Industry NEWS

20 July 2020

Theta Gold selects Digmin as mining contractor for Theta Project

Theta Gold Mines has selected Digmin Group as the preferred mining contractor to develop the Theta Project in South Africa.

The move comes as Theta Gold moves to rapidly advance trial mining activities.

Digmin Group, which has been selected following a comprehensive tendering process, offers contract mining services throughout Africa and also provides bulk earthworks, mine infrastructure development as well as surface and underground drilling services.

Theta Gold Mines chairman Bill Guy said: “They have intimate knowledge of the Theta Open Pit Project, having spent many months with our mining team in order to deliver a well-costed schedule of works, which presently remain in line with our May 2019 Feasibility Study costs.

“Having a reputable, experienced mining contractor on board adds significant credibility and will assist in financing the project development as it provides potential project financiers, of which there are several still under consideration, comfort in terms of execution and cost management.”

With the selection of Digmin, Theta will be able to rapidly mobilise trial mining operations. Upon achieving final permitting, the company expects to start the operations.

The authorisation is expected to be received in the near term in the fourth quarter of this year.

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20 July 2020

PNG may allow Barrick to reopen Porgera mine if court case withdrawn

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said that the government is likely to allow Barrick Gold to reopen the Porgera gold mine if the latter withdraws a court case against Papua New Guinea.

The Porgera gold mine is located in Enga Province, about 600km north west of Port Moresby.

After Marape urged Barrick to drop the court case, Barrick said that it will negotiate with Papua New Guinea about the mine’s reopening, but without any conditions, Reuters reported.

Barrick ceased production at Porgera gold mine and filed a case against the Papua New Guinea Government after the latter refused extension of the mine’s expired lease in April, citing environmental concerns.

Barrick Niugini (BNL), which is jointly owned by Barrick Gold and China-based Zijin Mining, owns a 95% stake in the Porgera Joint Venture that owns the Porgera gold mine.

The remaining 5% stake is owned by Mineral Resource Enga, a consortium between the Enga provincial government (2.5%) and the Porgera landowners (2.5%).

In a statement released on the Porgera Joint Venture’s Facebook page, Barrick stated: “The court has encouraged us to find a solution through direct negotiations, but BNL’s attempts to engage constructively have been met with only hostility and pressure by the SNT (state negotiating team).”

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17 July 2020

Zambia’s mines minister rejects Mopani suspension plan

Zambia’s Mines Minister Richard Musukwa has rejected Glencore subsidiary Mopani Copper Mines’ proposal to suspend operations due to low copper prices as a result of the interruptions to transportation and supply chains caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

According to Reuters, Mopani plans to appeal against the decision and said it will continue mining operations based on the appeal process outcome.

The news agency quoted Musukwa as saying: “We are open to dialogue because we want what’s best for the people of Zambia and Mopani is strategic to [our] economic trajectory.”

Operations at the company’s mines were stopped early in April this year because of the pandemic and various other problems.

However, after a month, mining restarted after receiving severe criticism the Zambian Government.

Mopani Copper Mines is 73.1% owned by Glencore, 16.9% by First Quantum Minerals, and the remaining 10% by Zambia’s mining investment arm ZCCM-IH.

In 2018, MCM produced 119,000 tonnes of copper.

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17 July 2020

Adani ramps up development of Carmichael coal mine in Queensland

Adani Australia has commenced excavation to start work at its new Carmichael open cut coal project in central Queensland.

The Carmichael coal mine and rail project is located 160km northwest of Clermont Town in Queensland, Australia.

Adani Mining CEO David Boshoff said: “As we move into this next phase of construction with more heavy machinery operating across the site, the safety of our people and contractors is my absolute priority.”

According to the company, the project is on track to export first coal in next year.
Boshoff noted that there were over 700 people who are currently working on the mine and rail project construction. The workers count is increasing as more number of contractors arrive at the site to build the coal handling plant and for the railway work.

The mine is expected to produce about ten million tonnes per annum of high quality thermal coal.

Coal produced from the mine will be used for the generation of electricity in India and South-East Asia.

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16 July 2020

UN urges Venezuela to dismantle criminal groups running Amazon mines

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Office has called upon the Government of Venezuela to dismantle criminal groups running Amazon mines.

A report has been published based on information gathered and analysed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

An investigation found that miners are mostly forced to work for several hours in hazardous conditions and even exposed to mercury contamination and diseases.

It has also documented a pattern of labour exploitation of miners and child labour by criminal groups and armed elements controlling mining activities.

According to the report, about 140 men and nine women in and around the Arco Minero del Orinoco region are reported to have died from March 2016 to March 2020.

OHCHR has recommended makeing sure that all mining in Venezuela is conducted in harmony with sufficient human rights.

It also urges the conduct of socio-cultural and environmental impact studies, and to fulfil national and international environmental standards.

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16 July 2020

Brazilian court orders Vale to pay $1.4bn for Brumadinho dam damages

A Brazilian court has ordered iron ore miner Vale to pay BRL7.9bn ($1.47bn) in guarantees, with respect to Brumadinho tailings dam damage that occured last year.

The court has given Vale a deadline of 23 July to make the payment.

In May this year, a judge in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state granted an injunction sought by prosecutors ordering Vale to deposit BRL7.9bn ($1.47B) to pay potential fines. However, another court decision suspended that ruling last month.

The Brumadinho mining disaster occurred on 25 January 2019 when a dam located near the Córrego do Feijão iron mine collapsed, causing a mudslide to hit the town of Brumadinho. The disaster claimed lives of at least 270 people.

It was later reported that Vale had been aware of the potential of the dam to collapse from as early as October 2018.

Since the start of 2019, iron ore production in Brazil has suffered due to the Brumadinho tailings dam disaster, weather-related conditions, and the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

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