Archive | Rio Tinto

Arizona mining fight pits economy, EVs against conservation, culture – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – April 19, 2021)

https://www.reuters.com/

Early last year, Darrin Lewis paid $800,000 for a hardware store in a tiny Arizona town where mining giant Rio Tinto Plc (RIO.L) hopes to build one of the world’s largest underground copper mines.

Rio buys materials from Lewis’s Superior Hardware & Lumber for its Resolution mine site, accounting for a third of the store’s sales and helping to keep it afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

But U.S. President Joe Biden put the mining project on hold last month in response to the concerns of Native Americans who say it will destroy sacred land and of environmentalists who worry it will gobble up water in a drought-stricken state. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto produces battery grade lithium in the US – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – April 7, 2021)

https://www.mining.com/

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) has kicked off lithium production from waste rock at a plant located at a borates mine it controls in California.

The demonstration facility is the next step in scaling up a breakthrough lithium production process developed at the Boron mine. The method allows Rio Tinto to recover the critical mineral and extract additional value out of waste piles from over 90 years of mining at the operation.

An initial small-scale trial in 2019 successfully proved the process of roasting and leaching waste rock to recover high grades of the metal, vital in the production of batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs) and most high tech electronics. Continue Reading →

Class action against Rio Tinto over Oyu Tolgoi escalates – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – March 25, 2021)

https://www.mining.com/

A new claim filed in a US court on Thursday over Rio Tinto’s (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) handling of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine expansion in Mongolia accuses the mining giant of concealing the real cause of the delays that have held back its most important growth project.

In a 163-page claim filed in New York, Pentwater Capital Management — the second-largest shareholder in Rio-controlled Turquoise Hill (TSX, NYSE: TRQ) — has included the testimony of 12 individuals who worked for Rio or its contractors and which could tip the balance against the miner.

The document cites defective Chinese steel, incompetent engineering and poor procurement as some of the “true” reasons behind the mine expansion’s massive cost increase and delays. Continue Reading →

Ripples from Juukan: WA traditional owners back Arizona tribe fighting Rio Tinto – by Hamish Hastie (Sydney Morning Herald – March 8, 2021)

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

The Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people have thrown their support behind a North American first nations tribe locked in a battle with a Rio Tinto-owned copper miner.

San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona have fought Resolution Copper’s plans to build one of the world’s biggest copper mines on sacred land known as Oak Flat for a decade, but regulators have supported the land swap necessary for the mine to go ahead.

Resolution Copper is a joint subsidiary of Australian miners BHP and Rio Tinto, with the latter company drawing international condemnation in May 2020 after destroying the Juukan Gorge rock shelters to expand its Brockman 4 mine. The rock shelters contained evidence of 46,000 years of human habitation. Continue Reading →

Turquoise Hill CEO exits amid tension with Rio Tinto over funding Mongolian copper mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 4, 2021)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.’s chief executive officer Ulf Quellmann has resigned after months of tension between the company and Rio Tinto, its biggest shareholder, over a funding plan for its troubled Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia.

The Montreal-based company and London-based Rio, one of the world’s biggest diversified miners, have clashed over how the construction of the giant underground copper mine should be funded.

In a statement, Turquoise Hill said that Rio had said it would vote against Ulf Quellmann in the upcoming annual general meeting. In light of that development, the company and Mr. Quellmann felt it was in their best interests that he resign. Continue Reading →

Rio and Mongolia agree to replace $7bn plan to expand copper mine – by Khaliun Bayartsogt (Nikkei Asia – March 1, 2021)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

ULAANBAATAR — After weeks of escalating tensions and leadership turmoil, Mongolia and Rio Tinto have agreed to work out a new arrangement to finance the costly expansion of the vast Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, Nikkei Asia has learned.

The rising cost of the new underground phase of the mine, one of the world’s biggest copper deposits, played a role in bringing down both Mongolia’s previous prime minister and Rio’s last chief executive. This appears to have helped set the stage for changing the terms of how the two co-owners of the project will share the expense.

Public irritation has been running high in Mongolia after new figures emerged late last year showing that the government could not expect to start receiving dividends from its 34% ownership of the mine in 2032 as originally expected. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto’s New CEO Looks to Take More Risks – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – February 17, 2021)

https://www.wsj.com/

SYDNEY—The new chief executive officer of Rio Tinto PLC wants to change a risk-averse culture at the world’s second-largest mining company that could see it pursue commodities vital to the energy transition more aggressively.

Jakob Stausholm said mining companies had become too cautious after overpaying for deals around a decade ago during a rush to feed China with metals and minerals vital to its industrialization, which left them vulnerable to hefty asset write-downs when commodity prices fell.

Facing an investor backlash at the time, companies including Rio Tinto moved to prioritize dividends to shareholders and buying back shares over deals or investments in new mines that could turn sour. Continue Reading →

Juukan Gorge traditional owners say they are reluctant to continue dealing with Rio Tinto – by Lorena Allam and Ben Butler (The Guardian – February 4, 2021)

https://www.theguardian.com/

The traditional Aboriginal owners of Juukan Gorge, which mining giant Rio Tinto knowingly destroyed in order to access higher-grade iron ore, say they are reluctant to continue dealing with the company, accusing it of reneging on a key promise it made to rebuild their shattered relationship.

In a letter to the company seen by Guardian Australia, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura peoples (PKKP) say they learned of an executive reshuffle only through media reports and accused Rio Tinto of breaking a promise that iron ore boss Ivan Vella would be personally responsible for repairing trust.

The PKKP say that for “consistency and balance” they had specifically asked for Vella to work with them, and at a meeting in November this was given “unequivocal” support by the chairman of the Rio Tinto board, Simon Thompson. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto, Fortescue hit pay dirt as prices surge – by Sarah Turner and Jenny Wiggins (Australian Financial Review – January 18, 2021)

https://www.afr.com/

Another stunning rally in iron ore prices is set to put a rocket under profits for the major iron ore producers, showering shareholders with dividends, shoring up the sharemarket and helping the government restore its pandemic-ravaged finances.

Last week, the spot iron ore price reached $US172.36 a tonne, up 1.3 per cent on the previous session according to Fastmarkets MB. Iron ore futures on the Singapore exchange traded at $US170.15 a tonne at the end of the week – the highest since their inception in 2013 – after rallying nearly 10 per cent since the start of the year.

William Curtayne, portfolio manager at Milford Asset Management, said that if iron ore prices were held at about $US165 a tonne there would be large-scale upgrades to the earnings expectations of the iron ore miners. Continue Reading →

Native Americans seek to stop Rio Tinto, BHP copper mine plan – by Nick Toscano (Sydney Morning Herald – January 13, 2021)

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

Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP are facing fresh opposition from Native American groups over a plan to build an enormous copper mine in Arizona in the United States.

Apache Stronghold, a non-profit group, has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Phoenix to stop the US government from transferring a 980-hectare parcel of land at Oak Flat, Arizona, to the mining giants’ joint venture, Resolution Copper.

Resolution, which is 55 per cent owned by Rio Tinto and 45 per cent owned by rival BHP, says its proposed copper mine has the potential to supply nearly 25 per cent of US copper demand for 40 years. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto looming talks with Mongolia to decide Oyu Tolgoi’s fate – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – January 15, 2021)

https://www.mining.com/

The next three to six month will be crucial to the future of the vast Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia, as the companies behind the operation engage in talks to find a way to improve the government’s financial benefits from an ongoing underground expansion.

Based on a definitive estimate for the development of the new mine level, announced by Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) last month, the underground section of Oyu Tolgoi will begin production in October 2022. The project will cost $6.75 billion, about $1.4 billion higher than its original estimate, as established in the 2015 agreement.

That deal is commonly known in Mongolia as the “Dubai agreement”, because the nation’s then Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg struck it with former Rio Tinto’s boss Jean-Sebastien Jacques in a Dubai hotel, ending an impasse that had lasted close to three years. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto, Quebec bet on critical mineral scandium with new plant – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – January 15, 2021)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Rio Tinto Group, with aid from the Quebec government, is investing a combined US$6-million to bring a new environmentally friendly scandium project into production, which will be the first steady North American source of the extremely pricey rare earth mineral.

Currently produced as a byproduct of mining other elements such as uranium and titanium, scandium is in tight supply worldwide. China and Russia dominate the market, leaving North American companies at the whim of unreliable and potentially hostile suppliers.

The silvery white metal is used as an alloy to strengthen and lighten aluminum, and in fuel cells as a backup power source. Continue Reading →

[Rio Tinto] The blast felt around the world – by Lynn Greiner and Carolyn Gruske (CIM Magazine – January 11, 2021)

https://magazine.cim.org/en/

Rio Tinto’s destruction of 46,000-year-old rock shelters sacred to the local Indigenous population in Australia’s Juukan Gorge during mine expansion, although legal, not only tarnished the company’s reputation and cost senior executives, including the CEO, their jobs, it triggered an inquiry in the Australian parliament and renewed focus on the nature of free, prior and informed consent.

The initial blasting and the reaction sent shockwaves through the international mining community, especially since there seemed to be a discrepancy between what the mining company considered to be consent to go ahead with the project and what the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people understood.

“We have operated on PKKP country under a comprehensive and mutually agreed Participation Agreement since 2011,” Rio Tinto wrote in a statement after the caves’ destruction. “At Juukan, in partnership with the PKKP, we followed a heritage approval process for more than 10 years.” Continue Reading →

Mongolia may revoke Rio Tinto’s plan for Oyu Tolgoi – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – January 11, 2021)

https://www.mining.com/

The Government of Mongolia may cancel and replace the development and financial plan for the country’s vast Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, Canada’s Turquoise Hill (TSX, NYSE: TRQ) said on Monday.

The Rio Tinto-controlled company said Mongolian authorities are dissatisfied with the top miner’s plans. They are particularly concerned about the costs of the expansion, recently updated to $6.75 billion, about $1.5 billion higher than its original estimate.

Mongolia believes the significant cost increase has eroded the economic benefits it expected to receive from the Oyu Tolgoi mine, Turquoise Hill said. Continue Reading →

Rio TNT 2: Campaigners warn Mining giant which destroyed Aboriginal site is about to do same again to a sacred Native American tribe – by Francesca Washtell (Daily Mail/This Is Money – January 5, 2021)

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/

The new boss of Rio Tinto is under pressure to scrap controversial plans for a mine in Arizona that would destroy an area sacred to Native Americans.

Campaigners warn it could be a repeat of a scandal in Australia that threw the firm into crisis. Rio sparked global outrage after it blew up two 46,000-year-old Aboriginal caves in the Juukan Gorge to expand an iron ore mine in May last year.

Within months its chief executive, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, and two other top bosses had been forced to resign. Continue Reading →