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Environmental News

Conflict-free cobalt to remain industry question, opportunity as DRC dominates supply

By: Henry Lazenby     22nd April 2017 Sourcing conflict-free cobalt for application in new technologies, such as lithium-ion batteries, will remain both a concern and an opportunity for manufacturers for years to come, as production is dominated by the politically unstable Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Central African... 

Strengthening fundamentals continue to bolster ‘new age’ metals outlook

By: Henry Lazenby     22nd April 2017 ‘Big money’ investors are increasingly looking to invest in the relatively small ‘new-age metals’ space, comprising metals such as lithium, graphite and cobalt, as strengthening fundamentals for these minerals and an unprecedented high-impact investment opportunity draw the potential for bonanza... 

Strengthening fundamentals continue to bolster ‘new age’ metals outlook

Zambian mine in first-of-a-kind tailings dump site rehab, hopes to eventually produce biodiesel

By: Mia Breytenbach     21st April 2017 Zambia’s largest integrated copper producer, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), owned by global conglomerate Vedanta Resources, has launched the first project of its kind in Zambia to rehabilitate a mining site. The project, launched earlier this month, aims to cultivate elite Pongamia Pinnata trees for... 

Zambian mine in first-of-a-kind tailings dump site rehab, hopes to eventually produce biodiesel
CULTIVATION AIM Zambia Minister of Works and Supply Matthew Nkhuwa waters a Pongamia Pinnata tree as Konkola Copper Mines CEO Steven Din (middle) and other officials look on

De Beers receives conservation award

By: David Oliveira     21st April 2017 Diamond mining company De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) received the biodiversity and social responsibility award last month for its approach to ecological management at the Wildlife Ranching South Africa awards, which took place at The Ranch in Polokwane, Limpopo. The company received the... 

Parties in joint initiative to improve geodata accessibility, usability in East Africa

By: Dylan Slater     21st April 2017 Exploration and Earth sciences company Geosoft is participating in a pilot project aimed at improving the availability, accessibility and usability of geoscientific data (geodata) to guide resource investment in the East African region.  

Parties in joint initiative to improve geodata accessibility,  usability in East Africa
UGANDA WORKSHOP The pilot project and Uganda-hotsed geodata portal will be conducted under the auspices of the African Union Commission

New forum created to discuss exploration, mining, metals and minerals

By: Dylan Slater     21st April 2017 To continually develop, refine and extend the knowledge base regarding mining definitions and standards, vendor- and technology-neutral industry consortium The Open Group has established a forum in which exploration, mining, metals and minerals (EMMM) is discussed.  

Quebec govt approves Canadian Malartic openpit expansion

By: Henry Lazenby     20th April 2017 The Quebec provincial government, under the leadership of Quebec Liberal Party premier Philippe Couillard, has approved the proposed $200-million expansion of the Canadian Malartic mine, owned and operated in a 50:50 joint venture by Agnico Eagle Mines and Yamana Gold. The expansion will see the... 

Centerra receives all required Kumtor permits for 2017

By: Henry Lazenby     19th April 2017 TSX-listed Centerra Gold has received its 2017 maximum allowable discharge (MAD) permit that allows it to discharge treated effluent from the Kumtor mine tailings management facility, in the Kyrgyz Republic, starting in the spring. Centerra advised on Wednesday that Kumtor had all the necessary... 

Noront, Marten Falls First Nation ink exploration and project advancement agreement

By: Henry Lazenby     14th April 2017 The largest landholder in the so-called Ring of Fire, an emerging base and precious metals mining camp in Northern Ontario, has signed an exploration and project advancement agreement with the Marten Falls First Nation (MFFN). The accord stipulates compensation for work already completed on... 

Pan African capital raise puts gold project on fast track  

By: Martin Creamer     13th April 2017 Midtier gold mining company Pan African Resources has successfully raised R705-million in a share placing, the net proceeds of which will be used, together with a R1-billion seven-year debt facility, to fast-track the high-return Elikhulu gold tailings project in Mpumalanga. Pan African CEO Cobus... 

Pan African capital raise puts gold project on fast track
Photo by Duane Daws
Pan African CEO Cobus Loots (right) in conversation earlier this year on Elikhulu with Mining Weekly's Martin Creamer.

Belo Sun stock sinks on another Brazilian interim suspension order

By: Henry Lazenby     12th April 2017 The TSX-listed stock of Brazil-focused project developer Belo Sun Mining lost more than 18% on Wednesday morning, following an announcement that the Brazilian Federal Regional Court has issued an interim suspension order halting construction of the flagship Volta Grande project pending completion... 

Belo Sun stock sinks on another Brazilian interim suspension order
Photo by Belo Sun Mining
Exploration at the Volta Grande project, in Brazil, has lifted resources above five-million ounces of gold

Funding under way for revival of old Prieska zinc-copper potential

By: Martin Creamer     12th April 2017 Funding efforts aimed at reviving the old Northern Cape mining area endowed with significant zinc and copper potential are gaining momentum. Acknowledged as the host of one of world’s most noteworthy volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) base metal deposits, the Prieska area has a well-recorded... 

LatAm water scarcity, pollution to drive more stringent enviro rules

By: Henry Lazenby     12th April 2017 New analysis by the research arm of the Fitch Group, BMI, forecasts water scarcity and contamination in Latin America will drive increasingly stringent environmental regulations in the region over the coming years. While increasing the costs for miners and delaying certain projects, the focus on... 

LatAm water scarcity, pollution to drive more stringent enviro rules

Northern Dynasty’s US unit gets Alaska land use permit

By: Henry Lazenby     12th April 2017 The US-based unit of Northern Dynasty Minerals, the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP), has received approval for a miscellaneous land use permit (MLUP) from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for its ongoing activities at the Pebble project, in south-west Alaska. One of the largest... 

Alpha coal mine survives another environmental appeal

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     7th April 2017 The High Court of Australia has reportedly dismissed an appeal from greens group Coast and Country against the Alpha coal mine, being developed by GVK Hancock, in Queensland. Coast and Country had applied for special leave to appeal the Appeal’s Court decision regarding the emissions that could... 

Electronic sensors to monitor explosive gases on deep mines

     7th April 2017 A Norwegian-African cooperative project aims to develop a communication network, which will wirelessly transmit and receive signals within deep-mine operations, where drilling, blasting and excavation take place to detect combustible gases before they explode.  

Cautious optimism prevails in mining as prices rise, shallow growth returns

By: Ilan Solomons     7th April 2017 For the first time in a number of years, there is a mood of cautious optimism in the mining industry, with commodity prices on the rise, shallow growth returning to different end markets and most mining companies in better cost positions than in the recent past, says advisory firm Deloitte.... 

Cautious optimism prevails in mining as prices rise,  shallow growth returns
TOUGH DECISIONS Mining companies face key choices about where to invest and how to position themselves in the coming years

Adani facing stringent water use rules – Minister

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     6th April 2017 The Queensland state government has put in place financial and regulatory safeguards, as well as a stringent monitoring system to manage the water supply to the proposed Carmichael coal project. Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said project developer Adani had to provide the... 

Qld govt opens Olive Downs EIA for comment

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     6th April 2017 The Queensland government has opened the draft terms of the environmental-impact assessment for the proposed Olive Downs coal project for public comment. “This is the first step in a rigorous process for this mine proposal that could create more than 500 construction jobs a year over two years,”... 

Aquila receives federal water discharge permit for Michigan mine

By: Henry Lazenby     6th April 2017 Canadian project developer Aquila Resources has received the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for its Back Forty zinc/gold project, in Michigan, representing a major milestone for the company. The NPDES was issued on Wednesday, following a comprehensive public... 

Barkerville to initiate immediate mine development on receipt of amended BC permit

By: Henry Lazenby     4th April 2017 Junior mine developer Barkerville Gold Mines (BGM) will start immediate development and mining of the Bonanza Ledge deposit, at Barkerville Mountain near Wells, British Columbia, after completing the permit amendment process mandated by the provincial Mines Act. The TSX-V-listed company expects... 

Nautilus to test seafloor production tools in PNG submerged trials

By: Henry Lazenby     4th April 2017 Marine mining hopeful Nautilus Minerals will shortly start submerged testing of its fleet of seafloor production tools, following the equipment’s arrival in Papua New Guinea (PNG). "We are delighted to be undertaking submerged trials in PNG. The trials will result in money and investment going... 

More electric vehicles expected underground

     31st March 2017 The annual global market for lithium-ion battery energy capacity for traction and propulsion energy in underground mining vehicles (UMVs), marine vessels and rail cars is estimated to reach a combined 8 614 MWh in nine year’s time, and pack revenue will total $5.99-billion. 

More electric vehicles  expected underground
Photo by Bloomberg
LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES The continued decline of lithium-ion battery prices has helped the electric vehicle market to grow

How Spanish immersion placed resource hunter Aurania on trail of Ecuador’s ‘lost cities’

By: Henry Lazenby     30th March 2017 Junior explorer Aurania Resources is hot in pursuit of finding the last two of seven ‘lost cities’ in Ecuador abandoned by he Spanish conquistadors centuries ago. With the Toronto-headquartered company on the cusp of closing a C$6-million financing led by Maison Placements Canada and Red Cloud... 

How Spanish immersion placed resource hunter Aurania on trail of Ecuador’s ‘lost cities’
Photo by Aurania Resources
Dr Keith Barron president and CEO Aurania Resources in Ecuador

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. 

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),... 

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

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

‘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

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

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,... 

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... 

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