The Covid-19 pandemic has caused rapid adjustment across all industries globally. We analyse the likely long-term impact of the crisis on the mining sector and assemble a roundtable of experts to discuss further.

Rhodium is trading at its highest level since 2008, driven by demand from the automotive industry where the precious mineral is used in toxic fume reducing catalytic converters. So how is rhodium mined and who are the big players? We find out. 

We also take a look at both Rio Tinto and Vale’s approach to iron ore and ask what the future could hold for both, consider how better compliance could benefit miners across the sector, and examine whether the ICMM’s new regulations could help clean up mining.

We also round up some of the most important innovations in chemical extraction and separation technologies, speak to the authors of a report about metals trading in the ancient world, hear from Odey Asset Management about mining risk, and investigate the world’s largest electric mining vehicle. 

In this issue 

Disruption and tensions: how Covid-19 could impact mining

As Covid-19 sweeps the world, the mining sector is just one of many that has been adversely affected. With quarantines preventing people and employees from meeting up to work, and uncertainties across the supply chain impacting commodity prices, JP Casey considers some of the impacts of the pandemic on the mining sector, and whether any good can come from this uncertainty.

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Covid-19: how the mining industry is responding

With more than 1.3 million cases of Covid-19 now confirmed around the world, the pandemic is forcing companies to adjust their practices to keep workers safe and maintain production. JP Casey profiles some of the mining industry’s responses to the outbreak.

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Rhodium on the rise 

Rhodium is trading at its highest level since 2008, driven by supply shortages and increased demand from the automotive industry. Heidi Vella examines the supply and demand dynamics of rhodium. 

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Iron ore wars: the fall of Vale and the rise of Rio Tinto

In the wake of the Brumadinho dam tragedy, Vale has lost its position as the world’s top iron ore producer. JP Casey considers what contributed to its decline, and how Rio Tinto has taken advantage of its struggles to become the industry’s new iron ore leader.

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Mining’s digital goals: in conversation with Sustainalytics

Environmental, social and corporate governance research and ratings firm Sustainalytics’ recent ‘10 for 2020’ report says investors should view miners’ adoption of digitisation as a marker for a strong and sustainable company – but should also be aware of the wider societal impacts that follow. The firm’s director of research Michael Proulx discusses the findings with Heidi Vella.

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Breaking down the ICMM’s new guidelines for responsible mining 

The International Council on Mining and Metals has updated its responsible mining principles for the first time since 2003, with a greater focus on transparency and recognition of local communities. Following years of criticism that member organisations were ignoring the older, looser laws, Scarlett Evans considers the new regulations.

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Better living through chemistry: chemical extraction and separation in mining

Chemistry is a powerful tool in the mining kit, with chemical extraction and separation of ores proving effective in a number of cases. From rare earth element separation to mining asteroids, Yoana Cholteeva rounds up some of the recent innovations in chemical extraction and separation technologies. 

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Does the mining industry know the price of risk?

Odey Asset Management portfolio manager Henry Steel, who leads the firm’s Concentrated Natural Resources Fund, has argued that mining companies are failing to properly price and allocate risk. Yoana Cholteeva spoke to Steel to find out how firms could improve their balance sheets. 

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Bigger is better: on board the world’s largest electric mining vehicle

Anglo American has doubled down on its commitment to sustainable mining by announcing plans for the world’s largest electric mining vehicle. The 290-ton machine dwarfs the current record holder for a sustainable mining vehicle, the 45-ton eDumper, and could set a new benchmark for environmentally-friendly heavy machinery. Yoana Cholteeva finds out more about this innovation.

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Preview – MINE June 2020

Despite the UK having little mining currently, London is still the preferred seat for any arbitration. While there are other ‘arbitration-friendly’ jurisdictions International commercial parties frequently contract subject to English law and other states often agree to this method. So why is London the centre, and who are the big players? We find out.

We also discover who is setting the standard in terms of technology, responsibility and legislation when it comes to sand mining, examine whether the mining supply chain is fit for purpose in the face of crisis, and look at Zambia’s attempts to formalise artisinal gold mining. 

We also investigate the health risk posed by dust inhalation, round up technologies designed to improve ventilation underground, learn about Hexagon‘s online training course for modern mining, and break down everything you need to know about coal mining in 2020.