October 22, 2019
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Newmont Goldcorp (NYSE: NEM) (TSX: NGT) is re-starting production at its Peñasquito gold-silver mine in Mexico, after the second blockade at the operation this year was lifted in early October.
The world’s No. 1 gold miner has started a 10-day process of bringing the operation back to full production, with support from the state and federal governments and an ongoing police presence.
“We appreciate the government’s efforts to uphold the law by assuring ongoing access to and from Peñasquito while continuing to sponsor the dialogue process, should that continue to be needed,” president and CEO Tom Palmer said in the statement.
The Canada-based miner had resumed operations at Peñasquito in June after a 80-day blockade, one of the many affecting the mine over the past three years. However, it halted it again on September 14 as the blockade returned.
The Vancouver-based miner said in September it had offered $25 million in community investments and land rental fees to resolve the conflict, but that the proposal was rejected.
Later the same month, Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador accused some of the protest leaders of seeking money rather than legitimate social goals. He asked the parties involved in the dispute to resolve their differences.
The open-pit mine produced 272,000 ounces of gold last year, accounting for about 17% of the combined company’s net asset value and 4.2% of the Newmont Goldcorp’s total projected 2019 gold output of 6.5 million ounces.
It directly employs more than 6,500 people and supports another 20,000 indirect jobs in the region, according to Newmont Goldcorp.
About 70% of foreign-owned mining companies operating in Mexico, the world’s No.1 silver producer, are based in Canada.
Unionized workers at Chile’s Codelco, the world’s largest copper miner, joined Wednesday thousands engaged in strike actions nation-wide, which have quickly degenerated into widespread violence leaving at least 15 dead, over 1,600 in detention and seen six major cities under state of emergency.
The Copper Workers Federation (FTC), representing those in the industry beyond the companies they work for, immediately followed suit. They also asked members not to board buses at the end of their night shifts, which is now happening at curfew, and announced a meeting at the end of the week to analyze the situation again and consider future actions.
The 48-hour stoppage is going ahead despite Chile’s President, Sebastian Piñera, announced late last night some concessions, including a guaranteed minimum wage of about $3.5 an hour, raising maximum income tax rate to 40% from 35% and lifting basic pensions by 20%.
Antofagasta plc (LON:ANTO), which has four mines in Chile and employs about 19,000 people, said Wednesday it expected disruptions in its supply chain and production to dent output by about 5,000 tonnes.
Delivering results for the three months to September, the miner kept its 2019 production guidance unchanged for now at 750-790,000 tonnes of copper. It cautioned, however, that 2020 production would be between 725-755,000 tonnes of copper due mostly to grades decline at its Centinela mine.
On Tuesday, workers at the Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, partially paralyzed work in support of the demonstrations.
Chile is the fourth major South American state to be wracked by civil unrest ostensibly triggered by increased government fees and charges but ultimately fuelled by a gathering sense of economic inequity.
Tensions continue to rise on the streets of the Bolivia’s administrative capital La Paz, with angry crowds accusing authorities of fraud in Sunday’s presidential election.
Protesters and the opposition claim electoral authorities manipulated the vote count in favor of President Evo Morales, the nation’s long-time socialist leader.
Earlier this month, Ecuador’s government was forced to retreat from capital Quito after cuts to fuel subsidies, since then scrapped, immediately doubled prices and released two weeks of violent protest.
Peru’s capital, Lima, also saw widespread violence following the President Martín Vizcarra’s decision to dissolve opposition-controlled congress, accusing lawmakers of trying to his efforts to end corruption.
In September, the streets of Argentina’s Buenos Aires were occupied by demonstrators complaining against food shortages, wages and the potential that the debt-crushed nation’s next IMF bailout would require even more drastic economic measures.
Nordgold announced Tuesday it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Total Eren, an independent power producer specializing in renewable energies and Africa Energy Management Platform (AEMP) to construct a 13 MW solar photovoltaic power plant to provide 100% renewable energy to its Bissa and Bouly mines in Burkina Faso.
Construction completion is expected in the fourth quarter of 2020. The new solar PV will provide Bissa and Bouly with power for both mines’ daily operational needs, significantly reducing reliance on the existing thermal power plant.
Norgold said the plant will enhance the environmental sustainability of the mines, and increase security of supply, and reduce costs at both mines. It will be complemented by a battery energy storage system, reducing the mines’ fuel consumption by approximately 6.4 million liters and CO2 emission by approximately 18,000 tonnes per year.
“By building this new solar power plant, not only will we improve the efficiency of our mines by creating a more secure power supply at lower cost, but we are also helping to make our Burkina Faso mines far more sustainable, while minimising our carbon footprint,” Nikolai Zelenski, Norgold’s CEO said in a media release.
Nordgold operates 10 mines (5 in Russia, 3 in Burkina Faso and one each in Guinea and Kazakhstan). It has several prospective projects in feasibility study and advanced exploration phases, and portfolio of early-stage exploration projects and licences in Burkina Faso, Russia, French Guiana and Canada.
Orla Mining (TSX: OLA) announced Tuesday that the company has secured a project finance facility of up to $125 million for the development of its first mine — the Camino Rojo oxide gold project in Mexico.
The facility is being arranged by Trinity Capital Partners and will include a syndicate of lenders led by shareholder and renowned Canadian businessman Pierre Lassonde, Agnico Eagle Mines, and Trinity Capital.
The lenders have collectively committed to provide an initial tranche of $25 million, which Orla could draw prior to final syndication and completion of definitive documentation relating to the facility and prior to final receipt of required mine permits. This initial advance will provide flexibility to order long lead items and maintain an efficient construction schedule, the company says.
Camino Rojo is an advanced gold and silver open-pit and heap leach project in Zacatecas, Mexico, covering an area of approximately 200,000 hectares. Recent feasibility study shows that the mine would produce 97,000 oz. gold annually over seven years and could be built for $123 million.
Shares of Orla Mining opened 4% higher than previous day’s market close. The Vancouver-based gold miner has a C$284.6 million market capitalization.