Archive | Latin America Mining

Lithium sparks disputes in Chile’s Atacama Desert – by Lorena Guzman ( – October 16, 2020)

Lithium is considered a strategic resource in Chile, and its exploitation is steeped in difficulties.

For almost four years the activity has been the source of a legal dispute between the communities of the Atacama Desert and SQM, one of the country’s biggest companies, which is partially owned by the Chinese firm Tianqi since 2019.

Some 1,500km north of the capital Santiago de Chile lies the driest desert in the world. The Atacama once contained enormous masses of water, but what is left now hides underneath the surface, mixed with valuable minerals. Continue Reading →

Lundin Gold to pay $2.5m to replace collapsed bridge near Fruta del Norte – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – October 18, 2020)

Following the collapse on Saturday of a bridge in the town of Los Encuentros in Ecuador’s southern Zamora Chinchipe province, Lundin Gold (TSX: LUG) announced that it will be footing the $2.5 million bill for the replacement.

The structure had been showing signs of weakness in recent years but it completely failed when a truck carrying ore from Lundin’s Fruta del Norte operation was passing through it.

According to local media, the bridge’s deck came off its bases and fell into the Zamora river with the truck on top of it. The driver was able to escape unharmed and no one else was injured. Continue Reading →

Brazil Cracking Down on Rising Illegal Diamond Mining – by Isaac Norris(InSight Crime – October 13, 2020)


A recent operation in northern Brazil has put a spotlight on the country’s often overlooked illegal diamond trade, but authorities are only scratching the surface of the fast-growing criminal economy.

In late September, Brazilian authorities launched a massive operation to curb illegal diamond mining in the Roosevelt Indigenous reserve between the northern states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso, Globo reported.

The operation consisted of raids across eight states that targeted illegal miners, intermediaries who valued the diamonds, companies selling them and even Indigenous residents who collaborated with the miners. Continue Reading →

Why Rio Tinto and China are at loggerheads (The Economist – October 10, 2020)

China does not like to feel jealous of Japan. But in the case of iron ore it has plenty to envy. Back in the 1960s, when Japan was building up its steel industry, the world’s supply of the stuff was so fragmented that Japan could play off producers in Australia and Brazil against each other.

China, now the world’s biggest steelmaker, does not have that luxury. Though it imports 70% of the world’s iron ore, most of this comes from three companies that in the intervening six decades have become titans.

They are Rio Tinto and BHP, two Anglo-Australian firms, and Vale, a Brazilian one. They have brought about consolidation in the industry. They benefit from high barriers to entry. None is keen to undercut the other two. That puts them in a far stronger position vis à vis Chinese customers than their predecessors were with the Japanese. Continue Reading →

Nicolas Maduro wins latest round in U.K. court fight for $2-billion in gold – by Paul Waldie (Globe and Mail – October 8, 2020)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro doesn’t have many friends around the world, but a British court has given him a victory in a long-running battle over nearly US$2-billion worth of gold that’s housed at the Bank of England.

The England and Wales Court of Appeal has overturned a lower court ruling that handed the gold to Mr. Maduro’s opponent, Juan Guaido, who is supported by Britain and more than 50 other countries, including Canada.

The appeal court judges ordered a new hearing in the case and said Mr. Maduro’s government has a credible claim to the fortune. Continue Reading →

Goldmining having big impact on indigenous Amazon communities – by Dom Phillips (The Guardian – October 7, 2020)

A new report has exposed the scale and impact of mining on indigenous reserves in Amazon countries as gold prices soared during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 20% of indigenous lands are overlapped by mining concessions and illegal mining, it found, covering 450,000 sq km (174,000 sq miles) – and 31% of Amazon indigenous reserves are affected.

The report, released on Wednesday by the World Resources Institute, said indigenous people should be given more legal rights to manage and use their lands, and called for better environmental safeguards. Continue Reading →

Brazilian niobium miner CBMM eyes European car market – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – October 7, 2020)

Brazil niobium miner Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM) has inked a deal with British high-performance luxury carmaker Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) to supply niobium for the production of ultra-light, high-speed cars.

CBMM will work with BAC to develop a new sports car using high amounts of niobium a metal that makes steel more resistant.

The partners expect the final product, a race car for use on the streets, will be more fuel-efficient due to its light weight and greater speed. Continue Reading →

Sherritt CEO pins future on demand for nickel for electric-car batteries – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – October 6, 2020)

Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk pulled his latest stunt at an annual event called Battery Day in late September. He staged the gathering in a California parking lot and invited 200 Tesla shareholders to watch from their electric cars and honk if they liked what they heard.

There was a lot of honking. The sound was music to the ears of Sherritt International chief executive David Pathe, whose Toronto-based company mines the nickel and cobalt that make electric car batteries possible.

“Battery Day was a big event for us,” said Mr. Pathe, who spent the past eight years running a debt-heavy miner that had few big events to celebrate. “We expect to see significant growth as all the automakers roll out their electric strategies.” Continue Reading →

Can mineral extraction ever be environmentally acceptable? – by David Jessop (Virgin Islands Daily News – October 4, 2020)

In August, the price of gold reached a record high of $2,073 per ounce. It did so as investors concerned about the impact of COVID-19, global economic instability, and falling bond yields, decided it was a safe haven.

Coincidentally, the spike occurred as Guyana’s Stabroek News published an investigative report in collaboration with InfoAmazonia and media partners in Brazil and Venezuela which described how a significant part of the Republic’s informal gold production is trafficked abroad.

A few weeks later InfoAmazonia published a more detailed account. “Tracing Tainted Gold,” described how across the Guiana Shield, mercury trafficking networks are enabling gold produced by small miners to be laundered; how it is moving across uncontrolled borders and through the region’s ports; suggesting that it is entering legitimate global supply chains, and possibly ending up in products made by some of the world’s biggest corporations. Continue Reading →

US grabs stake in battery metals miner to fight Chinese control – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – October 5, 2020)

The US government is taking a $25 million equity stake in Dublin-based battery metals miner TechMet, as part of a push by President Donald Trump to reduce the country’s reliance on supply chains dominated by China.

The backing from the $60 billion US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will help TechMet develop a nickel and cobalt mine in Brazil. Both metals are key in the production of the batteries that power electric cars and cell phones.

TechMet’s Brazilian Nickel project, in the north-eastern state of Piauí, is estimated to hold as much as 72 million tonnes of nickel and cobalt. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s hidden treasures – by Bruno Venditti ( – September 28, 2020)

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro plans to expand mining in the country, a sector that is held back by a lack of knowledge about geological sites and an excess of bureaucracy, according to executives and officials.

Today the government unveiled its Mining and Development Program (PDM) with goals for the sector in a meeting held by Bolsonaro.

As part of government efforts, the president presented a controversial bill in February that would allow commercial mining on protected indigenous lands, delivering on a campaign promise that sparked protests from tribal leaders and environmentalists. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Jervois to buy cobalt, nickel refinery in Brazil – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – September 29, 2020)

Australia’s Jervois Mining (ASX: JVR) is buying a nickel and cobalt refinery in Brazil from Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio for 125 million reais ($22.1 million) in an effort to transform the company into a producer and refiner of battery metals.

The miner said the São Miguel Paulista refinery, in São Paulo, had a production capacity of 25,000 metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) of nickel and 2,000 mtpa of cobalt before it was placed on care and maintenance in 2016. Continue Reading →

Barrick accepts Chilean court ruling on Pascua-Lama project closure (Mining Technology – September 21, 2020)

Barrick Gold has announced that it would not appeal a Chilean court’s ruling to uphold the closure order on the Chilean part of its Pascua-Lama mining project, which was imposed by the country’s environmental regulator Superintendence for the Environment (SMA).

The Pascua-Lama mine is a suspended open-pit mining project located in the Andes Mountains, on the Chilean-Argentine border.

In October 2013, Barrick Gold temporarily suspended construction activities at the Pascua-Lama citing environmental issues, political opposition, labour unrest and development costs. Continue Reading →

Chile Court Shuts Gold Mine Over Environmental Fears – by Miguel Sanchez (Barron’s/AFP News – September 17, 2020)

Chile’s environmental court confirmed Thursday a final order to close Canadian company Barrick Gold’s huge Pascua Lama mining project, on hold since 2013 over environmental concerns.

The court dismissed a legal challenge from the company and confirmed a 2018 environmental authority ruling, ordering the “total and definitive closure” of the mine project. It also imposed a $9 million fine on the Canadian miner.

“The magnitude of the danger to people’s health makes it necessary to close the Pascua Lama mining project, as other alternatives for safe operation for the environment and population health do not appear to be viable,” the court said. Continue Reading →

Atlantic Nickel extends Santa Rita mine life to 34 years – by Carl A. Williams (Northern Miner – September 15, 2020)

Global mining news

Appian Capital Advisory’s Atlantic Nickel has released the results from a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of its wholly owned Santa Rita nickel-copper-cobalt mine in northeastern Brazil.

Santa Rita, one of the largest open-pit nickel sulphide mines in the world, was acquired by the private equity firm from Mirabela Nickel in a bankruptcy process in 2018.

Since open-pit operations restarted in August 2019, the mine has produced 48,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate. (Mirabela put the mine on care and maintenance due to low nickel prices in 2015.) Continue Reading →