams of boosting energy production with the creation Monday of a forum joining Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, and other neighbors to develop their new natural gas discoveries.

The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, announced Monday in Cairo, formalizes growing energy ties among recent rivals and could spur much-needed development of energy infrastructure required to tap the region’s potential as a source of energy for Europe and beyond.

The forum in particular cements the growing commercial links between Israel and Egypt; Israel expects to start shipping natural gas to Egypt in the next few months as part of a landmark, $15 billion deal between the two countries. Continue Reading →

Ebola Has Gotten So Bad, It’s Normal – by Laurie Garrett (Foreign Policy Magazine – January 15, 2019)

https://foreignpolicy.com/

Nearly 600 people have contracted Ebola since last August in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, making the ongoing outbreak the second largest in the 43-year history of humanity’s battle with the deadly virus.

And there is a genuine threat that this Congo health crisis—the 10th the African nation has faced—could become essentially permanent in the war-torn region bordering South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, making a terrible transition from being epidemic to endemic.

Despite having a tool kit at its disposal that is unrivaled—including a vaccine, new diagnostics, experimental treatments, and a strong body of knowledge regarding how to battle the hemorrhage-causing virus—the small army of international health responders and humanitarian workers in Congo is playing whack-a-mole against a microbe that keeps popping up unexpectedly and proving impossible to control. Continue Reading →

Platinum price fall worsening plight of job-intensive mines – by Martin Creamer (MiningWeekly.com – January 16, 2019)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The latest fall of the platinum price is threatening to become the last straw that broke the camel’s back for some deep labour-intensive platinum group metals (PGMs) mines on particularly the western limb of the Bushveld Complex, Mining Weekly Online can today report.

Well ahead of the latest price decimation, platinum company CEOs were expressing concern about the lossmaking position of western limb PGMs mines, which account for 55% of South Africa’s platinum production and provide 136 000 direct mining jobs.

At the time of going to press, the platinum price was $801/oz, which even rand conversion is unable to embellish to an acceptable level. As long ago as February 2012, the then Anglo American Platinum CEO, Neville Nicolau, was unequivocal about $1 900/oz being essential for the capital investment required to maintain long-term production. Continue Reading →

Eyes on Newcrest as gold dealmaking heats up – by Nichola Saminather (Reuters U.S. – January 14, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

TORONTO (Reuters) – Two recent large M&A deals in the gold sector have prompted speculation that Newcrest Mining (NCM.AX), Kinross Gold Corp (K.TO) and B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO) may be among the next gold companies to combine with a rival, bankers and analysts said.

On Monday, Newmont Mining (NEM.N) announced a $10 billion takeover of Goldcorp Inc (G.TO), close on the heels of Barrick Gold’s (ABX.TO) purchase of Randgold Resources.

Deal-making had largely been dormant in the gold sector in recent years, as companies focused on cutting costs amid investor criticism of inadequate management of capital. But the need to bolster shrinking gold reserves to boost growth and take advantage of rising gold prices are now providing the impetus for consolidation. Continue Reading →

Commentary: Flash LME nickel squeeze may be a taste of things to come – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – January 16, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Nickel bears have been sent running for cover by this week’s ferocious squeeze on the London Metal Exchange (LME). Short-dated time-spreads have flexed out to levels not seen in many years as a long-running decline in LME nickel stocks translates into cash-date tightness.

The resulting bear rout has halted a six-month downtrend in the outright nickel price. Bulls, however, should not get overly excited. There is as yet scant evidence this was anything other than a flash squeeze rather than a signal for higher prices.

But that is not to say there won’t be more such spread tension in the nickel market going forward. That nickel should be squeezed this week is no accident. Today is the LME’s “third-Wednesday” prime prompt date, the monthly clear-out of outstanding positions. Continue Reading →

INTERVIEW-‘Adapt to new era’ – Mexico lawmaker seeks tougher rules for miners – by Noe Torres (CNBC/Reuters – January 15, 2019)

https://www.cnbc.com/

MEXICO CITY, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Mexico’s mining companies, including copper giant Grupo Mexico, should prepare for new labor rules and new regulations over their operations, including the prospect of higher taxes, a veteran labor leader now in the Senate told Reuters on Tuesday.

Senator Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, who heads the labor committee and sits on the mining committee, unleashed epic union battles a decade ago before he left Mexico to fight corruption charges he says were politically motivated.

Asked whether Grupo Mexico and other miners run by Mexican billionaires should be more tightly controlled, Gomez Urrutia said years of loose regulation by such companies had led to inequality and a severe concentration of wealth in Mexico. Continue Reading →

Pimco Favors ‘Unloved’ Platinum That’s Looking Cheap Versus Gold – by Ranjeetha Pakiam (Bloomberg News – January 16, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Platinum could be the dark horse among precious metals, according to a money manager at Pacific Investment Management Co.

Nic Johnson, Pimco’s managing director and portfolio manager for commodities, says he prefers the metal over gold. Used in autocatalysts of diesel engines and jewelry, it’s near the cheapest ever relative to both bullion and palladium, after tumbling 14 percent last year.

While investors have poured into gold funds, they’ve deserted platinum, which has fallen out of favor amid shrinking demand and excess supply. The possibility the trend reverses even slightly represents a buying opportunity, Johnson said in an interview from Newport Beach, California. With $1.72 trillion under management as of September, Pimco is one of the world’s largest bond managers. Continue Reading →

Anglo American begins quest to unearth next CEO – by Clara Denina and Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.K. – January 15, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Anglo American (AAL.L) has promoted a section head it considers to have CEO potential, focusing its attention on internal talent as it begins searching for a successor to the man who steered the mining company through the 2015-16 commodities price slump.

CEO Mark Cutifani has won plaudits for his stewardship since taking the helm in 2013, though his strategic ability has been questioned in some quarters despite Anglo shares climbing around 12 percent last year, outperforming London-listed peers including Glencore (GLEN.L) and Rio Tinto (RIO.L)(RIO.AX).

Analysts say that Cutifani deserves credit for driving efficiency but some remain critical of a decision to halt debt-reducing asset disposals, even though this helped the company to benefit from the upturn in prices for commodities such as iron ore and coal. Continue Reading →

Gold Veteran Says Bigger May Not Be Better as M&A Blitz Hits – by David Stringer and Ranjeetha Pakiam (Bloomberg News – January 15, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The $15 billion flurry of deal-making that will super-size the gold industry’s leading producers is no guarantee of better performance, according to an Australian miner who’s been outpacing larger competitors.

Rising gold prices and a hunt to boost additional reserves of the precious metal have spurred Newmont Mining Corp. and Barrick Gold Corp. to acquire rival companies and add more operations. Their moves have stoked expectations that other producers will now also look to combine.

“The thesis being offered is that bigger is better, and historically in the gold sector that hasn’t proven to be value creating for shareholders,” Jake Klein, executive chairman of Sydney-based Evolution Mining Ltd., said by phone on Tuesday. “This time it may be different, but certainly the past has not demonstrated that.” Continue Reading →

President Trump can’t stop U.S. coal plants from retiring – by Scott DiSavino (Reuters U.S. – January 14, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – More U.S. coal-fired power plants were shut in President Donald Trump’s first two years than were retired in the whole of Barack Obama’s first term, despite the Republican’s efforts to prop up the industry to keep a campaign promise to coal-mining states.

In total, more than 23,400 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired generation were shut in 2017-2018 versus 14,900 MW in 2009-2012, according to data from Reuters and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Trump has tried to roll back rules on climate change and the environment adopted during the Obama administration to fulfill pledges to voters in states like West Virginia and Wyoming. Continue Reading →

Congo poll leaves uncertainty for miners at heart of EV revolution – by Joe Bavier (Reuters U.S. – January 13, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The surprise outcome of Congo’s election – a vote meant to bring closure to years of turmoil under President Joseph Kabila – has done little to ease uncertainty for miners and investors in a country crucial to the electric vehicle revolution.

Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s leading miner of cobalt, a mineral used in electric car batteries which has seen a surge in demand in recent years, with mines run by firms including Glencore (GLEN.L) and China Molybdenum (603993.SS).

Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi, an unknown quantity for mining executives, was declared the winner of last month’s chaotic vote on Thursday, defeating Kabila’s chosen successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. Continue Reading →

Diamond sector transformation in Angola approaches major milestone achievement (Mining Review Africa – January 14, 2019)

Mining Review Africa

The significant diamond sector reforms being enacted by the President of Angola, His Excellency Joao Lourenco, to grow investment into the Angolan mining sector, will take another major step forward this month. The inaugural competitive bid sale of large and premium-quality diamonds from Lucapa Diamond Company’s (and partners) high-quality Lulo diamond mine will take place in Luanda.

The sale will mark a significant milestone for the Angolan diamond mining industry, being the first diamonds offered for sale in a competitive process under the new diamond marketing policy enacted by President Lourenco and the Angolan Council of Ministers.

The historic Lulo competitive bid sale, which is scheduled to close on 31 January 2019, is being organised in Luanda by SODIAM, the state-owned company responsible for the trading of diamonds in Angola. Continue Reading →

Russian Diamond Giant Alrosa Is Going Back to Zimbabwe – by Yuliya Fedorinova and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – January 15, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Alrosa PJSC, one of the world’s top diamond miners, is returning to crisis-stricken Zimbabwe, the latest example of Russia expanding its footprint in Africa.

The company will develop new mining operations with the support of the government, Alrosa said Monday as Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa visited Moscow to try and raise investment for his economically blighted nation. In Mnangagwa’s absence, protests against his government’s economic mismanagement intensified, with 24 injured on Monday and five possibly dead.

Mnangagwa, who became president in 2017, sees diamonds as one way to help revive his nation’s mining industry, which suffered years of decline under his predecessor Robert Mugabe. The government is considering waiving a rule that has prevented foreign investors from holding controlling stakes in its diamond mines, as it targets production of 12 million carats by 2023, up from 3.5 million carats last year. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Three reasons gold may be about to run with the bulls – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – January 14, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Jan 14 (Reuters) – The three legs that supported gold’s extended rally from just after the 2008 global recession until the all-time peak in 2011 may be making something of a comeback this year.

This is sparking hopes that the precious metal may finally break out of a fairly narrow five-year range, although it’s still far from certain that the dynamics for a sustained rally are entrenched.

The 2008-11 rally that saw spot gold almost triple in value to reach a record of $1,920.30 an ounce was built on three pillars, namely strong physical demand from top buyers China and India, robust central bank purchases, and appetite for a safe haven investment amid the fallout from the global recession. Continue Reading →