Saturday, 17th November 2018


Articles related to mining

Danakali and other miners said a U.N. decision to lift sanctions on Eritrea should enhance international trade opportunities and give an economic boost, although widespread wariness about investing in mining was likely to linger.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to lift a nearly decade-old arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Eritrea after a rapprochement with Ethiopia and thawing of relations with Djibouti.

“This significant step should have a positive impact on foreign investment and enhance international trade opportunities, leading to improved economic outcomes for the people of Eritrea,” Danakali Executive Chairman Seamus Cornelius said in an emailed statement.

He congratulated the Eritrean people for “their exceptional resilience and determination over many years”.

Danakali, which has worked in Eritrea since 2009, finalised a deal to sell its potash and also listed in London in July, barely a month after Ethiopia under new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a rapprochement with Eritrea to end decades of hostility.

Miners said even before the sanctions lifting announced on Wednesday, sentiment towards the region had improved.

Junior explorer Altus Strategies, which has been working on copper and gold projects in Ethiopia since 2010, said mining interest in both Ethiopia and Eritrea had increased and it had sent a team to assess opportunities in Eritrea.

Altus Strategies CEO Steven Poulton said the mining sector was likely to remain under pressure from investor reluctance following the commodity market crash of 2015-16 and the excessive overspending of the bull run before it.

However, the sanctions lifting was clearly “excellent news”.

“This creates a window of opportunity for exploration companies who have the means and proven capability to explore in this part of the world,” he said.

“With time and further modernisation we would expect Eritrea to see growing inward investment into its mining sector, as the country’s geology is prospective for copper and gold deposits.”

The measures against Eritrea - which include a travel ban and asset freeze on certain people and entities - were imposed in 2009 after U.N. experts accused it of supporting armed groups in Somalia. Eritrea has denied the accusations.

The resolution also removes a requirement for countries to ensure that people or companies working in Eritrea’s mining sector prevented funds from being diverted and used to undermine peace and security in the region. 

Danakali’s Australian-listed shares, which have bucked the trend to rise around 11 percent this year, gained more than 3 percent on Thursday.

Altus Strategies was flat in early London trade.


A number of experts expressed concerns about a possible negative impact of mining on the environmental situation in the area of the Grib mine at the time AGD DIAMONDS was developing its diamond project.

However, a large number of wild brent geese settled on the premises of the Mining and Processing Unit of AGD DIAMONDS early last month, according to the company’s press service.

They flew there because the vast territory enclosing the tailing dam was their main food supply.

This food supply of brent geese, which they regularly used during their spring and autumn migrations, was there before the construction of the company’s Mining and Processing Unit.

The population of wild geese in the area of the Grib mine had been growing steadily throughout the recent years.

Ecologists say that brent geese, when choosing even a temporary habitat, prefer optimal, safe areas with a good choice of high-quality forage plants.

In addition, there are wild swans, mooses and bears that settled near the diamond mine and live there. The environmental policy pursued by AGD DIAMONDS focused on the use of modern, environmentally friendly technologies and equipment that do not damage the environment.

Following its technical re-tooling plan and the program to improve the integrity of diamonds processed by the concentrating factory at the Grib mining division, AGD DIAMONDS intends to put into operation a new installation for diamond ore beneficiation in the 4th quarter of 2018, which is the COM Tertiary XRT 1200/D separator produced by TOMRA (Germany).The separator has been successfully launched and is currently being run in testing and commissioning mode at the concentrating factory.
AGD DIAMONDS is the first diamond-mining business in Russia to use this technology and equipment on an industrial scale to detect very large diamond crystals.
A special feature of the COM Tertiary XRT 1200/D separator is the fundamentally new X-Ray Transmission (XRT) method for diamond detection. This method is based on the different weakening of X-rays beamed on pieces of rock and ore or on individual minerals. X-ray pictures are processed by a special algorithm, the obtained data being converted into a graphical form and analyzed by the separator’s computer program. If the data point to the presence of diamonds (including stones of 80-100 carats and above), these are promptly extracted from the flow of ore.
The innovative beneficiation technique has a separate technological processing stage - a re-crushing unit for dense-medium-separation tailings, which involves a state-of-the-art crushing complex consisting of two double-roller mills, DRM 870х1500 manufactured by ThyssenKrupp (Germany).
According to the world’s leading experts, the XRT technology permits to detect diamonds more accurately and process materials with minimal capital input. In addition, this new beneficiation method widens the size range of recovered diamonds to a great extent - from the maximum allowable (under the current beneficiation pattern) limit of 25-30 mm to 50-60 mm and more. Currently, the XRT technology is highly efficiently used at the diamond mines of Lucapa Diamond, as well as at Jwaneng and Karowe in Southern Africa.
The XRT-separation project is characterized by high economic efficiency and a low payback period. The introduction of this technology will increase diamond production at Grib to exceed 300,000 carats per year.

South Africa’s Impala Platinum (Implats) said on Wednesday it was in talks to sell its 1 Shaft operation in Rustenburg in a move to make its struggling mines profitable, sending its shares higher.

Implats plans to trim staff by about a third — more than 13,000 jobs — over two years at its labour-intensive, conventional operations in the Rustenburg platinum belt, where its 1 Shaft was scheduled to be put on care and maintenance.

The firm would “remain steadfast” in eliminating high-cost production and was progressing with the initial 1,500 jobs cuts, Chief Executive Officer Nico Muller said in a production update.

“We have progressed the Section 189 restructuring process for 1,500 employees and engaged with parties interested in potentially acquiring the 1 Shaft operation, which is scheduled to be put on care and maintenance,” said Muller in a statement.

Shares in Implats rose 7.99 percent to 2692 rand by 0744 GMT.

“Closing shafts that are no longer viable, are huge drains on their operational expenses, so from that part a pleasing set of numbers and a step in the right direction. From being in a dire situation a year ago they are starting to show signs of life,” said Ryan Woods, market trader at Independent Securities.

Implats said in August it would focus the planned job cuts on its Rustenburg operations, where the number of shafts will be reduced to six from 11, with production cut to 520,000 ounces per annum from 750,000 ounces.

South Africa, home to the world’s deepest mines, supplies 80 percent of global platinum output. 

Implats reported an 8.2 percent rise in gross first-quarter refined platinum production to 369,000 ounces, compared with 341,000 ounces in the prior period.

Gross tonnes milled rose 1.9 percent to 6.87 million tonnes, compared with 6.74 million tonnes in the year ago period, boosted by its Impala Rustenburg operations, the group said.


Namibia has scrapped a rule allowing only companies partly owned by black Namibians to apply for mining licences, mines minister Tom Alweendo told AFP on Saturday.

The southern African country produces diamonds, uranium and other mineral resources, but a three-year recession has pushed the government into relaxing the rules in the hope of attracting more investors.

Alweendo said the government made the decision last week.

"Our objective is to grow the mining sector where it can continue to meaningfully contribute to our socio-economic development. This can only happen when more minerals are discovered and it is important that we make the progress of mineral discovery as effective as possible," he said.

This, he said, required more investment in the sector.

The Namibian government started giving preferential treatment to black-owned companies in 2006, but eventually that was not deemed enough.

The government then announced in 2015 that it had introduced additional conditions on mineral licenses holders to reserve a minimum of 5 percent participation in all licenses to Namibians and 20 percent of previously disadvantaged Namibians to be part of management structures of mines.

The Namibia Statistics Agency said the mining sector contributed 12% to Namibia's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017.

The sector employed around 16 900 people last year, or 2.5% of the workforce.


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