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Exploration and mine development up to 2.5 times more costly in Canada’s North

By: Henry Lazenby A new study has found that the cost to explore and build new mines is as much as 2.5 times higher in northern Canada, mainly as a result of a lack of critical infrastructure. The study, titled ‘Levelling the Playing Field’, found that the cost of mineral exploration and building and operating... 

Century Aluminum braces for Kentucky lockout as USW reject deal

By: Reuters Unionised workers at Century Aluminium's Hawesville, Kentucky smelter rejected the company's proposed labour agreement late on Monday, taking one of the biggest US aluminium plants a step closer to industrial action, the first for the sector in years. Some 84% of members voted against the... 

Production up at Glencore’s South African coal mines

By: Martin Creamer Production from Glencore’s South African thermal coal mines was 10% higher in the three months to end March. The London-, Hong Kong- and Johannesburg-listed diversified mining and marketing company, headed by CEO Ivan Glasenberg, said on Tuesday that the ramp up of its newly commissioned... 

Production up at Glencore’s South African coal mines
Photo by Duane Daws
Ivan Glasenberg

Strategic minerals and the aerospace and defence industries

By: Keith Campbell The term “strategic minerals” is one that is much used but one that, in the words of Brazilian minerals lawyer Raquel Quaresma de Lima, “does not have a steady definition”, while the Science and Technology Committee of the UK House of Commons has observed that there is “no single definition of... 

Strategic minerals and the aerospace and defence industries

South32 weakness hidden – Investec

By: Martin Creamer Good overall third-quarter production performance by BHP Billiton hid the weaker performance of most of the assets that make up South32, Investec Securities mining analyst Hunter Hillcoat says. BHP Billiton intends simplifying its portfolio by demerging the South32 metals and mining company,... 

South32 weakness hidden – Investec
Photo by Duane Daws
Graham Kerr

Glencore spends $114m on corporate social initiatives 

By: Martin Creamer Diversified mining and marketing company Glencore spent $114-million on corporate social initiatives last year, representing 2.2% of group profit before tax, the company said on Tuesday. The 181 000-employee, 50-country Glencore, headed by CEO Ivan Glasenberg, said the investment helped to meet... 

Glencore spends $114m on corporate social initiatives
Photo by Duane Daws
Ivan Glasenberg

Rusal to start aluminium output at Russian project by June – CEO

By: Reuters Top aluminium producer United Company Rusal will start producing metal at its Boguchansk project, in Russia, by June and will ramp up output over the following year depending on demand, the company's chief executive said on Monday. Weak aluminium prices are forcing many producers to curtail... 

Rusal to start aluminium output at Russian project by June – CEO

UAE's Dubal Holding looks into buying stakes in energy projects

By: Reuters Dubal Holding, the holding company for Dubai's stake in Emirates Global Aluminium and other assets, is considering possible acquisitions in local and international energy projects, it said on Monday. The firm was looking for equity interests related to coal, solar, gas, and other alternative... 

UAE's Dubal Holding looks into buying stakes in energy projects

Canada’s mining industry welcomes federal budget 

By: Henry Lazenby Canada's national mining association has welcomed the Conservative government’s balanced federal budget 2015, citing its pleasure with renewed funding for critical areas such as environmental assessments, the Major Projects Management Office, Aboriginal education and training, and geoscience.... 

Canada’s mining industry welcomes federal budget
Photo by Reuters
Canada's Finance Minister Joe Oliver on Tuesday tabled a C$990.3-billion balanced budget.

USW rejects tentative deal with Century at Kentucky aluminium smelter

By: Reuters Unionised workers at Century Aluminium's Hawesville, Kentucky aluminium smelter voted to reject a tentative agreement on a new five-year labour contract, the United Steelworkers Local 9423 said on its website. The two sides had reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement last Wednesday,... 

Miners report first-quarter output ahead of financials

By: Henry Lazenby Several miners reported production results this week ahead of publishing financial results for the three months ended March 31. NYSE- and TSX-listed McEwen Mining reported 23% increased gold output to 24 696 oz and a decline in silver production of 10% to 655 339 oz in the period when compared... 

South32 turns bearish as tax inquiry, iron-ore put ‘sell’ skids under BHP

By: Martin Creamer With the shareholder vote just over three weeks away, the planned spin-off of South32 from BHP Billiton has turned bearish and BHP Billiton has itself fallen victim to an unprecedented number of analyst sell recommendations owing to the plummeting iron-ore price, worsened by the reputational... 

South32 turns bearish as tax inquiry, iron-ore put ‘sell’ skids under BHP
Photo by Duane Daws
The BHP Billiton building in central Johannesburg

Century, USW extend contract at Kentucky smelter through April 13

By: Reuters Century Aluminium and workers at its Hawesville, Kentucky, smelter extended their current labour contract through April 13, as union members vote on the latest proposal, the United Steelworkers District 8 director said on Wednesday. The current five-year contract at the 244 000-tonne-per-year... 

Alcoa now sees global aluminum surplus of 326 000 t in 2015

By: Reuters The world aluminium market will see a surplus of 326 000 tonnes in 2015, an executive at Alcoa said following a presentation of the company's first-quarter 2015 earnings on Wednesday. That surplus forecast differed sharply from the aluminium producer's January estimate of a 38 000 t deficit for... 

Five prospective customers to receive Orbite HPA samples

By: Henry Lazenby High-purity alumina (HPA) producer Orbite Aluminae has shipped samples to five potential customers, thereby entering their supplier qualification programme. The samples were produced by calcining aluminium chloride hexahydrate, the precursor material for HPA, which the firm produced at its pilot... 

Alcoa cuts last smelting capacity at São Luís facility in Brazil

By: Henry Lazenby Aluminium and lightweight metals producer Alcoa will curtail the remaining 74 000 metric tons of smelting capacity at its São Luís facility, in Brazil. NYSE-listed Alcoa on Monday said the curtailment was part of its plans to evaluate upstream capacity for possible curtailment, closure or sale as... 

Seize opportunity to improve mining tax, pleads KPMG’s Saloojee

By: Martin Creamer South Africa should seize the current timely opportunity to amend its mining taxation in a manner that encourages foreign investment, stimulates prospecting, gets mining companies to start dealing with marginal mines and gives enough back to the fiscus for the benefit of this country's people,... 

Seize opportunity to improve mining tax, pleads KPMG’s Saloojee
Muhammad Saloojee

Zinc metal deficit expected to intensify – Glencore

By: Martin Creamer The zinc metal market’s 2014 deficit is expected to intensify this year, Glencore says in its latest annual report. The 200-page document, in which CEO Ivan Glasenberg notes slower than expected post-financial-crisis normalisation, positions the company as one able to react quickly and benefit... 

Zinc metal deficit expected to intensify – Glencore
Photo by Duane Daws
Ivan Glasenberg

Coal-rich South32 keen to help Eskom solve power issues – Kerr

By: Martin Creamer The BHP Billiton spin-off company South32, with large South African energy coal resources, would be keen to help State power utility Eskom solve some of its primary energy issues, South32 CEO-elect Graham Kerr said on Tuesday. Kerr was speaking to the media in a London teleconference call in... 

Coal-rich South32 keen to help Eskom solve power issues – Kerr
Photo by Bloomberg
Graham Kerr

Orbite Aluminae receives notice of US patent to treat red mud

By: Henry Lazenby Canadian clean-technology firm Orbite Aluminae has received a ‘notice of allowance’, indicating that it would be granted a US patent for its red mud treatment process. The Montreal-based firm on Friday reported that the United States Patent and Trademark Office had issued the notice of allowance... 

Aluminium council calls for clarity on renewable-energy target

By: Esmarie Swanepoel The Australian Aluminium Council has called on the federal government to resolve uncertainty around the Renewable Energy Target (RET). The call comes after federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt reportedly said that an agreement was “very close” with the clean energy sector around the RET. 

Gulf secures funding to build Indonesian smelter

By: Esmarie Swanepoel ASX-listed Gulf Minerals has secured a $20-million funding facility for a manganese smelter, in Indonesia. Gulf said on Wednesday it had inked a term sheet with New York-based Sigur Holdings, under which the company would immediately subscribe for A$500 000 of Gulf Minerals redeemable... 

Portland smelter safe from closure – Alumina

By: Esmarie Swanepoel ASX-listed Alumina has moved to assure shareholders that the Portland aluminium smelter, in Victoria, was safe from closure. The company’s announcement comes as Alcoa announced its continued transformation of its upstream portfolio, with the aluminium major reviewing about 500 000 t of smelting... 

Alcoa to buy titanium producer RTI to lift aerospace segment

By: Henry Lazenby Aluminium and specialty alloy products producer Alcoa has signed a definitive agreement to acquire vertically integrated titanium and specialty metal products supplier RTI International Metals in a stock-for-stock transaction with an enterprise value of $1.5-billion. On Monday, Alcoa explained... 

Alcoa to buy titanium producer RTI to lift aerospace segment

Five years on, Quebec’s Plan Nord 2.0 aims for coherence in low-price environment

By: Henry Lazenby When the Quebec government’s Plan Nord to develop the parts of the province located north of the 49th parallel was launched under Jean Charest’s Quebec Liberal Party in May 2011, it was heralded as a timely and necessary act in the mining industry’s favourable economic context at the time. But a... 

Five years on, Quebec’s Plan Nord 2.0 aims for coherence in low-price environment
Photo by Reuters
Former Quebec Premier Jean Charest unveiled the Plan Nord on May 9, 2011.

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Canadian fed and Ontario govts unveil supports for mining industry

By: Henry Lazenby Several federal departments of the Canadian government, as well as the Ontario provincial government, unveiled new measures and investments on Sunday to increase support and drive growth in the country's besieged mining industry. In a speech to the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada,... 

Canadian fed and Ontario govts unveil supports for mining industry
Photo by Reuters
Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver

Specialised refractory materials for Orbite Aluminae plant arrive in Montreal

By: Henry Lazenby TSX-listed Orbite Aluminae, which is currently converting its high-purity alumina (HPA) production plant, at Cap-Chat, in Quebec, into a full-scale, 1 t/d facility, has confirmed that the Europe-sourced components of the new castable material for the plant’s refractory system have arrived in the... 

Anglo's zinc loss now Vedanta's sweet gain

By: Martin Creamer London-listed diversified mining company Vedanta Resources has found itself in a sweet spot as the owner of the zinc assets that Anglo American saw fit to sell off four years ago, when China seemed in perpetual over supply mode and small operations abounded. But China is no longer supplying as it... 

Anglo's zinc loss now Vedanta's sweet gain
Photo by Duane Daws
Deshnee Naidoo

South32 catalyst for next wave of productivity gains – BHP Billiton

By: Martin Creamer Mining giant BHP Billiton, which pulled a free cash flow rabbit out of the thrashed commodity price hat in the six months to December 31, intends the spinoff of South32 to be the catalyst for the new wave of productivity gains in the period ahead “because if you keep doing the same thing, you... 

South32 catalyst for next wave of productivity gains – BHP Billiton
Photo by Duane Daws
Peter Beaven

EY’s Canadian Mining Eye index falls 12% in Q4, lower oil prices provide some respite

By: Henry Lazenby Global professional services firm EY’s Canadian Mining Eye index fell 12% in the quarter ended December 31, compared with a 15% decline in the prior period. The index underperformed against the S&P/TSX Composite index, which fell 2% in the last quarter of 2014, while the London Metal Exchange... 

EY’s Canadian Mining Eye index falls 12% in Q4, lower oil prices provide some respite
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