Archive | Latin America Mining

Top Nickel Miner Vale Turns Page on 14-Year New Caledonia Foray – by James Attwood (Bloomberg News – March 31, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Vale SA, the biggest producer of mined nickel, closed a deal to divest its underperforming New Caledonian mine to a group that includes the operation’s managers and workers.

The divestment will allow operations to continue and gives Vale the right to a portion of output amid growing demand for the battery metal, Rio de Janeiro-based Vale said in a statement Wednesday.

Tesla Inc. will support the operation through a “technical and industrial partnership” with the consortium, called Prony Resources. Continue Reading →

Canadian firm’s proposed gold mine in Amazon rainforest a step closer to reality, CEO says – by Chris Arsenault (CBC News World – March 28, 2021)

A Canadian company is one step closer to building a controversial gold mine in the Amazon rainforest, after its study on how the development would impact remote Indigenous people was approved by Brazilian officials, the CEO of Belo Sun Mining told CBC News.

FUNAI, the Brazilian government body responsible for handling issues related to Indigenous people and their land rights, has approved the company’s consultation plans for the Volta Grande gold project, said CEO Peter Tagliamonte.

The approval is the most recent salvo in a series of long-running disputes between different Brazilian authorities and the Toronto-based company over what Belo Sun calls the largest undeveloped gold project in Brazil. Continue Reading →

Chile Lawmakers Want a Bigger Share of the Copper Windfall – by James Attwood and Tom Azzopardi (Yahoo Finance/Bloomberg – March 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Chile’s lower house approved a proposed royalty on copper and lithium sales as lawmakers seek a bigger contribution from some of the world’s top producers toward social and environmental projects.

The proposal, which was introduced in 2018 by opposition lawmakers and has gained momentum amid rallying metal prices, will go back to committees after some representatives sought modifications. The bill has yet to pass through senate.

A 3% tax on copper and lithium produced by companies such as BHP Group and Albemarle Corp. would fund regional development projects, responding to the rising social and environmental standards of investors and supply chains. Continue Reading →

Illegal Gold Rush in the Amazon Raises Risk to Indigenous People – by Luana Vicentina (Yahoo Finance/Bloomberg – March 25, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Illegal gold and diamond mining is proliferating in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest and threatening South America’s largest group of native people who still live in relative isolation, the Yanomami.

Criminal mining groups are encroaching on the indigenous territory that straddles Brazil and Venezuela, polluting rivers, bringing diseases like Covid-19 and malaria, and stirring fears of a repeat of the brutal slaughter of 16 Yanomami by illegal prospectors in the 1990s, according to a report published Thursday by Brazilian conservation group Instituto Socioambiental and the Hutukara Yanomami and Wanasseduume Ye’kwana associations.

“They are coming in like starved beasts, looking for the wealth of our land,” Davi Kopenawa, chairman of the Hutukara Yanomami Association, said in a statement. Continue Reading →

Massive new port could give Vale back iron ore crown – by Bruno Venditti ( – March 18, 2021)

Global production of iron ore products reached 2.2 billion tonnes in 2020 and is expected to reach 2.35 billion tonnes in 2021, according to Fastmarkets.

Despite the covid-19 pandemic, Chinese demand and Brazilian supply constraints have propelled iron ore prices to decade-highs above $175 a tonne this quarter.

Global total exports amounted 1,170 million tonnes in 2020, 9.3% higher than in 2019. Total China imports exceeded 73% of the world total shipped. Continue Reading →

Argentine President Targeted by Mob Fighting to Keep Out Mines – by Jonathan Gilbert (Bloomberg News – March 15, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Argentine President Alberto Fernandez had to dodge protesters to get onto a minibus that was then pelted with stones as environmentalists battle a move to give mining the green light in Chubut.

In the Patagonian province to check on efforts to extinguish forest fires, Fernandez was caught off guard as protesters seized the opportunity to take their objection to precious-metal mining to the very top of government.

The latest twist in a yearslong conflict shines a light on a growing challenge for mining companies around the world as environmental, social and governance expectations rise among investors, regulators and the general public. Continue Reading →

Southern Ecuador’s Cuenca bans large-scale mining – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – February 19, 2021)

Residents of the Southern Ecuador’s city of Cuenca have voted in favour of banning future large-scale mining activities in five nearby watershed zones – an area that stretches over 3,100 square km (1,197 square miles) and is home to more than 580,000 people.

The poll results represents a win for Cuenca, in the province of Azuay, which hosts several mining assets, including Chinese-owned Junefield’s Rio Blanco gold project, SolGold’s (LON, TSX:SOLG) Sharug and Canada’s INV Metals’ (TSX-V: INV) Loma Larga gold-silver-copper project.

The city, the country’s third largest, pushed last year for the referendum on whether or not communities could decide the fate of mining projects in the area. Continue Reading →

Explainer: Latin America’s Lithium Triangle – by Elizabeth Gonzalez (AS/ – February 17, 2021)

The insatiable demand for the latest smartphone, along with a need to transition to clean energy, keeps driving demand for the lightest of metals.

Lithium, with its high electrical conductivity, is key to many rechargeable devices, such as cellphones, laptops, and energy storage systems, not to mention electrical vehicles, for which global sales are expected to rise 70 percent in 2021. All in all, the global lithium market is projected to quintuple over the next 35 years.

That bodes well for the countries of the Lithium Triangle—Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile—where 58 percent of the world’s identified lithium resources lies, per January 2021 data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Continue Reading →

What’s next for Brazil’s mineral exploration push? – by Matthew Hall (Mining Technology – February 15, 2021)

A cornerstone of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s tenure has been cutting the red tape that hinders economic exploitation of the Amazon rainforest.

As moves to open indigenous lands and conservation areas to mineral exploration draw widespread opposition, we look at Brazil’s push to encourage a wave of mineral exploration in the country.

Historically, mining has been an industry on the back of which empires are forged. Continue Reading →

Stunning NASA photo shows ‘gold’ Peruvian Amazon rivers, but there’s a dark backstory – by Jack Guy (CTV News – February 11, 2021)

All that glitters is not gold, the saying goes, as proven by a new photo taken from the International Space Station (ISS).

What appear to be rivers of gold running through the Amazon rainforest in Madre de Dios state in eastern Peru are in fact prospecting pits, likely left by independent miners, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory, which published the photo taken by one of its astronauts.

The pits are normally hidden from view to those on the ISS, but stand out in this shot due to reflected sunlight. The image shows the Inambari River and a number of pits surrounded by deforested areas of muddy spoil. Continue Reading →

Mexico: The World’s Leading Silver Producer – by Phil Gracin (The Deep Dive – February 6, 2021)

There is a saying in the mining industry that miners go where the minerals are. Another says that the best place to find a new mine is near an existing mine.

Exploration investors might be mindful of these expressions when considering which companies to invest in. North American investors are fortunate that there are many opportunities in their own backyard.

Canada and the United States are blessed with an abundance of natural resources, enabling investors to focus on opportunities closer to home. Mining companies are in a constant search for new opportunities and often find them in faraway lands. Continue Reading →

Proposal to Ban Big Mines Is Put to a Vote in Southern Ecuador – by Stephan Kueffner (Yahoo Finance/Bloomberg – February 4, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Ecuador’s fledgling mining industry faces another test on Sunday when voters in the third-largest city will decide whether to ban major projects within municipal limits.

Alongside the country’s presidential and legislative elections, residents of Cuenca in the southern Andes mountains will be asked if they want large-scale mining within the drainage basins of five rivers.

While there are no big mines operating in the area yet, the referendum threatens to derail more than 40 concessions seeking to tap gold, silver and copper reserves. Continue Reading →

Vale to Pay $7 Billion for One of Worst Ever Mine Disasters – by James Attwood (Yahoo Finance/Bloomberg – February 4, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Vale SA reached a settlement agreement with Brazilian authorities for a dam collapse that killed 270 people and led to production cutbacks that stripped the company of the title of world’s biggest iron ore producer.

The deal comes two years after the Brumadinho disaster, giving affected communities a clear framework for compensation and reparations and removing a considerable legal overhang for Vale. Its shares were little changed in Sao Paulo.

Vale will pay 37.7 billion reais ($7.03 billion) including cash payments to affected people and investments in environmental projects, the Rio de Janeiro-based company said in a statement. Vale estimates it will book an additional expense of 19.8 billion reais in 2020 results. Continue Reading →

‘Permanent state of fear’: 2 years after disaster, mine tailings dams a big risk – by Taylor Kuykendall (S&P Global Market Intelligence – Janaury 2021)

On Jan. 25, 2019, a large dam full of mining waste from the Corrego do Feijao iron ore mine owned by Vale SA ruptured and sent a mudslide downstream toward Brumadinho, Brazil, killing at least 270 people. Two years later, some question if the mining industry has done enough to avert further disasters.

Vale has faced billions in costs due to the incident, and several employees and contractors were charged with homicide, including former Vale CEO Fabio Schvartsman. While new standards have been introduced, many people still fear other tailings dams could fail, putting communities around the world at risk.

Maria Teresa Corujo is with Janeiro Marrom, or Brown January, a campaign working to raise awareness about the disaster. Corujo described training drills with sirens in Brazilian communities near tailings dams, so that community members could rehearse running in case of another failure. Continue Reading →

Brumadinho dam collapse could have been predicted weeks in advance – study – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – January 24, 2021)

The dam collapse at Vale’s (NYSE: VALE) Córrego do Feijão mining complex in Brazil, which killed almost 300 people two years ago, could have been foreseen with the right monitoring technology.

This is according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Nottingham and Durham University, who collaborated with Terra Motion and discovered that by applying satellite radar imaging InSAR to check for small ground movements in and around dams, it is possible to predict a dam burst. Continue Reading →