Archive | Latin America Mining

SolGold boss wants to end the brawl with BHP and Newcrest – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – January 6, 2021)

SolGold managing director Nicholas Mather wants to repair his fractured relationship with BHP and Newcrest Mining after an acrimonious year that culminated in a massive protest vote against his re-election to the board of the high-profile copper explorer.

BHP and Newcrest both own more than 13 per cent of SolGold and last year made public their respective concerns about Mr Mather’s approach to governance and funding of the Brisbane-based company, which has discovered several prospective copper and gold targets in Ecuador.

BHP and Newcrest were not the only SolGold shareholders with concerns about Mr Mather, with 44.7 per cent of the company’s register voting against his re-election to the SolGold board shortly before Christmas. Continue Reading →

Cleaning up tailings standards: Why this time really is different – by Alisha Hiyate (Canadian Mining Journal – January 6, 2021)

A sustained effort needed to address tailings risks isn’t dissipating. Jan. 25 will mark two years since the Brumadinho tailings disaster in Brazil.

The tailings dam failure released 12 million cubic metres of tailings, killing 259, devastating the nearby town of Brumadinho, and polluting the Paraopeba River.

Incredibly, they’re still looking to recover the bodies of 11 presumed victims. (The search and rescue effort, interrupted by the pandemic in March 2020, resumed in August.) Continue Reading →

Former security chief at Hudbay mine pleads guilty in Guatemala – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – January 7, 2021)

Development significant because Hudbay has spent nearly a decade battling civil litigation in Canada related to case

The former chief of security for a nickel mine once owned by a Canadian mining company in Guatemala has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in that country in connection with an alleged homicide and serious assault on Indigenous activists that stretch back over a decade.

On Wednesday, a judge in Guatemala accepted criminal pleas from Mynor Ronaldo Padilla Gonzalez, including admissions, translated from Spanish, to ‘homicide in an emotional state’ and ‘culpable violence,’ according to lawyers in Canada who represent plaintiffs in a civil case here related to the same incidents, who were monitoring the case through an associate in the Guatemalan court.

Both pleas related to clashes at the Fenix nickel mine, in eastern Guatemala, once owned by Hudbay Minerals Inc. Continue Reading →

Playing the ‘Green Lottery’: Life Inside Colombia’s Emerald Mines – by Juan Pablo Ramirez (New York Times – January 4, 2021)

I was half a mile into the mine shaft, and my heart was racing. Hunched underneath the low ceiling and hardly able to see, I was following along by listening to the splashes of the men’s steps in front of me.

The water, dripping from above, was up to my ankles. Then we stopped. We’d come to a dead end, one of the miners said. In order for us to proceed, they needed to set off some dynamite.

In a matter of minutes, several packs of explosives were drilled into the mountain and ready to be detonated. I was told to open my mouth and not close it until the last of the dynamite had exploded. Continue Reading →

Copper Miner SolGold Faces Rebellion From Top Shareholders – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – December 16, 2020)

SolGold Plc faces a possible shareholder revolt as the mining heavyweights that backed the company and its huge Ecuadorian copper deposit grow increasingly frustrated by the management’s decisions.

BHP Group is SolGold’s biggest shareholder and Australian gold major Newcrest Mining Ltd. is No. 2, having both positioned themselves for a seat at the table when it’s time to finance and build the project.

Neither was pleased with SolGold’s decision earlier this year to sell a royalty stream — while the deal provided funding, it meant giving up a piece of future profits. The company has also faced setbacks in its mine-planning process. Continue Reading →

World’s largest copper miner to cut 70% of emissions by 2030 – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – December 14, 2020)

Chile’s Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, has outlined sustainability plans in five areas of action for its operations and projects, including goals to cut carbon emissions by 70%, reduce inland water consumption by 60% and recycling 65% of its industrial waste by 2030.

The state-owned miner, which in 2017 planned to sell “green copper” at a premium price to customers using more sustainable practices like renewable energy, now favours a broader initiative.

The plan, centred around five key points, seeks to reduce around three quarters of the company’s carbon emissions by creating what it calls a “100% clean energy matrix”. Continue Reading →

Not enough class 1 nickel in the pipeline – Sherritt CEO – by Amanda Stutt ( – December 3, 2020)

With the spotlight shining on nickel, Canadian miner Sherritt International’s (TSX:S) CEO David Pathe sees brighter days ahead.

Sherritt, which has significant assets in Cuba, has weathered storms ever since Pathe’s predecessor gambled on partnering with Havana’s communist government in the 1990s, and the miner was pushed to the brink during president Trump’s tenure, when early last year, the White House began ramping up sanctions on Cuba.

Nickel has been a tough business since the financial crisis, and Sherritt’s market value sunk to a record low C$29.8 million ($22.8 million) in March from its 2008 peak of C$4.8 billion, trading at a low of eight Canadian cents. Continue Reading →

Dominican Minister of Mines dismisses rumours that link Barrick’s advanced payments to tailings dam approval – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – November 29, 2020)

The Dominican Republic’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Antonio Almonte, rejected rumours that linked Barrick Gold’s recent $108-million advanced tax and royalty payment to the possible approval of a tailings dam at the Pueblo Viejo operation.

In a TV interview broadcasted over the weekend, Almonte said that the advanced payment was the result of negotiations led by the ministry of finance and the national government’s economic team, with the goal of addressing the current fiscal deficit that is a direct consequence of the slowdown caused by the covid-19 pandemic. Continue Reading →

High-profile mining investors pay lavish severance to take control of Caldas Gold – by Tim Kiladze and Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – November 24, 2020)

Veteran Canadian mining investors are joining forces to purchase an obscure junior gold company, agreeing to lavish severance packages in exchange for control of a Colombian mining project.

The group of buyers includes former Goldcorp chair Ian Telfer, former Goldcorp chief executive officer David Garofalo, current Yamana Gold Corp. executive chair Peter Marrone and mining financier Frank Giustra.

Together, the group will buy $38-million in new shares of Toronto-based Caldas Gold Corp. as part of an $85-million private placement, and they will also assume operational control. Continue Reading →

Sherritt International CEO David Pathe stepping down after completing restructuring – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – November 23, 2020)

Nickel miner Sherritt International Corp. is looking for a new CEO, and the ideal candidate must be willing to forgo ties to the United States for the foreseeable future.

Sherritt chief executive David Pathe announced on Monday that he will step down next year, and the Toronto-based company has began a search for his successor.

Mr. Pathe, 50, ran Sherritt for the past eight years, steering the company through a wrenching restructuring that concluded in August. The company is now seeing increasing demand for its metals from electric-vehicle battery makers. Continue Reading →

Biden easing up on Cuba would boost Sherritt, CEO says – by Stephen Wicary and Steven Frank (Bloomberg News – November 19, 2020)

Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential election marks a potential new chapter for one of Cuba’s biggest foreign investors.

Sherritt International Corp.’s top executive calls the result of the vote good news for his company, given the steady tightening of sanctions under President Donald Trump. Sherritt produces nickel and cobalt in Cuba for the global market, and has a growing energy business on the Caribbean island.

“We were prepared for whatever the outcome would be,” Chief Executive Officer David Pathe said in an interview this week. “Certainly seeing a Biden outcome was more positive for us over the next few years than a reelection of the Trump administration.” Continue Reading →

In a Decarbonizing World, Brazil Wants to Be a Uranium Exporter – by Tatiana Freitas (Bloomberg News/Financial Post – November 16, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — A mining project seen as a priority by the Brazilian government would turn the nation into a uranium exporter and reduce its fertilizer import needs if it proceeds.

Latin America’s largest economy, which currently imports uranium for its nuclear plants and ships in most of its fertilizer needs, will become more self-sufficient with a $400 million project in the nation’s impoverished northeast, according to the consortium formed to explore the deposit.

State-owned INB, which has a monopoly on uranium production in Brazil, formed a consortium with local fertilizer firm Galvani for the Santa Quiteria phosphate-uranium project. INB expects to extract about 2,100 metric tons of uranium a year from the deposit, while it needs roughly 750 tons to supply its nuclear energy plants. Continue Reading →

Mexico moves ahead with lithium nationalization plans – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 17, 2020)

Mexico is moving ahead with plans to nationalize its emerging lithium industry after a member of the ruling Morena party introduced a draft bill in parliament last week, which calls for the battery metal to be deemed the exclusive property of the nation, with production controlled by the state.

Alejandro Armenta, head of the Senate’s finance commission, is proposing the creation of a new state-owned entity, LitioMex, to regulate lithium mining.

“It is not about closing the door to investment,” Mena said in an online session of the parliament. “There needs to be regulation (…) Continue Reading →

German industry hopes to lift Bolivia’s lithium treasure – by Franz Viohl (Deutsche Welle – November 12, 2020)

The glory days of the mines in Bolivia’s Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain) region are long gone. The only ones left digging for the silver that gave the mountain its name are a few children from the nearby city of Potosi.

Situated on a cold and barren plateau at the foot of Cerro Rico, Potosi is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and ranks as one of the world’s highest cities at an altitude of 4,050 meters (13,290 feet). In its city center you can find a number of colonial-style buildings, including a museum of local history that depicts the plight of Bolivian miners past and present.

Centuries of mining for silver, tin and copper at Cerro Rico, however, have made only others rich, the locals say. They quip that the silver extracted by the country’s former Spanish rulers alone would have been enough “to build a bridge from Bolivia to Europe.” Continue Reading →

Brazil’s Vale to avoid driving down global iron ore market – by Dominic Ellis (Mining Global – November 11, 2020)

Brazilian miner Vale SA will place caution before capacity as it seeks to avoid driving down the iron ore market and presses forward with its recovery from a deadly dam break in 2019.

Speaking at an interview during the Reuters Commodity Trading Summit, Luciano Siani, chief financial officer for Vale, says that the miner is prepared to raise its capacity using safer and less polluting methods to 450 million tonnes in about five years – almost 50 percent more than forecast production for 2020.

“We are going to be responsible and we are not going to overflow the markets with iron ore,” he adds, asserting that the miner would not use full capacity if an expected surge in manufacturing-driven Asian demand does not materialise. Continue Reading →