May’s top news stories

5 June 2018 (Last Updated June 14th, 2018 16:39)

Rio Tinto is engaged in talks to divest its entire stake in the Grasberg mine in Indonesia to Inalum for $3.5bn, AECOM pulled out of a $2.2bn deal to design a rail line for Indian conglomerate Adani’s $16bn Carmichael coal mine project in the Galilee Basin, Queensland, Australia. Mining-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from May 2018.

May’s top news stories
Grasberg mine. Credit: Alfindra Primaldhi.

Rio Tinto in talks to sell Grasberg mine stake to Inalum for $3.5bn

Rio Tinto is engaged in talks to divest its entire stake in the Grasberg mine in Indonesia to PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Persero), also known as Inalum, for $3.5bn.

Responding to reports in the media, the company confirmed that negotiations are currently underway regarding the proposed sale and that no agreement has been reached at this juncture.

Located in the province of Papua, the Grasberg mine is owned and operated by US-based mining company Freeport-McMoRan’s (FCX) subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia (PT-FI).


AECOM ends $2.2bn Carmichael rail line contract with Adani

US-based engineering firm AECOM pulled out of a $2.2bn deal to design a rail line for Indian conglomerate Adani’s $16bn Carmichael coal mine project in the Galilee Basin, Queensland, Australia.

The company demobilised its staff from the project following the decision, according to The Guardian Australia.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner Jonathan Moylan said: “This should serve as the final nail in the coffin for this environmentally and economically unsustainable project that most stakeholders have already walked away from.”


Tanzania revokes retention licence for Barrick-Glencore JV project

The Tanzanian Government cancelled a retention licence for the Kabanga nickel project, which is currently owned Barrick Gold and Glencore under a joint venture (JV) arrangement.

The decision is in line with the government’s new mining regulations, which are intended to maximise the economic benefits offered by the country’s natural resources, reported Reuters.

Kabanga is located in north-western Tanzania and represents one of 11 projects that have had their retention licences revoked by the government under the initiative.


Highlands Pacific and Cobalt 27 enter Ramu mine arrangement

Highlands Pacific and Canadian battery metals company Cobalt 27 Capital entered a streaming arrangement in connection with the $2.1bn Ramu nickel cobalt mine in Papua New Guinea.

In operation for more than five years, the project comprises a nickel laterite mine at Kurumbukari, where the project has a deposit containing a JORC resource of 124 million tonnes of ore at 1% nickel and 0.1% cobalt.

The mine produced 34,666t of nickel and 3,308t of cobalt in concentrate last year.


Louis Dreyfus Company finalises $466m sale of metals business

Global commodities merchandising firm Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) closed the $466m sale of its global metals business to a Chinese investment fund known as the NCCL Natural Resources Investment Fund.

The completion of the sale follows the fulfilment of necessary conditions, including regulatory approvals.

The divestment agreement was originally reached in December last year.


Emmerson signs deal to develop Black Snake gold mine

American gold resource company Emmerson Resources signed a mine management plan with the Northern Territory Government to begin development of the Black Snake Hill gold mine, as the company expands its operations in the Tennant Creek Mineral Field (TCMF).

The abandoned mine, located 20km east of the town of Tennant Creek, is the latest target in Emmerson’s attempts to move further into the TCMF.

The company has only expanded into 5.5% of the field’s 2,200km2 area, and will construct three 25m vertical shafts and a connecting horizontal shaft on Black Snake Hill to help measure the volume and geology of minerals in the area.

Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Ken Vowles said: “What Emmerson discovers could lead to the development of a more extensive mining operation, which would result in even more jobs for the region.”


China reportedly begins mining operations along Indian border

The Chinese Government reportedly commenced ‘large-scale’ mining operations in Lhunze county, close to its border with the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The activities in the region are said to be part of China’s long-term plans to reclaim South Tibet, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Currently, the disputed South Tibet region is under Indian control.

Supplies of gold, silver and other precious minerals found in the region are estimated to be worth $60bn.


Tianqi Lithium to acquire stake in Chile’s SQM for $4.07bn

Chinese lithium products manufacturing firm Tianqi reached an agreement to acquire a 25% stake in Chile-based lithium company Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) for a cash consideration of $4.07bn.

Under the terms of the deal, Tianqi Lithium will buy 62,556,568 ‘A shares’ in SQM from Canadian fertiliser company Nutrien in exchange for $65 per share in cash.

The transaction involves the acquisition of all of Nutrien’s ‘A shares’ in the Chilean firm, which is engaged in the production and distribution of lithium, iodine, speciality plant nutrients, potassium-related fertilisers and industrial chemicals.


Aura Energy confirms new vanadium zone at Häggån project

Aura Energy identified a new high-grade vanadium zone close to surface at its wholly owned Häggån battery metals project in Sweden.

The zone was identified after the company conducted an orebody modelling study, during which it also conducted a new resource estimate.

The global resource of vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) is now considered to be 15.1 billion pounds.

According to the company, the orebody modelling was designed to evaluate the potential for higher grade vanadium zones in the Häggån deposit.


Nevsun turns down $1.16bn offer from Lundin Mining and Euro Sun

Canadian copper producer Nevsun Resources turned down a C$1.5bn ($1.16bn) takeover bid from Lundin Mining and its partner Euro Sun Mining.

Nevsun shareholders were to receive C$5 ($3.88) for every Nevsun share currently held under the proposed offer, comprising C$2 ($1.55) each in cash and shares provided by Lundin, as well as C$1 ($0.77) in shares of Euro Sun.

Lundin noted that repeated attempts to persuade Nevsun into accepting the offer did not achieve the desired results.