Archive | Latin America Mining

Rio Tinto, BHP, Vale tipped to report strongest ever quarterly iron ore exports – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – July 15, 2018)

The world’s three biggest iron ore miners are expected to confirm the industry’s strongest ever quarterly export figures this week, helping to explain recent weakness in prices for the bulk commodity.

Big miners have exercised restraint in both supply and rhetoric in recent years in a bid to calm fears the iron ore market could be flooded with supply, but port statistics suggest the miners’ inexorable export growth reached new heights in the three months to June 30.

Brazilian miner Vale is expected to announce record quarterly production of 96.3 million tonnes when it kicks off reporting season early on Tuesday morning Australian time, and Rio Tinto is expected to report strong numbers of its own several hours later. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Vale notches record Q2 iron ore, pellet output despite trucker strike (Reuters U.K.  – July 16, 2018)

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 16 (Reuters) – Brazil’s Vale SA achieved record iron ore and pellet production for a second quarter despite a nationwide trucker strike that paralyzed Latin America’s largest economy in May, the miner said in a filing on Monday.

Vale, the world’s top iron ore producer, said iron ore output reached 96.755 million tonnes in the period while pellet output hit 12.838 million tonnes, despite the strike over rising diesel prices.

The pickup came after a slip in iron ore production in the first quarter due to heavy rains, and as a campaign in China to cut pollution boosts demand for Vale’s top-quality iron ore. Continue Reading →

Four Underground Rescue Efforts That Riveted the World – by Christina Caron and Julia Jacobs (New York Times – July 8, 2018)

After two weeks of huddling in a flooded cave in northern Thailand, several of the 12 boys who were trapped with their soccer coach have been rescued in a harrowing extraction that could take days to complete.

Divers on Sunday began pulling the boys to safety through long, narrow passageways that are challenging for even the most skilled cave divers. With the world watching, the rescue team was racing against rising floodwaters in what has become one of the most engrossing rescue missions in recent years.

Here is a look at other underground rescue attempts — some successful, some not — that have transfixed people around the world.

1975: Indian Mine Explosion Kills Hundreds

A blast at a coal mine in northeast India triggered flooding from a nearby reservoir that killed hundreds of miners. Continue Reading →

Labor talks at BHP’s Escondida mine in Chile enter ‘home stretch’ – by Dave Sherwood and Antonio De la Jara (Reuters U.S. – July 6, 2018)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Labor negotiations at BHP Billiton Plc Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world’s largest, are entering into the final three weeks before a 30-month contract expires at the end of July.

The closely watched talks come little more than one year after failure to reach a labor deal at the sprawling deposit led to a 44-day strike that jolted the global copper market.

BHP and the union have reached agreement on about one-fifth of the “points of interest,” raised by either party, according to an internal union document seen by Reuters that summarized progress in negotiations during the month of June. Continue Reading →

Japan’s Mitsui may raise its stake in Vale: executive – by Yuka Obayashi and Yoshiyasu Shida (Reuters U.S. – July 6, 2018)

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co (8031.T) may boost its stake in Brazil’s Vale SA (VALE3.SA) if other shareholders sell part of their holdings, a senior executive said, giving it greater influence over the iron ore giant’s management.

Several Brazilian pension funds and BNDESPar, the investment arm of state development bank BNDES have been considering the sale of part of their stakes in Vale, equating to about 3 percent of the miner’s shares in total and worth up to 8 billion reais ($2 billion).

Buying an additional stake was “an option”, Yukio Takebe, Mitsui’s senior executive managing officer who oversees the energy and metals business, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. Continue Reading →

Brazilian ex-billionaire Batista sentenced to 30 years in jail for bribery – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – July 3, 2018)

Brazilian Eike Batista, the former oil and mining billionaire who lost his fortune and spent time in jail last year for alleged corruption, will have to hang about behind bars for the next 30 years.

After a corruption trial, the outspoken entrepreneur whose meteoric rise and fall made him the poster boy of a decade-long boom in Brazil that ended four years ago, was found guilty of bribing former Rio de Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral, Folha de Sao Paulo reports (in Portuguese).

The verdict was based on mounting evidence that Batista had paid about $21 million to foreign bank accounts held by Cabral in exchange for contracts with Rio State. Continue Reading →

Bankers Have Gone AWOL in the Race to Build More Lithium Mines – by David Stringer and Mariko Ishikawa (Bloomberg News – July 3, 2018)

After clinching a deal with a Chinese battery maker in 2016, James Brown figured bankers would be eager to fund his new lithium mine. Altura Mining Ltd. was racing to ship the raw material from Australia to the world’s biggest electric vehicle market as demand was surging.

Instead, while lithium prices kept rising, Brown spent a Christmas holiday cold-calling lenders and jetted around the globe to raise the money. Eventually, Minneapolis-based Castlelake LP, a private equity firm, helped arrange $110 million in bonds. But there was a catch: an interest rate as high as 15 percent, or almost double what banks normally charge for more conventional mining ventures.

“We’d been trying banks we’d known for years,” said Brown, Altura’s managing director, who previously spent 22 years with coal producer New Hope Corp. “They said: Guys we love it, we just don’t have a mandate (for lithium). If you came to us with coal, gold or iron ore, you’d have no worries.” Continue Reading →

Bolivia offers its lithium reserves to India (Gulf News – July 1, 2018)

Ambassador says country willing to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement with India for select goods

New Delhi: Bolivia, known to have the largest reserves of lithium, has offered the metal — used in making batteries of electric vehicles, laptops and smart phones — to India.

The South American nation’s ambassador to India, Sergio Dario Arispe Barrientos, said the country has the largest deposit of Lithium and India could explore this opportunity.

Barrientos said his country is willing to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) — a pact between countries that provides preferential access to certain products by lowering tariff and other conditions — with India for select goods. Continue Reading →

Glacier-Protection Bill Dropped in Chile and Miners Applaud – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – June 28, 2018)

Chile’s mining industry is cheering a decision to drop a glacier-protection bill, saying the proposed rules were conceived to thwart mineral extraction. One academic says the move imperils glacial networks.

Environmental Minister Marcela Cubillos requested the withdrawal of the bill from the lower house last week, nullifying former President Michelle Bachelet’s push for special protections that included banning certain activities on and around glaciers.

The slow moving masses of ice high in the Andes Mountains will now come under more general protections for environmentally sensitive areas, newspaper La Tercera cited Cubillos as saying. Continue Reading →

Copper: solid project pipeline to drive global growth (BMI Research/Mining Review Africa -June 26, 2018)

Mining Review Africa

Global copper mine production will experience steady growth over the next few years, supported by markets with low operating costs and improving copper prices. We forecast global production to increase by an average annual rate of 3.6% over 2018-2027 as several key new projects and expansions come online.

In terms of volume, we expect global copper output to climb from 20.4 Mt in 2018 to 28 Mt by 2027. Following a modest contraction in 2017 due to operational disruptions, elevated copper prices will incentivise project development, particularly in key countries such as Chile, Peru and Australia.

The Democratic Republic of Congo

The DRC’s production will maintain solid growth over the coming years, supported by continued investment, high-grade reserves and improving copper prices. We forecast the DRC’s production to increase from 1 Mt in 2018 to 1.9 Mt by 2027. Continue Reading →

Samarco could reach partial deal with Brazil prosecutors on Monday – by Marta Nogueira (Reuters U.S. – June 25, 2018)

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Samarco, a joint venture between Brazilian miner Vale and Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton, could reach the second phase of a settlement with Brazilian prosecutors over a 2015 environmental disaster on Monday, a federal prosecutor said.

The mining disaster, Brazil’s worst on record, was caused by the bursting of a tailings dam and killed 19 people. Samarco’s operations have been suspended since then.

“This deal we are negotiating is aimed at perfecting the governance system of (a prior agreement), creating reports and damage assessments and empowering those affected,” Brazil’s federal prosecutor for the case José Adércio Sampaio said, without offering details. Continue Reading →

Indian State-owned firms mandated to acquire overseas lithium and cobalt assets – by Ajoy J Das ( – June 22, 2018)

KOLKATA ( – The Indian government has mandated all State-owned mineral-based companies to pool their resources to acquire lithium and cobalt assets overseas.

A rough deadline of March 2019 has been set for these companies to complete all formalities, such as leveraging their balance sheets jointly, form joint ventures (JVs), consortiums or any such suitable corporate structures so that process of scouting and acquiring lithium and cobalt assets could get under way next financial year.

“The mandate for these companies is to acquire and source strategic minerals, lithium and cobalt from abroad,” joint secretary of the Mines Ministry, Anil Kumar Nayak, said. Continue Reading →

Exclusive – Anglo American wins permits to explore for copper in north Brazil – by Alexandra Alper (Reuters U.K. – June 18, 2018)

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Miner Anglo American Plc (AAL.L) clinched hundreds of permits this month to explore for copper in a remote part of northern Brazil, Brazilian authorities said, as the growing electric vehicle market and a scarcity of shovel-ready mining projects fuels demand for the metal.

A major copper find, if confirmed, would cheer the mining industry which is eying a looming shortfall for the red metal, prized as an electricity conductor, after years of shrunken exploration budgets meant little in the way of promising new discoveries.

In a statement to Reuters on Thursday, Anglo said it was too soon to make claims about the viability of the project. But the company confirmed it had received permission to explore for copper in Brazil’s Mato Grosso and Para states where it had not yet begun studies. Continue Reading →

Chile antitrust regulator to probe Tianqi purchase of SQM stake – by Dave Sherwood and Aislinn Laing (Reuters U.K. – June 15, 2018)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile’s antitrust regulator FNE said on Friday it would open an investigation into the effects on the market of Chinese miner Tianqi Lithium Corp’s (002466.SZ) purchase last month of a 24 percent stake in SQM SQMa.SN (SQM.N), one of the world’s top lithium producers.

The FNE’s decision comes three months after Chile´s government under former President Michelle Bachelet requested regulators investigate a potential fusion between the two lithium miners, alleging it would distort the global market for the key ingredient in the batteries that power electric vehicles.

China’s Tianqi said in May it would buy nearly a quarter of SQM from Canada-based fertiliser company Nutrien Ltd (NTR.TO) for $4.1 billion (£3 billion). Continue Reading →

Copper Veteran Has Unfinished Business at World’s Biggest Pit – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – June 13, 2018)

Nelson Pizarro wants to remain at the helm of the world’s biggest copper company until he can cut the ribbon on a project to convert its flagship pit into a giant underground mine.

He’s been in mining for most of his 77 years, with the last four spent guiding state-owned Codelco through a painful downturn. With a change of government in Chile this year and a return to profitability thanks in part to Pizarro’s cost and spending cuts, speculation has been rife on how long he’ll stay.

Being there to see the first metal produced at the Chuquicamata underground project would be a “mission accomplished,” he said in an interview in Santiago. “But that depends on me, my health and my family. I have the determination to be there until that date.” Continue Reading →