Archive | Zinc, Lead and Tin

Glencore inventory sale could sink world zinc prices further – by Eric Onstad (Reuter U.S. – September 18, 2015)

LONDON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Substantial amounts of base metal zinc could be released onto world markets, weighing further on fast falling prices, as major producer Glencore implements a plan to liquidate some of its commodity inventories to help pay off debt.

The overhang of inventories in London Metal Exchange (LME) storage facilities, which has surged more than 40 percent since early August, has wrong-footed investors who had earlier this year targeted zinc as a top bet in metals due to closures of big mines that would create shortages.

Zinc, mainly used to galvanize steel to protect against rust in autos and construction, has slumped from being one of the best performing industrial metals earlier in the year to one of the worst due to the inventory change.

“It’s been a big shock to the market, this massive flood into the LME warehouses,” said Stephen Briggs, metals strategist at BNP Paribas.

But mining and trading company Glencore may add further to a plentiful supply situation after announcing a raft of measures to slash its net debt of $30 billion. Continue Reading →

Friedland: Mining companies ‘priced for Armageddon’ – by Lesley Stokes (Northern Miner – August 18, 2015)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.

VANCOUVER — The vanguard executive chairman of Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN; US-OTC: IVPAF), Robert Friedland, took to the stage at the Sprott Natural Resource Symposium in Vancouver in late July, and delivered a relaxed speech discussing why he believes copper is set to rebound in two to three years.

“The further you push the price down, the higher it’ll bounce,” he said, predicting that higher environmental standards in China may strengthen the demand for copper, in tow with other “green” metals such as zinc, platinum and palladium.

He said that China will “try very hard” to double its growth to 6% or 7% through sustainable development, but he’s dubious whether the current world supply will match the metal needed to clean China’s air and fertilize its soils.

He describes many of the great copper mines as “little old ladies, kept on life support and waiting to die,” whereas others are so low grade “they’re practically mining air” and kept alive by favourable currency exchange rates. Continue Reading →

Zinc, nickel add a little lustre to Diggers – by Tess Ingram (Sydney Morning Herald – August 4, 2015)

As Diggers and Dealers delegates rolled in for day two of the annual mining conference, heavy heads from a late night in Kalgoorlie’s famous watering holes were unlikely to be relieved by an injection of optimism.

Commodity prices are down across the board. Since last year’s conference, base metals are down between 20 and 40 per cent, while gold is down about 15 per cent and iron ore has plummeted nearly 50 per cent during the year.

Australian domiciled gold producers, buoyed by the falling local currency, are a shining centre of attention at the conference but there are some other bright spots.

Despite a recent price slide that has forced some analysts to downgrade their price forecasts, zinc-focused companies at the conference attracted a considerable level of interest from analysts and investors at their marquee booths.

Zinc for delivery in three months has fallen to around $US1893 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. Continue Reading →

Some Robert Friedland riffs: The “miner’s miner” talks commodities, jurisdictions, markets and majors – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – July 29, 2015)

Getting back to commodities, he argues that Saudis killed the Alberta oilsands
and devastated U.S. shale “but no one can do that to copper.” Friedland
dismisses some copper miners as “little old ladies waiting to die,” saying
some grades fall so low that companies are “practically mining air.”
(Robert Freidland)

A “miner’s miner” was how Rick Rule introduced Robert Friedland. The founder and executive chairperson of Ivanhoe Mines TSX:IVN also serves as executive chair of the Sprott-Stansberry Natural Resource Symposium in Vancouver, where he delivered the opening day’s keynote speech on July 28. That was the original plan, anyway. Instead, a relaxed-looking Friedland eschewed a script to sit back and, in response to questions posed by Rule, discuss commodities, jurisdictional risk, markets and the problem with the majors.

Friedland’s favourite metals? They’re currently copper, platinum, palladium and zinc—stuff for which he sees bright futures and, not surprisingly, the stuff he’s currently pursuing. He also likes diamonds but considers himself “an agnostic on gold.”

“Copper is the metal if you believe in human advancement,” Friedland says. “Gold is the opposite.” Meanwhile this market has either hit bottom “or it’s the end of the world.” He says he’s never seen such a severe devaluation, with stocks “priced for Armageddon.” Continue Reading →

Selwyn-Chihong Mining eyes upgrade to N.W.T. road to Yukon mine – by Guy Quenneville (CBC News North – July 7, 2015)

‘It’s our only viable access route into the mine site,’ says Doug Reeve

A Chinese-owned company that’s developing a Yukon lead-zinc mining project wants to spend between $35 million and $45 million upgrading a crucial N.W.T. access road to the mine.

Selwyn-Chihong Mining, a Canadian subsidiary of Yunnan Chihong Zinc and Germanium Co., is applying to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board for permits that would allow the company to convert a narrow and windy access road cutting through multiple areas of the N.W.T. into a two-lane service road capable of handling regular and heavy truckloads during the mine’s construction and operation.

“It’s our only viable access route into the mine site,” said Doug Reeve, Selwyn-Chihong’s manager of permitting. “If we don’t have that permitted, it will be very difficult, of course, to develop a mine site.”

The 79-kilometre gravel road was originally built in the late 1970s to access mineral deposits but fell into disrepair until Selwyn-Chihong spent around $13.5 million in 2014 to install bridges and convert the road into a single-lane all-season road. Continue Reading →

Building permit approved for $50M underground mine in B.C. – by Dirk Meissner (Canadian Press/CTV News – June 29, 2015)

VICTORIA – British Columbia has approved a construction permit for a proposed $50-million silver, lead and zinc mine just south of the Yukon border after the project’s economic and environmental plans helped win support from an area First Nation.

Mines Minister Bill Bennett said Monday that the underground Silvertip mine could create up to 200 jobs and could be in operation for more than 20 years. Vancouver-based JDS Silver Inc., said once it receives the necessary permits, it plans to operate about 150 days a year and shut down in the winter months.

The mine, located about 90 kilometres southwest of Watson Lake, Yukon, has been of interest to several mining proposals since the 1950s due to the high-grade lead-silver-zinc deposit.

Bennett said the company can immediately start building and that the operation will produce a smaller environmental footprint than other larger mines in B.C.’s northwest.

He said it will be an underground operation so much of its ore tailings will be stored below ground. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Zinc’s infinitely stretchable deficit deadline – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – June 12, 2015)

(Reuters) – All mining activities at the giant Century zinc mine in Australia will have ceased by the end of this month.

News that will be greeted with relief by believers in the zinc deficit story, who have had to watch Century’s operator MMG push back the fateful closure date many times in the past.

Century has become totemic of zinc’s bull narrative of looming shortfall as some of the world’s biggest mines come to the end of their natural lives without obvious like-for-like replacements.

The resulting raw materials crunch, the bull argument runs, will force prices up to a level needed to incentivise new supply.

It’s a tantalising prospect for a market that has seen only fleeting rallies based on the unreliable signals coming from stock movements on the London Metal Exchange (LME).

Right now the price for three-month delivery on the LME is trading just above $2,100 per tonne, bang in the middle of the broad $1,800-2,400 range in which zinc has been trapped for the last three years. Continue Reading →

Belgium’s ‘mining Monaco’ looks fondly on anarchic past after Waterloo – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – June 11, 2015)

KELMIS, BELGIUM – As the field of Waterloo is dressed in battle colors to mark next week’s 200th anniversary, another corner of Belgium is preparing for a less warlike bicentenary.

In one of the more arcane consequences of the new European borders that followed Napoleon’s defeat outside Brussels, a tiny statelet was born. For a century after Waterloo, the square mile that diplomats named Neutral Moresnet, on the present-day Belgian-German border, thrived in a state of virtual anarchy.

Today’s inhabitants of what is now part of the Belgian town of Kelmis fondly recount a largely lawless but prosperous history of freewheeling independence and are gearing up for their own bicentenary celebrations next year.

“We are very proud of the town’s past, particularly its ability to manage its own economy,” said alderman Erik Janssen. “The history of Kelmis is a fundamental part of the history of Belgium.” Continue Reading →

Zinc price to struggle as more output, stocks expected – by Eric Onstad (Reuters Africa – June 4, 2015)

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) – Zinc prices are likely to struggle in the short term, weighed down by a more plentiful supply situation than forecast.

More inventories are due to move into LME warehouses while two mine operations will produce more than expected despite well-flagged closures, analysts and industry sources said.

Zinc is one of the best performing metals on the London Metal Exchange (LME) and has been a favourite of investors in recent years due to the prospect of shortages developing because of the shutdowns of major mines.

Benchmark LME zinc surged by a fifth during the six weeks to May 5, when it hit an eight-month peak of $2,404.50 a tonne, but has since given up about half of those gains.

Some analysts are concerned about more flows of inventories into LME warehouses after 36,400 tonnes arrived in Malaysian depots on May 19, the biggest one-day inflow in over a year. Continue Reading →

Nothing dull about zinc if supply falls – by Trevor Sykes (Australian Financial Review – June 1, 2015)

Zinc was the hot tip at the Resources Investment Symposium held in Broken Hill last week.

Probably a natural call given that Broken Hill is home to the greatest silver-lead-zinc mine the world has ever known.

In its 130-year life Broken Hill has produced total of 50 million tonnes of lead and zinc combined plus 100 million ounces of silver. It has been mined almost continuously over that time and still has a long life ahead at deeper levels and in exploiting remnant ore.

In his opening address at the symposium, Emeritus Professor Ian Plimer of the University of Melbourne noted that the market for mining shares had been slow and sluggish for the past four years.

He said: “This market will turn around when there is a fundamental commodity shortage and I think that commodity will be zinc. I think we will go into shortage in the first quarter of next year.” It was a big call, because as far as investors are concerned, zinc is the least sexy of all the major metals.

At various times, investors have been excited about diamonds, gold, copper, oil and nickel, but some minerals just don’t seem capable of arousing them. Mineral sands are a good example. Australia is rich in them, but the market is never much better than lukewarm. Continue Reading →

Dig Into New Jersey’s Mining History at Sterling Hill – by Brian Glaser (May 18, 2015)

New Jersey is famously The Garden State, but as far back as its Colonial days it also was a major North American mining center. The Sterling Hill Mining Museum, about an hour north of Essex County, lets families to dig into this important part of the state’s history.

Located in Ogdensburg, Sterling Hill is the site of a zinc mine that is one of the oldest in the U.S., operating from the early 1700’s until it closed in 1986. It was converted into a museum in 1990, and the good news is that it’s not just an abandoned hole in the ground you can walk through—the Sterling Hill folks converted the mine into a real museum and offer an experience that’s fun and educational.

Most days at 1pm, Sterling Hill offers a guided tour that’s 2-plus hours long and includes an exhibit of vintage mining equipment equipment and minerals from around the world, followed by a walk inside the actual mine—where it’s always a cool and comfy 56 degrees! (Group tours can be booked, too.)

The entrance to the mine immerses you in the sights, sounds and overall feel of NJ’s mining days, and the museum has historical equipment and mannequin miners set up in key points throughout the tunnels. Continue Reading →

Bathurst Mining Camp construction moves forward in New Brunswick – by DCN NEWS SERVICES (Daily Commerical News – May 13, 2015)

BATHURST, N.B.—A Vancouver-based company is moving forward with construction and re-start activities at its mine and mill complex located in the Bathurst Mining Camp of northeastern New Brunswick.

“As we are about to begin production at our Caribou Mine here in the Bathurst Mining Camp, we are very appreciative of the support for the new fiber-optic data and communications infrastructure,” said Mark Cruise, president and CEO of Trevali Mining Corp.

“The initiative allowed us to maintain our operational schedule for the mine where about 300 people are currently employed.”

Trevali is a zinc-focused, base metals mining company, which owns the Caribou mine and mill, the Halfmile mine and Stratmat deposit all located in the Bathurst Mining Camp.

The company is currently advancing its 3,000 tonne per day Caribou mill complex and mine, which is located 45 kilometres (km) west of Bathurst, in Restigouche County. Continue Reading →

Zinc bull story to keep rolling – by Kip Keen ( – April 22, 2015)

Base metal is full of surprises (and not always good).

Zinc has started to show signs of life again. In recent weeks the spot price of zinc crossed over $1/lb, up from a one-year low around 0.90/lb.

It seems the prospect of a growing zinc deficit is back in play. The notion of zinc deficit, long forecast by analysts and base metal miners, has already created one false dawn.

With such a deficit in mind, zinc fever caught the market in late 2013 and persisted to mid 2014, driving the price from near $0.80/lb to around C$1.10. LME zinc stocks had peaked after all and begun to fall. Yet eventually so did the price of zinc.

The market realised it may have gushed and rushed on zinc a little early. There was the fact that the stocks were really quite high to begin with, so they would take time to shrink.

Indeed they’re still shrinking and are about half the early 2013 peak. So zinc came back down to earth, plumbing $0.90 this year. Now, the question is, with zinc surging again is this time any different? Continue Reading →

Yukon Zinc granted creditor protection after mine closure (CBC News North – March 19, 2015)

Yukon Conservation Society concerned about $3 million environmental security owed by Wolverine Mine

Yukon Zinc has been granted creditor protection by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, nearly three months after closing the Wolverine Mine, located north of Watson Lake.

The company owes more than $646 million to hundreds of creditors, but documents listed with PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. show that most of the debt is owed to its parent company, JinDui Cheng Canada Resource Corporation Limited, which has a head office in Vancouver.

About $50 million is owed to businesses in and outside Yukon including Alkan Air, Air North, P.S. Sidhu Trucking, Northern Industrial Sales and Small’s Expediting Services. The Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, which Yukon Zinc is protected under, is a federal law that basically gives a company time to try to work out its financial difficulties with its creditors.

In this situation, Yukon Zinc says its creditors are required to continuing providing goods and services to the mine in accordance with existing agreements. Invoices after March 13 will be paid in full by the company, but invoices before that date “cannot be paid.” Continue Reading →

PDAC 2015: Scotiabank’s Patricia Mohr predicts only ‘modest’ recovery (Northern Miner – March 17, 2015)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.

Zinc is Mohr’s number one pick, and she forecasts prices will move up to US$1.50 per lb. in 2016.
Copper, she says, will remain flat at about US$2.75 per lb. for the next two years, but longer
term should reach US$3.50 per lb. She estimates the nickel price will reach about US$10.55 per lb.
in 2016. “I think nickel will do exceptionally well,” she predicts, “and Sudbury is going to come
back into its own in 2016.” (Patricia Mohr, Scotiabank Vice President Economics)

Commodity prices as of January this year have fallen below the previous recessionary lows of early 2009, and are now at levels not seen since January 2007, Patricia Mohr, vice president economics at Scotiabank, said during a presentation at the recent Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto.

China’s massive infrastructure spending program helped lift commodity prices in 2009, but the latest dip in prices, Mohr says, is mostly due to “a fight for market share” in a very lackluster global economy. The world is entering its fourth year when global GDP growth has been just a little over 3% per annum, she warns.

“I’m beginning to realize that 3% per annum — while it is enough to turn over the global economy — it’s not high enough to really put any momentum behind global commodity prices and markets,” she says. “And when you get some capacity expansion, for example, such as in copper, and massive expansion in iron ore, and huge expansion in oil production from U.S. shales, all of this is occurring in a very lackluster market around the world, and leading prices lower.” Continue Reading →