May’s top stories: Rio Tinto’s Guinea deal, Adani Carmichael project

31 May 2014 (Last Updated May 31st, 2014 18:30)

At least 200 miners were killed and hundreds more feared trapped inside a coal mine in western Turkey, after a transformer exploded and started a fire underground. The Government of Guinea and mining giant Rio Tinto signed a $20bn deal to develop the Simandou iron ore mine in the south-east of Guinea. Mining-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from May 2014.

May’s top stories: Rio Tinto’s Guinea deal, Adani Carmichael project

Soma mine

More than 200 killed and hundreds trapped in Turkish coal mine

Soma mine

At least 200 miners were killed and hundreds more feared trapped inside a coal mine in western Turkey, after a transformer exploded and started a fire underground.

Around 787 people were working in the mine in Soma when the blast occurred. Manisa province Mayor Cengiz Ergun said that 157 bodies have been retrieved so far but the death toll was expected to rise.

The Natural Disaster and Emergency Coordination Directorate rescued eight people; 80 people were injured and more than 200 were believed to be still under the debris.

Guinea and Rio Tinto sign $20bn deal for Simandou iron ore mine

Simandou

The Government of Guinea and mining giant Rio Tinto signed a $20bn deal to develop the Simandou iron ore mine in the south-east of Guinea.

As part of the deal, the Republic of Guinea will own a 7.5% stake in the project, while partners Rio Tinto, Aluminium Corporation of China and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will own 46.57%, 41.3% and 4.625% respectively.

The investment framework, which covers blocks three and four of Simandou, is built on the 2002 Convention de Base (CdB) and was signed by the mine owner, Simfer, and the Republic of Guinea.

Newcrest Mining opens Australia's largest underground gold mine

Cadia Gold mine

Australian gold producer Newcrest Mining opened the country's largest underground operation.

Cadia East gold mine is part of Newcrest's Cadia Valley Operations near Orange, central-western New South Wales.

Cadia East was developed as a large underground panel cave gold mine and was the first of its type in the country, claimed the company.

Queensland Government approves $16.5bn mine project in Australia

The Queensland Government approved the $16.5bn Adani Carmichael coal mine project in the Galilee Basin in Australia.

The coal mine project could become the largest coal mine in Australia, and one of the largest in the world, claimed the government.

A unit of Adani Group, Adani Mining, proposed to develop the Carmichael coal mine as an open cut and underground mine, including six open cut pits and five underground mines, as well as a coal handling and processing plant.

The project will also include the construction of a 189km rail line north-west of Clermont, water supply infrastructure and off-site infrastructure, including a worker accommodation village and airport.

Padbury Mining drops $6.5bn Oakajee iron ore port and rail project

Australian mineral exploration firm Padbury Mining shelved its plans to build a $6.5bn Oakajee port and rail project.

The company said in a statement that it signed a deed of termination with Midwest Infrastructure, Alliance Super Holdings and Superkite in relation to the agreement.

The statement said: "Padbury will continue to actively explore all available opportunities to exploit its existing intellectual property with respect to the Oakajee project."

Earlier this month, the company said that it signed a deal with private Australian investors to secure funding for the project in three tranches, however, it did not reveal the investors at the time.

Leighton loses $5.5bn coal mining contract in India

Australia-based Leighton Holdings lost its $5.5bn mine development and coal mining contract with India's electricity producer NTPC.

A mining subsidiary of Leighton, Thiess Minecs, secured the contract in December 2010 to develop the Pakri Barwadih coal project, which was expected to produce 300 million tonnes of coal over a 22 year period.

According to Leighton, the contract was worth about A$267m ($250m) to Thiess over the next five years.

NTPC attempted to develop its own mines and increase imports to meet demands; however, protests in the eastern state of Jharkhand delayed the opening of the Pakri Barwadih site.

Rio Tinto sues Vale and BSGR over mining rights in Guinea

Rio Tinto filed a lawsuit against Vale and Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz and his company BSG Resources (BSGR), for allegedly conspiring to steal the rights of Simandou blocks one and two iron ore mine in Guinea.

Rio and Vale entered into an agreement in 2008, where Rio claimed to have provided Vale with information about Simandou.

Rio accused Vale of passing on its confidential information about Vale buying a stake in the Guinea property to BSGR, by bribing officials in Guinea.

According to Rio, Vale and BSGR paid a $200m bribe to former Guinean minister of mines Mahmoud Thiam for his help in securing the Simandou rights.