Archive | Iron Ore

Baffinland ‘must significantly change its approach,’ Qamaniq says – by Derek Neary (Nunavut News – November 7, 2019)


With public hearings for Baffinland Iron Mines’ proposed expansion of its Mary River mine taking place in Iqaluit, Tununiq MLA David Qaminiq told his colleagues in the legislative assembly that the mining company has more work to do to gain the trust of Inuit.

He suggested on Wednesday that the company should have been more forthcoming about its full plans from its early days.

“Rather than providing a complete picture of the full scope of the project and its ultimate impact on the region, the incremental or ‘phased’ approach to requesting change after change after change has only served to cause confusion and frustration,” said Qaminiq. Continue Reading →

Baffinland blasted for its approach to community consultations – by Elaine Anselmi (Nunatsiaq News – November 6, 2019)

Pond Inlet resident Tim Anaviapik Soucie says the problems with Baffinland’s approach to community consultation for its plans to expand its Mary River mine were evident from the moment chairs were set up in the room.

“Lining people up in chairs to talk to us tells us who is important and who is in charge,” Soucie told the Nunavut Impact Review Board during its hearing in Iqaluit on Tuesday, Nov. 5. “Circles do away with this.”

Soucie described Baffinland’s team arriving in town with a PowerPoint presentation that celebrated their achievements and work so far, and then asked if there were any questions. “This is not consultation,” he said. Continue Reading →

Brazil regulator says Vale ‘negligence’ may have cost lives – by Jake Spring and Christian Plumb (Reuters U.S. – November 5, 2019)

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s mining regulator on Tuesday blasted iron ore miner Vale SA for failing to disclose problems with a mining dam before a deadly collapse in January, saying this kept the agency from taking actions that could have saved lives.

The dam in Brumadinho collapsed and flooded a nearby company cafeteria and the surrounding countryside with mining waste, killing more than 250 people. It was Vale’s second deadly dam collapse in less than four years.

The regulator’s report on its probe into the disaster is the latest blow to the reputation of Vale, which is under criminal investigation over accusations that top executives ignored warning signs about the dam. Continue Reading →

Baffinland’s Inuit landlord won’t support Mary River expansion – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – November 4, 2019)

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which controls most of the land occupied by the Mary River iron mine, refuses to endorse or support the mine owner’s railway-based expansion proposal, says the organization’s president, P.J. Akeeagok.

Following a special board meeting held on Oct. 30, the QIA dropped this bombshell declaration into the hands of the Nunavut Impact Review Board in the form of a letter on Nov. 1, just before the start of the review board’s final public hearing in Iqaluit on Baffinland’s phase two expansion proposal on Nov. 2.

At their special meeting, QIA board members voted unanimously to take that position, Akeeagok’s letter said. “Many of QIA’s environmental and cultural concerns regarding Baffinland’s Phase 2 proposal have not been adequately resolved. We are also concerned that there are issues raised by impacted communities that have not yet been addressed,” QIA said. Continue Reading →

Nunavut board rejects Oceans North motion to suspend iron mine assessment – by Emma Tranter (Nunatsiaq News – November 3, 2019)

The Nunavut Impact Review Board has dismissed a motion from Oceans North to suspend the review board’s assessment of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s railway-based phase two expansion plan for the Mary River iron mine.

In front of a packed audience in Iqaluit’s Cadet Hall, the board presented its ruling on the motion from Oceans North, and two other motions, during the late afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 3. A public hearing on the phase two expansion is currently being held in Iqaluit from Nov. 2 to 6.

The notice of motion filed by Oceans North on Oct. 29 asked the board to suspend its proceedings until the NIRB had the chance to review a document called a preliminary offering circular. Continue Reading →

Investors fear looming safety risks of mining waste dams – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – October 31, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – A global inquiry into how mining companies store billions of tonnes of waste in huge dams, launched after a collapse in Brazil killed hundreds, shows about a tenth of the structures have had stability issues, investors said on Thursday.

The research was led by the Church of England (CoE) and fund managers after the collapse of a Vale (VALE3.SA) dam in January unleashed an avalanche of mining waste on the Brazilian town of Brumadinho, killing an estimated 300 people.

A waste, or tailings dam, is the most common waste disposal method for mining companies, whether they’re extracting iron ore, gold or copper. They are among the largest man-made structures on earth, with some towering dozens of meters high and stretching for several kilometers. Continue Reading →

IRON RANGE ENDOWED WITH MORE THAN ENOUGH ORE – by Lee Bloomquist (Mesabi Daily News – October 30, 2019)

HIBBING — When Andrew Reed in 2007 was graduating from high school in Orr, students were under the impression that northeastern Minnesota’s taconite industry was on its last legs.

Within two years – hammered by a national and global economic downturn – total iron ore pellet production plummeted to barely more than 18 million tons. With taconite plants idled, production was far below the industry’s annual capacity of about 40 million tons.

“When I went to school, people thought it was dying,” said Reed. “But no, it’s just getting started.” Reed, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Lands and Minerals mineland reclamation specialist in Hibbing, today earns a living because of iron ore. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s Vale earnings miss expectations, cites dam shutdown progress – by Christian Plumb and Roberto Samora (Reuters U.S. – October 24, 2019)

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian miner Vale (VALE3.SA) on Thursday reported a weaker-than-forecast 15% gain in quarterly earnings as the iron ore exporter tries to overhaul its operations to avoid a recurrence of the dam burst that killed more than 250 people in January.

Vale’s net profit rose to $1.654 billion from $1.408 billion in the year-ago period, missing the $2.72 billion mean of analysts polled by Refinitiv, as an increase in iron ore prices was partially offset by a slump in production following the incident.

Vale, which is still wrestling with the aftermath of the deadly dam collapse near the town of Brumadinho, said it was making progress with its effort to decommission, or shut down, other such dams as Chief Executive Eduardo Bartolomeo reiterated the company’s “commitment to safety.” Continue Reading →

China starts new $10b Oakajee iron ore push – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – October 21, 2019)

A Chinese state-owned entity will seek to revive a $9.7 billion mining rail and port project in Western Australia, in a move that could unlock the nation’s next iron ore export province.

Sinosteel has acquired Japanese giant Mitsubishi’s interests in the long-stalled Oakajee Port and Rail project, in a deal that comes in the strongest year for iron ore prices since 2014.

The acquisition effectively resolves a dispute over port tariffs that was the major wrecker of attempts to develop Oakajee during the heady peaks of the iron ore boom in 2011, and when combined with Sinosteel’s existing assets nearby, make the Chinese company the dominant force in the mid-west region of WA. Continue Reading →

‘Sense of Dread’: How a Mining Disaster in Brazil Raised Alarms in Minnesota – by Alistair MacDonald, Kris Maher and Kim Mackrael (Wall Street Journal – October 14, 2019)

Mine-waste dams around the world have drawn new scrutiny after a collapse in Brazil this year killed hundreds

EMBARRASS, Minn.—An earthen dam is set to rise behind the trees of Dan Ehman’s 120 woodland acres in northeastern Minnesota’s Iron Range, a region with close ties to mining for more than a century.

The planned dam, designed to hold back hundreds of millions of tons of mining waste, will be similar in structure and height—soaring 250 feet above Mr. Ehman’s century-old log cabin—to one in Brazil that burst in January, killing 270 in a tsunami of sludge.

That disaster, the deadliest of its type in half a century, has upended the global mining industry. The world’s biggest mining giants have spent months and millions of dollars re-evaluating their dams. Institutional investors are scrubbing their portfolios, looking for companies with risky structures—and helping to publicize potential stability issues. And environmentalists are getting new support from residents, some of whom are learning for the first time about the potential dangers of the dams in their communities. Continue Reading →

India set to become net iron-ore importer – by Ajoy K Das ( – October 9, 2019)

KOLKATA ( – India is poised to become a net importer of iron-ore during the next financial year, as the domestic market shifts from surplus to deficit.

Supply-side disruptions could lead to an estimated deficit of about 50-million tons during 2020/21, forcing imports of between 25-million and 30-million tons a year.

According to the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI), state governments of iron-ore-bearing states were scheduled to put up for auction 48 iron-ore blocks where mining leases were expiring on March 31, 2020. Continue Reading →

Fortescue confirms bid for vast Simandou iron ore deposit – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – October 7, 2019)

Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) has confirmed its interest in a slice of the giant Simandou iron ore deposit, handed back this year to the Guinean government by billionaire Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources.

The committee in charge of an international tender for the project’s blocks 1 and 2, launched in mid-July, should come to a final decision in November, sources close to the matter told Reuters.

Both the consortium of Société Miniere de Boke (SMB) and Singapore’s Winning, which is Guinea’s biggest bauxite exporter, have already acknowledged they submitted an offer. Brazil’s Vale (NYSE: VALE), the world’s largest producer of iron ore, is also said to have paid for documents needed to submit an offer, but decided not to do so. Continue Reading →

China steel, iron ore rise on hopes of demand recovery – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters India – September 30, 2019)

MANILA, Sept 30 (Reuters) – China’s steel and iron ore futures jumped in early trade on Monday, with construction material rebar up more than 4%, after the country’s central bank vowed to step up efforts to lift a slowing economy.

While spot markets have been generally quiet since last week ahead of a long holiday in China, sentiment got a further boost from a private business survey showing China’s factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in 19 months in September.

The most-traded rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, with January 2020 expiry, rose as much as 4.3% to 3,580 yuan ($502.74) a tonne. Hot-rolled steel coil, used in cars and home appliances, jumped up to 2.2% to 3,527 yuan a tonne. Continue Reading →

ArcelorMittal said to review Canada, Brazil iron assets – by Dinesh Nair, Thomas Biesheuvel and Vinicy Chan (Bloomberg News – September 27, 2019)

ArcelorMittal is evaluating a potential sale of some of its iron ore operations, as the world’s biggest steelmaker seeks to cut debt by divesting non-core businesses, people familiar with the matter said.

The company is reviewing its iron ore assets in Canada, Brazil and Liberia, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. ArcelorMittal is speaking with financial advisers about options including selling partial or full stakes in at least some of the assets, according to the people. The Canadian business is the largest and more profitable of the three and could be valued at about US$2 billion in any transaction, the people said.

ArcelorMittal hasn’t kicked off a formal sale process, and it could decide to keep the operations, the people said. A representative for ArcelorMittal declined to comment. The shares climbed 2.1 per cent to 12.94 euros as of 9:52 a.m. in Amsterdam. Continue Reading →

After Dumping Vale, Church of England Says Miner Has ‘Way to Go’ – by Isis Almeida and Sabrina Valle (Bloomberg News – September 24, 2019)

The Church of England has dumped Vale SA, and it doesn’t look like the Brazilian miner will make it back into the good books any time soon.

The church sold its shares in Vale after a tailings dam collapse in January killed at least 249 people in the Brazilian town of Brumadinho. It has also blocked investments in the miner through an ethical exclusion process, according to Adam Matthews, director of ethics and engagement at the church’s pension board.

There’s a “long way to go” before the church is ready to backtrack, he said by phone before the Financial Times Commodities Americas Summit in Rio de Janeiro, where he is scheduled to speak. Continue Reading →