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.


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Chinese furnaces now produce 56% of the world’s steel despite pollution-related output cuts mandated by Beijing over the winter months and a slowdown in construction activity.

This is due to blast furnaces in the rest of the world being idled, notably in Japan where August saw a 7.8% drop in crude steel leaving mills. US output was flat while Europe marked a 2.2% decline. Production in the rest of the world outside China is now down for three straight months.

Benchmark iron ore prices were flat on Friday with the Chinese import price of 62% Fe content fines exchanging hands for $90.91 per dry metric tonne, according to Fastmarkets MB, after coming close to triple digits a fortnight ago.

Iron ore remains in a bull market for 2019, up 25% on the back of supply disruptions from top miner Vale following a deadly dam burst in January.

The Australian export price of metallurgical coal (FOB hard coking coal Fastmarkets MB) used in steelmaking eased again on Friday to $121.50 a tonne. That’s down almost $70 a tonne compared to the start of the year amid oversupply and import restrictions imposed by Beijing.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Chile’s production dropped 2.5% as heavy rains in the country’s north and lower grades weigh on the country’s outcome, the latest report by the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) shows.

Indonesia’s copper concentrate output fell by a staggering 55% owing to the transition of Grasberg into block caving and the Batu Hijau mine to Phase 7.

This means that global refined copper market ended the first half of 2019 with a supply deficit of about 220,000 tonnes.

Factoring in changes to unreported, bonded stocks in China, the deficit likely totaled 190,000 tonnes, the industry group said.

Analysts, such as Colin Hamilton at BMO Capital Markets, believe overall output may have fallen further, as the ICSG still has Chinese mined copper output rising.

“On our estimates, and balancing for stronger concentrate imports and spot treatment charges, we believe it may well have fallen,” Hamilton wrote in a note to investors. “We reiterate that, with supply holding up its end of the bargain, the copper market is in deficit this year. However, deficits don’t matter for pricing without improved demand.”

In early September, copper prices fell to their lowest level since mid-2017 due mainly to the ongoing trade spat between the US and China, the world’s biggest consumer of the red metal.

On a regional basis, ICSG data shows that mine production declined 6% in Asia, 1% in Latin America and 3% in Europe, but increased around 2% in North America and 7% in Oceania, and remained essentially flat in Africa.


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Montreal-based miner said each Barkerville shareholder would receive 0.0357 common share of Osisko for each share of Barkerville held, implying a value of C$0.58/share, based on Osisko’s Sept. 20 closing price on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The deal gives it access to Barkerville’s touted Cariboo gold project in British Columbia, which Osisko sees as a “potentially world-class asset” with significant infrastructure in place.

The company said the asset has similar attributes to Canadian Malartic mine, when it identified the opportunity.

“Osisko and Barkerville will take advantage of their combined mine building, exploration, permitting, development and construction expertise to advance the Cariboo gold project,” the company’s chief executive chair of the board, Sean Roosen, said in the statement.

According to a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the Cariboo project, published last month, the proposed underground mine would produce a high-quality concentrate averaging 20.5 grams of gold per tonne.

Located near a site where the old historic Cariboo Gold Quartz Mine operated from the 1930s to the 1960s, the operation will have a 11-year productive life, providing 320 full-time positions and 120 construction jobs.
Branching out

The company noted it would fund planned work through available liquidity, future revenue from royalties and streams, project debt as well as outside private equity and joint venture (JV) capital through the creation of a new company — the North Spirit Discovery Group.

The new firm is expected to become a leading resource development and finance company, which may seek joint venture partners and/or private equity capital.

Following the highly publicized multi-billion mergers of Barrick – Randgold and Newmont – Goldcorp, rising gold prices have spurred an anticipated wave of consolidation in the sector, which has favoured Canada and Australia.Earlier this month, Osisko announced it was buying fellow Canadian Stornoway Diamond, which has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The company, formed in 2014, is a royalty firm, which means that it seeks agreements giving it the right to a share of income from mines operated by other companies.

Its primary focus is the North American precious metal offtake market, with more than 135 royalties and a portfolio of resource companies such as a 16.6% interest in Osisko Mining Inc. and a 19.9% interest in Falco Resources Ltd.


Monday, September 23, 2019

The mineral is named goldschmidtite in honour of Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, the founder of modern geochemistry. According to Nicole Meyer, the graduate student in the Diamond Exploration Research and Training School that discovered the rock, it has an unusual chemical signature for a mineral from Earth’s mantle.

“Goldschmidtite has high concentrations of niobium, potassium and the rare earth elements lanthanum and cerium, whereas the rest of the mantle is dominated by other elements, such as magnesium and iron,” Meyer said in a university press release.

According to the researcher, for potassium and niobium to constitute a big part of this mineral, it must have formed under exceptional processes.

She estimates that the diamond containing the goldschmidtite formed about 170 kilometres beneath Earth’s surface, at temperatures reaching nearly 1,200 Celsius.

“(The discovery) gives us a snapshot of fluid processes that affect the deep roots of continents during diamond formation,” said Graham Pearson, who is Meyer’s co-supervisor in her doctorate degree.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The South American country, the world’s No. 2 lithium producer, has held global road shows ahead of a second lithium-for-investment tender, according to officials and Chilean government documents seen by Reuters.

These have attracted dozens of firms in China, Japanese battery makers like Toshiba Corp and Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom, the documents show, lured by potential access to Chile’s huge deposits of the “white gold” under the arid salt flats in the Atacama desert.

An auction – slated for early 2020 – offers a guaranteed supply of discounted Chilean lithium in exchange for a commitment to build battery parts plants in Chile as the government looks to move up the value chain.

Oversupply and plummeting lithium prices, however, have made the deal a tough sell. In a previous tender in 2018, all three winners, including electronics giant Samsung SDI and Korean steelmaker Posco, subsequently dropped out.

“I don’t see this ending any better than the previous auction,” said Jaime Alee, a Chilean lithium consultant who has advised foreign investors in the country. He noted that the global trend was for supply chains closer to home.

“Given this, I just don’t see the logic in installing (a plant) in Chile.”

Nonetheless, Chile’s huge deposits are a lure amid a sharpening race to lock in supplies, which will be key to a future of electrified transport and smart devices.

Chile’s investment and development agencies InvestChile and CORFO held events in China, France, Japan and South Korea this year to drum up interest. They say issues from the first auction have since been resolved.

The road shows attracted interest in China from dozens of firms, including China Development Bank, energy firm TBEA, chemicals giant Sinochem and aluminum miner Chinalco, the document dated Aug. 29 showed.

Japanese banks and miners, South Korea’s overseas infrastructure body, Belgium’s Umicore and French transportation conglomerate Bollore attended other global shows, an official for InvestChile confirmed.

A statement from Rosatom Group confirmed its companies were weighing their options in Chile.

“Rosatom’s organizations are still considering Chile as a potential partner for implementation of lithium projects and supporting local government’s initiatives aimed to attract foreign companies to participate in joint projects in this area,” it said.

Bollore declined to comment, as did Japan’s Toshiba, with spokesman Ryoji Shinohara adding: “We are not disclosing business-related information, including participation in such road shows, unless an official decision is made.”

The China Development Bank, TBEA, Sinochem, Chinalco and Umicore did not respond to requests for comment.
Little by little

Chinese interest in Chilean lithium in particular has grown as the Asian giant ramps up production of electric vehicles. Last year, China’s Tianqi clinched a $4 billion deal to purchase a quarter stake in top Chilean lithium miner SQM .

Chile is home to half of the world’s lithium reserves, with both SQM and U.S-based Albemarle, the world’s top producer, extracting the coveted metal from bright blue brine pools on the desert’s vast white salt flats.

However, a Reuters investigation in July found Chile has struggled to capitalize fully on the tenders, failing to make clear both how much lithium it could provide, as well as how deeply it would be discounted.

Chilean producers currently export mostly unrefined lithium, not the higher-value battery parts Chile hopes will someday generate added earnings for its export-oriented economy.

Despite the renewed interest, the administration of center-right President Sebastian Pinera has tempered expectations for this second round.

Falling lithium prices and Chile’s distance from consumer markets increase costs and make it difficult to entice foreign manufacturers.

Pablo Terrazas, head of the Corfo development agency, which oversees the auction, told lawmakers this month that the offered deal was perhaps not as sweet as anticipated.

“If the battery-making companies are not interested… we can’t obligate them to set up in Chile,” he told lawmakers. “This can still succeed or fail.”

Terrazas said he hoped to entice companies that make parts for batteries used in tools, electric scooters and storage devices.

“We started out wanting to sell the most sophisticated batteries to the likes of BMW or Volkswagen. But I think we need to go little by little… and work our way up,” he said.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

According to Mining News Pro – CEO of National Iranian Copper Industries Company (NICICO) announced the production of 110 thousand tons of copper cathode.

Ardeshir Sadmohammadi said that the company plans to raise the capacity of Khatoun Abad melting factory.

“Fortunately, we produced 110 thousand tons of copper cathode which is a record,” he said.

“In the near future, we have development plans such as Daraloo and Zaar Alley concentrate factory. We hope Khatoun Abad melting factory opens soon so we could get rid of environmental pollution,” Sadmohammadi said.

The company has 833.3 million USD sales plan until 20 September.

“Until 20 September, we will reach 833 million USD. This number is equivalent to total sales last year” he said.