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South America News

Codelco's Q1 output falls, but higher copper price boosts profits

By: Reuters     26th May 2017 Chile's state-run Codelco said on Friday that its copper output in the first quarter slid 11% from a year ago, as ore grades decline at its ageing mines, but an incipient recovery in copper prices boosted its profits. Codelco, the world No 2 copper miner, said output in the three months to... 

Avanco on its way to midtier status

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     26th May 2017 A prefeasibility study (PFS) has proven that the Pedra Branca East copper/gold project, in Brazil, could realise project owner Avanco Resources’ ambition of becoming a midtier copper producer. The PFS estimates that the Pedra Branca East project could deliver some 24 000 t/y of copper and 16 000... 

SA Mint should review Mandela coin plans after Royal Mint blazes new platinum coin trail

By: Martin Creamer     26th May 2017 The decision of the Royal Mint, in the UK, to launch its first-ever platinum bullion products has rekindled hopes that the South African Mint will wipe the dust off its plans for a Mandela coin in platinum and mimic some of its gold coin success. In what is potentially a beneficial measure to... 

SA Mint should review Mandela coin plans after Royal Mint blazes new platinum coin trail
Photo by Darlene Creamer
This week's Mining Weekly cartoon on prospect of launching a platinum Mandela coin.

Chilean copper miner Codelco preparing local bond issue – agency

By: Reuters     26th May 2017 Chile's state-run Codelco, one of the world's biggest copper producers, is readying a domestic bond issue that will allow it to refinance its debt and fund investments, a local ratings agency said on Thursday. Codelco was in the process of registering a new debt issue worth some $1.6-billion,... 

Peru allows Bear Creek to recover Corani tax

By: Henry Lazenby     26th May 2017 TSX-V-listed project developer Bear Creek Mining has signed an agreement with the Peru Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) and ProInversion (an agent for the Peru government) that allows the company to recover, at its option and on an accelerated basis, the 18% taxes applied to engineering and... 

Brazilian miner expects less volatility in coal prices during the rest of 2017

By: Keith Campbell     26th May 2017 Major Brazilian mining group Vale, which is the majority owner of the primarily metallurgical (or coking) coal Moatize operation in the Tete province of Mozambique, expects that there will be less volatility in both metallurgical and thermal coal prices during the course of this year. During the... 

OceanaGold enters option accord for Mirasol's La Curva project, Argentina

By: Henry Lazenby     25th May 2017 Midtier miner OceanaGold has signed an option agreement with prospect generator Mirasol Resources, under which it to acquire up to 75% of the project in five stages. The definitive agreement requires multinational OceanaGold, with operations in New Zealand, Australia and the US, to make a... 

Arian Silver to step up lithium exploration, eyes acquisitions

By: Mariaan Webb     25th May 2017 London-headquartered Arian Silver is stepping up efforts to expand its lithium business, announcing on Thursday that it had raised £600 000, part of which will be used to assess the feasibility of additional lithium acquisitions. The company recently announced its interest in buying additional... 

LBMA launches code of conduct for precious metals markets

By: Reuters     25th May 2017 The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) is launching a code of conduct aimed at boosting confidence in the $5-trillion a year London gold market, it said on Thursday, following years of heightened regulatory scrutiny of the city's financial sector. The guidelines set out best practice in... 

LBMA launches code of conduct for precious metals markets

Peru FTA to unlock opportunities for Australian exporters

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     25th May 2017 The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has welcomed a possible free trade agreement (FTA) with Peru, saying Australia’s mining and mining services sectors could benefit from the agreement Australian Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Steven Ciobo this week launched FTA negotiations with his... 

Sibanye appoints Maziya as nonexecutive director

By: Henry Lazenby     24th May 2017 JSE- and NYSE-listed Sibanye Gold has appointed Savannah Maziya as a nonexecutive director following the resignation of Christopher Chadwick with effect from Tuesday. The South African multinational miner selected Maziya for her wealth of experience in the finance, mining, infrastructure and... 

NGO sues Guatemala mining Ministry for issuing Escobal licence

By: Henry Lazenby     24th May 2017 TSX- and NYSE-listed Tahoe Resources reported Wednesday that a Guatemala-based nongovernmental organisation (NGO) has filed a claim against the Guatemalan Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), alleging that the Ministry failed to consult with a local indigenous group before granting the mining... 

NGO sues Guatemala mining Ministry for issuing Escobal licence
Photo by Tahoe Resources
Escobal, Guatemala

Mgojo elected president as chamber heads for new beginning, new name, rebranding

By: Martin Creamer     24th May 2017 It is an organisation that is more relevant today than it has ever been in its 128-year history. Its role is so much more than mining. It operates in a changing environment and needs to contemplate its own new identity and name. 

Mgojo elected president as chamber heads for new beginning, new name, rebranding
Photo by Duane Daws
New Chamber of Mines of South Africa president Mxolisi Mgojo

Vedanta hits production high spot at Black Mountain

By: Martin Creamer     24th May 2017 Diversified mining company Vedanta has achieved its highest quarterly production in four years at Black Mountain in South Africa, where the Gamsberg zinc project is on track to begin production towards the middle of next year. In addition, mobilisation on the Skorpion pit layback, in neighbouring... 

Vedanta hits production high spot at Black Mountain
Photo by Bloomberg
Vedanta chairperson Anil Agarwal

Brazil miner Samarco says resuming operations this year challenging

By: Reuters     24th May 2017 Brazilian iron ore miner Samarco Mineração believes resuming operations this year will be challenging, though there remains a small possibility, Roberto de Carvalho, CEO, told Reuters on Tuesday. The company, which halted operations in November 2015 after a dam burst, said talks are continuing... 

Despite production disruptions, copper saw February surplus of 150 000 t

By: Henry Lazenby     24th May 2017 Analysis of the latest data published by the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) showed global surplus copper output of 150 000 t in February, despite disruptions at massive key mines in Chile and Indonesia. The ICSG ascribed the surplus mainly to a sharp decline in Chinese apparent demand,... 

Despite production disruptions, copper saw February surplus of 150 000 t

Gold miners slowly shift focus to growth

By: Natasha Odendaal     23rd May 2017 Gold miners are gradually shifting their focus to growth and renewed investments after years of financial austerity measures and the prioritisation of cost competitiveness and core assets. While firms will remain committed to lowering costs to improve their competitiveness and reducing debt to... 

Company climate risk disclosure could become mandatory in a few years

By: Reuters     23rd May 2017 Companies' disclosure of risks to their business from climate change could become mandatory in a few years as investor pressure gathers pace, climate finance experts said on Tuesday. Investors have urged companies, particularly those operating in the oil, gas and coal sectors, to disclose the... 

Thos Begbie’s global quality status boosted by on-the-spot Dekra 

By: Martin Creamer     23rd May 2017 The same-site working relationship that Thos Begbie has established with global quality inspectorate Dekra Industrial RSA is giving the prolific exporter of copper castings a commercial edge in its global dealings with mining and smelter-related customers worldwide. Thos Begbie now hosts the... 

Thos Begbie’s global quality status boosted by on-the-spot Dekra
Engineering News Online’s Martin Creamer talks to Thos Begbie’s Edwin Dreyer and Dekra’s Johan Gerber. Photographs: Duane Daws. Video: Nicholas Boyd. Video Editing: Lionel da Silva.

Trump woe seen double-edged sword for gold if inflation ebbs

By: Bloomberg     22nd May 2017 For gold, the biggest crisis of Donald Trump’s Presidency could cut both ways. While prices may continue to rise as investors seek a “safety trade", they could also drop if the turmoil ends up damping inflation risks as growth expectations are disappointed, according to Michael Cuggino,... 

Horizonte undertakes sustainability studies for Araguaia project

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     22nd May 2017 Dual-listed nickel development company Horizonte Minerals is moving closer to obtaining an installation licence for its 100%-owned Araguaia project, on the eastern margin of the State of Pará, north-eastern Brazil. The award of the licence, together with mining concessions, will allow for... 

From Yukon to Patagonia, gold explorers stir after sleep

By: Bloomberg     19th May 2017 From Canada’s Yukon to southern Patagonia, outbreaks of gold-rush fever are popping up as bullion markets stage a tentative recovery. The number of holes drilled at gold deposits has been rising steadily for more than a year, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. 

From Yukon to Patagonia, gold explorers stir after sleep

Pallinghurst share price leaps on value unlock outline

By: Martin Creamer     19th May 2017 The share price of mining investment fund Pallinghurst leapt in Johannesburg after the company outlined its plans to swop its investment fund shawl for a diversified miner’s mantle, unlock value through full absorption of its coloured gemstone associate and target a possible listing of the... 

Pallinghurst share price leaps on value unlock outline
Photo by Duane Daws
Arne Frandsen (left) and Brian Gilbertson at Pallinghurst's listing on the JSE ten years ago

SQM governance changes no signal of Potash Corp interest in bigger stake – CEO

By: Reuters     19th May 2017 Governance changes at Chile lithium producer SQM, which give shareholder Potash Corp of Saskatchewan greater influence, do not reflect any intent by Potash to raise its stake, Potash Corp's CEO said on Thursday. Three top shareholders in SQM have agreed to change the way board decisions are made... 

Orocobre balance sheet bolstered

By: Henry Lazenby     19th May 2017 ASX- and TSX-listed Orocobre has received a welcome financial boost in the form of a value added tax (VAT) refund and by the release of further cash security deposits in Australia, which back subsidiary Sales de Jujuy’s (SDJ's) Argentine working capital facility. The Brisbane, Australia-based... 

Inflated base case prices could dent confidence in mine development

By: Henry Lazenby     19th May 2017 Project valuations based on elevated price assumptions in the absence of more reasonable scenarios to provide a more balanced view to the market is potentially damaging to the credibility of management teams, their consultants and the mining industry as a whole, London-based boutique investment... 

Inflated base case prices could dent confidence in mine development

New cost-slashing platinum technology gaining impressive momentum

By: Martin Creamer     18th May 2017 The new cost-slashing, time-saving, capital-unlocking, mine-broadening and cobalt-saving platinum technology, driven by diversified mining company Pallinghurst and South Africa’s State-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), is gaining impressive international momentum as an initiative... 

New cost-slashing platinum technology gaining impressive momentum
Photo by Duane Daws
Pallinghurst chairperson Brian Gilbertson (centre), Pallinghurst CEO Arne Frandsen (right) in an earlier discussion with Martin Creamer on the new platinum technology.

Shadow Minerals Minister warns of ‘disastrous’ mining outlook 

By: Martin Creamer     18th May 2017 Shadow Mineral Resources Minister James Lorimer forecasts that South Africa’s new minerals legislation and new charter will be “disastrous” for an industry already crippled by hugely diminished capital injection and massive year-on-year job loss. The Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) MP, who... 

Shadow Minerals Minister warns of ‘disastrous’ mining outlook
Shadow Mineral Resources Minister James Lorimer

$5.48bn Panama project on track for 2018 commissioning

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     18th May 2017 The $5.48-billion Cobre Panama copper project, being developed by First Quantum Minerals, is on track for commissioning in 2018. Speaking at the Paydirt Latin America Downunder conference, in Perth, First Quantum global exploration director Mike Christie said on Thursday that the company was... 

Elliott Management says Barcelona meeting with BHP CEO was 'constructive'

By: Reuters     18th May 2017 Activist investor Elliott Management on Thursday said a meeting with BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie in Barcelona had been "constructive". The meeting on Wednesday took place a day after the New York-based fund raised the pressure for strategic changes at the mining giant, including a call for... 

Crusader mulls merger with Stratex

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     18th May 2017 Aim-listed gold explorer Stratex International has made a play for Brazil-focused Crusder Resources. The two companies on Thursday announced a nonbinding heads of agreement under which Crusader shareholders would receive 6.6 Stratex ordinary shares for every Crusader share held. 

Azure on the hunt for new projects

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     18th May 2017 Junior Azure Minerals is hunting for its next flagship project in Mexico, with MD Tony Rovira saying that the company has shortlisted a number of potential projects. Rovira told delegates at the Paydirt Latin America Downunder conference in Perth, that Azure had evaluated between 60 and 70... 

First Quantum executive director Rowley resigns

By: Henry Lazenby     18th May 2017 One of the co-founders of Canadian base metals producer First Quantum Minerals Martin Rowley will retire on June 30. He co-founded the company with Philip Pascall and Clive Newall in 1996, and served as CFO and director until 2007, when he assumed the role of executive director for business... 

Gold rises to two-week high amid Trump concerns

By: Reuters     17th May 2017 Gold hit a two-week high on Wednesday as Asian stocks slipped and the dollar fell amid political uncertainty after a source said US President Donald Trump asked the FBI to end a probe into his former security adviser. Spot gold climbed 0.6% to $1 243.31/oz by 0746 GMT, after earlier touching its... 

Australian miners encouraged to tap into Latin American mining sector

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     17th May 2017 Australia’s Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove has called for greater collaboration between the Australian mining sector and its respective counterparts in Latin American countries. Speaking at the Paydirt Latin America Downunder conference, in Perth, Cosgrove noted that commerce between... 

Crusader eyeing gold production this year

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     17th May 2017 Brazil-focused gold developer Crusader Resources is targeting high-grade gold production from its Juruena project before the end of the year. In a presentation to the Paydirt Latin America Downunder conference, in Perth, on Wednesday Crusader MD Paul Stephen indicated that mining and... 

Vale to shutter nickel mine in Canada; up to 200 jobs at stake

By: Reuters     16th May 2017 Vale Canada said on Tuesday it would suspend operations at its Birchtree nickel mine, in the province of Manitoba, on October 1, because of weak nickel prices and declining ore grades as the small, 51-year-old mine nears the end of its life. The suspension will result in up to 200 job losses and... 

Colombia's mining sector could receive $1.5bn/y over 5 years

By: Reuters     16th May 2017 Mining could become Colombia's economic growth engine with investments of at least $1.5-billion a year over the next five years if the government guarantees legal certainty to businesses, the industry's top representative said on Tuesday. Major mining companies are urging the government to... 

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