Barrick Gold faces challenges to develop Latin America mines

Just seven weeks into the job, Barrick Gold’s new boss has already discovered, first hand, the challenges of developing and mining giant deposits in Latin America. Barrick’s main project, the Veladero joint venture with Shandong Gold in Argentina, isn’t performing like a tier one asset, Mark Bristow said on Wednesday. In 2019, Veladero is expected to have the highest cost per ounce in Barrick’s portfolio.

Brazil govt sets sights on Vale in ‘reprivatisation’ push

Brazil’s government intends to make the mining giant Vale "private again" by pushing out pension funds of State-controlled companies, a senior official said on Wednesday. Shares rose. "Vale is a State company. Pension funds controlled by the government control Vale," Privatisation Secretary Salim Mattar said on Wednesday at an event in Brasilia. "We’re here to reprivatise Vale."

South Africa’s biggest labour group embarks on nationwide strike

South Africa’s biggest labor federation will embark on a nationwide protest on Wednesday that will keep teachers, policemen, miners and workers at embattled power utility Eskom away from their posts amid a fourth day of rolling blackouts. The National Union of Mineworkers -- an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions that represents workers from the mining, energy and construction industries -- is expecting more than 100 000 people to take part in the strikes, said NUM spokesman Luphert Chilwane.

Sibanye considers closing unprofitable shafts at gold mines

Sibanye Gold is considering shutting unprofitable shafts and cutting jobs at its South African gold mines amid a three-month-old wage strike that’s curbing output. The nation’s largest gold producer has talked with some labor unions about a potential restructuring, which could lead to job cuts, said Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted.

First US coal plant in years opens where no options exist

One way to boost coal in the US: Find a spot near a mine with no access to oil or natural gas pipelines, where it’s not particularly windy and it’s dark much of the year. That’s how the first coal-fired plant to open in the US since 2015 bucked the trend in an industry that’s seen scores of facilities close in recent years. A 17-MW generator, built for $245-million, is set to open in April at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, just 100 miles from the state’s only coal mine.

Vale’s rout lures locals while foreigners remain wary, UBS says

Local investors are starting to see value in Vale SA shares after a fatal accident last month wiped out nearly a quarter of its market value, while global investors remain skeptical, according to UBS Group. Approximately 80% of Brazilian investors are showing interest in buying Vale after the rout, while 70% of global investors are holding back, UBS analysts Andreas Bokkenheuser, Marcio Farid and Cleve Rueckert wrote in a report dated February 8, mentioning recent conversations with 30 investors.

Trudeau faces ethics investigation over SNC-Lavalin case

Canada’s ethics watchdog is investigating whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke the rules and pressured his former attorney general to help SNC-Lavalin Group settle corruption charges out of court. Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion confirmed his investigation Monday in a letter to two New Democratic Party lawmakers. Dion said he would investigate whether Trudeau contravened a section of the Conflict of Interest Act that bars “a public office holder from seeking to influence a decision of another person so as to improperly further another person’s private interests.”

RioZim halts output as central bank fails to make payments

RioZim halted production at its three gold mines after Zimbabwe’s central bank failed to provide foreign currency the company needs to keep operating. The shutdown is the second by RioZim since October. It’s the latest indication of how businesses are struggling to keep going as a dearth of foreign exchange causes shortages of food and fuel in the southern African nation.

Iron-ore powers to highest since 2014 as Vale crisis intensifies

Iron-ore futures surged more than 5% to hit the highest level since 2014 on concern that the increasingly severe crisis at top producer Vale will curtail global supplies, tightening the seaborne market and offsetting the impact of a slowdown in China, the largest importer. Vale invoked force majeure earlier this week after a judge forced it to suspend some operations at its Brucutu mine in Brazil – a move that it said would result in an annual production loss of 30-million tons.

Vale loses license at dam that caused iron-ore force majeure

Vale’s licence to operate a dam key to production at one of its largest mines was revoked by a Brazilian state regulator on February 5, adding another hurdle to efforts by the iron ore king to return to normal operations. Shares declined. The world’s largest miner of the steelmaking ingredient declared force majeure on some of its contracts Tuesday after a judge forced it to suspend some operations at its Brucutu mine – a move that it said would result in an annual production loss of 30-million metric tons. Brucutu’s restart is now conditional on both overturning the court injunction and the reinstatement of the dam’s license, Vale said in a statement.