Archive for April, 2013


Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013


Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold producer, has put three Western Australian mines up for sale in order to alleviate some of its current $11.6 billion debt burden, reported Reuters on Monday.

Merrill Lych and UBS will advise on the sale of Barrick’s Darlot, Granny Smith, and Lawlers mines, which produced a combined 452 000 oz of gold at $768/oz in 2012.

Barrick has run into recent trouble at its $8.5 billion Pascua Lama project in Chile as a court ordered a halt in production earlier this month.

Two Chinese firms, Zijin Mining and Shandong Gold, have been identified as potential buyers.

Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
Construction of Husab Uranium mine begins
19 Apr 2013 – Story by Eveline de Klerk

SWAKOMUND – Yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of the construction of the Swakop Uranium Husab mine in the Erongo Region heralded Namibia’s first direct participation in the mining extraction industry.

Construction of the Husab mine, at an estimated cost of about N$1.2 billion, is expected to extend until 2014 for the mine to produce its first batch of uranium ore by 2015. The mine, situated 60 kilometres northeast of Swakopmund, is said to house uranium reserves of at least 280 million tonnes that could be mined for more than 20 years.

Full production is expected by 2017, with mining from two separate open pits feeding ore to a conventional agitated acid leach processing plant. Government has a 10 percent direct shareholding in the mine, along with the majority shareholder, the Chinese state-owned Guandong Nuclear Power Company Uranium Resources, which bought the mining interest from the Australian-listed mining firm Extract last year for nearly N$19 billion.

Wild Secrets

Namibia’s shareholding is vested in State mining company, Epangelo Mining, which bought the 10 percent equity in Swakop Uranium for over N$1.8 billion. “Not only will the government benefit from this partnership.  Many local companies would directly benefit from the mine through service delivery. This government is committed to the sustainable utilization of the country’s natural resources to benefit Namibians and is encouraging win-win partnerships between Namibians and foreign investors,” Minister of Mines and Energy Isaak Katali said during the groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site.

Once on stream the mine is expected to boost employment in the mining sector by at least 17 percent and increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product by at least 5 percent. The export of ‘yellow cake’ is expected to increase the country’s total exports by 20 percent. The Husab mine deposits are regarded as the most important uranium discovery in recent years, since the mine is anticipated to have a potential of producing up to 15.5 million pounds of uranium per annum.

The figure is more than Namibia’s total annual production and will push the country past Niger, Australia and Canada to become the world’s second largest uranium producer. The 8 kilometre mineralisation has been confirmed as the highest grade, granite-hosted uranium deposit in Namibia. Furthermore, the mine will create 2 000 permanent jobs, 6 000 temporary jobs and at least 8 000 indirect jobs during the construction phase. Katali said the mining industry is one of the securest pillars of the country’s economy and generates   billions in royalties and taxes for the government.

Katali urged all mining companies to comply and operate within the laws and regulations of the country. “I am aware that an environmental assessment impact was approved by the ministry of environment and tourism as the mining will be conducted in a protect area. By complying with the relevant laws and regulations at all stages will avoid damaging of the environment and our fragile eco-system…,” Katali said.

Chinese Charge d’affaires Li Yigang said the Husab mine is committed to social and empowerment aspects such as job creation and local recruitment. “Swakop Uranium attaches great importance to its goal of localisation in Namibia and is committed to create a fair and competitive bidding environment for technically capable vendors from both Namibia and abroad,” he said.

Henry Sapiecha



Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Buyers in India and China are rushing to purchase gold as its price declines.

As gold fell to about $1,400 an ounce in the past week, jewellery retailers in India saw a boost in sales and expect volumes to continue to increase in the coming months, according to Al Jazeera English.

One national retailer, Shree Ganesh Jewellery House, said consumers were waiting for a price correction and demand has risen across the country.

Rajesh exports, another retailer, said it has sold 10 times as much in the past week and speculates a new wave of purchasing may hit if prices remain low.

A senior commodity analyst in Mumbai said that regardless of returns based on price, gold has always been a top priority for Indian investors.

For the the 12 months ending in March 2013, the country has imported $38 billion worth of the precious yellow metal.

China’s news agency Xinhua reports consumer gold purchases have picked up speed in the country, especially among citizens of modest means.

Gold bars and accessories have sold out at one retailer in downtown Beijing, after long line ups outside stores.

Consumption of the yellow metal reached 832.18 tonnes last year in China, up 9.35 tonnes year-on-year, with gold jewelry accounting for 503.75 tonnes of that total, a 10.09 tonne increase year-on-year.

Henry Sapiecha


Friday, April 19th, 2013


Would you purchase an endangered tiger’s tooth as a cure for acne?

Perhaps not, but in many Asian countries, you could.

People need to be aware that when you see a full page ad in a magazine or newspaper for a conservation group and I would rather support a group that puts in every dollar that is donated into their projects. 

The fact that the animal may be critically endangered can actually make the purchase more lucrative, as the rarer the animal, the more potent it’s good fortune and healing properties.

Like the drug trade, wildlife trafficking is big business.

In Cambodia, traffickers wait on the outskirts of forests waiting for village hunters to return with whatever their snares have trapped. The sale of rare and endangered animals is one of very few options they have to provide for their family.

This is the vicious circle that Perth woman Rebecca Tilbrook wants to break.

For 15 years as a conservationist, Ms Tilbrook has seen Cambodia’s wildlife decimated by the illegal trade and last year decided to start her own charity, For the Animals.

“I don’t want to see the tiger or the elephant wiped off the face of the earth during my lifetime,” she said.

“I just think that it’s unconscionable that we are even faced with that possibility, and it’s a very real possibility.”

When Ms Tilbrook first arrived in Cambodia more than a decade ago she was confronted with wild animals being tortured and sold on every street corner.

Fantasy Lingerie

She says the practices have since moved underground, behind closed doors.

Bears are kept alive in restaurants waiting for customers to order bear paw soup, a delicacy at $300 a bowl. Chefs cut off each paw one at a time, leaving the animal alive, slowly bleeding to death, to ensure the meat remains fresh for the next order.

Other bears are sent to bile farms in China or Vietnam where they live in “crush cages” designed to squeeze every last drop of bile from their pancreas out through the needle of an old catheter, until they stop producing it and die.

Macaque monkeys are yet another culinary delicacy, served either screaming or drugged, strapped beneath the table with a hole for their head to poke through.

Their skull is then removed and their brains eaten alive.

The popular belief is that meat is the healthiest when the animal is alive, and that the more fear an animal experiences at death, the tastier its flesh becomes.


Almost every part of the endangered Asian Tiger can be used and are sold for a hefty fee, including the penis which is brewed as a tea to cure impotence.

According to the conservation group Wildlife Alliance, it is likely that there are no tigers left in the wild in Cambodia.

Its records say that the last time a tiger was sighted in the Cardamoms – one of the last continuous forests in South East Asia – was in 2007.

“We need to take direct action and we need to do it quickly,” says Ms Tilbrook.

“We’re running out of time.”

But while Ms Tilbrook has felt an overwhelming response from Australian people who want to help, she says that donating to just any animal charity is not the best way to enact change.

“My foundation For the Animals was a reaction to the waste and misuse of a lot of funds that I’ve [experienced] working in the conservation world for over 15 years,” she said.

Wild Secrets

“Funds are being wasted on overheads like pedantic research, huge salaries, plush offices, business class travel, lavish parties; and things that I feel feed the ego instead of accomplishing the mission that’s at hand.

“There are grass-roots charities doing important work on the ground and no one’s ever heard of them because they’re not spending all their budgets promoting themselves.

“People need to be aware that when you see a full page ad in a magazine or newspaper for a conservation group, that’s a very expensive expenditure, and I would rather support a group that has the integrity to put every dollar that is donated into their projects.”

For the Animals sends all money raised in Australia to the charity Wildlife Alliance in Cambodia and have not needed to focus on advertising and fundraising – until now.

While the foundation has been financially backed by an individual benefactor, this fund will dry up by the end of 2013.

“I just believe there will be others out there who will want to support this work,” she said.

Wildlife Alliance have seized over 52,000 wild animals from poachers with more than 20,000 having been rehabilitated at their Pnom Tamao Rescue Centre since 2001, which aims to release them back in to the wild. About 2100 poachers have been charged.

They have preserved 1.7 million acres of natural forest that is home to many endangered and threatened species, re-planting over 500,000 native trees in areas destroyed by slash-and-burn agriculture and cancelling 34 commercial land concessions for agricultural plantations and mining projects.

However, Ms Tilbrook says the biggest challenge has been changing Cambodian attitudes towards conservation.

“It became very clear that if we wanted to protect the Cardamom forest that we would also have to set up the communities with alternative forms of income so they didn’t have to poach to feed their children,” she said.

Costume Warehouse

Many Cambodians fled Phnom Penh in the 1970s to escape the mass genocide that claimed more than two million lives at the hands of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, leaving them little choice but to poach wildlife and slash-and-burn the natural forest to plant crops.

With the average Cambodian wage at $US1 a day, risking up to 10 years in jail for selling an endangered Pangolin or a square metre of rare Rosewood for hundreds of dollars becomes a calculated risk.

The Alliance have since rebuilt the Sovanna Baitong village, a place where 187 families who previously relied solely on unsustainable and illegal practices call home.

Villagers have been given a hectare of land each, as well as seeds, chickens, education and healthcare for their children.

“Now I have a school for my children and my house is close to the hospital,” a Sovanna Baitong man said.

Fantasy Lingerie

“I used to be scared of the ranger because he could put me in jail and take me away from my family,” said a woman.

“I don’t have to be scared anymore because I don’t kill the animals.”

“I have five children, now they are all studying at school [and] my eldest son is in Pnom Penh studying at university,” said another.

“When I lived in the forest, one of my sons passed away, but here we have a hospital and medicine.”

Ms Tilbrook says that while many Cambodians are still adjusting to fully understand the conservation message, she recognises that many Australians do.

“It’s as easy as giving some money to a group that will use it really well,” she said.

“It’s not just about loving animals… it’s about feeling that they deserve to be here on this earth with us.”

Fantasy Lingerie

You can donate to Wildlife Alliance through the Australian based foundation For the Animals. All donations go directly to Wildlife Alliance projects in Cambodia.

Jerrie Demasi was sent to Cambodia courtesy of For the Animals.

Henry Sapiecha


Monday, April 15th, 2013

Commodity traders’ $250bn harvest

Net income of largest trading houses since 2003 surpasses that of combination of the biggest Wall Street banks or that of an industrial giant like GE

Fantasy Footwear

Henry Sapiecha



Thursday, April 11th, 2013

BHP Billiton Completes Sale of Diamonds

Business to Dominion Diamond Corporation

April 10, 2013

BHP Billiton has completed the sale of its diamonds business, comprising its interests in the EKATI Diamond Mine and Diamonds Marketing operations, to Dominion Diamond Corporation (formerly Harry Winston Diamond Corporation). The purchase price was US$500 million plus purchase price adjustments of US$53 million for a total amount paid of US$553 million. The sale of the diamonds business to Dominion Diamond was announced on 13 November 2012, subject to receipt of regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, all of which have been satisfied.

Under the terms of the sale agreements, Dominion Diamond will assume all of BHP Billiton’s obligations under EKATI’s Environmental Agreement with the Governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories, Socio-Economic Agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Impact and Benefit Agreements with Aboriginal Groups and pension liabilities linked to the mine’s defined benefit scheme.  BHP Billiton employees working at EKATI, in Yellowknife and in Diamonds Marketing in Antwerp have become employees of Dominion Diamond as part of the transaction.


EKATI is located 310 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife and 200 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle. It was Canada’s first diamond mine. Prior to completion of the sale, BHP Billiton’s interest in EKATI consisted of an 80 per cent interest in the Core Zone Joint Venture, comprising existing operations and a 58.8 per cent interest in the Buffer Zone Joint Venture, primarily focusing on exploration targets.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha