Bolivia’s Morales threatens to “nationalize” Malku Kota silver project – by Dorothy Kosich (Mineweb.com – July 9, 2012)

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Fresh off the expropriation of the Quinto smelter, Bolivia’s president has now set his sights on the troubled Malku Khota project, a target of violent protests and kidnappings.

RENO (MINEWEB) –  Bolivian President Evo Morales reportedly told a farmers’ group Sunday that Bolivia will consider nationalizing South American Silver’s silver property. Morales stressed he had not made a final decision on whether or not to revoke the concession for the Malku Khota project, Reuters reported.
 
“Nationalism is our obligation, I already raised the issue of nationalizing [the Malku Khota project] last year, and I told [local residents] to reach an agreement, because when they want, we’re going to nationalize,” he said.
 
In a statement Sunday, South American Silver said Bolivian authorities “continue in their efforts to restore peace and order to the Malku Khota region in the face of acts of aggression being perpetrated against law-abiding local indigenous communities, police, the company’s employees and its local contractors.

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Argentine ruling won’t stop project, Barrick says – by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – July 6, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

A law banning mining around glaciers in Argentina will not derail development of one of the world’s largest new gold projects, Barrick Gold Corp. said. The Pascua-Lama project is on track to go into production in 2013 after years of fighting over its environmental impact.

Argentina’s Congress passed the law – which also bans drilling on oil rigs – about two years ago in an effort to protect water reserves, but opponents held it off with an injunction that was overthrown by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, driving Barrick Gold stock lower amid concerns Pascua-Lama may be halted.

“The impact of the law on Barrick is nil,” said Barrick spokesman Andy Lloyd, pointing out that there are no glaciers near the mine on the Argentine side of the cross-border project with Chile, where 70 per cent of the mine is being built.

Barrick stock stumbled on news of the ruling earlier this week because it raised alarm bells that Pascua-Lama might be thwarted by the same environmental concerns it already faced down nearly a decade ago, when a media storm echoed from Andean capitals in Buenos Aires and Santiago to Barrick headquarters in Toronto.

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In Peru, Chinese mining firm moves a town to get to the copper underneath – by Caroline Stauffer (Globe and Mail/Reuters – July 4, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

MOROCOCHA, PERU — Reuters – High in the Andes mountain range, a Chinese mining company is now in the housing construction and demolition business as it works to relocate a Peruvian town that sits in the way of its $2.2-billion (U.S.) Toromocho copper mine.

By late July, state-owned miner Chinalco says it will finish building a new city of paved roads and multistorey homes for 5,000 people currently living on the side of a giant red mountain of copper 4,500 metres above sea level.

Residents from the poor, ramshackle town of Morococha, where children attend school steps away from discarded mine tailings, will get access to amenities they currently lack, like modern water, sewage and electrical systems. They will all also own their homes and no one will need to pay rent.

Chinalco calls the new $50-million town the biggest privately funded social project in Peru’s mining history and it may help the company avoid community opposition that has stalled other major projects.

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Sherritt as Cuba’s CP – by Peter Foster (National Post – June 29, 2012)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Once a catalyst, underperforming miner needs one now
 
When the recent proxy fight broke out over CP — whose repercussions continued this week with the resignation from the CP board of Rick George — my colleague Terence Corcoran cited another all-too-rare example of a catalyst investor taking on the Canadian corporate establishment. It was Ian “the Smiling Barracuda” Delaney’s successful 1990 fight for control of Sherritt, an historic but failing fertilizer and nickel-refining company based in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.
 
In fact, the CP link doesn’t end there. Mr. Delaney subsequently guided Sherritt into Cuba, where he declared that he would make the company the island’s answer to … CP! Unfortunately, he spoke truer than he knew. Although Cuba now accounts for only a fifth of its assets, Sherritt has been a less than stellar performer over the past two decades. Meanwhile Mr. Delaney’s adventures as Fidel Castro’s “favourite capitalist” remain one of the more controversial aspects of the company’s recent history.

After Mr. Delaney expanded his Cuban ambitions to embrace a joint venture at Moa Bay, a cucaracha appeared in the ointment in the form of Helms-Burton, U.S. legislation that allowed its citizens, including naturalized Cuban-Americans, to sue anybody “trafficking” in assets expropriated by the 1959 Castro revolution.

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Chinese demand for Chile’s copper holds strong – by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – June 26, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Global copper goliath Chile says Chinese demand for the metal is holding up despite a slowing of China’s economic growth, signaling a continuation of market dynamics that have driven consumption for over a decade.

“We have not seen a relevant decrease with respects to the Chinese market,” Chile’s deputy mining minister, Pablo Wagner, said by telephone from Santiago.

Mr. Wagner pointed to forecasts for a rise in overall copper exports in 2012 of between 5 per cent and 6 per cent over the year-earlier period. “Signs of demand, shipments and inventories, continue to be solid.”

Chile exports about 53 per cent of its copper to China, giving it one of the clearest insights into the demand patterns of the giant Asian economy that has devoured the red metal as it fuels booming economic growth and urbanization. Chile is also home to the world’s largest copper company, state miner Codelco, which is a key business partner of China.

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Pacific Rim Mining locked in closely watched fight with El Salvador – by Jeff Gray (Globe and Mail – June 20, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Tom Shrake, the American mining industry veteran who heads Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining Corp., is nothing if not an optimist.

He’s had no end of troubles: His staff in El Salvador have faced intimidation at gunpoint by local opponents of his proposed mine. Anti-mining groups have accused his company of involvement in the killings of local activists, charges he vehemently denies and for which he says there is no evidence. And the government of the tiny, impoverished country has decided to block all mining within El Salvador’s borders out of fear that a mishap could contaminate the country’s water supply.

But Mr. Shrake says he remains committed to digging for gold and, he argues, digging the local population in northern El Salvador out of poverty. This month, he got a green light to keep fighting for that plan from a World Bank investment tribunal in Washington – a fight being watched closely by the mining industry, international trade lawyers and anti-mining activists.

“We don’t want to go to court. We never wanted to go to court … But they left us no choice,” Mr. Shrake said in an interview from Reno, Nevada, where he is based.

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The New Conquistadors [Canadian Miners Conlfict/Image in Panama] – Mellissa Fung, Paul Seeler and Lynn Burgess (CBC National News Documentary – June 18, 2012)

Click here to watch the documentary “The New Conqistadors”: http://www.cbc.ca/thenational/thenewconquistadors/

Starting in the early 16th Century, Spanish explorers arrived in Central and South America in search of gold, silver and spices. While the term “Spanish Conquistadors” references an era of great Spanish power and influence, for the indigenous people living in the lands the Conquistadors reached, it was considered a time of exploitation, disease and oppression.

Five hundred years later, there are some – particularly in the indigenous communities of Latin America – who are seeing this as new era of economic conquest, one with significant environmental and social consequences. This time, the new “conquerors” are Canadian mining companies.

These “new conquistadors” have generated enormous wealth for Canada and the countries in which they do business. Canadian mining companies often have “sustainable development” programs that provide a range of opportunities for locals and attempt to offset the negative environmental effects of mining. However, the economic, environmental and social changes these mines bring to rural communities have generated considerable debate in Latin America. This project is intended as a catalyst for discussion.

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Yamana Gold snaps up Extorre for $395-million – by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – June 19, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Yamana Gold Inc. said Monday it will pay $395-million for Extorre Gold Mines Ltd., the owner of a gold and silver property in Argentina that has run into development difficulties.

Extorre’s stock price has been so battered by global market uncertainty and local politics that the company can no longer develop the property itself with solid returns.

“Extorre’s share price has suffered dramatically over the past few months due to a number of factors including: global political and economic uncertainty impacting credit markets; a broad selloff of all junior non-producing gold companies; concerns with respect to share dilution arising from a decision to develop the Cerro Moro project; and a series of events that have raised the perceived investment risk in Argentina,” Extorre co-chairman Yale Simpson said in announcing the deal with Yamana.

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Anti-mining violence escalates in Peru – by Peter Koven (National Post – May 30, 2012)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

TORONTO — Miners in Peru are operating under another black cloud this week after a wave of anti-mining protests turned violent and prompted the government to declare a state of emergency.
 
At least two people were killed and dozens more injured in protests against Xstrata PLC’s Tintaya mine, which is located in Espinar province in southern Peru. The protesters claim the mine has polluted two rivers, a charge Xstrata denies. Sources said that there are socio-economic factors behind the outbreak of violence as well.
 
There has been significant anti-mining violence in Peru since President Ollanta Humala – a moderate leftist who supports mining — took office last year (it was also an issue under Alan Garcia, his predecessor).
 
In recent months, protesters have successfully disrupted development of Newmont Mining Corp.’s US$4.8-billion Conga project, as well as Southern Copper Corp.’s Tia Maria project and Bear Creek Mining Corp.’s Santa Ana project. At least 10 people died in those actions, according to reports.

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McEwen comments on uncertainty in Argentina – Canadian Mining Journal (May 28, 2012)

The Canadian Mining Journal is Canada’s first mining publication providing information on Canadian mining and exploration trends, technologies, operations, and industry events.

When mining entrepreneur Rob McEwen put US Gold and Minera Andes together to create McEwen Mining he was working on the model that you could take one company that had cash flow and another company that had development projects and create a stronger company.
 
But what he didn’t foresee, he told investors and analysts on a conference call earlier this week, and apologized for not foreseeing, was that there would be changes in Argentina that would create a lot of uncertainty and put that model at a disadvantage.
 
McEwen arranged the May 22 conference call to alert shareholders about potential difficulties and delays in repatriating cash flow from McEwen Mining’s 49% stake in the San Jose mine in Argentina, which has been earmarked to fund development of the company’s El Gallo project in Mexico. ( El Gallo is in Mexico’s Sinaloa state, along the foothills of the Sierra Madres, and includes the El Gallo and Palmarito silver deposits and the Magistral gold deposits, all located within a 13 km radius.)

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Last tango in Argentina? – by Peter Foster (National Post – May 25, 2012)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Its spending and expropriation spree hardly provides a model for Greece

 That Argentina is being hauled before the World Trade Organization by the European Union for its beggar-thy-neighbour trade and investment policies at the same time as it is being hailed as a model for Greek salvation confirms that we live in interesting times. That Argentina’s policies — in particular the recent expropriation of YPF, the local subsidiary of Spanish oil giant Repsol — are ostensibly being guided by an academic with Elvis sideburns who combines Che Guevara with John Maynard Keynes suggests a stranger-than-fiction narrative somewhere between Gabriel García Márquez and Ayn Rand.
 
This bizarre situation is of more than passing interest to Canadian mining companies in Argentina. Might they be next? Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s firm stand at the recent Summit of the Americas against Argentinean sabre-rattling over the Falklands certainly did not endear him to Argentina’s dragon lady, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
 
Greece’s prospective exit from the euro is claimed to be parallel to Argentina’s decision 10 years ago to ditch a link with the U.S. dollar. Argentina, it is claimed, hasn’t done too badly since, which offers some hope for the Grexit. However, while abandoning the euro may allow it to devalue, Greece does not have the abundant natural resources of Argentina. Also, unlike Argentina, it does not have a currency. Finally, Argentina is not a model for any government whose interests go beyond power-hungry populism.

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Argentine policies have Canadian miners rethinking projects – by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – May 23, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Efforts by Argentina to fine-tune its economy are forcing miners to reassess investment plans in the Andean country that is home to massive gold, copper and other resource deposits.

Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest economy, has moved aggressively in recent months to stem capital outflows and bolster the market with measures including forced repatriation of export revenue on local markets and requirements for companies to source equipment locally.

The measures could hinder access to cash flow in one of the world’s most capital-intensive industries, and cause operational delays in terms of getting equipment to remote sites in a timely manner.

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Silver, and gold, lining to Haiti’s geological vulnerability – by Martha Mendoza (Globe and Mail – May 12, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

TROU DU NORD, HAITI— Its capital is blighted with earthquake rubble. Its countryside is shorn of trees, chopped down for fuel. And yet, Haiti’s land may hold the key to relieving centuries of poverty, disaster and disease: There is gold hidden in its hills – and silver and copper, too.

A flurry of exploratory drilling in the past year has found precious metals worth potentially $20-billion deep below the tropical ridges in the country’s northeastern mountains. Now, a mining company is drilling around the clock to determine how to get those metals out.

“If the mining companies are honest and if Haiti has a good government, then here is a way for this country to move forward,” said Bureau of Mines director Dieuseul Anglade.

Haiti’s geological vulnerability is also its promise. Massive tectonic plates squeeze the island with horrifying consequences, but deep cracks between them form convenient veins for gold, silver and copper pushed up from the hot innards of the planet. Prospectors from California to Chile know earthquake faults often have, quite literally, a golden lining.

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Teck cashes in on Chile’s copper – by Gordon Pitts (Globe and Mail – April 30, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

ANDACOLLO, CHILE – For centuries, pilgrims have thronged to the Chilean mountain town of Andacollo – to worship at the historic church and to mine the dusty hills for copper.

The Incas built parts of their civilization on the rich copper and gold deposits unearthed here before Spanish conquerors swept in. Since then, church and mines have become intertwined in the culture: The epic rescue of 33 Chilean miners in 2010 is attributed by many here to prayers uttered at Our Lady of Andacollo.

Now a new wave of pilgrims is worshipping at the altar of Andacollo – Canadians, in the form of Teck Resources Ltd., (TCK.B-T36.860.110.30%) the Vancouver-based mining giant that has spent more than $440-million (U.S.) expanding an open-pit copper project on the edge of town.

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Chile $100bn copper push under threat on power scarcity – by Matt Craze (Mineweb.com – April 26, 2012)

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President of Chilean mining lobby group Consejo Minero, Joaquin Villarino, says the country will have to shelve many of its mining investments due to the high cost and scarcity of electricity.

(Bloomberg) – The biggest-ever pipeline of copper projects is under threat as Chile, the world’s top producer, struggles to contain rising opposition to new power plants.
 
At least 5,000 megawatts of capacity, including a $5 billion coal-fired plant proposed by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, are facing delays or have been shelved as companies including BHP Billiton Ltd. and Anglo American Plc spend as much as $100 billion on copper and metals projects in Chile.
 
The country, struck by a power blackout as recently as this week, needs to boost capacity by 47 percent within 8 years to keep pace with consumption. Protesters from fishermen to university students oppose the plants, prompting miners to consider their own projects to help meet China’s copper demand.

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