Vedanta vows to contest Zambia’s bid to divest KCM business

11 December | litigation

Metals and mining major Vedanta Resources has reportedly said that it would fight any effort by the Zambian Government to sell its subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to third party buyers.

The Indian company’s legal dispute with the Zambian Government began in May last year, when the Lusaka High Court of Zambia appointed a liquidator for Konkola Copper Mines.

KCM, which is 20% owned by Zambia’s state mining company ZCCM-IH and 80% by Vedanta, has been accused of violating its licence terms, reported Reuters.

Recently, rumours surfaced that the provisional liquidator appointed by the Zambian government is set to separate KCM into two units.

Responding to the reports, Vedanta told Reuters that “it would take all necessary steps” to protect its interests in KCM.

The mining major said that any potential buyer of the KCM assets would be subject to an unlawful act because the Zambian court already ordered last month to halt any proceedings related to liquidation of KCM assets.

According to the news agency, ZCCM-IH plans to appeal the court ruling in favour of Vedanta. In January last year, KCM halted operations at its Nchanga mine in Zambia due to import duties on copper concentrates.

11 december | production

Nordgold ramps up processing capacity at Taborny mine in Russia

Gold producer Nordgold has successfully increased the processing capacity of its Taborny mine in the South West of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic in Russia.

The company has increased the processing capacity from 1,000,000 to 7,500,000 tonnes per year (tpa) of ore.

Nordgold installed a two-line Metso crusher as well as a telescopic conveyor as part of its capacity expansion initiative at the mine.

A pumping station was also built at the heap leaching site of the mine. This station consists of four Sulzer pumps, each having a capacity of 400 cubic metres per hour (m3/h).

Acquired by Nordgold in 2007, the Taborny gold mine is about 200km from the town of Chara and 125km northeast of the Ikabya station of the Baikal-Amur railway.

10 december | oversight

Rio Tinto Juukan Gorge inquiry publishes recommendations

The inquiry into the destruction of Indigenous heritage sites at Juukan Gorge by multinational mining company Rio Tinto has published its interim report, lambasting the company’s “inexcusable” behaviour in destroying the 46,000-year-old caves.

The report, titled Never Again, highlights a disparity in power between Indigenous peoples and private industry in the protection of Indigenous heritage and underscores the considerable failings of legislation designed to protect Indigenous heritage.

The report makes seven recommendations focusing on improving the relations between industry and indigenous communities and improving the legislation designed to protect indigenous heritage.

10 december | commodities

FREYR and Glencore agree for battery raw materials supply

Battery company FREYR has signed an agreement with Glencore for the supply of ethically sourced battery metals.

As part of a memorandum of understanding, the companies will supply ethically sourced materials to be included in the lithium-ion battery (LIB) cells of FREYR.

The cells will be produced at planned facilities in Mo i Rana, Norway.

Together, FREYR and Glencore will identify requirements and terms to supply the raw materials to FREYR’s LIB facilities.

By considering joint research and development (R&D) projects to adjust the quality, shape or form of Glencore’s raw materials, the companies will make them better fit into FREYR’s operating units.

Furthermore, the companies plan to discuss projects related to R&D for lithium batteries recycling.

10 december | sustainability

Gold miners need to ramp up renewable electricity to achieve climate goals

The World Gold Council (WGC) has said that gold mining companies may need to switch to renewable electricity generation to curb emissions sufficiently to align with the Paris Agreement’s global warming target of below 2ºC.

In its report, 'Gold and climate change: The energy transition', the WGC has examined in detail the opportunities for gold mining to decarbonise its power sources.

With these opportunities, the sector may be able to reduce its emissions at a scale and speed sufficient to achieve climate goals.

The new report, which builds on WGC’s initial work over 2018 and 2019, looks at gold mining’s energy transition and climate impacts over the next ten years.

Investors and industry stakeholders will get clarity around gold’s greenhouse gas emissions profile and its potential pathway to net-zero.

The report recognises the action required over the next decade to make net-zero carbon targets feasible and evaluates the impacts of reducing gold mining’s power emissions by 2030.

9 december | operations

Metso Outotec announces restructure of Metals business

Technology provider Metso Outotec has announced plans to reorganise its Metals business with an aim to create an operational model for Metals capital and services.

The latest move, which is part of the company’s previously announced turnaround programme, targets the creation of an operational model for the services that suits the scale and nature of the existing business.

Furthermore, it meets the specific demands of the customer base in the Metals refining segment.

Metso Outotec Metals business area president Jari Ålgars said: “The restructuring and turnaround programme aims to improve Metals’ competitiveness and financial performance as well as ensure more granular management of the various businesses and resources.

“The restructuring will enable us to size and scope our offering and resources in a more efficient way.”

The restructuring programme involves about 1,100 employees working with the Metals capital and service business across the globe.

As per the company’s plans, it is estimated to lead to a maximum of 160 redundancies in the Metals operations worldwide. This corresponds to targeted savings of €15m.

In brief

Nanjing Hanrui to start cobalt production line in DRC

Chinese firm Nanjing Hanrui Cobalt reportedly expects to start its cobalt production line in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Production is expected to start in late November to December Reuters reported, citing the company’s GM Liang Jie.

Nevada Copper says it needs more funding for Pumpkin Hollow mine

Copper producer Nevada Copper said it will need additional funding over the next four months to complete its ramp-up of operations at the Pumpkin Hollow copper project in the US.

Rio Tinto ceases mining activities at Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia

Mining major Rio Tinto has announced the final day of mining activities at its Argyle diamond mine in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The mine was in operation for a period of 37 years.

Road blockade protest ends at Lundin Gold’s Fruta Del Norte mine

Canadian mining firm Lundin Gold has announced that the blockade that had been hindering transport of supplies and concentrate from the Fruta del Norte gold mine has been lifted.

Metso Outotec to sell operations in Vereeniging, South Africa

Metso Outotec has announced that it will divest its fabrication, machining, and assembly operations, as well as “close or rearrange” the rest of its operations, in Vereeniging, South Africa.

8 december | safety

Caterpillar, Guardhat partner on surface mining safety solutions

US equipment and machinery maker Caterpillar has partnered with Guardhat to provide safety solutions to surface mining operations via Cat dealers.

The two firms are in the process of developing a new system called Cat Connected Worker. This system will use wearable technology to provide increased protection for mine workers.

It will also deliver event-based monitoring as well as mapping to enhance the mining environment.

Cat MineStar Solutions marketing manager Bill Dears said: “Leveraging Guardhat technology, proven in challenging industrial settings, will speed up development of a comprehensive, digital solution sought by mining customers.

“As a component of Cat MineStar Detect safety capabilities, Connected Worker will provide insight that will enable managers to create safer operations—and to respond quickly if an incident does occur.

Once completed, Cat Connected Worker will provide ‘precise location of all workers to the mine monitoring system’, thereby, allowing individual, team and site communication.

Data will facilitate decision making and enable monitoring workforce to understand the kind of ‘environment workers are facing in near real time’.

7 december | incident

Coal mine accident in China’s Chongqing city leaves at least 23 dead

At least 23 workers in southwest China have been killed after being trapped underground in a coal mine in the city of Chongqing.

The latest incident is the region’s second such accident in just two months, reported China’s official news agency Xinhua.

The miners were among the total 24 people who have been exposed to unsafe levels of carbon monoxide at the Diaoshuidong coal mine.

Diaoshuidong is a high-gas mine with a capacity of 120,000tpa of coal.

According to the news agency, one survivor had been rescued, after more than a day’s efforts of search and rescue operation.

The incident happened on 4 December. It happened at around 5pm in the mine, which has been shut for over two months as the company dismantled underground equipment at the site.

Currently, the incident is being investigated.

According to a statement published on Ministry of Emergency Management website on 6 December, China ordered local officials to “resolutely take decisive measures to effectively stop major accidents in coal mines from happening".

In brief

UK plan for low carbon heating from old coal mines boosted by new data

The question of how to rehabilitate or make use of the UK’s abandoned coal mines has been a topic of discussion throughout coal’s decline in use on the British Isles. One suggestion – using the natural geothermal heat of these underground mines to warm homes and businesses on the surface – has taken a step closer to reality.

Torex Gold becomes member of World Gold Council

The World Gold Council (WGC), the market development organisation for the gold industry, has added Canadian gold producer Torex Gold to its Board of Members.

Torex Gold is engaged in the exploration, development as well as operation of its fully-owned Morelos Gold Property in Mexico.

Verdant’s Ammaroo phosphate project receives Major Project status

The Federal government of Australia has granted Major Project status to the Verdant Minerals-owned Ammaroo phosphate project in the Northern Territory, Australia.

The A$1.5bn ($1.1bn) Ammaroo phosphate project is a proposed open-cut mining project located in Northern Territory, Australia.

Shell signs deal with BHP to power LNG-powered vessels

Shell has secured a new contract from mining company BHP to supply LNG for five Newcastlemax bulk carriers.

The contract was awarded through a competitive tender process that included potential suppliers across several geographies.

OceanaGold’s Waihi proposals condemned by local groups

Multinational gold producer OceanaGold has been accused of “mining by stealth” in a New Zealand conservation area by Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki, an umbrella group representing various anti-mining environmental groups on the Coromandel Peninsula.