January Newsletter – 04.01.2022


Future Minerals Forum Behre Dolbear newsletter 04.01.2022

Behre Dolbear will be attending the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh, 11-13 January 2022.
Please come and visit us at our booth, or if you would like to arrange a meeting, please contact Mario Guedes +973 3838 2369.


  • Centerra Gold confirms talks with Kyrgyzstan for out-of-court settlement over mine dispute
  • Top iron ore stories of 2021 and what to expect in 2022
  • Brazil suspends mining exploration permits in the Amazon
  • Codelco signs multi-year contracts in Southeast Asia
  • Las Bambas mine in Peru to restart copper output
  • China Zijin starts production at Tibet’s giant copper mine
  • Earth’s final frontier: China and the deep-sea gold rush set to cause environmental catastrophe
  • China vows greater iron ore self-sufficiency as ‘deglobalisation tide’ and coronavirus expose mineral supply risks
  • Deal on Reko Diq

Centerra Gold confirms talks with Kyrgyzstan for out-of-court settlement over mine dispute

Canada’s Centerra Gold on Monday confirmed it was in talks with the Kyrgyzstan government for an out-of-court settlement over a dispute in which the state seized the company’s Kumtor mine.

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Centerra Gold’s Kumtor mine, Kyrgyzstan’s largest gold operation

In May 2021, Centerra kicked off arbitration against the former Soviet republic after it took over the country’s biggest mine for allegedly posing danger to human lives or the environment. The company has denied all the allegations.

The company also froze the government’s stake when it seized the mine, meaning it does not have voting rights, nor is it entitled to dividends.

Centerra on Monday laid out a framework for any resolution of the dispute, saying it should receive around 26.1% of its common stock held by state-owned Kyrgyzaltyn JSC.

It also said the state should assume all responsibility for the company’s two Kyrgyz subsidiaries as well as the Kumtor mine.

“At present, the parties are finalizing the discussion of an amicable agreement, including, among other things, the condition for the full transfer of the Kumtor Gold Company to the Kyrgyz Republic,” Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Zhaparov said in a statement dated Jan. 2.


Top iron ore stories of 2021 and what to expect in 2022

The iron ore price went on a white knuckle ride in 2021.

Prices jumped to a record of $237 a tonne in May, and crashed to about $85 in November on China’s pledge to reduce steel output. In November, Fitch Solutions said the iron ore price rally was over. In the last weeks, however, the metal rallied 50%.

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According to analysts, the volatility is set to persist into 2022. Here are the top iron ore stories of 2021.

#1 China

Iron ore is a barometer for the Chinese economy, so Chinese steel curbs to control carbon emissions set the tone for the metal’s performance during the year.

In March, the Tangshan government issued a second-level pollution alert, urging heavy industrial companies such as steelmakers and coking plants to cut production accordingly.

The move dampened the market’s optimism about a post-Lunar New Year demand boost for iron ore in the world’s top steel producer.


Brazil suspends mining exploration permits in the Amazon

The Chief Minister of Brazil’s Institutional Security Cabinet of the Presidency, Augusto Heleno Ribeiro, has overturned his own orders after being criticized for granting mining exploration permits in a protected area of the Amazon, near the border with Colombia and Venezuela.

The cancellation of the seven permits granted by Ribeiro, a close ally of President Jair Bolsonaro, was published this week in the official gazette Diário Oficial.

In the new decree, the minister acknowledges that the authorizations he granted were questioned by the three government agencies, namely the National Mining Agency (ANM), the Indigenous National Foundation (Funai) and the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio).

The decision was also condemned by NGOs and First nations groups such as the Federation of Indigenous Organizations of Río Negro.


Codelco signs multi-year contracts in Southeast Asia

Chile’s state-controlled Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, said on Thursday it has successfully concluded its sales plan for 2022 in Southeast Asia with the signing of multi-year deals.

The company had announced in July it was seeking to quadruple its sales in the region by 2023 with the opening of an office in Singapore. The miner also expressed interest in the Indian market as it tries to reduce its dependence on China.

Codelco said in a statement sent to Reuters that it has generated positive figures in 2021, while exceeding its sales estimate for the next year and “satisfactorily fulfilling its plan to enter Southeast Asia”.

“We had a plan to increase sales of refined copper in the region and achieved 100% of it for 2022,” Codelco added, without providing details.

The miner also said it was able to “successfully execute” its plans in China, where copper premiums rose by approximately 20%. In Taiwan and South Korea, the increase was even higher than 20%.


Las Bambas mine in Peru to restart copper output

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Las Bambas is one of Peru’s largest copper producers, accounting for around 2% of global supply.

Las Bambas Operations Manager Edgardo Orderique said on Thursday that the process to resume copper output at the Peruvian mine will take 5-6 days, after reaching an agreement with the local community.

“Given this agreement, we are going to give all the necessary notices to resume operations. The entire cycle takes between five to six days”, he said to a La Republica reporter.

“Everybody has committed to reach an agreement, and now we believe we have a sustainable deal, that will enable the company to restart operations”.


China Zijin starts production at Tibet’s giant copper mine

Dec 27 (Reuters) – Miner Zijin said on Monday it started production at its Qulong copper mine in Tibet, one of the largest in China, the world’s largest consumer of metals, adding a new source of supply to the market. for next year.

Zijin took control of the Qulong mine about 18 months ago when it bought a 50.1% stake in operator Tibet Julong Copper Co and quickly resumed construction on the project.

Julong Copper is expected to produce 120,000-130,000 tonnes of copper in 2022, including volumes from Qulong Phase 1 and the Zhibula mine, which is also located in Tibet, Zijin said in a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange. .

“Once Phase 1 reaches designated production capacity, the annual copper production volume will be approximately 160,000 tonnes,” he added.

The market expects the tension in the copper concentrates market seen in recent years to ease in 2022 as increased production gets underway.

Zijin said Julong Copper had applied to merge the mining rights to the Qulong mine and the adjacent Rongmucuola mine, arguing that they belong to the same copper ore body. After the merger, the mine will be renamed Julong and Phases 2 and 3 will continue, he added.


Earth’s final frontier: China and the deep-sea gold rush set to cause environmental catastrophe

Scientists say that a highly controversial deep-sea “gold rush” risks potentially devastating consequences for marine ecosystems, biodiversity, coastal communities and climate change.

The deep seabed is Earth’s final frontier but this mostly unexplored, dark and pristine abyss is threatened by highly destructive deep-sea mining which could be at full throttle within months.

“Most, if not all deep-sea biologists are very worried about deep-sea mining,” says Dr Moriaki Yasuhara a deep-sea ecologist and associate professor at the Swire Institute of Marine Science in the University of Hong Kong.

The deep-sea mining agenda is being led by nations like China and private corporations desperate to extract polymetallic nodules from the deep ocean floor. They say these potato-sized nuggets rich in valuable cobalt, nickel and other battery metals could be the key to the world’s sustainable future.

There is a growing chorus of dissent which insists the environmental impact of these deep-sea mining operations has not been properly assessed. They involve giant mechanical seabed tractors, hoovering up nodules before crushing them and trailing long plumes of sediment.


China vows greater iron ore self-sufficiency as ‘deglobalisation tide’ and coronavirus expose mineral supply risks

  • In the 2021-25 raw material development plan, Beijing says iron self-sufficiency will be ‘significantly’ increased
  • China will also optimise the annual quota mechanism for the production of rare earth, tungsten and other minerals

China will encourage domestic exploration of iron ore and use more scrap metals to reduce reliance on imports from countries like Australia, while streamlining production quotas for rare earth and tungsten, according to the government.

In the 2021-25 raw material development plan, authorities said iron self-sufficiency would be “significantly” increased by lifting the supply of scrap steel to more than 30 per cent of the total, encouraging domestic mining and reducing steelmaking capacity.

“The raw material industry is the foundation of the real economy and a basic industry that supports the development of the national economy. It is a key area [for China] to gain international competitive advantages,” said the plan jointly drafted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Natural Resources.


Deal on Reko Diq

In January 2013 a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry declared the Reko Diq agreement void and in conflict with the country’s laws. Earlier there had been a media campaign against the deal between the Balochistan government and a foreign corporationby international business rivals and domestic sensation mongers. It was claimed that “$260-billion gold mines” were going for a song behind closed doors. There was a need on the part of the apex court to seek the opinion of independent investment experts before passing the judgment, which was not done. Tethyan Copper Company Limited (TCC), the corporation involved, appealed to the World Bank Tribunal which  found Pakistan to have violated the bilateral investment treaty and awarded $6 billion (approx.) plus interest against Pakistan. This came as bolt from the blue for PrimeMinister Imran Khan who was desperately trying to seek loans for the country. Mr Khan directed the formation of a commission to investigate the reasons as to how Pakistan ended up in this predicament; who were responsible for making the country suffer such a loss and what are the lessons learnt, so that mistakes made would not be repeated in the future. That was the last time one heard about the Commission. There is however still a need to probe the factors responsible for the debacle to avoid another shock of the type.



Link for more detailed information

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