Archive | Latin America Mining

COLUMN-Boom-and-bust lithium market needs a pricing rethink – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – June 24, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) – Albemarle Corp., the world’s largest lithium producer, is not impressed by the London Metal Exchange’s (LME) plans to launch a lithium contract.

“An exchange contract tends to support a commodity market, and that’s not what we believe this (lithium market) is,” David Ryan, the company’s head of corporate strategy and investor relations, told an industry conference in Chile earlier this month.

The conference was hosted by Fastmarkets, which has been chosen by the LME to provide the reference price for the new contract, but Albemarle won’t be contributing, for now at least. It and other established producers believe that lithium is a specialty chemicals market and should be priced on a contract-by-contract basis. Continue Reading →

France’s Eramet gives go-ahead to lithium project in Argentina (Reuters U.S. – June 24, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

PARIS, June 24 (Reuters) – Eramet has approved the development of a lithium mine in Argentina as the French group pursues a shift towards minerals used to power electric vehicles to meet burgeoning demand.

The miner expects to invest 525 million euros ($597 million) in the Centenario deposit with the aim of producing 24,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year in a first phase that could start at the end of 2021, it said on Monday.

The estimates were in line with previous guidance given by the company earlier this year. A final investment decision would be made at the earliest in the fourth quarter of this year once financing has been obtained, it said in a statement. Continue Reading →

A photo of a dead fisherman left many questions for a Swiss-Russian mine in Guatemala – by Marion Guégan and Cécile Schilis-Gallego (Toronto Star – June 22, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com/

A group of fishermen from an Indigenous community in Guatemala demanded to know more about the environmental impact of a ferronickel mine established on their ancestral land. One of them was killed, and a local reporter was criminalized for covering the story.

Forbidden Stories, an international consortium of 40 journalists publishing in 30 media organizations around the world, joined forces to continue the reporter’s work. This is part of the “Green Blood” series, a project pursuing stories of journalists who have been threatened, jailed or killed while investigating environmental issues.

If it were not for a journalist taking pictures that day, some might claim that it is unclear how Carlos Maaz’s last moments unfolded. There was a cloud of tear gas, the chaos of an improvised protest, the echo of bullets and rocks flying through the crowd. Continue Reading →

The Winners and Losers From Surging Iron Ore Prices – by Michael Msika (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – June 21, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — In the world of metals and mining, sometimes it’s better to sell the raw product rather than the finished one.

This seems to be a lesson for investors who chose to hold shares in ArcelorMittal rather than Rio Tinto Group this year. Despite nagging trade tensions and fears about global growth, Rio is up 30% in 2019, while the world’s biggest steelmaker has dropped 16%.

Global diversified miners have rewarded investors with record payouts and benefited from soaring iron-ore prices due to the supply concerns that followed Vale SA’s dam disaster in January. At the same time, Chinese mills have continued to set new production records, consuming more of the steelmaking ingredient. Continue Reading →

Green Blood: The Guatemalans who pay the price for the west’s need for nickel – by Juliette Garside (The Guardian – June 19, 2019)

https://www.theguardian.com/

The road to Guatemala’s biggest nickel mine is barely visible through a cloud of red dust, churned up by the 25-tonne trucks that thunder past loaded with ore.

From the choking haze a cyclist emerges, weaving between the lorries. On his back he carries a bundle of firewood. Goggles protect his eyes, a bandana covers his nose and mouth.

Manuel Choc, a grandfather with greying hair, lives in the settlement of El Paraíso, almost opposite the gates of the Fenix mine. Each bundle sells for 10 quetzals (£1). It is a precarious living. Continue Reading →

Chile’s Codelco seeks to defuse strike after miners clash with police – by Fabian Cambero (Reuters U.K. – June 18, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean miner Codelco sweetened its contract offer to workers on Tuesday in a bid to defuse rising tensions after miners striking at its giant Chuquicamata copper mine were involved in clashes with police earlier in the day.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas early on Tuesday as workers at the mine tried to block access to the site operated by state-owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper miner.

Codelco said in a statement it had made a new “serious, responsible and realistic” offer to workers to try to end the strike, now in its fifth day. The offer included an important element related to improving workers’ retirements plans. Continue Reading →

Copper-Mine Strike May Pack Punch as Trade War Distracts Market – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – June 14, 2019)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — A strike at a major copper mine isn’t getting a lot of attention from investors, but it could end up packing a big market punch.

As the market focuses on trade wars and geopolitical tensions, thousands of workers downed tools at top copper-producer Codelco’s Chuquicamata mine in Chile on Friday, according to Liliana Ugarte, president of Union No. 2. A prolonged stoppage would tighten global supply in a market where output is already expected to trail demand this year, analysts say.

A majority of members of Unions No. 1, 2 and 3 at the mine rejected the company’s last offer for a labor contract in a freehand vote on Wednesday evening. A strike started at the Santiago-based company’s third-largest mine at 5 a.m. local time. Copper futures in New York settled lower on Friday as growth worries outweighed supply risks against growth worries. Continue Reading →

Vale says hopes to reach dam burst global settlements by year-end – by Marta Nogueira (Reuters U.S. – June 13, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil’s Vale said on Thursday that it expects to reach global settlements covering economic and environmental damages from the January collapse of its Brumadinho tailings dam by late this year or in 2020.

Vale is scrambling to deal with the fallout from the disaster, which killed at least 246 people, triggered the replacement of its CEO and an overhaul of its board, and has forced it to set aside billions for compensation and cleanup costs.

Investors have been closely watching its ongoing talks with prosecutors and regulators on the terms of a global settlement to see how much higher the price tag from the disaster will be. Continue Reading →

Pot takes the spotlight away from lithium and threatens the EV boom (Bloomberg/Mining Weekly.com – June 13, 2019)

https://m.miningweekly.com/

SANTIAGO – Lithium miners are seeing investor interest go up in smoke. The flow of capital into the cannabis industry is draining investments into lithium producers that supply the raw mineral key to power the electric-vehicle revolution.

Mining companies and analysts at the Lithium Supply and Markets Conference in Santiago this week said they couldn’t help but notice the half-empty rooms at the sessions – and the lack of investors and fund managers among attendants.

The picture was remarkably different from last year’s event, when prices for the mineral used in rechargeable batteries were at historic highs. This year prices have fallen 17%. Continue Reading →

LITHIUM CONF: High-content nickel batteries to remain predominant – by Renato Rostás (Metal Bulletin – June 11, 2019)

https://www.metalbulletin.com/

The growing need for class 1 nickel, which is suited for batteries,
is becoming an issue to the industry, McKinsey’s co-head of EV
battery materials research group, Ken Hoffman, commented.

Santiago: Lithium-ion batteries with higher nickel content will be predominant in the coming years as the industry searches for improved electric capacity, market participants said during Fastmarkets’ 11th Lithium Supply and Markets Conference on Monday June 10.

However, NCM811 batteries – which have 80% nickel, 10% cobalt and 10% manganese – have a long way to go to become more cost efficient as its use demands lengthier treatment to ensure safety and durability, they added.

The NCM622 – 60% Ni, 20% Co, 20% Mn battery – category will lead market share at least until 2025, Chinese electrochemical cathode materials producer Pulead Technology Industry forecast. Continue Reading →

Peru shut down one of the world’s largest illegal gold mines. But at what cost? – by Jim Wyss (Miami Herald – June 11, 2019)

https://www.miamiherald.com/

PUERTO MALDONADO, PERU: For more than a decade, authorities turned a blind eye to the sprawling illegal gold mine in southeastern Peru that had become a national embarrassment but fueled the local economy.

The area, known as La Pampa, stretches across 40 square miles of what used to be old-growth Amazon forest. Now it’s a desert-like wasteland, gouged with toxic mud pits.

It’s a place where some 30,000 to 40,000 people dug through the muck in 24-hour shifts looking for gold to feed the bullion and jewelry markets of Miami and Europe. It was a place ruled by criminal gangs and warring clans, where workers toiled under slave-like conditions and police rarely entered. Continue Reading →

Saving the Planet With Electric Cars Means Strangling This Desert – by Laura MIllan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – June 11, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Mining lithium and copper to supply the battery boom and fight climate change is wrecking a fragile ecosystem in Chile.

The oases that once interrupted the dusty slopes of the Atacama desert in northern Chile allowed humans and animals to survive for thousands of years in the world’s driest climate. That was before the mining started.

Sara Plaza, 67 years old, can still remember guiding her family’s sheep along an ancient Inca trail running between wells and pastures. Today she is watching an engine pump fresh water from beneath the mostly dry Tilopozo meadow. “Now mining companies are taking the water,” she says, pointing to dead grass around stone ruins that once provided a nighttime refuge for shepherds.

“No one comes here anymore, because there’s not enough grass for the animals,” Plaza says. “But when I was a kid, there was so much water you could mistake this whole area for the sea.” Continue Reading →

Mine tailings failures are the shame of the mining industry – by Len Gillis (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – June 2019)

http://www.sudburyminingsolutions.com/

Mining engineer Paul Rantala of Sudbury is hoping more people in his industry will take a fresh look at the issue of tailings dams safety. He is not alone.

Rantala was commenting on the disastrous failure of the tailings dam at the Córrego de Feijão mine, near the community of Brumadinho in Brazil on January 25, 2019. It is believed that more than 400 persons died when millions of litres of mud and tailings swept through a low-lying area for several kilometres.

The tailings failure occurred at the mine owned by Vale S.A., an international mining company based in Brazil, which also has several operations in Sudbury. Continue Reading →

Agnico-Eagle may fly Mexican bullion to Canada to skirt Trump tariffs – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg/Financial Post – June 6, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

The opportunities in Canada’s North are enormous, but the
country’s leaders need to have a conversation about how
committed they are to fund projects. … As global warming
makes the region more accessible, Canada would do well to
secure its sovereignty claims through its natural resources,
he said. “If we want to have a say on how the North develops,
and how the North is used and utilized, we’d better have a
presence there,” Boyd said. “And the best presence would be businesses.”

If push comes to shove, one of the world’s largest gold miners is prepared to do an end run around the U.S. should President Donald Trump’s threatened tariffs on Mexican goods bite.

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. currently produces about 300,000 ounces of gold in Mexico that it refines in the U.S., all of which would likely be subject to the proposed tariffs, Chief Executive Officer Sean Boyd said Wednesday. But he already knows how he’d respond to potential levies. Continue Reading →

Argentina Supreme court upholds glacier protection law (Associated Press/Washington Post – June 4, 2019)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina’s Supreme Court upheld the country’s glacier protection law Tuesday, rejecting an effort by mining giant Barrick Gold Corp. to have it declared unconstitutional.

The decision was praised by environmentalists and marked a setback for one of the world’s biggest gold miners.

Barrick argued that the 2010 law could affect its projects near glacial areas in Argentina. But the top court said Barrick had not proved that the law curbing mining on and around the country’s glaciers to protect water supplies caused any damage to the company. Continue Reading →