Archive | Latin America Mining

The Brazilian Gold Rush: Gold Mining in Brazil – by John Matuszak (Kelly Collectors – October 13, 2020)

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows anything about history that gold was a big draw for colonists coming to the New World. One of the earliest gold rushes that brought people across the ocean and attracted the attention of major world powers was the Brazilian Gold Rush.

At this time Brazil was an integral part of the Portuguese Empire. Back in 1690 when the Brazilian Gold Rush kicked off, Portugal was not a small nation almost surrounded by Spain, but a major world power in possession of one of the largest empires in the world.

This is largely thanks to their early efforts at overseas exploration that predate even the Columbian Contact between the Old World and the New. Indeed, the Portuguese had been colonizing parts of Africa for the better part of a century before Christopher Columbus set sail across the Atlantic. Continue Reading →

How miners from Camborne and Redruth started a Central American football revolution in Mexico – by Aaron Greenaway (Cornwall Live – October 25, 2020)

When mention is made of “famous Cornish exports”, it is safe to say that the first things that spring to mind are things we find on our plate – delicacies such as the iconic Cornish pasty, clotted cream, scones made correctly (jam first), Davidstow cheddar and the mighty saffron cake.

It is also true we exported Prime Ministers to Australia, with two Australian Prime Ministers being of Cornish descent – Sir Robert Menzies, the country’s longest-serving PM, was part-Cornish through his maternal grandparents and Bob Hawke, PM between 1983-1991, had links to Kernow as well.

On top of this, at least six Premiers of South Australia were also of Cornish descent. One other thing synonymous with Cornwall is of course mining, with the county being world-renowned for its work during the 1800s and early 1900s – although, you wouldn’t know it now, with the old buildings left behind the only relics of a once-proud past. Continue Reading →

The Socialist Win in Bolivia and the New Era of Lithium Extraction – by Kate Aronoff (The New Republic – October 2020)

An apparent victory for Evo Morales’s Movement Toward Socialism shows that tomorrow’s green energy won’t look much like the old oil empires

Just under a year after Evo Morales’s government was ousted by U.S.-backed far-right forces, his Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS, party looks almost certain to take back power after Sunday’s election.

Morales, the country’s first Indigenous president, remains in exile in Argentina. His election in 2019 remains hotly debated: While the Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States challenged the result due to a gap between preliminary and final results, subsequent analyses have argued that the gap was explainable and legitimate and that the OAS assessment was “flawed” and highly political.

Now, with an estimated 52.4 percent of the vote, Morales’s former finance minister, Luis Arce, is on track to become the country’s new leader after a deadly year of racist state repression under interim President Jeanine Añez Chávez. Continue Reading →

Operation Chinchilla Is a Go – by Ed Stoddard and Undark (The Atlantic – October 18, 2020)

Twenty-five of the endangered rodents are living on top of a multibillion-dollar Chilean gold reserve. Miners are going to great lengths to relocate them.

The short-tailed chinchilla, a high-altitude South American rodent, was hunted almost to extinction in the 19th and 20th centuries for its highly prized fur. It’s now endangered, and one small colony of the species in Chile is worth far more alive than dead, skinned, and dried.

The colony in question sits atop 3.5 million ounces of extractable gold, a resource set to be developed by Gold Fields, a South Africa–based mining company. Continue Reading →

Lithium sparks disputes in Chile’s Atacama Desert – by Lorena Guzman ( – October 16, 2020)

Lithium is considered a strategic resource in Chile, and its exploitation is steeped in difficulties.

For almost four years the activity has been the source of a legal dispute between the communities of the Atacama Desert and SQM, one of the country’s biggest companies, which is partially owned by the Chinese firm Tianqi since 2019.

Some 1,500km north of the capital Santiago de Chile lies the driest desert in the world. The Atacama once contained enormous masses of water, but what is left now hides underneath the surface, mixed with valuable minerals. Continue Reading →

Lundin Gold to pay $2.5m to replace collapsed bridge near Fruta del Norte – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – October 18, 2020)

Following the collapse on Saturday of a bridge in the town of Los Encuentros in Ecuador’s southern Zamora Chinchipe province, Lundin Gold (TSX: LUG) announced that it will be footing the $2.5 million bill for the replacement.

The structure had been showing signs of weakness in recent years but it completely failed when a truck carrying ore from Lundin’s Fruta del Norte operation was passing through it.

According to local media, the bridge’s deck came off its bases and fell into the Zamora river with the truck on top of it. The driver was able to escape unharmed and no one else was injured. Continue Reading →

Brazil Cracking Down on Rising Illegal Diamond Mining – by Isaac Norris(InSight Crime – October 13, 2020)


A recent operation in northern Brazil has put a spotlight on the country’s often overlooked illegal diamond trade, but authorities are only scratching the surface of the fast-growing criminal economy.

In late September, Brazilian authorities launched a massive operation to curb illegal diamond mining in the Roosevelt Indigenous reserve between the northern states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso, Globo reported.

The operation consisted of raids across eight states that targeted illegal miners, intermediaries who valued the diamonds, companies selling them and even Indigenous residents who collaborated with the miners. Continue Reading →

Why Rio Tinto and China are at loggerheads (The Economist – October 10, 2020)

China does not like to feel jealous of Japan. But in the case of iron ore it has plenty to envy. Back in the 1960s, when Japan was building up its steel industry, the world’s supply of the stuff was so fragmented that Japan could play off producers in Australia and Brazil against each other.

China, now the world’s biggest steelmaker, does not have that luxury. Though it imports 70% of the world’s iron ore, most of this comes from three companies that in the intervening six decades have become titans.

They are Rio Tinto and BHP, two Anglo-Australian firms, and Vale, a Brazilian one. They have brought about consolidation in the industry. They benefit from high barriers to entry. None is keen to undercut the other two. That puts them in a far stronger position vis à vis Chinese customers than their predecessors were with the Japanese. Continue Reading →

Nicolas Maduro wins latest round in U.K. court fight for $2-billion in gold – by Paul Waldie (Globe and Mail – October 8, 2020)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro doesn’t have many friends around the world, but a British court has given him a victory in a long-running battle over nearly US$2-billion worth of gold that’s housed at the Bank of England.

The England and Wales Court of Appeal has overturned a lower court ruling that handed the gold to Mr. Maduro’s opponent, Juan Guaido, who is supported by Britain and more than 50 other countries, including Canada.

The appeal court judges ordered a new hearing in the case and said Mr. Maduro’s government has a credible claim to the fortune. Continue Reading →

Goldmining having big impact on indigenous Amazon communities – by Dom Phillips (The Guardian – October 7, 2020)

A new report has exposed the scale and impact of mining on indigenous reserves in Amazon countries as gold prices soared during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 20% of indigenous lands are overlapped by mining concessions and illegal mining, it found, covering 450,000 sq km (174,000 sq miles) – and 31% of Amazon indigenous reserves are affected.

The report, released on Wednesday by the World Resources Institute, said indigenous people should be given more legal rights to manage and use their lands, and called for better environmental safeguards. Continue Reading →

Brazilian niobium miner CBMM eyes European car market – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – October 7, 2020)

Brazil niobium miner Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM) has inked a deal with British high-performance luxury carmaker Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) to supply niobium for the production of ultra-light, high-speed cars.

CBMM will work with BAC to develop a new sports car using high amounts of niobium a metal that makes steel more resistant.

The partners expect the final product, a race car for use on the streets, will be more fuel-efficient due to its light weight and greater speed. Continue Reading →

Sherritt CEO pins future on demand for nickel for electric-car batteries – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – October 6, 2020)

Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk pulled his latest stunt at an annual event called Battery Day in late September. He staged the gathering in a California parking lot and invited 200 Tesla shareholders to watch from their electric cars and honk if they liked what they heard.

There was a lot of honking. The sound was music to the ears of Sherritt International chief executive David Pathe, whose Toronto-based company mines the nickel and cobalt that make electric car batteries possible.

“Battery Day was a big event for us,” said Mr. Pathe, who spent the past eight years running a debt-heavy miner that had few big events to celebrate. “We expect to see significant growth as all the automakers roll out their electric strategies.” Continue Reading →

Can mineral extraction ever be environmentally acceptable? – by David Jessop (Virgin Islands Daily News – October 4, 2020)

In August, the price of gold reached a record high of $2,073 per ounce. It did so as investors concerned about the impact of COVID-19, global economic instability, and falling bond yields, decided it was a safe haven.

Coincidentally, the spike occurred as Guyana’s Stabroek News published an investigative report in collaboration with InfoAmazonia and media partners in Brazil and Venezuela which described how a significant part of the Republic’s informal gold production is trafficked abroad.

A few weeks later InfoAmazonia published a more detailed account. “Tracing Tainted Gold,” described how across the Guiana Shield, mercury trafficking networks are enabling gold produced by small miners to be laundered; how it is moving across uncontrolled borders and through the region’s ports; suggesting that it is entering legitimate global supply chains, and possibly ending up in products made by some of the world’s biggest corporations. Continue Reading →

US grabs stake in battery metals miner to fight Chinese control – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – October 5, 2020)

The US government is taking a $25 million equity stake in Dublin-based battery metals miner TechMet, as part of a push by President Donald Trump to reduce the country’s reliance on supply chains dominated by China.

The backing from the $60 billion US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will help TechMet develop a nickel and cobalt mine in Brazil. Both metals are key in the production of the batteries that power electric cars and cell phones.

TechMet’s Brazilian Nickel project, in the north-eastern state of Piauí, is estimated to hold as much as 72 million tonnes of nickel and cobalt. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s hidden treasures – by Bruno Venditti ( – September 28, 2020)

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro plans to expand mining in the country, a sector that is held back by a lack of knowledge about geological sites and an excess of bureaucracy, according to executives and officials.

Today the government unveiled its Mining and Development Program (PDM) with goals for the sector in a meeting held by Bolsonaro.

As part of government efforts, the president presented a controversial bill in February that would allow commercial mining on protected indigenous lands, delivering on a campaign promise that sparked protests from tribal leaders and environmentalists. Continue Reading →