Archive for November, 2013

CYBER ATTACKS ON MINING COMPANIES IS AN EVEN LARGER THREAT NOW THAN EVER BEFORE

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

SECURITY FIRMS WARN THAT CYBER ATTACKS ON MINING COMPANIES LOOM LARGE IN WORLD MINING CORPORATIONS & SMALLER MINERS

Mining companies are facing an alarming rise of cyber-attacks threats as they cut costs, rely more on the Internet, automate equipment, and run mines remotely, a new study by Ernst & Young shows.

shadowy keyboard of a cyber hacker image www.ispysite.com

The survey, conducted among nearly 40 mining and metal companies and published Wednesday, reveals that 41% of respondents has experienced more external attempts of hacking during the past year.

The participants believed to be behind cyber-attacks had also broadened, to include national governments, the report says.

“It was once thought that hackers were rebellious young students who would target symbols of authority as a protest and a reflection of their technological prowess (…) The list of cyber adversaries has grown to include criminals, national governments and hacktivists, and their target list has likewise grown,” Ernst & Young’s report shows.

Commodity prices

It is not just a company’s sensible information what is at risk with the new sort of danger coming from Internet sources, but also the prices of particular commodities, when cyber-attacks cause disruptions at key mine sites.

“Criminals are attracted to the sector because of the massive cash flows,” says the advisory firm in its report.

The most vulnerable companies are small to mid-sized miners who produce strategic metals, such as rare earths, tin and tungsten, rather than the mega miners, who have tightened security in their systems over the past few years. For the later is now “a real life battle.”

Canada lagging behind

While 53% of the Canadian firms included in the study said they had increased their security budget over the last year, 29% of them reported an increase in security incidents over the last 12 months

“Canadian companies acknowledge the threat of known cyber risks, but they’re comparatively conservative in the way they’re tackling that threat,” says Rafael Etges, EY’s Information Security practice leader in Toronto. “It’s not so much about handling what’s happening right now, but uncovering the still hidden or unknown cyber threats that are right around the corner, and planning accordingly.”

Cyber attacks are miners latest major threat

Source: Ernst & Young, 2013.

Thesurvey finds Canada is lagging behind most developed economies in terms of innovation, and trails emerging economies such as Latin America and Asia. Etges pegs this to a mix of factors, including risk appetite, market and culture.

The good news is that unlike their global counterparts, Canadian respondents name overall cyber security/threats as a top priority in the next 12 months.

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Henry Sapiecha

www.ispysite.com  <<< GET YOUR FULL CYBER CRIME REPORT HERE

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GAS EXPLOSION IN GUINEA KILLS AT LEAST UP TO 25 PEOPLE

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

GUINEA GOLD MINING HAS GAS EXPLOSION THAT KILLS AROUND 25 PEOPLE

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A gas explosion killed as many as 25 people in an illegal gold mine in eastern Guinea, area that holds some of the West African country’s largest gold reserves.

A police source confirmed to Reuters that 14 bodies have already been recovered, but added the walls of the mine were “too narrow,” which makes it “impossible to survive this kind of accident.”

While artisanal mining in mineral-rich Guinea is not illegal, it is extremely dangerous. In July four people were killed in a similar incident.

Other than gold, artisanal miners tend to look for diamonds in the country, which is an important source of  them. In 2011, it put out 300,000 carats valued at about $30 million, and industrial production is in the development phase. As well, the country hosts several kimberlite deposits.

However, due to regulatory deficiencies, data gaps, limited technical capacity and uneven enforcement in small-scale mining, the country is a thoroughfare for conflict diamonds to enter the international market.

Guinea is also one of the world’s main exporters of bauxite and holds vast untapped iron ore reserves that have lured large global miners, such as Rio Tinto and Chinalco.

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Henry Sapiecha

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ASTEROID MINING WILL FOCUS ON FINDING WATER FIRST

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

ASTEROID MINING FOR WATER & MINERALS IS TO HAPPEN

SPACE FOR SALE SIGN PICTURE

Profiting from the riches that asteroids, stars and even planets have to offer is closer than ever, with two companies launching missions within three years. But experts say before going for the gold, platinum and diamonds that may be up there, they need to find the most precious of all: water.

Investors eager to get the new industry off the ground know this. That is why new ventures that have backing from some loaded business figures, and even the NASA, have decided to focus on using space minerals in interplanetary “gas stations.” According to Reuters, the other alternative for them is to build, support and fuel colonies on Mars.

Geologists believe that asteroids hold iron ore, nickel and precious metals at much higher concentrations than those found on Earth. In fact, an asteroid that flew by the earth earlier this year had an estimated value of $195 billion in metal and fuel.

Scientists have said asteroid mining is a necessity as many metals that underpin our modern economy are quickly being depleted. Without any new technological advances, metals like zinc and gold are expected to run out in 100 years, they claim.

So far there are at least two asteroid mining companies —Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries —and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)looking into the feasibility of the extraterrestrial endeavour.

Not a competition

Experts say that while viable, asteroid mining is not and will probably never be a completion for our planet’s industry. The real value in space mineral extraction, they say, is for further space travel – and so hydrogen and oxygen reserves are as attractive as any metal.

“It’s ridiculous to believe that asteroid resources will ever compete with terrestrial alternatives and Earth markets,” Brad Blair, a mining engineer and economist, told Reuters.

When asked about the planned city-sized settlements on Mars, he noted the reason asteroid mining makes sense is because people might be some day where those resources actually are.

“You can’t put an 80,000-person colony on Mars without using the local ‘timber’ (…) and if you’re going to use chemical propulsion, it’s going to take a lot of water to get them there,” he was quoted as saying.

No everyone shares his opinion, in March this year the head of the Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA), Arny Sokoloff, said he had “no doubts” that space mining will go farther than earth mining one day. He added governments should encourage the industry by offering tax benefits similar to those given to mining companies

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Henry Sapiecha

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MONGOLIAN MINING FACTOR PENALIZES MINERS SO CAUTION IS REQUIRED

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

THE MONGUL CREED IN MINING VENTURES IS UPON US SO BEWARE

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Since January this year 106 exploration license holders have had no legal recourse or rights to undertake exploration on their properties in Mongolia due to a criminal court case involving corruption relating to former senior government employees in the Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia (MRAM).

For only 31 of the 106 impacted licenses about $19m had already been been spent and a further $36m planned. The 106 licenses cover a landmass approximately six times larger in surface area than active mining licenses in Mongolia according to a new report by Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research.

On Wednesday, one of the explorers caught up in the bureaucratic and political mess, Kincora Copper announced that it has received official notification from MRAM that two of its licences are part of the 106 licences now being officially revoked.

The revocation of licenses is effective October 30, 2013 following Resolution № 457 issued by the Chairman of the Geology and Mining Cadastre Department.

In April 2012, Kincora paid $5 million in script for the two licenses held by the Vancouver-based company’s wholly-owned subsidiary company Golden Grouse. Kincora incurred approximately $71,000 in legal costs relating to the acquisition and have spent approximately $1.85 million in exploration costs.

According to a press release Kincora’s flagship Bronze Fox license remains in good standing and was not on the list of licenses to be revoked:

“Kincora was unable to undertake planned exploration activities in the 2013 field season on the Golden Grouse licenses following uncertainty relating to criminal legal proceedings against former Government officials, which has brought into question the legal rights and interests for the owners of 106 exploration licenses.

“The Company is currently accessing avenues now available to it with receipt of official notification from MRAM expected to finally provide legal rights and potential recourse relating to the Golden Grouse licenses.

“Consultations with key third neighbor governments have been ongoing and continue as the affected license holders work with the Government of Mongolia on resolving this situation. The Mongolian National Mining Association (“MNMA”) is also assisting where possible.

“The acquisition of the licenses followed full detailed due diligence, with the licenses confirmed to be in good standing by MRAM, with exploration costs incurred following approval of the proposed exploration programmes which have been subsequently accepted, annual license fees incurred and licenses extended by MRAM.

“The Civil Code of Mongolia supports liability for damages caused by government officials if the rights of existing licenses holders are negatively impacted.”

Another company that fell foul of Mongolia’s bureaucracy and politics, uranium explorer Khan Resources, is currently seeking $200 million of damages from the government of Mongolia due to the illegal expropriation of its permits with a trial by the International Arbitration Tribunal scheduled to start November 11.

Mongolia’s parliament on Monday adopted a new investment law designed to attract foreigners to the country’s resource sector  after a steep decline in FDI this year.

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Henry Sapiecha

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NEVADA RESIDENTS NEAR A COPPER MINE GET A $20M PAYOUT

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

BONANZA PAYOUT FOR NEVADA RESIDENTS BECAUSE OF COPPER MINE COVERUP

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Residents of a Northern Nevada town are $20 million richer after reaching a settlement with a company accused of covering up a leaking World War II-era copper mine, the Associated Press reports.

Seven hundred neighbours of the old Anaconda mine, located about 65 kilometres southeast of Reno, claimed that Atlantic Richfield and its parent BP America had “intentionally and negligently” concealed the extent of chemical leakage into their drinking water.

Atlantic Richfield, which purchased the Anaconda mine in the 1978, acknowledged no wrongdoing in the settlement. It argued that the region has naturally occurring uranium and that there’s no proof that the copper mine caused the contamination.

Residents filed the lawsuit after an EPA investigation determined that uranium, a by-product of the mine, was leaking into groundwater, resulting in “dangerous levels of uranium or arsenic or both” in 79% of wells north of the mine. A US Labour Department review in 2008 also revealed that the clean-up schedule had not been enforced.

The companies will pay $7 million in property damages, $900,000 for a medical monitoring fund and up to $12.5 million to connect water supplies with the city of Yerington’s water distribution system.

In its heyday, Anaconda Copper Mining, the company that originally operated the Nevada mine, was the fourth largest company in the world. Between 1952 and 1978, the mine produced 1.7 billion pounds of copper. It shut down due to low copper prices.

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Henry Sapiecha

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WORLDS LARGEST COPPER MINE IN CHILE CONVERTS FROM OPENCUT TO UNDERGROUND MINING

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

THE PIC STORY OF CONVERTING AN OPEN CUT COPPER MINE IN CHILE TO U/GROUND

Located 2,870 metres above sea level in Northern Chile, the Chuquicamata mine is without question one of the jewels in the crown of Codelco, the world’s No. 1 copper producer.

But the centenary mine has only ten more productive years left, so the Chilean-owned company has embarked on a plan to transform the world’s largest open-pit mine into an $4.2 billion underground operation, with a projected output rate of 140,000 tonnes per day.

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COPPER MINE OPEN CUT CHILE GOES UNDERGROUND IMAGE www.www-globalcommodities (1)

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COPPER MINE OPEN CUT CHILE GOES UNDERGROUND IMAGE - www.www-globalcommodities (2)

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COPPER MINE OPEN CUT CHILE GOES UNDERGROUND IMAGE --www.www-globalcommodities (1)

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COPPER MINE OPEN CUT CHILE GOES UNDERGROUND IMAGE www.www-globalcommodities (2)

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COPPER MINE OPEN CUT CHILE GOES UNDERGROUND IMAGE --www.www-globalcommodities (2)

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COPPER MINE OPEN CUT CHILE GOES UNDERGROUND IMAGE www.www-globalcommodities (3)

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Henry Sapiecha

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GOLD SALES IN INDIA PLUNGE AS PRICES REACH $70 PER OZ

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

INDIA’S APPETITE FOR GOLD STALLS BECAUSE OF PRICE HIKE

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Over the past year and a half P. Chidambaram, India’s finance minister, has been fighting his country’s insatiable appetite for gold.

Gold import duties have risen tenfold – from 1% at the start of 2012 to 10% today.

Excise duties now stand at 9% while new rules such as strictly cash only for imports and transaction taxes among other punitive measures have stymied India’s gold industry.

The sub-continent celebrated Dhanteras and Diwali last week, two festivals closely associated with bullion buying and the country’s wedding season, another major driver of gold sales, is in full swing.

But the government import restrictions have led to a scarcity of physical gold inside the country which coupled with the weak rupee are putting a huge damper on sales of gold this year.

NDTVProfit.com reports Indian traders are paying premiums of a whopping $70 an ounce to London prices.:

“Sales have reduced by 75 percent. Supply is a big problem, we are getting limited supplies from MMTC and others,” said Harshad Ajmera, the proprietor of JJ Gold House, a wholesaler in Kolkata.

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Henry Sapiecha

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IRON ORE MINERS IN AUSTRALIA GET A VALUE WORTH INCREASE OF A FURTHER $65BILLION THIS FINANCIAL YEAR

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

IRON ORE PRICES ARE ON THE UP & VALUING THE 3 MINERS EVEN MORE BY $65B

KANGAROO SUNSET IMAGE www.sunblestproducts.com

Despite market conditions and endless reports announcing the end the so-called mining boom, Australia’s iron ore miners managed to add over $65 billion to their value this financial year, reports The Australian.

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The gains come as iron ore prices have defied expectations, remaining above $130 a tonne, and confidence grows in the strength of prices of Australia’s biggest export.

The steel-making material is up 23% from its 2013 lows struck at the end of May, as Chinese spending on infrastructure boosted Australian iron ore exports to record highs.

The price surge has benefitted giant and medium producers alike. BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), for instance, have seen their shares jumping 25% and 21% respectively.value-of-aussie-iron-ore-miners-up-65bn-this-year-stock-comparison

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But the is rest of Australia’s iron ore players, which seem to be the big winners. Mount Gibson Iron’s (ASX:MGX) has gained a whooping 111% since June 30, Arrium’s (ASX:ARI) has climbed 93% and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) has risen 92%.

The iron ore price revival comes after a recent report from the World Steel Association showed global crude steel production in September rose to a rate of 4.42 million tonnes per day — a strong 4.6% month-on-month surge and 6.1% jump over last year’s figures.

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Henry Sapiecha

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NORTH ARROW MINERALS STOCK GOES UP & UP AFTER A MAJOR DIAMOND FIND

Friday, November 8th, 2013

PUTTING YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS WHEN IT COMES TO DIAMONDS

diamond in woman's mouth image www.worldwidediamonds.info

UPDATE: North Arrow Minerals contacted MINING.com about this post, pointing out an erroneous TSX-V filing by a major shareholder of the company and explaining that the purchases filed as open market acquisitions were in fact part of a private placement that closed October 31. See statement below original article.

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Shares of North Arrow Minerals (CVE:NAR) rocketed more than 50% on Tuesday after the explorer announced the results of drilling at its Pikoo diamond project in Saskatchewan.

While enthusiasm for the Vancouver-based company’s stock has died down somewhat since then – North Arrow is down 4c or 7% to $0.52 Thursday amid a soft mining sector – those who timed their purchases are sitting on a pretty paper profit today.

What got punters excited was a 209.7 kg sample of drill core from the TSX-Venture listed company’s Pikoo property in central Saskatchewan from a kimberlite discovered by North Arrow earlier this year. North Arrow retrieved 745 diamonds larger than the 0.106 mm sieve size, including 23 diamonds larger than the 0.85 mm sieve size.

President and CEO Ken Armstrong said at the time the results where so exceptional that it “establishes Pikoo and the northern Sask Craton as a new diamond district in Canada.”

North Arrow, worth around $23 million in Toronto, is a company formed by Canadian diamond and mining industry royalty in March this year.

Its chairman is Grenville Thomas, founder of Aber Resources and the man behind the discovery of Canada’s second diamond mine Diavik.

Prospecting alongside the colourful Welshman in the early nineties in the high Arctic was his daughter Eira Thomas who is credited with the billions of dollars discovery under Lac de Gras in the Northwest Territories.

She later founded Stornoway Diamond Corp (TSE:SWY) and took over of Quebec’s Renard diamond project.

She left Stornoway two years ago and is now working as an advisor to the North Arrow which also employs a number of her former colleagues. Pikoo is optioned from Stornoway and North Arrow intends to vest its 80% earn-in option.

William Lamb, CEO of Lucara Diamond Corp (TSE:LUC), recently joined the company’s board of directors and Zebra Holdings and Investment, the trust of the legendary Lundin mining family, is the majority shareholder of North Arrow.

In the week before Tuesday’s announcement both Grenville Thomas and Zebra Holding made huge purchases of North Arrow.*

According to Canadian Insider data Zebra Holdings picked up just over 2.7 million shares at $0.45 on Thursday October 31 and Thomas 1.55 million at $0.40 the day before, adding to the more than 60,000 bought earlier in the month.

A back of an envelope calculation shows a tidy $860,000 paper profit for the insiders for the day’s work on Tuesday when North Arrow topped out at $0.60 a share in massive volumes.

North Arrow is also advancing a diamond project in Nunavut and in the Lac de Gras district.

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*MINING.com was contacted by Nick Thomas, Investor and Community Relations Manager of North Arrow following publication and he sent us this clarifying statement:

“Both the 1.55M shares purchased by Gren Thomas and the 2.7M shares purchased by Zebra Holdings were part of the 13.625M share / $5.45M private placement that closed on October 31, 2013. The private placement was priced at $0.40 per common share. We have notified Zebra that their insider filing is incorrect and we understand they are in the process of fixing it.

“Mr. Thomas’ remaining purchases were made in the open market prior to October 22nd, as disclosed.

“The private placement financing was initially announced on August 26, 2013 and the participation of insiders in the placement was disclosed at that time. The private placement was re-priced and amended on October 3, 2013 as we were unable to complete the financing on the original terms.

The ‘book’ on the placement was closed on October 24th and the filing for final acceptance from the TSX Venture Exchange was made that day.

The Exchange issued its bulletin approving the financing on Monday October 28th. The treasury was then submitted to our transfer agent and the placement was closed the financing on October 31st.

“North Arrow received the diamond results late on the evening of October 31 and a management trading blackout was implemented that night.”

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Interview by Resource Investing News with Ken Armstrong:

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Henry Sapiecha

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WORLDS BIGGEST POTASH MINER IN RUSSIA SAYS DEMAND WILL INCREASE DRAMATICALLY NEXT YEAR

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

RUSSIAN POTASH MINER PREDICTS MASSIVE GROWTH IN DEMAND

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Russian potash miner Uralkali (LON:URALL), the world’s No.1 producer of the fertilizer, said Friday it expects global demand for the commodity to jump next year to a 10-year high, thanks to declining prices that are allowing sales to pick up.

In an interview with Bloomberg, the chief of sales and marketing Oleg Petrov, said the firm expects global demand for potash to reach between 58 and 60 million tons.

The figure is slightly higher than the 57 million metric tons reached in 2011, which was the highest in eight years.

Uralkali also said that its new volume-over-price strategy could push potash prices down 25% to $300.

Prices for potash have fallen by about a third to roughly $340 a tonne from the start of the year, with buyers delaying purchases in anticipation of further declines.

The deceleration of the Chinese economy, a driving force behind potash demand, had already helped cut potash prices by a third or more by early this year. And the disappearance of one of the two export cartels in the potash sector has only made things worse.

The industry is said to be currently operating at around 70% of its capacity, a relatively weak level that will get worse if demand does not improve, say analysts.

AGT5J

Henry Sapiecha

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