Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Zimbabwe: Questions As Chinese Resurface On Anjin’s Marange Diamond Claims – by Mukasiri Sibanda (All Africa – April 23, 2018)

http://allafrica.com/

On 20 April 2018, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) accompanied ambassadors from European Union countries during their field visit to the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) mining operations in Marange in the east of the country. One interesting observation was the fresh fence erected on Anjin’s concession, an air strip clearance and the presence of some Chinese on the ground.

The personnel are clearly not ZCDC staff and indications were that they were not maintenance staff either. This raises several questions: is Anjin back? If so, in what disguise? Did they get a new license?

Anjin is a diamond mining partnership between Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company Ltd of China (AFECC) and Matt Bronze, an investment vehicle controlled by Zimbabwe’s military. Continue Reading →

RPT-Mining firms from China to Canada watch as Greenland holds election – by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen (Reuters U.S. – April 22, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

COPENHAGEN, April 20 (Reuters) – With melting ice expanding access to the Arctic, investors from China to Canada are watching Greenland’s election for signs of the political will to get a flagging mining programme on the island back on track.

Greenland is hoping rising commodity prices can help attract foreign investment and get its fragile economy up to speed to realise a long-term goal of independence from Denmark.

Hype about a possible mining boom in Greenland after it achieved self-rule from Denmark in 2009 faded in a morass of red tape and a commodity price slump around five years ago. It left the economy reliant on fishing and grants from Denmark. Continue Reading →

As Rusal Sanctions Ease, Traders Eye Other Metal Shock Threats – by Susanne Barton (Bloomberg News – April 23, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The turmoil in the metals market that sent aluminum to its worst slump in almost eight years isn’t over. Buckle up for a longer bumpy ride ahead.

Aluminum led losses among metals Monday after the U.S. Treasury Department opened the door to relief from sanctions to United Co. Rusal, the largest aluminum producer outside of China. That triggered a selloff in the lightweight metal less than a week after the Rusal curbs sent prices soaring to an almost seven-year high.

While the Treasury Department’s statement signal the refined metal produced by Rusal could soon be back in the market, other uncertainties persist. Among those is the question of the flow of alumina, the main raw material used to make the refined metal. Continue Reading →

Russia Sanctions Spook Palladium Investors – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – April 22, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Hedge funds just made an abrupt about face in the palladium market as U.S. sanctions against Russian titans spark concerns that the world’s largest producer of the metal will get caught in the cross hairs.

After the U.S. slapped penalties on United Co. Rusal, American officials have sent conflicting signals about whether fresh sanctions will be imposed on other companies owned by oligarchs, such as MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC.

The miner controls about 40 percent of the world’s palladium market. The turmoil sent prices for the metal to a seven-week high, and money managers increased their wagers on a rally by the most since June. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: After crackdown, Philippines plans fresh mining curbs – by Manolo Serapio Jr and Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – April 23, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines is planning to limit the amount of land that miners can develop at any one time to boost environmental rehabilitation, a move that miners say may cut output of nickel ore in last year’s top supplier to China.

The new curbs, contained in a draft government order reviewed by Reuters and confirmed by senior officials, follow a crackdown last year that has left more than half the country’s mines facing suspension or closure due to environmental breaches.

Mining is a deeply contentious issue in the resource-rich Southeast Asian country after past examples of environmental mismanagement. Continue Reading →

‘People will revolt’: workers say Russia must save sanctions-hit Rusal – by Polina Ivanova (Reuters U.S. – April 23, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

SAYANOGORSK, Russia (Reuters) – Workers at one of Russia’s biggest aluminum smelters say their Siberian town is doomed unless Moscow mitigates U.S. sanctions against aluminum giant Rusal, a predicament mirrored across the company’s sprawling operations.

Trapped by mortgages for apartments built on barren steppe under communism, residents of Sayanogorsk, one of a string of towns dominated by Rusal, have few options if a loss of customers for its aluminum leads the firm to cut jobs.

“The entire life of this city depends on Rusal,” said Evgeny Ivanov, until recently a foreman at the plant in Sayanogorsk, where pockmarked asphalt recalls the harsh winters endured by its 60,000 inhabitants, and icy blue mountains line the horizon. Continue Reading →

South Africa to Appeal Ruling on Black Ownership of Mines – by Paul Burkhardt (Bloomberg News – April 23, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

South Africa has sought leave to appeal a court judgment earlier this month over a crucial black-ownership principle in the country’s Mining Charter, the nation’s mining lobby said.

The Chamber of Mines has been notified that Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe and the Department of Mineral Resources filed the application, it said in a statement Monday.

The High Court in Pretoria on April 4 ruled that the first two versions of the country’s charter didn’t require producers to top up black-shareholding levels in perpetuity if they previously met the minimum 26 percent requirement. Continue Reading →

Hope is only surviving camp from Upper Kenai Peninsula gold rush – by Ray Bonnell (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – April 22, 2018)

http://www.newsminer.com/

FAIRBANKS — According to the 1915 U.S.G.S. report, “Geology and Mineral Resources of Kenai Peninsula, Alaska,” the only recorded instances of Russian gold exploration in Alaska occurred between 1848 and 1851, when Peter Doroshin, a Russian-American Company mining engineer, discovered gold in the Kenai River and spent two summers prospecting along the Russian River.

Doroshin, or his men, may have searched further afield, though. American miners in the Hope area found abandoned workings that they attributed to the Russians.

After the 1867 purchase of Alaska, prospectors began pushing north along the coast from British Columbia. By the 1880s, miners were working beach deposits along Lower Cook Inlet. In about 1888, a prospector named King (first name unknown) sojourned into the Upper Kenai Peninsula, returning two summers later with four pokes of gold. Continue Reading →

Chalco first quarter profits fall 19.4 percent on lower aluminum prices – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – April 23, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

BEIJING (Reuters) – Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (601600.SS) (2600.HK), known as Chalco, said on Monday that first-quarter net profits fell by 19.4 percent from a year ago due to lower aluminum prices but one-off gains helped it avoid a much worse result.

The company, China’s biggest state-run aluminum producer, said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange that net profit during the January to March was 308.6 million yuan ($48.94 million), versus an adjusted net profit of 382.9 million yuan a year earlier. Revenues, meanwhile, fell by 10.5 percent to 36.7 billion yuan.

The numbers point to thinning margins for aluminum smelters in China, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, in a quarter when prices fell. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Sanctions fever grips nickel as market rethinks Russia risk – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – April 20, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) – Sanctions fever has spread to nickel. With Russian aluminium producer Rusal imploding in the wake of U.S. sanctions against its oligarch owner Oleg Deripaska, attention is now turning to the status of another Russian industrial powerhouse, Norilsk Nickel.

Deripaska is a 27.8 percent shareholder in Norilsk, while the oligarch behind the world’s number two nickel producer, Vladimir Potanin, is himself on a U.S. Treasury Department list of Russians deemed to be close to the Kremlin.

Fears that Norilsk might follow Rusal down the U.S. sanctions path have sent London nickel prices on an extraordinary rollercoaster ride. But this was a market primed for an explosive breakout, with all sorts of technical drivers kicking in once it started rallying. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe’s parliament orders Mugabe to answer questions over diamonds – by by MacDonald Dzirutwe (Reuters U.S. – April 20, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s parliament has ordered former leader Robert Mugabe to answer questions next month about whether the state was deprived of $15 billion in diamond revenue, a legislator said on Friday.

It will be Mugabe’s first public appearance since last November when the army deposed him in a de facto coup after nearly four decades in power and he was replaced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The 94-year-old gave his first television interview last month since he lost power and said Mnangagwa had betrayed him and assumed the presidency illegally. Continue Reading →

Scarcely ahead: tech titans and the resource race (part 1) – by Jessica Clarence (The Strategist – April 20, 2018)

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/

In 1980 US President Jimmy Carter established the Carter Doctrine, asserting the right of the United States to protect strategic interests in the Middle East. The doctrine reflected the reality that oil sustained the US (and world) economy, and without it economies would collapse. ‘Energy geopolitics’—competition between states for energy security—reflected this worldwide resource race; a race as relevant today as it was in the 20th century.

Today we’re approaching an era where clean energy technology outstrips fossil fuels. This means that there will again be an energy race—but the essential component will be the humble battery. Western tech companies and their Chinese counterparts are competing, and right now Western tech companies are on their own, while Chinese companies have the full backing of their government.

Batteries are essential to all wireless electronic equipment. There are many battery technologies, but lithium-ion batteries are the most widely used in portable electronics. Raw materials account for up to 39% of a lithium battery’s cost. The hardest to obtain is cobalt, one of 27 ‘critical’ minerals. Continue Reading →

Alrosa plans rough diamond trading in India, seeks reduction in 40% tax – by Dilip Kumar Jha (Business Standard – April 19, 2018)

http://www.business-standard.com/

Alrosa sells around 16 per cent of its annual rough diamond output directly to India through its 15 long-term and 140 spot and auctions clients

Russian diamond-mining major Alrosa will start rough diamond trading in India once the government brings the tax on it down to 0.56 per cent from 40 per cent now — to match the rates in other major trading hubs of the world.

The 40 per cent rate is applicable in special notified zones (SNZ), including the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), where Alrosa opened its first office in India on Thursday.

Alrosa is planning to service its Indian customers by contacting them daily. Apart from that, the India representative will help in market research and data analytics in various markets by giving information on trends in the demand for precious stones here. Continue Reading →

China can’t control the market in rare earth elements because they aren’t all that rare – by James Vincent (The Verge.com – April 17, 2018)

https://www.theverge.com/

You can’t handle the truth (about rare earth elements)

If you need to know one thing about rare earth metals, it’s that they’re crucial to modern technology, helping power everything from MRI machines and satellites to headphones and nuclear reactors. If you need to know two things, it’s that despite their name, they’re not at all rare.

This second fact is crucial when putting recent headlines about these 17 oddly named elements in proper context. Last week, many publications covered the news that a Japanese team of scientists had found a huge trove of rare earth elements off the coast of the country’s Minamitori Island. Some 16 million tons were estimated to be lurking in the deep-sea mud, enough to meet global demand on a “semi-infinite basis,” said the researchers.

This news was positioned as having great geopolitical significance. China currently produces more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of rare earth materials (the exact figure tends to fluctuate year-by-year), and in the event of a conflict, said reports, it could jack up prices for the West and its allies, or even shut them out altogether. Continue Reading →

Illegal gold miners invade Grace Mugabe’s farm amid legal dispute – by Philemon Bulawayo (Reuters U.S. – April 20, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

MAZOWE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) – A farm owned by Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace is at the centre of a legal dispute after hundreds of illegal gold miners invaded parts of the property and started mining gold.

A Reuters photographer saw hundreds of illegal miners digging for gold at the Smithfield citrus farm using picks and shovels, the tools of choice for most illegal miners in Zimbabwe.

Once guarded by armed police, the farm is now dotted with illegal diggers whose quest for gold has left open shafts and tunnels and uprooted some fruit trees at Smithfield, 40 km (25 miles) north of the capital Harare. Continue Reading →