Tuesday, December 17, 2019

According to Mining News Pro – In a media statement, Nevada Copper CEO Matt Gili said it was a “transformational moment” for the company, which only 16 months ago took a construction decision. Nevada Copper has spent about $200 million to develop the Pumpkin Hollow mine.

Ramp-up to full-scale commercial production at Pumpkin Hollow underground is underway through the first half of 2020.

The underground operation is expected to produce 65 million pounds of copper-equivalent a year at an all-in sustaining cost of $1.86/lb, nearly 50% below current copper prices. Its current mine life is 13.5 years.

The mine opens just as copper prices recently started to rise sharply and are projected to go higher due to increasing demand from the electric vehicle industry. According to Reuters, copper deposits in the US alone have drawn nearly $3 billion in recent investments from both small and large miners.

Analysts at Fitch Solutions predict that US copper production is set to grow by 2% in 2020. They noted that US miners such as Freeport-McMoRan are already positioning themselves for long-term recovery in global copper demand.

Nevada Copper plans to finish a feasibility study by the end of next year on whether to construct a nearby open-pit mine. The company controls about 22,000 acres in northern Nevada, and the underground mine itself is located 60 miles (100 km) from Tesla’s Gigafactory in the state’s northern edge.

Source: Mining.com

Monday, December 9, 2019

According to Mining News Pro – The company acquired the Brazilian asset last year from Vale (NYSE: VALE) for US$8 million in cash — US$2-million upfront, and the balance on production.

The project will produce nickel and cobalt sulphate for the battery industry, and a prefeasibility study (PFS) released in October outlined a US$1.7-billion, after-tax net present value (NPV) at an 8% discount rate, and 26% internal rate of return (IRR) at a US$16,400-per-tonne, base-case nickel price.

“If you flex those economics to current long-term pricing at US$19,800 per tonne, the NPV goes to US$2.4 million and the IRR to 31.5%,” says Jeremy Martins, the company’s cofounder and CEO. “It’s a very cash-generative asset.”

The PFS puts initial capex at US$652 million, and estimates that at full production Vermelho would produce an average of 25,000 tonnes of nickel and 1,250 tonnes of cobalt per year using a high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) process.

Over the nearly four-decade mine life, Vermelho would produce 924,000 tonnes of nickel contained in nickel sulphate, 36,000 tonnes of cobalt contained in cobalt sulphate, and 4.5 million tonnes of kieserite — a by-product and form of fertilizer.

The project would use a hydro-metallurgical process consisting of a beneficiation plant, where the mineralized material would be upgraded before being fed to a HPAL and refining plant, which would produce the sulphates.

Martins says Horizonte wants to replicate the success at Coral Bay Nickel Corp.’s HPAL plant in the Philippines, where the company has churned out 20,000 tonnes of nickel per year using a twin-line HPAL plant — a low-capex operation that has operated for the last 15 years.

Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. is Coral Bay Nickel’s major shareholder and operator of the mine, Martins says, and would be the ideal partner for Vermelho down the road.

Horizonte will have to find a strategic or joint-venture partner to codevelop Vermelho, Martin says. “We’re flexible on what that structure would look like,” he says, but it has to be the best fit.

“We’re getting a lot of inbound interest from the battery-manufacturing arena, and we think the timing is right to bring in a partner, but the terms have to be right. We are acutely aware it has significant intrinsic value, and we need to make sure any partners allow us to capture that value ourselves. If the structure doesn’t allow that, we’ll advance it to the next stage ourselves.”

But Vermelho is actually Horizonte’s second development priority. The first, 85 km away, is its flagship Araguaia nickel project. Martins and his team hope to start construction there in mid-2020, depending on market conditions.

At the end of August, Horizonte signed a US$25-million royalty agreement with Orion Mine Finance. Under the deal, Orion will provide an upfront cash payment of US$25 million in exchange for a 2.25% royalty on Araguaia. The royalty only applies to the first 426,429 tonnes of contained nickel within the final product (ferronickel) produced and sold. This is equivalent to the nickel production estimated over the life-of-mine for Araguaia in the Stage 1 feasibility study.

The company also has seven banks working on financing deals, and Martins hopes to have a debt package finalized before July 2020.

“At the moment nickel prices and nickel fundamentals are looking compelling for the short- to medium-term, and there’s a lot of interest in the nickel space,” he says. “There are very few high-grade, low-cost and large-scale nickel opportunities that are ready in the development marketplace today.”

Araguaia would produce nickel for the stainless steel industry, which still accounts for 70% of the world’s consumption of the metal.

A feasibility study in October 2018 outlined an open-pit laterite operation delivering ore from a number of pits to a central processing plant using a single line rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF) to extract ferronickel from the ore.

After an initial ramp-up, the plant is expected to reach full capacity of 900,000 tonnes dry ore feed per year to produce 52,000 tonnes ferronickel containing 14,500 tonnes nickel per year over 28 years.

The initial mine life generates after-tax free cash flow of US$1.6 billion based on a nickel price of US$14,000 per tonne. The project could be built for initial capex of US$443 million.

The project has been designed to allow for a second RKEF process plant, which would double Araguaia’s ferronickel output.

With Araguaia and Vermelho, Martin says, Horizonte controls 100% of the district, and, if both were to start commercial production, the company would rank “in the top-10 largest nickel producers in the world.”

Martin notes that Horizonte  finds itself with two enormous nickel projects at a “pretty exciting time” in the industry.

Nickel inventories on the London Metal Exchange are at their lowest level in the last seven years, he says, having moved from 500,000 tonnes of nickel in 2012 to today’s 90,000 tonnes.

At the same time, there is “robust” demand from the stainless steel market as well as from the emerging battery market for electric vehicles, which he says is likely to move from 3 million to 4 million electric cars on the market today, versus the projected 30 million to 40 million cars forecast by 2030.

While demand for the metal grows, he adds, “we have had 10 years of historic nickel price lows and very little capital coming into the nickel space.”

Finally, Indonesia’s decision in September to ban exports of nickel ore from January 2020 — two years earlier than expected — will have a huge impact, Martin says.

The Southeast Asian nation is the world’s largest nickel ore producer.

“Potentially over the next two years there will be a loss of around 200,000 tonnes of nickel ore supply,” Martin says. “So with the combination of dwindling inventory and lack of direct shipping ore out of Indonesia, we’ll see some very interesting pricing on nickel in the short- to medium-term.”

Source: Mining.com

Monday, December 2, 2019

According to Mining News Pro – By comparing 2018 and 2019 energy production data for the entire country, the researchers found that coal generation in 2019 Q2 was down 19% when compared to the same period of the previous year.

In 2019 Q2, power generation from coal provided 21% of the US’ electricity, while natural gas provided 36%.

The result shows that the trend that started in 2016, when natural gas replaced coal as the main source of energy production, has continued.

“We’re in the middle of an energy transition right now, and the biggest part of that story in the US is how swiftly coal has been declining over the past decade,” Costa Samaras, an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon, said in a media statement. “The decline of coal can be attributed to the rise of natural gas, the continued improvement of renewables, and energy efficiency efforts.”

This means that emissions from electricity production have also dropped because burning natural gas generates about half of the direct CO2 emissions per unit of energy roduced than coal does.

According to the Carnegie Mellon scientists, the carbon intensity of the sector, measured in pounds of CO2 emissions per megawatt-hour, dropped by 9% from last year.

The decrease in emissions -the experts found- is also a result of the continued growth of the renewable sector. Compared to 2018 Q2, generation from solar increased 10% and generation from wind increased by 7%.

Together, wind and solar accounted for 11% of US power generation in 2019 Q2. Hydropower was responsible for 8% of the electricity.

Nuclear power, on the other hand, remained the largest zero-carbon source of electricity in America, accounting for 20% of total generation.

The study by Samara and his team is part of the Pittsburgh-based university’s Power Sector Carbon Index, which compiles information from disparate datasets and standardizes the calculation of carbon intensity so that it is possible to track the performance of the sector.

Source: Mining.com

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.

 Source: www.mining.com

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.

Source: www.mining.com

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.

Source: www.mining.com

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.”

Source: www.mining.com

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.

Source: www.mining.com

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.

Source: www.mining.com