Archive | Zinc, Lead and Tin

Column: No relief for zinc shorts as London squeeze rolls on – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – May 30, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – The London zinc market is in the grip of the most protracted and acute squeeze in 30 years. On the London Metal Exchange (LME), the benchmark spread — the difference between the cash price and that for three-month delivery — flexed as wide as $161 per tonne this week before closing on Wednesday at $149.

If you want a historic precedent, you’ll have to go back as far as 1989. A flash squeeze in 1997 saw the cash-to-threes spread hit $263 but it was over in a matter of weeks. Only the rolling tightness of the late 1980s bears any comparison to current market dynamics.

Then, as now, the core issue was low stocks in the LME warehousing system. Inventory was less than 1,000 tonnes at one stage in 1988, although it was a very different market back then. Continue Reading →

Uganda’s tungsten mine sues International Tin Association for defamation – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – May 28, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – An owner of Uganda’s only tungsten mine is suing the International Tin Association for defamation, saying the certifier wrongly accused it of trading in conflict minerals, court documents seen by Reuters show.

The association’s International Tin Supply Chain Initiative (ITSCI) program, used by companies such as Apple, was introduced after the 2008 financial crisis to certify minerals in response to regulation which obliged U.S. companies to vet their supply chains.

The International Tin Association’s Kay Nimmo, who leads the ITSCI program, said in an email she had no immediate comment. Continue Reading →

The ‘hidden costs’ of striking the Lincoln cent – by Chris Bulfinch (Coin World – May 15, 2019)

https://www.coinworld.com/

Most recent studies suggest that the Lincoln cent is wasteful. Contemporary analyses suggest that it costs several times a cent’s face value to produce, and most consumers find them a nuisance. But is there a hidden cost behind the continued production of the cent? Climate scientists think so.

According to an article published by the Smithsonian and research by students at the University of California Davis, production of the cent produces considerable greenhouse gas emissions and other toxic waste.

The current cent’s alloy, 95 percent zinc plated with 5 percent copper requires mining both materials in massive quantities. Each ton of copper produced releases 2.45 tons of carbon dioxide, one of the gases that causes climate change, and each ton of zinc produced releases .58 tons of the same, according to the scientists. Continue Reading →

Glory to ghost; the 25-year NWT zinc town – by A.J. Roan (North of 60 Mining News – April 26, 2019)

https://www.miningnewsnorth.com/

Like many single-industry towns, once the well dries up, people seek greener pastures. However, the residents of a place many probably have never even heard of hold on to the remnants of their past. For them, it was an important and irreplaceable land, it was their home.

Pine Point, Northwest Territories, was a town located 10 kilometers (6 miles) inland from the south shore of Great Slave Lake and 87 kilometers (54 miles) east of Hay River. Cominco Ltd. (now Teck Resources Ltd.) explored the area around Pine Point as early as 1929 but it wouldn’t be for at least thirty years until development would begin and the plans for a settlement established. Production started in 1965.

Cominco built its own townsite which became known as Pine Point. It became a territorial settlement with private businesses and boasted a population of nearly 2,000 at its peak. By the mid-1980s depressed prices caused economic difficulties for the mine. Cominco shut down operations in the summer of 1987, although it continued to mill until the following spring. Continue Reading →

New job for former Vale boss – by Staff (Sudbury Star – April 10, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Ricus Grimbeek didn’t say unemployed for long. Grimbeek, who left suddenly in February as Vale’s chief operating officer, North Atlantic operations and Asian refineries, is now president and chief executive officer of Trevali Mining Corporation. Grimbeek was with Vale for less than a year.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ricus Grimbeek as Trevali’s president and CEO,” Jessica McDonald, chair of the board, said in a release. “Ricus brings extensive global experience to Trevali, both as a corporate executive and as a mine operator, and has a proven track record of operating safe and efficient businesses with a focus on asset optimization and strong cost performance.

“He combines deep knowledge of mining processes and technology, and decades of hands-on global mining experience, with a progressive approach to mining that places a high priority on safety, sustainability and responsibility. Continue Reading →

Top 10 Deepest Mines In The World: Most Of Them Are Gold Mines – by Vikas Shukla (Value Walk.com – April 10, 2019)

https://www.valuewalk.com/

South Africa is home to eight of the world’s top 10 deepest mines. The country has been one of the world’s largest gold producers for decades, even though gold production there has been declining in recent years. A mine is an artificially made pit from where minerals and other resources are extracted. The depth of a mine represents the elevation from the entrance to the deepest excavation point.

The ranking below includes only operational mines, not the ones that are no longer in operation. For instance, the Empire Mine in California has a depth of 2.08 miles, but it’s no longer in operation. Similarly, the Kolar Gold Fields in India, which was 2 miles deep, was shut down in 2001 due to low levels of output after producing gold for centuries.

When they run out of minerals at existing levels, mining companies prefer to go deeper in existing mines to extract more minerals instead of digging a new mine. Continue Reading →

Column: LME zinc running on empty as stocks keep falling – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – March 19, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Another 100 tonnes of zinc were loaded out of the London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouse system on Monday. It wasn’t the most dramatic of moves but sufficient to reduce LME stocks to a fresh 12-year low of 58,325 tonnes – less than two days’ worth of global consumption and within touching distance of this century’s nadir of 58,100 tonnes recorded in October 2007.

Such desperately low inventory has rekindled zinc’s bull flames. The LME three-month price rose to an eight-month high of $2,882 per tonne last week, up 18 percent this year, before easing slightly to current levels of $2,800.

Time spreads remain tight and volatile but the premium for cash metal has so far failed to attract anything more than a smattering of fresh deliveries. The persistent tightness of LME stocks is forcing a collective rethink about the outlook for zinc, particularly the much anticipated shift to supply surplus. Continue Reading →

HISTORY & CULTURE: ‘The industrial revolution started here’ – by Vangmayi Parakala (The Hindu – March 15, 2019)

https://www.thehindu.com/

The 2019 Colonel James Tod Awardee, British Musem’s Dr. Paul Craddock talks of early metallurgy in Rajasthan, and how it influenced Europe

At sunset, below the ramparts of the Udaipur City Palace, the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF) recognised service towards nation-building, art, conservation, and culture with their 37th annual awards ceremony this weekend. Along with former ISRO chair Dr. Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan as chief guest, the MMCF’s chairman, ‘Maharana’ Arvind Singh Mewar, presented the honours.

The foundation has 13 instituted awards, of which the Colonel James Tod Award recognises a foreign national’s service or contribution to the country in line with the “spirit and values of Mewar”. Dr. Paul T. Craddock, a scientist attached to the British Museum, was this year’s recipient.

Craddock has been studying early metallurgy in India, especially in the Zawar region, a mining township about 40 kilometres from Udaipur. Previous recipients of this award include journalist Sir Mark Tully and author V.S. Naipaul. Continue Reading →

Column: China’s supercharged imports fail to stir lead market – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – March 5, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – China imported 128,000 tonnes of refined lead last year, bringing the two-year cumulative total to 206,000 tonnes. The only precedent for this pace of import was 2009, when China soaked up 157,000 tonnes of refined lead.

It’s a problematic comparison though, given lead prices and arbitrage were distorted back then by the global financial crisis and Beijing’s resulting rush to support its own producers. The import surge dried up in 2010 and China became a net exporter of refined lead to the rest of the world over the 2013-2016 period.

The scale of imports since then is a clear sign there is a real physical shortfall in China, normally the sort of narrative to excite metals bulls. This being lead, however, you’d be hard pushed to discern even the faintest flicker of bullish enthusiasm in either the Shanghai or London futures markets. Continue Reading →

Column: As price hits seven-month highs, it may be time to rethink zinc – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – February 6, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Zinc has been on the climb this year, defying broader macroeconomic gloom and a previous consensus that its bull run was well and truly over.

Funds are creeping back into the market on the long side and LME broker Marex Spectron estimates speculators held a collective net long of 7 percent of open interest last Friday.

On the London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month zinc hit a seven-month high of $2,810 a tonne on Tuesday. It retraced to $2,715 on Wednesday morning but is still the second-strongest performer among the core base metals this year with a gain of 13 percent. Only nickel has fared better. Continue Reading →

[Zinc] The conditions are ripe for a spike in the price of this metal – here’s how to invest – by Dominic Frisby (Money Week – January 23, 2019)

Money Week

Zinc is the subject of today’s Money Morning. We consider the metal, its uses, the state of the market – and we end with some possible ways to play the market, including two speculative miners. Why zinc specifically? Because there is a potential shortfall in supply which could lead to a spike in the price.

Why is zinc in the doldrums?

Let’s start with the metal itself. After iron, copper and aluminium, zinc is the fourth most used metal in the world. Its main use is in the construction industry: the frames of buildings, bridges, roofs, staircases, beams and piping all contain zinc. A coating of zinc over iron or steel protects the metal beneath from rusting.

It is also used in alloys (brass and bronze), in compounds with a range of applications, particularly in batteries – from everyday AAs and AAAs to silver-zinc batteries in aerospace – and, increasingly, in fertiliser. Continue Reading →

Five base metal projects underway in the Yukon – by Brian Sylvester (Northern Miner – January 9, 2019)

Northern Miner

Mining chatter in the Yukon these days is all about the yellow metal. It’s been that way for at least 10 years, according to geologist Mike Burke, who spent more than 20 years working for the Yukon Geological Survey before moving to the private sector.

“People were having a hard time in 2008, and then along came Kinross and bought Underworld Resources. That started an area play,” Burke recalls. Now headlines echo the shift toward the Yukon’s second gold rush. Victoria Gold (TSXV: VIT) is hurriedly building Eagle, the biggest gold mine in the history of the territory.

Goldcorp (TSX: G; NYSE: GG), fresh on the heels of a recent agreement with the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation, is seeking to wrap up permitting this year at the 5 million oz. Coffee gold project, which should reach commercial production by 2021, in the White Gold district. Continue Reading →

Hudbay Minerals’ exit from historic Manitoba mining town puts 800 jobs in peril – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – November 30, 2018)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Hudbay Minerals Inc. says it will close its mine in Flin Flon, Man. in 2021, ending hopes it would maintain a threadbare workforce in the town where it employed more than 800 people.

In a memo this week, Robert Assabgui, vice-president of Hudbay’s Manitoba Business Unit, told employees the company had hoped to keep the zinc plant operational, but can’t find enough ore to make it feasible.

“Despite a lot of work over the past few years, the most likely scenario is that mining operations will cease in Flin Flon in 2021,” Assabgui wrote in the memo, also sent to the Financial Post. “As a result, the Flin Flon mill will also cease operations.” Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Zinc market enters period of peak tightness – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – November 20, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) – The London zinc market is experiencing unprecedented tightness this week. As of Monday’s close, the London Metal Exchange’s (LME) benchmark cash-to-three-months spread CMZN0-3 was valued at a backwardation of $97 per tonne.

The cash premium is now higher than the last spike in October 2017 with the only historical comparison the years 2006-2007, when LME stocks were also super low and the outright price hit an all-time high of $4,580 per tonne. Fast forward a decade and the LME three-month price is currently treading water around $2,600, a long way off its February high of $3,600 per tonne.

This dissonance between spreads and price is a manifestation of the greater financialisation of the zinc market over the intervening decade with fund money a more powerful price driver. And funds have been playing zinc from the short side since February, catching the unwary in a biting bear trap. Continue Reading →

PHOTOS: Dust And Danger For Adults — And Kids — In Bolivia’s Mines – by Jake Harper (KNPR.org – November 17, 2018)

https://knpr.org/

Working in Bolivia’s mines is a family business. That’s what Italian photographer Simone Francescangeli saw when he traveled to the city of Potosí of about 250,000 to document the daily lives of miners.

They’re part of a centuries-old enterprise to extract silver, tin, zinc and gold from the mountains. He was struck by the harsh and sometimes dangerous conditions the miners work in — and by the number of children he saw working in the mines. Some were teenagers. One youngster said he was 11 years old.

In Potosí, many children work in mines, often joining their fathers or other family members in the tunnels when they’re not in school, says Andrea Marston, a researcher at University of California, Berkeley who studies Bolivian mining cooperatives. The money they earn allows them to play a part in supporting their families. Continue Reading →