Frik Els

Frik has 20 years’ experience as a business journalist across a range of industries including automotive, technology and entertainment markets. Frik has an entry in Global Mining Observer’s Who’s Who of Mining 2018, and contributions to publications and conferences including Business Insider, Investing.com, Mines & Money London and New York, Vancouver Resources Investment, Progressive Mine Forum in Toronto and Canadian Mining Symposium in London, UK. He’s been interviewed on CBC Radio and Korea State TV and quoted in the Financial Post.

Posts by Frik Els:

Germany sued for billions over nuclear exit

Industrial Info reports the German government is facing a major legal battle over its planned early exit from nuclear power as energy giants E.ON AG want billions of euros in compensation. E.ON made its intentions clear this week when it outlined plans to take legal action against the government's decision to continue demanding its controversial nuclear tax, despite shutting down the oldest nuclear plants. In March, RWE announced that it would take legal action against the government's closure o those seven nuclear plants.

Belarus ready to sell top potash firm worth up to $20bn

Cash-strapped ex-Soviet republic Belarus is negotiating the sale of its most prized asset, the potash producer Belaruskali, under the terms of a $3bn bail-out loan agreed this month with Russia, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Responsible for one-third of the worlds potash fertiliser production, Belaruskali could be worth as much as $20bn. A frontrunner for a takeover is Russia's top producer Uralkali owned by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov. The combined group would easily push Canada's Potash Corp. from the top producer spot.

Buyers could line up for Harmony’s massive Papua New Guinea find

The takeover rumour mill is working overtime as speculation about the size of Harmony Gold’s Wafi-Golpu deposit increases. Harmony has already been forced to share the planet’s potentially third largest gold and copper mine with Australia’s Newcrest Mining, selling 50% of the project for $525m three years ago. Now, as the value of Wafi-Golpu climbs - Deutsche Bank recently put it at $9.9bn – and predictions of development cost reach $5bn, other suitors may be lining up for the assets. M&A activity in the gold sector is at a 10-year high and top takeover candidates are Harmony’s South African peer Gold Fields, Canada's Barrick Gold, Newmont Mining and partner Newcrest itself.

Powerful ruling party politician calls South African mine owners thieves

A new local documentary to be screened in cinemas next week and engineered to make a case for the nationalisation of the mining industry called Mining for Change: A Story of South African Mining, presents studio footage of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, likening mining company owners to car thieves.

China tightens grip on rare earth supply as Baotou gobbles up 35 small miners

Baotou Steel Rare Earth (Group) Hi Tech Co, the world's largest rare earth producer, will consolidate 35 local miners this month and further unify the distribution and processing of the 17 elements. The Inner Mongolia autonomous region, the site of 97% of China's reserves, has drafted a plan to concentrate all resources under Baotou. The move follows the announcement last week that the state-owned firm will set up the country's first rare earth products exchange to further regulate the market. China accounts for upwards of 95% of global supply. To combat China's domination of the market the US recently declared rare earth to be a strategic resource for the country.

PwC: Iron ore represents 48% of Canadian metals M&A activity

Big4 reports in Canada, 39 metals deals have been announced in 2011, including five transactions valued at US$50m or more. Iron ore was the most targeted resource in Canada and globally last quarter, accounting for nearly half (48%) of all Canadian deals and almost 22% of all global transactions in Q1. According to a new PwC report, the value of Canadian metals deals more than doubled year-over-year and a heightened pace of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity is expected for the balance of 2011.

Wedding season buying lifts gold, silver snaps losing streak in Indian Saturday trade

Indian traders on Saturday sent gold prices higher amid the Indian wedding season and firming overseas trends and silver snapped its three-day losing streak. On global markets on Friday Gold for August delivery added $9.70 to $1,542.40 an ounce after US economic data showed job growth slowed to a crawl in May. The weak dollar and the spectre of a return to recession in the US on top of a European debt crisis have buoyed the gold price this year and long term fundamentals – buying in India and China – remain strong. India remained the top purchaser of gold buying 291 tonnes in the first quarter while China added 93 tonnes of bars and coins from January to March, more than double the 2010 level and jewellery demand increased 21% from a year earlier to a record 143 tonnes.

Oil sands work camps flee fire

The Toronto Sun reports employees from Shell Canada's Muskeg River and Jackpine mines near Fort MacKay were evacuated late Thursday night as wildfires continue to rage in that part of Alberta, Canada. Despite cooler weather and scattered showers on Friday 290 forest firefighters from Alberta, B.C. and the Northwest Territories are still fighting out of control blazes in the Richardson area 60 km north of Fort McMurray where 354,000 hectares have burned. Imperial Oil and Shell Canada say they're working with the government and other oil sands operators to monitor the fire and smoke conditions in the area and Syncrude Canada says all of its staff at its operations in that part of the province are still continuing to work.

Memories of Great Recession fading as diamonds fetch record prices

Two reports this week suggest that fears of a prolonged period of global economic austerity following the financial crisis have been overblown. In Hong Kong Christie's experienced its best ever auction with buyers spending $469m on wines, antiques, art and particularly jewellery. At $9,342,219, the pictured pair of Golconda diamond ear pendants – dubbed the Imperial Cushions – set an all time record price per carat. At the other end of the scale prices have also been rising at a rapid rate. Demand for one carat and smaller stones from India and China pushed the International Diamond Exchange's polished diamond index to a new record in May surpassing the previous record level achieved in the pre-recession summer of 2008 and up 12.5% so far this year.

Newcomer Karnalyte sees potential for 6m tons of potash a year

Mining Weekly Online quotes Karnalyte Resources CEO Robin Phinney as saying that its Wynyard project in Saskatchewan has enough resources to eventually produce 6m tons of potash a year and that the company is considering bringing in joint venture partners to do so. Karnalyte initially expects to ramp up production by 500,000 tons per year to reach 2m tons by 2016/2017 at a cost of $1.5bn. The company on Friday was trading at $11, up 42% since it debut on the TSX mid-December last year.
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Private investors shun mining amid “escalated investor concerns”

New report shows private funds raising money for investment in metals and mining came up empty in Q3 and so far this year commitments total a paltry $100m.