Archive | International Media Resource Articles

First Quantum Falls as Panama Court Casts Uncertainty on Project – by Natalie Obiko Pearson (Bloomberg News – September 25, 2018)

Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd. headed for a one-week low after a ruling by Panama’s Supreme Court cast uncertainty over a major copper mine it’s developing in the central American country.

Local media in Panama reported that the court ruled on Monday that Law 9 — used to approve a mining concession contract between the state and Minera Petaquilla in February 1997 — was unconstitutional.

Minera Petaquilla, now known as Minera Panama SA, is majority-owned by Vancouver-based First Quantum. Company’s filings show it obtained the concession rights for the Cobre Panama project in 1997 under that law. Continue Reading →

Clean Coal Is Not a Joke: There’s nothing clean about coal and nothing funny about its impacts – by Natasha Geiling (Sierra – September 25, 2018)

When Donald Trump rambles on about “clean coal,” he never mentions the parts of coal that aren’t very clean. He doesn’t talk about coal’s toxic byproducts that are found in its ash, its dust, and its smoke. And he doesn’t talk about the potential health impacts for the people who live near mines, power plants, and shipping terminals.

Such coal-related health threats are familiar to homeowners near Charlotte, North Carolina, who went more than 1,000 days on bottled water because of suspected coal ash contamination in their tap water. The health risks are familiar to residents in Norfolk, Virginia, who have to contend with coal dust on their homes and gardens from the trains that rumble into the largest coal export terminal in the Northern Hemisphere.

The dangers of coal are familiar to the Appalachian communities beset with air and water pollution from mountaintop-removal mining that carves the tops off of mountains and dumps the remnants into streams. Continue Reading →

Coal Harms Miners, Too – by The Editors (Bloomberg News – September 25, 2018)

(The Bloomberg View) — By now, black lung disease was supposed to have mostly gone away. The coal industry was supposed to have improved air quality in the mines enough to prevent miners from inhaling the coal dust that inflames, stiffens and blackens their lungs. In fact, the incidence of this deadly and incurable disease is rising.

Bear this in mind the next time President Donald Trump says coal is “clean” or “beautiful,” and moves to encourage use of the world’s dirtiest fuel.

In the late 1990s, the incidence of black lung fell to 5 percent among longtime miners, from more than 30 percent in 1960s, after mine-dust regulations were imposed and systems were put in place to monitor miners’ health. But now the incidence is back up to 10 percent. In central Appalachia (Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia), one in five miners are stricken. Continue Reading →

SoftBank moves to lock up lithium, the lifeblood of electric cars – by Minoru Satake (Nikkei Asian Review – September 24, 2018)

TOKYO — SoftBank Group is on the hunt for natural resources, particularly the lithium needed for electric car and smartphone batteries.

Demand is expected to surge as more electric vehicles hit roads worldwide. Competition for battery materials is stiff, with Apple rushing to secure supplies of cobalt. And SoftBank considers lithium a priority, as it looks to build a stronger foundation for its other investments, like ride-hailing companies.

In June, SoftBank enlisted the chairman of trading house Mitsui & Co., Masami Iijima, to serve on its board as an outside director. A SoftBank executive said the move was made to “facilitate our future efforts to secure resources.” Continue Reading →

Ex-Barrick band looks for new legacy – by Richard Roberts (Mining Journal – September 25, 2018)

Armed with an improved understanding of the “stratigraphic complexities … and the importance of low angle structures and their contribution to gold deposition” at Red Hill, NuLegacy’s management team is eager to follow-up recent high-grade drill hits at the Serena target immediately. But it will also continue to drill widely spaced targets elsewhere in a bid to replicate the results and apply its expanded knowledge kit as broadly as possible on the property.

“We will be drilling more holes to follow up on the excellent results in SR18-02 [including 8.7m at 16.9gpt from 283.7m), but that same set-up of structure and stratigraphy can be seen in numerous places on the property,” NuLegacy president and CEO Anderson told Mining Journal.

“So we feel it would be a big mistake to focus on only one area.” Anderson said all junior companies had a geological analogue of what they were looking for. Continue Reading →

Coal miner’s $4.4b IPO world’s largest mining listing since boom – by Cole Latimer (Sydney Morning Herald- September 24, 2018)

An Australian coal miner is carrying out the world’s largest mining listing since the height of the mining boom, going against the tide of shrinking coal markets.

Coronado Coal’s $4.4 billion listing comes as steelmaking coal prices fall sharply month on month on the back of escalating trade tensions between China and the United States, and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science forecasts prices to fall heavily.

Despite this, the IPO has an indicative price of between $4 and $4.80 per share, valuing the company – which has coal mines in Queensland and the US – between $3.8 billion and $4.4 billion. Continue Reading →

Nyrstar profit warning highlights zinc’s disconnects – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – September 24, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – Belgian zinc producer Nyrstar issued a profits warning last week, citing “adverse market conditions”. The company, which last year produced over a million tonnes of refined zinc, is feeling the pain from the dramatic price collapse of the last six months.

London Metal Exchange (LME) zinc hit an 11-year high of $3,595.50 per ton in February. It is currently trading at $2,525 after touching a two-year low of $2,283 in August.

Retreat turned into rout as zinc got caught up in the broader LME sell-off, speculative players using the base metals complex to vent their trade war angst. The resulting price implosion has opened up a disconnect with zinc’s internal supply-demand dynamics. Continue Reading →

Opinion: The war on coal is a winner for China – by Rupert Darwall (New York Post – September 24, 2018)

Rupert Darwall is the author of “Green Tyranny.”

We’ve just entered the 21st month of Donald Trump’s presidency. While the president is ending his predecessor’s war on coal at home, American taxpayers are still funding Barack Obama’s war on coal abroad. That’s bad news for US taxpayers, trade — and national security.

In 2013, President Obama ordered the Treasury Department to use its representation on the World Bank, where the US is the largest funder, and other multilateral development banks to veto funding for coal-fired power stations. That year, the World Bank formalized a near blanket ban on coal. Last year, it extended the ban to the funding of oil and gas projects as well.

China is the big winner here. It dominates the solar-power industry. Nine out of the world’s top 10 solar companies are Chinese-controlled. Continue Reading →

[Rare Earths Minerals] U.S. Reliance on Obscure Imports From China Points to Strategic Vulnerability – by Chuin-Wei Yap (Wall Street Journal – September 24, 2018)

Forget Apple Inc.’s smartwatch. When it comes to goods the Trump administration exempted from its latest blitz of tariffs on Chinese imports, the cases of fluorine salts and carbonate esters say more about where the U.S. is vulnerable in its reliance on Chinese supply.

The chemicals, used to make electrolytes for electric-car batteries, are among 297 dispensations sparing importers the new 10% levy. The mineral barite, which helps energy companies drill for oil and gas, and the painkiller ibuprofen—90% of which comes from China—were also beneficiaries, along with Apple’s far-better-known products, including its smartwatches and AirPods.

While the latest broadside from the U.S. in its tariff feud with China, covering 5,745 items worth some $200 billion, is a demonstration of America’s buying power, items cut from the initial tariff hit-list point to weaknesses across a range of businesses, from energy giants like Halliburton Co. to smaller suppliers of specialty parts, all of which sought waivers for raw materials and parts by arguing that China had become an indispensable supplier. Continue Reading →

No shoes or high vis: Dampier’s old boys recall laidback life in remote Pilbara port town – by Kendall O’Connor (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – September 23, 2018)

When Pauline Hill’s husband read about a job going in remote Western Australia offering double his current wage, they thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up. “He was reading the Advertiser one day and saw a job advertised for Hamersley Iron, which we didn’t know anything about,” she said.

They planned to stay in the mystery town for two years, but ended up living there for 14 years. “We just loved it,” she said. Thirty-seven years later, Mrs Hill has returned to the Pilbara port town for the second annual reunion of people who lived in the town between the 1960s and 80s.

The idea for the Old Boys Reunion came from Dave Randle, who now lives on the Gold Coast. “I went to a Pilbara reunion down in Perth and I just felt that it wasn’t the right place for it,” he said. Continue Reading →

Barrick Silences Its Biggest Critic by Buying Out Randgold – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – September 24, 2018)

For more than two decades, Mark Bristow has been a thorn in the side of Barrick Gold Corp. Now he’s its closest partner.

The 59-year-old South African will take the role of chief executive officer at Barrick after the Canadian company inked a $5.4 billion deal to buy out Randgold Resources Ltd. It’s a bigger stage for Bristow, known as an outsider for his sharp and frequent criticisms of the gold industry and a genius at running an African mine.

Bristow’s personality looms large. He’s fond of cigars and big-game hunts, as well as motocross expeditions across Africa. He’s been known to use his pilot license to fly investors directly to African mines via his private plane, and run Randgold from top to bottom, often personally handling its investor and media communications. Continue Reading →

Vale: Embracing The Electric Vehicle Revolution (Seeking Alpha – September 24, 2018)

Vale’s (VALE) iron ore operations have been by far the main driver of the company’s performance. Because of this, the Base Metals division tends to fly under the radar, despite Vale being the world’s largest producer of nickel.

However, Vale has big plans for its nickel and copper divisions, and the Brazilian company has identified the rise of electric vehicle and renewables as an important growth driver, especially in nickel. The main focus of this article will be the nickel developments, but we will also touch on copper. Both should help the Base Metals division contribute meaningfully to earnings from 2020.

Base Metals’ contribution is still modest, but rising

Investors can be forgiven for paying more attention to the Ferrous Minerals division, which includes iron ore and related metals. This segment is by far the main contributor to Vale’s performance. The company’s latest quarterly publication, for Q2 2018, confirms the weight of Ferrous Minerals: Continue Reading →

Barrick Needs Randgold to Make the Grade – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – September 24, 2018)

Few gold miners can operate profitably near the metal’s current grade levels. A merger may be the best solution.

Gold miners have been struggling for decades against geological destiny.

The grade of metal in the world’s gold reserves has been declining for years, from average levels above 10 grams a metric ton in the late 1960s to almost one tenth of that now. That’s a worrying metric, because few gold mines can operate profitably below 1 gram a ton – equivalent to extracting two teaspoons of gold from a Statue of Liberty’s-worth of ore.

With gold prices now hovering below $1,200 a troy ounce, that deterioration of the world’s ore quality is becoming particularly acute. From levels of 1.42 grams a ton a decade ago, the average reserve grade of the top five gold miners – Barrick Gold Corp., Newmont Mining Corp., Anglogold Ashanti Holdings Plc, Goldcorp Inc., and Newcrest Mining Ltd. – has fallen to 1.12 grams in 2017, having touched a low of 1.04 five years earlier. Continue Reading →

Canada’s Barrick Gold to buy Randgold Resources in $18.3 billion deal – by Zandi Shabalala, Justin George Varghese and Clara Denina (Reuters U.S. – September 24, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – Canada’s Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) has agreed to buy Randgold Resources Ltd (RRS.L) in a $18.3 billion share deal to create the world’s largest gold company by value and output in an industry under investor pressure to put capital to good use.

The new Barrick company, which will be listed in New York and Toronto, will own five of the world’s 10 lowest cost gold mines and will be valued at $24 billion including debt.

The deal marks the biggest transaction in years in the gold mining industry, where companies have come under fire from investors for poorly managing capital, forcing them to focus on costs while dampening enthusiasm for acquisitions. Continue Reading →

Barrick and Randgold in talks on $18bn tie-up – by Henry Sanderson and Neil Hume (Financial Times – September 23, 2018)

Merger would create leading gold producer as sector struggles to attract investors

Canada’s Barrick Gold is in talks to merge with Randgold Resources, its London-listed rival, in a $18bn deal that would create the world’s leading gold producer, according to reports.

The discussions between Barrick and Randgold follow a dismal year for the sector, which has struggled to attract the interest of investors.

Shares in Barrick have dropped 25 per cent amid criticism of its strategy, while Randgold has fallen 34 per cent as it has struggled with a number of operational issues, including a strike at one of its biggest mines. Continue Reading →