August Newsletter – 19.08.19


Coal’s last healthy market fades as trade woes weigh on steel

Kaz cautious on copper as trade war, China growth worries hurt

Platinum Giant Wants In on Batteries to Ease Electric Car Threat

Silkroad Nickel MOU with nickel giant Shandong Xinhai for building of Indonesia ferronickel smelter

Indonesia president vows to process more resources onshore

EBRD to invest €25m Kosovo nickel producer

Kazakhstan to digitise mining, metallurgy industries

Phinar view creates new future for geoscientists

Anti-mining protests in Peru threaten $5bn Quellaveco copper project

Cobalt 27 Files NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Producing Ramu Nickel-Cobalt Project


Coal’s last healthy market fades as trade woes weigh on steel

Bloomberg News

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Prices for steelmaking coal, which has sustained miners as exports decline and power plants forsake the fuel, are down 22% since May as concerns about the global economy weigh on demand for steel.

That has U.S. miners treading water as their shares sink. Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc. are expanding production of metallurgical coal to offset falling prices, and both say those efforts will have little impact on earnings. The moves reflect the challenges facing an industry that has few options to drive growth in a world that’s turning away from the fuel.

“If you’re in the coal business, these are the times that try you,” Randy Atkins, chairman of Ramaco Resources Inc., said on a conference call Wednesday. “The thermal coal market has pretty much dropped off the shelf. Even met coal benchmark prices that have held pretty steady at reasonably strong levels over the past year have now dropped.”

Kaz cautious on copper as trade war, China growth worries hurt


Miner KazMinerals on Thursday took a cautious stance on the short-term outlook for the copper market, due to concerns over the prolonged Sino-US trade war and slowdown in the world’s top metals consumer China, as it posted a lower first-half profit.

The Kazakhstan-focused company was the latest to call out the risks to copper market arising from trade concerns, with global miner Rio Tinto warning earlier in the year that fears of the ongoing spat would weigh on its shares.

A long-drawn out trade war between the world’s two biggest economies, which included a volley of tariffs running into billions of dollars, has led to concerns over global demand for the metal, thereby severely straining copper prices.

Copper prices are down 2.5% so far this month alone, having traded near a two-year low on Wednesday when China reported a slew of disappointing economic data reflecting pain from the trade dispute.


Platinum Giant Wants In on Batteries to Ease Electric Car Threat


Amplats wants to develop battery using platinum-group metals as electric cars pose threat to the key autocatalyst market

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The world’s top platinum and palladium supplier has an answer to the electric-car boom that may pose a long-term threat to its biggest market: invent a new battery.

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. wants to develop a lithium battery that uses platinum-group metals instead of cobalt and nickel. The aim is to create a new multi-billion dollar source of demand for the metals as electric vehicles reduce the need for traditional fuel autocatalysts.

Silkroad Nickel MOU with nickel giant Shandong Xinhai for building of Indonesia ferronickel smelter

SGX-Catalist listed Silkroad Nickel Ltd, an Indonesian nickel mining group, has entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Shandong Xinhai (Singapore) Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Shandong Xinhai Technology Co Ltd. Under the MOU, Shandong Xinhai is proposing to build and operate a Rotary Kiln Electric Furnace (RKEF) which will be supported by a coal-fired power plant in Indonesia for the production of up to 400,000 t/y of ferronickel. The parties to the MOU have entered into exclusive discussions to form a partnership for the development and operations of the RKEF smelter facility for mutual benefit.

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Hong Kah Ing, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Silkroad Nickel commented: “We are pleased to have signed this MOU with China’s largest producer of nickel alloy. Shandong Xinhai is the only enterprise in China capable of co-producing electricity and ferronickel, with a production capacity of 10 billion kilowatt hours of electric power and 1.9 Mt/y of ferronickel, which accounts for over 50% of China’s total market share. Shandong Xinhai has a permit to operate a RKEF smelter facility which meets the stringent environmental standards required in China and which can co-produce ferronickel alloy and generate electricity with a 1.4 gigawatt coal fired power plant. Silkroad Nickel shall be supplying the nickel ore required to operate the RKEF smelter facility and may consider investing in the Investment Company for the RKEF smelter facility. This would mark a further step towards our Group’s strategy of becoming an integrated nickel mining company.”


Indonesia president vows to process more resources onshore

JAKARTA, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Indonesia should push further to develop a downstream industry to process natural and mineral resources domestically and bolster Southeast Asia’s largest economy, President Joko Widodo said in his state of the union address to parliament on Friday.

Widodo listed minerals such as bauxite and nickel, as well as coal, palm oil and fisheries, as the type of resources Indonesia should process more of onshore to increase their value before exporting.

The president also said Indonesia should be able to develop fuel made from 100% palm oil. (Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Maikel Jefriando; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Ed Davies and Tom Hogue)


EBRD to invest €25m Kosovo nickel producer

PRISTINA – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said it will provide €25-million to Kosovo’s sole ferro-nickel producer Newco Ferronikeli to improve environmental standards and energy efficiency.

The company which is the largest of Kosovo’s exporters was bought by Albania’s Balfin Group last year in what was seen as a rescue deal aimed to restore production which was halted when the heavily indebted company ran into financial difficulties.

Ferronikeli has changed hands several times since it was privatised in 2005 and now it employs 800 workers and a further 1 000 contractors.

“The EBRD finance will help reduce energy costs and improve the quality of production, which should enable Ferronikeli to become a competitive exporter,” Eric Rasmussen, EBRD Director for Natural Resources said in a statement.

Kosovo, with 1.8-million people, remains one of the poorest in Europe where one-third of its workforce is unemployed.

Non-governmental organisations and state agencies have in the past years told the nickel factory to reduce pollution.

EBRD said the investment in higher environmental standards and energy efficiency will lower the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by an expected 38 615 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The lender said it has invested €395-million in Kosovo since 2012.


Kazakhstan to digitise mining, metallurgy industries


The Kazakh government plans to digitise its mining and metallurgy industries, Chairman of the Committee for Industrial Development and Industrial Safety of the Kazakh Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development Kanat Baitov announced at a July 29 press conference on digitisation of the mining and metallurgical industries.

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Sunrise over Nur-Sultan, capital of Kazakhstan. Photographer Tanya Matveeva.

As a part of the 2018 to 2025 plan on the digitisation of mining and metallurgy enterprises, 192 projects are be digitised at a cost of $4.4 billion. Profits resulting from the digitisation are expected to reach $5.7 billion by 2025.

Seventy-nine digitisation projects have been completed with 53 more projected to be completed by the end of the year.

The ministry, in accordance with international experience, has developed measures to create an ecosystem that supports the digitisation efforts of domestic companies, Baitov said. These measures were included in the Digital Kazakhstan state programme.

“The fourth industrial revolution is one of the most important trends in the world. Through the introduction of Industry 4.0 technologies, it has become possible to reduce production and transportation costs, optimise business processes, introduce new business models and significantly increase the competitiveness of industrial enterprises,” Baitov said.

From 2015 to 2019, new mining and metallurgical enterprises with the latest equipment, meeting the standards of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, were launched.

“These are enterprises such as Kazminerals Aktogai and Bozshakol, Bakyrchik GOK, Sary-Arka copper processing and others. A new, modern automated YDD ferroalloy plant with a capacity of 180,000 tonnes per year was launched at the first stage. Three ore-thermal furnaces with a rotary bath comply with the best international standards, where the latest achievements of world production of ferrosilicon, equipped with elements of Industry 4.0, are applied,” said Baitov.

The country’s mining and metallurgical industry makes up 6.7 percent of the GDP, 25 percent of industrial manufacturing and 24 percent of total export products. The industry is represented by more than 800 enterprises and provides 185,000 jobs.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution or the Industry 4.0 term means a significant introduction of cyber systems into everyday life and work, as well as the automation of production processes. The systems include Big Data, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing, quantum computing, blockchain and robotics.

Phinar view creates new future for geoscientists

Amid mining’s major push for technology-led gains, automation, machine learning and cloud computing have become rock stars. Data visualisation is another game-changer that generally gets a lower profile. But an Australian integrated data analysis software leader that has raised the bar in automating and optimising data analysis has quickly risen to international prominence.

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Phinar Software was founded by veteran mining software architect Rob de Bruin, who has again brought meaningful change to the exploration and mining data analytics and visualisation arena with the firm’s X10-Geo platform.

Not only has X10-Geo been changing the way geologists and engineers interrogate their data, it has given users a cost-effective and easy-to-use means of dynamically analysing and reporting geological and resource data, or spatial data, reducing the time the process takes and eliminating errors.

A fully-integrated data analysis software platform providing users with cutting-edge statistical, graphing and 3D visualisation, X10-Geo brings a unique approach to spatial data analytics and especially data derived from geological drilling, block models and other 3D spatial datasets.


Anti-mining protests in Peru threaten $5bn Quellaveco copper project

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Ongoing anti-mining protests in Peru, triggered by the recent approval of a now halted construction permit for Southern Copper’s (NYSE:SCCO) $1.4 billion Tia Maria project in Arequipa, have extended to Anglo American and Mitsubishi’s $5 billion Quellaveco project, in the neighbouring region of Moquegua.

First Production At Quellaveco, Which Has The Capacity To Generate 300,000 Tonnes Of Copper Annually In Its First 10 Years Of Operation, Is Expected In 2022

As road blocks and demonstrations enter a third day, community members continue to demand more employment opportunities and the use of local companies rather than contractors from outside the region.

Moquegua’s authorities claim that Anglo American has not met its commitment to hire 80% of the required labour locally. Instead, they say that only six out of ten people working at the mine site are from outside Moquegua, a charge the company has denied.

Anglo approved the project development in July 2018, saying the asset had the potential to transform the company’s business outlook.

Cobalt 27 Files NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Producing Ramu Nickel-Cobalt Project

TORONTO, Ontario: Cobalt 27 Capital Corp. (TSXV: KBLT) (OTCQX: CBLLF) (FRA: 270) (Cobalt 27 or the Company) is pleased to report it has filed a technical report for its recently acquired interest in the low-cost, long-life, Ramu nickel-cobalt operation (Ramu), prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards for Disclosure for Mineral Projects (NI 43-101).

The Ramu Technical Report is in support of the Company’s May 17, 2019 news release announcing the acquisition of Highlands Pacific Limited, whereby Cobalt 27 acquired an 8.56% joint venture interest in Ramu, an integrated producing nickel-cobalt operation, located in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The technical report was independently prepared by Behre Dolbear Australia Pty Ltd. (BDA) after several months of working with majority owner and operator, Metallurgical Corporation of China Limited (MCC) to conduct required due diligence and site visits.

Cobalt 27 Files NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Producing Ramu Nickel-Cobalt Project


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