Diamonds Snapshot: Seven small diamond producers and explorers to watch – by Alisha Hiyate (Northern Miner – October 15, 2020)

Global mining news

The Covid-19 pandemic has choked off revenue for diamond producers and funding for diamond juniors for much of the year. But with the diamond trade slowly starting to reopen and buyers and sellers adjusting to life under the pandemic, some companies outside of the big two – De Beers and Alrosa – have proven to be resilient. Here’s a look at seven small diamond producers and explorers that are soldiering on.

Gem Diamonds

Gem Diamonds‘ (LSE: GEMD) Letseng mine in Lesotho, known to host large, high-quality Type II diamonds, has continued to deliver exceptional diamonds this year, with 12 diamonds larger than 100 carats recovered to date. The latest stones included a 442-carat diamond Type II stone in August, and 233-carat and 166-carat Type II white diamonds in September.

Production at the Letseng open-pit mine was suspended for 30 days early in the pandemic, but resumed in late April. On the sales side, Gem has been successful in adopting flexible tender processes to continue diamond sales during travel restrictions associated with the pandemic. Its average sales price for the first half of 2020 was US$1,707 per carat on 43,384 carats sold. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Key EV Potential Beyond Elon Musk and Tesla – by Priscila Barrera (Australia Investing News – October 14, 2020)

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Battery metals investors around the world continue to talk about the news, plans and ideas discussed at Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Battery Day in September.

The California-based automaker led by Elon Musk unveiled plans to reduce battery cell and pack costs with one main goal in mind: building a US$25,000 electric vehicle (EV).

Musk announced on stage that Tesla will be building a cathode facility in Texas, and will be sourcing its raw materials from North America. He also said the company has rights to lithium-rich clay operations in Nevada, which it could potentially use to secure supply of that raw material. Continue Reading →

Mountain Province’s diamond output up despite virus disruptions – by Cecillia Jamasmie (Mining.com – October 16, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

Canada’s Mountain Province Diamonds (TSX: MPVD), which holds a 49% stake in the remote Gahcho Kué mine, saw production at the operation jump by 30% during the third quarter from the previous three months as crews adjust to covid-19 protocols.

The company churned out a total of 9.88 million tonnes of ore and waste material in the three months to Sep. 30, compared to the 6.84 million tonnes mined during the second quarter of the year.

The figure, however, is about 16% lower than the 11.7 million tonnes the Northwest Territories diamond mine produced in the same period last year. Continue Reading →

As nations clamor for ex-China rare earths supplies, Lynas urges cash support – by Anthony Barich (SP Global – October 14, 2020)

https://www.spglobal.com/

A Lynas Corp. Ltd. executive said state and federal governments need to put up “cold, hard cash” for the company’s A$500 million processing plant in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, amid broader concerns around proposed foreign investment reforms and a greater focus on ex-China supply chains.

During an Oct. 14 Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum presentation in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Lynas Vice President of Upstream Kam Leung laid out the “challenges” of developing downstream processing in the state, including higher input costs and higher capital costs, particularly linked to labor, and the “tyranny of distance” of vast trucking expanses.

Leung said government funding was needed for often complex and high-cost downstream processing to be globally competitive, given what he cited in his presentation as an “increasing focus on resilient critical minerals supply chains” among Australia, Europe, India, the U.S. and Japan. Continue Reading →

Battery Chat with Parri #1: Prof. Arumugam Manthiram (Nickel Institute – October 15, 2020)

https://nickelinstitute.org/

Prof. Arumugam Manthiram, a renowned professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has contributed substantially to the field of energy storage with his research having great impact on the scientific community. In this chat, Prof. Manthiram shares his research path briefly, his perspective on current research performed on high-nickel cathodes, and a glimpse of his future research directions.

Prof. Arumugam Manthiram currently holds the Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering #5 and is the Director of the Texas Materials Institute.

With over 800 publications and 69k citations, his recent papers in Nature Energy and Nature Communications have been accessed by almost 60,000 people. Working on a wide range of high-nickel cathode materials for Li-ion batteries (among other topics), Prof. Arumugam Manthiram’s group recently performed a very interesting comparative study on various high nickel-containing cathode compositions: NMA-89 (89 refers to 89% nickel content) to NMC-89, NCA-89, and Al-Mg co-doped NMC (NMCAM-89). Continue Reading →

Barrick Gold gets good news in Papua New Guinea – by Peter Kennedy (Resource World – October 15, 2020)

https://resourceworld.com/

Barrick Gold Corp. [ABX-TSX; GOLD-NYSE] received some good news on Thursday October 15 when Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said Barrick and its Chinese joint venture partner Zijin Mining can continue to operate the Porgera gold mine.

According to published reports, the announcement follows talks in Port Moresby, the Papua New Guinea capital, and coincides with the release today of Barrick’s third quarter 2020 production results, which were largely in line with expectations.

Barrick shares were virtually unchanged on the news, easing 0.86% or $0.32 to $36.89 on volume of 2.25 million. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $41.09 and $17.52. Continue Reading →

Ottawa orders security review of Chinese state-owned Shandong’s bid for Canadian miner TMAC Resources – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – October 16, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Ottawa is ordering a formal national security review of state-owned Chinese miner Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd.’s proposed acquisition of TMAC Resources Inc., injecting more uncertainty into a deal that had already generated a national debate about sovereignty in Canada’s Far North.

In May, Shandong proposed an all-cash acquisition of TMAC for $1.75 a share, valuing the Toronto-based junior gold miner at $207.4-million, or about 4 per cent more than its market price at the time. Shareholders of TMAC voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal in June and it received regulatory approval in China.

The enhanced security review by the federal government, which comes at a time of increased tension between China and Canada, raises doubts about whether the transaction will be successful, and at the very least pushes out the timeline for it to close to the first quarter of next year. Continue Reading →

Slave Geological Province Corridor to go ahead after First Nation leaders pull brakes over summer (CBC News North – October 14, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

The government of the Northwest Territories and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation have “reset” their relationship and have agreed to move forward with the $1.1-billion Slave Geological Province Corridor project.

The project in part would see a 413-kilometre, two-lane, all-season road built between mineral-rich areas northeast of Yellowknife and western Nunavut.

The idea is to create new economic opportunities that benefit both territories. The road would connect Nunavut to Canada’s highway system and link up to a potential deep-water port on the Arctic Ocean. Continue Reading →

South Korea seeks to exit Africa mining JV despite rising nickel demand – by Man-su Choe (Korean Investors – August 26, 2020)

http://www.koreaninvestors.com/

State-run Korea Resources Corp. has embarked on a plan to sell its stake in a loss-making nickel mining joint venture in Madagascar, Africa, after the ruling Democratic Party put forward a motion to ban the cash-strapped institution’s direct investment in overseas projects.

The planned sale, announced early this month, would mean South Korea’s exit from one of the world’s three-largest nickel mines, at a time when demand for nickel, a core raw material for rechargeable batteries, is on the rise from the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) industry.

Korea Resources has pumped 2.2 trillion won ($1.9 billion) in the joint venture (JV), Ambatovy, since acquiring a 33% stake in the venture in 2006. Continue Reading →

How a city lives with HUGE hole in the ground (PHOTOS) – by Yekaterina Sinelschikova (Russia Beyond The Headlines – October 15, 2020)

https://www.rbth.com/

The city of Mirny has just one attraction – an incredible hole in the ground, which can be seen from space. Possibly the most famous hole in Russia, this moderately sized pit freaked some Reddit users out, leading to thousands of bewildered comments, such as: “Love the airport that just ends at the mine. Overshoot your runway a bit? Yeah, that’s the end of your vacation.”

On the edge of the mind-boggling quarry there indeed sits a city – Mirny. It’s situated in the biggest and most barren region of the country – Yakutia (or Sakha Republic, as you may also know it), a huge landmass that occupies a fifth of the country’s territory, but is inhabited by less than a million people.

The city of Mirny itself has 35,000 inhabitants and they’re there mainly for one reason: diamonds. In fact, they’re why the city was built in the first place. Continue Reading →

Tesla Puts Nickel in Focus at Battery Day, but Details Still Needed – by Priscila Barrera (Nickel Investing News – October 8, 2020)

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Nickel has been making headlines since Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk called for more mining of the metal over the summer, and the company’s Battery Day has reinforced interest.

Musk said at the recent event that the automaker is looking to process nickel in a more efficient way, eliminating steps and addressing the waste of water. He also reiterated his request for more nickel mining, and said the company is developing cathodes that will contain higher nickel and no cobalt.

At Battery Day, all plans unveiled by Tesla point to a reduction in battery costs, in line with the company’s goal of producing an affordable US$25,000 electric vehicle (EV) in the next three years. Tesla is also looking to ramp up battery production capacity to 100 GWh by 2022 and to 3 TWh by 2030. Continue Reading →

Environmental, human rights questions shadow Hope Bay mine sale – by Derek Neary (Nunavut News – October 13, 2020)

Front Page

TMAC Resources negotiated a mineral exploration agreement with land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and a series of deals with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KIA), including a 20-year Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement in 2015.

“All those agreements will stay in place” if Shandong Gold Mining buys out TMAC Resources, said Alex Buchan, TMAC’s vice-president of corporate social responsibility.

Asked whether the change in ownership at the Kitikmeot’s Hope Bay gold mine would open the door to renegotiating the KIA’s agreements as the Qikiqtani Inuit Association did in 2018 with Baffinland Iron Mines and again earlier this year with an Inuit Certainty Agreement – commanding a rising royalty rate, more jobs and training and even daycare provisions for workers’ children – Buchan tapped the brakes on such an idea. Continue Reading →

Can a mining state be pro-heritage? Vital steps to avoid another Juukan Gorge – by Jo McDonald (The Conversation – October 14, 2020)

https://theconversation.com/

Jo McDonald is the Director, Centre for Rock Art Research + Management, University of Western Australia.

The destruction of 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge sites in the Pilbara has created great distress for their traditional owners, seismic shockwaves for heritage professionals and appalled the general public.

The fallout for Rio Tinto has been profound as has the groundswell of criticism of Western Australia’s outdated heritage laws. A path forward must ensure a pivotal role for Indigenous communities and secure Keeping Places for heritage items. More broadly, we need more Indigenous places added to the National Heritage List, ensuring them the highest form of heritage protection.

In a state heavily dependent on mining, the model for this could follow the successful seven-year heritage collaboration I have been part of on-country with Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) and Rio Tinto in the Dampier Archipelago (Murujuga). Continue Reading →

Baffinland plans further expansion at Nunavut’s Mary River: report – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – October 14, 2020)

https://nunatsiaq.com/

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. is likely planning a further expansion of its Mary River iron mine that would see iron ore shipments through its Milne Inlet port increase to 18 million tonnes a year.

That information is contained in a credit report on Baffinland, prepared by Moody’s Investors Service, dated June 2020 and obtained by Nunatsiaq News.

“Baffinland plans to expand the Mary River mine to a capacity of 18 Mtpa [18 million metric tons, or tonnes],” says the report, which repeatedly refers to a “Phase 3” expansion. Continue Reading →

Ontario ignores its own advice, presses First Nations to consult on Ring of Fire road during COVID-19 – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – October 15, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/

An ‘operational guide’ from Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Affairs tells other ministries to delay or defer non-urgent projects that impact First Nations treaty rights during the pandemic, but at least one mining-related project is moving ahead.

On Oct. 13, the consultation period for part of the environmental assessment for a supply road in the Ring of Fire mineral development region in northern Ontario was set to close, despite concerns raised by Neskantaga First Nation. It told the provincial government in September that it could not engage in the process in a meaningful way because of the pandemic.

Advancing resource extraction projects during a pandemic is an example of governments and industry using health crisis in First Nations to their advantage, according to Riley Yesno, a research fellow at the Yellowhead Institute. Continue Reading →