October’s top stories

10 November 2017 (Last Updated November 10th, 2017 15:59)

Rio Tinto completed a pilot run at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, PotashCorp completed the $3bn expansion of its Rocanville operation, located in Saskatchewan, Canada. Mining-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from October 2017.

Rio Tinto completes trial run of autonomous rail programme, Western Australia

Rio Tinto announced it was on schedule to fully commission its autonomous rail programme, AutoHaul, next year after completing a pilot run at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The 100km trial run marked the first fully autonomous heavy haul train journey ever completed in Australia, undertaken without a driver on-board.

The programme covered the region between Wombat Junction and Paraburdoo, and was conducted under the supervision of Rio Tinto teams and representatives from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.


PotashCorp completes $3bn expansion of Rocanville operation in Canada

PotashCorp completed the $3bn expansion of its Rocanville operation, located in Saskatchewan, Canada, more than doubling the mine’s capacity.

Following the expansion, the nameplate capacity of the mine has increased to 6.5 million tonnes, up from the previous capacity of three million tonnes.

The number of workers at the operation has also doubled to more than 750.


Glencore to acquire additional stake in Peru’s Volcan Compañia for $531m

Glencore reached an agreement to acquire an additional stake in Peruvian zinc miner Volcan Compañia Minera, in a deal valued between $531m and $956m.

Glencore currently holds a 7.68% economic interest in Volcan, and will acquire 26.73% of the total class A common (voting) shares until the agreement.

Glencore said in a statement: “Volcan’s operations are located in the richest polymetallic production area in Peru, producing some of the highest quality zinc concentrates.


Pilbara Minerals secures final approval for Pilgangoora project

Pilbara Minerals received the final major environmental approval required for it to complete construction of Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum project in Western Australia.

Approval was granted by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), and will allow the company to proceed with ongoing operations of the processing and ancillary plant at the project.

The development comes after the company obtained all other environmental and regulatory approvals earlier this year.


Barrick Gold and Tanzania to form new partnership for Acacia’s operations

Canada-based Barrick Gold and the Tanzanian Government agreed on a framework for creating a new partnership for operations of the company’s majority-owned subsidiary Acacia Mining, Tanzania.

Under the agreement, economic benefits to be generated by Acacia in Tanzania will be equally shared between the company and the government on a 50/50 basis.

The deal features the necessary measures to be taken to achieve the newly agreed outcome, is a result of a meeting held between Tanzania President Dr John P Magufuli and Barrick Gold executive chairman John L Thornton.


Study finds $3.07m of gold and silver lost a year in Swiss wastewater

A study by Eawag research institute found that approximately CHF3m ($3.07m) of gold and silver is lost every year via effluents and sludge from wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland.

The study was carried out by a group of researchers led by Eawag environmental chemists Bas Vriens and Michael Berg, and also confirmed the presence of rare earth metals such as gadolinium and the heavy metal niobium.

The findings are the result of a quantitative assessment of elements discharged in effluents or sewage sludge, covering 64 wastewater treatment plants across the country.


Four die at First Majestic Silver’s mine in Mexico

Four workers were killed following an incident at Canadian firm First Majestic Silver’s La Encantada Silver mine in the state of Coahuila, Mexico.

The company stated the cause of the deaths as gas intoxication.

The incident is said to have occurred during construction of the 790 ramp at the mine when gas accumulated in the area.


Western Australia’s bill blocked to increase royalty on gold mining

Australia’s Liberal party voted down a bill by the Western Australian (WA) Government to increase the royalty tax on gold mining by 50%.

The development comes after workers from the industry assembled at the Parliament House to protest against the government’s decision to increase the tax from next year in order to shore up additional revenue to the tune of A$392m ($305m) to repair the state’s budget.

Under the proposed policy move, mining companies are required to pay an additional A$20 ($16) per ounce.


European Metals signs MoU with Czech Republic for Cinovec project

European Metals signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Industry and Trade for development of the Cinovec project.

Under the MoU, the parties intend to jointly work towards maximising downstream processing options within the country.

The parties also plan to investigate suitable locations for processing facilities for the project to reduce the impact on the environment, as well as maximise positive impacts on the economy and regional job opportunities.


Altus Strategies to own Mali portfolio with proposed acquisition of Legend Gold

Altus Strategies signed a letter of intent (LoI) to acquire the entire issued and outstanding common shares of Legend Gold, a company with a portfolio of gold projects in the Republic of Mali.

The all-stock transaction is set to be completed by way of a plan of arrangement.

Under the LoI, Altus will offer three ordinary shares to Legend shareholders for each Legend share they hold, resulting in the issuance of a total of 41,060,256 new Altus Shares.