Archive | Iron Ore

Mining powerhouse Vale launches artificial intelligence center – by Anmar Frangoul ( – January 16, 2019)

South American firm Vale, one of the world’s largest mining companies, has opened an artificial intelligence (AI) center at its Tubarao site in Vitoria, Brazil.

In an announcement Tuesday, the business said that the center was aiming to “leverage the adoption of innovative and disruptive technologies in all areas of the business.“

The work related to the center is focused on several things, including optimizing the maintenance of assets such as off-road trucks, and improving the management of ore processing. Continue Reading →

Mining mafia is wreaking havoc across India – by Anand Kumar ( – January 14, 2019)

THE mining mafia, which undertakes illegal mining of coal, iron ore, sand, bauxite, chromite and sand, has tremendous reach across different Indian states. And it is only when a disaster strikes illegal mining, as happened last month in the north-eastern state of Meghalaya, that a lot of noise is generated and government leaders talk of enforcing the ban on illegal mining and cracking down on the mafia.

But within weeks, things just settle down and the mafia deepens its operations across India. Last month saw one of the worst disasters when 15 miners were trapped — and are believed to have died by now — in an illegal ‘rat-hole’ coal mine in Meghalaya.

The illegal operators of rat-hole mining dig holes and make narrow tunnels to extract coal. In Meghalaya, the lush green state nestling in the hills, coal mining is a notorious activity undertaken by many illegal miners. Continue Reading →

BHP, Southern Innovation develop technology to identify quality of iron ore – by Yolanda Redrup (Australian Financial Review – January 11, 2019)

Mining giant BHP has recruited Melbourne-based tech firm Southern Innovation to help it identify the quality of iron ore in real time, with trials of a new device set to begin this year.

The companies have collaborated to develop and commercialise technology that dramatically improves the performance of radiation detectors for the mining industry, based on a complex signal-processing algorithm.

Traditionally during exploration, mining companies use drill rigs to determine how far down to mine for materials such as iron ore. The drills spurt a cloud of dust, which is captured and analysed for ore quality – a process that can take as long as six weeks. Continue Reading →

Goldman Warns Iron Ore’s Jump Into the $70s ‘Is Not Sustainable’ – by Krystal Chia (Bloomberg News – January 9, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — Iron ore’s rally over the past month, with benchmark material pushing back into the $70s, is at risk as banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley warn that prices are poised to drop back.

While industry fundamentals have improved, current prices won’t last as more supply is on the way, Goldman analysts including Hui Shan said in a note received on Wednesday. The bank expects a decline to $60 in six months.

After a sell-off in November driven by declining mill margins, iron ore staged a comeback with benchmark spot prices surging 11 percent in December, the biggest monthly gain in more than a year. The raw material has maintained that advance even as signs of slowing growth stacked up in China, the top user. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto plans to list Canadian iron ore unit in early 2019: sources – by John Tilak, Joshua Franklin and Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – December 24, 2018)

(Reuters) – Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto (RIO.L) (RIO.AX) is preparing to take its Iron Ore Company of Canada business public in the first half of 2019 by dual-listing it in New York and Toronto, people familiar with the situation told Reuters.

The company has hired investment banks Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) to lead the IPO, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity as the information is not public.

Rio Tinto, the world’s second-biggest listed miner, is targeting a valuation of about $4 billion, they said. While Rio did not see much traction with a sale process, it has not ruled that out, the people said. Continue Reading →

Iron Range cities ready to welcome mining revival Matt McKinney (Minneapolis Star Tribune – December 30, 2018)

As PolyMet, Twin Metals mines clear hurdles, cities hope for economic boost.

EVELETH, Minn. – At the new Boomtown Woodfire restaurant in this Iron Range city, diners can order the Steelworker prime rib with a Mesabi’s Best beer and, as the menu states, pay homage to the miners who dug the state’s mining industry out of a deposit of rich iron ore.

It’s a heritage many here hope will come roaring back, perhaps as soon as this summer, after officials granted the state’s first copper-nickel mine its final approvals last week.

“We’ve been talking for years about how to get ready,” said Biwabik Mayor Jim Weikum. “It’s been hard to keep people’s spirits up. You want people to be excited and to know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but it was a really long tunnel.” Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto iron ore boss Chris Salisbury says the public doesn’t trust miners – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – December 9, 2018)

His comments came days after an EY survey of 250 mining executives found more
than half now considered licence to operate the biggest risk to their businesses
amid rising nationalism, changing community perceptions of mining operations and
the impact of automation on the workforce.

Rio Tinto iron ore boss Chris Salisbury says the mining industry has a trust problem with the Australian public as the company continues to put a heavy emphasis on shoring up its social licence to operate and pushes towards an autonomous future. The 30-year industry veteran said Rio Tinto, along with other miners, needed to change and adapt to ensure its future was as strong as its past.

Mr Salisbury said he agreed with critics calling on miners to be more diverse, inclusive and progressive, but said many observers wouldn’t even know that Rio Tinto contributed $42.7 billion to GDP, or 2.5 per cent of Australian economy, last year and paid $5 billion in tax and royalties.

“In an industry that is built on the goodwill and trust of governments and communities, we need to positively engage with our neighbours and the broader community to tell our story better,” he said. Continue Reading →

Gina Rinehart: “Don’t call me an heiress” – by Andrew Hornery (Sydney Morning Herald – December 8, 2018)

Gina Rinehart ranks as the richest Australian ever, owns vast swathes of the continent, directly and indirectly employs tens of thousands of her fellow countrymen, has homes around the globe, travels in an $80 million private jet, is instantly recognisable across the land, has been the subject of a television mini-series and several bestsellers as well as having the ear of the Prime Minister.

Just don’t ever call her an “heiress”. I innocently made this incursion recently, only to be swiftly dealt with by Rinehart’s team of “communications specialists”, one of whom wrote to inform me she was hardly of the ilk of Paris Hilton.

Rinehart was disputing the term “heiress”: “When Lang Hancock passed away his estate was bankrupt, which is publicly available information. “In addition, Hancock Prospecting which he’d largely sold out of was in an extremely bad financial situation at time of his death in March 1992 with the few remaining assets under threat of litigation or heavily mortgaged. Tenements to Roy Hill were not in the company when Lang was alive – these were acquired after his death.” Continue Reading →

The City of Kiruna Is Being Relocated So It Doesn’t Get Swallowed By A Mine – by Laura Paddison (HuffPost US – December 5, 2018)

KIRUNA, Sweden ― Near the top of the world, more than 90 miles into the Arctic Circle, lies Kiruna. Nestled between two mountains, it’s a small but sprawling city of 18,000 people with views over two mountains. To the north, Luossavaara is cleaved open, a legacy from its former life as an open pit mine, to the southwest is Kiirunavaara, a working mine, belching out columns of smoke.

This is the century-old mine on which Kiruna’s fortunes are made and broken. Workers toil nearly 1 mile below ground, sending out 6,800 tons of iron ore a day on trains destined for the Norwegian port of Narvik and then to the rest of the world. Refined into steel, it’s enough ore to produce 40,000 cars a day.

“We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have the mine,” says Gun-Britt Landin, who leads guided mine tours with the local tourist center and was born in Kiruna. “The city and the mine have been living in symbiosis all these years, and when things happen in the mine, well, it has an effect on the city.” Continue Reading →

Labrador West buzzing with interest as Scully mine returns from the dead (CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador – November 28, 2018)

Hundreds of eager people flooded the Arts and Cultures Centre in Labrador City on Tuesday night to hear what Tacora Resources had to say about job prospects. The seats filled up and people spilled into the aisles as the iron ore company hosted its first information session on the reboot of the Scully mine.

They were told hiring would start small with a few jobs as early as January, with the majority of positions being filled in March. “We’re very excited to see the interest and it says a lot about what we’re about to take on and what it means to the community,” said Tacora general manager Bob Gagne.

In the crowd were people desperate to get back to work after some tough economic times in Labrador West. The mine shut down in 2014, as iron ore prices slumped and costs increased.
More than 400 people were put out of work then, and about 260 people are expected to be hired before the mine reopens in June 2019. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto approves $3.5b iron ore mine in the Pilbara – by Cole Latimer, Hamish Hastie & Nathan Hondros (Sydney Morning Herald – November 29, 2018)

Mining giant Rio Tinto has approved a $US2.6 billion ($3.5 billion) investment in its futuristic Koodaideri iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The mine will be one of Rio Tinto’s most heavily automated operations, featuring robotic trains and advanced analytics as well as 3D reconstructions of the operation to help train new miners in simulated conditions.

“Koodaideri is a game-changer for Rio Tinto. It will be the most technologically advanced mine we have ever built and sets a new benchmark for the industry in terms of the adoption of automation and the use of data to enhance safety productivity,” Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Iron ore’s plunge is about finally catching up to steel’s slump – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – November 27, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 27 (Reuters) – The 15 percent plunge in iron ore prices in the past week certainly looks dramatic, but is more a case of the raw material finally catching up to a more established trend of weakness in Chinese steel prices.

However, the drop in iron ore is more than just a cause for concern for miners in Australia, Brazil and South Africa, as it may alter the dynamics of what quality of ore Chinese mills prefer. The spot price of ore with 62 percent iron content MT-IO-QIN62=ARG, as assessed by Argus Media, dropped to $64.60 a tonne on Monday, down 6.9 percent from its previous close.

Since its recent peak of $77.80 a tonne on Nov. 9, it has shed 17 percent, a relatively steep decline in a short time period. Shanghai steel rebar futures have dropped by more than iron ore, but over a longer time span. Continue Reading →

Now hiring: Scully mine to restart summer 2019 in Lab West (CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador – November 27, 2018)

New life is about to be breathed into an old pit, as Tacora Resources Inc. announced today the Scully Mine will restart operations next summer. The company is expecting to create 260 jobs, and will start looking for those workers right away. A hiring information session is expected to take place Tuesday night, 6:30 p.m. at the Arts and Cultures Centre in Labrador City.

“It’s the life breathed back into our community again,” said Wabush Mayor Ron Barron. “Let’s get the show going and get people working.” Premier Dwight Ball was in Labrador West on Tuesday to make the announcement alongside Tacora CEO Larry Lehtinen.

“The work starts today, the hiring process starts today,” Ball said. “The next step and the way forward for Wabush starts today.” Lehtinen said the Scully mine has a future “decades and decades” long, with an expected annual production between 6 and 6.5 million tonnes of iron ore, which will be 65.9 per cent iron content. Continue Reading →

BHP prepares for UK legal battle over 2015 Brazil dam failure – by Kirstin Ridley and Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – November 22, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – Mining giant BHP says it will fight an unprecedented English lawsuit filed by hundreds of thousands of Brazilians for multi-billion pound damages over Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.

SPG Law, a British offshoot of a U.S. litigator, represents 240,000 individuals in Brazil, 24 municipal governments, a Roman Catholic Archdiocese and members of the Krenak indigenous community and has filed three legal claims for unlimited damages over the failure of the Fundao dam in 2015. It looks set to be the largest group action heard in England.

London and Australian-listed BHP, the world’s largest mining company by market value, said it had received correspondence from the law firm but also noted it had so far committed $780 million to the Renova Foundation, an entity created by the miner and its partners to manage reparations and repairs. Continue Reading →

Brazil, India to defy global slowdown of iron-ore production up to 2027 – by Marleny Arnoldi ( – November 21, 2018)

The global iron-ore market will stay well supplied up to 2027, supported by expanding output in Brazil and India, says Fitch Solutions’ Macro Research unit.

Global iron-ore production will grow modestly from 3.36-billion tonnes to 3.41-billion tonnes by 2027, representing a yearly growth rate of 0.5%, which is a significant slowdown compared with the 5% a year growth that was recorded between 2008 and 2017.

Fitch reported that, on the one hand, supply growth will be primarily driven by India and Brazil, where major miner Vale is set to expand output with its new mine. On the other hand, miners in China that operate at the higher end of the iron-ore cost curve, will be forced to cut output, owing to lower ore grades. Brazil’s ore grade averages 65% while China’s ore grades hover around 21.5%. Continue Reading →