February Newsletter – 06.02.2023

Behre Dolbear are Gold sponsors of 121 Mining Investment Conference 6th and 7th February 2023, Cape Town, and will also be attending Mining Indaba 2023 in Cape Town from 6th to 9th Feb 2023.

Please feel free to come and see us and if you need to arrange a meeting contact Rob Hansen, rob.hansen@dolbear.com or +44 (0) 7971 256248.

  • Kefi pursues dual listing in Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Arabia’s MA’ADEN to Invest in Egyptian Mining Sector
  • South Africa’s century-old gold refiner runs at 75% as mines dim
  • US mine production value rises 3.8% to $98 billion in 2022 — USGS
  • Canada faces pressure to ban deep-sea mining
  • Saudi Arabia: The Next Nuclear Power?
  • EU coal rebound smaller than feared in 2022 energy crunch
  • 377 mining complexes and 35 mineral belts in Saudi Arabia
  • Biden slaps 20-year mining ban on Minnesota land, gives more power to China

Kefi pursues dual listing in Saudi Arabia

Aim-listed Kefi Gold and Copper is pursuing a dual listing of its shares in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Exchange is currently the eleventh-largest stock exchange globally, with 223 listed companies and a market capitalisation of $2.63-trillion.

Kefi says the Saudi Arabian government’s drive to expand the domestic mining and metals sectors has led to heightened interest from both domestic and regional investors looking for suitable Saudi-focused companies to invest in.

Accordingly, the company believes this dual listing may be complementary to its existing listing in London.

Kefi may consider another listing of its shares in Canada or Australia, however, the focus for now is on Saudi Arabia.

Kefi holds 15 exploration licences in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the prospective Arabia Nubian Shield, covering more than 1 000 km2.

With the company’s Jibal Qutman gold project in the definitive feasibility stage and the Hawiah copper/gold project in the prefeasibility stage, Kefi believes the time is ideal for a dual listing and expects a positive reception for what would be the first pre-production mining company on the exchange, as well as the third mining company on the exchange.

Kefi is also developing the Tulu Kapi mine in Ethiopia.


Saudi Arabia’s MA’ADEN to Invest in Egyptian Mining Sector

H.E. Tarek El-Molla, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Egypt announced plans by Saudi Arabia’s state-owned mining firm, MA’ADEN, to invest in the North African country’s mining sector. MA’ADEN’s plan to invest in Egypt follows the firm partnering with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to inject up to $3 billion in iron ore, copper, nickel and lithium projects across the world.

The development comes at a time when Egypt seeks to attract up to $1 billion in new investments per annum to support the growth of the gold industry.

Commenting on the development of the new fund, Robert Wilt, stated that, “The global energy transition relies on the strategic minerals needed for renewable energy and battery storage, and our focus on these will give us a foothold in the global commodity value chain,” adding that investments set to be made by the new investment arm across the world will position Saudi Arabia “as a key ally in securing the metals of the future.”

For Egypt, having companies such as MA’ADEN investing in the country will be game changer as the country seeks to drive gross domestic product (GDP) growth on the back of the growth of the mining sector. Currently, the mining sector accounts for 0.5% of Egypt’s GDP, with the government targeting to increase this share to 5% by 2030.


South Africa’s century-old gold refiner runs at 75% as mines dim

South Africa’s largest gold refiner is operating below capacity as output from local mines dwindles and supplies from elsewhere on the continent are scooped up by unaccredited rivals.

The 102 year-old Rand Refinery Ltd. in the east of Johannesburg — the only African refiner accredited with the London Bullion Market Association — is running at about 75% of capacity, said Chief Executive Officer Praveen Baijnath. While it still processes the output of its biggest shareholders — AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. Harmony Gold Mining Co. and Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. — about half of the continent’s gold, from artisanal and small-scale miners, goes to smaller unaccredited refiners.

“Our capacity is not fully utilized,” Baijnath said in an interview. “So should there be an increase in deliveries, we would be able to step up.”

That surplus capacity partly stems from the demise of South Africa’s gold industry, where output peaked decades ago. The plant was originally built to end the practice of shipping crude bullion to London from the vast Witwatersrand basin, the source of half the gold produced on earth. Now power outages are crippling the nation’s economy and threatening to hasten the end of those operations, the CEO said.

Rand Refinery also sources gold from Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania — the continent’s top producers — but much larger flows are ending up with smaller smelters that have sprung up across Africa. The plant aims to stay competitive by investing in new technology and improving the logistics of hauling gold dore from across Africa, including sometimes using charter flights, Baijnath said.


US mine production value rises 3.8% to $98 billion in 2022 — USGS

US mines produced approximately $98.2 billion in nonfuel mineral commodities in 2022, an estimated $3.6 billion (~3.8%) increase over the 2021 revised total of $94.6 billion, the US Geological Survey announced Thursday.

A geodetic survey marker at Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, Maine

This information comes from the 28th annual USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries report released January 31 by the USGS National Minerals Information Center.

The report is a comprehensive source for estimates of 2022 mineral data, and includes information on the domestic industry structure, government programs, tariffs, world production and five-year salient statistics for nonfuel mineral commodities that are important to the US economy and national security.

The report covers more than 90 nonfuel mineral commodities monitored by the USGS, including mineral commodities such as cement, iron ore and sand and gravel; precious metals such as gold and silver; as well as rare earth minerals such as lanthanum, neodymium and dysprosium.

Nonfuel mineral commodities are used in every facet of modern life from construction to the consumer electronics, aerospace, renewable energy and healthcare industries. The annual USGS report identifies events, trends and issues in the domestic and international minerals industries that impact production and consumption.


Canada faces pressure to ban deep-sea mining

The Metals Co, formerly known as DeepGreen, intends to produce metals from polymetalic rocks, found in deep oceans.

Canada is facing mounting pressure to declare a moratorium on deep-sea mining exploration and extraction as the country hosts an international marine conservation summit starting Friday in Vancouver.

Leading to the the fifth International Marine Protected Area Congress (IMPAC5), international scientists and environmental organizations have called on Ottawa to ban the activity.

They want Canada to join a growing numbers of countries including Germany, France, Spain, Chile, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Panama among others, which have asked the United Nations-affiliated International Seabed Authority (ISA) to not rush into enacting mining regulations by July 2023 — a deadline that was set in 2021.

Other nations such as Brazil, the Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore and Switzerland have indicated they would not approve any mining contracts until sufficient environmental protections for the seabed are in place, regardless of the deadline set to adopt regulations.

Google and automakers BMW, Renault, Volkswagen and Volvo have pledged not to use deep-sea metals for the time being, and 704 marine scientists and policy experts from 44 countries have endorsed a petition advocating a pause in seabed mining.


Saudi Arabia: The Next Nuclear Power?

As Iran edges closer to gaining the ability to build nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia is beginning to make similar moves.

Saudi Arabia plans to develop its own nuclear power industry using local uranium, according to energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

Recent field studies have shown promising uranium resources in the kingdom, he said during a speech at the Future Minerals Forum held in Riyadh in January.

“This would involve the entire nuclear fuel cycle: the production of yellowcake, low enriched uranium and the manufacturing of nuclear fuel both for our national use and, of course, for export,” Abdulaziz said, citing potential joint ventures “in accordance with international commitments and transparency standards.”

Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in the mining industry, touting resources including aluminum, phosphate, gold, copper and uranium worth about $1.33 trillion. In 2022, its mining revenue increased 27% and there are dozens of exploration licenses accessible to foreign companies. Overall, the kingdom wishes to attract $32 billions of investments to the mining sector.

“Equipped with robust bilateral relationships with relevant countries and the funds to bring in foreign partners, Saudi Arabia is likely to advance its nuclear game plan with the support of external players,” says Bayly Winder, Penn Kemble Fellow at the nonprofit National Endowment for Democracy. “Saudi Arabia initiated a bidding process for its first nuclear power station with interested parties including South Korea, China, Russia and France. The Saudi and American governments are also working on a partnership framework for clean-energy development”


EU coal rebound smaller than feared in 2022 energy crunch

BRUSSELS – European coal-fuelled power generation climbed last year as countries scrambled to replace Russian gas, but the increase was smaller than feared as renewable energy helped to plug the gap, researchers said on Tuesday.

Russia, Europe’s former top gas supplier, slashed deliveries to the European Union following its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, plunging the 27-country bloc into a crisis of scarce energy supplies and soaring power prices.

As a result, coal power’s share of EU electricity generation rose by 1.5 percentage points in 2022, to account for 16% of annual generation, think-tank Ember said in a report.

That was the fuel’s highest share in EU power generation since 2018, although it was smaller than the 20% share of gas, 22% combined share from wind and solar and 32% from hydropower and nuclear, Ember said.

Outright coal generation in the EU increased by 7%, or 28 terawatt hours (TWh), in 2022, pushing up power sector CO2 emissions by nearly 4%.

Ember said the return to the most polluting fossil fuel “could have been much worse”. Increased generation from wind and solar, plus an overall drop in EU power use amid mild weather and as consumers struggled with high prices, prevented a bigger coal rebound, it said.

“There would need to be another (energy) crisis (in 2023) to reach higher coal generation than in 2022,” Ember’s head of data insights Dave Jones said.


377 mining complexes and 35 mineral belts in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH — The Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) reported that the number of mining complexes in Saudi Arabia reached 377 by the end of 2022.

The mining complexes spans over 44,365 square kilometers, across 13 regions. Makkah Region came at the top with 76 complexes, followed by Riyadh with 60 complexes, Al-Madinah with 53 complexes, and Asir with 34 complexes.

Eastern Province comes next with 25 complexes, Najran with 24 complexes, Qassim with 23 complexes, Al-Jouf with 20 complexes, Al-Baha with 17 complexes, Hail with 16 complexes, Tabuk with 14 complexes, Jizan with 11 complexes and the Northern Borders Province with 4 complexes.

The mining complexes consist of over 20 different minerals, including gravel, gold, iron, copper, granite and marble.

The Ministry also reported that the number of mineral belts in Saudi Arabia reached 35 belts, as of 2022, across 305,000 square kilometers, 14% of the Kingdom’s size; 94% of these belts are located in the Arabian Shield, which covers 622,00 square kilometers.

The mineral deposits of these belts represent about 75% of Saudi Arabia’s mineral deposits, which is estimated at 5 trillion Saudi riyals.

The mineral belts are distributed over the administrative regions of the Kingdom, with 9 belts in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, 7 in Asir, 6 in Riyadh, 5 in Tabuk, 4 in Medina, 2 in Al-Baha, 1 in Al-Qassim, and 1 in Najran.

The mineral belts are distributed according to the type of 16 belts for gold, 15 belts for sulfides, 3 belts for nickel and one belt for zinc.

In 2020, the ministry updated the mining investment law in the Kingdom to unleash the sector’s potential, improve transparency and maintain investors’ confidence.


Biden slaps 20-year mining ban on Minnesota land, gives more power to China

Biden admin passes 20-year mining ban on more than 225K acres of northern Minnesota forest

Despite the supply of precious minerals in the U.S. being depleted, the Biden administration made a policy move last week that will only exacerbate the problem, according to GOP lawmakers and experts.

“This has been a long problem, but the Green Movement is essentially a reverse opium trade, where the United States buys overpriced green technologies from Chinese manufacturers that, in turn, makes our manufacturing more expensive,” Common Sense Society executive director Christopher Bedford said Friday in reaction on “Mornings with Maria.”

On Sunday, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture under President Biden announced the 20-year withdrawal of more than 225,000 acres of northern Minnesota forest land, which is home to some of the largest domestic mineral reserves.

According to the House Committee on Natural Resources, this ban includes the Twin Metals mine, which taps into vast domestic supplies of minerals like copper and nickel that are necessary for renewable energy, computer systems, defense applications and essential household products.



Link for more detailed information