September Newsletter – 20.09.2021


Behre Dolbear are Silver Sponsors for The Asia Mining Club Event, Energy Transition and the Mining Sector: A Discussion on Battery Metals and New Energy Materials, with some of the sectors leading experts on energy transition and the role of the mining sector.

Date 29 September 2021 (Wednesday)
Time 12:00pm HK time
Price: Free-of-charge

For booking queries, please contact Club Secretary at or +852-9191-0630.


  • Iron ore price collapses below $100 as China extends environment curbs
  • Australia approves controversial Whitehaven coal mine expansion
  • Ghana Signs $1.2 billion deal to develop its bauxite resources
  • Guinea’s Junta Urges Miners to Help Break “Resource Curse”
  • Sibanye-Stillwater chases battery material sector with ioneer joint venture
  • England plans to open its first coal mine in Cumbria in decades
  • Taliban’s troubles are canaries in the mines for Chinese investors
  • Prairie Snapshot: Eight companies with potential in central Canada

Iron ore price collapses below $100 as China extends environment curbs

The iron ore price sank below $100 a tonne on Friday for the first time since July 2020, as China’s moves to clean up its heavy-polluting industrial sector spurred a swift and brutal collapse.

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The Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a draft guideline on Thursday that it planned to involve 64 regions under key monitoring during winter air pollution campaign.

The regulator said steel mills in those regions would be urged to cut production based on their emission levels during the campaign from October until the end of March.

“Stringent production controls have driven market prices lower recently, and pessimistic outlook for demand have intensified,” analysts with SinoSteel Futures wrote in a note.

Australia approves controversial Whitehaven coal mine expansion

Coal miner Whitehaven (ASX: WHC) has been granted the green light to expand its Vickery project in New South Wales despite a global push to lower carbon emissions and a historic court ruling on authorities’ obligation to children to consider environmental harm before approving coal projects.

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Vickery mine extension area.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s decision comes just six weeks before world leaders meet for the United Nations Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where Australia is being pressed to announce tougher emissions reduction targets.

“In approving the mine, Minister Ley has turned her back on the federal court, the international scientific consensus on climate change, and the children and young people of Australia,” Ava Princi, an 18-year-old from Sydney who was one of the eight students who brought the case against the expansion, said in an emailed statement.

Ghana Signs $1.2 billion deal to develop its bauxite resources

Ghana has picked Rocksure International as a strategic partner to build a mine and refinery in a bid to develop an industry out of its untapped bauxite reserves.

The Accra-based company will own a 70% stake in the project and the state-owned Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corp. will have the remaining 30%, according to an emailed statement Thursday.

Rocksure will lead the construction of a $200 million-bauxite mine at Nyinahin-Mpasaaso in central Ghana and a bauxite refinery of about $1 billion, according to Michael Ansah, chief executive officer of GIADEC. The mine is expected to produce 5 million tons of bauxite a year and create more than 1,000 jobs, according to GIADEC.

Guinea’s Junta Urges Miners to Help Break “Resource Curse”

Guinea’s military ruler urged miners to support the local economy, even as he reassured the industry that production would be allowed to continue unhindered following a Sept. 5 coup.

“The country has undisputed mining potential, but the populations remain in visible poverty,” said Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, the head of an elite army unit that overthrew President Alpha Conde. “We must work together to turn this curse into an opportunity to improve people’s living conditions,” he told miners at a meeting Thursday. 

Guinea is the world’s top exporter of bauxite. The reddish ore, which has to be refined into alumina and then smelted to produce aluminum, accounts for most of the West African nation’s mining exports. Guinea vies with Australia as China’s largest supplier — and yet poverty remains endemic. Bauxite is shipped out of the country and little attempt has been made to transform it locally.

“We must accelerate the second phase of the value chain, such as the transformation of bauxite into alumina, and then into aluminum,” Doumbouya said in the speech.

The new leadership stressed that “existing regulations, contracts and investments will be respected,” said Frederic Bouzigues, general manager of Societe Miniere de Boke, the country’s biggest bauxite miner. “In return, they expect miners to respect their engagements with regards to contracts,” comply with environmental rules and continue local development work, he said by phone from the capital, Conakry.

Sibanye-Stillwater chases battery material sector with ioneer joint venture

The deal is the producer’s largest acquisition yet in its pivot to green metals

Sibanye-Stillwater has inked a R7bn deal for a 50% stake that is mooted to become the largest lithium mine in the US, and marks the precious metals producer’s largest acquisition yet in a pivot to become a green metals company.

Sibanye, a major producer of platinum group metals (PGMs), on Thursday announced its plans to spend $490m, or R7.1bn, to acquire a 50% stake in Australian mining company ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada.

Ioneer will retain the other 50% stake, as well as operational management responsibility. Sibanye said it will also subscribe for $70m worth of new ordinary shares in ioneer, equal to 7.1% of the available ordinary shares.

This is the third and largest investment by Sibanye into the battery metals sector as it looks to transform the company for the future. Earlier this year the company announced a €40m (almost R700m) investment agreement with the Keliber lithium project in Finland, as well as plans to acquire the Sandouville nickel refinery in France for €65m.

England plans to open its first coal mine in Cumbria in decades

Coal was the engine of the Industrial Revolution, but Britain was a century away decarbonization Not because of environmental sensitivity (which is a recent thing), but because of efforts by successive governments to get rid of unproductive businesses that are costing the state so much. Margaret Thatcher is still hated by the sons and grandsons of the miners, whom she left without a spiritual job and a good salary.

Ironically, now that global warming panic has spread and Glasgow hosts a carbon reduction summit in November, England is considering opening its first coal mine in Whitehaven (Cumbria) in several decades.

With no coal of its own, the UK imports 2 million tons annually

The controversial project (which will create six hundred direct jobs with salaries of up to seventy thousand euros per year and up to sixteen hundred indirect, and will contribute two billion euros to the country’s GDP) has the support of local MP Trudy Harrison and has been approved in three different votes by the city council. But opposition from environmental groups prompted the Johnson administration to order a month-long mine impact study, then make the final decision.

For advocates of the mine, it would create jobs in one of the most depressed areas of northern England, with poor communications, and ignored by tourists despite its proximity to the lake district, with its closed pubs and old doors and windows. The shops are covered with cardboard. For critics, it is absurd that Britain will turn to coal again when it wants to become a champion in the fight against global warming, and for years it has been evolving towards renewable forms of energy such as wind and marine. Arguments about protecting the planet are on the sidelines, they say, they will have no future

Taliban’s troubles are canaries in the mines for Chinese investors

  • Afghanistan’s mineral resources attract China’s state and private firms, but instability and logistical barriers also await
  • Existing security and infrastructure issues compounded by interim Afghan government’s in-tray and the threat of sanctions

Investing in mining projects in Afghanistan now entails weighing up security risks, poor infrastructure and potential sanctions against the Taliban.

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The closed Mes Aynak copper mine offers a reminder of the difficulties that come with investing in Afghanistan.

Despite the lure of the country’s considerable mineral reserves, the threats and obstacles may cool Chinese entities’ enthusiasm for involvement, observers and traders said.

“The possibility of China investing in Afghan minerals is very low in the short term, although in the long run, if Afghanistan achieves stability and the international community eases sanctions, the possibility may increase,” said Zhu Yongbiao, a professor of international relations at Lanzhou University.

Prairie Snapshot: Eight companies with potential in central Canada

The Canadian Prairies may soon be known as much for their diverse mineral wealth including uranium, nickel and copper, as for their potash endowment and rolling hectares of grain.

Appia Energy

With the market for rare earth oxides used in magnets expected to increase five-fold by 2030, Appia Energy (CSE: API; US-OTC: APAAF) is focused on the Athabasca Basin properties it owns in northern Saskatchewan, the most advanced of which is the 100%-owned Alces Lake rare earth elements (REE) project.

Alces Lake has some of the highest REE grades in the world. The company says grab samples from the Olden River target confirm REE mineralization over a 175-metre strike length, with assays up to 3.94% total rare earth oxides (TREO). Channel sampling results have included 6.23% TREO over 1.7 metres at the Danny target; 2.84% TREO over 3.1 metres at Ermacre; 1.01% TREO over 7.7 metres at Biotite Lake; and 2.36% TREO over 1.7 metres at the newly discovered Strocen zone. Sampling has also revealed the presence of gallium. Grab and channel samples also indicate a new discovery at Diablo in the Western anomaly area, according to Appia Energy.

Two diamond drills are on site as part of a program that may eventually reach 10,000 metres. Drilling is complete at the Biotite Lake target and is ongoing at the Wilson-Richard-Charles-Bell and Ivan-Dylan-Dante targets.

Denison Mines

Denison Mines (TSX: DML; NYSE: DNN) was the big name in uranium mining in Elliot Lake, Ontario, during the heyday of production in the mid-20th century. Now the company has turned its attention to the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan where it has three advanced uranium exploration projects, many less advanced properties, and an interest in a producing mine.


Link for more detailed information

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