Archive | Latin America Mining

Brazilian miner Vale will not chase big acquisitions – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – October 16, 2018)

Brazilian mining company Vale will deploy its cash wisely and “does not need” to chase big acquisitions because it has a big opportunity to grow organically in nickel.

Speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, Vale chief executive Fabio Schvartsman said big dealmaking “adventures” were not on his agenda and any acquisitions would be small bolt on deals, probably in iron ore.

“We don’t need to do it given the potential of our nickel business,” he said. Although Vale is best known for its huge iron ore business, it is also the world’s biggest producer of nickel, a metal that will be needed in greater quantities as electric vehicles go mainstream. Continue Reading →

Aussie iron miners struggle to keep pace with Vale – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – October 16, 2018)

Australian iron ore miners have struggled to keep pace with Brazilian miner Vale, with BHP and Fortescue expected to follow in Rio Tinto’s footsteps by reporting softer exports of the steelmaking ingredient in recent months.

Rio confirmed on Tuesday that maintenance disruptions and the death of an employee had contributed to weaker than expected iron ore exports in the three months to September 30, and data from Port Hedland suggests its tenants (BHP, Fortescue, Roy Hill, Mineral Resources and Atlas Iron) exported six per cent less iron ore in the period compared to the previous quarter.

BHP is scheduled to confirm its iron ore exports on Wednesday morning, with RBC predicting its Australian division shipped 72 million tonnes in the three months to September 30. Continue Reading →

BHP doubles stake in promising Ecuador copper project – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.K. – October 15, 2018)

MELBOURNE – (Reuters) – The world’s biggest miner BHP on Tuesday nearly doubled its stake in SolGold Plc, bolstering its position against top shareholder Newcrest Mining as it eyes SolGold’s promising Cascabel copper-gold project in Ecuador.

BHP, which bought in to SolGold just six weeks ago, has paid almost $60 million (£45.6 million) to increase its holding to 11.2 percent, not far off the 14.5 percent stake held by Newcrest, Australia’s biggest listed gold miner.

The mining giant has described Cascabel as a high-quality copper exploration project, while Ecuador is seen as a highly perspective region with geology similar to top copper producer Chile. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Brazil’s Vale third-quarter iron ore output hits all-time high (Reuters U.S. – October 15, 2018)

SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Iron ore output at Brazilian miner Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore producer, reached a record in the third quarter, boosted by the ramp-up of its S11D project in the Amazonian state of Pará.

In a securities filing on Monday, Vale said iron ore output jumped 10.3 percent from the year before to 104.945 million tonnes, while pellet output rose 8.7 percent to 13.878 million tonnes. Ore sales also touched a new high at 84.0 million tonnes. Continue Reading →

Chilean court freezes sale of stake in lithium giant SQM to Tianqi – by Fabian Cambero (Reuters U.S. – October 11, 2018)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A Chilean court on Thursday suspended the sale of a coveted stake in lithium producer SQM SQM_pb.SN to China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp, saying it will consider a lawsuit filed by the Chilean company’s controlling shareholders, who oppose the deal.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, alleges a previous anti-trust court decision did not give shareholders adequate time to review the agreement between Tianqi and regulators, allowing the Chinese miner to purchase a 24 percent stake in the world’s No. 2 producer of lithium, a metal used to make batteries for electric vehicles.

The agreement is intended to limit the exchange of commercially sensitive information between Tianqi and SQM, though detractors say it does not go far enough. It would give Tianqi the right to have at least three of the company’s eight board seats, fueling concerns that Tianqi would have access to internal SQM documents that it would then use to its own advantage. Continue Reading →

Leagold closing Brazil mine for two months due to drought – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – October 11, 2018)

Canada’s Leagold Mining (TSX:LMC) has had to temporarily shut down its Riacho dos Machados (RDM) mine in Brazil as a result of continued drought conditions in the country’s Minas Gerais State.

The Vancouver-based miner said it planned to resume operations in early December, with the commissioning of the grid powerline project.

RDM was closed in August last year and restarted, on an intermittent basis, in early November with the onset of the region’s rainy season. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Chile’s Supreme Court signals death knell for Kinross gold mine – by Fabian Cambero (CNBC/Reuters – October 10, 2018)

Oct 10 (Reuters) – Chile’s Supreme Court upheld an environmental order for a gold mine owned by Canada’s Kinross Gold Corp to close its water pumping wells, the environmental regulator said on Wednesday, bringing the curtain down on a long-running dispute that sparked the Toronto-based miner’s retreat from Chile.

The environmental watchdog, known locally as the SMA, initially ordered that the wells serving the Maricunga mine be shut down in 2016. The ruling was challenged by Kinross in Chile’s environmental tribunal and then in the country’s highest court.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday backed the original order, pointing to the “inadequate management of unforeseen environmental impacts on the Pantanillo-Ciénaga Redonda basin,” which is located in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert. Continue Reading →

Chile: Questions about Water Availability could Threaten the Mining Industry – by Mervyn Piesse (Future – October 10, 2018)

South America holds two-thirds of the world’s lithium reserves and Chile alone possesses almost half of the world total. Copper is also important to the Chilean economy and accounts for almost half of its export earnings. Many large Chilean copper mines are ageing, however, and the supply of high-grade ore has diminished.

To maintain production, copper producers are increasingly forced to exploit copper sulphide deposits, using a process that is more water-intensive. The Chilean Government is also simultaneously moving to exploit the country’s vast lithium resources, which could further strain water supplies in the resource-rich, but water-poor, Salar de Atacama.

As most of Chile’s lithium is dissolved in briny water drawn from Andean salt flats, it can only be extracted through a lengthy evaporation process. Conversely, Australian lithium reserves are predominantly found in hard rocks. Australia is currently the largest world supplier, despite holding less than ten per cent of the world’s identified lithium resources. Continue Reading →

Top Copper Miner Almost Sold Out on Strong China Demand – by Jack Farchy and Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – October 9, 2018)

Chinese copper demand has been so strong in the past few months that top producer Codelco has almost sold out of supplies for next year, well ahead of schedule, according to the chairman of the Chilean state-owned company.

“It’s extremely strong, not only China. It’s extremely strong around the world,” Juan Benavides, who took over as chairman of Codelco in May, said in an interview in London. The wave of buying comes as prices have fallen 15 percent this year amid fears that a trade war between the U.S. and China could stifle global growth.

“The trade war is not good at all,” but “demand is strong, inventories are low, supply is not growing as much as demand,” he said. He sees prices rising above $3 per pound ($6,612 a ton) as demand outpaces supply. Futures are trading at about $6,218 a ton on the London Metal Exchange Tuesday. Continue Reading →

LMEWEEK-Chile eyes new copper markets to shield economy from trade war – by Maytaal Angel and Amanda Cooper (Reuters U.S. – October 8, 2018)

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Chile aims to find new copper markets and expand its lithium industry as it seeks to shield its economy from a U.S-.China trade war, the mining minister of the world’s biggest copper producer said on Monday.

Baldo Prokurica also told Reuters the South American nation was considering further opening up its copper and lithium mining industry to foreign investors to capitalise on the demand for both metals from the growing electric vehicle industry.

“Chile is to electric vehicles what Saudi Arabia is to crude oil,” he said of his country, which sits on half the world’s lithium reserves. Continue Reading →

Hudbay Minerals in negotiations to acquire Chilean miner Mantos (Mining Technology – October 8, 2018)

Canadian firm Hudbay Minerals is reportedly in discussions to buy Mantos Copper, a Chilean mining company backed by Audley Capital Advisors and Orion Mine Finance.

Hudbay, which is valued at C$1.6bn, is in advanced talks to acquire Mantos in a deal that is reported to be valued at around C$1bn ($780m), according to Bloomberg.

Mantos is looking for takeover offers in an effort to fund expansion plans for its mines in northern Chile. The company noted that its Mantoverde mine will require a $780m investment to enable it to have average annual production of 106,000 metric tonnes of copper and 33,000oz of gold. Continue Reading →

Albemarle shares drop after Chile rejects hike in lithium quota – by Dave Sherwood and Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – October 8, 2018)

SANTIAGO/HOUSTON (Reuters) – Shares of Albemarle Corp (ALB.N) fell as much as 2.3 percent on Monday following news that Chile’s nuclear regulator refused to increase the company’s quota to sell lithium produced from its Salar de Atacama operation.

The Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission (CCHEN) rejected Albemarle’s March request to increase its quota to sell lithium products by 258,446 tonnes, according to a Sept. 13 agency resolution obtained by Reuters via a Chilean freedom of information request.

Albemarle spokeswoman Andrea Cole said CCHEN’s concerns are of a “technical nature” and that the company would re-submit its request “in the coming weeks,” hoping to resolve the issue. Continue Reading →

Dying for gold: Colombia’s untapped metals motherlode is luring miners — and killing their workers – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – October 5, 2018)

A 2016 peace accord enticed Canadian miners back to this dangerous territory — since then at least 10 employees have been murdered

A team of geologists from Toronto-based Continental Gold Inc. was holed up in a remote farmhouse in Colombia’s rugged mountains on a rainy September night, planning to collect rocks and prospect for gold. Instead, they were attacked by gunmen.

Two men and one woman — all geologists between the ages of 24 and 32 — were killed. The others suffered bullet wounds, broken bones and bruises, according to public accounts of the attack, which is receiving wide coverage in the Colombian media.

For years, Canadian mining companies have considered large swaths of Colombia too dangerous to enter because of the armed conflict between the government, right-wing paramilitaries, left-wing fighters, drug cartels and crime syndicates. Continue Reading →

Vale Is Close to Approving $1 Billion Copper Expansion – by R.T. Watson (Bloomberg News – October 3, 2018)

Vale SA, flush with cash from its booming iron-ore sales to China, is expected to approve a $1 billion expansion of a Brazilian copper mine later this month, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Building out the Salobo mine — known as the Salobo 3 project — would likely take about three years to complete and add about 50,000 tons to capacity at the mine in Para state, the person said, asking to remain anonymous because the talks are confidential. Salobo currently produces about 200,000 tons of copper a year.

The plan by the world’s largest iron-ore producer to invest in the new copper project comes as global copper stockpiles fall, while there has been growing consensus the copper market will be in deficit next year. Continue Reading →

Peru’s Mining Investment Boom Leaves Political Woes Behind – by Laura Millan Lombrana and John Quigley (Bloomberg News – October 2, 2018)

Peru’s ability to post eight consecutive months of investment growth is calming fears that political woes would derail mining activity in the world’s second-largest producer of copper, zinc and silver.

Mining investment in Peru jumped 6.3 percent in August compared with last year, to $395 million, according to the latest report by the- Energy and Mines Ministry. Investment in development and preparation, the first stages in building a mine, reached $63 million, the highest in more than four years.

“Peru has a natural geological potential that other countries don’t,” said Ricardo Labo, a former deputy mines minister, in an interview. “But this political noise distracts from change; you can’t have ministers and vice-ministers distracted when they should be focused on vital issues like cutting back permitting.” Continue Reading →