Chalco first quarter profits fall 19.4 percent on lower aluminum prices – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – April 23, 2018)

BEIJING (Reuters) – Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (601600.SS) (2600.HK), known as Chalco, said on Monday that first-quarter net profits fell by 19.4 percent from a year ago due to lower aluminum prices but one-off gains helped it avoid a much worse result.

The company, China’s biggest state-run aluminum producer, said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange that net profit during the January to March was 308.6 million yuan ($48.94 million), versus an adjusted net profit of 382.9 million yuan a year earlier. Revenues, meanwhile, fell by 10.5 percent to 36.7 billion yuan.

The numbers point to thinning margins for aluminum smelters in China, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, in a quarter when prices fell. Continue Reading →

It’s time we stopped using First Nations as anti-development props – by Anthony Furey (Toronto Sun – April 21, 2018)

Last week the Ontario Court of Appeal began hearing a case where a group of Ecuadorian Indigenous peoples are suing Chevron’s Canadian branch in the hopes that a Canadian court will enforce a judgment made by the Ecuadorian government against Chevron’s American parent company.

The case has been dismissed by American courts, been denounced as the “legal fraud of the century” by The Wall Street Journal, and the lawyer behind it was found to have engaged in racketeering.

But it’s no wonder the case has wound its way up to Canada – the original Ecuadorian settlement is $9.5 billion, the largest of its kind. In the unlikely event that they manage to pull it off, that’s quite of lot of cash to go around for the plaintiffs, lawyers and investors who’ve been bankrolling this endeavour. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Sanctions fever grips nickel as market rethinks Russia risk – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – April 20, 2018)

LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) – Sanctions fever has spread to nickel. With Russian aluminium producer Rusal imploding in the wake of U.S. sanctions against its oligarch owner Oleg Deripaska, attention is now turning to the status of another Russian industrial powerhouse, Norilsk Nickel.

Deripaska is a 27.8 percent shareholder in Norilsk, while the oligarch behind the world’s number two nickel producer, Vladimir Potanin, is himself on a U.S. Treasury Department list of Russians deemed to be close to the Kremlin.

Fears that Norilsk might follow Rusal down the U.S. sanctions path have sent London nickel prices on an extraordinary rollercoaster ride. But this was a market primed for an explosive breakout, with all sorts of technical drivers kicking in once it started rallying. Continue Reading →

Flanders to Holland and back: Resource Clips visits the diamond industry in Belgium and the Netherlands – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – March 13, 2018)

As if providing an outer defence, a solid line of retail jewellers blocks two broad avenues from Antwerp’s famed diamond district. Access comes mainly through a side street with a police-controlled traffic barrier. More cops and soldiers (the latter attesting to Belgium’s ongoing terror alert) patrol the narrow streets inside.

The only vehicles seem to be armoured vans customized for the diamond trade or the occasional bicycle carrying an Orthodox Jew with long coat and side curls flowing in the wind but magnificent hat solidly perched.

Except for the Portuguese synagogue, the buildings look un-Antwerpishly drab, catering to four bourses, several major companies and many more smaller operations that buy and sell stones and/or cut and polish them, as well as businesses selling tools of the trade or offering services like laser inscription removal. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe’s parliament orders Mugabe to answer questions over diamonds – by by MacDonald Dzirutwe (Reuters U.S. – April 20, 2018)

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s parliament has ordered former leader Robert Mugabe to answer questions next month about whether the state was deprived of $15 billion in diamond revenue, a legislator said on Friday.

It will be Mugabe’s first public appearance since last November when the army deposed him in a de facto coup after nearly four decades in power and he was replaced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The 94-year-old gave his first television interview last month since he lost power and said Mnangagwa had betrayed him and assumed the presidency illegally. Continue Reading →

Sudbury mining industry poised for global expansion – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – April 20, 2018)

President of CEMI touts region as the future global hub of mining at opening luncheon of Modern Mining and Technology Sudbury

Sudbury’s mining sector has come a long way in the last three decades, and the next big phase is going to be the region as home for global innovation.

That was the message from Douglas Morrison, president of the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, the opening speaker at the business luncheon kicking off Modern Mining and Technology Sudbury (MMTS) on April 20.

The hall at Bryston’s on the Park in Copper Cliff was filled with industry executives, as well as members of mining service companies and event sponsors, to get a rundown on the schedule of the week-long event and hear what Morrison had to say about his experiences and where he sees the industry going. Continue Reading →

‘We assert our title’ says Liard First Nation chief at economic development conference – by Philippe Morin (CBC News North – April 19, 2018)

Mining might well be “the greatest chance of building something,” when it comes to economic development in Kaska territory, says the chief of the Liard First Nation.

However, George Morgan says agreements with mining companies need to significantly change. Morgan was speaking Wednesday at an economic development conference in Watson Lake, in what he called unceded Kaska territory. The conference delegates represent First Nations, municipalities and the territorial government.

“We understand there may be hundreds of billions of dollars of minerals in Kaska traditional territory. There’s enough to keep us all busy for the next 200 years. But only if we work out mutually beneficial agreements,” Morgan told the conference. Continue Reading →

Scarcely ahead: tech titans and the resource race (part 1) – by Jessica Clarence (The Strategist – April 20, 2018)

In 1980 US President Jimmy Carter established the Carter Doctrine, asserting the right of the United States to protect strategic interests in the Middle East. The doctrine reflected the reality that oil sustained the US (and world) economy, and without it economies would collapse. ‘Energy geopolitics’—competition between states for energy security—reflected this worldwide resource race; a race as relevant today as it was in the 20th century.

Today we’re approaching an era where clean energy technology outstrips fossil fuels. This means that there will again be an energy race—but the essential component will be the humble battery. Western tech companies and their Chinese counterparts are competing, and right now Western tech companies are on their own, while Chinese companies have the full backing of their government.

Batteries are essential to all wireless electronic equipment. There are many battery technologies, but lithium-ion batteries are the most widely used in portable electronics. Raw materials account for up to 39% of a lithium battery’s cost. The hardest to obtain is cobalt, one of 27 ‘critical’ minerals. Continue Reading →

Alrosa plans rough diamond trading in India, seeks reduction in 40% tax – by Dilip Kumar Jha (Business Standard – April 19, 2018)

Alrosa sells around 16 per cent of its annual rough diamond output directly to India through its 15 long-term and 140 spot and auctions clients

Russian diamond-mining major Alrosa will start rough diamond trading in India once the government brings the tax on it down to 0.56 per cent from 40 per cent now — to match the rates in other major trading hubs of the world.

The 40 per cent rate is applicable in special notified zones (SNZ), including the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), where Alrosa opened its first office in India on Thursday.

Alrosa is planning to service its Indian customers by contacting them daily. Apart from that, the India representative will help in market research and data analytics in various markets by giving information on trends in the demand for precious stones here. Continue Reading →

Electric vehicles not denting oil demand (IT-Online – April 20, 2018)


Short-term oil demand is still growing strong and will continue to do so through the end of 2020; a trend taking place despite the market’s increasing focus on electric vehicles and the forecasted future plateau in oil demand, according to new analysis from IHS Markit.

Refined product demand growth has averaged 1,2-million barrels per day over the last five years, IHS Markit says in the new report from its oil markets and research team.

Current global total liquids oil demand growth is at similar levels to what was recorded during the 2003 to 2007 commodity super-cycle, referred to as the ‘golden age’ of refining. At present, current global total liquids oil demand is approximately 100-million barrels per day, the report says. Continue Reading →

China can’t control the market in rare earth elements because they aren’t all that rare – by James Vincent (The – April 17, 2018)

You can’t handle the truth (about rare earth elements)

If you need to know one thing about rare earth metals, it’s that they’re crucial to modern technology, helping power everything from MRI machines and satellites to headphones and nuclear reactors. If you need to know two things, it’s that despite their name, they’re not at all rare.

This second fact is crucial when putting recent headlines about these 17 oddly named elements in proper context. Last week, many publications covered the news that a Japanese team of scientists had found a huge trove of rare earth elements off the coast of the country’s Minamitori Island. Some 16 million tons were estimated to be lurking in the deep-sea mud, enough to meet global demand on a “semi-infinite basis,” said the researchers.

This news was positioned as having great geopolitical significance. China currently produces more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of rare earth materials (the exact figure tends to fluctuate year-by-year), and in the event of a conflict, said reports, it could jack up prices for the West and its allies, or even shut them out altogether. Continue Reading →

Illegal gold miners invade Grace Mugabe’s farm amid legal dispute – by Philemon Bulawayo (Reuters U.S. – April 20, 2018)

MAZOWE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) – A farm owned by Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace is at the centre of a legal dispute after hundreds of illegal gold miners invaded parts of the property and started mining gold.

A Reuters photographer saw hundreds of illegal miners digging for gold at the Smithfield citrus farm using picks and shovels, the tools of choice for most illegal miners in Zimbabwe.

Once guarded by armed police, the farm is now dotted with illegal diggers whose quest for gold has left open shafts and tunnels and uprooted some fruit trees at Smithfield, 40 km (25 miles) north of the capital Harare. Continue Reading →

What do First Nations really think about Trans Mountain? – by Tristan Hopper (National Post – April 19, 2018)

Some love it, some hate it, and some want a better deal

Ask Greenpeace, and they’ll tell you First Nations are eco-warriors bravely protecting the ocean from rapacious pipeline-crazed plutocrats. Ask the Fraser Institute, and they’ll say First Nations are enthusiastic, hard-hatted oilmen who are tired of the “environmentalist propaganda” saying otherwise.

The reality is somewhat more complex. The 1,147-km Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would affect more than 100 First Nations, each with their own unique economy, motivations and feelings about bitumen.

Below, some context for the current state of affairs between oil pipelines and Western Canada’s various First Peoples.

The chief who invited Neil Young and Jane Fonda to Fort McMurray? He supports a pipeline Continue Reading →

From mine tech to workplace culture – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – April 18, 2018)

20th annual Workplace Safety North Mining Health and Safety Conference draws sold-out crowd

The 20th annual Workplace Safety North Mining Health and Safety Conference has been selling out every year, a signal that the industry is taking the subject seriously.

That was the case, again, at the 2018 instalment on April 17 and 18 at the Holiday Inn in Sudbury, with around 300 delegates packing the conference rooms to take part in conversations ranging from technology to mental health and improving leadership.

Mike Parent, director of mining at Workplace Safety North, said he was very pleased with the interest and large crowds. Continue Reading →

De Beers Has a Clean-Up Plan for Blood Diamonds – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – April 19, 2018)

Diamond mining giant De Beers plans to fix one of the industry’s oldest problems: the reputational stain of artisanal mining.

The world’s top diamond miner is set to start a pilot program in Sierra Leone that will help trace the route from mine to consumer for what it calls ethically-sourced artisanal gems.

The Anglo American Plc unit will train miners and provide them with equipment to digitally track their finds, and aims to buy the first such stones from them this year. Continue Reading →