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Australasia News

Australian iron ore producer receives final approvals for project

By: Esmarie Iannucci     20th October 2008 ASX-listed iron ore producer Atlas Iron announced on Monday that it had received final approvals to mine at the Pardoo iron ore project, in Western Australia. The company stated that mining has started, and that ore was being stockpiled on site, prior to being hauled to the port of Port Hedland. 

Uranium Exploration finds replacement for outgoing MD

By: Esmarie Iannucci     17th October 2008 ASX-listed Uranium Exploration Australia has selected a new MD to replace Patrick Muntz, who will be stepping down. The company stated that under Muntz’s leadership it had advanced the evaluation of one of the largest and most prospective ground positions within the Olympic Dam/Stuart Shelf... 

Global accounting body relooks at mining-sector reporting standards 

By: Christy van der Merwe     16th October 2008 The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has commissioned a research project on extractive activities, to take a “fresh look” at how mining companies report and account for mineral, oil and gas reserves and resources. The project is in its first stage, and a discussion paper will be... 

Freeport's Adkerson appointed new ICMM chairperson

By: Liezel Hill     16th October 2008 The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has appointed Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold president and CEO Richard Adkerson as its new chairperson. BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers has been appointed vice-chairperson, the council said in an email statement.  

South Africa’s State mining company gazetting ‘concerning’ – Chamber   

By: Martin Creamer     16th October 2008 The government gazette notice relating to the new State mining company appeared to “negate the principle of equality before the law” and “we are concerned”, acting Chamber of Mines (CoM) of South Africa CE Frans Barker said on Thursday. Barker’s comment followed Wednesday’s by Webber Wentzel... 

JP Morgan raises 2008/9 gold price forecast

By: Reuters     15th October 2008 JP Morgan said on Wednesday it is raising its price forecast for gold for 2008 and 2009 on expectations investors will buy into bullion as a haven from risk. However, it is trimming its expectations for platinum, palladium and silver prices on fears over falling demand for the more industrial... 

Zimbabwe could exacerbate South Africa’s skills shortage – Ernst & Young 

By: Martin Creamer     15th October 2008 Zimbabwe righting itself could exacerbate South Africa’s already strained human-resource situation, Ernst & Young mining sector leader Adrian Macartney said on Wednesday. Releasing an Ernst & Young report which found that the mining industry had reached critical levels of skills shortage... 

Paladin inks offtake agreement for new Malawi uranium mine

By: Chanel de Bruyn     15th October 2008 ASX-, TSX- and NSE-listed uranium producer Paladin Energy has signed a supply contract with an Asian power utility for the delivery of 1,5-million pounds of uranium, the firm reported on Wednesday. The uranium would be produced by the company's 85%-owned Kayelekera uranium project, in Malawi,... 

South African Minerals Minister ‘may have acted unlawfully’ – Peter Leon 

By: Martin Creamer     15th October 2008 South Africa's Minister of Minerals and Energy might have acted unlawfully by exempting State-owned African Exploration Mining & Finance Corporation from key licensing provisions of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), Webber Wentzel natural resources and regulatory... 

Mitsui buys 49% stake in Uranium One's Honeymoon project

By: Liezel Hill     15th October 2008 Tokyo-based Mitsui & Co has agreed to buy a 49% interest in six Australian uranium deposits owned by Uranium One, including the company's advanced Honeymoon project. The Japanese firm expects to spend A$104-million to acquire and develop its share of the properties, the company said in a... 

Long-term outlook still positive, but near-term spend reviewed – Rio Tinto

By: Martin Creamer     15th October 2008 While the long-term mining outlook remained positive, the current market upheaval provided an opportunity for a review of near-term capital expenditure and project costs, diversified mining major Rio Tinto CE Tom Albanese said on Wednesday. Albanese said that Rio Tinto had continued to perform... 

Maphai quits BHP Billiton SA, Mkhwanazi appointed new chair

By: Martin Creamer     14th October 2008 BHP Billiton South Africa head Dr Vincent Maphai had quit his position, which was to be filled by Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi from October 15, the world’s largest diversified miner said on Tuesday. Mkhwanazi would assume overall responsibility for BHP Billiton’s corporate activities in South Africa,... 

Explorers turn to emerging technologies in hunt for new diamond discoveries

By: Esmarie Iannucci     14th October 2008 The diamond exploration and mining sector was far from ‘done and dusted’, and would increasingly benefit from global breakthroughs in advanced diamond discovery and identification techniques, said Australia-based diamond producer Blina Diamonds’ exploration manager, Dr Mark Hutchison. “There is... 

Two diamond juniors to begin mining in South Africa

By: Martin Creamer     14th October 2008 Two diamond juniors were about to commence diamond mining in South Africa, one the ASX-listed Bonaparte on a full-scale basis and the other the JSE-listed Tawana on a trial basis, the companies said on Tuesday. Bonaparte MD Mike Woodborne has told the 2008 Paydirt World Diamond Conference that... 

VR Steel to sell Hofmann products in SA

By: Chanel de Bruyn     13th October 2008 Steel products manufacturer VR Steel will represent Australian dragline and shovel supplier Hofmann Engineering in South Africa, in a deal that is expected to earn the firm R50-million a year. The steel manufacturer said in a statement that on Monday that it would stock the full range of Hofmann... 

Intrepid puts Argentina precious-metals project on ice

By: Esmarie Iannucci     13th October 2008 ASX- and TSX-listed Intrepid Mines on Monday announced that it would postpone construction of the Casposo gold/silver project, in the San Juan province of Argentina, The firm said the postponement was owing to the impact of the financial market turmoil on the availability of funds. 

Lesotho gem mine targets fivefold output growth by 2012

13th October 2008 Aim-listed diamond producer, Kopane Diamond Developments, has announced that it expects a fivefold boost in production at its Liqhobong diamond mine, in Lesotho, to one-million carats by 2012. Speaking at the first day of the 2008 Paydirt World Diamond Conference in Perth, Kopane Diamond... 

Albidon sells first concentrate from Munali

By: Esmarie Iannucci     13th October 2008 ASX-listed mining company Albidon in October recorded its first revenue from the sale of concentrate from its Munali nickel project, in Zambia, which the company said was a significant step in the transition from developer to producer. The company was also actively seeking to sell a parcel of... 

Resolute Mining plans to raise $51m in share sale

By: Esmarie Iannucci     13th October 2008 Perth based ASX-listed Resolute Mining on Monday announced that it was undertaking a pro rata offer of shares to shareholders in an effort to raise $51-million. The offer was on the basis of one share for every three shares held at the record date, at an issued price of $0,55 each. The offer... 

Diamond demand growth may ‘slow’ – James Allan

By: Creamer Media Reporter      13th October 2008 Global diamond demand growth might “slow” to 2-to-3% a year in a year in which prices had risen by at least 10%, Allan Hochreiter MD James Allan said on Monday. Allan told the 2008 Paydirt World Diamond Conference in Perth that rough diamond prices had climbed anywhere between 5% and 25% through... 

Explorer seeks acquisitions despite market volatility

By: Christy van der Merwe     10th October 2008 Australian diamond explorer Tawana Resources continued to discuss funding and resource acquisition opportunities with a number of interested parties in South Africa, Australia and other resource rich areas, despite "the turmoil and volatility on the world capital markets," said executive... 

Africa is now where China was when Nixon, Kissinger predicted huge growth, says Anglo American’s Dlamini

By: Martin Creamer     10th October 2008 Africa is now at the stage where China was in the Seventies - ripe for investment and poised for attractive investment returns, says Anglo American South Africa head Kuseni Dlamini. 

Warwick starts drilling at Jimblebar Range

By: Esmarie Iannucci     9th October 2008 Pilbara explorer Warwick Resources on Thursday announced that it had started a two-month drilling programme on its wholly-owned Jimblebar Range iron-ore project near Newman, in Australia. The drilling programme would target recently identified extensions to iron-ore mineralisation at this... 

Solar energy will become 'robust' driver of silver demand

By: Liezel Hill     8th October 2008 Silver demand for use in the manufacture of photovoltaic (PV) or solar cells could increase to as much as 1 270 t/y by 2012, Virtual Metals estimates in its latest Silver Book, published in collaboration with Fortis Bank. Silver is used as the 'metal of choice' for grids placed on the front and... 

Moly Mines secures gas supply for Spinifex Ridge mine

By: Liezel Hill     8th October 2008 TSX- and ASX-listed Moly Mines has marked another important milestone towards start-up at its Spinifex Ridge mine, in Western Australia, with the completion of a six-year gas-supply agreement with oil and gas producer Santos. Santos will supply about 15 terajoules a day of gas for power... 

Equinox commissions crushing, conveying equipment at Zambia copper mine

By: Creamer Media Reporter      8th October 2008 TSX- and ASX-listed Equinox Minerals announced this week that the primary crushing and conveying circuit at its delayed Lumwana copper project, in Zambia, had been commissioned. The miner said in a statement that crushing operations had started, and crushed material was being stockpiled in... 

Johannesburg gold to be mined at $320/oz cash cost - Central Rand Gold

By: Martin Creamer     7th October 2008 Johannesburg gold would be mined at a cash cost of $320/oz within an operational paradigm that was on track to become a lowest-quartile-cash-cost producer, Central Rand Gold (CRG) CEO Greg James said on Tuesday. James told analysts and investors that the LSE- and JSE-listed company would extract... 

Rapid minerals expansion still needed to meet long-term demand – commentators 

By: Martin Creamer     7th October 2008 Rapid expansion of minerals projects was needed, not curtailment, if long-term demand for commodities was to be satisfied, Venmyn mineral industry adviser Neil Mc Kenna said on Tuesday. Mc Kenna said that the sharp drop in commodity prices had been the result of factors largely unrelated to the... 

Waratah urges no action on 'opportunistic' bid

By: Liezel Hill     6th October 2008 Coal hopeful Waratah Coal has advised shareholders not to take any action while it evaluates an offer from Clive Palmer's Mineralogy, which said on Friday that it wants to buy a controlling stake in the company. In the meantime, however, TSX Venture Exchange-listed Waratah, which plans to build... 

Project house moves to hard-wire engineering-study standards

By: Esmarie Iannucci     6th October 2008 Project house SRK Consulting has warned that price escalations, cost over-runs, and insufficient technical capacity were threatening to limit the attractiveness of new mining projects. The group, which recently assembled its experts from around the world to assess project vulnerability, was also... 

Braemore secures first right of refusal over Atomaer projects

By: Martin Creamer     6th October 2008 JSE- and Aim-listed Braemore Resources had secured first right of refusal over the nickel and platinum projects of its controlling Atomaer shareholder and put an end to a perceived share overhang, CEO Leon Coetzer said on Monday. Coetzer said that the new relationship removed the potential for... 

Survey finds Australia getting 'less risky' for resource development

By: Creamer Media Reporter      6th October 2008 Australia has come in fourth in a top ten list of individual countries with the least risk for resource sector investment, according to resources publication ResourceStocks’ 2008 World Risk Survey. This year’s survey covered 74 countries and included individual African nations. First-time... 

Permitting process formally under way for sea-floor mining project

By: Liezel Hill     3rd October 2008 The government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has registered the receipt of a mining lease application by TSX- and Aim-listed Nautilus Minerals, for its Solwara 1 sea-floor mining project, the company announced on Friday. "This formally commences the permitting process for the development of the... 

DRDGold raises stake in Elsburg JV to 65%

By: Christy van der Merwe     3rd October 2008 JSE-listed DRDGold South Africa would acquire a further 15% stake in the Elsburg gold mining joint venture (JV) for R100-million, the company said on Friday. Initially a 50:50 JV, recovering and processing gold from the Elsburg tailings complex on South Africa’s East Rand, DRDGold SA would now... 

Langer Heinrich uranium mine achieves planned output – Paladin

By: Chanel de Bruyn     3rd October 2008 ASX-, TSX- and NSE-listed uranium producer Paladin Energy on Friday reported that its Langer Heinrich uranium mine, in Namibia, had achieved the targeted stage-one production of 2,6-million pounds a year of uranium. The mine produced 650 560 lbs of uranium for the quarter ended September 30,... 

Equinox secures $80m loan facility, insurers agree to pay for fire damage

By: Liezel Hill     2nd October 2008 TSX- and ASX-listed Equinox Minerals is currently quantifying the losses suffered from a fire at the processing plant at its Lumwana copper project in Zambia, after the project's insurance syndicate agreed to accept indemnity for the accident, the firm said on Thursday. Repair work is... 

IGC walks away from Zambian copper/gold acquisition

By: Liezel Hill     2nd October 2008 Explorer IGC Resources has opted not to go ahead with its plan to buy a 90% stake in TransAfrican Limited Zambia, the firm announced on Thursday. TransAfrican owns gold and copper concessions in northwest Zambia, but, after completing advanced field evaluation, the IGC decided that it could get... 

Cobalt output up year-on-year in the first half of '08

By: Liezel Hill     1st October 2008 Global production of refined cobalt increased 5,4% in the six months of this year, to 27 668 t, compared with 26 242 t a year earlier, according to figures from the Cobalt Development Institute (CDI). The most notable change was in China, where refined production of cobalt increased by almost 3... 

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