Archive for June, 2016

Luxembourg invests big time $$$ in space mining

Friday, June 24th, 2016

luxembourg-invests-heavily-in-space-mining image www.www-globalcommodities.com

Luxembourg is stepping up efforts to become Europe’s centre for space mining by agreeing to buy a major stake in US-based asteroid miner Planetary Resources.

While it was not immediately clear what the government’s initial investment in Planetary Resources Luxembourg would be, the parties said in a statement that the agreement seeks to speed up the development of technologies and lines of business toward the exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids.

The government has also opened a $225 million (€200 million) line of credit for entrepreneurial space companies to set up their European headquarters in Luxembourg.The tiny European nation is one of the euro zone’s wealthiest countries and already has a long-standing space industry, playing a significant role in the development of satellite communications.

While its drive to become a significant actor in the asteroid mining industry is rather new, the country has already taken major steps towards achieving that goal.

On Friday, it announced the opening of a €200 million (US$225 million) line of credit for entrepreneurial space companies to set up their European headquarters within its borders.

And last month, the government reached an agreement with another US-based company, Deep Space Industries, which will be conducting missions to prospect for water and minerals in outer space. Both parties are currently developing Prospector-X, a small and experimental spacecraft that test technologies for prospecting and mining near Earth asteroids after 2020.

Legal frame

Luxembourg’s administration is also working on a legal frame for exploiting space resources so that private companies can be entitled to the resources they mine from asteroids, but not to own the celestial bodies themselves.

Luxembourg invests heavily in space mining

Digital rendition of a robotic asteroid mining equipment. (Image courtesy of Deep Space Industries)

The only international legal body available dates back to 1967. The Outer Space Treaty, signed by the US, Russia and a number of other countries, says that nations can’t occupy nor own territory in space.

“Outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States,” the treaty says, adding that “outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.”

And while a discussion on the matter is bound to happen, countries such as the US, have decided to make their own rules. In November, President Barack Obama signed a law granting American citizens rights to own resources mined in space.

The ground-breaking rule was touted as a major boost to asteroid mining because it encourages the commercial exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids obtained by US firms.

Such law does include a very important clause, as it clarifies that US citizens are not granted “sovereignty or sovereign or exclusive rights or jurisdiction over, or the ownership of, any celestial body.”

Geologists believe asteroids are packed with iron ore, nickel and precious metals at much higher concentrations than those found on Earth, making up a market valued in the trillions of dollars.

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Henry Sapiecha

The world’s 40 biggest mining companies listed here in an infographic

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Coal-mining-machinery image www.www-globalcommodities.com

PwC’s latest report into the performance of the world’s 40 largest mining companies shows just what a watershed year 2015 was.

The management consultants’ Mine 2015 report shows the top 40 companies suffering their first collective net loss in history ($27 billion), a decline in collective market capitalization of 37% (to below half a trillion dollars from a peak of $1.6 trillion in 2010), the lowest return on capital ever, asset impairments totalling $53 billion (for a total of nearly $200 billion since 2010), record high leverage of 46% and operating expenditure cuts of $83 billion.

The entries, re-entries and movements up and down the ranking also provides insight into the changing landscape of global mining.

The authors point out that the market capitalization threshold for attaining Top 40 status remained consistent at $4.5 billion despite “the huge decreases in value of the top mining companies, and demonstrates that the new entrants are catching up.”

A lithium miner joins top ranks of listed mining firms for the first time as the price of the battery ingredient skyrockets

China is featuring more heavily. All four companies admitted to the list for the first time was from China, pushing out Canada’s First Quantum and Teck Resources. China now provides 12 of the top 40 listed mining firms versus six from Canada despite one Chinese firm dropping out.

Gold’s changing fortunes saw AngloGold Ashanti re-emerge in the ranking for the first time since 2013 although other top gold producers Goldfields and Kinross haven’t made it back onto the list. When grouped by primary commodity mined gold producers still lost a combined $12 billion in market value.

The only sector to show an increase in market value was rare earths with the world’s top producer of the 17 elements jumping 23 places in the ranking. Another technology mineral is showing up for the first time.

Even though it’s early days for the lithium boom, the Top 40 has already welcomed its first miner of the battery raw material. Sichuan Tianqi Lithium enters as the world’s 31st most valuable miner helped by a doubling of the price of lithium carbonate just over the final months of 2015 and predictions of explosive growth in demand spurred by the electric vehicle and mass grid storage market.

SPP

Henry Sapiecha

It must be pointed out that this list is for 2015 & may not represent an accurate current status in 2016

top-40-2015-mining-companies-infographic image www.www-globalcommodities.com

 

 

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