Reuters reports that world number three supplier India's iron ore exports and prices could be hit by quality issues raised by China on $2.2bn worth of shipments. India sends almost all its exports to China, trade worth around $1.5bn per month. During the first four months of 2011, over a third of India's exports to the Chinese province of Jiangsu were substandard, China's General Administration of Quality, Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a notice posted on its website.
China Mining News
Many investors are calling into question billionaire hedge-fund manager George Soros’s commitment to gold. With higher highs no longer a regular occurrence in the gold market, some see Soros’s dumping of gold ETFs as a clear sign that the party is over. But as trading in the first Asian precious metal futures contract opens on Wednesday, bearish investors may want to take a cue from the millions — maybe billions — of investors in India, China, Vietnam and across the region who are pouring money into gold and are willing to pay a premium.
Noront Resources has completed a brokered placement worth $17.4 million, the Toronto-listed junior explorer announced yesterday. The deal will give Baosteel the right to increase its stake in Noront to 19.9%. It will also give Baosteel, a large steel producer owned by the Chinese government, a seat on Noront's board of directors. Proceeds from the placement will be used for feasibility studies on Noront's Eagle's Nest nickle-copper-palladium property and the Blackbird chromite deposit in the Ring of Fire poly-metallic mining district in northern Ontario, Canada.
Ivanhoe Mines: Construction of Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold-silver complex advancing toward planned start of commercial production in the first half of 2013.
Overall construction of the Oyu Tolgoi Project was 15.1% complete by the end of Q1'11, slightly ahead of the planned 14.8%. Total capital invested in the project by the end of Q1'11 was $1.8 billion. The Oyu Tolgoi Project initially is being developed as an open-pit operation, with the first phase of mining planned to start at the near-surface Southern Oyu deposits, which include Southwest Oyu and Central Oyu. A copper concentrator plant, related facilities and necessary infrastructure that will support an initial throughput of 100,000 tonnes of ore per day are being constructed to process ore scheduled to be mined from the Southern Oyu open pit. Commercial production of copper-gold-silver concentrate is projected to begin in the first half of 2013.
Often located in some of the world’s most sparsely populated areas, developing mining projects in resource-rich areas more often than not means working in some of the most isolated regions known to man. From Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, operators face a common challenge: that of ensuring the local infrastructure is able to support the demands placed upon it by a profitable mining operation.
Silvercorp reports record silver production of 5.3 million ounces, record net income of $68.8 million, up 79%, and record cash flows of $104.2 million, up 60% for fiscal year 2011
Silvercorp Metals reported in Q4 that net earnings were up 29% to $12.6 million, or $0.07 per share, compared to net earnings of $9.8 million, or $0.06 per share, in the same quarter last year. It also said that quarterly cash flows from operations up 44% to $34.3 million, or $0.20 per share, from $23.8 million in the same quarter last year. Production was 1.05 million ounces of silver in the quarter, resulting in a record annual production of 5.3 million ounces of silver and achieved the fifth consecutive year of production growth.
The Montreal Gazette reports on an Ernst & Young report released this week that points to opportunities for rare earth companies in Canada and elsewhere, as a result of REE export restrictions imposed by China: China’s clampdown on exports of rare earth metals used widely in smartphones and other electronic products, is opening up huge opportunities for the Canadian and international mining industry, consultants Ernst & Young said Wednesday.
About one month ago, I wrote about the overvaluation in the rare earth stocks. Even though many disagreed with the prediction that this sector was at or near a top, all of these stocks have dropped, some significantly in the past 4 weeks.
Sandvik Mining and Construction and Shandong Energy Machinery in Xintai, Shandong Province, China, have signed an agreement to form a 50/50 owned joint venture for the production and sales of coal mining equipment. The joint venture is expected to be established within six months, following customary regulatory approvals.
International coal prices hit $124 per ton this week, the highest levels in five months, as strong demand from reconstruction projects in Japan and reduced supply from flood-ravaged Australia has made coal supply tight.
No word yet from China's Jinchuan Group as to whether the company is officially in the market for Canada's Lundin Mining. Canadian media reports claim a consortium headed by Jinchuan, which includes sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp., was planning a takeover bid for the Canadian base metals miner.
The months-long saga over the future of Lundin Mining took another interesting twist on Friday, when a consortium of Chinese companies jumped in with a potential bid, according to a story in The Globe and Mail. Lundin has been the target of two takeover bids, the first by Inmet Mining, which recently fell through, and the second by Equinox Minerals, which unveiled a $4.8 billion hostile takeover bid to counter the Inmet offer. That deal was derailed when China's Minmetals Resources tried to acquire Equinox, which has since been acquired by Barrick Gold, which presented a richer offer worth $7.3 billion.
Chinese police said they have shut down a Hong Kong-based diamond-smuggling ring, in three months of arrests and confiscations. Twenty eight people were arrested between January and March and diamonds worth $31 million were confiscated, making it one of the largest busts in diamond history.
Back in 2005, we were asked by the esteemed journal, The Banker, to write an op-ed piece and we chose the topic "China and the End of Cheap." Memory of this came back to us recently with talk rising about how production costs and wages were rising in China, prompting manufacturers to shift production elsewhere (with the dilemma of where else to shift that was so absolutely cheap and yet could get the task done). We had posited in our note that China would follow the path of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan in ceasing to be the "cheap and cheerful" production sites for the world's knick-knacks. Read the full article.
Russia's two main rail lines into Asia and, in particular China, are increasingly overburdened which is causing a headache for metals firms looking to increase exports.
Japan's imports of rare earths from China rose 40 percent in March from the previous month, Ministry of Finance data showed, with some observers saying demand is so far unaffected by last month's devastating quake though the outlook remains murky.
TNG Ltd (ASX: TNG), which recently released a positive scoping study review of Mt Peake said today it had a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a major Chinese engineering and development company. It was also now in discussions with other potential funding/development partners.
China has called on central and provincial authorities to stop approving the construction of new aluminium smelting capacity as over-capacity in the industry is expanding. Nine ministries and departments jointly issued an urgent circular reinforcing Beijing's policy to restrict aluminium capacity expansion. The circular was published on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Wednesday. (www.miit.gov.cn). Picture, a German aluminium coin from the time of the hyperinflation, is from Images of Elements.
Platts reports the Chinese government is planning to categorize coking coal as a strategic resource that will be “protected” via incentives to optimise production and industry consolidation, Deutsche Bank said in a report last week.
Reports from China indicate the Chinese economy grew 9.7% in the first quarter of 2011 with foreign exchange holdings rising to a record $3 trillion. This brought about a fresh round of speculation that the Chinese government will tighten lending further in an attempt to curb and control inflation after two years of record credit expansion. The central bank has already raised interest rates four times since October 2010 along with increasing reserve requirements for Chinese banks.
The commodity bull has shown little sign of running out of steam - until now. Prices began to stumble as soon as a note from Goldman Sachs, the American banking giant, whizzed around trading desks across the globe last week. The broker advised clients to close its profitable "CCCP" play, which involved investing in a basket of crude oil, copper, cotton, platinum and soybeans. The commodities team, led by Jeffrey Currie, argued that after gaining 25pc since December, the risks to the trade had changed.
A coal project in northeastern B.C. that is being developed by a Chinese consortium could produce up to 2 million tonnes of met coal annually for the next 30 years, the Globe and Mail reports: A Chinese group is making a $1-billion bet on coal in British Columbia to secure a key raw material for its steel making industry, the latest in a series of moves this year by international companies to stake a claim on Canadian resources.
Update on regulatory approvals for Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines arrangement with Cliffs Natural Resources
Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines announced that Cliffs Natural Resources has received approval under the Investment Canada Act for completion of the plan of arrangement pursuant to which Cliffs will acquire all the outstanding common shares of CLM. The closing of the Arrangement remains subject to certain other customary conditions, including obtaining approval of the MOFCOM filing with the Anti-Monopoly Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China.
Rita Trichur, writing in Saturday's Globe and Mail, goes behind the headlines in discussing the $6.3 billion bid by China Minmetals to take over TSX-listed Equinox Minerals. The bid, Trichur writes is emblematic of an emboldened, more savvy China, as the country seeks to gain control over mineral resources in Africa.
Lu’an Group, a large Shanxi-based coal producer, completed what was, according to state newsletter People’s Daily Online, China’s first manned test of an underground refuge chamber on April 10. A team of 80 miners, rescue workers and researchers stayed in a permanent refuge chamber in the company’s Changcun coal mine for 48 hours. Read more