Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Timna copper mines dated to King Solomon era – by Aaron Kalman (The Times of Israel – September 8, 2013)

Radiocarbon dating of olive pits shows site was active during 10th century BCE, backing up Biblical account

New archaeological finds, including date and olive pits, have backed up the biblical narrative according to which the Timna copper mines in the south of Israel were active during the reign of King Solomon, around the 10th century BCE.

The findings — based on the radiocarbon dating of material unearthed at a new site in Timna Valley in the Arava Desert, and released last week by a team led by Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef — overturn a consensus that had held sway among archaeologists for several decades.

After the unearthing of an Egyptian temple from the 13th century BCE in 1969, most archaeologists believed that the site had been built and was operated by the ancient Egyptians. Before that find, the area was called “King Solomon’s Mines,” as a result of digs by archaeologist Nelson Glueck who found pottery shards from the 10th century BCE and said the copper mines were active during the time of the ancient Israelite kingdom. Continue Reading →

Lights! Camera! Über promoter Friedland launches Ivanhoe Pictures – by Dorothy Kosich ( – September 9, 2013)

Will Ivanhoe Mines’ Robert Friedland match Frank Giustra’s success as a producer/film distributor?

RENO (MINEWEB) – After losing control of his Ivanhoe Mines to Rio Tinto, billionaire Robert Friedland is rebounding with a non-mining venture, Ivanhoe Pictures, a motion picture and television financing and production company.

Announced at Toronto’s Film Festival, Ivanhoe Pictures has been launched by Friedland, Greene Street President and Co-Founder John Penotti, and Ray Chen, founder and chairman of Beijing Premiere Media Company. Initially, the company will bridge production opportunities in America and Asia with a focus on China, India, Korea and Japan. The company will also pursue English and local language films in a number of global markets.

Friedland will serve as chairman of the company, Penotti as CEO, and Chen as executive vice president.

Through Ivanhoe Capital, Friedland was a key investor in, the largest Chinese Chinese-language online infotainment web portal. Ivanhoe also provided the founding venture capital for U.S.-based Sirus Satellite Radio, which has evolved into SiriusXM radio. Continue Reading →

Uruguay Prepares for Iron Rush – by Inés Acosta (Inter Press Service – August 26, 2013)

The legal framework for large-scale mining is being prepared in Uruguay, a country where mining has never played an important role in the economy but which could become the world’s eighth largest producer of iron ore.

MONTEVIDEO, Aug 26 2013 (IPS) – A bill that would regulate large-scale mining operations is making its way through Uruguay’s two houses of parliament, despite a lack of political consensus and vocal opposition from environmental organisations and other sectors of civil society.

The proposed legislation, submitted by the executive branch and backed by the ruling Frente Amplio (FA) or Broad Front coalition, declares that large-scale mining would serve the “public interest”. But critics charge that the bill was drafted to serve the interests of the Aratirí project planned by the Indian mining group Zamin Ferrous, aimed at the production of 18 million tons of iron ore annually, with a promised investment of three billion dollars.

Opposition to these plans by environmentalists, farmers and other residents of the areas that would be affected by the mining operations is becoming increasingly louder. In the last demonstration against large-scale mining in Uruguay, held on May 10, more than 10,000 participants marched down 18 de Julio Avenue, the main thoroughfare in downtown Montevideo. Continue Reading →

Australia’s new government aims to re-boot mining boom – by James Grubel (Reuters U.S. – September 8, 2013)

CANBERRA – (Reuters) – Australia’s incoming conservative government promised to re-boot a stalled mining boom and revive an appetite for investment on Sunday after leader Tony Abbott swept into office on a platform to scrap a mining tax and run a stable administration.

Abbott’s Liberal-National Party coalition ended six years of often turbulent Labor Party rule and three years of minority government, winning a majority of more than 30 seats in the 150-seat parliament at Saturday’s national elections. It was Labor’s worst result since 1934.

Abbott, a former student boxer, Rhodes scholar and trainee priest, began his first day as prime minister elect with a dawn bike ride with friends around his home on Sydney’s northern beaches, before meeting government and ministry officials. “People expect the day after an election an incoming government will be getting down to business. That’s what I’ll be doing today,” Abbott told reporters.

Abbott, who was backed by media owner Rupert Murdoch and his Australian newspapers, takes office as Australia’s economy adjusts to the end of a mining investment boom, with slowing government revenues and rising unemployment. Continue Reading →

Wisconsin governor, Chippewas battle over open pit mine plan – by Carol Pogash (U.S.A. Today – September 8, 2013)

ODAHAN, Wis. — While laughing children bob in kayaks along the sandy shores of Lake Superior, their somber parents hunch over picnic tables talking about their wild rice, their water, their fish and their way of life. Members of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians worry about what is to become of their lake, a life source for their people.

Gov. Scott Walker, his fellow Republicans and the governor’s onetime enemies, labor unions, are championing a $1.5 billion open pit mine planned for the Bad River watershed, six miles from the reservation in the pristine Penokee Hills of northern Wisconsin.

On Aug. 30, six Chippewa tribes of Lake Superior sent President Obama a letter requesting the Department of the Interior prepare litigation to protect the wetlands, fisheries, waters and wildlife from mining. The mining area is honeycombed with 70 miles of rivers and streams that flow north into Lake Superior, which the tribes say would be threatened.

This March, Walker signed a bill streamlining the approval process and easing environmental regulations for the proposed open pit iron ore mine, in which wide swaths of earth are removed to extract minerals. The issue playing out in Wisconsin is being repeated elsewhere. Continue Reading →

Mission Congo: how Pat Robertson raised millions on the back of a non-existent aid project – by Chris McGreal (The Guardian – September 5, 2013)

The televangelist claimed Operation Blessing was giving vital aid in response to the 1994 Rwandan crisis. A documentary opening at the Toronto film festival paints a less flattering picture
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One of the stranger sights of the refugee crisis that followed the 1994 Rwandan genocide was of stretcher-bearers rushing the dying to medical tents, with men running alongside reciting Bible verses to the withering patients.

The bulk of the thousands of doctors and nurses struggling to save lives – as about 40,000 people died of cholera – were volunteers for the international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The Bible readers were hired by the American televangelist and former religious right presidential candidate, Pat Robertson, and his aid organisation, Operation Blessing International.

But on Robertson’s US television station, the Christian Broadcasting Network, that reality was reversed, as he raised millions of dollars from loyal followers by claiming Operation Blessing was at the forefront of the international response to the biggest refugee crisis of the decade. It’s a claim he continues to make, even though an official investigation into Robertson’s operation in Virginia accused him of “fraudulent and deceptive” claims when he was running an almost non-existent aid operation. Continue Reading →

Australia’s glittering investments from China are not all gold – by Sarah Turner (U.S.A. Today – August 20, 2013)

SYDNEY, Australia – Massive investment from China in Australian coal, gas and metals was once something the Australian government highlighted as proof of exemplary economic stewardship. No longer.

The money that China and others have poured into the mineral fields of Western Australia and Queensland have made mine owners and miners wealthier. But it has also hurt longtime industries that rely on tourism and exports.

After an amazing 22 consecutive years of stable economic growth, Australians are experiencing a financial downturn. And some of the blame is being leveled on the political class that now runs from the Chinese model it once celebrated.

“The China resources boom is over,” said newly reinstated Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd, whose party forced out their prime minster, Julia Gillard, because polls showed she would be trounced by the conservatives in national elections in September.

“The time has come for us to adjust to the new challenges,” Rudd said. “New challenges in productivity. New challenges also in the diversification of our economy.” Continue Reading →

Old Economies Rise as Growing Markets Begin to Falter – by Nathaniel Popper (New York Time – August 14, 2013)

The balance of world economic growth is tipping in another direction. Just as economists have begun lowering their forecasts for China and many other developing economies, the American economy is bouncing back. Japan appears to have turned a corner and is ending almost two decades of grinding deflation. Economic data out of Europe on Wednesday provided the first solid indication that many countries in the euro zone may be escaping the clutches of recession.

The gross domestic product of the 17-nation euro zone grew at an annualized rate of about 1.2 percent in the second quarter. It is certainly not clear, based on only three months of data, that Europe’s recession has ended. But it is further evidence that the older engines of growth are revving into gear as the most recent sources of growth have been slowing down.

“The general proposition for much of the last generation has been that emerging markets grow faster. That’s what’s changed,” said Neal Soss, the chief economist at Credit Suisse. “The acceleration such as it is happening is in the first-world economy rather than the emerging markets.”

The growth of the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — has raised living standards in those nations and in others in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Continue Reading →

BURIED SECRETS: How an Israeli billionaire wrested control of one of Africa’s biggest prizes – by Patrick Radden Keefe (The New Yorker – July 8, 2013)

One of the world’s largest known deposits of untapped iron ore is buried inside a great, forested mountain range in the tiny West African republic of Guinea. In the country’s southeast highlands, far from any city or major roads, the Simandou Mountains stretch for seventy miles, looming over the jungle floor like a giant dinosaur spine. Some of the peaks have nicknames that were bestowed by geologists and miners who have worked in the area; one is Iron Maiden, another Metallica.

Iron ore is the raw material that, once smelted, becomes steel, and the ore at Simandou is unusually rich, meaning that it can be fed into blast furnaces with minimal processing. During the past decade, as glittering mega-cities rose across China, the global price of iron soared, and investors began seeking new sources of ore. The red earth that dusts the lush vegetation around Simandou and marbles the mountain rock is worth a fortune.

Mining iron ore is complicated and requires a huge amount of capital. Simandou lies four hundred miles from the coast, in jungle so impassable that the first drill rigs had to be transported to the mountaintops with helicopters. The site has barely been developed—no ore has been excavated. Shipping it to China and other markets will require not only the construction of a mine but the building of a railroad line sturdy enough to support freight cars laden with ore. It will also be necessary to have access to a deepwater port, which Guinea lacks. Continue Reading →

Potash prices head for 20 pct drop after cartel disintegrates – by Ron Bousso (Reuters U.S. – September 6, 2013)

LONDON, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Potash prices are poised to drop some 20 percent after the surprise breakup of the world’s largest producer cartel sent buyers and sellers scrambling to establish new valuations, traders said.

Global trade in the material – one of three nutrients vital for agriculture – remains largely on ice after Russia’s Uralkali in July quit the partnership Belarusian Potash Co (BPC), which together with a rival North American cartel controlled some 70 percent of the market.

Belarus’ retaliatory arrest of Uralkali’s chief executive Vladislav Baumgertner in Minsk last week further highlighted the deep rift between the Russian and Belarusian producers.

“As a cartel, producers were able to cut supplies in order to control prices. As competitors, producers will reduce prices rapidly to gain business,” an industry source said.

BPC co-founder Belaruskali appears to be particularly keen to secure new supply deals after the split left it with limited global trading infrastructure, which had been dominated by its Russian partner, traders and industry sources said. Continue Reading →

Glencore to vaunt successes of $46 billion Xstrata deal one year on – by Clara Ferreira-Marques (Reuters India – September 6, 2013)

LONDON (Reuters) – Almost a year after winning the battle for Xstrata, Glencore (GLEN.L) is set to show investors evidence of early successes, with costs to come down more than targeted, asset sales in hand and key staff retained.

Glencore Xstrata, which has yet to shed a reputation for opacity, will bring its entire management team to London on Tuesday to outline progress after four months in control of Xstrata, following the $46 billion takeover that became the mining sector’s largest to date.

In its first major presentation on the deal since it was completed, analysts expect the trading and mining conglomerate to impress with tougher cost cutting targets. These are likely to include a significant improvement on the $500 million per year synergy goal provided at the time of the acquisition.

That covered only marketing benefits – not costs to be squeezed out of Xstrata’s mines – and Glencore has already said it expects a final number “materially in excess” of that. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets said this week they expected marketing synergies of $600 million – as more Xstrata products go through the Glencore trading machine. Continue Reading →

Feathers fly as officials cry fowl on fed’s Chicken gold miners raid – by Dorothy Kosich ( – September 6, 2013)

Did the EPA need to send in a federal-state SWAT-type team to enforce the Clean Water Act in Alaska’s Fortymile Mining District? Alaska officials say, “No!”

RENO (MINEWEB) – Outraged by what his office called a “needless show of force,” Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell Thursday ordered an investigation into the practices of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Crimes Unit and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division after armed government agents, wearing body armor, swooped in on 30 placer gold mining operations along the Fortymile River near Chicken, Alaska.

“With a mere last minute notification to our DEC commissioner, Alaska’s attorney general, and the Department of Public Safety, the EPA, BLM and a DEC investigator took it upon themselves to swoop in on unsuspecting miners in remote Alaska,” said Parnell. “This level of intrusion and intimidation of Alaskans is absolutely unacceptable. I will not tolerate any state agency’s participation in this sort of reckless conduct.” Continue Reading →

Chris Verbiski Turned A Nickel Mine Discovery Into Two Of The Finest Fishing Lodges In The World – by Monte Burke (Forbes Magazine – September 4, 2013)

This story appears in the September 23, 2013 issue of Forbes.

The best Atlantic salmon fishing outfit in Labrador–and just possibly in all of North America–was born in the gloaming of Sept. 16, 1993, when two mineral prospectors made the discovery of a lifetime. Chris Verbiski, then 25, a college dropout from Newfoundland with an obsession for rocks, had teamed up with a man named Albert Chislett, then 45, to scour the wild, windswept crags of Labrador for diamonds on behalf of a small mining company.

It had been a rough summer. The two men were sun-blistered and swollen with bug bites. They’d burned through their advance money and were nearly broke. Worse: Only a few weeks remained before the weather shut down prospecting in this harsh, beautiful region on the northeast coast of Canada.

On that early evening, as they headed back to camp in the Inuit community of Nain, they spotted something from their helicopter: a thick stripe of rust-colored rock on a hill above Voisey’s Bay. They hovered over it. Verbiski marked the spot on his survey map. But they were low on fuel and couldn’t descend. It seemed promising–perhaps the indicator of a surge of metals that had been pushed to the earth’s surface a billion years ago. After the fruitless summer that hope was all they had. Continue Reading →

Mining subsidising inefficient beneficiation beggars belief – chamber president – by Martin Creamer ( – September 5, 2013)

JOHANNESBURG ( – The possibility of the South African mining industry providing effective subsidies to underpin inefficient mineral beneficiation beggars belief in a modern country trying to assert its regional economic credentials.

That is the view of Chamber of Mines of South Africa president Mark Cutifani, who adds that it is critical that the economics of mining are clearly understood, along with the conditions required to invest in an uncertain outcome.

“In mining we know very little about the resources we mine and we have to make large capital decisions on limited knowledge. If we then have to be the supporter of downstream inefficiency, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

“The possibility that the mining industry will provide effective subsidies to support inefficient industries beggars belief in a modern country trying to assert its regional economic credentials.

“Let me be clear: it is not that the mining industry does not support beneficiation, but the laws of economics are simple and all-powerful. Continue Reading →

REFILE-UPDATE 5-S.African gold miners’ union offers some compromise as strike bites – by Xola Potelwa (Reuters India – September 5, 2013)

WESTONARIA, South Africa, Sept 4 (Reuters) – A strike for higher pay hit production at most of South Africa’s gold mines on Wednesday, but the main union behind the stoppage said it was willing to relax some of its demands.

The stoppage, called by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), began at the evening shift on Tuesday, with many miners refusing to go underground.

Producers grouped in the Chamber of Mines said output at 16 of the 23 mines currently involved in talks was partially or severely affected on Wednesday morning. The operators of the mines include South Africa’s main producers AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold and Sibanye Gold.

“The majority of Harmony’s operations have been severely affected, although all essential services personnel are at work,” the company said in a statement.

However, the NUM, which represents two thirds of the country’s gold mine workers, has already opened the prospect of a compromise, saying it was prepared to lower its pay increase demands for some specific employee categories. Continue Reading →