Archive | Iron Ore

Mining Magnate Mick Davis Is Back – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – February 25, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Almost every major player in mining has tried to build an iron ore mine in Guinea. Now it’s the turn of Mick Davis.

Davis, nicknamed Mick the Miner, had been one of mining’s most successful operators and deal makers, but in recent years has struggled to reestablish himself in the industry.

Now, a remarkable make-up deal between billionaire mining tycoon Beny Steinmetz and the Guinean government has given him the chance to develop one of Africa’s richest iron ore deposits. Should Guinea and Steinmetz settle their disputes, Davis, through his new Niron Metals vehicle, will be able to develop the Zogota iron ore mine. Continue Reading →

Brazilian iron ore supply disruptions to be expected – Report – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud (Mining.com – February 24, 2019)

http://www.mining.com/

Excluding Vale (NYSE:VALE), close to 8 million tonnes of seaborne iron ore supply from Brazil is at risk in 2019, a report by Wood Mackenzie states.

According to the market analyst, such a supply disruption would be the result of the new regulation published by Brazil’s National Mining Agency or ANM, which establishes the ban of all dams in the country built with the upstream method.

Based on the new law, companies holding such structures will have six months to present a technical decommissioning project and until August 15, 2021, and August 15, 2023, to fully conclude deactivation processes of inactive and active dams, respectively.

WoodMac reached the conclusion of the supply hitch after analyzing all 226 iron ore tailings dams that the South American country has. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Brazil’s Brumadinho is Vale’s Worst Nightmare – by Michael Royster (Rio Times – February 25, 2019)

Rio Times

The former poster child for privatization now faces receivership or even bankruptcy, as neither government officials nor investors in the market will forgive it for those 300 lost lives.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brumadinho is a municipality south of Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais, where some 12 million cubic meters of iron ore tailings were impounded — until late last month when the “Feijão” dam broke, with catastrophic consequences — estimates are that some 300 lives have been lost.

Vale S.A., once known as Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) but now universally called simply “Vale”, is a mining behemoth, the world’s largest producer of iron ore. Much of its production of iron ore is in Minas Gerais, where it has dozens of mines.

Mariana is a municipality near historic Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais, where in November 2015 some 62 million cubic meters of impounded iron ore tailings were released when the dam broke. This disaster caused the loss of nineteen lives, along with immense ecological damage to the Rio Doce, Vale’s namesake river. Vale was a fifty percent owner of Samarco, the company whose tailings dam failed. Continue Reading →

Mining Billionaire Ends Bitter Guinea Dispute After Months of Secret Negotiations – by Franz Wild and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – February 25, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Israeli mining tycoon Beny Steinmetz is making a dramatic return to Guinea after the billionaire ended a bitter dispute with the West African country that brought his business empire to its knees.

The settlement, brokered by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, ends a seven-year-old dispute centered around one of the world’s richest mineral deposits that included a colorful list of characters from billionaire George Soros to former U.K. leader Tony Blair and mining heavyweights Rio Tinto Group and Vale SA.

After months of secret negotiations, Steinmetz’s BSG Resources Ltd. agreed with Guinean President Alpha Conde to withdraw allegations of corruption leveled against each other over years and to drop a two-year-old arbitration case over one of the world’s most-fabled mineral deposits — the Simandou iron-ore project. Continue Reading →

Vale: Swedish funds cut mining giant from portfolios after dam collapse – by Rachel Fixsen and Nick Reeve (IPE.com – February 21, 2019)

https://www.ipe.com/

Swedish state pension buffer fund AP1 has begun selling SEK407m (€38.6m) worth of equities and bonds of Brazilian mining company Vale, after the AP Funds’ Council on Ethics recommended the exclusion the company from the AP funds’ portfolios.

The recommendation follows the fatal collapse of a tailings dam at one of its mining facilities in Brumadinho, Brazil, last month.

The council said it was recommending AP1, AP2, AP3 and AP4 exclude Vale because the council had lost confidence in the firm, adding that it could be linked to violations of three major international conventions. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s Deadly Dam Collapse Could Force the Mining Industry to Change – by Danielle Bochove, Laura Millan Lombrana and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – February 20, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The mining dam collapse that killed at least 169 in Brazil last month, with 141 still missing, was by no means an isolated incident. There’ve been at least 50 dam failures globally in just the last decade, according to one tally, with 10 considered major.

For years the industry has depended on these dams to contain the sometimes toxic, often dangerous, waste from mining. But the latest failure, which could end up as the deadliest in more than half a century, has the industry struggling to contain the consequences.

On Feb. 19, BHP Group Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie, citing the need for a “nuclear level of safety,” said his company would welcome an international and independent body to oversee the integrity of all the dams. Continue Reading →

Brazil Bans Upstream Mining Dams After Vale’s Latest Disaster -by R.T. Watson (Bloomberg News – February 18, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Brazil is prohibiting a specific type of tailings dam after two of those structures owned by miner Vale SA burst in recent years, causing death and environmental devastation.

All so-called upstream dams need to be decommissioned or removed by August 2021, according to a resolution the National Mining Agency, or ANM, published on Monday in the nation’s official gazette. Dam owners have until Aug. 15 to complete a technical plan for the dams, which at a minimum need to include reinforcing existing structures or building new retention structures.

In the most recent accident, a dam at Vale’s Feijao mine burst on Jan. 25, unleashing a torrent of mining waste that killed at least 169 people and contaminated rivers in Minas Gerais state. Continue Reading →

The Mining Industry’s Waste Problem Will Only Get Worse – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – February 19, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

To avoid another disaster like Vale’s, companies need to invest in better disposal methods. That’s going to get harder in the coming decades.

It’s taken two tragedies in just over three years, but the mining industry is finally starting to clean up its act. Brazil’s government Monday announced plans to ban upstream tailings dams, a low-cost method of storing mining waste implicated in last month’s Brumadinho disaster and the similar Samarco collapse in 2015.

Something of the sort was already on the cards: State-controlled Vale SA, operator or joint-operator of both facilities, is already decommissioning all of its dams that use the technology. Chile, where earthquakes pose a particular threat to the stability of tailings ponds, banned upstream dams in 1970. Continue Reading →

Trust in tailings? Vale dam disaster spurs investors into action – by Barbara Lewis, Simon Jessop and Clara Denina (Reuters U.S. – February 15, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Seeking assurances from Brazilian miner Vale by phone after a second deadly dam disaster in three years is not enough for Sasja Beslik. He plans to fly there himself to get answers.

Beslik, head of sustainable finance at Swedish bank Nordea, blocked the bank’s investment managers from buying any more Vale shares on Jan. 26, the day after a damn filled with mining waste burst its banks, killing hundreds.

He is the latest investor to step back from an industry that is trying to clean up its act. Vale needs to address the risks associated with tailings dams and deal with its waste material safely if it is to prevent an exodus of global funds and stem the recent share price slide. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Brazilian mine tragedy will not be the last tailings dam disaster – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 14, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Feb 14 (Reuters) – The collapse of Vale’s Brumadinho iron ore tailings dam in Brazil was both shocking and devastating in its impact. But it was not a one-off event.

It was the 11th serious tailings dam failure in the last decade and such catastrophic events are becoming more frequent, according to researchers at World Mine Tailings Failures (WMTF). Indeed, the number of incidents is going to rise further, according to the U.S. not-for-profit organisation that tracks all recorded tailings storage facility (TSF) failures.

“Without major changes to law and regulation, and to industry practices, and without new technology that substantially reduces risk and increases loss control, our current prediction is for 19 very serious failures between 2018 and 2027.” Continue Reading →

Vale CFO says miner’s top managers were unaware of dam risk report – by Marta Nogueira (Reuters Canada – February 12, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Senior management at Brazilian miner Vale were never shown internal security documents indicating that its dam at Brumadinho was at risk of collapse, the company’s chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

The CFO, Luciano Siani, was asked about management’s knowledge of the internal documents at a news conference a day after Reuters reported on them. The documents, dated Oct. 3, 2018, classified the dam at Brumadinho as being two times more likely to fail than the maximum level of risk tolerated under internal guidelines.

The dam collapsed in late January in one of the deadliest mining disasters in decades. Asked whether the company’s senior management had seen the internal report, Siani said, “No.” Continue Reading →

Opinion: Welcome to the accidental iron ore boom – by Elizabeth Knight (Sydney Morning Herald – February 13, 2019)

https://www.smh.com.au/

Even a month ago it would have seemed fanciful for anyone to suggest iron ore prices would be heading towards $US100 per tonne ($A141.33). But the market dynamics have changed.

Welcome to the accidental mining boom. There is a lot at stake in this latest boom for the profits of BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue not to mention the potential swell to the federal government’s coffers.

Just how meaningful the uplift will be for all involved depends on how long the current boomtime prices are sustained. With futures now hitting more than $US96 commodities experts are scrambling to assess how this will play out. Continue Reading →

Anglo’s Cutifani expresses confidence in iron ore tailings technology at Minas Rio – by David McKay (MiningMX – February 12, 2019)

MiningMX

THE Brumadinho dam disaster in Brazil on January 25 could have some far-reaching consequences, but Anglo American CEO, Mark Cutifani, said that the impact on the group’s own activities in the country would be limited.

Brumadinho is the place where Brazil’s state-owned mining company, Vale, operates its Feijao iron ore mine which, in turn, is part of the Paraopeba complex. The complex produced 26.2 million tonnes (Mt) of iron ore in Vale’s 2017 financial year, representing 7% of its total output.

It’s the second major tailings dam burst disaster in just over two years in Brazil. In the previous event, a tailings facility burst at Samarco – an operation owned by Vale in joint venture with BHP. Some 19 lives were lost. Continue Reading →

The Global Iron Ore Crisis: What’s Next in Four Charts – by Krystal Chia and Martin Ritchie (Bloomberg/Yahoo – February 12, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — The global iron ore market is reeling from the sustained and expanding impact of Vale SA’s deadly dam breach last month, which has roiled prices and spurred concerns about a shortage.

Since the initial incident in Brazil in late January, the top producer has announced supply cuts of as much as 70 million tons, although it’s said it will try to offset some lost production.

As the drama unfolds, investors, users and producers are grappling with a host of unknowns, starting with how much supply Vale will actually lose this year and next as executives seek to respond to what’s likely the greatest challenge the company has faced. There are other critical variables too, which will help to influence the direction of prices, which sank on Tuesday for a second day. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Brazil miner Vale knew deadly dam had heightened risk of collapse – by Stephen Eisenhammer (Reuters U.K. – February 11, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (Reuters) – Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore miner, knew last year that the dam in Brazil that collapsed in January and killed at least 165 people had a heightened risk of rupturing, according to an internal document seen by Reuters on Monday.

The report, dated Oct. 3, 2018, classified the dam at Brumadinho in the state of Minas Gerais as being two times more likely to fail than the maximum level of risk tolerated under internal guidelines.

The previously unreported document is the first evidence that Vale itself was concerned about the safety of the dam. It raises questions as to why an independent audit around the same time guaranteed the dam’s stability and why the miner did not take precautions, such as moving a company canteen that was just downhill from the structure. Continue Reading →