Call for inquest into Gleision Colliery mining disaster

16 September | Safety

Families of the victims of the 2011 Gleision Colliery disaster have called for an inquest investigating the causes and culpability of the accident ten years to the day it occurred. The Gleision Colliery mining disaster was a mining disaster in south Wales in 2011. It occurred at a tiny drift mine on a hillside near Pontardawe in the Swansea valley.

The disaster was caused by a controlled explosion that aimed to connect the mine shaft through to the old workings to improve air circulation and improve the mines overall productivity.

However, following the blasting operation, the miners’ tunnel filled with water. Described as black ink by survivor Jake Wyatt, the water quickly flushed into the mine, trapping the four victims. Following the blast, a two-day rescue effort was undertaken to no avail, with it emerging that the miners had died almost instantly.

Relatives of the four men who died at Gleision are now calling for an inquest, with survivor Nigel Evans arguing, “As it stands, now, nobody’s been blamed. Somebody must take responsibility for four bodies, four men, four lives.”

21 September | Deals

World Copper reaches definitive agreement to acquire Cardero Resource

World Copper has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cardero Resource, which owns the advanced-stage Zonia copper-oxide project in central Arizona, US.

In April 2021, the Canadian firm entered a letter agreement to acquire Cardero in an all-stock deal via a business combination between the two firms. According to the letter agreement, World Copper would acquire all of the Cardero outstanding common shares by issuing 40% of the issued and outstanding shares of World Copper. The remaining 60% would be held by existing WCU shareholders.

“Our team sees upside potential at Zonia that has, to this point been unrealised, including a low-cost development and permitting path,” said World Copper CEO Nolan Peterson. “We will apply the same knowledge and expertise to Zonia, as we have to our Escalones property, and work to advance and de-risk the project going forward.”

In accordance with the definitive agreement, a wholly owned subsidiary of World Copper will merge with Cardero and continue as a single corporation. Upon completion of the transaction, the outstanding and unexercised stock options of Cardero will be cancelled.

20 September | Legislation

Greenland prepares legislation to ban uranium exploration and mining

Greenland’s newly formed government is reportedly preparing legislation that would ban mining at uranium mines and cease development of the Kvanefjeld mine. Owned by Australian firm Greenland Minerals, the Kvanefjeld mine is claimed to be one of the world’s biggest rare-earth projects. A public hearing ended this week on the project, which has an initial operational life of 37 years.

Greenland Mineral Resources Minister Naaja Nathanielsen was reported by Reuters in an interview as saying that Greenland’s left-leaning government intends to ban exploration on deposits that have more than 100 parts per minute uranium concentration, which is considered very low-grade by the World Nuclear Association.

Nathanielsen said: “What we know is that the background radiation in and around Narsaq is quite high, which means that the project will collide with the upcoming zero-tolerance policy on uranium mining.”

Greenland Minerals CEO John Mair told Reuters that the firm believes to hold the ‘valid right to pursue an exploitation licence for the project in compliance with Greenland laws’. Through its Chinese partner Shenghe Resources, Greenland Minerals has already spent more than $100m preparing the mine and has proven processing technology.

16 September | Environment

ABB and Liebherr to jointly develop net-zero emission mining solutions

ABB has partnered with Liebherr Mining Equipment to develop solutions for the overall electrification of mining operations, thereby accelerating the transition to all-electric mines.

According to the memorandum of understanding, the two technology firms will explore the development of equipment and digital solutions for the electrification of mine sites. The work would focus on haul truck trolley support, which is said to be one of the most effective ways to reduce emissions. Liebherr offers a Trolley Assist System for its haul truck range.

The solutions to be developed by the two firms are expected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with heavy mining machinery.

Liebherr Mining Equipment managing director Peter Hoeher said: “The ABB team is covering a very large footprint in the surface mining industry with a strong reputation in the supply of electrical infrastructure solutions.

“Trolley applications will be the key technology to reduce the overall GHG emissions from surface mining operations in the fastest way possible while maintaining all the benefits of haul trucks in terms of performance, cost, and operational flexibility.”

14 September | deals

AngloGold Ashanti to buy remaining stake in Corvus Gold for $370m

AngloGold Ashanti has agreed to acquire the remaining 80.5% stake it does not already own in Canada-based Corvus Gold in a cash deal worth about $370m. Under the agreement, AngloGold will purchase Corvus common shares at $3.24 (C$4.10) apiece.

Corvus is focused on developing gold-silver mining projects, including North Bullfrog, Lynnda Strip and Mother Lode, located in the Beatty District of Nevada, US.

AngloGold Ashanti said in a statement: “The combination of Corvus and AngloGold Ashanti’s Nevada assets further consolidates one of the largest new gold districts in Nevada (the Beatty District) and provides the opportunity for AngloGold Ashanti to establish, in the medium and longer term, a meaningful, low-cost production base in a premier mining jurisdiction.”

AngloGold Ashanti currently holds an indirect stake of 19.5% in Corvus, and CEO and executive director Alberto Calderon said that the transaction would enable the Beatty District to become AngloGold Ashanti’s potential Tier 1 asset.

Corvus president and CEO Jeffrey Pontius said: “The proposed all-cash offer provides a compelling opportunity for Corvus shareholders to realise significant value and eliminates exposure to future capital requirements to fund construction of Corvus’ projects.

“AngloGold Ashanti has been a supportive shareholder of Corvus since its inception and has supported us in our capital raising needs along the way.”

14 September | Commodities

Aluminium hits decade high after supply disruptions

Aluminium hit highs of $3,000 a tonne for the first time in 13 years on the London Metal Exchange on 9th September. Climbing by as much as 2.6%, the rise has been attributed to supply disruptions throughout the industry, with a recent coup in Guinea and production curbs in China contributing to the sharp rise in price. In China, the metal surged as much as 5.4%, to the highest prices since 2006.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said that metals prices would only increase due to strong demand in China and developed economies such as the US and Europe. The bank increased its 12-month price target for aluminium to $3,200 a tonne on Monday. It seems likely then that prices will continue to rise as a result of both production concerns and increasing demand throughout the globe for the metal.

However, production concerns in China have been heightened by cutbacks, with the government increasing overall scrutiny over highly polluting industries in an attempt to meet its climate commitments.

Aluminium production in China has already been hit by electricity shortages over the summer, especially in south-west Yunnan province. The province, which relies on hydropower, has rationed electricity in recent months due to a prolonged dry season.

In brief

Sibanye-Stillwater to acquire $490m stake in Ioneer’s US lithium project

Sibanye-Stillwater has agreed to acquire a 50% stake in Ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada for $490m. A 50:50 joint venture will be formed between the firms to develop the Rhyolite Ridge mine.

BHP teams up with KoBold Metals to explore battery minerals

BHP has partnered with AI-powered mineral exploration company KoBold Metals to explore for battery minerals. Under the partnership, the two firms will jointly fund the exploration programmes, beginning with 500,000km² of land in Western Australia.

Uranium developer enCore Energy to acquire Azarga Uranium

US-based uranium developer enCore Energy has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Azarga Uranium to create a ‘top-tier’ uranium miner. The deal is valued at $0.57 (C$0.71) per Azarga share.

Eastern Iron and China’s Sichuan Yahua to co-develop lithium projects

Australian firm Eastern Iron and Sichuan subsidiary Ya Hua International Investment and Development have agreed to form a strategic partnership to acquire and develop lithium projects, beginning with a strategic partnership agreement for the supply of spodumene concentrates.

9 September | Exploration and Extraction

Osino seeks mining licence for Namibian gold project

Canada-based Osino Resources has submitted an application for a mining licence at Twin Hills Gold Project in Namibia.

The gold exploration and development company filed the application with Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, following the completion of the project’s preliminary economic assessment earlier this month. The Twin Hills Gold Project forms part of the Canadian firm’s Karibib Gold Project, which comprises 12 contiguous licences to the north-east of Karibib.

Osino president and CEO Heye Daun said: “Applying for a mining licence is a major step forward in the de-risking and advancement of the Twin Hills gold project towards construction and gold production.

“It is the most significant component amongst a variety of other permitting activities and clearance certificates required under Namibia’s minerals and environmental legislation. Osino plans to conclude all these steps over the next 12 months.”

Osino seeks the mining licence for a term of 20 years, covering an area of 6,229.7ha.

As a pre-requisite for the mining licence application to be granted, the firm has to complete an environmental and social impact assessment, and an environmental management plan. It also requires a mine closure plan and environmental clearance certificates for several activities listed under Namibia’s mining and environmental regulations.

24 September | Deals

Terra Uranium signs letter of intent for stakes in three CanAlaska uranium projects

CanAlaska Uranium has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Australia’s Terra Uranium, whereby the latter would earn interests in CanAlaska’s three uranium projects in Canada.

According to the LOI, Terra will have the option to earn an interest of up to 80% in the Waterbury East and McTavish projects, as well as up to 20% in the Waterbury South project. Covering a total area of 5,010ha, the three projects are located in the Eastern Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan.

“CanAlaska is pleased to work with Terra Uranium, a pending new Australian-listed player in the Basin, to help fund the next stage of exploration on these highly prospective Eastern Athabasca uranium projects,” said CanAlaska CEO Cory Belyk.

“This significant investment by Terra will allow CanAlaska to achieve its objective of being a hybrid explorer and project generator by moving these projects toward discovery and preserving upside without diluting current shareholders.”

To acquire up to 80% in the Waterbury East and McTavish projects, Terra will make a cash payment of $181,859, issue 6% worth of common shares, incur $1,818,590 in exploration expenditures, in addition to delivering and filing a JORC compliant resource.

In brief

Andes Iron’s $2.5bn Dominga project in Chile secures regulatory approval

Andes Iron has reportedly secured the approval of a regional Chilean environmental commission for its $2.5bn Dominga copper-iron project.

China Molybdenum unveils $2.5bn investment plan for TFM in Congo

China Molybdenum is set to invest $2.5bn at the Tenke Fungurume mine (TFM) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to a Reuters report, the investment is expected to double the production of copper and cobalt at TFM.

Barrick and stakeholders agree on ESIA oversight for Pueblo Viejo tailings

Canadian mining company Barrick and its key stakeholders have decided to have an independent, government-led oversight of the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) studies for a new tailings storage facility at the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic.

Rio Tinto and BHP join Komatsu’s alliance for zero-emission mining

Rio Tinto, BHP and other mining firms have partnered with manufacturing company Komatsu to develop zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure.

ALROSA launches project to convert its vehicles to natural gas

Russian miner ALROSA has launched a project to convert its vehicles from gasoline and diesel to natural gas to cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost economic efficiency.