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Environmental News

Pilbara granted native vegetation clearing permit

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     27th March 2017 Lithium developer Pilbara Minerals has received the first of two environmental approvals for its Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project, in Western Australia. The ASX-listed company on Monday announced that it was granted its native vegetation clearing permit. 

Brazil's Vale says US court annuls most of class action over dam disaster

By: Reuters     25th March 2017 Brazilian miner Vale said on Friday the US District Court for the Southern District of New York annulled the majority of a class action lawsuit against the company and executives over the collapse of a tailings dam in Brazil in 2015. The only parts of the case that remain ongoing are linked to... 

Water scarcity rewiring mining companies’ approach to shared water use

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     24th March 2017 The threat of ongoing water scarcity represents a significant opportunity to the mining and metals sector, as companies seek solutions to improve water security and sanitation, a new report from the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC),... 

Five PhD students graduate from Wits mining engineering school

By: Dylan Slater     24th March 2017 Building on its focus of high-level research and innovation for the mining sector, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) School of Mining Engineering has had another productive year with the graduation of five doctoral students.  

Five PhD students graduate from Wits mining engineering school
JANA JACOB Wits School of Mining Engineering student Jana Jacob researched how new methods of quantifying exploration risks can be developed in the absence of hard data

Greater demand for credible, local testing spurs growth

By: Johane Turkstra     24th March 2017 Local environmental laboratory X-Lab Earth Science plans to expand its support for air-quality testing companies servicing the mining and minerals industry as demand grows for accredited data analysis in this sector. X-Lab MD Quentin Hurt attributes the increasing demand for its services to... 

Greater demand for credible, local testing spurs growth
INTEREST GROWING There has been a substantial interest in air quality testing as there have been numerous high-profile issues that have developed around South Africa

More focus needed on ESG factors

By: Johane Turkstra     24th March 2017 Mining companies operating globally need to pay greater attention to their social licence to operate in terms of the environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors associated with their projects, says mining industry consultant MSA principal environmental consultant Robin Bolton.... 

More focus needed  on ESG factors
Photo by Bloomberg
EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT Environmental, social and governance factors have immense influence on risk management for operations of any size

New programme increases environmental stewardship awareness at quarries

By: Dylan Slater     24th March 2017 Environmental stewardship by private sector producers association Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of Southern Africa (Aspasa) member quarries, across South Africa, has improved significantly since the inception of the Aspasa About Face environmental management programme in 1994.  

New programme increases environmental stewardship awareness at quarries
NICO PIENAAR Aspasa’s About Face 2017 programme has been specifically adapted to the requirements of the South African surface-mining industry

Proponents see glistening future in seabed mining, but environmentalists fret

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     24th March 2017 With the current known mineral deposits on land increasingly being depleted globally, necessitating greater exploration, interest in the prevalence of deep-sea minerals is growing as mining companies look for future sources to exploit. “The ocean is where future resources exist,” India Council of... 

Proponents see glistening future in seabed mining,  but environmentalists fret

‘Barometer’ provides assessment of mineral resources industry transparency

By: Ilan Solomons     24th March 2017 Governments are challenged with creating new approaches to governance that enable them to better exploit the developmental potential provided by mineral resources. It is therefore imperative that countries establish regulatory frameworks and State capacity to ensure that mining activities are... 

‘Barometer’ provides assessment of mineral resources industry transparency
Photo by Duane Daws
FOUNDATION AND ENFORCEMENT MECHANISMS Establishment of regulatory frameworks and State capacity is needed to ensure mining is compatible with efforts to promote inclusive and sustainable development

IDC to support R&D of low-energy technology 

     23rd March 2017 The State-owned Industrial Development Corporation is fiercely supporting technologies that will enable South Africa to beneficiate more effectively and has set its sights on the research and development of low-energy technology. Mining Weekly editor Martin Creamer speaks to Creamer Media's... 

IDC to support R&D of low-energy technology
IDC to support R&D of low-energy technology

Carmichael to proceed despite renewed outcry from green lobby – MCA

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     23rd March 2017 The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has labelled the latest environmental resistance against the $16.5-billion Carmichael coal project, in Queensland, as “futile and cynical attention seeking”. The MCA was responding to an announcement by former Greens party leader Bob Brown, in which he said... 

Adani coal mine in Australia faces fresh wave of protests

By: Bloomberg     22nd March 2017 A new environmental campaign to stop the development of Adani Group’s $16.5-billion coal mine in Queensland will be launched Wednesday with the high-profile backing of former Australian Greens party leader Bob Brown. “Adani and the federal government have no idea of the scale of opposition and... 

Northern Dynasty, EPA file joint motion to extend stay of proceedings

By: Henry Lazenby     21st March 2017 Canadian project developer Northern Dynasty Minerals on Tuesday said its Alaska-based subsidiary Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have filed a joint motion in federal court to extend a stay of proceedings in ongoing litigation under the Federal... 

Ngualla gets environmental nod

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     20th March 2017 ASX-listed Peak Resources has secured an environmental certificate for its Ngualla rare earths project, in Tanzania. “The issuance of the environmental certificate for Ngualla is a major milestone in the permitting of the project. With the bankable feasibility study also now nearing completion,... 

TSX ends down as financials, commodity stocks retreat

By: Reuters     17th March 2017 Canada's benchmark stock index fell on Friday as financial stocks lost ground along with bond yields and as natural resource companies pulled back despite an uptick in commodity prices. The heavyweight financials group lost 0.6%, with insurance company Manulife Financial down 1.5% at C$24.13 and... 

Vale says Brazil court suspends Samarco damages lawsuit to help deal

By: Reuters     17th March 2017 Brazilian iron-ore miner Vale said on Thursday that a federal court in Minas Gerais has suspended a case brought by prosecutors seeking 155-billion reais ($49.7-billion) in damages for the 2015 Samarco mine disaster. Vale said in a securities filing the court suspended other lawsuits to... 

AuRico gets federal enviro nod for multimillion-ounce Kemess project

By: Henry Lazenby     17th March 2017 Precious metals royalties firm and project developer AuRico Metals has received a positive decision statement from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), prompting the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) to grant an environmental-assessment certificate for the... 

China to stir coal market again in 2017

     17th March 2017 China will again generate significant volatility in the global coal market in 2017 as the government strives to balance smooth and cheap coal supply to households and steel mills with environmental concerns about coal use, according to Fitch-affiliated market analyst BMI Research.  

MoU to facilitate a dialogue between govts, coal industry

     17th March 2017 To help facilitate a dialogue between governments and the coal industry, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the World Coal Association (WCA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that formalises their long-term collaboration.  

MoU to facilitate a dialogue between govts, coal industry
CHRISTIAN BACH Clean coal technologies are critical to achieve the goals in the Paris Climate Agreement

Sonic drilling represents untapped potential for mining

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     17th March 2017 There is huge scope in the future for the adoption of sonic drilling by mining companies in South Africa, which heavy minerals mining companies can capitalise on, says exploration drilling industry training course provider Colin Rice Exploration & Training founder Colin Rice. Local use of sonic... 

Sonic drilling represents untapped potential for mining
Photo by Bloomberg
ENHANCED EXPLORATION The high penetration rates of sonic drilling produce high-quality, accurate core samples

UCG power plant developer eagerly awaits procurement programme

By: Marleny Arnoldi     17th March 2017 Multifaceted resource and technology company African Carbon Energy (Africary), which plans to develop an underground coal gasification (UCG) power plant project at its one-billion-ton coal deposit in Theunissen, in the Free State, says it has been bid-ready for the domestic gas independent power... 

UCG power plant developer eagerly awaits procurement programme
JOHAN BRAND & DR JOHAN VAN WYK The production well of an underground coal gasification process produces clean-mined coal

‘Gold mining not only contributor to seismic events in Gauteng’

By: David Oliveira     17th March 2017 Historical research by the Council for Geoscience (CGS) has found that the gold mining sector is not the sole cause of seismic events in and around Johannesburg but has, however, amplified the number and magnitude of seismic events, delegates were told earlier this month at this year’s CGS... 

IDC supporting entry of superior platinum processing route – Malinga 

By: Martin Creamer     15th March 2017 A bankable feasibility study has been completed on a new platinum processing method that slashes electricity consumption by eliminating the power-guzzling smelting step in the processing of platinum-group metals (PGMs), Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) divisional executive: mining and... 

IDC supporting entry of superior platinum processing route – Malinga
Mining Weekly Online’s Martin Creamer in conversation with Industrial Development Corporation divisional executive: mining and metals industries Abel Malinga. Photographs: Duane Daws. Video and Video Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Silver Wheaton remains a unique offering in uncertain times 

By: Henry Lazenby     13th March 2017 As the tide turns in the resource investment space, a renewed focus on project development sees many juniors looking for cash to fund their project development goals. The world’s largest precious metals streaming firm Silver Wheaton believes it has the answer for the right junior firms: its early... 

Silver Wheaton remains a unique offering in uncertain times
Silver Wheaton president and CEO Randy Smallwood discusses the company's strategy for acquiring metal streams. Video: Henry Lazenby; Editing: Lionel da Silva.

Philippines' Duterte wants mining ban, links miners to destabilisation plot

By: Reuters     13th March 2017 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday accused some miners of funding efforts to destabilise his government as he talked about a possible plan to impose a ban on mining given the environmental damage producers have caused. Duterte, who has said the Southeast Asian nation can survive... 

Samarco mine restart threatened by request to protect forest

By: Bloomberg     13th March 2017 The Samarco iron-ore mine in Brazil is facing one more obstacle to restarting operations later this year after a court accepted a request by prosecutors to protect a forested area that encompasses a pit the venture had planned to use for storing waste. The BHP Billiton-Vale joint venture had... 

Form partnerships and seek community acceptance, mines urged

By: Ilan Solomons     10th March 2017 Forming partnerships and social acceptance by communities are the two key factors miners need to ensure to promote sustainability in the mining industry, says University of Cape Town Department of Chemical Engineering Minerals to Metals Initiative chief research officer Professor Jennifer... 

Form partnerships and seek community acceptance, mines urged
PERCEPTION PROBLEMS Anti-mining lobbyists argue that mining companies purposefully divide communities and 'corrupt' their leaders to ensure that mining projects receive local endorsement

W Resources to advance copper projects following £750 000 capital raise

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     9th March 2017 Iberia-focused miner and explorer W Resources has raised £750 000 through the placing of 214-million ordinary shares at 0.35p apiece. The company will use the proceeds to advance the development of its copper and gold assets, and advance the acquisition of the La Parrilla crusher, jig and mill. 

Northern Dynasty appoints HDR Alaska to start Pebble permitting process

By: Henry Lazenby     9th March 2017 The proponent of the controversial Pebble copper/gold project, in Alaska, one of the largest undeveloped projects in the world, is taking advantage of US President Donald Trump’s pro-development agenda and has appointed regulatory and permitting consultant HDR Alaska to start the federal and... 

Elephant hunter Randgold walks the talk in Africa

By: Henry Lazenby     7th March 2017 The industry is constantly reducing the quality of its asset base and the only way to reverse the trend is to restart the “exploration engine”, Randgold Resources CEO Mark Bristow said in Toronto this week. “It is misguided to think that cutting back on exploration is a good idea, because it... 

Elephant hunter Randgold walks the talk in Africa

Judgment reserved in South Africa’s first climate change court case  

By: Kim Cloete     7th March 2017 The outcome of South Africa’s first climate change court case could set an important precedent. Judgment has been reserved, following compelling arguments in the Pretoria High Court by lawyers for Earthlife Africa, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the developers of the 557.3 MW... 

Stakeholder engagement key to African development success

By: Henry Lazenby     7th March 2017 Capital for development ebbs and flows with global economic cycles, pushing to the fore the need for long-term regulatory security when it comes to multinational miners developing projects in Africa, said Ashanti Gold CEO and director Tim McCutcheon during a panel discussion on Africa’s mining... 

Stakeholder engagement key to African development success

Transformation at the core of Anglo American’s resilience

By: Henry Lazenby     7th March 2017 The ability to innovate and build adaptation into the DNA of mining companies is a critical requirement to successfully navigate major market changes, Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani said during a keynote address at the 2017 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s yearly convention.... 

Transformation at the core of Anglo American’s resilience
Photo by Duane Daws
Ango American CEO Mark Cutifani says survival meant a massive transformation of the asset base, in a rapid time frame

West African gold mine signs solar power agreement

By: Martin Creamer     6th March 2017 West African gold mine Iamgold Essakane has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with renewable-energy providers in a move that will cut its diesel use and lower its carbon footprint.  EREN Renewable Energy and its partner African Energy Management Platform (AEMP) on Monday announced that... 

West African gold mine signs solar power agreement
Solar power project at Iamgold Essakane in Burkina Faso

In world first, MAC members commit to voluntary principles on security and human rights

By: Henry Lazenby     3rd March 2017 Members of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) on Thursday committed to implementing the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) – a world first for a mining association. The VPs were created in 2000 to help extractive sector companies balance the obligation to respect human... 

'Coal is critical for Africa's development'

By: Ilan Solomons     3rd March 2017 Coal is required for the industrialisation of Africa, particularly as several African countries are experiencing significant development and expansion of their industrial sectors, says mining investment advisory company MX Mining Capital Advisors director Dr Mike Seeger. He states that Africa’s... 

'Coal is critical for  Africa's development'
MIKE SEEGER Coal miners are facing ‘severe challenges’ in raising the capital they require, as coal is not viewed as an attractive investment proposition for many traditional investors

Eastern basin AMD plant lauded for success achieved since coming on stream in June 2016

By: Ilan Solomons     3rd March 2017 Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has lauded the successes achieved by the Eastern Basin acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment plant, located in the town of Springs, in Gauteng, since it began operating in June 2016. Speaking during a visit to the facility last month, the Minister... 

Eastern basin AMD plant lauded for success achieved since coming on stream in June 2016
Photo by Duane Daws
EASTERN BASIN TREATMENT PLANT The high-density sludge treatment plant IS running at about 85% of its 108 Mℓ/d capacity, thereby treating around 94 Mℓ/d of acid mine drainage

Renewables offer mines bottom line boost, stability

     3rd March 2017 juwi Renewable Energies MD Greg Austin says mining companies can achieve a 2% to 3% gross profit benefit as a result of energy cost savings, should they replace diesel or heavy fuel oil (HFO) with solar power in pure self-consumption mode. 

Renewables offer  mines bottom line  boost, stability
GREG AUSTIN Integrating solar photovoltaic into mine power supply systems makes good sense
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