March’s top stories: Adani’s $16bn Carmichael coal project approval, Glencore’s $1.1bn investment

4 April 2016 (Last Updated April 4th, 2016 18:30)

Queensland backed Adani's $16bn Carmichael coal project in Australia, Glencore invest $1.1bn to develop Mopani mine shafts in Zambia, and China axe two million jobs in coal and steel industries. Mining-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from March 2016.

March’s top stories: Adani’s $16bn Carmichael coal project approval, Glencore’s $1.1bn investment

Canteen Kopje

Queensland Parliament backed Adani's $16bn Carmichael coal project in Australia

Queensland Parliament agreed that Indian-based Adani should be granted approval for A$21.7bn ($16bn) Carmichael coal project in the north of Galilee Basin, Australia.

The news follows Adani finalising a compensation deal with Isaac Regional Council in February 2016, clearing another hurdle for the mine.

The project approval attracted opposition from Greenpeace Australia, which said in August 2015 that if built, the Carmichael mine would require expansion of Abbot Point port, dredging in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Glencore invest $1.1bn to develop Mopani mine shafts in Zambia

Switzerland-based Glencore reportedly planned to make an investment of more than $1.1bn in Zambia between 2016 and 2018.

The latest investment aimed to develop Mopani Copper Mines' three copper mine shafts, including Synclinorium, Mindola and Mufulira, to extend their mine life by more than 25 years.

Following the investment, Mopani Copper Mines is expected to turn into a new mining operation by 2023.

China axe nearly two million jobs in coal and steel industries

Coal

China has been set to make 1.8 million workers in the coal and steel industries redundant as part of its £10bn restructure programme, due to a slump in the country's manufacturing activity.

Speaking at a news conference, Minister for Human Resources and Social Security Yin Weimin said that as part of the decision, jobs of 1.3 million workers in the coal sector could be axed, while 500,000 workers from the steel sector are set to face redundancy.

Data published by the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that coal and steel sectors in China employ about 12 million workers.

Rio Tinto concluded sale of 40% stake in Bengalla coal JV for $616.7m

Bengalla

Rio Tinto concluded the sale of its 40% stake in the Bengalla coal joint venture (JV) in Australia to New Hope in a transaction valued at $616.7m.

With the latest deal, the company completed $4.7bn of divestments since January 2013.

Bengalla coal mine is located in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia, and produced 8.6 million tonnes in 2014.

South African scientists opposed mining near Canteen Kopje heritage site

Scientists at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa opposed a mining operation near the Canteen Kopje heritage site, close to Barkly West in the Northern Cape, saying it may threaten the site.

Researchers from Wits' Archaeological Department are working with the key stakeholders at the McGregor Museum, Sol Plaatje University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Pennsylvania to save the key research, as well as the tourism site.

In March 2016, a private diamond mining company commenced work in a sensitive area of the site without obtaining permit from the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA).

First Quantum signed agreement to sell Kevitsa mine in Finland for $712m

Kevitsa

First Quantum Minerals signed an agreement to sell its Kevitsa nickel-copper-platinum group elements mine in Finland to Boliden for $712m.

The Kevitsa mine is a nickel-copper-gold-platinum group metals (PGM) mine and processed 6.7 million tonnes of ore in 2015.

Together with the Kokkola and Harjavalta smelters and the Kylylahti mine, the latest acquisition is set to expand Boliden's platform in Finland.

Australian scientists discovered role played by bacteria to form platinum metals in surface environments

Scientists from the University of Adelaide in Australia discovered the key role played by certain bacteria in the formation and movement of platinum and related metals in surface environments.

Platinum and palladium, the platinum group metals are used in various industrial processes.

The latest project is a partnership with Monash University and Mineral Resources Tasmania along with the University of Queensland, University of Western Australia, RMIT and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in Germany.

Largest electronic detonator blast performed at Daunia coal mine in Australia

Advanced Initiating Systems (AIS) announced the largest electronic detonator blast at the Daunia open cut coal mine in the north-eastern state of Queensland, Australia.

The mine is owned by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), a 50:50 joint venture between BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi.

A total of 5,665 detonators were fired in 2,683 blast holes, each of them having a depth of 19m, using BME's AXXIS digital detonation system.

US researchers received grant to assess risks following Gold King Mine spill disaster

Researchers from the University of Arizona in the US received a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to evaluate exposure and risk perceptions, following the Gold King Mine spill disaster that took place in August 2015.

Using the $434,000 grant, the researchers Karletta Chief and Paloma Beamer will work with the Navajo Nation. They are also leading a team to address tribal questions regarding the impact of the environmental disaster on their communities.

An estimated three million gallons of acid water and heavy metals spilled from the Gold King Mine near Silverton into Colorado's Animas River.

Samarco, Vale and BHP Billiton signed agreement with Brazilian authorities over Samarco dam disaster

Samarco and its parent companies Vale and BHP Billiton signed a 15-year agreement with the Brazilian authorities over the Samarco dam disaster, which reportedly killed 17 people.

The companies said they have set up a fund worth R$4.4bn ($1.12bn) to be distributed through 2018.

The agreement has been signed with the Federal Attorney General of Brazil, the states of Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais and other public authorities to restore the environment and communities affected by the incident on 5 November 2015.