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Batteries at the centre of Apple’s EV master plan

By: Henry Lazenby Consumer electronics giant Apple is being sued by lithium-ion battery producer A123 Systems for "systematically" poaching employees to establish a new battery division, expected to power the company’s foray into the electric vehicle (EV) sector. The venture, reportedly named ‘Project Titan,’ has... 

Juniors struggle in sea of red tape, fees and demographic losses – Benjamin Cox

By: Simon Rees As the industry prepares for the 2015 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s conference, many have written off the past year as another annus horribilis – a horrible year filled with more impairments, fire sales, debt headaches and muted prices. The junior sector has struggled most,... 

Juniors struggle in sea of red tape, fees and demographic losses – Benjamin Cox

Rainbow Rare Earths gets go ahead for Burundi-based mine

By: Megan van Wyngaardt Africa-focused Rainbow Rare Earths has been granted a mining licence for its high-grade Gakara rare earths project, in Burundi, by the country’s Ministry of Mines and Energy. Terms for a mining convention had also been negotiated and approved by the government and, once the administration process... 

Rio Tinto simplifies business to further lower costs

By: Esmarie Swanepoel Diversified giant Rio Tinto on Friday announced that it would streamline its business, condensing its assets into four product groups namely; aluminium, copper and coal, diamonds and minerals, and iron-ore. The miner said that the new copper and coal product group would bring Rio’s coal... 

Rio Tinto simplifies business to further lower costs
Photo by Bloomberg
Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh

2014 ends on a disappointing note for explorers as negative trend continues

By: Ilan Solomons The continuation of a 12-month-long negative trend in the global mining industry resulted in 2014 ending largely on a disappointing note for the exploration sector, says professional services firm SNL Metals & Mining. According to the company’s January 2015 ‘Monthly Industry Monitor’ report, the... 

2014 ends on a disappointing note for explorers  as negative trend continues
DOWNWARD TRAJECTORY There were drill announcements from only 111 projects in December, compared with 142 in November

Gemfields targeting higher gemstones production this year

By: Ilan Solomons Coloured gemstone mining and marketing company Gemfields is targeting the production of about 25-million carats of emerald and beryl from its Kagem mine, in Zambia, and about eight-million carats of ruby and corundum from its Montepuez mine, in Mozambique, this year. Gemfields owns a 75% stake in... 

Gemfields targeting higher gemstones production this year
CHAMA PIT, KAGEM MINE Kagem produces about 253 ct of emerald and beryl per tonne of material mined

Vale reports increased production in Mozambique while Tata Steel decides to leave

By: Keith Campbell Brazilian mining major Vale has reported its Moatize coal mine in Mozambique set a new production record last year. This was revealed in the group’s recently published 2014 and 4Q14 Production Report. It also set a new record for quarterly production during the fourth quarter (4Q). It further... 

Kibo enters two JVs with Metal Tiger for gold and uranium projects

By: Megan van Wyngaardt Tanzania focused exploration and development company Kibo Mining has completed due diligence on its Morogoro South gold-prospective exploration portfolio and has started its 50/50 joint venture (JV) activities with investing company Metal Tiger. The portfolio, which consists of 18 licences,... 

Kibo enters two JVs with Metal Tiger for gold and uranium projects

Low grades, stoppages hurt Pan African’s H1 earnings

By: Natalie Greve Precious metals mining group Pan African Resources has posted a 62.8% drop in headline earnings to R102.6-million for the six months ended December 31, saying on Thursday that the six months were made “challenging” by a lower-grade mining cycle at Evander Mines, in Mpumalanga, contamination in... 

Zambian ex-mines minister found guilty of corruption

By: Reuters Zambia's former mines minister was convicted of corruption on Monday for his role in the award of prospecting licences to a Chinese mining company in 2009. Delivering judgment in the matter, magistrate Lameck Mwale said the prosecution had proved that Maxwell Mwale interfered in the award of... 

DMR to spend R4.1-billion in compliance crackdown

By: Natalie Greve Clamping down on noncompliant mining companies, the Department of Mineral Resources  (DMR) plans to spend some R4.1-billion, or 81.4% of its total budget, on enforcing compliance with legislation and promoting sustainable resource use and management over the current medium-term expenditure... 

DMR to spend R4.1-billion in compliance crackdown

Nene says Eskom to approach Nersa this year, as he outlines R23bn injection plan 

By: Terence Creamer The first installment of an approved R23-billion capital injection for struggling electricity utility Eskom would be made in June, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene revealed in his 2015 Budget address. The allocations would be made in two installments, with a special appropriation bill to be tabled... 

Nene says Eskom to approach Nersa this year, as he outlines R23bn injection plan

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

Rio Tinto CEO sees no chance of a Glencore merger

By: Reuters Global miner Rio Tinto will not be taken over by rival Glencore because there is no value in it for shareholders and regulators will never let it happen, Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said. Rio rebuffed a takeover approach from Glencore last August to create a $160-billion mining and... 

Rio Tinto CEO sees no chance of a Glencore merger
Photo by Bloomberg
Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh

Merger to create new $3.1bn global silicon and specialty metals player

By: Henry Lazenby Spain-based silicon metal, silicon alloys and ferroalloys producer Grupo FerroAtlántica and Miami, Florida-based Globe Specialty Metals will combine in an all-stock transaction to create an international silicon and specialty metals producer with a combined enterprise value of about $3.1-billion.... 

Merger to create new $3.1bn global silicon and specialty metals player

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

BHP posts big drop in half-year profit, cuts back on spending

By: Esmarie Swanepoel Mining giant BHP Billiton on Tuesday said that its interim profit had nearly halved, as the prices of the group’s main commodities slumped in the past six months. BHP posted a 47.4% year-on-year decline in group profit for the half-year ended December 31, to $4.27-billion, from $8.12-billion a... 

BHP posts big drop in half-year profit, cuts back on spending

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

Base continues Kwale ramp-up

By: Ilan Solomons Aim- and ASX-listed Base Resources continued the ramp-up of its Kwale mineral sands project, in Kenya, in the six months to December 31. “With the consistent achievement of design availabilities and throughputs in both the wet concentrator plant and mineral separation plant, the focus has been... 

Base continues Kwale ramp-up

Richland Resources extends longstop date for sale to Sky Associates

Aim-listed gemstone developer and producer Richland Resources has agreed with Tanzanian company Sky Associates to extend the longstop date for the sale of Richland’s tanzanite mining and beneficiaiton business, as well as its tsavorite licence interest in Tanzania, from February 23 to March 16.... 

Australian mining M&A activity slumps

The Australian mining industry is back to the merger and acquisition (M&A) levels of ten years ago, with deal volume and value declining amid a global drop off in mining M&A activity. In Australia, deal value amounted to $4.7-billion in 2014, down from the $5.5-billion achieved in 2013, and the... 

Australian mining M&A activity slumps

BHP Billiton spin-off a bright spot in commodities gloom

By: Reuters When global miner BHP Billiton reports its half-year results on Tuesday, the only parts of the company that are likely to report profit growth are some of the unloved assets it aims to spin off by June. Commentators had dubbed the company BHP plans to hand to shareholders "DudCo" before it was... 

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Exxaro says to fall into FY loss on impairment

By: Reuters South African mining house Exxaro said on Friday its full-year earnings would fall to a loss mainly due to a R5.8-billion ($500-million) impairment on its iron ore project in the Congo Republic. The company said in a statement attributable losses for the year to end-December are expected to be... 

Botswana still auspicious mining jurisdiction

By: Mia Breytenbach Having ranked consistently as one of the top mining jurisdictions in Africa, Botswana remains a favourable mining destination for investment – despite current infrastructure challenges and the global economic downturn, mining consultancy Core Consultants MD Lara Smith tells Mining Weekly. She... 

Botswana still auspicious mining jurisdiction
Photo by Reuters
AGAINST THE ODDS Botswana remains an auspicious mining destination, despite current infrastructure and macroeconomic challenges

Demand for cheap minerals, energy to support growing global middle class opening up high-yielding investment opportunities

By: Henry Lazenby In a world where the economic outlook is uncertain, and opinions diverge at best, depending on who you ask, where it is hard to pinpoint whether economies are at inflationary or deflationary inflection points, stabilising or destabilising and where a host of investors had all but written off the... 

Demand for cheap minerals, energy to support growing global middle class opening up high-yielding investment opportunities

Diamond explorer shifts target focus areas, prioritises Orapa region

By: Mia Breytenbach Aim-listed diamond explorer Botswana Diamonds (BOD) has shifted its 2015 focus to three licence areas covering more than 1 000 km2 in the diamond province of Orapa, in Botswana. The three blocks currently receiving precedence comprise the PL206, PL207 and PL210 licence areas, BOD chairperson John... 

Diamond explorer shifts target focus areas,  prioritises Orapa region
FOCUS SHIFT Botswana Diamonds and Alrosa defined a new 2015 exploration programme for the PL206, PL207 and PL210 licence areas in the Orapa region in Botswana

Interest returns to known deposits, way paved for exploration

By: Mia Breytenbach The latest exploration boom in Botswana, although seemingly waning, has shifted the spotlight to several known deposits again, notes South African mining consultancy The MSA Group, stating that copper and nickel deposits were receiving particular attention. Recent high copper prices have resulted... 

Interest returns to known deposits, way paved for exploration
Photo by Bloomberg
RENEWED INTEREST Recent high copper prices have resulted in the potential economic feasibility of lower-grade copper deposits in Botswana

Nevada project yields high-grade sampling results

Diversified mineral exploration and development company Sunrise Resources has attained further high-grade sampling results at its Bay State silver project, in the Eureka district of Nevada. 

Prospectors & Developers Association appoints new executive director

The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) last month announced the appointment of Andrew Cheatle as its new executive director, effective February 2. 

Transition from artisanal mining in Central Africa vital – UJ professor

By: Zandile Mavuso There is a real need to improve the knowledge and skills base of the mining sector in Central Africa through the transition from artisanal mining to small-scale mining, which will also mitigate fatalities on site, said University of Johannesburg (UJ) professor Dr Steven Rupprecht during an... 

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