Monday, November 11, 2019

According to Mining News Pro – The planned Huayue project on the island of Sulawesi is one of a series of Chinese-invested nickel smelting projects in Indonesia, which banned nickel ore exports from 2020 as it seeks to process more resources at home.

China Moly, which already operates one of the world’s biggest cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said it would initially acquire a 21% interest in the Huayue Nickel Cobalt joint venture, which plans to produce 60,000 tonnes a year of mixed nickel hydroxide cobalt.

Nickel and cobalt are both key ingredients in batteries for electric vehicles. High-nickel ternary materials account for more than 40% of the cost of a battery, China Moly said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange late on Friday.

China Moly will pay about $5 million for the stake, but it will also take over investment commitments in the $1.28 billion project from the sellers, Hong Kong-based private investment firm Newstride Ltd and Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park.

After a capital injection of $69.1 million in the Huayue venture, China Moly’s indirect stake will rise to 30%. Zhejiang Huayou will hold 57% through a wholly-owned unit, while Chinese nickel and stainless steel giant Tsingshan Holding Group will have 10% through a subsidiary.

The plant is one of a number of high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) projects being built in Indonesia that have drawn industry attention due to their low budget projections and short delivery times.

Huayou President Chen Hongliang said last Tuesday he expected the Huayue project to start up within two years.


Monday, November 4, 2019

According to Mining News Pro – In a securities filing, the company said the resumption of mining activities at Alegria will allow the iron ore exporter to restore 8 million tonnes of 50 million in capacity lost after the collapse of its Brumadinho dam in January caused a series of shutdowns.

Before the shutdown, Algeria had an annual capacity of 10 million tonnes.

The mine’s resumption will add up to 1 million tonnes to production volumes in 2019, but should not impact sales this year, which the company still expects to come in between the lower and midpoint of its previously announced range of 307 million to 332 million tonnes.

Vale shares rose 2.7% during Friday trading as BTG Pactual analyst Leonardo Correa called the resumption “yet another de-risking event” for the company, reiterating his “buy” rating.

Separately on Friday, Brazil’s Foreign Trade Secretariat said iron ore exports had fallen 16% in October from a year earlier to 31.2 million tonnes, although they were up 15% from September.

Prices also slipped, to $62.9 per tonne from $68 the month before, although they were still up substantially from the year-ago price of $55.7.


Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Switzerland-based company said that full-year copper production, excluding output from its African mines, will be around 1.010 million tonnes. Guidance for its copper operations in DRC and Zambia was around 375,000 tonnes, making a total of just under 1.4 million tonnes versus the 1.45 million previously anticipated.

Glencore, which has decided to separate its African copper business from its wider copper operations, announced in August a restructuring plan and new targets for its Katanga mine in DRC. It also said at the time it would mothball Mutanda, its other mine in the Central African country, at the of the year.

Production at Katanga, the company’s main copper asset in Africa, hit almost 60,000 tonnes in the three months to September, up from 52,500 tonnes in the previous quarter. Output of cobalt, the battery metal that is produced alongside copper, came in a 4,800 tonnes, up from 2,600.

Overall, however, Glencore’s African copper division saw production drop by 5% to 283,000 tonnes

The Baar-headquartered firm also revised its zinc production forecast by 85,000 tonnes partly due to the delayed restart of a mine in Peru. Guidance for ferrochrome were also trimmed because of additional maintenance.
Responsible sourcing

In a separate statement, Glencore noted it has joined forces to accelerate responsible sourcing of raw materials with the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The initiative will explore the building of a blockchain platform to address transparency, the track and tracing of materials, the reporting of carbon emissions or increasing efficiency, it said.

Mining companies are under increasing pressure from investors and stakeholders to tackle climate change and seek assurances that their supply chains are transparent and ethical.

A recent survey of global miners by consultants EY showed that 44% of executives believe their efforts towards effectively reducing the sector emissions and those of their clients will be key to keeping them in business.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The group’s Better Mining platform, piloted as ‘Better Cobalt’ on a cobalt supply chain from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) revealed that 26% of all registered incidents in the past year were related to health and safety issues, while only 13% had to do rights abuses and minerals financing conflict.

The Berlin-based organization used mobile technology to gather data from from five separate ASM sites in DRC and Rwanda, focusing on informal and small miners digging for cobalt, copper and the so-called 3TG (gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten).

A sophisticated methodology co-developed with the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) was later applied to calculate risk levels based on incident and context data.

Since January, deployment of the Better Mining platform, which includes a risk mitigation monitoring process, had led to a reduction in overall risk levels at four out of the five mine sites in the sample, the group says.

The complete eradication of child labour, however, remains challenging, due to the difficulty of controlling access to mines in large, remote areas, it notes.
Health and safety bigger risks to human rights than conflict minerals — report

The idea is to sell the solution to companies willing to ensure their raw materials don’t come from mines that use child labour or fund warlords or corrupt soldiers, RCS Global Group says.

One of its clients is Volvo Cars, the first global brand to actively use Better Mining data. The automaker aims to gain greater insight of the cobalt it uses in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries for its next-generation electrical vehicles (EVs).

The group wants to open up the platform to other car producers and companies in the supply chain, and expand it to include more metals and raw materials.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The company, led by former Vale Canada’s chief Tito Martins, consolidated ownership of the low-cost underground zinc polymetallic mine project in August this year, through the acquisition of Canadian junior Karmin Explorations.

Moving forward construction of Aripuanã is part of Nexa’s ongoing efforts to grow and expand its presence on the global zinc and copper markets.

“We are optimistic about zinc. Current prices have reflected the turmoil caused by the trade war, but progressive negotiation between US and China may rapidly boost quotations,” Martins told

“The fundamentals of the market are solid, with the lowest inventory levels in 10 years and a shortage of large new projects. In China and India, zinc consumption is still very low, and there are great opportunities for consumption in galvanizing,” Martins noted.

Once in operations, the $354-million project will become the world’s second biggest zinc mine.

“Our expectation is that the refined zinc market will remain in deficit in 2019, which, added to low inventories, maintains the strength of zinc fundamentals,” Martins said.

Nexa’s ambitions has led the company to invest in projects that can extend the life of current operating mines and increase production through brownfield expansions.

The results, so far, are positive. Not only it operates five low-cost mines in Brazil and Peru, but the Sao Paulo-based firm has also become the world’s fourth largest zinc producer.

Additionally, Nexa is Brazil’s top miner of the metal, and the only integrated zinc producer and smelter in Latin America.
Innovation engine

From an innovation standpoint, Nexa is focused on transformational innovations, which search for technologies that eliminate dams or minimize the risks inherent in tailings storage; and incremental innovations, which are focused on optimization and cost reduction.

To achieve such ambitious goal, the company has set partnerships with universities, research centres, start-ups and companies around the world that are focused on the use of advanced technology and automation.

Nexa launched a Mining Lab Challenge four years ago, aiming at supporting initiatives of entrepreneurs developing technological innovation projects for the mining and metallurgy industry. To date, the company has signed 15 contracts with start-ups participating in the program.

According to information available on the miner’s web site, Nexa is continuously working to reduce its impact in local communities and to create socio-environmental value by implementing sustainable practices, such as the use of electric vehicles in its mines and the ongoing implementation of recirculation/recycling initiatives.

In Aripuanã, for example, there are no tailing dams and 100% of water is recirculated. At its Cerro Lindo polymetallic underground mine, located in the Peruvian Andes Mountains, 98% of water is recirculated.

Nexa also has a 10-year automation and digitalization plan in place, affecting all of its assets, including long-life mines such as Atacocha and El Porvenir in Peru, in operations since mid 1900s, and the Vazante mine in Brazil, which began production in 1969.

Prices for zinc, one the company’s main focus, has languished since its decade-high rally to $1.63 per pound ($3,595 per tonne) in early 2018, struggling since to break above $1.36 per pound, or $3,000 per tonne. As per this week, the corrosion-inhibiting metal was trading on the London Metal Exchange (LME) at $2,432 per tonne.

According to Scotiabank research, global zinc demand averaged 2.3% growth annually from 2012 to 2017, but saw negative 0.3% growth in 2018. The bank also forecasts negative demand growth of 0.5% this year, followed  by modestly increasing consumption of 1% in 2020, and 1.5% in 2021.

Tito Martins and his team, however, believe the medium and long-term outlook for zinc and copper are positive, particularly as the later is essential in developing an electrical network.

Copper prices, he says, must be supported by a good primary consumption during the second half of the year, especially by Chinese investments in infrastructure. “In addition, there is limited availability of copper scrap in the Chinese market (…) In this context, our strategy remains focused on the growth of both metals in the Americas.”


Monday, October 21, 2019

To reach such a conclusion, the scientists designed a matrix to assess the environmental, social and governance context of more than 600 individual copper, iron and bauxite orebodies.

They judged each orebody against eight risks: waste, water, biodiversity, land uses, indigenous peoples, social vulnerability, political fragility, and approval and permitting.

“The majority of the 296 copper orebodies, 324 iron orebodies and 50 bauxite orebodies we examined are in complex ESG contexts which could either prevent, delay or disrupt mining operations,” Eléonore Lèbre, one of the researchers involved in the project, said in a media statement.

Orebodies were categorized as complex when more than one risk category was identified for it.

In their findings, the researchers noticed that each of the three metals vary in their risks because they are being mined in different areas of the globe and in different orebody types.

For example, iron orebodies show a mix of low and high risks, with the high-risk orebodies generally characterized by social vulnerability, political fragility, and approval and permitting challenges.

Similarly, copper orebodies are evenly distributed but water and waste risks are prevalent, with 65 per cent of orebodies located in regions with medium to extremely high water risk.

Bauxite, on the other hand, is the worst-performing of the three commodities with almost all orebodies located in high-risk contexts.

For Lèbre, ESG risk will become more frequent if there isn’t major innovation in project design and development. “Even now numerous mining projects stall or are abandoned due to materialised ESG risk,” she said.

The scientist and her team hope that their methodology is used by governments at the approval stage of new mining projects, and by investors or multinational mining companies looking to de-risk their projects.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Anglo-Australian mining giant held a signing ceremony at Rizhao Port in China’s eastern province of Shandong, offering 10,000 tonnes of mid-grade iron ore SP10 to Shanxi Gaoyi Steel Co Ltd, said Zhang Qi, director of foreign ore at the Shanxi firm.

“We believe port sales could potentially help us to better serve our existing customers, as well as potentially opening up an opportunity to sell to new customers who do not participate in the seaborne market,” a Rio Tinto representative was quoted as saying.

Portside sales of Rio Tinto’s products at Chinese ports are currently sold via traders. Brazilian mining giant Vale SA launched yuan-denominated spot trading in 2017.

China imported 684.9 million tonnes of the steelmaking raw material in the first eight months of 2019. The weak Chinese currency is increasing the cost of seaborne iron ore.

The portside trading channel is only aiming to promote Rio Tinto’s niche products for now, the representative said.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Prices for Palladium, widely used in vehicle exhausts to reduce harmful emissions, have doubled from a low in August last year as tighter environmental regulations force carmakers to buy more of the precious metal.

“(The acquisition) not only signals our confidence in the prevailing platinum group metals (PGM) market but it also expedites our transition to a high-level multinational producer,” Implats Chief Executive Officer Nick Muller said on a media call.

Implats pursued North American Palladium for three years, and the deal adds the Lac des Iles Mine in Thunder Bay, Ontario to the South African company’s portfolio.

“It provides us with access to a well-established operational asset that employs bulk mining methods and occupies an attractive position on the industry cost curve,” Muller said.

Canadian investment manager Brookfield Business Partners LP will get C$16 per share in cash for the about 81% of North American Palladium owned by the investor and its partners.

Other minority shareholders of the Canadian company will receive C$19.74 per share, the same price as the stock’s Friday closing.

Implats said it will finance the deal using cash and a bridge loan facility.


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The company, the first British miner to raise money for a project through an Internet-based platform, said the backers included Norwegian shipping magnate Peter Smedvig, senior mining executives and about 1,200 individual investors, mostly locals.

Cornish Lithium owns exploration rights across more than 300 square miles of Cornwall, where it’s using data collected by planes, drones and satellites to map out mineral-rich geological structures in the area.

The company will conduct its first drill test in October, which consist of perforating geothermal faults, pumping out water and then filtering the output to extract lithium, a key ingredient in the batteries that power electric cars and high-tech devices.

In the upcoming exploration phase, Cornish Lithium has decided to also begin exploring for lithium in hard rock form, having discovered evidence that it was mined on the surface during World War II.

Additionally, the miner plans to explore for other metals used in car batteries such as cobalt and copper.

A year ago, the company said it needed about £5 million ($6.3m) to go ahead with its plans. Since then, it has secured £2m from private backers and it’s already aiming at listing on the London Stock Exchange within three years.

Cornish Lithium has also expanded and consolidated the areas over which it has rights to explore for lithium and other minerals. Its team has assembled a vast amount of historical data and reconstructed it in 3D digital format, enabling a totally new understanding of the geological potential of Cornwall’s mineral deposits.

Jeremy Wrathall, the company’s boss and former head of mining research at Investec Plc, has repeatedly said he believed his company has undertaken the largest, single unified exploration project in the history of the UK.

Most lithium is produced in South America, Australia and China, but the UK government has recently designated it as a metal of strategic importance to the country.

“The Government is concerned about the raw materials supply for the car industry,” Wrathall told This Is Money over the weekend. “Brexit highlights the need to create new industries in the UK, and one that supports our car industry.”

Wrathall believes that the lack of exploration in Cornwal for over 30 years means that one of the most highly mineralized areas in Europe has remained untouched by modern exploration techniques.


Monday, September 30, 2019

Between September 30th and October 1st, 280 workers are expected to cast their vote on Antofagasta’s offer which, according to the union’s leader Waldo Pérez, doesn’t meet their expectations as the miner only approved three of the workers’ 44 demands and plans to raise salaries by half the amount they requested.

“If this proposal is approved, the negotiation process would come to an end and for the next three years, we will have to deal with a collective agreement that doesn’t represent us and that doesn’t value our work,”  Pérez said in a video made public over the weekend.

According to the head of the union, the only mechanism Los Pelambres employees have to obtain the benefits they have requested is to vote in favour of a strike.

“As you all know, that’s what we did during our last negotiation and this allowed us to get the benefits of the contract we have today,” he said, referring to a stoppage approved by over 95% of the workers in 2016 and which ended up with Antofagasta accepting most of their demands.

If the new strike action is greenlighted, the union has to wait until October 7th to request for mandatory mediation, which would allow both parties to continue negotiations for another five business days up until October 14th.

“I call on all our members to come to the polls and vote for the strike option,” Pérez said. “Only by doing this, only through this resounding rejection [of the proposal], we will deliver a clear message to the executives of this company so that the value and recognize our input as supervisors.”

A stoppage at Los Pelambres could have serious consequences for Antofagasta as the operation is responsible for about half of the company’s total copper output, which this year is expected to be somewhere between 750,000 and 790,000 tonnes of the red metal.

A halt in activities may also affect expansions plans recently announced by its majority owners, Chile’s Luksic family, who earlier this year secured full funding for the project.

Los Pelambres’ enlargement should add an average 60,000 tonnes per annum of production in the first 15 years of operation, starting with 40,000 tonnes in the second half of 2021 when completion is expected and increasing by an additional 20,000 tonnes towards 2036.