Inmet rejects First Quantum takeover bid – by Peter Koven (National Post – November 29, 2012)

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

TORONTO — First Quantum Minerals Ltd. has offered $4.9-billion for Inmet Mining Corp. in a bold attempt to get its hands on Cobre Panama, one of the largest mining development projects underway anywhere in the world.

The move puts Inmet’s immediate future into question, as the company is now in play and senior copper miners are certain to take a closer look at Cobre Panama.

Toronto-based Inmet owns 80% of Cobre Panama, and it is a monster. The project holds 32 billion pounds of copper reserves and nine million ounces of gold reserves (along with huge inferred resources), and has a likely mine life of more than 30 years. It also comes with enormous risk: The current cost estimate is US$6.2-billion, and Panama has no history of large-scale mining.

Construction of Cobre Panama has just started, and analysts suggested that if First Quantum has its own development plan for the mine, it needs to get in quickly. First Quantum is recognized for having a strong technical team.

“I see a fit in the sense that [First Quantum] management has been very experienced in building four grassroots projects on time and within reasonable budgets, and also operating in what I would call politically sensitive areas in Central Africa,” said John Hughes, an analyst at Desjardins Securities.

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Inmet Mining snubs $4.9-billion takeover bid by First Quantum – by Pav Jordan and Tim Kiladze (Globe and Mail – November 29, 2012)

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.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. offered $4.9-billion to acquire Inmet Mining Corp., a bold declaration from one of Canada’s largest copper miners that the commodities supercycle has room to run.

Inmet rejected the bid, describing it as “highly conditional” and not in shareholders’ interests, but analysts said First Quantum could return with a higher offer for one of the world’s largest copper projects in development.

Toronto-based Inmet is developing the $6.2-billion (U.S.) Cobre Panama project that will produce some 300,000 tonnes of copper a year for 30 years, putting it on a scale with major mines in Chile and Peru, the world’s largest producers of the metal.

Inmet revealed that it was the second offer from First Quantum in a month, underscoring global miners’ convictions that copper demand will remain strong into the future, despite slowing growth in China and other major markets. Copper has been one of the most in-demand commodities of the past decade, driven by breakneck development in China as it built power grids and entire cities in its urbanization drive.

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Rights group investigates Canadian-owned mine in Mexico – by CBC News (November 25, 2012)

Anti-mine activist’s death tied to local divisions over project

A gold and silver mine in Mexico that’s owned by the Vancouver-based company Fortuna Silver — and the death of a prominent activist opposed to the operation — were the focus of a three-day interational observation mission this past week.

Observers travelled to San José del Progreso in Oaxaca province, where the company began production in September 2011, to investigate the violence that many say appears related to opposition to the mine and its impact on the local water supply.

The mission, led by the Council of Canadians and Blue Planet Project, met with community members for and against the controversial Fortuna Silver mine, as well as representatives from the Canadian company’s local subsidiary, Minera Cuzcatlán.

Two anti-mine activists from the town were killed by gunfire earlier this year year and three others injured. Those killed included the outspoken leader the opposition campaign, Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez.

Residents say the mine has polarized the community. There are reports Vásquez had received death threats in the weeks before he was gunned down in his car last March.

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Time to monitor Guatemala’s mining sector? – Al Jazeera English (November 24, 2012)

Canadian company Goldcorp is accused of violating human rights and damaging the local environment around Marlin mine.  A Canadian mining company stands accused of violating human rights and damaging the environment in Guatemala.

As the price of gold has rocketed amidst global economic uncertainty, Goldcorp argues it is sharing its record revenues with an impoverished community by providing jobs and economic development.

The company owns the Marlin mine in Guatemala, which was opened in 2005 despite the objections of indigenous communities.

Guatemala has ratified an international convention requiring local consent for such projects; but this did not stop it from proceeding. Nor did it stop the World Bank from giving GoldCorp a $45m loan for the mine in contravention of its own guidelines on local consulatation.

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Troubled Pascua Lama gold project experiences yet another setback – by Dorothy Kosich (November 12, 2012)

Chile’s mine health and safety regulator has requested a number of studies be presented for its consideration before it will allow the resumption of pre-stripping activities at Barrick’s Pascua Lama.

RENO (MINEWEB) – The costs and delays at the troubled Pascua Lama project–which already contributed to the dismissal of former Barrick CEO Aaron Regent–continue to mount as Chilean authorities halted construction work at portions of the project due to concerns about the health of workers at the site.

However, in a statement issued Sunday, Barrick said the order “only affects activities related to pre-stripping in Chile.” “Major construction activities on the Chilean side of the project, including work on the ore tunnel, the crusher and the camp will continue uninterrupted,” Barrick said in a news release. “Construction activities in Argentina are not impacted.”

“At this time, pre-stripping is not a critical path item in the construction schedule and a temporary halt is not anticipated to impact the overall project schedule or cost estimates,” the company said.

The Chilean newspaper La Tercera reported that safety inspectors from Chile’s National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) visited Pascua Lama on October 24 and found there was an excess of fine particulates in suspension in the air.

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Amnesty International Film Festival: Canadian conquistadores exposed in Under Rich Earth – by Martin Dunphy (Georgia Straight – November 1, 2012)

Villagers in a remote Ecuadorian valley band together to repulse rapacious Canucks

The documentary Under Rich Earth, screening at this year’s Vancouver Amnesty International Film Festival, has been in release for a couple of years now, but don’t let that stop you from checking it out if you haven’t already done so.

Popular docs such as Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and Big Boys Gone Bananas!*, both of which are also part of this latest installment of Amnesty’s local exposition, do a good job of uncovering government and corporate malfeascence.

The appeal of Under Rich Earth—which details the struggle in Ecuador, a putative democracy, of poor farmers against police, politicians, and paramilitaries in the employ of a Canadian mining company—is how it fits into the part of Amnesty’s mandate that commits the volunteer-activist organization to fight against political killings and disappearances.

Neither of those outrages are inflicted on those portrayed here, but the film details the myriad small steps—including corporate spin-doctoring, police co-optation, economic suasion, the division of communities, and, finally, threats, bogus legal charges, and physical intimidation and harm—that often lead to those ultimate violations of human rights.

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Costs rise again for Barrick’s Andes mine – by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – November 2, 2012)

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.

The Andean gold project that is key to driving future growth at Barrick Gold Corp. just got more expensive to build, and the company is still not done looking at costs.

The Toronto-based miner said the Pascua-Lama project, set in the mountains between Chile and Argentina, will now cost as much as $8.5-billion (U.S.) to develop. That’s higher than the shocking $8-billion price tag Barrick issued for the project in July, and more than double a $3-billion forecast when a construction decision was reached in 2009.

“You would expect that when they increased it by such a large amount a few months ago they would have been cautious so that they wouldn’t need to come back and disappoint us once again,” said George Topping, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus who described the rise as “galling.”

Investors seemed to agree, driving the stock down more than 8 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange after Barrick announced the further cost overrun and said third-quarter profit fell by more than 50 per cent. Cash costs edged higher and the company sold less gold at lower prices. Shares of other gold miners also fell, dragged down by falling prices for the metal.

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World’s richest manCarlos Slim bets on Mexican gold mining – by Dorothy Kosich ( – October 10, 2012)

Billionaire Carlos Slim’s Minera Frisco is acquiring Mexican assets belonging to AuRico Gold for $750 million.

RENO (MINEWEB) – Little more than a month after AuRico Gold announced the Ocampo mine would lose at least 40,000 to 45,000 ounces of gold equivalent production this year and as much as 50,000 GEO in 2013; AuRico announced it would sell Ocampo and adjacent exploration properties to Carlos Slim’s Minera Frisco SAB

Billionaire Slim’s third-largest holding, Frisco–spun off last year from his holding company Grupo Carso SAB–will acquire Ocampo, the exploration projects Venus and Los Jarros, all located in the Chihuahua State and a 50% interested in AuRico’s Orion advanced development project in Nayarit State, Mexico, for a total cash consideration of $750 million.

“Upon closing of the transaction, the company expects to use the net proceeds from the transaction to eliminate certain debt obligations, invest in internal growth opportunities, provide sufficient working capital and liquidity for the company going forward and to undertake a significant return of capital to shareholders,” said AuRico in a press release. The transaction is expected to close in December.

Ocampo’s problems stemmed from what AuRico said is an “unusually high turnover of skilled labor,” as well as “significantly reduced underground ore development in the Northeast underground mine.”

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Barrick Gold closes Peruvian mine for one day after violent clashes – by Vanessa Lu (Toronto Star – September 21, 2012)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Barrick Gold is resuming operations Friday at its Pierina mine in Peru after violent clashes this week between police and nearby villagers left one person dead and four injured.

In an official statement from its Peruvian unit, Barrick, which is the world’s largest gold producer, said its mine operations were suspended Thursday out of mourning for “the unfortunate event.” The dispute centres on a disruption in the local water supply, which Barrick says is out of its control, blaming drought conditions.

The open-pit mine is high in the Andes in north-central Peru at an altitude of 4,100 metres above sea level. While it was once one of Barrick’s bigger mines, Pierina produced 152,000 ounces of gold in 2011, out of a company-wide total of 7.7 million.

Mining is central to Peru’s economy. The country is a key producer of gold, copper, silver and zinc, but opposition has long existed from locals, who worry about environmental problems and possible contamination of the water supply.

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NEWS RELEASE: Australia’s mining sector in the balance

Baker & McKenzie launches global report examining the challenges and  opportunities facing the world’s key mining destinations

Australia, 17 September 2012 – Baker & McKenzie, the world’s largest law firm, has launched a report highlighting significant concerns about the future of Australia’s mining sector.

The Firm surveyed more than 300 senior industry leaders across six key mining jurisdictions – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia and South Africa – and the research suggests that investors in Australia are more pessimistic about the future of mining investment in this country than those investing in the other jurisdictions surveyed.

Of the executives commenting on Australia, 75% said that investing in the mining sector has become more complicated and costly due to factors such as increasing regulatory and environmental obligations, complex and uncertain project development requirements and the rising costs of mine development and operation.

The level of Commonwealth and State Government involvement in the Australian mining industry is also causing concern to investors, with 61% of respondents believing that the Government is too involved in the industry and 72% believing that sovereign risk is on the increase. 

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Mining investment to grow ever more complex, costly, industry leaders fear – Baker & McKenzie – by Dorothy Kosich (September 17, 2012)

“Mining jurisdictions must consider their competitiveness to mining investment or risk that investment being deployed elsewhere, said David Ryan of Baker & McKenzie, Australia.

RENO (MINEWEB) –  A survey of 300 mining industry leaders released Monday by the Baker & McKenzie, Australia, Global Mining Group found the common theme across all jurisdictions surveyed is that “investing in mining is becoming more difficult and less certain.”
Key themes from the study include the complexity of the legal and regulatory environment, political stability, increase in resource nationalism, and the need for access to infrastructure and skilled labor.
One theme that all jurisdictions seemed to have is common is that a majority of respondents said they believe that mining sector investment will continue to be more complicated in the future.

Baker & McKenzie surveyed more than 300 senior mining industry leaders across six key mining jurisdictions-Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia and South Africa-for the report Mining investment-local challenges, global implications.

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Anglo CEO [Cynthia Carroll] Doubles Down on New Mines Amid Falling Demand – by Jeremy Kahn (Bloomberg Markets Magazine – September 2012)

Driving northeast from Santiago, the road corkscrews toward the shark’s-grin skyline of the Andes Mountains. In winter, Santiago’s smart set plies this route, heading for virgin-powder days and pisco-sour nights at La Parva ski resort. Most have no inkling that in a high mountain valley just over the ridgeline, excavators the size of houses have sculpted the mountainside into a steeply terraced pit 1,800 feet deep, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its September issue.

This is Los Bronces, one of the world’s richest copper mines. Anglo American Plc (AAL), the London-based company that owns Los Bronces, spent $2.8 billion from 2007 to 2011 to double the size of the mine. And Los Bronces is just one of four megaprojects that Anglo Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Carroll has initiated or pushed through construction since she took over in 2007 — each representing a wager in excess of $1 billion on the continued rise of China, India and other emerging markets.

Los Bronces is also at the center of a legal battle between Anglo and Codelco, the Chilean state-owned mining company. The dispute — over whether Anglo can block Codelco from exercising an option to buy half of Anglo’s Chilean subsidiary — has spooked Anglo investors and weighed on the company’s share price, which dropped more than 15 percent from the time the controversy erupted in October to August 8.

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Cuba convicts 12 of corruption in nickel industry – by Laura Kane (Toronto Star – August 22, 2012)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

A Cuban court has convicted a dozen people of corruption in the nickel industry, including two employees of a Cuban-Canadian joint concern, state media announced Tuesday.

Accounting executive Alfredo Barallobre Rodriguez and deputy production director Orlando Carmenaty Olmo of Empresa Moa Nickel SA, a joint operation of Cuba and Toronto-based mining company Sherritt International Corp., were sentenced to six and five years, respectively. Company officials didn’t return requests for comment, and the nationality of the two men couldn’t immediately be confirmed.

High-ranking government officials and an executive at a state-run nickel company were also sentenced in the case, involving a contract for the expansion of the Pedro Soto Alba nickel and cobalt processing plant at the Moa mine. The convictions are the first in a wider crackdown on corruption that has already seen several foreigners, including two Canadians, detained.

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Dispelling the Myths of Goldcorp’s Guatemalan Marlin Gold Mine – From the Goldcorp Corporate Website (July 13, 2012)

Goldcorp’s Marlin Mine has been the source of much discussion amongst activist groups and others. Misinformation has surfaced on a number of internet sites recently, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to once again set the record straight. This is a long post, so grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable – we’ll be together for a while! 

MYTH: Marlin discharges contamination into the local water supply.

Routine water discharges have been approved by the Guatemalan Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), and the Guatemalan Ministry of Energy and Mining (MEM). Unlike most discharge situations, at Marlin the water is drawn from the tailings impoundment, treated in the treatment plant, then discharged back to the tailings impoundment. This means that all the water in the tailings impoundment must meet the discharge standards before water is ever released from the tailings impoundment. It also means that Marlin can and does sample the water prior to discharge to ensure compliance before discharge even begins.

Water samples taken by MARN and analyzed in their own lab in Guatemala City concluded no negative results from any discharges to date.

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Mining, repression and the rhetoric of democracy and the rule of law in Guatemala – by Grahame Russell ( – August 13, 2012)

Increasingly, over the past few years, information has been published about serious human rights violations and health and environmental harms being caused in Guatemala by (mainly) Canadian mining company operations: Goldcorp Inc, Radius Gold, Tahoe Resources, Hudbay Minerals, Skye Resources, etc.
It is not possible to understand how these violations and harms occur, and will continue to occur, without understanding the political context. In short, global mining companies profit financially and benefit directly from the fundamental lack of democracy and the rule of law in Guatemala, both historically and on-going today. (This is true, in varying degrees, about global businesses and investors operating in many countries around the world.)
Rhetoric aside about respecting the sovereign democratic will of the duly elected officials of Guatemala, about abiding by the laws and regulations that govern the country and the mining industry, impunity and corruption are the norm in Guatemala. The wealthy elites in Guatemala, including international companies and investors, act with a huge amount of impunity and have almost complete immunity from legal or political accountability.

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