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Vale’s licence to operate a dam key to production at one of its largest mines was revoked by a Brazilian state regulator on February 5, adding another hurdle to efforts by the iron ore king to return to normal operations.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.

Vale loses licence 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Vale’s licence to operate a dam key to production at one of its largest mines was revoked by a Brazilian state regulator on February 5, adding another hurdle to efforts by the iron ore king to return to normal operations.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.

Vale declares force majeure on iron-ore after halt at mine

Vale did something it said it wasn’t going to do in the wake of the deadly tailings dam collapse in Brazil last month – declare force majeure on some of its iron ore contracts. Futures in Singapore gained. The Brazilian mining giant invoked the clause a day 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. The court order was issued to help improve safety following the fatal breakdown of one of Vale’s tailings dam in Minas Gerais state that left more than 130 people dead.

Palladium rally offers lifeline to stressed South African miners

Record palladium prices and a weaker rand are lifting the gloom enveloping South Africa’s platinum industry. For South African producers, the rally in palladium is partially offsetting the slump in platinum prices to near a decade low. Combined with a decline in the rand, which lowers costs for miners selling metal for dollars, that’s extending a lifeline to companies such as Impala Platinum Holdings, Sibanye Gold and Lonmin.

First Quantum is said to offer $700m for Zambia mine

First Quantum Minerals has offered to buy the Zambian government’s 20% stake in Africa’s biggest copper mine for as much as $700-million, according to two people familiar with the transaction. Vancouver-based First Quantum already owns 80% of the Kansanshi mine in Zambia’s North-Western Province, while State-owned ZCCM Investments Holdings holds the rest.

Gold is one wealth fund’s escape from geopolitics, credit risk

For Azerbaijan’s sovereign wealth fund, nothing beats the safety of gold in a world gripped by trade disputes and geopolitical risk. Known as Sofaz, the fund is looking to almost double its holdings of the precious metal in 2019 to 100 t after resuming purchases in 2018 following a five-year break. By contrast, it’s steering clear of larger bets on bonds and especially equities, an approach that executive director Shahmar Movsumov says allowed the fund to avoid losses last year.

Gold miners get their mojo back as giant deals revive allure

After years on the sidelines, gold producers are suddenly the mining world’s hottest topic as the industry gathers in Cape Town this week. For more than half a decade, gold miners have been stuck in the doldrums, shunned by investors following a string of missteps and bogged down by a stagnant bullion price. Then, in September, a surprise mega deal turned the industry on its head.

Lithium giant’s landmark deal is big step to battery ‘dream’

The country holding the world’s largest reserves of lithium says it’s one step closer to becoming a manufacturing hub for rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles. Chile is hopeful that battery makers such as Samsung and Posco will start installing lithium processing plants in the country by the end of the year, according to Sebastian Sichel, executive VP of government development agency Corfo. The agency recently reached a deal with top lithium miner Albemarle that will give battery makers access to cheaper lithium.

Project Halo stakes claim to buy Guptas’ Optimum coal mines

Project Halo, a South African group that bid R3.05-billion for Tegeta Exploration & Resources' coal assets after it was placed under administration, said it expects the deal to go ahead and it’s unaware other offers will be entertained. “As things stand today we are the preferred bidder,” Project Halo director Paul Buckley told an IHS Markit coal conference in Cape Town on Thursday. “We haven’t been notified that the process has been reopened.”

Brazil’s costly mining failures tied to cheap waste storage

The deadly collapse of a Vale tailings dam in Brazil is serving as a wake-up call for an industry that regularly cuts costs by storing mining waste in the cheapest possible way. The slurry of ground rock and effluents left over after companies extract marketable minerals from the ground has been stored for decades in massive ponds held back by embankments or dams. Their safety, though, depends very much on the design of the ponds, and on the cost of building them.