Industry NEWS

10 September 2020

Australia opens underground mine explosives testing facility

The government of New South Wales, Australia (NSW) has announced the launch of an underground mine explosives facility on the Central Coast to encourage further innovation and development of explosive testing in the mining industry.

The independent underground mine explosives facility is the only one of its kind in Australia, and aims to enhance the number of explosives that are suitable for underground coal mine operations.

The facility is part of the State’s plans to become a national leader in mine safety development.

New South Wales Deputy Premier and Regional New South Wales Minister John Barilaro launched the facility’s first round of explosive testing.

The new facility is located at Freeman’s Waterhole. It will operate under the management of the Mine Safety Technology Centre within the NSW Resources Regulator.

Barilaro said: “Currently, there are few explosives that can be used in underground coal mines and these kinds of explosives have a very short shelf life, they don’t travel well and need to be developed and tested locally.

“Under the control of the NSW Resources Regulator’s Mine Safety Technology Centre, this facility will be used to determine if locally made explosives are viable and meet vital safety requirements to protect the wellbeing of workers.”

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09 September 2020

Barrick agrees terms to sell rights to Bullfrog Gold

US-based gold and silver exploration company Bullfrog Gold has signed a binding term sheet with gold major Barrick Gold to acquire rights to 1,500 acres adjoining the company’s Bullfrog gold deposit.

The agreement also covers a C$22m ($16.8m) financing to be completed through Augusta Investments.

Upon the completion of the transaction, Barrick and Augusta would become new cornerstone shareholders, with the gold major owning a 15.9% stake and Augusta holding 31.9% of Bullfrog’s outstanding shares.

Barrick president and CEO Mark Bristow said: “This is potentially another value-creating transaction which, once completed, will consolidate assets to create an exciting new mining project, led by a skilled team and with strong financial backing.  It is also in line with Barrick’s strategy of bringing non-core assets to account.”

Bullfrog Gold also announced the appointment of Maryse Bélanger as president and CEO, along with the appointment of Donald Taylor, Daniel Earle, and a Barrick nominee as one of the directors to the company’s board.

Augusta Group’s Richard Warke said: “We are very excited to join forces with Barrick in this historic mining camp.  With the substantial resource that management at Bullfrog has identified to-date along with our injection of capital and expertise that our CEO Maryse Bélanger brings to the Company, we see a very exciting time ahead for Bullfrog and its shareholders.”

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08 September 2020

Tesla joins “Fair Cobalt Alliance” to improve DRC artisanal mining

American electric vehicle and clean energy company Tesla has become a member of the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA) to improve the artisanal mining sector in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The FCA is a recently founded organisation which will help to boost the appeal of cobalt produced in the DRC. It aims to end the use of child labour at mining sites and improve working conditions in the country.

Tesla is now listed as an FCA member according to an updated list of members on the group’s website, Bloomberg reported.

Mining company Glencore announced its membership of the FCA on 24 August this year.

In a press statement, Glencore stated: “Glencore, through our support of the FCA, will support legitimate ASM cooperatives in their endeavours to transform their practices and align with international human rights practices, especially in the prevention of child labour.”

Other FCA members include Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, Sono Motors, and the Responsible Cobalt Initiative.

In June, Tesla and commodities trader and miner Glencore signed a deal, pursuant to which Tesla will buy cobalt from Glencore. The cobalt will be supplied from the DRC, where the commodities miner has been operating a copper mine in the Katanga region since 2008.

In January 2019, automobile manufacturer Ford, technology major IBM, cathode manufacturer LG Chem, and China-based Huayou Cobalt teamed up to launch a blockchain project to track cobalt supplies from the DRC.

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07 September 2020

India’s NTPC awards $430m coal mine contract to Thriveni Earthmovers

Indian state-owned energy conglomerate NTPC has reportedly awarded a contract worth Rs31.43bn ($430m), pertaining to the Talaipalli coal mine in Chhattisgarh, to Thriveni Earthmovers.

The contract calls for the development and operation of the coal mine located in the east-central Indian state.

Based in Tamil Nadu, Thriveni Earthmovers specialises in mining iron ore, copper, coal, bauxite, graphite, granite, limestone, and baryte, and other natural resource commodities.

PTI has quoted an anonymous official as saying: “Thriveni Earthmovers… a Coimbatore-based mining company, has bagged another mine development and operation contract from NTPC on August 26, with a contract value of Rs31.428bn.”

Previously, BGR Mining & Infra was in charge of the development of the Talaipalli mine and other NTPC coal mines in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. However, the contracts were scrapped by NTPC due to corruption allegations that had cropped up against the mining contractor’s senior officials, reported PTI.

As per two separate letters issued in July 2019, NTPC cancelled the development and operation contracts of the Chatti-Bariatu coal mine in Jharkhand state and also that of the Talaipalli coal mine.

BGR Mining & Infra won the mine development and operation contract of the coal mine in Jharkhand from NTPC in late 2017. Around the same time, the company in consortium with Nagarjuna Construction Company, was awarded the contract for the Talaipalli coal project.

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04 September 2020

Vale completes first iron ore-sale via blockchain technology

Brazilian iron-ore miner Vale has announced that it had made its first sale of iron ore using blockchain technology. The latest development is an important step towards the digitalisation of the sales and trade process, according to Vale.

It also offers better service to the customers, as well as “predictability” across the steel value chain.

Vale noted that the sale has been conducted with Nanjing Iron and Steel subsidiary Nanjing Iron & Steel Group International Trade for a cargo of 176,000t of Brazilian blend fines from Teluk Rubiah Maritime Terminal in Malaysia to China.

Blockchain technology connects buyers, sellers, and service providers in mining and metals supply chains via shared information.

Vale stated: “The Letter of Credit was issued through the Contour blockchain platform whilst the shipping documents and the electronic Bill of Lading were handled via essDOCS’ CargoDocs solution – with all actions carried out through a single, interfaced platform consolidated in Contour.”

The Brazilian miner said that the integrated transaction enabled transparency, with real-time visibility of the documentation to all stakeholders.

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04 September 2020

European Union adds lithium to critical raw materials list

The European Union (EU) has added lithium, a key component for batteries in electric vehicles, to its list of critical raw materials for the first time.

The latest announcement was made by the EU Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive, as part of its latest presentation of '2020 List of Critical Raw Materials'.

Helium was dropped from the latest list of 30 materials, Reuters reported.

In a press statement, the EU Commission said that its proposed recovery plan from the Covid-19 pandemic places an emphasis on “building back greener, more digital, and more resilient”.

The commission also believes Europe should strive towards the development and diversification of the raw materials supply.

European Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič said: “A secure and sustainable supply of raw materials is a prerequisite for a resilient economy. For e-car batteries and energy storage alone, Europe will for instance need up to 18 times more lithium by 2030 and up to 60 times more by 2050."

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