Archive for the ‘MINING TOWNS’ Category


Friday, July 29th, 2016

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The world’s number one and two gold producers both released second quarter results and production guidance the past week.

For Barrick Gold, 2015 year was the last period of 6m-plus ounces of production which was already substantially down from its peak of 7.7 million ounces in 2010 and 2011.

While its financials came in slightly below expectations the Toronto-based company stuck to its annual output forecast of between 5 million and 5.5 million ounces.

Barrick has been shedding assets at a clip in an effort to tackle its heavy debt load and to achieve its 2016 target will have to find another $1 billion before the end of the year.

Earlier this week there were reports the miner is close to selling its 64% stake in Tanzania’s Acacia Mining (LON:ACA) for as much as $1.9 billion. And buried in Barrick’s Q2 release was an announcement that it’s looking for a buyer for half of Australia’s Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines.

This deal will make Newmont the world's top gold minerNewmont Mining owns the other half and Barrick handed over operational control of the the iconic mine called the Super Pit to Denver-based Newmont a year ago. The mine some 600km west of Perth has produced 50 million ounces over 30 years and fully developed the cut will be 3.6 kilometers long, 1.6 kilometers wide and up to 650 meters deep.

Newmont would be the natural buyer and has expressed interest in the mine in the past which could fetch as much as $1 billion. The company sports one of the stronger balance sheets in the sector having embarked on a debt reduction program earlier than its rivals and recently selling its Indonesian Batu Hijau copper-gold operation for $1.3 billion.

Unlike many of its rivals Newmont has been building its portfolio and last year acquired the Cripple Creek & Victor gold mine in Colorado. Newmont also has five key projects that are in execution stage including the Turf Vent project in Nevada and Merian mine in South America expected to start production late in 2016.

Newmont said in its results its Northwest Exodus project in Nevada is approved and will start production this quarter. In addition unapproved projects “represent upside of between 200,000 and 300,000 ounces of gold production beginning in 2018.”

While far from certainties should Barrick’s deals go ahead, Newmont picks up Kalgoorlie, the companies’ production guidance pans out and all things being equal (which they never are in gold mining) next year Denver and not Toronto will be the home of the world’s number one gold mining company.


Henry Sapiecha

Giant mine pit ‘swallowing’ 400-year-old Peruvian town

Saturday, December 5th, 2015


The Peruvian city of Cerro de Pasco, perched high up in the Andes, is about to sink — literally and metaphorically — into the deeps of a half-century-old, open-pit zinc and lead mine

The Peruvian city of Cerro de Pasco, perched high up in the Andes, is about to sink into the deeps of a half-century-old, open-pit zinc and lead mine that has been belching streamers of dust and polluting its surroundings for years.

The locals, National Geographic reports, were submitted to a series of health tests in 1996 when the effects of contamination became more prominent. In 2007, the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined the investigation only to verify the fact that more than half the children tested had high lead levels in their blood stream. This drove authorities to declare a “state of environmental emergency” in Cerro de Pasco in May 2012.

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Very little has changed since. According to the article, locals keep dealing with lead poisoning and its consequences, including lower IQ levels, seizures, organ dysfunction, and even premature death.

Residents have made attempts to reach out to the central government, asking for a permanent solution, especially after 2,070 children were diagnosed with lead levels that implied twice the danger. The authorities’ promised to build a new hospital, however, has yet to become a reality.

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Meanwhile, the company that operates the vast mine, Volcan Compañía Minera, continues to expand the pit in the middle of the city, said to be as deep as the Empire State Building is tall.

Half-century mining history

The Spanish found silver in the caverns of Cerro de Pasco about 500 years ago, and through the 20th century its mines enriched many — including prominent Americans. The caverns were opened in 1956 and today the central Peruvian Andes region is still home to 14 mining companies operating at high production levels.

But the wealth extracted from Pasco’s land is, unfortunately, not shared among its people. The latest statistics available show that between 2013 and 2014, Cerro de Pasco was — in fact — the region that saw the highest rise in poverty in the whole country.

In 2008, Peru’s Congress passed Law No. 29293, calling for the resettlement of the entire population of Cerro de Pasco, a city of 70,000. But the government failed to come up with a process to accomplish that, so the law has largely been ignored.

A Volcan’s spokesman told National Geographic that moving the town was not the company’s responsibility. “It is an issue that concerns the national government, in coordination with the regional government and the local government of the city.”

In October, authorities met once again with community members who marched to Peru’s capital Lima. One of the key points agreed upon was that the Ministry of Health would guarantee care for all those with high levels of lead in their blood.

The government, local media reported (in Spanish) also agreed to build a clinic for heavy metals detoxification and a modern toxicology lab.


Henry Sapiecha

Romania opens door to new gold, copper project with Canadians at the forefront

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

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Romania’s National Agency for Mineral Resources has granted Canadian explorer Carpathian Gold Inc. (TSX:CPN) a 20-year mining license for its Rovina Valley gold and copper project, strategically located about 20 km west of Gabriel Resources’ (TSX:GBU) debated Rosia Montana.

This is first time Romania grants a mining license without the involvement of a state-owned enterprise.

Carpathian’s stock soared on the news. It was up 200% to 0.0150 at 11:00 am ET.

The Toronto based company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Samax Romania S.R.L., will now work on updating the Preliminary Economic Assessment of 2010, to provide revised project costs and evaluate scalability options, Carpathian said in a statement.

The Rovina License lies within the Metalliferi Mountains, in the southern part of the Apuseni Mountains, in the area known as the Golden Quadrilateral, one of Europe’s most prolific mining districts for over 2,000 years.

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Henry Sapiecha

Chinese company on the verge of starting to mine uranium in Namibia

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Chinese firm close to start mining uranium in Namibia

China General Nuclear Power Holding Corp (CGNPC), the country’s biggest producer of nuclear energy, is getting ready to begin mining for uranium at its Husab mine, located in western-central Namibia.

According to African Review, the clean energy corporation intends to start processing the ore in February 2016, with operations slated to begin later this year.

CGNPC, which acquired the mine after taking control of Kalahari Minerals and Extract Resources, has spent over US$2bn in the project since work began in 2012, which makes it China’s largest investment in the African nation so far.

Once fully operational, Husab mine will have the potential to produce 15 million pounds of uranium oxide.

Once fully operational, Husab mine will have the potential to produce 15 million pounds of uranium oxide.

Canada’s Cameco Corp (TSX:CCO), the country’s biggest uranium producer, has been signalled in the past as potential buyer for offtake output from the project, located 8 kilometers (5 miles) south of Rio Tinto Group’s Z20 deposit in the Namib-Naukluft national park.

Uranium mineralization was first discovered in the Namibia’s Rossing Mountains, Namib Desert, in 1928 by Capt. G. Peter Louw. Uranium exploration official started in 1960s with Rio Tinto obtaining exploration rights for the Rössing deposit in 1966. It started production in 1976.

The Rössing mine is currently Namibia’s longest running and one of the world’s largest open pit uranium mines.

Image courtesy of Swakop Uranium.


Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Johannesburg (AFP) – President Jacob Zuma received on Tuesday the official report into the police killing of 34 South African miners in 2012, as rights groups demanded that its findings be quickly made public.

The shooting at the Marikana mine was the worst violence in the country since the advent of democracy in 1994, and evidence at the inquiry tarnished police claims that they had acted in self-defence when they gunned down the striking miners.

In the days before, 10 other people were killed in violence around the platinum mine — including non-striking miners, security guards and two police officers who were hacked to death.

Lawyers for the dead miners’ families blamed the killings on a bout of police revenge, and accused officers of a cover-up.

Zuma, who is visiting Algeria, “will prioritise the consideration of the report on his return”, a statement from his office said, confirming that the document had been received.

But Deprose Muchena, of Amnesty International, said Zuma “must make public the full report as a priority,

“The surviving victims of the tragic events of Marikana and the families of all those who died have a right to receive justice.”

The Marikana Support Campaign group demanded that the report be published within two months, adding that the evidence heard by the inquiry pointed to “some weighty conclusions”.

The presidency made no mention of when it planned to release the report.

Mining house Lonmin was widely criticised during the inquiry for failing to engage with the workers’ wage demands.

It has also been blamed for the murders of its security guards and non-striking miners. The mining house has denied any responsibility.

A cross on a hill pays tribute to the 34 miners killed in 2012 near Lonmin mine in Marikana, in South Africa (AFP Photo/Mujahid Safodien)

A number of the legal teams recommended that senior police officials –- including the former police minister Nathi Mthethwa and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega –- be investigated for murder.

They also argued that Lonmin executives should be charged as accomplices.

But others fingered South Africa’s deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa contacted the ministers of police and mineral resources in the days leading up to the massacre, pushing for police intervention over the strike.

Ramaphosa was not in government at the time, but a non-executive director of Lonmin and a senior leader in the ruling ANC party.

He has maintained he was simply trying to prevent further violence.


Henry Sapiecha

Russian potash mine disaster in pictures

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Insane pictures of Russian potash mine disaster

Solikamsk-2 accident first implications: situation could worsen

After a statement made by one of the world’s largest potash producers and exporters Uralkali (MCX:URKA)(LON:URALL), first visual implications of Solikamsk-2 potash mine accident have been revealed.

Insane pictures of Russian potash mine disaster

30-40 meters diameter sinkhole near the Solikamsk-2 potash mine (source:

A sinkhole with a diameter of 30-40 meters has been detected to the east of the Solikamsk-2 production site, at the area packed with summer cottages. There were no casualties reported so far.

Insane pictures of Russian potash mine disaster


Henry Sapiecha

TOP WORLD MINERS.Canada’s Saskatchewan second only to Finland as world’s top mining destination

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Canada’s Saskatchewan second only to Finland as world’s top mining destination

Saskatchewan is the most attractive jurisdiction for mining investment in Canada, and the second best worldwide, according to the latest annual global survey of mining executives released Tuesday by the Fraser Institute.

Canada’s policy think-tank’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2014, rates 122 jurisdictions around the world based on their geologic appeal and the extent to which government policies encourage exploration and investment.

This year, the potash and oil-rich prairie province was placed at the top by executives surveyed between August 26 and November 15, 2014.

But what is it that makes Saskatchewan such a magnet to mining investors? According to Kenneth Green, Fraser Institute senior director of energy and natural resources and the survey’s leader, there are two key reasons: the province’s abundance of mineral potential, and Saskatchewan’s government transparent and productive approach to mining policy.

Canada’s Saskatchewan second only to Finland as world’s top mining destination

The province offers a competitive taxation regime, good scientific support, efficient permitting procedures and clarity around land claims. That’s what miners look for,” said Green.

Canada as a country did fairly well, as four jurisdictions — besides Saskatchewan —finished in the top 10 worldwide: Manitoba (4), Quebec (6), Newfoundland and Labrador (8) and Yukon (9).

Quebec rebounds, B.C. falls

Quebec, which had got poor reviews in the last three years, climbed back up, which suggests the period of increased red tape, higher royalties and regulatory uncertainty may be coming to and end, the report shows.

Two of Canada’s other geographically large jurisdictions — Ontario and British Columbia — didn’t fare as well. Internationally, Ontario was placed 23rd and B.C. ranked 28th, falling nine and 12 spots, respectively, compared to the 2013 survey.

“In Ontario, the New Mining Act amendments regarding First Nations consultation have resulted in complete incomprehensibility of rights on all sides,” Green said.

“Similarly in British Columbia, uncertainty concerning disputed land claims and ambiguity about what regions will be protected are deterrents to investment and exploration,” he added.

The latest survey included responses of 485 mineral exploration and development company executives from around the world. Exploration budgets reported by companies that participated in the study totalled US$2.7 billion in 2014 and US$3.2 billion in 2013, the Fraser Institute said.


Henry Sapiecha


Friday, February 27th, 2015

UPDATED: The world's top 10 gold producers

Number one Barrick Gold’s output drops in 2014, but fellow Canadian firm Agnico Eagle adds 30% to production ounces.

In 2014, preliminary estimated gold production by the top publicly-traded and non state-owned gold mining companies amounted to 30 Moz, in line with the 2013 totals.

Three out of the 10 miners suffered a decline in their attributable gold output while six of them achieved growth.

With 6.25 Moz of gold produced in 2014, Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp. (TSE:ABX) holds first place in global ranking, well ahead of its competitors.

Compared to 2013’s 7.17 Moz, Barrick’s gold output declined by 13%, mainly because of significant drop in output at its Cortez Mine (-33%), as well as a number of gold mines in Australia and USA which Barrick sold during the year.

UPDATED: The world's top 10 gold producers

Provisional attributable gold production by 10 leading companies in 2014/2013, Moz of gold except Gold Fields and Kinross, where Moz of equivalent gold used (data retrieved from corporate reports)

The US-based Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE:NEM) ranks second in the global gold competition and produced about 4.85 Moz of the precious metal in 2014, a 4% decline on 2013 (5.07 Moz), due to a significant decrease of gold output at its North America’s operations (-16%) and decline at Newmont’s Australia/New Zealand operations (-6%).

Third-ranked AngloGold Ashanti Limited (NYSE:AU), reported its second consecutive growth in annual production. In 2014, company mined out 4.44 Moz of gold, or 8% more than 2013 totals (4.11 Moz).

Fourth-ranked Goldcorp Inc. (TSE:G) produced 2.87 Moz of gold in 2014, including discontinued operations, or 7.5% more than in 2013 (2.67 Moz). This increase was due to development of production at Penasquito (Mexico, +41%) and Pueblo Viejo (Dominican Republic, +36%) mines, and commissioning of Cerro Negro (Argentina) and Eleonore (Canada) mines.

Another Canadian company Kinross Gold Corporation (TSE:K), fifth in world gold production rankings, produced 2.71 Moz of gold equivalent in 2014. This volume is slightly exceeded the Kinross’ guidance of 2.5-2.7 Moz of gold equivalent and is 3% higher than 2013 production totals (2.63 Moz of gold equivalent).

Sixth in the ratings, Australian Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM), produced approximately 2.33 Moz of gold in 2014 calendar year, which is 1% lower than 2013 output (2.36 Moz).

South African Gold Fields Limited (NYSE:GFI), currently ranked seventh, produced 2.22 Moz of gold equivalent in 2014, or 10% higher than in 2013 (2.02 Moz). This increase is mainly due to the inclusion of a full year’s production from the Yilgarn South assets in 2014 compared with only one quarter in 2013.

In eighth place, Russian origin Polyus Gold International (LON: PGIL) produced 1.7 Moz of gold, a 3% increase from its 2013 tally of 1.65 Moz.

South Africa’s Sibanye Gold Limited (JSE: SGL & NYSE: SBGL), which split from Gold Fields in February 2013, enters at ninth position with its first full year output. In 2014, Sibanye produced 1.59 Moz of gold, or 11% more than in 2013 (1.43 Moz)* from its four Witwatersrand mines.

Canadian Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd (TSE:AEM) gold output jumped by staggering 30%, from 1.1 Moz in 2013, to 1.43 Moz in 2014, thanks to new mines coming on stream, including Goldex mine (Canada) and La India mine (Mexico), as well as acquisition of 50%-share in Canadian Malartic mine.

This allows Agnico Eagle to jump two positions up in the world rankings, from 12th to tenth, pushing Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) out of the top 10. Production at US-based Freeport – primarily a copper producer and owner of the iconic Grasberg mine Indonesia – decreased by 3%, from 1.25 Moz in 2013, to 1.21 Moz in 2014.

Knocking on the door is Canada’s Yamana Gold (TSX:YRI) which and increased its gold output by 18%, from 1 Moz in 2013, to 1.18 Moz in 2014.

Note: For corporate attributable gold production, figures used are from actual official data or companies’ expectations for the 2014 calendar year. Wherever possible, calculated gold ounces are quoted instead of gold equivalent ounces. 


Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, October 28th, 2014


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Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA) has mined & shipped bauxite from Weipa since 1963. Their Weipa mines currently employ over 1,000 people & each year RTA pay $150m in salary/wages. Their local workforce increased by 54 staff last year.The RTA Weipa operation operates two continuous mines – East Weipa & Andoom – with two plants, 19km of railway to Weipa’s port, two stockpiles & two ship loaders.

RTA exported 26m tonnes of bauxite last year, a 14% increase on 2012.


Australia is the largest producer of bauxite in the world. In addition, Australia is the second largest bauxite resource in the world, after Guinea in Africa.

There are 5 active bauxite mines & 6 refineries across Australia, & Weipa – given the quality of its bauxite plus its prime port location so close to Asia – is the largest operation in the country.

World-wide demand for high quality bauxite is rising & particularly in Asia.

Chinese demand remains strong. Bauxite consumption is projected to increase by 6% to 7% per annum in coming decades.


Henry Sapiecha

Abandoned Canadian mining town up for sale

Monday, August 25th, 2014

A whole town in British Columbia, Canada’s most western province, has been put up for sale and for less than $1 million. Yes, you read that right.

Just two hours north from the popular resort town of Whistler and four from Vancouver, the ghost town of Bradian, a former suburb of the gold mining town of Bralorne, has been listed for Cdn $995,000.

The 20-hectares town has over 22 houses still standing in reasonable condition and all basic infrastructure and it is already zoned rural residential, according to realtor John Lovelace.

The seller is a family who bought it in 1997 and used Bradian as a place to take holidays and work on the buildings.

In fact Lovelace told The Province he has received dozens of inquiries, but most back off when they realize how much work is required to upgrade the town.

Henry Sapiecha

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