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How Pakistan lost $6 billion on a gold mine – by Fm Shakil (Asia Times – January 18, 2021)

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PESHAWAR – Pakistan’s US and France based real estate assets are at risk of confiscation as a United Kingdom court moves to enforce an arbitration tribunal decree that fined it US$5.9 billion for retracting a 28-year old gold exploration contract with foreign mining companies.

This month, a British Virgin Islands’ court-ordered to establish a value on the Roosevelt Hotel in New York and the Scribe Hotel in Paris as part of an attachment process of the properties owned by Pakistan International Airlines Investment Ltd (PIAIL), a state-run company officially registered in the British Virgin Islands.

In July 2019, the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank-run arbitration tribunal, hit Pakistan with a $5.9 billion fine for revoking in 2011 a gold-cum-mineral exploration license held by Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), a joint venture of Barrick Gold Corporation of Australia and Antofagasta PLC of Chile. Continue Reading →

China’s Rare Earths ‘Slump’ A Sign Of Domestic ‘Hoarding’ For EV Batteries, And More – by Kenneth Rapoza (Forbes Magazine – January 17, 2021)

https://www.forbes.com/

China loves to be in everybody’s strategic supply chains. Rare earths is one of them. These are the minerals, often dug out of mines in Africa, that China controls. They go into your iPhone. They go into the Panasonic battery that powers your Tesla.

China’s rare earth exports fell to 35,448 tons last year from 46,330 tonnes in 2019, customs data showed on Thursday. China blamed the pandemic for weak demand. The 2020 exports were the lowest since 2015, according to Reuters.

But there may be more to it than the pandemic. For those China watchers, and competitors, looking for tears in the fabric, the slump has a little less to do with the pandemic than Beijing may be letting on. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto, Fortescue hit pay dirt as prices surge – by Sarah Turner and Jenny Wiggins (Australian Financial Review – January 18, 2021)

https://www.afr.com/

Another stunning rally in iron ore prices is set to put a rocket under profits for the major iron ore producers, showering shareholders with dividends, shoring up the sharemarket and helping the government restore its pandemic-ravaged finances.

Last week, the spot iron ore price reached $US172.36 a tonne, up 1.3 per cent on the previous session according to Fastmarkets MB. Iron ore futures on the Singapore exchange traded at $US170.15 a tonne at the end of the week – the highest since their inception in 2013 – after rallying nearly 10 per cent since the start of the year.

William Curtayne, portfolio manager at Milford Asset Management, said that if iron ore prices were held at about $US165 a tonne there would be large-scale upgrades to the earnings expectations of the iron ore miners. Continue Reading →

Outcry as Trump officials to transfer sacred Native American land to miners – by Annette McGivney (The Guardian – January 16, 2021)

https://www.theguardian.com/

As one of its last acts, the Trump administration has set in motion the transfer of sacred Native American lands to a pair of Anglo-Australian mining conglomerates.

The 2,422-acre Arizona parcel called Oak Flat is of enormous significance to the Western Apache and is now on track for destruction by what is slated to be one of the largest copper mining operations in the United States.

Steps for the controversial land transfer from the US government, which owns the land, to the miners were completed on Friday morning, when a final environmental assessment was published. The government must soon transfer title to the land. Continue Reading →

[Zimbabwe Mining] Mineral exports surge 27 percent – by Ishemunyoro Chingwere (Chronicle – January 18, 2021)

https://www.chronicle.co.zw/

Zimbabwe’s mineral exports, excluding gold and silver, for the year 2020 surged by 27 percent, earning the country US$2,4 billion, the Minerals and Marketing Authority of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) has said.

“Up to December 2020, we managed to surpass target; we had a total sales value of US$2,4 billion against a budget of US$1,86 billion,” MMCZ general manager said in an interview.

“We have done relatively well. We are 29 percent above budget for this year and compared to 2019 we are 27 percent better off.” This sets Zimbabwe on course of achieving a US$12 billion mining economy in the next two years, said Mr Tongai Muzenda. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Why President-elect Biden’s energy plans could derail the American Dream – by Jason Issac (Fox Business – January 17, 2021)

https://www.foxbusiness.com/

The coming inauguration of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States sets the stage for a policy agenda that openly and proudly demonizes the affordable, reliable energy resources we all rely upon.

Biden’s energy plans are bad for our national security, economy, public health, and overall quality of life. But the American people’s ingenuity and creativity — and the very nature of how our planet and energy systems work — mean all is not lost.

Under Biden’s attempts to “phase out” natural gas, petroleum, and coal, the prices we pay for energy will go up. Continue Reading →

[Uranium Mining/Navajo] A toxic history (Moab Sun News – January 15, 2021)

https://www.moabsunnews.com/

Science Moab talks to Dr. Tommy Rock about uranium exposure on the Navajo Nation

The Colorado Plateau has a long history of uranium mining, particularly within the Navajo Nation. Hundreds of abandoned uranium mines still contaminate water sources and ecologies within the Nation, creating dangerous levels of exposure within tribal communities.

Science Moab spoke with Dr. Tommy Rock, an environmental scientist who has testified before Congress as a leading expert in uranium contamination on the Navajo Nation, about his work to uncover these exposure pathways while empowering his community.

Science Moab: Can you explain the history of uranium mining within the Navajo Nation?

Rock: The mining actually first started with people looking for vanadium. [A chemical element primarily used as an additive to steel. -ed.] People flocked to the Four Corners area looking for it. Uranium mining started around 1918, but really started booming in the 1950s and ‘60s when the atomic bomb happened and the Cold War began. Continue Reading →

Gold price won’t recover quickly after Friday’s selloff, says Wall Street – by Anna Golubova (Kitco News – January 15, 2021)

https://www.kitco.com/

(Kitco News) After a drop below $1,825 an ounce on Friday, gold prices are not likely to recover quickly, at least according to the Wall Street part of the Kitco gold survey.

Gold saw a lot of pressure at the end of the week as a selloff in equities created a panic in the metals markets on Friday, analysts told Kitco News. On top of that, a surge in the U.S. dollar index made things worse for gold in the near-term.

“The market is sorting through the fallout of stimulus, inflation worries, and a U.S. dollar rebound. It will take some time before gold starts to climb again,” said Adam Button, chief market strategist at Forexlive.com. Continue Reading →

[Maine Mining] Wolfden reports additional findings of zinc, lead at Pickett Mountain location – by Alexander MacDougall (The County – January 12, 2021)

https://thecounty.me/

MT. CHASE, Maine — Additional findings of zinc minerals, as well as other elements such as lead and copper, have been found at the proposed Pickett Mountain mining site, located on property owned by Canadian mining company Wolfden Resources.

The Thunder Bay, Ontario-based company said its most recent test drilling showed polymetallic minerals, most particularly Zinc, which made up 24.2 percent of the results.

Other minerals reported were lead (11.2 percent of the results) and copper (3.2 percent). The total zinc equivalent, or the value of all reported minerals relative to the value of the mainly discovered zinc, was 52.9 percent. Continue Reading →

Alaska to appeal Corps’ Pebble decision – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – January 11, 2021)

https://www.miningnewsnorth.com/

Alaska officials say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers neglected to follow its own guidance when setting mitigations measures for Pebble and the state is appealing Army Corps’ decision to deny federal permits required to develop a mine at the world-class metals deposit on state lands in Southwest Alaska.

“The flawed decision by the Alaska District creates a dangerous precedent that will undoubtedly harm Alaska’s future and, any potential project can fall victim to the same questionable standards,” said Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

“We have to prevent a federal agency, in this instance, the Alaska District of the Army Corps of Engineers, from using the regulatory process to effectively prevent the state from fulfilling a constitutional mandate to develop its natural resources.” Continue Reading →

How Palladium Became a Really, Really Precious Metal – by Ranjeetha Pakiam and Eddie Van Der Walt (Bloomberg News – January 15, 2021)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg) — Palladium is the most valuable of the four major precious metals, with an acute shortage driving prices to records in recent years.

A key component in pollution-control devices for cars and trucks, the metal’s price has been on a tear, more than tripling in the four years through the end of 2020 — lifting it above the price of gold.

1. What is palladium?

It’s a lustrous white material one of the six platinum-group metals (along with ruthenium, rhodium, osmium, iridium and platinum itself). About 85% of palladium ends up in catalytic converters in car exhausts, where it helps turn toxic pollutants into less-harmful carbon dioxide and water vapor. Continue Reading →

Native Americans seek to stop Rio Tinto, BHP copper mine plan – by Nick Toscano (Sydney Morning Herald – January 13, 2021)

https://www.smh.com.au/

Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP are facing fresh opposition from Native American groups over a plan to build an enormous copper mine in Arizona in the United States.

Apache Stronghold, a non-profit group, has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Phoenix to stop the US government from transferring a 980-hectare parcel of land at Oak Flat, Arizona, to the mining giants’ joint venture, Resolution Copper.

Resolution, which is 55 per cent owned by Rio Tinto and 45 per cent owned by rival BHP, says its proposed copper mine has the potential to supply nearly 25 per cent of US copper demand for 40 years. Continue Reading →

Metals Behind EV Revolution to Resume Volatile Rally – Again – by Annie Lee and Eddie Spence (Bloomberg News – January 14, 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Battery metals are set to rebound this year as an electric-vehicle boom is bolstered by post-pandemic push for a green economic recovery.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has indicated the sector could get a boost, while China wants new energy vehicles to account for about 20% of total new car sales by 2025. Germany has extended subsidies on EVs for an extra four years, and the U.K. will ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

The markets for metals such as lithium and cobalt, which soared in 2018 before slumping on concerns about oversupply, will be underpinned by a step change in battery demand. Global EV sales are projected to surge 60% this year, according to BloombergNEF. Continue Reading →

Nickel Soars And Could Keep Flying As Demand Rises And Supply Falls – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – January 14, 2021)

https://www.forbes.com/

Demand up. Supply down. Price heading for a 10-year high. It doesn’t get much better for nickel—except for the potential to get a lot better for a metal which has a well-earned reputation for extreme highs (and lows).

Since suffering a Covid-19 collapse last March when the price fell to $10,800 a ton, nickel has been on a largely uninterrupted rise to last sales at $18,244/t, up almost 70% in 10 months.

Next target for nickel, which is a critical ingredient in high quality stainless steel and the batteries used in most electric vehicles (EVs) is $20,000/t, a level reached in the early 2012. Continue Reading →

Indonesia’s EV battery aspirations unearth mining waste problems – by Ursula Florene (Kr-asia.com – January 14, 2021)

https://kr-asia.com/

By catering to the global hunger for EVs and its domestic economic growth, Indonesia risks destroying its own environment.

Indonesia is one of the world’s top producers of battery minerals and the first global producer of nickel, an essential component to produce lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. That places the country at the core of the electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

Home to 25% of the world’s nickel resources, Indonesia also has rich resources of cobalt and copper, other essential minerals for battery production. Based on its assets, the country is developing its own EV industry and has plans to become a global EV battery production hub.

Under President Joko Widodo’s administration, Indonesia is set to begin EV domestic production by 2021 or 2022 with the goal of exporting 200,000 EVs by 2025, or about 20% of the estimated total of exported cars. Continue Reading →