October Newsletter – 24.10.2022

  • Barrick to expand East African footprint following positive results at North Mara, Bulyanhulu gold mines
  • Canada will fast-track energy and mining projects important to allies: Freeland
  • Iamgold to offload Suriname mining assets to China’s Zijin
  • Copper faces long-term shortage as demand outruns supply
  • Scientists want to produce cosmic mineral to replace REEs in industrial magnets
  • Gold Fields acquisition target Yamana assets valued at $6-$8bn – CIBC
  • Giant gold mine in South Africa emulates Toyota to boost profit
  • Rio Tinto seeks pitches from bankers for lithium deals in battery metal foray

Barrick to expand East African footprint following positive results at North Mara, Bulyanhulu gold mines

Barrick Gold’s (NYSE: GOLD) (TSX: ABX) president and chief executive Mark Bristow announced on Saturday that the company plans to expand its East African footprint using the North Mara and Bulyanhulu gold mines in Tanzania as a foundation for this endeavour.

Back in September 2019, Barrick inherited what Bristow called these “moribund mines” when it re-acquired Acacia Mining. After some rebuilding work, the mines breathed new life and are now set to achieve a combined production in excess of 500,000 ounces for the second year running, thus becoming elite tier-one assets.

North Mara hit a record 505,000 tonnes of ore and waste mined in the last quarter, while it continues to optimize the underground operation. According to Barrick, the change to an owner-mining strategy has boosted the expansion of both the mine and open-pit operations.

At Bulyanhulu, the development of the main declines to access the Deep West zone of the orebody started last quarter.

“We continue to target further growth through reconnaissance and the consolidation of key licences. Extension opportunities are being assessed along the Gokona strike and throughout the Bulyanhulu Inlier. Results from the deep drilling at Gokona are pointing to a significant potential for extending North Mara’s life,” Bristow said. “In addition to the brownfield exploration designed to maintain the positive trend on resource expansion and conversion at the two mines, we are also looking further afield. A better understanding of the region’s geological architecture will improve our ability to discover new world-class development opportunities in our areas of interest.”

Barrick’s CEO also commended the Twiga partnership, a joint venture formed in 2019 between the company and the government of Tanzania to manage North Mara and Bulyanhulu, for being able to settle long-running disputes with the mines’ previous operators and establishing a model for cooperation between miners and their host countries, particularly in Africa.

https://www.mining.com/barrick-to-expand-east-african-footprint-following-positive-results-at-north-mara-bulyanhulu-gold-mines/Canada will fast-track energy and mining projects important to allies: Freeland

‘The curse of oil is real, and so is the dependence of many of the world’s democracies on the world’s petro-tyrants’

Canada will have to fast-track energy and mining projects if it is to help its democratic allies and achieve its own net-zero ambitions, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a speech this week in Washington — the most tangible signal to date that the federal Liberal government is prepared to address regulatory hurdles that have hampered economic development in this country for years.

In a swing through the U.S. capital to attend meetings of the IMF and World Bank, Freeland told a gathering at the Brookings Institution that a deepening of trade ties between allied democracies will be necessary to combat powerful autocratic regimes such as Russia and China. Democracies, Freeland said, must make a conscious effort to build supply chains through each other’s economies — a phenomenon U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has described as “friendshoring.”

Freeland went on to say the Canadian government must be prepared to expend some “domestic political capital” in the name of economic security for its democratic partners — as Europe did during the COVID pandemic when European vaccine makers honoured their contracts with non-European allies.

https://financialpost.com/commodities/energy/canada-will-fast-track-energy-and-mining-projects-important-to-allies-freelandIamgold to offload Suriname mining assets to China’s Zijin

Canadian mining firm Iamgold has signed a deal worth nearly $401m to sell its 95% stake in the Rosebel Gold Mines unit in northeastern Suriname to China’s Zijin Mining.

Proceeds from the sale will be used by Iamgold to fund the construction of its Côté Gold project.

Rosebel Gold Mines N.V. owns a 100% interest in the Rosebel Gold Mine and a 70% interest in the Saramacca Mine in Suriname.

The Government of Suriname holds the remaining 5% stake in Rosebel Gold Mines N.V.

Zijin will pay $360m in cash for the deal and also assume Iamgold’s equipment lease liabilities, which are worth around $41m.

Rosebel’s existing royalty held by Euro Ressources will also remain an obligation of Iamgold.

Iamgold chair of the board and interim president and CEO Maryse Bélanger said: “This transaction represents a significant step forward in pursuing IAMGOLD’s strategy of disciplined portfolio management as we look to create value for shareholders through a focus on core assets.

“Rosebel has been an important contributor to Iamgold and we are pleased that a company with the capabilities and reputation of Zijin, a leading global mining company, will be taking over this operation for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

https://www.mining-technology.com/news/iamgold-suriname-mining-zijin/Copper faces long-term shortage as demand outruns supply

The copper market may swing to a deficit by the end of the decade as the energy transition accelerates and the metal becomes harder to dig up, according to the world’s top miner.

Although there are enough reserves of copper, and other metals like nickel and lithium central to decarbonization, the risk is there will be “a mismatch between the timing of increase in demand and when supply meets that demand,” Mike Henry, chief executive officer of BHP Group Ltd., said at a Financial Times mining conference in London on Friday.

Henry’s comments come after a torrid few months for copper, a barometer of economic activity because of its varied applications from construction to electricity transmission. While miners and banks are almost uniformly bullish on the metal’s long-term prospects because of its role in clean energy, prices have dropped by about 30% from the record high hit in March as growth has faltered in the face of rising interest rates.

Henry said the market will be in “a little bit oversupply” in the next few years, before tightening up toward the end of the decade as more easily accessible, richer seams of the metal become difficult to find and mining becomes more complicated.

https://www.mining.com/web/copper-faces-long-term-shortage-as-demand-outruns-supplyScientists want to produce cosmic mineral to replace REEs in industrial magnets

Engineers at Northeastern University have patented a process to accelerate the production of a mineral known as tetrataenite, whose magnetic properties make it a leading candidate to replace magnets made of rare earths.

Tetrataenite is not found in nature—at least, not on earth. It is only found in meteorites. This means that making the cosmic mineral requires manipulating the atomic structures of its iron and nickel components by arranging them into a crystal structure that resembles tetrataenite, thus speeding up a natural process that would take millions of years on our planet.

“The iron and nickel atoms have to rearrange themselves. And nature will do it, but it will take millions of years to do,” Laura Lewis, one of the researchers involved in the study, said in a media statement. “So if we can do it in industrially relevant time scales, we will have a nice new addition to the permanent magnet portfolio.”

According to Lewis, decoupling the scarce materials from magnet production not only provides sorely needed supply chain relief—there simply aren’t enough magnets to meet the world’s energy needs—but it will help rebalance geopolitical tensions by easing the US dependence on Chinese rare earths.

China controls close to 80% of the world’s rare earths supply, while global demand for REE magnets is expected to reach $37 billion by 2027.

https://www.mining.com/scientists-want-to-produce-cosmic-mineral-to-replace-rees-in-industrial-magnets/Gold Fields acquisition target Yamana assets valued at $6-$8bn – CIBC

An independent evaluation has put Yamana Gold’s mineral assets at between $6 billion and $8 billion, in line with South Africa’s Gold Fields’ initial offer price for the Canadian miner, circulars issued late Friday showed.

Gold Fields announced a deal to acquire Yamana in an all-share transaction that valued the Canadian company at $6.7 billion on May 31.

But investor concerns that the deal was dilutive and over-valued Yamana sent Gold Fields’ shares tumbling 20% on the day of the announcement.

The spread between the value of Gold Fields’ offer and Yamana’s share price has narrowed following the share slump.

A valuation report produced by CIBC World Markets Inc. on Aug. 30 had valued Yamana’s mineral assets, which include 50% of Canadian Malarctic – one of the world’s biggest gold mines – at between $6.825 billion and $8.025 billion, according to the circulars.

CIBC, one of Canada’s biggest investment banks, said its report did not evaluate Yamana as a corporate entity and excluded the firm’s expenses and interest on debt held at the corporate level.

Gold Fields and Yamana did not provide financial projections but used 2021 financial reports to show that the combined entity would have reported $6 billion revenue and $744 million annual profit if the deal was executed on Jan. 1 last year.

https://www.mining.com/web/gold-fields-acquisition-target-yamana-assets-valued-at-6-8bn-cibc/Giant gold mine in South Africa emulates Toyota to boost profit

Gold Fields Ltd. was burning cash almost every year at their only facility in South Africa, until the continent’s third-largest miner of the metal started looking at Toyota Motor Corp. for inspiration.

The South Deep mine, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) southwest of Johannesburg, began adopting some of the Japanese carmaker’s concepts to improve efficiency in 2018, after cutting thousands of jobs to end a decade of losses.

Gold Fields, which gets the bulk of its revenue from Australia, looked at Toyota’s processes in a bid to turn South Deep into a so-called tier 1 mine — producing at least 500,000 ounces of gold annually. Reaching that target would mean boosting output 66%.

“Are we building a tunnel like somebody builds a Toyota? That’s the whole concept,” Gerrit Lotz, the mine’s head of human resources, said in an interview. A lot of people say that the process followed by Toyota won’t work in mining but “there is no reason why you can’t repeat these processes” if you plan correctly, he said.

Toyota was a pioneer of the so-called just-in-time system, a manufacturing workflow methodology aimed at reducing flow times and costs by keeping inventories super lean. It helped the company produce cars in a fast and efficient manner.

Still, a single Covid-19 case in Vietnam upended Toyota’s process last year, prompting it to slash output in September 2021 by 40%.

https://www.mining.com/web/giant-gold-mine-in-south-africa-emulates-toyota-to-boost-profit/Rio Tinto seeks pitches from bankers for lithium deals in battery metal foray

Rio’s Jadar project has an estimated production capacity of 55,000 tonnes per year.

Rio Tinto Group is asking for pitches from some of the biggest investment banks for lithium companies and projects it could buy as the mining giant looks to expand into the key battery metal.

Representatives from leading investment banks visited the miner’s offices in Perth, Australia several weeks ago, according to people familiar with the situation who declined to be identified as the meetings were private.

Rio Tinto is the only one of the world’s biggest diversified miners looking to start mining lithium, a key ingredient to make batteries for electric vehicles. The interest from the second-largest mining company comes amid a global push to transition to cleaner energy sources and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, putting electrification and battery metals at the forefront of the shift.

The London-based mining giant had sought to develop a giant underground lithium mine in Serbia, positioned to feed into Europe’s car manufacturing hub in Germany, yet those plans were dashed earlier this year when the Serbian government blocked the development after thousands of protesters took to the streets to oppose it.



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