August’s top stories: Indian court rules 218 mines illegal, BHP sells $18.5bn assets

4 September 2014 (Last Updated September 4th, 2014 18:30)

BHP Billiton plans to sell $18.5bn of non-performing assets including its aluminium, bauxite and nickel businesses, Glencore has completed the $7bn sale of its Las Bambas copper mine in Peru to a Chinese consortium, while the Indian Supreme Court has ruled that all captive coal mining licences awarded between 1993 and 2010 were illegal. Mining-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from August 2014.

August’s top stories: Indian court rules 218 mines illegal, BHP sells $18.5bn assets

Mine

BHP Billiton to sell $18.5bn worth non-performing assets

Mining giant BHP Billiton plans to sell its non-performing assets, including the aluminium, bauxite and nickel businesses worth $18.5bn, in order to focus on key commodities such as iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum.

On 1 April, the company announced that it may sell some assets to make the company simpler and more productive, but did not reveal further plans.

The company has already sold $5.2bn worth of assets since January 2012, reported Bloomberg. In addition to iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum, BHP would also focus on potash assets.

Glencore completes Las Bambas copper mine sale for $7bn

Glencore has completed the $7bn sale of its Las Bambas copper mine in Peru to a Chinese consortium of MMG, Guoxin International Investment and Citic Metal.

The transaction value is higher than the previously announced deal of $5.85bn, as it included Glencore's investment in the mine from January until the closure of the transaction.

The sale of the Las Bambas project is one of the pre-conditions put forward by China to clear Glencore's $29bn takeover of Xstrata last year. The Chinese Government had raised concerns that the combined entity could have greater control over global copper prices.

Glencore is expected to pay part of the sale proceeds to shareholders and use the remaining to improve its balance sheet.

Coal mining licences awarded in 1993 to 2010 ruled illegal

The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that all of the captive coal mining licences awarded between 1993 and 2010 were illegal.

Of the 328 blocks identified by the government, 218 mining blocks were illegally allocated to both private and government firms without performing competitive bids.

In its verdict, the apex court ruled that the successive governments allotted the mining licences with 'arbitrariness, lack of transparency, lack of objectivity and non-application of mind...gifting away precious resources as largesse'.

The ministry had previously cancelled 80 mining licences which failed to meet production milestones. According to the apex court, there are 41 companies holding 194 blocks illegally.

Chilean mining industry to invest $105bn over a decade

The Chilean mining industry will invest $105bn in mining projects across the country over the next decade from this year to 2023, according to the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco).

Of the total investments, $81bn will go towards the copper industry while $23bn will be allocated for gold, silver, iron ore and other industrial minerals projects.

The investment also includes $28bn to be spent by Codelco, the state-owned copper mining company, to contribute to the expansion of one of its project and on new mines.

Zimbabwe and Russian consortium partner on $1.6bn platinum mine

Darwendale mine

The Zimbabwean Government will sign a deal next month with a Russian consortium to develop a $1.6bn platinum mine at Darwendale in the country, Zimbabwean mines minister Walter Chidakwa has said.

The consortium includes Russia's VI Holding and state defence conglomerate Rostec and Vneseconombank, which will soon confirm their participation in the project.

The first phase of the mine, which excludes the smelter, will be constructed with an investment of $400m to $500m.

With plans to start operations in early 2015, the mine will initially function as an open pit mine for two to three years.

Imperial to raise $92m to clean-up Mount Polley mine spill

Imperial spill

Imperial Metals is planning to raise C$100m ($92m) through debts to clean-up a spill following a breach at the tailings pond dam at its Mount Polley copper and gold mine in British Columbia, in early August.

The company said in a statement: "While the precise costs of remediation and repair are presently unknown, the company believes that the costs can be managed over time given the underlying value of the company's assets and by the resources provided by the additional financing, together with insurance proceeds."

Imperial's largest shareholder and Canadian Natural Resources chair Murray Edwards is planning to help the company raise the funds by buying C$40m ($36.7m) worth of the six-year unsecured convertible debentures.

According to some analysts, the clean-up costs could be between C$50m ($45.9m) and C$500m ($459.7m).

Vale secures preliminary environmental licence to expand Carajás mine

Carajas

Brazilian mining giant Vale has secured a preliminary environmental licence from the Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (Ibama) to expand its Carajás mine located in Para state.

The licence allows the company to expand its N4WS, N5S, Morro I and Morro II pits in the Carajás mining complex, which holds around 1.8 billion tonnes of reserves.

The licence also allows the complex to stockpile waste in the northern system in Carajás.

Peru's mines ministry clears Southern Copper's Tia Maria project

Tia Maria

The Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines has given environmental clearance for Southern Peru Copper's $1.4bn Tia Maria project in the Arequipa region.

The project had been halted for three years after local residents protested against the mine over the use of water sources in the region.

The residents clashed with police in 2011, leaving several people dead.

The protests forced Southern Copper to modify its environmental impact study and conduct fresh public hearings.