Archive | Iron Ore

Guinea risks ‘conflict and confusion’ with mining eviction policy – by Nellie Peyton (Reuters U.K. – March 21, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

DAKAR, March 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Civil society groups rejected Guinea’s first policy seeking to protect people displaced by mines and dams on Thursday, saying it would worsen poverty and conflict in the mineral-rich nation.

Seven human rights and development organisations asked the government not to adopt the proposed national standards for relocating and compensating displaced communities, and to spend the next six months consulting with local people instead.

“If the document is adopted like this, it means the problem will never be resolved,” said Mamady Koivogui, executive director of the Association for Mines Without Poverty, one of the groups which hosted a Conakry news conference on Thursday. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Tug-of-war: China’s steel sector grapples short-term bulls, longer-term bears – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – March 21, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

PERTH, March 21 (Reuters) – China’s steel sector, and the imported iron ore upon which it relies, are currently locked in a struggle between largely bearish longer-term structural factors and short-term cyclical influences, some of which are bullish.

It’s not unusual for an industry to grapple with competing narratives, but for China, which produces half the world’s steel and consumes two-thirds of seaborne iron ore, how the issues are resolved will have a flow-on effect through other parts of the economy, such as manufacturing, mining and construction.

The other impact of the tug-of-war of factors is likely to be volatility in prices as market participants try to reconcile the short-term drivers with the longer-term trends. Continue Reading →

Miner Vale quashed dam safety audit efforts before Brazil disaster: prosecutor (Reuters U.S. – March 20, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Executives at Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore miner, quashed efforts by Brazilian authorities to audit one of the company’s mining dams months before it collapsed and killed over 300 people, a state prosecutor was quoted as saying by news website G1 on Wednesday.

William Garcia, a prosecutor in Minas Gerais where the January disaster occurred, told G1 his office had filed subpoenas with Vale last June to review safety documents regarding Vale’s dam.

But Vale’s lawyers responded in November arguing they had received positive reviews of the dam by an auditor the firm had hired, the German firm Tuv Sud, Garcia said. Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: Peterborough’s Innovation Cluster exemplifies ties that bind Canada, Brazil – by Examiner Staff (Peterborough Examiner – March 20, 2019)

https://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/

Water purification technology born here is used to help disaster victims

Canada has a complicated history with Brazil. Much of our shared experience is written in the language of commerce and has been controversial to the point of bitterness. But those are big-picture issues.

Scale the focus down and, as often is the case, smaller relationships create space for support and compassion. Peterborough is now part of just such a story, a reminder that people with open minds and hearts can find ways to cross international boundaries.

This story began in January when a huge tailing pond dam at Brumadinho in south-west Brazil collapsed. A torrent of mud and waste water from an iron mine swept away an entire section of rural Brumadinho, population 40,000. At least 300 people died. Continue Reading →

Brazil Court Orders Vale to Stop Operations at Another Mine – by Walter Brandimarte (Bloomberg News – March 17, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

A Brazilian court ordered Vale SA to halt production at another of its iron ore mines, further reducing the company’s output capacity after a deadly dam burst increased government scrutiny over its operations.

The Timbopeba mine in Minas Gerais state produces 12.8 million tons of iron ore per year, Vale said in a statement, adding that it will comply with the court decision. The judge also ordered the company to stop using the Doutor dam that receives tailings from the mine. A fine of 500,000 reais ($131,000) per day will be imposed in case of disobedience.

Since the Brumadinho dam accident that left more than 300 people dead or missing on Jan. 25, Vale has also been ordered to stop operations at its Brucutu mine in the same state. Continue Reading →

Sierra Leone Sees IMF Support as Crucial to Luring Investors – by Andre Janse Van Vuuren (Bloomberg News – March 13, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Sierra Leone is counting on its program with the International Monetary Fund to attract infrastructure investments and revive an economy that’s struggling to recover from the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola.

The government of President Julius Maada Bio resumed an agreement with the Washington-based lender for a $172 million extended credit facility in December after an earlier deal with the administration of his predecessor, Ernest Bai Koroma, stalled because it didn’t meet the program’s targets.

Plagued by chronic corruption, double-digit inflation and the legacy of a civil war, economic growth probably stalled at 3.7 percent last year and has persistently failed in recent years to match expansion of as much as 21 percent prior to the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in 2014. Growth may see a slight improvement to 5.4 percent this year, according to the IMF. Continue Reading →

Column: Mixed signals for China steel and iron ore point to prices drifting lower – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – March 12, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – China’s steel and iron ore markets are currently crowded with an overload of information, much of it seemingly pulling prices in opposing directions.

The steel market is having to weigh news of extended output restrictions as part of ongoing efforts by Beijing to lower air pollution, weak vehicle sales, slower economic growth and uncertainty over the trade dispute with the United States.

If that sounds negative for prices, consider the upcoming peak-demand season as winter ends and construction projects kick off, increased stimulus spending on infrastructure and the view that lower output may support a supply-driven price increase. Continue Reading →

Workers put brakes on wrong train in BHP iron ore train derailment – regulator (Reuters U.K. – March 12, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – An emergency crew called out to manually apply handbrakes to a 268-car iron ore train in the Australian outback mistakenly put the brakes on the wrong train, according to a preliminary report into a runaway train derailment last year.

In the incident last November, the BHP Group ore train had to be deliberately derailed after it reached speeds of 162 km/hour (101 mph), destroying two locomotives, 245 ore cars and 2 km (1.2 miles) of track. No-one was hurt.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said on Tuesday the train, carrying iron ore to Port Hedland in Australia’s remote northeast, came to a halt after it lost communication between the front locomotive and a monitor at the train’s rear. Continue Reading →

Brazil minister calls Vale ‘important’ even as prosecutors probe miner – by Nichola Saminather (Reuters U.S. – March 5, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

TORONTO (Reuters) – Brazil’s mining minister on Tuesday defended iron ore miner Vale SA as vital to the country’s economy, even after prosecutors accused the company of pressuring auditors to suppress evidence that its Brumadinho dam was unstable, months before the dam collapsed in January, killing hundreds.

Minister of Mines and Energy Bento Albuquerque said Vale executives are likely to learn from the disaster, which killed more than 300 and sparked an outcry for tighter mining regulations.

The January disaster was the second deadly burst in less than four years in Brazil at a Vale-controlled tailings dam, a type of dam that stores the muddy detritus of the mining process. Continue Reading →

Alternative technology and tailings dam disasters – by Jax Jacobsen (The Ecologist – March 2019)

https://theecologist.org/

Jax Jacobsen is a mining and energy journalist, and a regular contributor to Mining Magazine. She has also written for Canadian Institute of Mining Magazine, Natural Resources Magazine, the Montreal Gazette, and other publications. In 2013-2016, she was S&P Global’s Canadian mining correspondent.

Brazil witnessed its worst ever mining disaster earlier this year, after Vale’s tailing dam in the Brazilian town of Brumadinho in Minas Gerais collapsed without warning.

Estimates tag the number of deaths at 142, while nearly 200 remain missing. Hundreds were evacuated this week near the dam area of another mine in Minas Gerais as a precaution.

This tailings dam collapse comes less than four years after another devastating tailings mine disaster destroyed the town of Samarco, also in Brazil, also managed by Vale (though in a joint partnership with BHP). The Samarco tailings dam failure killed 19, and caused widespread environmental destruction through the state of Minas Gerais. Continue Reading →

New report urges slowdown at Nunavut’s Mary River iron mine – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – March 5, 2019)

https://nunatsiaq.com/

The more Baffinland Mining Corp.’s Mary River iron mine in north Baffin ramps up production, the fewer relative benefits will flow to Inuit, a new report concludes.

“The most important thing is that ramping up production in the short term will result to significant loss of benefits to Inuit in particular and the territory more generally,” said Trevor Taylor, the Iqaluit-based vice-president of conservation for Oceans North, which commissioned the report.

The report, prepared by John Loxley, an economist from the University of Manitoba, found that Inuit occupy “a very small share of the jobs at this mine” and the rapid expansion of the workforce will in all likelihood further reduce the Inuit share. Continue Reading →

Mining activists storm PDAC during sustainability talk (Mining Journal – March 4, 2019)

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

The mining industry is constantly striving to balance evolving stakeholder and shareholder expectations, but calamitous environmental disasters such as Vale’s latest tailings dam burst in Brazil, can massively set back those efforts.

It was therefore imperative for the industry to innovate and look at new ways to create stronger social contracts and pursue technological advances to ensure mines of the future achieve permitting and development, a PDAC 2019 panel session on sustainable mining practices heard this week.

“We need to start building mines we the people want to look at. We need to better strike a balance between growth and green imperatives,” Environmental Resources Management global head Louise Pearce said in Toronto.

The measured panel discussion stood in stark contrast to events outside the convention centre where Toronto-based nongovernmental organisation Mining Injustice Solidarity Network and MiningWatch Canada led a demonstration against Vale and the PDAC on Monday. The group wanted to draw attention to what they called “Vale’s crimes” and the “PDAC’s complicity”. Continue Reading →

Vale’s CEO, other executives, to step down after Brazil dam burst – by Marta Nogueira and Gram Slattery (Reuters U.S. – March3, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman and several other senior executives resigned on Saturday in what the company described as a temporary move, after one of its mining dams burst in January, killing hundreds.

Vale said Schvartsman offered his resignation, which the board “immediately accepted” after state and federal prosecutors recommended their removal late on Friday.

The move comes slightly over a month after a tailings dam broke at Vale’s Corrego do Feijao mine in the interior Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, likely killing over 300 people and releasing massive amounts of toxic sludge. Continue Reading →

Brazil Senate okays dam safety bill after Vale disaster kills hundreds – by Jake Spring (Reuters U.S. – February 27, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian Senate committees on Wednesday passed a bill to tighten dam safety in the country, after a mining dam owned by Vale SA burst and killed an estimated 300 people in the town of Brumadinho.

The legislation, which tightens safety regulations on all types of dams, is similar to a regulation bill that failed to gain traction three years ago.

It will now pass to the lower house for consideration, provided Senators do not file an appeal within five working days, which would require it to go to a vote of the full chamber. Continue Reading →

Rattled by Vale disaster, mining CEOs move to change industry – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.K. – February 26, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Reuters) – After last month’s deadly tailings dam disaster at a Vale SA facility in Brazil, Freeport-McMoRan Inc Chief Executive Richard Adkerson sent a memo to his 29,000 employees telling them to immediately report any safety concerns about the scores of dams his company operates.

The disaster, which killed more than 300, has sparked a push to set global standards for the construction and inspection of tailings dams, which store the muddy detritus of the mining process, as well as emergency preparations. The move reflects a radical departure from the way the facilities have operated for more than a century.

Freeport, the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer, spends several hundred millions of dollars per year on tailings dams upkeep and has not had a tailings dam failure since it acquired Phelps Dodge in 2007. Adkerson’s directive underscored his desire not to blemish that record. Continue Reading →