Wednesday, 6th December 2023


Articles related to mining

An illegal gold mining network operating in the Libyan desert and employing Chinese, Chadians and Nigeriens has been dismantled, the Prosecutor's Office announced on the night of Sunday to Monday.

The network, led by a Libyan, carried out "gold mining activities in violation of regulations" and "without the agreement of the authorities" , in four sites in the desert of southern Libya , the Prosecutor's office said in a statement. communicated.

The search for gold was carried out by Chinese, Chadian and Nigerien nationals staying illegally in Libya, according to the same source. Five suspects - a Libyan and four foreigners - were arrested by security services, the statement added. 

Photos released by the Prosecutor's Office show shallow rectangular pools, the size of Olympic swimming pools, dug in the middle of the desert, and nuggets and ingots of black and gold metal seized.

Gold panning is not a widespread practice in Libya, a vast oil country where the desert covers more than two-thirds of its surface area, which is difficult to monitor.

This summer, Libyan authorities dismantled a clandestine cryptocurrency mining network on several sites in the west of the country. Dozens of Chinese nationals involved in this illegal activity were arrested.

Libya has been plunged into chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Two rival executives, one based in the capital Tripoli and the other in the east of the country, are vying for power there.

-Africa News

Caledonia Mining produced 21 772 ounces (oz) of gold at its Blanket mine in Zimbabwe during the three months ended September 30 – a new quarterly record for the company.

Gold produced at Blanket in the nine months was 55,244 ounces.

Caledonia maintained its production guidance for the full-year at between 75 000 oz and 80 000 oz.

“Blanket is now operating as expected having achieved record gold production in the quarter,” said company chief executive Mark Learmonth.

“Management is exploring initiatives to further improve mining efficiencies and manage operating costs.”

It said revenue for the quarter was $41.2-million – also a record quarterly performance.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation for the quarter eased by 2.5% year-on-year to $15.9-million.

Meanwhile, Learmonth said that the Bilboes oxide mine had been a disappointment and as a result of operating losses incurred at the mine it has been returned to care and maintenance with effect from October 1.

“In due course, the remaining oxide material will be mined and processed alongside the sulphide ore. This outcome has no bearing on the viability of the much larger sulphide project, which was the reason for acquiring Bilboes,” he said.

De Beers and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which represents employees at its South African diamond mines, reached a five-year salary agreement.

The diamond company said employees would be granted a 7% salary raise in 2023, followed by a 6% annual increment until April 30, 2028.

The minimum entry-level basic wage now stands at R17,630 ($954.30) per month, exclusive of allowances.

"The agreement provides a measure of certainty to our employees for the next five years as we focus on ramping up the underground mine at Venetia," said De Beers managing director of managed operations, Moses Madondo.

De Beers and NUM, which represents more than 1,500 employees at the South African operations of the diamond group, have been engaged in wage negotiations since March this year.

NUM threatened to go on strike at Venetia in September, claiming that pay negotiations had stalled.

Industrial action would have had a significant impact on Venetia, where De Beers began operations from its newly constructed underground mine worth $2.3 billion last July following the end of 30-year open pit mining operations in December 2022.

Harmony Gold’s gold production rose 17% to 425 130 ounces (oz) in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2024 compared to 363 336 oz a year earlier with almost all of its operations delivering higher production year-on-year.

It recorded higher average underground grades at its South African underground operations alongside a very strong quarter from the Hidden Valley mine in Papua New Guinea.

Harmony said the average recovered grades at the South African underground operations increased by 18% to 6.29g/t in the first quarter of fiscal year 2024 from the previous year’s 5.35g/t.

The higher underground recovered grades were underpinned by our high-grade Mponeng and Moab Khotsong operations.

It said recovered grades at the Hidden Valley mine remained high since it intercepted the high-grade 'Big Red' part of the ore body in the fourth quarter of the previous financial year.

Recovered grades at Hidden Valley therefore increased by 74% year-on-year to 1.76g/t from 1.01g/t in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023. 

“We are confident this good momentum will continue on the back of improved flexibility,” said Harmony.

Meanwhile, the company’s silver production from Hidden Valley increased by 55% to 30 914kg (993 914oz) from 19 955kg (641 579oz) in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023.

 The average silver price received also increased by 35% to R14 157/kg (US$23.59/oz) from R10 514/kg (US$19.21/oz) in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023.

As a result, it generated R433 million (US$23 million) in silver revenue at Hidden Valley.

Lucapa has recovered a 208-carat Type IIa diamond from its 40%-owned Lulo alluvial mining operations in Angola.

The stone was recovered from the Lizeria area of Mining Block 31.

It is the second +100-carat diamond to be recovered in October, following the recovery of the 123-carat Type IIa from the Lizeria area of Mining Block 19 at the beginning of the month.

Lucapa said the diamond is the third largest to be recovered from Lulo since mining operations commenced.

It is also the 39th +100-carat diamond to be recovered from the mine.

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