‘Obsession’ with world class assets leads Barrick Gold where others fear to tread – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – November 7, 2019)


Barrick Gold Corp. chief executive Mark Bristow pledged to continue exploring in West Africa and Latin America, even as a “rising tide of resource nationalism” has scared away other mining companies who see too much risk there.

“If you want to focus on world class assets, which is our stated objective, and my obsession, asset quality always overrides jurisdiction,” Bristow told the Financial Post on Wednesday when the company reported its third quarter earnings.

The reason why so many mining companies run into problems in emerging economies is because they’re unwilling to share benefits from mining with the local community, he said. Continue Reading →

Attack on Canadian miner in Burkina Faso threatens gold’s final frontier – by David Lewis, Helen Reid and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters Canada – November 7, 2019)


NAIROBI/JOHANNESBURG/LONDON (Reuters) – As jihadists wreaked ever more havoc in the last two years, mining firms in Burkina Faso rolled out extra security measures, from barracks for government troops protecting them to safe rooms for workers behind barbed wire and mounds.

Expatriates generally fly in and out, while local staff still drive but in guarded convoys. That has added millions of dollars to security costs for foreign companies, mainly from Canada and Australia, operating in the West African nation where industrial miners are forecast to produce 60 tonnes of gold this year.

Yet this week’s attack on a convoy ferrying hundreds of local employees and contractors from a mine owned by Canada’s Semafo (SMF.TO) has exposed how vulnerable firms still are. At least 37 civilians died, with another 60 injured and dozens more feared missing. Continue Reading →

Baffinland ‘must significantly change its approach,’ Qamaniq says – by Derek Neary (Nunavut News – November 7, 2019)


With public hearings for Baffinland Iron Mines’ proposed expansion of its Mary River mine taking place in Iqaluit, Tununiq MLA David Qaminiq told his colleagues in the legislative assembly that the mining company has more work to do to gain the trust of Inuit.

He suggested on Wednesday that the company should have been more forthcoming about its full plans from its early days.

“Rather than providing a complete picture of the full scope of the project and its ultimate impact on the region, the incremental or ‘phased’ approach to requesting change after change after change has only served to cause confusion and frustration,” said Qaminiq. Continue Reading →

Miners face ‘tsunami’ on environmental, social, governance front – by David Perri (Northern Miner – October 23, 2019)

Global mining news

The next generation of mining leaders will arrive with a “tsunami” of environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns, says Claudia Mueller, associate director of the Global Mining Management program at the Schulich School of Business.

Mueller joined a panel of experts in October to discuss ESG issues at The Northern Miner’s third annual Progressive Mine Forum in Toronto. In recent years, she has seen a “tremendous increase” in questions about ESG from the youth who will run tomorrow’s mining companies.

ESG criteria is a set of operating standards used by socially conscious investors to screen potential investments concerning stewardship of the natural environment, stakeholder management (including local communities, employees and suppliers) and corporate governance (compensation, internal controls, shareholder rights, etc.). Continue Reading →

OPINION: The Trans Mountain expansion is nation-building, pure and simple – by Victor Dodig (Globe and Mail – November 8, 2019)


Victor Dodig is chief executive officer of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Canada’s energy sector is our country’s “family business.” Even if we don’t work in it, we benefit from it economically and socially – and have for generations. The industry supports more than 800,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country, as well as vital social services such as health care and education.

In 2018 alone, the sector contributed $167-billion to Canada’s GDP; that’s more than the financial services and insurance industries combined. Today, we have a chance to build on this legacy and compete globally to support our country’s future prosperity.

Yet, it can feel as though we’re competing with ourselves. The family business has fallen on tough times, and it’s hurting all Canadians. As with any family, we must come together to find a solution. Let’s begin with two important truths. Continue Reading →

Environmental assessment of proposed Nova Scotia gold mine paused as feds seek more info – by Frances Willick (CBC News Nova Scotia – November 7, 2019)


Atlantic Gold’s environmental impact statement did not meet requirements, federal agency says

The federal agency responsible for conducting environmental assessments has paused its work on a proposed Nova Scotia gold mine, saying Atlantic Gold’s environmental impact statement for the Fifteen Mile Stream project does not meet the requirements.

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) notified Atlantic Mining NS Corp. — a subsidiary of Atlantic Gold — on Monday that the company must submit a revised environmental impact statement before the assessment process can resume.

Atlantic Gold wants to develop a 280-hectare open-pit gold mine about 30 kilometres north of Sheet Harbour, N.S. It already runs Touquoy, the province’s only currently operating gold mine. Continue Reading →

B.C. should demand miners pay cleanup costs up front: Indigenous study (Canadian Press/CTV News – November 7, 2019)


VANCOUVER — A report is urging British Columbia to get better financial guarantees that mining companies will pay for the mess they make. The First Nations who commissioned the study say that if the government doesn’t do it, they will.

“There’s clearly a recognition by the government and the courts that we have ownership and lands and we have jurisdiction and authority,” said Allen Edzerza of the B.C. First Nations Energy and Mining Council. “What this report is suggesting is that maybe they should exercise some of that authority.”

The province is reviewing the rules by which it ensures that taxpayers aren’t stuck with the costs of cleaning up or caring for abandoned mines. The report points to several recent examples of the government being left to pay the costs, including at least $500,000 at one old gold mine. Continue Reading →

Barrick’s dividend boost looks like a harbinger for the normally tightfisted gold industry – by Justina Vasquez (Bloomberg/Financial Post – November 7, 2019)


Bullion giant Barrick Gold Corp. pleasantly surprised the market by raising its dividend 25 per cent. Will the move portend a new era of largess from the normally tightfisted gold miners?

There are certainly reasons for investors to be hopeful. Producers have been striving to cut costs and consolidate operations, while the price of gold has climbed over 20 per cent in the past year to hover around US$1,500 an ounce. Barrick’s move Wednesday was echoed a few hours later when Canadian rival Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. raised its quarterly payout 50 per cent. B2Gold Corp. preceded both by announcing its first-ever dividend a day earlier.

“The companies are positioned to start to pay dividends and give more back to shareholders,” Joe Foster, a portfolio manager and strategist at VanEck, said by phone Wednesday. Continue Reading →

Barrick CEO Bristow Sees Long-Term Potential for Freeport Tie-Up – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – November 6, 2019)


Barrick Gold Corp.’s chief said there’s a logic to combining with Freeport-McMoran Inc. as a way to expand into copper, but isn’t committing to any deals yet.

A tie-up with Freeport could bolster Barrick’s U.S. presence, where it already operates gold mines in Nevada, said Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow, who cautioned that it’s not something currently being considered.

“Everyone has been fingered as a potential suitor of Freeport,” said Bristow, when asked if he was interested in a combination. “There’s a bit of work for us to do before we can get our head around broadening our scope.” Continue Reading →

Global cobalt mine output growth forecast to slow in 2020: Antaike (Reuters U.S. – November 6, 2019)


YICHANG, China (Reuters) – Global cobalt mine output will increase at a slower rate next year than in 2019, providing some support for price of the chemical used in batteries for electric vehicles, research house Antaike said on Wednesday.

Cobalt production in 2020 forecast to rise by 5,000 tonnes, Antaike nickel analyst Joy Kong said. That would be a 3.5% increase to the 143,600 tonnes produced this year which would be less than the 2019 expected growth rate of 6.3%, she said.

Antaike predicts standard grade cobalt prices in 2020 at around $18 per pound, or around $40,000 a tonne, up from an average of $16 to $16.50 per pound in 2019, as private mining declines, Kong said in a presentation at the China International Nickel and Cobalt Forum in Yichang. Continue Reading →

Mining Illinois: is it time up for coal mining? – by Heidi Vella (Mining Technology – November 7, 2019)


The Illinois coal basin is one of the oldest and most productive in the US, but as the coal market continues to slump, and new mine closures are being announced, many are beginning to wonder, can the industry overcome this latest challenge? Heidi Vella investigates.

Coal was first mined along the 400-mile-long Illinois coal basin, which covers parts of Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky, by settlers in the 1800s. According to the Illinois Coal Association (ICA), by the1900s, coal was being produced in at least 52 of the region’s 102 counties, nine of which were producing more than one million tons a year. Overall, it’s thought more than 7,400 mines have operated in Illinois.

The basin, which has the second largest coal reserves in the US, is known for producing cheap, sulphur-rich, bituminous coal. In recent years, this soft, highly polluting type of coal has lost much of its market due to emission restrictions put on US power plants under the Obama administration. According to the ICA, these regulations saw around 25% of coal power plants close down, creating a massive decline in demand for the coal mining industry. Continue Reading →

Baffinland blasted for its approach to community consultations – by Elaine Anselmi (Nunatsiaq News – November 6, 2019)


Pond Inlet resident Tim Anaviapik Soucie says the problems with Baffinland’s approach to community consultation for its plans to expand its Mary River mine were evident from the moment chairs were set up in the room.

“Lining people up in chairs to talk to us tells us who is important and who is in charge,” Soucie told the Nunavut Impact Review Board during its hearing in Iqaluit on Tuesday, Nov. 5. “Circles do away with this.”

Soucie described Baffinland’s team arriving in town with a PowerPoint presentation that celebrated their achievements and work so far, and then asked if there were any questions. “This is not consultation,” he said. Continue Reading →

Gold prices are trading near record highs, so why are Australia’s mineral explorers crying poor? – by Jarrod Lucas (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – November 6, 2019)


The movers and shakers in Australia’s mineral exploration industry could be channelling Tom Cruise’s character from the movie Jerry Maguire because they constantly seem to be shouting: “show me the money!” Known as the lifeblood of the mining industry, exploration is an expensive game which is as much a gamble as it is an investment.

There are never any guarantees a rich mineral deposit lies beneath the surface and for all the mining industry’s technological advances in recent decades, the best way to make new discoveries is by drilling into the earth. The pay-off can be big if a company strikes it lucky.

Case in point is one-time penny dreadful stock Sirius Resources, which was almost broke when it discovered the Nova nickel-copper deposit in Western Australia in 2012 before completing one of the great rags-to-riches stories in 2015 with Independence Group’s $1.8-billion takeover. Continue Reading →

Indonesia may decide on Thursday whether to resume nickel ore exports (Reuters U.S. – November 6, 2019)


JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia may decide this week whether to resume nickel ore exports after halting shipments to investigate reports of export rule violations, a senior official from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said on Wednesday.

The Maritime and Investment Affairs Coordinating Ministry, which has overall responsibility for mining activities, meets on Thursday to review the results of the investigation, Yunus Saefulhak, the director of minerals, told a conference.

The government ordered a temporary halt to exports of nickel ore on Oct. 28 following reports that exports had surged after Indonesia said an export ban would be implemented from January 2020, bringing it forward from 2022. Continue Reading →

Green technology revolution needs a green metals revolution – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – November 6, 2019)


LONDON (Reuters) – “Society expects more of our industry.” That was the stark warning from Jean-Sebastien Jacques, head of one of the world’s largest mining companies, Rio Tinto, in a keynote speech at last week’s London Metal Exchange Week.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind we will face greater regulation and scrutiny,” Jacques went on to say. The scrutiny has already begun. The next day environmental protesters disrupted the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne, leading to multiple arrests and a draconian threat by Australia’s prime minister to ban future anti-mining demonstrations.

Half way around the world, protesters were blocking access roads to SQM’s lithium operations high in Chile’s Atacama Desert in a rumbling dispute over water rights. Here writ small is the industrial metals industry’s big problem. Continue Reading →