Lonmin reports lower output as protesters demand compensation – by Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.K. – January 26, 2017)


LONDON – Lonmin LML.L reported weaker than expected output on Thursday, causing analysts to raise doubts over 2017 production targets, and faced demands for compensation following the shooting of 34 miners at Marikana in South Africa’s platinum belt.

The company reiterated its sales guidance for 2017, but said larger shafts, known as generation 2, had disappointed and production from them was 5.2 percent lower in the final three months of last year than in the previous year.

The production shortfall added to steep losses for Lonmin’s volatile share price. It was down more than 16 percent by 1230 GMT. The wider sector was roughly flat. .FTNMX1770

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Davos boosts platinum fuel cell outlook with hydrogen council launch – by Martin Creamer (MiningWeekly.com – January 18, 2017)


JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (EVs) offer the most natural solution for emission-free vehicles, discharging only water and requiring negligible change to current driving and refuelling habits, which is why 13 leading energy, transport and industry companies this week chose Davos to launch a global hydrogen initiative aimed at beating climate change.

Collectively representing revenues of €1.07-trillion and 1.72-million global employees, the new Hydrogen Council is going all out to position hydrogen as the answer to the world’s search for a carbon dioxide-free environment – which is a major boost for platinum-catalysed fuel cells.

At Davos, hydrogen was declared the clean fuel that can take the world into a no-carbon future, on the back of technology breakthroughs that include liquefied hydrogen now being safely transportable in much the same way as oil.

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Palladium rally shines on bullish industrial demand – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – Janurary 4, 2017)


Palladium has started 2017 with a bang. The metal has climbed more than 8 per cent in the first three trading days, taking it to $735 an ounce, thanks to strong US and Chinese manufacturing data as well as a buoyant set of sales figures from General Motors.

Unlike other precious metals, palladium is sensitive to changes in industrial demand because one of its most common uses is to reduce fumes from petrol-powered vehicles. This sets it apart from gold and silver, which are more heavily influenced by changes in monetary policy and broader risk appetite.

Palladium rose almost 20 per cent last year, outperforming gold and sister metal platinum, which gained just 1 per cent. Platinum is used in catalytic converters but in the smaller diesel market — and it has also rallied this week, helped by optimism about global economic growth.

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Lonmin promises housing plan after S. Africa’s Zuma threatens to revoke permit – by Tiisetso Motsoeneng (Daily Mail/Reuters – December 12, 2016)


JOHANNESBURG, Dec 12 (Reuters) – South Africa-focused platinum miner Lonmin is confident of submitting a plan to build workers’ housing that meets government requirements, it said on Monday, after President Jacob Zuma threatened to revoke its mining permit if it failed to do so.

Zuma’s warning on Sunday piles pressure on the company to spend more on workers’ housing at a time when it is cutting costs after being saved from the brink of collapse last year by a deeply discounted $400 million equity cash call.

To secure a mining licence, mining companies must submit a plan for housing and living conditions for their workers, many of whom come from former “homelands”, far from the mines, where blacks were forced to live in South Africa’s racist past.

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South Africa’s Sibanye Gold to Buy Stillwater Mining for $2.2 Billion in Latest Platinum Push – by Alexandra Wexler (Wall Street Journal – December 9, 2016)


JOHANNESBURG—Just over a year ago, South African miner Sibanye Gold Ltd. simply dug up its namesake yellow metal in its home market. Now the company is poised to become the world’s third-largest producer of palladium as well, with three sizable acquisitions over the last 15 months, crowned by Friday’s announcement that it plans to buy U.S. palladium and platinum miner Stillwater Mining Co. for $2.2 billion.

The moves illustrate the tectonic shifts recalibrating the global mining industry after the commodities bust. The Stillwater purchase is Sibanye’s first foray outside of Southern Africa and its latest bold move to diversify beyond gold mining.

The acquisition is also a vote of confidence in the platinum group of metals, which includes platinum and palladium, most commonly used in the auto industry to reduce engine emissions, in addition to a strategic diversification away from the often-difficult operating environment in South Africa.

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Anglo Faces Platinum Test in Possible South Africa Spinoff – by Janice Kew, Kevin Crowley, and Loni Prinsloo (Bloomberg News – December 5, 2016)


Anglo American Plc is facing a showdown with its biggest investor, South Africa’s state-owned Public Investment Corp., which wants the miner’s prized platinum assets included in any divestment of its local operations.

PIC, which owns about 14.5 percent of Anglo, is insisting platinum is included in the suite of coal and iron ore assets that the miner is considering spinning off, according to a person familiar with the fund manager’s thinking.

That presents a major hurdle to Anglo Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani, who says platinum is one of the company’s core commodities, along with copper and diamonds.

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. is the world’s biggest producer of the metal and 70 percent of global production comes from South Africa.

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Jim Gallagher: Mining his Way to the Top – by MODERN MINING AND TECHNOLOGY SUDBURY MAGAZINE


President and CEO of North American Palladium Ltd., Jim Gallagher is a professional mining engineer with more than 34 years of experience in the mining industry. We sat down with him to ask him a few questions about his education, his career and everything in between.

How did you get started in the mining business?

To be honest, I had a very narrow view of the opportunities the mining industry offered. I worked for a year at Inco after graduating and entered the geology program at Laurentian. I thought I would be a career geologist working at a mine.
How did you come to choose your educational path?

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Wallbridge Mining ventures into the unexplored: Drilling commences on Sudbury joint venture (Northern Ontario Business – November 21, 2016)


The Wallbridge Mining Company is breaking unusually new ground in the Sudbury Basin. The Sudbury-based junior mining company started another round of drilling on their Parkin Properties, on the northeast edge of the basin, in October.

The site is practically virgin territory compared to nearby areas, according to Joshua Bailey, vice-president of exploration at the Wallbridge Mining Company.

“It hasn’t had as much exploration as elsewhere,” said Bailey, adding that “if this project has a fraction of what is elsewhere in the basin, it would be a success.” This isn’t the first drilling in the area for Wallbridge.

They completed promising drilling between 2008 and 2012 as part of a joint venture with Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats), after which they re-purchased Implat’s nearly 50 per cent interest in the properties.

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Platinum market may see first surplus in six years in 2017: JM – by Jan Harvey (Reuters U.S. – November 14, 2016)


LONDON – The platinum market could return to surplus for the first time in six years in 2017 as lower autocatalyst loadings and weakness in Chinese jewelry buying pull demand lower, refiner Johnson Matthey said in a report on Monday.

Mine supply is expected to be flat next year, but supply of recycled metal from autocatalysts has the potential to rebound, it said.

“In most industrial sectors, the demand outlook remains firm, but purchases in the autocatalyst industry are likely to dip slightly as lower-platinum-loaded catalyst systems are introduced in increasing numbers in European vehicles,” it said.

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Anglo American sees ‘bright future’ as metals industry hopes for strength in China – by Jon Yeomans (The Telegraph – October 31, 2016)


The mining and metals industry has a “bright future”, the boss of Anglo American has said, as the sector weighs up the future of China, the biggest consumer of raw materials. Mark Cutifani told the LME Week conference in London that commodities had seen “extreme price volatility in the last few months” but that “the future still looks pretty bright”.

The Anglo boss admitted that the mining industry had earned a reputation for “overextending itself”. “Companies have been rescued by a timely uplift in prices – relying on a ‘get out of jail’ card,” he said.

Mr Cutifani said that Anglo was now looking to “enhance the demand for our products” by becoming an active marketer of the commodities it produces. In particular, he said the FTSE 100 miner would look to promote new uses for platinum, used in catalytic converters and jewellery, such as in fuel cells for cars.

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UPDATE 2-South Africa’s AMCU union reaches tentative wage deals with platinum trio – by Ed Stoddard (Reuters U.S. – October 21, 2016)


JOHANNESBURG, Oct 21 South Africa’s AMCU union has reached wage deals in principle with platinum producers Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin, subject to final approval from its members, the union’s president said on Friday.

This means a strike has almost certainly been averted in South Africa’s platinum sector, which is still recovering from a crippling five-month stoppage led by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) in 2014.

“What our members have been demanding has been secured from the companies,” AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa told Reuters, without elaborating. Asked if AMCU had an agreement in principle with the three producers, Mathunjwa responded: “Yes, subject to a mass meeting of general members to confirm it again.”

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Friedland a skeptic on lithium, rare earths – by Salma Tarikh (Northern Miner – September 30, 2016)


Robert Friedland, a renowned mining financier and promoter, took the stage at the recent Mines and Money Americas conference in Toronto to highlight the need for platinum and copper, as rapid global urbanization continues. Both are key metals in projects his company Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN; US-OTC: IVPAF) is developing in Africa.

“I am not here to depress the gold bugs in this room. I’m just here to get you excited about copper and other metals that we need in our new society,” Friedland said.

The executive — who sold the large nickel-copper-cobalt deposit Voisey’s Bay in Labrador to Inco for $4.3 billion in 1996, and whose company discovered the large Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold deposit in Mongolia in 2001 — noted that there will likely be a billion more people living in urban environments by 2030. As a result, more people would live in cities filled with “toxic smog,” he said, citing that 6.5 million people die a year from air pollution.

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Copper, platinum key to future of auto industry, mining financier says – by Ian McGugan (Globe and Mail – September 27, 2016)


The current lithium frenzy will end badly while gold bugs should look at the riper opportunities available in copper and platinum, according to mining financier Robert Friedland.

In a sprawling, exuberant and at times politically incorrect speech at the Mines and Money Americas conference in Toronto, the veteran promoter demonstrated he hasn’t lost his sales mojo as he ticked off all the reasons why the properties owned by his Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. just happen to be ideally positioned for the next wave of automotive technology.

“I’m not here to depress the gold bugs in the room, but to get you excited about copper and other metals that we need in our new society,” he said as he accepted a lifetime achievement award.

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SA platinum supply: between a rock and a hard place (BizCommunity.com – September 20, 2016)


A lack of investment means the country’s platinum miners will need to dig deep to meet demands in the medium term. Their struggles are not dissimilar to those flowing throughout the South African mining industry – cost pressures, substantial declines in commodity prices, and low or negative profit margins.

But, says Andries Rossouw, PwC partner in assurance, the lack of investment in the recent past in South Africa’s platinum mining industry – due to the low-price environment and industrial action from 2012 to 2014 – will continue to put pressure on the existing supply deficit.

“SA’s platinum miners had to cut cost and reduce capital expenditure in order to survive in the hope that normality will return to the platinum sector.” South Africa provides more than 70% of primary mined platinum supply and more than 55% of total supply, including recycling.

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[Pacific North West Capital Corp.] Sudbury Accent: Slump easing for exploration company – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 17, 2016)


Say you’re a barber who runs your own shop, and you haven’t had a customer in your chair for five years. You may be tempted to give up, to literally throw in the towel, even enter another line of work. But you hang in there.

Finally, after a half-decade of inactivity, customers begin to return, slowly at first, but growing in number as word spreads you’re back and in business, and offering a good product. Harry Barr used that analogy this week at a town hall meeting in Sudbury intended to drum up interest in Pacific North West Capital Corp.’s River Valley Platinum Group Metal Project.

After a brutal five-year period, in which low commodity prices spooked investors away from sinking money into mineral exploration, interest in the River Valley project began to grow again. The presentation at the Holiday Inn, hosted by Barr, capped off two days of tours in which 30 or more people toured the River Valley property and visited the core shed for the project 100 kilometres northeast of Sudbury.

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