January’s top news stories
Join Our Newsletter - Get important industry news and analysis sent to your inbox – sign up to our e-Newsletter here
X

January’s top news stories

04 Feb 2019 (Last Updated February 12th, 2019 14:33)

Newmont Mining agreed to acquire Goldcorp in a $10bn deal, Vedanta Resources is planning to invest up to $8.42bn in its Indian operations and a $1.2bn investment in its South African projects. Mining-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from January 2019.

January’s top news stories
The agreement between Newmont and Goldcorp will create a portfolio of operations and projects. Credit: Randi Ang.

Newmont Mining to acquire Goldcorp in $10bn deal

Newmont Mining signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Goldcorp in a $10bn deal.

The agreement will see the combination of two gold industry leaders into a new company called Newmont Goldcorp.

It is expected to create a portfolio of operations, projects, exploration opportunities, reserves and people in the gold mining sector.


Vedanta to invest over $8bn in India and $1.2bn in South Africa

London-based oil-to-metals group Vedanta Resources plans to invest up to Rs600bn ($8.42bn) in its Indian operations over the next three years, alongside a $1.2bn investment in its South African projects.

Vedanta executive chairman Anil Agarwal told TV channel ET Now that the firm is targeting annual production of zinc of two million tonnes across its global operations. As part of this target, it aims to expand its zinc operations in India and Africa.

Agarwal, along with Vedanta CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan and Vedanta Zinc International CEO Deshnee Naidoo, is part of the business delegation accompanying South African President Ramaphosa on his current trip to India.


UN calls for independent investigation into Brazilian dam collapse

UN human rights experts sought a prompt and impartial investigation into the deadly collapse of a tailings dam in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Last week, the dam at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão iron mine collapsed, killing at least 84 people with around 270 still missing.

According to reports, around 430 people were working in the mine when the dam ruptured.

The incident flooded the town of Brumadinho with 12 million cubic metres of mining waste.


South Africa risks 150,000 mining jobs if Eskom electricity tariff increase goes ahead

The Minerals Council of South Africa warned that the country’s annual gold production could fall by 120 tons, and the sector could lose up to 150,000 jobs if state-owned electricity supplier Eskom is granted permission to increase its annual electricity tariff by 15%.

South Africa has struggled with power supply issues in recent years, as an increasing number of regions are being connected to the national grid without a parallel increase in the number of power plants needed to generate electricity to accommodate this increase.

In response, Eskom consistently increased energy prices, which has a significant impact on the mining industry in general – due to the power demands of mining and processing – and the gold sector in particular, as gold requires more electricity to be processed than other minerals.


International project launched to use blockchain to track DRC cobalt

US-based automobile manufacturer Ford, US technology major IBM, South Korean cathode manufacturer LG Chem and China-based Huayou Cobalt teamed up to launch a blockchain project to track cobalt supplies from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Overseen by sourcing group RCS Global, the project aims to aid manufacturers in ensuring that the cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries, a key component in electric vehicles, is free of human rights abuse and that financial resources are not used to further conflict in the politically volatile region.

Consumers and investors are putting pressure on companies to ensure that the minerals sourced are free of human rights abuse. Blockchain offers shared data that lies with a network of individual computers rather than with a single party.


China Moly to raise stake in DRC’s Tenke Fungurume mine

Mining firm China Molybdenum (China Moly) agreed to acquire holding company BHR Newwood DRC Holdings for $1.14bn, a transaction that will allow it to raise its stake in the Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Following the acquisition of the holding company, China Moly, which was already the majority owner of Tenke Fungurume, will have an 80% stake in the mine.

BHR Newwood DRC Holdings was set up by private equity firm BHR to acquire a 24% interest in Tenke from Canadian miner Lundin for $1.14bn in 2017.


Rio Tinto successfully deploys autonomous trains in Western Australia

Rio Tinto successfully deployed autonomous trains across its iron ore operations in Western Australia (WA), with more than one million kilometres of railway now travelled autonomously.

The AutoHaul trains were first tested in July 2018, transporting around 28,000t of ore over 280km on their first journey. The company has continued to expand its autonomous fleet over the second half of 2018.

Rio Tinto has invested $940m into the programme, which is the world’s first and largest heavy-haul long distance autonomous train service, based in WA’s Pilbara region.


Anglo American cuts 180 jobs at Los Bronces copper mine in Chile

Global mining company Anglo American reportedly laid off 180 workers at its Los Bronces copper mine in Chile.

According to Reuters, the move aims to improve productivity at the site.

The company stated that the layoffs will help in tackling rising costs and improve efficiency at the mine.

Located in the Andean Mountains nearly 65km north-east of the Chilean capital of Santiago, the Los Bronces mine produces copper, molybdenum and cathodes.


India to allow women to work in underground coal mines

India’s Ministry of Labour & Employment is reportedly set to bring new changes that will now allow women to work in underground coal mines during day time.

Existing rules in the country bar women from working in underground mines. The new changes are aimed at introducing gender equity and creating new job opportunities for women.

The proposed amendment will also allow women to work in open cast mines around the clock for the first time. Women are currently permitted to work in open cast mines for fixed hours during the day. If the changes are implemented, they can work in any shift in open cast mine at any time of the day.


Imperial to shut down Mount Polley mine as copper prices fall

Imperial Metals is closing down its Mount Polley mine in British Columbia, Canada, due to declining copper prices.

According to the firm, the suspension plan includes milling of low-grade stockpiles, which is targeted to extend operations to the end of May 2019.

However, the company added that there will be no impact on the mine’s ongoing environmental monitoring and remediation programme and full operations will resume once the economics of mining at Mount Polley improve.