November’s top news stories

7 December 2018 (Last Updated December 7th, 2018 11:52)

Albemarle signed an exclusivity agreement with Mineral Resources (MRL) to acquire a 50% interest in the latter’s Wodgina lithium project and form a 50/50 integrated lithium joint venture, Chaarat Gold pulled out of the proposed acquisition of both Centerra Gold for $1.52bn and its Kumtor mine in Kyrgyzstan. Mining-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from November 2018.

November’s top news stories
Mineral Resources will partner with Albemarle to manage the Wodgina lithium project. Credit: Mineral Resources

Albemarle and Mineral Resources sign integrated lithium deal

Albemarle signed an exclusivity agreement with Mineral Resources (MRL) to acquire a 50% interest in the latter’s Wodgina lithium project and form a 50/50 integrated lithium joint venture (JV) in Western Australia.

Subject to the negotiation of documents, the JV will own and operate the Wodgina hard rock lithium mine, which is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and has an estimated mine life of more than 30 years.

Albemarle and MRL will also develop an integrated lithium hydroxide operation at the resource site if the deal is finalised.


Chaarat Gold gives up on Kumtor mine pursuit and $1.52bn Centerra deal

Chaarat Gold pulled out of the proposed acquisition of both Canadian gold mining firm Centerra Gold for C$2bn ($1.52bn) and its Kumtor mine in Kyrgyzstan after failing to engage with the latter’s management.

The company first made an offer to purchase the mine from Centerra. However, the Canadian company did not show interest in selling the mine, following which Chaarat made a takeover bid for Centerra in September.

The proposed offer value comprised a premium of at least 35% above Centerra’s prevailing share price of C$5.48 ($4.17) at the time of the proposal.


India to sell minority stake in Coal India through OFS route

The Indian Government initiated the process to sell a stake of up to 9% in state-owned coal mining company Coal India as part of its plan to achieve its divestment target.

In a stock exchange filing, Coal India noted that the government will divest a 3% interest in the company by selling up to 186.2 million shares at a floor price of Rs266 ($3.59) per equity share through the offer for sale (OFS) route over a two-day period.

The government currently owns a 78.3% stake in the coal mining firm. In case of oversubscription, the offer could be extended to include an additional 6% stake, taking the overall divestment to 9%.


BHP suspends Pilbara rail operations following runaway iron ore train

BHP suspended its rail operations in Pilbara, Western Australia, after a train carrying 268 wagons of iron ore travelled 92km without a driver, prompting an investigation from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The train was transporting minerals from BHP’s Newman Mining Hub to the Port Hedland complex, a 422km rail journey, when the driver stopped the train at 4:40am on Monday morning to inspect one of the wagons.

The train, which had reached the halfway point of the journey, then began to move before the driver could return, and eventually travelled for nearly 100km before being deliberately derailed by the railway’s control centre around 119km from Port Hedland.


Glencore unit KCC suspends sales from Kamoto mine in DRC

Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), a 75%-owned operating subsidiary of Katanga Mining, is set to temporarily halt the sale of cobalt at its Kamoto mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following the detection of radioactivity in supplies.

Katanga is majority owned by Swiss trader and miner Glencore and accounts for around 25% of the company’s African cobalt production, according to Bloomberg.

The company disclosed that the amount of uranium detected in the cobalt hydroxide produced at the project is higher than levels acceptable for export of the product.


Queensland to bring new changes to mine rehabilitation framework

Australia’s Queensland Government is reportedly planning to announce a series of resource regulations next week to reform its rehabilitation laws for the mining industry.

The proposed changes will require miners to contribute to an ‘insurance fund’ to be set up for the remediation of old mines in the state, Reuters reported.

The new rules could impact all mining companies operating in the state, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Glencore.


Colombia miners seek appellation of origin for green gemstones

Colombian miners are seeking appellation of origin (AO) status for their green gemstones, which would protect emeralds originating from the country, citing AO status granted to goods such as Roquefort cheese, Scotch whisky and Cornish pasties.

The national emerald producers’ association, Aprecol, is planning to submit its AO application to Colombia’s patent and registration office by the end of this year, the Financial Times reported.

If the patent office greenlights the application, it will be forwarded to the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland for further consideration.


Diamond industry urged to improve human rights record

A group of civil society organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called on the diamond industry to unveil relevant clean-up measures to address its track record related to human rights abuses and other trade practices.

Other participants in the coalition include Enough Project, Global Witness and IMPACT.

Members of the international community, comprising participating countries, industry representatives and civil society, are meeting in Brussels for the Kimberley Process Plenary.


Pan American Silver to buy Tahoe Resources for $1.06bn

Canadian miner Pan American Silver signed an agreement to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Tahoe Resources for a total consideration of $1.06bn through a plan of arrangement.

The transaction is expected to create a premier silver mining company, with assets located across the Americas.

Tahoe shareholders can choose to receive either $3.4 in cash or 0.2403 Pan American shares for each share held by them. The deal caps total cash consideration at $275m and the total number of shares issued at 56 million.


Epiroc introduces battery-operated vehicles to lower mining costs

Swedish firm Epiroc unveiled its second generation of battery-operated machines that promote sustainability in the mining industry.

The new machines comprise battery-driven 14t and 18t underground loaders, and 42t trucks and drill rigs, and have been designed to reduce mining customers’ operating costs and improve health and safety at mine operations.

They are also expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.