Vale partner says Guinea seeks to seize iron ore rights – by Richard Valdmanis, Clara Ferreira-Marques, and Saliou Samb (Reuters Canada – November 3, 2012)

DAKAR/LONDON (Reuters) – The mining arm of Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz’s business empire has accused the government of Guinea of seeking to “illegally seize” its assets through a probe into how it won rights to mine part of a major iron ore deposit.

Privately owned BSG Resources, which has been working in the West African country with Brazilian mining major Vale (VALE5.SA: Quote), confirmed it had received a letter from a government commission alleging improper behavior and graft in its winning of rights to develop blocks in the Simandou region.

The Financial Times reported on Saturday that a government committee backed by philanthropist George Soros had launched a corruption probe into the award process for the blocks in 2008 and sent the letter to BSG including a range of charges.

The blocks were stripped from Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto (RIO.AX: Quote) and the licenses passed to BSGR in 2008, under a previous administration. Simandou, in Guinea’s hilly and forested southeast, is estimated to hold what could be the world’s largest unexploited iron ore reserves.

“This is the fifth and most clumsy attempt by an already discredited Government of Guinea in an ongoing campaign to illegally seize BSGR’s assets,” BSGR said in a statement.

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‘Rail-veyors’ and robots [mining innovation] – by Julie Gordon (Reuters/Sudbury Star – October 29, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

In an office trailer parked outside a mine shaft in a Copper Cliff Mine, operator Carolyn St-Jean leans back in her chair and monitors a machine loading nickel-rich ore into rail cars deep underground.

Once filled, the automated train will snake through a series of narrow tunnels, emerge from a rocky outcropping, then loop past St-Jean’s window and dump its payload for sorting.

Vale SA, the Brazilian company that owns the mine near this nickel-rich area, has spent nearly $50 million in two years to install and test the “ra i lveyor.” The company believes the transport system will revolutionize how it builds and extracts new mineral deposits.

The equipment is made locally by Rail-Veyor Technologies Global Inc. It is one of many mining technologies developers hope will allow future production to be run almost entirely by people safely above ground.

Such advances may prove crucial as easy-to-exploit deposits run dry and miners drill deeper in more remote places to supply China, India and other emerging economies. The technology could make mining cheaper and safer, avoiding the need to dig wide tunnels and hire large numbers of expensive, skilled workers.

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Rio Tinto wants to reopen union deal in Quebec – by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – October 13, 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.

Rio Tinto Alcan is in talks with workers about reopening a nine-year collective agreement at its aging Arvida smelter in Quebec, as the company battles stubbornly low aluminum prices hit by a global commodities slowdown.

Montreal-based Rio Tinto Alcan, the aluminum division of parent Rio Tinto PLC, said it met on Thursday with representatives of the 1,500-strong Canadian Auto Workers union at Arvida and related facilities, for preliminary talks about how to cut costs at the smelter.

The meeting, expected to be the first of several over coming weeks, came just days after London-based Rio Tinto, the world’s third-biggest diversified miner, said it would delay new project approvals in the near term because the business outlook has become less certain than it was even a few months ago.

“There are a number of headwinds that we are dealing with, but certainly with the metal where it is, today it is just under $2,000 on the [London Metal Exchange], it’s a pretty challenging environment,” said company spokesman Bryan Tucker.

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Miners take a loss – by Star Staff (Sudbury Star – August 7, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Global mining companies’ multi-billion dollar spending plans will be under scrutiny in the coming weeks when Xstrata and others look set to post their first decline in profits since 2009, hit by falling prices and high costs.
Stubbornly high costs and the impact of softer demand on the price of key commodities like iron ore have squeezed margins. Brazil’s Vale posted its worst second-quarter result in two years, while Anglo American saw interim profits drop by more than a third.
With the impact of weaker prices largely factored in, analysts say they and investors will be focused instead on companies’ cost-cutting plans. In particular, they will be looking at the impact of a deteriorating environment on the timing of major projects like BHP’s $20 billion expansion plan for Port Hedland in Australia or Olympic Dam in South Australia, one of the world’s largest mines.
BHP has already backed away from an $80 billion five-year spending plan announced in 2011, and has since signalled it would review its project pipeline and focus on cutting costs.

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Re-igniting the Challenges of [Mining Sector] Sustainability – Should We Be Afraid? – by Sam Walsh: Rio Tinto Chief Executive, Iron Ore and Australia (Sydney, Australia – May 24, 2012)

Any discussion of sustainability really needs to grapple at its outset with some questions of definition.
What does the word really mean anyway?  It’s a word that has gained phenomenal currency in the past decade or two and, depending on its context, can take on quite different meanings and overtones.

We hear it uttered routinely by environmentalists, economists, biologists, politicians, lobby groups, bicycle salesmen, wind-farm proponents, purveyors of alternative medicines and even mining company executives.
In the hands of all these different people the word can be put to work almost as a banner or slogan for their particular cause.
The one thing they have in common is they’re all in favour of it. I can’t recall ever hearing someone attack the idea or imply sustainability is not something for which we should all be striving.
We hear and read that we need sustainable water supplies, food production, economic growth, employment, education systems, logging, energy sources, industries …

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Labrador’s iron ore goes global (Canadian Mining Journal – April 2012)

The Canadian Mining Journal is Canada’s first mining publication providing information on Canadian mining and exploration trends, technologies, operations, and industry events.

*Information for this article provided by the Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The world-class Labrador Trough iron mining district has long been a bastion of stability in the often uncertain world of mining.
Having produced more than 2 billion tonnes of ore over 50 years of continuous production, “The Trough” can claim a prominent place in the Canadian mining sector.
Currently, with new mine openings, major expansions at existing operations, and key port and rail upgrades, the district is being reinvigorated with investment capital from around the globe. In the current planning cycle, at least $15 billion of new investment in Labrador may be realized if projects advance to development.
At present, there are three iron ore operations located in the Labrador section of “The Trough:” Rio Tinto IOC (Carol Lake), Cliffs Natural Resources (Wabush Mines), and Labrador Iron Mines (Schefferville/Menihek DSO project).

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Ivanhoe CEO Loses in Rio ‘Chess Game’ Over Mongolia Mine – by Christopher Donville and Liezel Hill ( 0 April 19, 2012)

Twelve years after beginning his quest to build a copper mine in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, it’s checkmate for Robert Friedland.

Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. said yesterday the billionaire investor resigned as chief executive officer, along with other top executives at the Vancouver-based company. It said Rio Tinto Group agreed to ensure funding of the $6 billion Oyu Tolgoi project’s construction. The accord means Rio is free to appoint Ivanhoe’s management, cementing control of the company three months after increasing its stake to 51 percent.

“Friedland’s lost the chess game with Rio,” John Stephenson, a fund manager in Toronto who oversees about $2.7 billion at First Asset Investment Management, said in an interview.

Oyu Tolgoi — which means “turquoise hill” in Mongolian – – is just the latest of several chapters in the often controversial career of Friedland, who holds a 14 percent stake in Ivanhoe. A one-time mentor to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, Friedland, 61, has raised funds for mines in North America and Asia since the mid-1980s and led the C$4.3 billion ($4.3 billion) sale of the Voisey’s Bay nickel deposit in Canada in 1996. His next adventure may be developing mines in Africa.

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Iron ore producers undeterred by slowing growth in China – by Nicolas Johnson (Globe and Mail – March 21, 2012)

The 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 world’s largest miner may have sent a chill through global markets with a warning that growth in China’s steel output is slowing, but Canadian suppliers of iron ore have no plans to slow their expansion plans.

Rio Tinto Group, which controls Canada’s biggest producer of iron ore, a key ingredient in steel, said in a presentation that it’s continuing to build mines in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steel maker and the No. 4 producer of iron ore, is pursuing a $2.1-billion expansion in Quebec.

China is the world’s fastest-growing major economy and the biggest consumer of materials such as iron ore, coal, copper and gold – and prices for those products react to changes in the outlook for demand. That’s particularly important to Canada since companies that produce or process those commodities account for many of the listings on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the country’s main bourse.

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A Battle for Mongolia’s Copper Lode – by Alistair MacDonald (Wall Street Journal – February 22, 2012)

Billionaire Friedland on Defensive as Rio Tinto Grabs Controlling Stake in His Ivanhoe Mines.

TORONTO—Billionaire entrepreneur Robert Friedland built his fortune learning how to gain advantage over some of the world’s largest and most powerful mining companies. Today Mr. Friedland is finding that dealing with giants can be tricky sport.

At issue is ownership of resources buried deep in the Mongolian desert that are among the world’s largest unexploited gold and copper deposits—a development with estimated reserves of 81 billion pounds of copper and 46 million ounces of gold.

Mr. Friedland, the chief executive of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and one of the sector’s most colorful moguls, is on the back foot in a squabble with industry giant Rio Tinto PLC over Oyu Tolgoi, Ivanhoe’s massive copper-and-gold project in Mongolia.

Last month, Rio Tinto increased its ownership in Ivanhoe to 51%, a stake that gives it effective control of the Canadian miner without having paid a premium to other shareholders—a move that Ivanhoe CEO and founder Mr. Friedland had fought to prevent.

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Miners look to a future of automated operations – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – February 6, 2012)

The 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.

Most mines are already desolate, vast landscapes filled with the hum of haul trucks and only a few humans. But in years to come they will be even more deserted, as more companies find ways to run their operations from control centres thousands of kilometres away.

The industry’s ongoing efforts to increase automation are expected eventually to improve safety, increase production and lower maintenance costs. Remote operations could also ease labour shortages by moving hard-to-fill jobs in the middle of nowhere to more desirable urban centres.

So far the technology is only being tested by a few big-name mining companies, and it’s too soon to tell just how much money it will save, particularly when expenditures are a closely guarded secret.

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CIDA funds seen to be subsidizing mining firms – by Daniel LeBlanc (Globe and Mail – January 30, 2012)

The 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.

OTTAWA— The Harper government weathered a storm when it cut funding to long-standing foreign-aid groups, but is now facing more controversy over its decision to launch development projects in partnership with mining firms.

The Canadian International Development Agency has established three foreign-aid pilot projects in Africa and South America with large mining corporations, as part of a plan to ensure that foreign aid also fuels economic growth and international trade at home.

Critics argue that Canada is needlessly subsidizing the foreign operations of profitable corporations, but the government is encouraging non-governmental organizations to come up with more projects with the private sector.

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Bonuses attracting skilled workers – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – December, 2011)


Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

Playing favourites

Backed by a driving soundtrack, the commercial starts with a swooping aerial shot of the Cana­dian wilderness, the narrative alternating slow-motion shots of young people hard at work with massive machines biting chunks out of the rugged Canadian landscape.

And then comes the voiceover: “Canada: a country rich in natural resources. Rio Tinto: a global leader with over a century of experience in transforming these resources for the products we all need.”

It’s slick, it’s seductive, and it’s modern: this is recruitment in 2011.

Rio Tinto is currently undergoing a nationwide recruitment campaign to fill the hundreds of positions available with its company. Aside from the TV spot, which recently reached more than 5,000 views on YouTube, the company is using social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, along with a dedicated recruitment website, to attract the right applicants.

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World’s Largest Miners [Rio Tinto, BHP-Biliton and Vale] like Potash – by Richard (Rick) Mills ( – November, 2011)

Richard Mills is host of and invests in the junior resource sector.

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information 

Miners are looking to enter the potash business, or expand existing operations, as they look for increased demand from developing nations such as China, India and Brazil. 

BHP Billiton – In the spring of 1869 a German Chemist named Charles Rasp immigrated to Australia for his health. Unable to find work in his chosen trade Charles learned to ride a horse and began wrangling sheep. One day, while out riding his horse at Broken Hill, he discovered mineralized rock. He took out a mining lease, punched holes in the ground and eventually found rich veins of silver. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company – BHP – was incorporated in 1885 while mining silver and lead at Broken Hill in western New South Wales. 

Billiton was a mining company that got its start in September 1860 when the articles of association were approved by a meeting of shareholders in the Groot Keizerhof Hotel in The Hague, Netherlands. Shortly afterwards the company acquired the mineral rights to the tin-rich islands of Banka and Billiton off the eastern coast of Sumatra. 

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Will mines get [Michigan] state’s riches for a paltry sum? – by Tina Lam (Detroit Free Press – November 28, 2011)

Detroit Free Press

Part 2 of 2

Critics — and even a key state agency — say the state isn’t getting enough in exchange for the wealth of minerals about to be extracted from the Upper Peninsula.

The state has no severance tax on minerals, as it does on oil, gas and iron mines. The tax is a way to repay Michigan citizens for the value of underground resources removed forever from the state. The state also doesn’t auction mineral leases, as it does for oil and gas.

And finally, the state is getting only paltry sums from its future mines in fees and bonds for permits, potential cleanup costs and oversight.

Financial loopholes in mining are costing the state, some say

When Kennecott Eagle Minerals applied for a permit for its new mine near Big Bay, it paid what state law requires for its application fee: $5,000.

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Rio Tinto hiring hundreds of workers in Canada because of modernization projects – by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press (Winnipeg Free Press – September 27, 2011)

MONTREAL – A couple of years after it laid off 14,000 workers around the world, global mining giant Rio Tinto has launched a mini hiring spree in Canada, mainly due to its modernization projects.

The Anglo-Australian company is actively searching to hire more than 210 workers for mining and manufacturing in alumina, aluminum, iron ore, diamonds and titanium dioxide.

“We launched the campaign to help our ongoing recruitment efforts for our modernization and expansion projects,” Rio Tinto spokesman Bryan Tucker said in an email. Rio Tinto employs more than 13,000 people at 35 sites in Canada.

The company has turned to Facebook and YouTube, posting a four-minute promotional video showing operations such as the Diavik Diamond Mine, Iron Ore Company of Canada, Rio Tinto, Fer et Titane, and Rio Tinto Alcan.


Daniel Jaeb is an Underground Miner at Diavik Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories. Local, northern and Aboriginal, he received training and certification in underground mining through the North’s Mine Training Society. He enjoys the many pastimes that come with living in Canada’s North.

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