Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Exclusive: China’s Tsingshan roils nickel market with buying spree – by Pratima Desai and Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – July 19, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese firm Tsingshan Holding Group has been buying large quantities of stainless steel ingredient nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) to supplement its own output, two sources familiar with the matter said. They could not specify the amounts Tsingshan has bought.

Nickel prices slid to their lowest for the year in the second quarter as investment funds sold on the expectation of slowing demand from Chinese stainless steel mills as economic activity came under pressure from the U.S.-China trade war.

But as unexpectedly higher demand numbers started to trickle out, the same funds rushed to cut their bets on lower prices. Continue Reading →

Column One: 50 years after Apollo 11, the moon’s allure still resonates – by David Shribman (Los Angeles Times – July 11, 2019)

https://www.latimes.com/

Loudon Wainwright Jr., father and grandfather of songwriters and musicians, was a prominent literary balladeer of 1960s culture, and — just as Americans might tire of 50-year commemorations of humankind’s greatest space adventure — he felt a creeping sense of tedium, almost boredom, at Cape Kennedy as he awaited the launch of Apollo 11.

But the night before the liftoff, Wainwright heard this observation:

“What we will have attained when Neil Armstrong steps down upon the moon is a completely new step in the evolution of man. For the first time, life will leave its planetary cradle, and the ultimate destiny of man will no longer be confined to these familiar continents that we have known so long.”

Those words were spoken by Wernher von Braun, and they jolted Wainwright, stirred him, as he put it in a Life magazine essay, “in ways that no amount of engineering brilliance, astronautical competence, and the cool confidence of the entire Apollo project ever could.’’ Continue Reading →

What Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin taught us about ourselves – by Maura Forrest (National Post – July 20, 2019)

Wiki image may be subject to copyright.

https://nationalpost.com/

The moon landing wasn’t about Armstrong or Aldrin; it was about us. Fifty years on, the two men who took those first steps are extensions of us, partly real, partly imagined

Norman Mailer once wrote of Neil Armstrong that he was “as much a spirit as a man,” “of all the astronauts the man nearest to being saintly.”

This was gleaned from a press conference Armstrong gave with his fellow Apollo 11 crew members, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, on July 5, 1969, less than two weeks before the launch of the spaceflight that first put humans on the moon.

Armstrong was “extraordinarily remote,” Mailer wrote. “Something particularly innocent or subtly sinister was in the gentle remote air. If he had been a young boy selling subscriptions at the door, one grandmother might have warned her granddaughter never to let him in the house; another would have commented, ‘That boy will go very far.’ He was apparently in communion with some string in the universe others did not think to unravel.” Continue Reading →

Elon Musk: Revolutionising Space Transportation with Stainless Steel – by Benjamin Spilker (Matmatch.com – July 12, 2019)

https://matmatch.com

SpaceX has come a long way. After being shocked by the absence of NASA’s concrete plans for a manned mission to Mars in the early 2000s, Elon Musk, the well-known entrepreneur and engineer, founded SpaceX in order to establish affordable access to space.

After spending a couple of years on designing, building and testing the first privately developed orbital rockets, the fourth launch of the Falcon 1 rocket into orbit was successful, marking the dawn of private space transportation.

With its proven capabilities, SpaceX was awarded a substantial contract from NASA for supply missions to the International Space Station, providing the funding for a rapid development of new launch vehicles. Continue Reading →

Metals in Space: How Superalloys Changed the Rocket Landscape – by Benjamin Spilker (Matmatch.com – March 26, 2019)

https://matmatch.com/

There is a high chance that a large variety of metals is in your proximity at this very moment. Metals are found and used virtually everywhere, from the iron in your red blood cells to the rare earth metals in the screen you are reading these lines from.

Many of the greatest advances in technology can be traced back to the exceptional characteristics that can be achieved by manufacturing parts from metal or alloying different metals to obtain even more superior materials.

Apart from the materials themselves, the manufacturing techniques evolved from hammering copper in approximately the 6th millennium BC [1] to, more recently, 3D printing of titanium. 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 →

Twin Metals changes its plan to deal with mine waste — to a strategy lauded by some environmentalists – by Walker Orenstein (Minn Post – July 18, 2019)

https://www.minnpost.com/

The safety of storing mining waste in a tailings basin has been a critical part of the debate over copper-nickel mining in northern Minnesota, with some environmental advocates warning that failures and spills could unleash toxic slurry into nearby waters.

Now, in a major shift, one of two companies hoping to build a copper-nickel mine says it plans to store much of its waste using a “dry stack” method, an emerging technology that many of the same environmental nonprofits — and some mining experts — argue will better prevent water pollution.

Twin Metals Minnesota, which plans to mine just outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, said Thursday it would abandon its plan to use a tailings basin, which entails waste rock being covered in a pond held back by a dam. Continue Reading →

Mining Giant to Spend Billions to Halt Indonesian Metal Imports – by Eko Listiyorini and Tassia Sipahutar (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – July 18, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Indonesia plans to spend billions of dollars in building aluminum and nickel smelters as it seeks to cut reliance on imports of finished metal and stem exports of raw minerals.

State-owned PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium will earmark as much as $10 billion over the next five years to develop refineries and smelters, according to President Director Budi Gunadi Sadikin. The investment will be made by the company and its units including nickel and bauxite miner PT Aneka Tambang, he said.

Indonesia is seeking to reshape its mining industry by making it mandatory for miners to build smelters after decades of free exports of raw materials left it reliant on costly imports to meet demand. Continue Reading →

Send in the troops: Congo raises the stakes on illegal mining – by Aaron Ross (Reuters U.S. – July 17, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

DAKAR (Reuters) – A Congolese army officer arrived in the village of Kafwaya in June and warned residents not to trespass on a major Chinese copper and cobalt mine next door. As night fell about a week later, the soldiers moved in.

“They didn’t say anything to anyone,” said Fabien Ilunga, an official in Kafwaya, which is home to thousands of miners eking out a living by illegally exploiting the nearby mineral resources. “The army started to burn down the tarpaulin houses.”

Deploying soldiers to clear tens of thousands of illegal informal miners from mining concessions is a new approach by the authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo, who have wrestled with the problem for decades. Continue Reading →

Canada urged to address declining mining competitiveness – by Claire Cuddihy (Global Mining Review – July 18, 2019)

https://www.globalminingreview.com/

A national alliance of mineral exploration and mining associations are urging Mines Ministers, having convened for their 76th annual conference in Cranbrook (British Columbia), to take action to ensure Canada remains a globally competitive jurisdiction and can continue to attract mineral investment.

A brief submitted by the Canadian Mineral Industry Federation (CMIF) proposes a series of recommendations organised under the six strategic directions identified in the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP) published earlier this year.

The plan, developed by Natural Resources Canada with the support of most provincial and territorial governments, identifies specific areas where collaboration and action by federal, provincial and territorial governments can boost Canada’s ability to attract new mineral investment. Continue Reading →

Australia Sees Jobs Boom in West as Resources Comeback on Cards – by Michael Heath (Bloomberg News – July 17, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Employment jumped and the labor force swelled in Australia’s western mining heartland, offsetting job losses in every other state, suggesting forecasts of a resource investment revival might be coming to pass.

In Western Australia, 13,800 jobs were added in June, the participation rose 0.3 percentage point and unemployment fell almost half a percentage point to 5.8%, data from the statistics bureau showed in Sydney Thursday. In contrast, New South Wales, the economy’s growth driver in recent years and Australia’s biggest state, shed 17,400 positions.

“The pickup in full-time hiring in Western Australia may be a sign that the trough in resource investment may soon come to an end,” said Tamara Mast Henderson, an economist at Bloomberg Economics. Continue Reading →

The Next Neil Armstrong May Be Chinese as Moon Race Intensifies – by Bruce Einhorn, Justin Bachman, Hannah Dormido and Adrian Leung (Bloomberg News – July 17, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Fifty years after Neil Armstrong took his one small step, there’s a renewed race to put human beings back on the moon⁠—and the next one to land there may send greetings back to Earth in Chinese.

China, which didn’t have a space exploration program when Apollo 11 landed in the Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969, is planning a series of missions to match that achievement. China could have its own astronauts walking on the moon’s surface and working in a research station at its south pole sometime in the 2030s.

On the way there, they may stop over at a space station scheduled for assembly starting next year. Those ambitions trouble President Donald Trump’s administration, which is locked in trade and technology-transfer disputes with China that raise fears of a new Cold War like the one between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that spawned the Apollo program in the 1960s. Continue Reading →

Column: Copper concentrates tightness threatens benchmark pricing – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – July 18, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – The copper market may be stuck in a well-worn trading range but there is plenty of action unfolding in the mine concentrates segment of the copper supply chain.

China’s copper smelters have just slashed their minimum charges for converting concentrates into refined metal. The 10-member China Smelters Purchase Team (CSPT) has set treatment and refining charges at $55.00 per tonne and 5.5 cents per lb respectively for third-quarter deliveries.

That’s down from $73 and 7.3 cents in the second quarter and from $92 and 9.2 cents in the first quarter. It is now sufficiently low to cause margin distress for higher-cost smelters. Tumbling treatment charges reflect a tightening market for copper raw material. Continue Reading →

Column: Nickel jumps but fear of Indonesia export ban is unfounded – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – July 17, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Nickel is enlivening an otherwise torpid summer for the base metals complex. The market is on a bull charge in both London and Shanghai. London Metal Exchange three-month nickel has jumped 23% since the start of June and at a current $14,250 per tonne is trading at its highest level in a year.

Chinese speculators are surging into the Shanghai Futures Exchange contract, which is also nudging one-year highs. The trigger for this collective exuberance is news that Indonesia will stop allowing the export of unprocessed nickel ore in 2022.

Since this is a key raw material pipeline for China’s giant nickel pig iron (NPI) sector, the price reaction might seem rational. Except that the “news” is not new. The 2022 deadline was set in 2017, when the Indonesian government allowed a five-year grace period for ore exporters in return for investment in processing capacity. Continue Reading →

Private investors protect vast forests in U.S. coal country – by Carey L. Biron (Reuters U.S. – July 15, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Private investors have backed what supporters say is one of the largest conservation acquisitions ever in the eastern United States, offering a promising new model to protect land.

Conservation group the Nature Conservancy announced Monday that it and partners now control almost 400 square miles (1,000 sq km) of land in three states in the central Appalachian Mountains, traditionally heavily dependent on coal mining.

The tracts, part of what backers say is one of the world’s largest intact forests, were purchased from timber management entities through a $130 million investment fund. Continue Reading →