Industry NEWS

23 June 2020

Metso to deliver dry tailings processing equipment for Chile gold mine

Finnish industrial machinery company Metso has secured a contract to deliver three ‘Metso Vertical Plate Pressure Filters’ with all the associated equipment for dry tailings processing to Salares Norte gold mine in Chile.

Salares Norte is a greenfield project owned and operated by the South African gold miner Gold Fields. It is a blind epithermal gold and silver deposit in the Atacama region of northern Chile.

The contract has been booked under the Finnish firm’s second quarter orders. The pressure filters are set for commissioning in October 2022.

Salares Norte technical manager Francois Swanepoel said: “Gold Fields’ vision is to be the global leader in sustainable gold mining. The Salares Norte greenfield project is located 4,500m above sea level in the Andean Mountains, where water is scarce and needs to be used wisely.

“To minimise the use of water and improve the physical and chemical stability of our tailings, we have decided to adopt filtered tailings for the project. Salares Norte will be a benchmark plant for dry tailings processing.”

According to Metso, Salares Norte is an exciting project for the company to work on as it considers dry tailings as one of the ‘most socially responsible and economically viable’ solutions for the management of tailings.

Metso Mining Equipment senior manager Patricio Mujica Dominguez said: “The location of the plant at a height of almost 5km above the sea level comes with its own unique challenges. For example, the design and transportation of the equipment as well as commissioning needs to be done with special care.

“To save manpower at such a high altitude, Metso will semi-assemble the filters in its Service Centers and deliver them in six specially designed easy-to-assemble modules to the site.”

1 of 6

23 June 2020

Caldas Gold and Wheaton agree Colombia Marmato project streaming deal

Canadian miner Caldas Gold has signed a $110m non-binding term sheet with precious metals streamer Wheaton Precious Metals to expand operations at the Marmato project in Colombia.

The proceeds will be used to fund the expansion of Caldas’ mining operations in the Deeps Zone (MDZ) at the Marmato project, located in the Department of Caldas in Colombia.

The Canadian miner’s Marmato Project includes the existing producing underground gold and silver mine in the Upper Zone, the existing 1,200tpd processing plant, as well as the area enclosed within the MDZ.

Upon signing the precious metals stream, Wheaton will purchase 6.5% of the gold production and 100% of the silver production until the delivery of 190,000oz of gold and 2.15Moz silver.

After that, the stream drops to 3.25% of the gold production and 50% of the silver production for the life-of-mine (LoM).

Caldas Gold chairman and CEO Serafino Iacono said: “The streaming transaction is the first step in securing the project financing required to build Colombia’s next major gold mine.

“Given the due diligence undertaken by Wheaton, we believe the proposed streaming transaction validates the value we have identified in our Marmato Project.

“The streaming transaction will help us to manage the overall leverage in our capital structure while improving flexibility and reducing financing costs and risks.”

Under the proposed stream, Wheaton will pay a total of $110m in cash, which includes $38m payable upon closing of the transaction. The remaining part is payable during the construction of the MDZ project at Marmato, which is subject to receipt of several permits and licences.

Wheaton president and CEO Randy Smallwood said: “Wheaton is excited to partner with Caldas Gold in developing the Marmato Project.

“We remain unwavering in our focus on delivering the highest quality portfolio of precious metals production to our shareholders through our top tier asset base, strong organic growth profile and acquisition of accretive growth opportunities such as Marmato.”

In April, Wheaton Precious Metals launched a $5m fund to support global efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

2 of 6

22 June 2020

Glencore-Marafe Chrome Venture in South Africa makes layoffs

The Glencore-Merafe Chrome Venture in South Africa has started employee consultations on possible job cuts, due to the weak economic environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many mining companies in the country were forced to halt production after a strict lockdown was implemented in late March to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A company release on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange said that the consultation process is a result of the worsening operating environment across the ferrochrome industry in South Africa.

The Glencore-Merafe Chrome Venture, in which Glencore owns a 79.5% stake, has a total capacity of 2.3mt of ferrochrome annually, Reuters reported.

According to the news agency, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa lifted the lockdown restrictions in April, allowing mines to operate at full capacity.

However, many miners, banks, retailers, and manufacturers were announcing downsizing of staff by then.

Worst-case projections of the country’s National Treasury estimate that South Africa could lose as many as seven million jobs due to the pandemic.

Last week, Glencore and American electric vehicle and clean energy company Tesla reportedly signed a deal, pursuant to which Tesla will buy cobalt from Glencore.

Last month, Glencore agreed to sell a 20.5% stake in Unicorn Chrome to a subsidiary of Merafe Resources for R32.2m.

In December 2014, Glencore and Merafe Resources reached an agreement with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa to end a strike at the companies’ chrome joint venture.

3 of 6

22 June 2020

Vale subsidiary agrees to sell 20% stake in Vale Indonesia

Brazilian mining giant Vale’s Canadian subsidiary, Vale Canada, has signed an agreement to sell a 20% stake in PT Vale Indonesia to state-controlled PT Indonesia Asahan (Inalum).

Vale’s Canadian subsidiary will receive R$4.12bn ($290m) towards the sale, in which Japanese firm Sumitomo Metal Mining is also participating.

In October last year, PT Vale Indonesia, along with its shareholders Vale Canada and Sumitomo Metal Mining, signed a head of agreement (HoA) with Inalum.

Upon closing of the transaction, the Indonesian state-owned firm will have acquired 20% of the shares of PT Vale, comprising 14.9% from Vale Canada and 5.1% from Sumitomo.
Vale and Sumitomo will have a stake of 44.3% and 15% in PT Vale respectively. The transaction is expected to be closed by the end of this year.

PT Vale recorded positive earnings of $29m in the first quarter of this year, with production of 17,614t. In October 2014, PT Vale Indonesia signed a Contract of Work (CoW) with the Indonesian Government to extend its operations in the country until 2045.

4 of 6

22 June 2020

Minerals Council of Australia acts on net zero emissions target

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has released a ‘Climate Action Plan’ (CAP) towards achieving net-zero emissions in the country, as well as worldwide.

The plan demonstrates the Australian minerals industry’s commitment to decarbonise the economy and address climate change.

It outlines how the council and its members are taking action on climate change, highlighting the importance of technology in reducing emissions.

In a press statement, MCA CEO Tania Constable said: “With this plan, the sector acknowledges the critical importance of technology in reducing emissions. The minerals industry works with manufacturing and innovation partners to invent, develop and deploy new techniques and technologies.

“It is clear that the scale of the technology-led transformation required will not occur without the minerals and raw materials provided by the Australian mining sector.

“The industry sees great opportunities for minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and copper in all forms of transport infrastructure, communications and energy systems.”

The climate action plan majorly focuses on two elements. One of them is to endure a ten-point framework to support three core objectives, while the other is a comprehensive three-year rolling workplan that comprises 30 activities.

Under the first element, the three objectives include supporting the technology potential to decarbonise the minerals sector, increasing transparency around climate change, and sharing of information on climate responses.

Last month, MCA urged the federal government to introduce ‘pragmatic and targeted reforms’ to protect the minerals industry in the country.

In February last year, the council voiced its concern over new industrial manslaughter laws in the Australian state of Victoria. It stated that harsher sentences for managers and senior staff will not contribute to improved operational health and safety in the sector.

5 of 6

19 June 2020

India launches auction process of 41 coal mines for commercial mining

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the auction process of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining.

A two stage e-auction is being adopted for the mines allocation, reported the Press Information Bureau (PIB) of India.

The mines that are under auction could potentially contribute about 15% of India’s projected total coal production in 2025-26.

The plan to open the doors of the regulated coal sector for commercial mining was initially planned for April but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The latest move puts an end to over four decades of state control over the coal sector.

It seeks to boost India’s economy to help the country recover from the economic rout which has been triggered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The national media centre PIB quoted Modi as saying: “Latest technology can be introduced to make gas from coal and the environment will be protected with steps like coal gasification. Coal gas will be used in transport and cooking while urea and steel will promote manufacturing industries.”

In March this year, the Indian Parliament passed a bill that will fully open the coal sector for commercial mining to all domestic and international mining companies.

In February, India’s Union Minister of Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi announced that the government will stop the import of thermal coal from the financial year 2023-2024.

In January this year, the Union Cabinet of India approved promulgation of Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 to amend Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 and Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act 2015.

6 of 6

Share this article!