April Newsletter – 12.04.2021


  • Dick Bullock included in National-Mining-Hall-of-Fame-Names-2021-Inductees
  • Barrick signs agreement to reopen Porgera gold mine in PNG
  • Rio Tinto Achieves Battery-grade Lithium Production at Boron Plant
  • Anglo American to Spin Off South African Coal Mines
  • Value of top 50 mining companies surges $600 billion from covid lows
  • Opposition Wins Greenland Election After Running Against Rare Earths Mine
  • Mapping rare earths projects outside China
  • Serbia Zijin Copper to invest $408 mln in mines, smelter
  • MAC Updates Tailings Management Guidance to Align with Global Standard

Dick Bullock included in National-Mining-Hall-of-Fame-Names-2021-Inductees

LEADVILLE, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–2021 National Mining Hall of Fame Inductees – The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) is pleased to announce the class of 2021 National Mining Hall of Fame inductees. This year’s inductees, selected by the National Mining Hall of Fame’s Board of Governors, are being honored for setting new and uniform standards and improving existing processes for feasibility studies and resource/reserve estimation, executive contributions and proactive leadership in safety and diversity, innovative practical application of geostatistics, and lifetime contributions to the education of many of the world’s leading mining industry professionals.

The Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award, named for renowned mining artist Gary Prazen, will also be presented at the ceremony. This award recognizes an individual or organization for significant and sustained commitment to educating the public about the relationship of mining to our everyday lives through educational materials, programming, and outreach.

2021 National Mining Hall of Fame Inductees:

Dr. Richard L. (Dick) Bullock (1929-2020) was one of mining’s greatest experts on valuation, operations, and research and development. After earning a B.S. in mining engineering in 1951 and then time in the army, he worked in the research department at St. Joe Lead in Missouri. There, he developed the Bullock Burn Cut that would become the worldwide standard for blasting development drifts. Bullock continued to work in the mining industry for St. Joe and Exxon Minerals for the next 31 years while completing M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mining Engineering. He became an expert on managing mineral property feasibility evaluations, mine development and projects, ongoing mining operations, mining research, and multi-disciplinary engineering design groups. At age 65, Bullock became a professor at his alma mater, Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he taught for another 21 years. He developed and mentored many young engineers and published some of the most important reference books in the mining industry while also working at an associate with Behre Dolbear. Bullock was a Distinguished Member, Daniel C. Jackling Award recipient, and Legion of Honor member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Engineering. He was made an Honorary Professional Engineer of Mines and was elected to the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy Academy.


Barrick signs agreement to reopen Porgera gold mine in PNG

Barrick Niugini (BNL) has signed a binding framework agreement with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government to reopen the Porgera gold mine.

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Barrick Niugini (BNL) has signed a binding framework agreement with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government to reopen the Porgera gold mine.

The operations of the mine have been suspended since last April after the government refused to extend its special mining lease.

BNL is a 50-50 joint venture of Barrick Gold and China’s Zijin Mining Group.

According to the latest agreement, a joint venture between PNG and BNL, respectively holding 51% and 49% stakes, will own and operate the Porgera mine.

The agreement also allows PNG stakeholders and BNL to jointly share the economic benefits generated from the mine. BNL will fund the capital required to resume operations at the mine.

After ten years, PNG will have the right to increase its stake in the mine to 100% by purchasing the remaining interest from BNL at fair market value.


Rio Tinto Achieves Battery-grade Lithium Production at Boron Plant

Rio Tinto has started production of battery-grade lithium from waste rock at a lithium demonstration plant at the Boron mine site in California, United States. The demonstration plant is the next step in scaling up a breakthrough lithium production process developed at Boron to recover the critical mineral and extract additional value out of waste piles from more than 90 years of mining at the operation.

An initial small-scale trial in 2019 successfully proved the process of roasting and leaching waste rock to recover high grades of lithium.

The demonstration plant has a design capacity of 10 metric tons per year (mt/y) of battery-grade lithium. It will be run throughout 2021 to optimize the process and inform Rio Tinto’s feasibility assessment for progressing to a production-scale plant with an initial capacity of at least 5,000 mt/y, or enough to make batteries for approximately 70,000 electric vehicles.

“This is a valuable next step in scaling up our production of lithium at the Boron site, all from using waste material without the need for further mining,” Rio Tinto Minerals Chief Executive Sinead Kaufman said. “It shows the innovative thinking we are applying across our business to find new ways to meet the demand for emerging commodities like lithium, which are part of the transition to a low-carbon future.”

Rio Tinto’s lithium pipeline includes the Jadar lithium-borate project in Serbia, for which a feasibility study is expected to complete by the end of 2021.


Anglo American to Spin Off South African Coal Mines

Anglo American Plc will separate its South African coal mines into a new business this year, as the company accelerates its response to investor pressure over the most-polluting fuel.

Anglo has been plotting an exit from thermal coal for more than a year and has always said separating its South African business was the most likely outcome. Anglo will still own a coal mine in Colombia that it’s also planning to sell and coking coal mines in Australia, used to make steel rather than burned for power.

The new business, called Thungela Resources Ltd., will be listed in Johannesburg and London in June, the miner said in a statement on Thursday. Investors will receive one Thungela share for every ten Anglo American shares that they hold. Anglo executive July Ndlovu has been named chief executive officer.

The world’s biggest miners have been looking to exit thermal coal as more investors say they don’t want exposure to the fuel. Anglo has already dramatically reduced its production in recent years, cutting output by more than half.


Value of top 50 mining companies surges $600 billion from covid lows

Despite gold’s price slump, strong copper and iron ore prices lifted MINING.COM’s ranking of the world’s 50 most valuable miners to a new record high of $1.35 trillion at the end of the first quarter.

The MINING.COM Top 50* most valuable mining companies added a combined $50 billion in market capitalization over the three months to end-March, a sharp slowdown compared to previous quarters, as the commodities rally cools and gold suffers its worst first quarter in decades.

Measured from the height of the pandemic in March-April last year, the index has now recovered by an astonishing $636 billion thanks to a boom in spending on green infrastructure – not only in China but across Europe and the US.

An indication of how widespread the rally in mining stocks was the past year is the fact that a year ago a valuation of just over $4 billion secured a company a spot in the Top 50 while today, number 50 on the list, Tianqi Lithium, is valued at more than $8.5 billion. Companies around the $4 billion market cap mark now sit in the mid-60s.

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Opposition Wins Greenland Election After Running Against Rare Earths Mine

Greenland’s left-wing environmentalist party promised to halt a mining project that could have made Greenland a major source of rare earths but at a potentially steep environmental price.

Greenland’s left-wing environmentalist party, Inuit Ataqatigiit, won a victory in general elections on Tuesday after campaigning against the development of a contentious rare earths mine partly backed by China.

The party, which had been in the opposition, won 37 percent of the vote over the longtime incumbents, the center-left Siumut party. The environmentalists will need to negotiate a coalition to form a government, but observers said their election win in Greenland, a semiautonomous territory of Denmark that sits on a rich vein of untapped uranium and rare earth minerals, signaled concerns from voters over the impact of mining.


Mapping rare earths projects outside China

China has long dominated the supply chain for rare earth elements that are vital for many 21st century technologies, from jet engines to electric vehicles and medical scanners. We profile the most prominent rare earth mining and processing projects outside the dominant market.

Despite their name, the 17 minerals labelled rare earth elements are not that rare. According to the US Geological Survey, they are about as common as copper. But REEs are both hard to extract, due to their ores oxidising rapidly, and extremely polluting, causing extensive water and soil pollution.

China’s dominance of the market, holding some 44 million metric tons out of the world’s total 120 million metric tons of rare earth elements, has sparked the need for a secure supply of the elements outside the country. This has been amplified by trade conflicts such as the US-China trade dispute in 2018, which threatened to disrupt numerous industries.

As those critical minerals were a priority of Trump’s administration in the US, the White House signed agreements with Australia and Canada, in 2018 and 2020 respectively, to secure the supply of rare earth elements.

Similarly, the EU has concentrated its efforts to become less reliant on the imported raw materials by creating a list of critical materials that it plans to support locally.


Serbia Zijin Copper to invest $408 mln in mines, smelter

BELGRADE, April 7 (Reuters) – The Serbia Zijin Copper company, operator of Serbia’s sole copper complex, plans to invest $408 million in 2021, up from $360 million in 2020, to overhaul and expand its four mines and a smelter, it said on Wednesday.

The plan also includes improving environmental protection in the heavily polluted Bor region, in Serbia’s east, it said in a statement posted on its website.

The company, part of China’s Zijin Mining, said it planned to boost output of copper concentrate by 38.91% to 74,010 tonnes and cathode copper by 18% to 83,450 tonnes this year.

In 2018, Zijin Mining became Serbia’s strategic partner in the copper complex RTB Bor, pledging to invest $1.26 billion in return for a 63% stake.

In its statement, the company also said it aimed to produce 2.5 tonnes of gold and 10 tonnes of silver in 2021, an annual increase of 45.14% and 10.12% respectively.


MAC Updates Tailings Management Guidance to Align with Global Standard

OTTAWA, ON, April 7, 2021 /CNW/ – Today, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) announced updates to its world leading guidance on responsible tailings management.

The Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) standard, first developed by MAC in 2004, is a globally recognized sustainability program that supports mining companies in managing key environmental and social risks. TSM was the first mining sustainability standard in the world to require site-level assessments and is mandatory for all companies that are members of implementing associations. Through TSM, eight critical aspects of social and environmental performance are evaluated, independently validated, and publicly reported against 30 distinct performance indicators.

For over 20 years MAC has led the way in responsible tailings management, a significant focus of the association’s work, including through TSM, specifically the Tailings Management Protocol and supporting guidance documents. TSM provides an established system for credible performance measurement and reporting, including rigorous standards to help ensure that tailings facilities are being responsibly managed. Effective tailings management is rightly being prioritized more than ever to ensure that stakeholders, communities surrounding mine sites, investors and the general public can have confidence in how mining operations are being run. Transparency in this aspect of mining is critically important and to that end MAC ensures all TSM results are made publicly available in its annual TSM Progress Report.



Link for more detailed information

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