Archive | Rio Tinto

Violent Protests Shut Down Key Rio Tinto Mine in South Africa – by Felix Njini and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – December 4, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Violent protests, often characterized by deadly shootings and barricades of burning tires, are making it harder for the world’s biggest mining companies to operate in South Africa.

Rio Tinto Group shuttered its Richards Bay Minerals unit on Wednesday and paused a $463 million expansion project amid escalating violence in surrounding communities that led to an employee being shot and injured. The stoppage will further sap investor sentiment in a country where business confidence is near the lowest level in two decades.

The freezing of the Zulti South project comes as President Cyril Ramaphosa battles to stimulate growth and retain the nation’s last investment-grade credit rating. South Africa’s economy contracted for a second quarter this year in the three months through September as farming, mining and factory output slumped. Continue Reading →

U.S. copper frenzy grows as Rio Tinto plans $1.5 billion Utah mine expansion – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – December 3, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – Rio Tinto Plc said on Tuesday it would spend $1.5 billion to expand its Kennecott copper mine in Utah, part of a growing trend by miners to invest in strategic mineral projects across the United States.

The move more than doubles the mining industry’s recent investment in U.S. copper projects, as Tesla Inc and other automakers demand more of the red metal for electric vehicle motors and other components.

“We like copper. We like the U.S.,” Rio Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said in an interview. “If we had not taken this decision, our position in the U.S. market would be shrinking.” Continue Reading →

Apache man moving ‘home’ to protest copper mine in Arizona – by Felicia Fonseca (Washington Post – November 27, 2019)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Wendsler Nosie Sr. is drawn to a mountainous area in central Arizona where he and other Apaches have harvested medicinal plants, held coming-of-age ceremonies and gathered acorns for generations.

On Thursday, he’ll start a three-day journey to make a permanent home in the area known as Chi’chil Bildagoteel, or Oak Flat, in protest of a proposed copper mine made possible by a federal land exchange.

The Resolution Copper mine near Superior would be one of the largest such mines in North America, using techniques known as block-cave mining that call for digging underneath the ore body and setting off explosions to extract it. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto commits $1M to Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – November 28, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Waubetek-led initiative aims to increase opportunities for Indigenous participation in mining

Global mining giant Rio Tinto has committed $1 million over five years to become a founding partner in the Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development being established in Northern Ontario.

The centre is an initiative of the Waubetek Business Development Corp., an Indigenous-led economic development organization based on the Whitefish River First Nation that provides business financing and economic development services to First Nations and Aboriginal businesses located throughout northeastern Ontario.

It’s being designed as a centre of knowledge and expertise for Indigenous communities, industry and governments. It will connect stakeholders to develop partnerships and offer access to information, referral services and training tools around Indigenous participation in mineral development. Continue Reading →

The High-Stakes Race For Bougainville’s Copper And Gold – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – November 27, 2019)

https://www.forbes.com/

Fat profits are being made by speculators confident they can beat a Chinese takeover of one of the world’s great copper and gold deposits on the Pacific island of Bougainville even though it hasn’t produced a pound of metal in 30 years.

The once fabulous Panguna mine was closed in 1989 during a civil war which pitted locals, fighting as the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, against troops of the government of Papua New Guinea which claimed control of the island.

An estimated 20,000 people died from the fighting and disease in what ranks as the worst conflict in the South Pacific since World War Two. An uneasy truce in 2001 formally ended the conflict but Bougainvilleans have continued to push for independence which is being tested in a two-question referendum which started this week and will end on December 7 with voters being asked whether they want complete independence or just greater autonomy from Papua New Guinea. Continue Reading →

Will Bougainville Reopen the Panguna Mine? – by Joshua Mcdonald (The Diplomat – November 22, 2019)

https://thediplomat.com/

With an independence referendum on the horizon, reopening the Panguna mine offers both attractive opportunities and terrible consequences.

The Panguna mine on the Pacific island of Bougainville is one of the largest copper and gold deposits in the world. The mine was also at the center of a decade-long civil war fought between the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and the Papua New Guinea Defense Force in the 1990s. The conflict cost as many as 15,000 lives and displaced 40,000 of the island’s 200,000 inhabitants.

Before the war, the Panguna mine generated more than $1 billion in national tax revenue and accounted for about 45 percent of Papua New Guinea’s total exports, 17 percent of its internal revenue, and 12 percent of its gross domestic product. It essentially paved the way for the nation’s transition to independence from Australia.

But Panguna landowners and local employees — angered by the environmental destruction from the operation, poor wages, and unfair distribution of revenue (less than 1 percent of profits were reinvested in Bougainville) — eventually took up arms. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto faces having to renegotiate terms of Mongolian copper project – by Anand Dairtan (Reuters U.S. – November 21, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

ULAANBAATAR (Reuters) – Rio Tinto faces renegotiating the terms of an agreement underpinning its Mongolian copper mine project, after lawmakers on Thursday approved plans to revise the deal to make it more beneficial for Mongolia.

The Oyu Tolgoi mine, Mongolia’s biggest foreign investment project, has already been subject to delays and ballooning costs, leaving Mongolian lawmakers impatient for income, while Rio Tinto says it has invested billions.

Rio Tinto-owned Turquoise Hill Resources has a 66% stake in the multi-billion-dollar project and the Mongolian state owns 34%, with investment terms agreed in 2015 in a deal known as the Dubai Agreement. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto eyes copper deposit north of La Ronge – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – November 12, 2019)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

One of the world’s largest mining companies is spending millions of dollars to look for copper in northern Saskatchewan — and could commit tens of millions more if its engineers and geologists like what the drill rigs uncover.

Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. spent the summer taking core samples at the Janice Lake copper deposit north of La Ronge after signing an option agreement with Forum Energy Metals Corp., which acquired the property in 2017.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rio Tinto can spend up to $30 million over seven years to acquire an 81 per cent stake in the property, which was staked in the 1960s and bounced between companies before ending up in Forum’s portfolio. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Rio Tinto says miners need to do more on the environment. Here’s how – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – October 29, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – The boss of one of the world’s biggest mining companies wants the industry to do more than talk about winning a social licence in an increasingly carbon constrained world. The problem is that his company and others probably won’t like the solutions.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques told the London Metal Exchange (LME) annual forum on Monday that mining needed to do more on the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) front in order to remain relevant and profitable as the world deals with climate change.

“Lots of people are talking about it, but I’m not sure there is action,” Jacques said. Notwithstanding that Jacques himself was talking about it, he is probably correct that the mining industry, and more broadly the natural resources sector, has yet to fully get to grips with how the industry will look in the next 20-30 years. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto says miners need to leverage technology as scrutiny of the industry rises (Reuters U.S. – October 28, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Mining companies should make more use of technology to respond to increasing demands from investors and communities for responsible mining practices, Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques said on Monday.

Technologies such as autonomous rail-cars and increased automation can lower the impact of the industry on the environment as well as raise profit margins, he said, adding that blockchain can be deployed to track if the supply chain met ethical standards.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind we will face greater regulation and scrutiny,” Jacques said in a keynote speech marking the beginning of London Metal Exchange (LME) Week in London. Continue Reading →

Mining Giant Sends Shock Waves Through New Zealand’s Stock Market – by David Winning and Robb M. Stewart (Wall Street Journal – October 23, 2019)

https://www.wsj.com/

The lights abruptly went out on New Zealand’s long-running stocks rally Wednesday. The reason: A global mining giant’s threat to pull the plug on the country’s biggest buyer of electricity.

The NZX-50 index had been among the world’s best-performing stock benchmarks this year, notching a 26% gain through Tuesday. But it fell 2.1%, close to a three-week low, after Rio Tinto PLC said its Tiwai Point smelter is unprofitable, citing high energy costs and historically low aluminum prices because of oversupply in the market.

The selloff illustrates how small stock markets can be especially vulnerable to big corporate decisions. Tiwai Point, which employs roughly 1,000 people and has been in operation for nearly half a century, is the single biggest user of electricity in New Zealand, where it accounts for roughly 14% of energy demand. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto sees rosy future for diamonds despite end of Argyle – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – September 26, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Rio Tinto (RIO.AX)(RIO.L) is exploring for diamonds in Canada as part of its plans to stay in the sector despite the looming closure of its Argyle mine in Australia, known for extremely rare pink diamonds, the firm’s head of copper and diamonds said.

Demand and prices for the wider market have fallen as concerns mount about the world economy, and laboratory-grown gems have added to supply. Colored or particularly large diamonds, however, have held value, especially pink diamonds, 90% of which are produced by Argyle. That mine, the world’s biggest in carat terms, is expected to cease production by the end of next year.

Arnaud Soirat, Rio’s chief executive for copper and diamonds, said pink diamonds had risen in price by 500% since 2000. He gave no figures for the overall market, but producers have reported lower overall demand and prices. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore Stumble Came Just as Prices Surged – by David Stringer, Rebecca Keenan and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – August 1, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Rio Tinto Group didn’t get the full benefits of the dramatic iron ore rally after missteps at key operations in Australia meant the No. 2 producer couldn’t extract its best ore when it was most needed.

Rio was forced to cut production at its flagship Pilbara operations in Western Australia earlier this year after falling behind with mine plans. Essentially, the company was producing too much lower-quality iron ore, forcing it to mine less rather than selling a sub-standard product to customers in China.

“We couldn’t access the right ore at the right time,” Rio Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques told reporters on a conference call. “It is not acceptable.” Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto to take iron ore crown as Vale struggles – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – July 23, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

Rio Tinto is on track to become the world’s biggest iron ore exporter in 2019 after trouble-prone Brazilian miner Vale revealed weaker-than-expected exports over the past three months.

The surprisingly weak performance from Vale came as African iron ore miner Kumba joined the industry trend for reduced export targets, and as Vale reiterated that it could be three years before it resumed shipping at full speed.

Vale was always expected to ship less iron ore this year after the catastrophic dam failures in January that killed hundreds of people and forced the company to halt about 90 million tonnes of annual production capacity. Continue Reading →

Steel mills to the rescue as Rio’s iron mines hit four-year low – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – July 16, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

Strong Chinese steel production is papering over cracks in Rio Tinto’s flagship iron ore division, where production over the past six months slumped to the lowest level in four years.

Rio’s Australian iron ore mines provided just 93 per cent of the iron ore shipped by the company in the three months to June 30, forcing Rio to draw down 5.7 million tonnes of stockpiled iron ore. Those stockpiles were worth almost $1 billion based on the $US119.25 per tonne that iron ore was fetching on Monday.

The weak statistics published by Rio’s most important division on Tuesday only bolster expectations that 2019 will be the first year since the turn of the century that Rio’s Australian iron ore exports will fall sequentially. Continue Reading →