Archive | Latin America Mining

Vale: Swedish funds cut mining giant from portfolios after dam collapse – by Rachel Fixsen and Nick Reeve (IPE.com – February 21, 2019)

https://www.ipe.com/

Swedish state pension buffer fund AP1 has begun selling SEK407m (€38.6m) worth of equities and bonds of Brazilian mining company Vale, after the AP Funds’ Council on Ethics recommended the exclusion the company from the AP funds’ portfolios.

The recommendation follows the fatal collapse of a tailings dam at one of its mining facilities in Brumadinho, Brazil, last month.

The council said it was recommending AP1, AP2, AP3 and AP4 exclude Vale because the council had lost confidence in the firm, adding that it could be linked to violations of three major international conventions. Continue Reading →

Copper and Lithium Giant Squeezing Water Rights for Miners – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – February 21, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — In a belated response to falling fresh-water levels in desert areas, Chile is moving to protect a natural resource that has been depleted after decades of mining activity.

With complaints from local communities rising and the effects of climate change worsening, the world’s largest copper producer is planning to implement measures that will make it more difficult for miners to pump fresh water.

Chile’s water authority DGA will more than double the number of so-called prohibition areas across the country this year to at least 70 from 30, according to general director Oscar Cristi. No new licenses can be awarded within prohibition zones and any extension to existing permits will need to be approved by environmental authorities. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s Deadly Dam Collapse Could Force the Mining Industry to Change – by Danielle Bochove, Laura Millan Lombrana and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – February 20, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The mining dam collapse that killed at least 169 in Brazil last month, with 141 still missing, was by no means an isolated incident. There’ve been at least 50 dam failures globally in just the last decade, according to one tally, with 10 considered major.

For years the industry has depended on these dams to contain the sometimes toxic, often dangerous, waste from mining. But the latest failure, which could end up as the deadliest in more than half a century, has the industry struggling to contain the consequences.

On Feb. 19, BHP Group Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie, citing the need for a “nuclear level of safety,” said his company would welcome an international and independent body to oversee the integrity of all the dams. Continue Reading →

Brazil Bans Upstream Mining Dams After Vale’s Latest Disaster -by R.T. Watson (Bloomberg News – February 18, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Brazil is prohibiting a specific type of tailings dam after two of those structures owned by miner Vale SA burst in recent years, causing death and environmental devastation.

All so-called upstream dams need to be decommissioned or removed by August 2021, according to a resolution the National Mining Agency, or ANM, published on Monday in the nation’s official gazette. Dam owners have until Aug. 15 to complete a technical plan for the dams, which at a minimum need to include reinforcing existing structures or building new retention structures.

In the most recent accident, a dam at Vale’s Feijao mine burst on Jan. 25, unleashing a torrent of mining waste that killed at least 169 people and contaminated rivers in Minas Gerais state. Continue Reading →

Tycoons tell Mexico’s president that unions ‘extorting’ businesses – by (Reuters U.K. – February 18, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A group representing some of Mexico’s biggest companies told left-wing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday that politicians should resist “extortion” by labour unions after strikes and blockades in recent weeks.

Alejandro Ramirez, president of the Mexican Business Council, said strikes at factories in the northern state of Tamaulipas and blockades of railways by a teachers union had caused more than a billion dollars in losses and could cause businesses to close.

Members of the group, including Mexico’s second-richest man, German Larrea, who controls mining and transport conglomerate Grupo Mexico, were critics of Lopez Obrador before his July 1 election, warning voters should be wary of populism. Continue Reading →

The Mining Industry’s Waste Problem Will Only Get Worse – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – February 19, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

To avoid another disaster like Vale’s, companies need to invest in better disposal methods. That’s going to get harder in the coming decades.

It’s taken two tragedies in just over three years, but the mining industry is finally starting to clean up its act. Brazil’s government Monday announced plans to ban upstream tailings dams, a low-cost method of storing mining waste implicated in last month’s Brumadinho disaster and the similar Samarco collapse in 2015.

Something of the sort was already on the cards: State-controlled Vale SA, operator or joint-operator of both facilities, is already decommissioning all of its dams that use the technology. Chile, where earthquakes pose a particular threat to the stability of tailings ponds, banned upstream dams in 1970. Continue Reading →

Barrick Gold Faces Challenges to Develop Latin America Mines – by Danielle Bochove and Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – February 15, 2019)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg) — Just seven weeks into the job, Barrick Gold Corp.’s new boss has already discovered, first hand, the challenges of developing and mining giant deposits in Latin America.

Barrick’s main project, the Veladero joint venture with Shandong Gold in Argentina, isn’t performing like a tier one asset, Mark Bristow said on Wednesday.

In 2019, Veladero is expected to have the highest cost per ounce in Barrick’s portfolio. He also cited projects in the El Indio belt straddling the Argentina-Chile border, and Alturas in Chile, as high-cost efforts. Continue Reading →

Trust in tailings? Vale dam disaster spurs investors into action – by Barbara Lewis, Simon Jessop and Clara Denina (Reuters U.S. – February 15, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Seeking assurances from Brazilian miner Vale by phone after a second deadly dam disaster in three years is not enough for Sasja Beslik. He plans to fly there himself to get answers.

Beslik, head of sustainable finance at Swedish bank Nordea, blocked the bank’s investment managers from buying any more Vale shares on Jan. 26, the day after a damn filled with mining waste burst its banks, killing hundreds.

He is the latest investor to step back from an industry that is trying to clean up its act. Vale needs to address the risks associated with tailings dams and deal with its waste material safely if it is to prevent an exodus of global funds and stem the recent share price slide. Continue Reading →

Copper Miner’s $10 Billion Bet Comes to Life in Panama Jungle – by Natalie Obiko Pearson (Bloomberg News – February 14, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The world’s largest new copper mine rumbled to a start this week in the Panamanian jungle, poised to supply a global market that’s tipping into deficit and gives First Quantum Minerals Ltd. a chance to prove its $10 billion investment was worth all the trouble.

Cobre Panama, a vast mining and processing complex near Panama’s Atlantic coast, processed its first ore on Monday, a half century after the deposit was discovered. At full production in 2021, it will turn Vancouver-based First Quantum into a top copper producer alongside giants like Freeport-McMoRan Inc. and BHP Group.

For Panama, it’s the biggest investment ever outside the canal and makes the Central American country a key supplier to a copper market facing labor unrest and governments grasping for greater takes. The $6.3 billion project will be able to ship its concentrate, thanks to the Panama Canal, to just about any smelter in the world. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Brazilian mine tragedy will not be the last tailings dam disaster – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 14, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Feb 14 (Reuters) – The collapse of Vale’s Brumadinho iron ore tailings dam in Brazil was both shocking and devastating in its impact. But it was not a one-off event.

It was the 11th serious tailings dam failure in the last decade and such catastrophic events are becoming more frequent, according to researchers at World Mine Tailings Failures (WMTF). Indeed, the number of incidents is going to rise further, according to the U.S. not-for-profit organisation that tracks all recorded tailings storage facility (TSF) failures.

“Without major changes to law and regulation, and to industry practices, and without new technology that substantially reduces risk and increases loss control, our current prediction is for 19 very serious failures between 2018 and 2027.” Continue Reading →

Vale CFO says miner’s top managers were unaware of dam risk report – by Marta Nogueira (Reuters Canada – February 12, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Senior management at Brazilian miner Vale were never shown internal security documents indicating that its dam at Brumadinho was at risk of collapse, the company’s chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

The CFO, Luciano Siani, was asked about management’s knowledge of the internal documents at a news conference a day after Reuters reported on them. The documents, dated Oct. 3, 2018, classified the dam at Brumadinho as being two times more likely to fail than the maximum level of risk tolerated under internal guidelines.

The dam collapsed in late January in one of the deadliest mining disasters in decades. Asked whether the company’s senior management had seen the internal report, Siani said, “No.” Continue Reading →

Canadian mine company says Mexico crime ring stole $2M-$3M – by Christopher Sherman (Financial Post – February 12, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Associated Press – MEXICO CITY — A sophisticated criminal gang in Mexico stole an estimated $2 million to $3 million in metal concentrates through a subtle scheme that went on for months, a Canadian mining company said Tuesday.

Telson Mining Corp. President Ralph Shearing said compromised truck drivers worked with thieves who foiled security measures while the material was being transported from the company’s Campo Morado mine in the southern state of Guerrero to the port of Manzanillo on the Pacific coast.

Shearing said additional safety measures have resolved the problem. He said the theft appears to have occurred over a period of four to five months while the Vancouver-based company investigated why the quality of its product was measured at a lower level on arrival than it was when it left the mine. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Welcome to the accidental iron ore boom – by Elizabeth Knight (Sydney Morning Herald – February 13, 2019)

https://www.smh.com.au/

Even a month ago it would have seemed fanciful for anyone to suggest iron ore prices would be heading towards $US100 per tonne ($A141.33). But the market dynamics have changed.

Welcome to the accidental mining boom. There is a lot at stake in this latest boom for the profits of BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue not to mention the potential swell to the federal government’s coffers.

Just how meaningful the uplift will be for all involved depends on how long the current boomtime prices are sustained. With futures now hitting more than $US96 commodities experts are scrambling to assess how this will play out. Continue Reading →

Anglo’s Cutifani expresses confidence in iron ore tailings technology at Minas Rio – by David McKay (MiningMX – February 12, 2019)

MiningMX

THE Brumadinho dam disaster in Brazil on January 25 could have some far-reaching consequences, but Anglo American CEO, Mark Cutifani, said that the impact on the group’s own activities in the country would be limited.

Brumadinho is the place where Brazil’s state-owned mining company, Vale, operates its Feijao iron ore mine which, in turn, is part of the Paraopeba complex. The complex produced 26.2 million tonnes (Mt) of iron ore in Vale’s 2017 financial year, representing 7% of its total output.

It’s the second major tailings dam burst disaster in just over two years in Brazil. In the previous event, a tailings facility burst at Samarco – an operation owned by Vale in joint venture with BHP. Some 19 lives were lost. Continue Reading →

Column: Nickel rally fades, electric vehicle buzz doesn’t – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – February 12, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Was it another false dawn for the nickel market? Last week’s rally to a five-month high of $13,350 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange has gone into sharp reverse. Nickel was trading back at $12,385 on Tuesday.

The trigger for the price surge was concern that Brazilian producer Vale’s nickel operations would suffer some sort of knock-on effect from the devastating tailings collapse at the company’s Brumadinho iron ore mine.

Such fears have proved unfounded. So far. There may still be ramifications for Vale’s Onca Puma ferronickel operations in the state of Para. But nickel’s ability to rally at all in the current gloomy macroeconomic environment is testament to continued investor interest in the metal’s potential demand boost from the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. Continue Reading →