Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Green Blood: The Guatemalans who pay the price for the west’s need for nickel – by Juliette Garside (The Guardian – June 19, 2019)

https://www.theguardian.com/

The road to Guatemala’s biggest nickel mine is barely visible through a cloud of red dust, churned up by the 25-tonne trucks that thunder past loaded with ore.

From the choking haze a cyclist emerges, weaving between the lorries. On his back he carries a bundle of firewood. Goggles protect his eyes, a bandana covers his nose and mouth.

Manuel Choc, a grandfather with greying hair, lives in the settlement of El Paraíso, almost opposite the gates of the Fenix mine. Each bundle sells for 10 quetzals (£1). It is a precarious living. Continue Reading →

The Biggest Winner From a Rise in Precious Metals – by Adelaide Changole (Bloomberg News – June 19, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The world’s best-performing precious-metals stock is up almost 90% this year, and there are signs the rally could run even further.

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. has outpaced 87 global peers with a market value of at least $1 billion in 2019, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The South African miner has benefited from surging palladium and rhodium prices, along with any weakness in the local currency, which bolsters its income from sales of dollar-based metals.

“The rally in palladium has been a big contributor,” coupled with a weaker rand, said Henre Herselman, a derivatives trader at Johannesburg-based Anchor Private Clients. Palladium, up 60% since August, makes a 30% contribution to Impala’s earnings, he said. The rand has dropped 5.4% against the dollar in 12 months. Continue Reading →

Chile’s Codelco seeks to defuse strike after miners clash with police – by Fabian Cambero (Reuters U.K. – June 18, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean miner Codelco sweetened its contract offer to workers on Tuesday in a bid to defuse rising tensions after miners striking at its giant Chuquicamata copper mine were involved in clashes with police earlier in the day.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas early on Tuesday as workers at the mine tried to block access to the site operated by state-owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper miner.

Codelco said in a statement it had made a new “serious, responsible and realistic” offer to workers to try to end the strike, now in its fifth day. The offer included an important element related to improving workers’ retirements plans. Continue Reading →

Trump’s Biggest Move to End the ‘War on Coal’ Won’t Rescue the Industry – by Jennifer A Dlouhy (Bloomberg News – June 19, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

President Donald Trump is scaling back sweeping Obama-era curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants burning coal, his biggest step yet to fulfill his campaign promise to stop a “war” on the fossil fuel.

Yet the Environmental Protection Agency’s rewrite of the Clean Power Plan, unveiled Wednesday in Washington, will do little to halt a nationwide shift away from coal and toward cheaper electricity generated by the wind, the sun and natural gas.

The U.S. is experiencing “a wave of coal retirements — and we don’t think we’re near the end of it,” said Nicholas Steckler, head of U.S. power for BloombergNEF. “Coal is inferior to natural gas in many ways today — it’s less flexible, it’s higher cost, even its fuel is generally more expensive, and, of course, it’s dirty. It has so many reasons stacked against it.” Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China’s iron ore, steel prices diverge as trade war vies with supply woes – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – June 18, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, June 18 (Reuters) – China’s iron ore and steel prices have decoupled somewhat in recent weeks, with the raw material still making fresh highs while the finished product trends lower.

While there are solid supply-driven reasons for iron ore’s relative outperformance, the question remains: how is the current divergence likely to be resolved?

Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 769.5 yuan ($111.20) a tonne on Monday, down slightly from their record close of 787.5 yuan on June 14. Continue Reading →

Don’t Be in a Rush to Do Business in World’s Top Cobalt Producer – by Pauline Bax and William Clowes (Bloomberg News – June 18, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

When a foreign investor with multimillion-dollar projects across Africa was told the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo wanted to see him, he booked a suite at one of the country’s top hotels. After six days of waiting, he left.

Since Felix Tshisekedi took the helm of the world’s biggest cobalt producer almost five months ago, private planes jam the main airport in Kinshasa, the capital, and hotel lobbies teem with businessmen and Congolese who’ve returned from countries such as the U.S. and South Africa with hopes of working with his administration.

But it’s been slow going. Tshisekedi only appointed a prime minister last month and hasn’t yet named a cabinet. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Myths and reality: Adani’s Australian coal mine torches rationality – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – June 16, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, June 17 (Reuters) – Adani Enterprises’ Carmichael coal mine in Australia is assuming mythical status way out of proportion to its actual significance, even before meaningful construction starts on the controversial project.

For its opponents, the mine should never be built because it is not supported by a majority of Australians and aims to send coal to India, a country that says it doesn’t want or need imports of the fuel.

For its backers, the project is proof that coal remains a viable global industry and the opening of a new basin in central Queensland state will provide jobs in a region that needs them and royalty revenue to a grateful government. Continue Reading →

Virginia ban on uranium mining upheld by U.S. Supreme Court – by Andrew Chung (Reuters U.S. – June 17, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The largest-known U.S. uranium deposit will remain firmly under ground after the Supreme Court on Monday upheld Virginia’s ban on mining the radioactive metal, rebuffing a challenge backed by President Donald Trump’s administration to the 1982 moratorium.

In a 6-3 decision that underscored states’ rights, the justices affirmed a lower court’s ruling that threw out a lawsuit by Virginia Uranium Inc and other owners of the massive deposit valued by the company at $6 billion on private land in southern Virginia.

The company, seeking to exploit the deposit, contested Virginia’s power to enact the ban, saying the policy should have been preempted by federal law governing nuclear energy. Virginia Uranium is a subsidiary of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Virginia Energy Resources. Continue Reading →

Copper-Mine Strike May Pack Punch as Trade War Distracts Market – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – June 14, 2019)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — A strike at a major copper mine isn’t getting a lot of attention from investors, but it could end up packing a big market punch.

As the market focuses on trade wars and geopolitical tensions, thousands of workers downed tools at top copper-producer Codelco’s Chuquicamata mine in Chile on Friday, according to Liliana Ugarte, president of Union No. 2. A prolonged stoppage would tighten global supply in a market where output is already expected to trail demand this year, analysts say.

A majority of members of Unions No. 1, 2 and 3 at the mine rejected the company’s last offer for a labor contract in a freehand vote on Wednesday evening. A strike started at the Santiago-based company’s third-largest mine at 5 a.m. local time. Copper futures in New York settled lower on Friday as growth worries outweighed supply risks against growth worries. Continue Reading →

Tricks and stones: the gem traders of Chanthaburi – by Luke Duggleby (South China Morning Post – August 9, 2014)

https://www.scmp.com/

Unregulated mining stripped Chanthaburi of its authentic gemstones. Now the ethically dubious techniques that are sustaining trade in the Thai town are threatening the industry.

Every morning, in a small wooden pavilion overlooking a creek, 64-year-old Olan Phengkit eats a breakfast of steamed dumplings. Short in stature, with an admirably large belly, Olan has been involved in the mining, selling and buying of gemstones since his youth.

The creek, 20 metres below and roughly half the size of a football pitch, is full of dark, murky water. It shows the extent of his mining activities. “I stopped one year ago because I simply ran out of land,” he says, pushing his gemstone-viewing goggles onto his forehead, “so now I just buy and sell.”

Continue Reading →

China’s iron ore sizzles in record-setting rally – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters India – June 14, 2019)

https://in.reuters.com/

MANILA (Reuters) – Dalian iron ore futures surged to a record peak on Friday and posted their biggest weekly gain since February, buoyed by expectations of sustained tightness in supply and brisk demand amid China’s renewed drive to support its slowing economy.

The most-actively traded September iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rose as much as 4% to 797.5 yuan ($115.20) a tonne, the highest since Dalian iron ore futures started trading in 2013.

It ended the session 2.2% higher at 783.5 yuan, posting a weekly gain of 11.4%. It has risen around 80% this year. “Chinese ore demand has been robust and is likely to remain so for the near term,” said Westpac Banking Corp. Continue Reading →

Russia’s Murmansk region among country’s 10 most polluted, says government agency – by Anna Kireeva (Bellona.org – June 13, 2019)

https://bellona.org/

Officials have said that Murmansk Region ranks among those with the most polluted air in the country, according to a new report published by Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s federal consumer rights agency.

The report, entitled “On the state of sanitary and epidemiological wellbeing of the population of the Russian Federation in 2018,” paints a stark picture of drier, hotter weather conditions conspiring with industrial pollution all while higher levels of toxins are being measured in area soil.

Specifically, the report says that heavy metal quantities in soil found in residential zones of the Murmansk Region exceed legal measures by three times. Chemical substances found in playgrounds and other areas geared toward children exceeded hygienic standards by the same amount. Continue Reading →

Blackwater founder expands operations in Congo – by Aaron Ross (Reuters U.S. – June 13, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

DAKAR, June 13 (Reuters) – A company run by private security firm Blackwater’s founder Erik Prince has registered a subsidiary in Democratic Republic of Congo with a mandate to extract minerals and timber and conduct financial operations, corporate filings show.

Prince, who renamed Blackwater and sold it in 2010 after several of its employees were indicted on unlawful killing charges in connection with their work as U.S. government contractors during the Iraq War, has run Hong Kong-based Frontier Services Group (FSG) since 2014.

FSG has close ties to the state-owned Chinese investment company CITIC and provides security, aviation and logistics services to Chinese firms operating in Africa. Continue Reading →

Greens Celebrate, As Nets Ignore Bloomberg’s $500M Assault on Coal – by Julia A. Seymour (NewsBusters.org – June 14, 2019)

https://www.newsbusters.org/

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg reannounced a $500-million effort to eradicate coal and natural gas use in the U.S. on June 6. ABC, CBS and NBC news didn’t even flinch.

That night the three broadcast evening shows made no time for the billionaire media mogul’s massive spending to shut down the rest of the nation’s coal plants by 2030 and start targeting natural gas plants. They also haven’t reported it since, much less scrutinized it even though he’s a high-profile liberal donor, media owner and maybe former politician.

“We’re in a race against time with climate change, and yet there is virtually no hope of bold federal action on this issue for at least another two years. Mother Nature is not waiting on our political calendar, and neither can we,” Bloomberg said of his Beyond Carbon initiative. Continue Reading →

Biggest Union Kicks Off Platinum Talks With 48% Wage Demand – by Paul Burkhardt (Bloomberg News – June 14, 2019)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — The biggest union in South Africa’s platinum industry demanded wage increases of as much as 48% from producers in the world’s top supplier of the metal, setting the stage for a tough fight in upcoming pay talks.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union wants minimum basic pay of 17,000 rand ($1,146) a month, President Joseph Mathunjwa said Friday. That compares with about 11,500 rand currently earned by the lowest-paid workers.

Key Insights

The opening salvo — issued to companies including Anglo American Platinum Ltd., Sibanye Gold Ltd., and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. — represents a substantial step up from the labor group’s years-long rallying cry for “a living wage” of at least 12,500 rand a month. Continue Reading →