Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Brazil’s Coronavirus Crisis Disrupts Iron-Ore Market; Prices Surge – by Joe Wallace (Wall Street Journal – May 20, 2020)

https://www.wsj.com/

Brazil’s deadly coronavirus outbreak has disrupted global supplies of iron ore just as demand from China is revving up, pushing the price of the steel ingredient to a seven-month high.

Iron ore is one of the most heavily traded commodities and can influence the price of materials used in everything from buildings to cars. Front-month futures for ore with 62% iron content jumped 10% to nearly ¥759 ($107) a metric ton Wednesday on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange. That is their highest closing price since October 2019.

Prices have risen 20% since early April, driven by squeezed supplies from Brazil, which dominates the iron-ore mining industry along with Australia. The rally is also an indication that China’s economy is gathering momentum, after a downturn at the start of the year when swaths of the country went into lockdown to stop the coronavirus spreading. Continue Reading →

Italians sell their gold as COVID-19 crunches economy – by Angelo Amante and Cristiano Corvino (Reuters U.K. – May 20, 2020)

https://uk.reuters.com/

ROME (Reuters) – Massimiliano Barrotta is seeing a surge in customers coming to sell their gold in his Rome store as Italians feel the economic pain of their government’s lockdown, imposed to curb one of the world’s worst COVID-19 epidemics.

The eight-week shutdown has been gradually eased since May 4, but it has left an economy on its knees, with businesses laden with debt and tens of thousands of new unemployed. The European Commission expects Italy’s economy to shrink by nearly 10% this year.

“We have seen an increase of about 50% in our purchases of gold from private customers this year, particularly in the last two weeks,” Barrotta, the manager of three “Compro Oro” (I buy gold) shops, told Reuters. Continue Reading →

State of emergency: how vulnerable is the mining supply chain? – by Scarlett Evans (Mining Technology – May 21, 2020)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

The coronavirus pandemic has proven devastating not just to healthcare systems but also in its impact on manufacturing and financial markets. We examine the mining supply chain and see whether it is fit for purpose in the face of crisis, and look at what moves have already been made to strengthen the industry in the pandemic’s wake.

A statement released by Australian mining unions described the pandemic as the ‘most significant disruption to daily life since the Second World War’.

One doesn’t need to look far to see the reality of this claim, with borders closing and businesses grinding to a halt – the knock-on effects trickle down to reach every facet of home and industry life. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-In the coming renewable energy boom, Australia is once again the “lucky country”: – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 21, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 21 (Reuters) – Which commodities and countries are best placed to emerge as winners in the post-coronavirus world, especially if the anticipated boost to investment in renewables energies actually happens?

One of the themes emerging for a post-coronavirus world is that investment should flow into renewable energies, both as economic stimulus and as a way of limiting the impact of climate change.

To this end, the World Bank released a report on May 11 stating that global production of minerals such as lithium, cobalt and graphite would have to increase by as much as 500% by 2050. Continue Reading →

New Century mulls trip to New Caledonia – by Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald and Tim Boyd (Australian Financial Review – May 20, 2020)

https://www.afr.com/

New Century Resources is getting ready to spend some nickels (and dimes).  Street Talk understands the ASX-listed mining player is close to buying a New Caledonian operating nickel mine off the world’s largest iron ore and nickel producer, Vale.

While a deal had not yet been signed on Wednesday evening, sources said it was close to being finalised and expected an announcement in the coming days. New Century’s shares went into a trading halt on Tuesday, regarding “a potential material acquisition”.

The mine in question – called Goro – is located in southern New Caledonia in the South Pacific and has been on the market for the past six months. Continue Reading →

Odey Says Governments May Make Private Gold Ownership Illegal – by Jack Farchy and Nishant Kumar (Bloomberg News – May 20, 2020)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Crispin Odey, one of Europe’s highest-profile hedge fund managers, said that governments may ban private gold ownership if they lose control of inflation in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

“It is no surprise that people are buying gold. But the authorities may attempt at some point to de-monetise gold, making it illegal to own as a private individual,” Odey wrote in a letter to investors seen by Bloomberg. “They will only do this if they feel the need to create a stable unit of account for world trade.”

Odey, a long-standing critic of central bank policies who is known for his apocalyptic predictions, increased the gold position in his flagship Odey European Inc. fund during the course of April. Continue Reading →

Mining companies rush to shield indigenous communities from coronavirus – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – May 19, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Big mining companies that rely on indigenous workforces or operate near remote communities have acted fast to curb the spread of the coronavirus and avoid a public health crisis that could damage their reputations.

From Australia’s outback to Canada’s Arctic wilderness to the Andes, mining firms have changed rosters to stop outsiders infecting remote communities, paid staff with potential health issues to stay at home and given food to indigenous families so they don’t have to shop in nearby mining towns.

Investors already weighing up holdings in miners because of their contribution to climate change say a bad outbreak of COVID-19 among indigenous communities near mining operations might also make them reassess their investment decisions. Continue Reading →

Column: EU’s industrial strategy is being wrecked by coronavirus – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – May 20, 2020)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – German zinc producer Metallwerk Dinslaken (MWD) has just announced it is closing. You’d be forgiven for not noticing.

The news didn’t register with the London Metal Exchange (LME) zinc price. The company is too small with just 41 employees and annual production of 25,000 tonnes, a metallic drop in the 13.5-million-tonne global zinc ocean.

It’s also a secondary processor, converting scrap back into refined metal, and the notoriously opaque recycling sector doesn’t feature much in zinc’s market narrative. Yet companies such as MWD are supposed to be the beating heart of the European Union’s (EU) newly-unveiled industrial strategy. Continue Reading →

Column: China targets Australian barley, but what matters is coal, LNG, iron ore – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – May 19, 2020)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – If China was looking to send a political message to Australia by effectively banning the import of a commodity, then barley fits the bill almost perfectly.

China on Monday imposed what it termed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties totalling 80.5% on Australian barley imports from May 19, a move likely to end trade that has been worth between $980 million and $1.3 billion in recent years.

Australia’s official reaction has so far been muted, with Agriculture Minister David Littleproud saying the government will consider approaching the World Trade Organization for a ruling on China’s action. Continue Reading →

Eurobattery to buy Finland battery metals project – by Donna Slater (MiningWeekly.com – May 13, 2020)

https://m.miningweekly.com/

The option under the investment and shareholders agreement is linked to an obligation to provide successive cash financing for investments in the Hautalampi project.

Eurobattery will pay about €8.6-million over 48 months for the VHOy shares and the option premium, as well as the cash financing component.

The Hautalampi project is located at the same site as the Keretti (Outokumpu) copper mine, which operated during 1912 to 1989. The Hautalampi nickel/cobalt/copper orebody is located parallel to, and above, the exploited copper deposit. Existing surface and underground infrastructure provide significant location advantages in what is already a Tier 1 mining jurisdiction. Continue Reading →

Vale after NYC real estate moguls for Simandou compensation – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – May 19, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

Brazil’s Vale (NYSE: VALE), the world’s no. 1 iron ore miner, has launched a legal action in New York to determine whether funds paid to BSG Resources within the framework of their former Simandou partnership in Guinea were used for property investments in the United States.

The Rio de Janeiro-based mining giant alleges that BSGR, diamond tycoon Beny Steinmetz’s mining arm, fraudulently funneled $500 million into Manhattan real estate’s magnates Aby Rosen and René Benko, Africa Intelligence reported.

The case is the latest in a series of efforts Vale has made to have BSGR pay a $1.2 billion arbitration award. The amount was granted to the Brazilian miner on the grounds of “fraud and breaches of warranty” when included in the Simandou iron ore joint venture. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Nickel investing comes with a heavy price – by John Dizard (Financial Times – May 15, 2020)

https://www.ft.com/

Financial gloomsters have been in much better spirits lately. While the world’s health and economy are in deep trouble, contrarians can now prove they were right all along.

Momentary self-satisfaction at the extent of predicted ruins, though, must be succeeded by some useful observations, such as, what do we do next? A coherent macro view is a start, but even as the financial system teeters towards destructive deflation, it may be possible to identify a few assets, or industries, where real prices and real returns might increase. We will need the money.

I have thought for some time that it would be impossible to shift the auto industry to an electric vehicle future without moving quickly to increase metals production in an environmentally, financially and socially sustainable way. Continue Reading →

How China could stoke iron ore prices – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – May 18, 2020)

https://www.afr.com/

Surging iron ore prices have kick-started the Australian economy’s exit from coronavirus lockdowns amid hopes the Chinese government could further stoke prices by unleashing stimulus spending at its annual congress meeting later this week.

A 13 per cent rally in iron ore prices since April 30 has pushed shares in Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group to record highs. The rally appears to have further to run with futures prices more than 5 per cent higher in Monday’s trading session.

Strong Chinese demand for steel has coincided with weak iron ore supply from rival exporter Brazil, where the rapid spread of the coronavirus has added to the ongoing disruption caused by last year’s catastrophic Brumadinho dam collapse. Continue Reading →

Brace for volatility as virus grips platinum, palladium markets: JM – by Peter Hobson (Reuters U.S. – May 18, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Platinum and palladium markets will be tight this year as the coronavirus pandemic hammers supply and demand, materials maker Johnson Matthey said on Monday, declining to give full-year forecasts and saying prices will be erratic.

Production of the metals, used to reduce vehicle emissions, and their consumption by auto makers could fall by around one-fifth in 2020 but the course of the virus is too uncertain to give precise numbers, the company said in a report.

Temporary dislocations as the new coronavirus impacts different places at different times could have the biggest influence on prices, Rupen Raithatha, Johnson Matthey’s director of market research, said. Continue Reading →

Will the Arctic Become the Next South China Sea? – by Anya Gorodentsev (National Interest.org – May 17, 2020)

https://nationalinterest.org/

Why does China often refer to itself as a “Near-Arctic state” when the most northern point of the country is nearly 1,000 miles away from the Arctic Ocean?

As climate change in the twenty-first century began to reveal undiscovered oil and open up previously frozen shipping routes in the Arctic, China sought to become involved in the region in hopes of taking advantage of global-shipping shortcuts and hydrocarbon resources.

In 2018, China released its Arctic policy officially declaring its intentions to actively participate in Arctic affairs as a major shareholder and declaring itself a “near-Arctic state.” Continue Reading →