Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Anglo American Pours Money Into Growth as Buybacks End – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – February 20, 2020)

(Bloomberg)- After spending almost $1 billion in buying back shares, Anglo American Plc is changing directions and leaning fully into growth.

The century-old mining company, which announced full-year earnings on Thursday, opted not to allocate more money to share buybacks. That’ll free up money for Anglo to spend on a $3 billion U.K. potash project and a $5 billion copper mine in Peru with help from a partner.

While other mining companies have focused on giving billions back to shareholders and shied away from blockbuster acquisitions, Anglo is charting out a different path. The company has staked its future on building mining operations around the world in a broad spectrum of different materials, rather than focusing on a single product. Continue Reading →

Bolivia: will the ousting of Morales open lithium to foreign investment? – by Heidi Vella (Mining Technology – February 20, 2020)

Making up one third of the so-called ‘lithium triangle’, the Andean nation of Bolivia is estimated to have around nine million metric tons of lithium – the largest accumulation in the world, according to the US Geological Survey.

Due to the expected exponential growth in demand for battery technology in recent years, of which lithium is a component, interest in Bolivia’s untapped reserves has skyrocketed. However, unlike neighbouring countries Argentina and Chile, which both have lithium mines in production, efforts to develop these resources have so far amounted to little.

The now exiled former President, Evo Morales, who was a keen proponent of resource nationalism, had tried to kick-start a local lithium industry via a state-owned company and joint partnerships with foreign firms, but he faced public opposition and lack of local expertise. Continue Reading →

WRAPUP 2-Surging gold prices propel earnings at miners Newmont, Kirkland – by Jeff Lewis and Nishara Karuvalli Pathikkal (Reuters Africa – February 20, 2020)

Feb 20 (Reuters) – Surging gold prices propelled miners Newmont Corp and Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd to beat estimates for quarterly profit on Thursday as industry consolidation began to bear fruit for long-suffering shareholders.

Gold prices marked their best annual increase since 2010 last year and are currently above $1,600 per ounce, as concerns over global economic health, low interest rates and geopolitical tensions triggered investor interest in safer assets.

Newmont, Kirkland and others have snapped up rivals in a flurry of deals to replace reserves and lower costs, and are now rewarding investors by hiking payouts and buying back shares. Continue Reading →

America’s coal country isn’t dead — it’s preparing for a comeback (Bloomberg News – February 20, 2020)

At least five of America’s coal producers went bankrupt in 2019. Prices for the fossil fuel have plunged 40% since a 2018 peak. And some of the nation’s largest miners are retrenching and slashing their dividends.

But don’t be mistaken: The fight against climate change hasn’t killed off Coal Country yet. Instead of pouring money into dividends and buybacks, the nation’s largest coal producers say they’re hoarding cash to weather what they see as an impermanent storm.

Overall, the industry returned more than $1-billion to investors last year before retrenching. The goal this year: Be ready to start mining again and paying dividends at the first sign of a market revival. They’re betting that prices will bottom out in the first half of 2020 before rising in the second half as production declines and global consumption gains. Continue Reading →

Column: Coronavirus is double shock for China’s giant aluminium sector – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – February 21, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – The outbreak of the deadly coronavirus could not have come at a worse time for the aluminium market. Global aluminium demand fell last year for the first time since the global financial crisis.

Expectations of a demand recovery rested on China, which showed encouraging signs of a manufacturing revival towards the end of 2019. The virus and the accompanying quarantine measures have since chilled economic activity, representing a short-term demand shock for the world’s aluminium market.

It’s why the London Metal Exchange (LME) aluminium price sank to a three-year low of $1,685 per tonne at the start of February. The fear is that China’s aluminium smelters will keep churning out metal even as the country’s demand implodes. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Coal-fired power is losing ‘unfair fight’ in India to renewables – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – February 20, 2020)

BAMBOLIN, Goa, India, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Coal-fired power in India is being increasingly priced out of the market by cheaper renewables such as solar, with the dirtier fuel abandoned by private capital, and only projects with government support being viable.

If there was one major theme at this week’s annual industry gathering, Coaltrans India, held in the resort state of Goa, it was that the domestic coal sector is under siege, and probably faces a future of limited growth and eventual disbandment.

Rather than politics, the reason is largely economic, with power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewables now coming in at levels at which even existing coal-fired plants cannot compete. Continue Reading →

Bill Gates-Led Fund Invests in Making Lithium Mining More Sustainable – by Akshat Rathi and Anne VanderMey (Bloomberg/Financial Post – February 20, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Breakthrough Energy Ventures, helmed by Bill Gates, and MIT’s The Engine fund are leading an investment round of $20 million for Lilac Solutions, a U.S. startup aimed at making the extraction of lithium less water-intensive and more sustainable.

As the world looks to cut carbon emissions, people are increasingly turning to lithium-ion batteries for solutions such as powering electric vehicles or storing renewable energy. While there’s enough lithium available to meet today’s demand, BloombergNEF expects the market could see a shortfall as soon as 2023 as demand for the metal grows fourfold over the next decade.

About 75% of the world’s lithium is trapped in underground deposits of briny water that contain a mixture of salts. The typical way to recover lithium is to pump the water to the surface into miles-long salt ponds and let the water evaporate. What remains is then treated with chemicals, processed, washed, and filtered to leave behind the lithium. Continue Reading →

PRECIOUS-Gold falls from near 7-yr peak as China acts to support economy – by Sumita Layek (Reuters U.K. – February 20, 2020)

Feb 20 (Reuters) – Gold edged lower on Thursday after China announced more measures to limit the economic impact from coronavirus epidemic, although a rise in number of new cases in South Korea kept bullion close to a near seven-year peak.

Spot gold was down 0.1% at $1,610.31 per ounce, as of 1049 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,613.30. Gold rose to its highest since March 2013 at $1,612.62 in the previous session on concerns of the economic impact of the virus outbreak.

“We are seeing some profit taking after the last run up in the prices … overall the environment is very favourable for gold prices,” said SP Angel analyst Sergey Raevskiy. Continue Reading →

Amplats CEO To Be Most Powerful Woman in Precious-Metals Mining – by Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – February 20, 2020)

(Bloomberg)-When Natascha Viljoen takes over as chief executive officer of Anglo American Platinum Ltd. in April, she will be the only woman running a major precious-metals mining company.

Mining remains male-dominated, despite efforts by companies including BHP Group to increase the presence of women in their executive leadership. Cynthia Carroll, the first female CEO of Amplats’s parent Anglo American Plc before she quit in 2012, said last year that miners should do more to push gender diversity.

​Viljoen, currently head of processing at Anglo, will take over from Chris Griffith when he leaves on April 16. The 49-year-old metallurgical engineer will report to a board that includes Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani. Viljoen’s 28-year career, including a stint at platinum producer Lonmin Plc, makes her ideally placed to take Amplats forward. Continue Reading →

Europe Floors It in the Race to Dominate Car Batteries – by Laura Millan Lombrana, Chris Reiter and Richard Weiss (Bloomberg News – February 19, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Outside the German town of Arnstadt, workers for China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) are hustling to build Europe’s biggest electric-car battery plant.

The site, which covers an area equivalent to about 100 football fields, previously housed one of the continent’s largest solar-panel factories. During a visit in October, wooden crates filled with surplus equipment were stacked up outside the metal-clad structure to make way for car-battery-making equipment. Roaring bulldozers swarmed a nearby lot to prep for construction of a new building.

The $2 billion project—one of about a half dozen battery factories under construction in Germany alone—worries European policymakers, who are desperate to ensure their auto industry doesn’t lose competitiveness in the transition to electric vehicles. Continue Reading →

King Coal Isn’t Dead Yet. Ask Glencore – by Clara Ferreira Marques (Bloomberg News – February 19, 2020)

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Thermal coal has become a byword for the resource industry’s climate crimes. From BlackRock Inc. down, fund managers are reluctant to touch a mineral that releases more carbon dioxide than any other energy source. Large miners, from BHP Group to Anglo American Plc, are trying to dump it. Coal is also — for now at least — profitable.

It’s the unpalatable truth that explains why Glencore Plc, the world’s largest exporter of the black stuff, sticks with a dying fuel. Morals aside, the details suggest Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg and his team may well be right.

Tuesday’s full-year earnings from the trader and miner bore more than a few smudges. Lower prices for commodities like copper and cobalt took a heavy toll. Coal didn’t help, with the price of benchmark Newcastle coal down by over a third in 2019. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Chinese consortium Ecuagoldmining opens dispute with Ecuador over halted mine – by Alexandra Valencia (Reuters U.S. – February 18, 2020)

QUITO (Reuters) – Chinese mining consortium Ecuagoldmining has initiated a dispute with Ecuador’s government over a gold mining project that has been halted by objections from community activists, a move that could lead to a $480 million arbitration fight, an Ecuadorean official said in an interview on Tuesday.

Ecuagoldmining’s Rio Blanco mine in southern Ecuador had barely kicked off production in 2018 when the activists, mostly comprising local farmers, demanded they be consulted on whether the mine should be allowed, and won a court order halting operations.

Deputy Mining Minister Enrique Gallegos-Anda said it was the first such dispute since Ecuador began a broad push to expand its mining sector, which has drawn investor interest but also faces concerns about the power of local groups to halt projects. Continue Reading →

Miners welcome Indonesia’s new jobs bill that could spur coal growth – by Fransiska Nangoy and Wilda Asmarini (Reuters U.S. – February 18, 2020)

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Miners have welcomed proposed changes to Indonesian mining rules under a new law aimed at boosting investment, though critics are concerned that the changes could underpin an expansion in polluting coal and threaten environment protection.

President Joko Widodo’s sprawling “Job Creation” bill seeks to change about 80 laws affecting many business sectors, including mining, in order to fix rules deemed cumbersome for investors.

Indonesia is a top exporter of thermal coal, tin and nickel products, but overall mining investment dropped from 79 trillion rupiah ($5.8 billion) in 2017 to 59 trillion rupiah ($4.3 billion) last year, data from its investment board showed. Continue Reading →

Billionaire Sawiris Hopes to Join Egypt Gold Rush as Rules Eased – by Mirette Magdy and Salma El Wardany (Bloomberg News – February 18, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — One of Egypt’s richest men has long coveted a role in his nation’s gold-mining industry. Now, a shakeup in regulations and a potential auction of new licenses could give Naguib Sawiris a shining opportunity.

The Egyptian government “already started talks with us as well as other companies to promote the new tender,” Sawiris, the chairman of La Mancha Holding S.a.r.l., said in a phone interview. “We are willing to participate in any area that could be promising.” He didn’t specify which of the firms he’s involved with would submit bids.

The North African country, where the mineral wealth remains largely under-explored and undeveloped, will announce its first exploration tender in about three years by March, according to a person with direct knowledge of the plans. Continue Reading →

Glencore plans leadership shakeup this year, says CEO – by Julia Payne and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – February 18, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – Glencore (GLEN.L) will make more changes to its front bench this year, Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg said on Tuesday, as the world’s largest commodities trader hastens a transition to a new generation of leaders.

The London-listed miner has faced mounting pressure to change its leadership after multiple corruption and bribery investigations. Falling commodity prices and a large exposure to out-of-favour coal have added to challenges facing the firm, whose shares lost a fifth of their value last year.

“We want a smooth generation change. There will be a few senior management changes coming,” Glasenberg told reporters. “Once the new generation is in place and ready to move on, then it will also be the time for me to move on. Continue Reading →