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 contributed to BBC World and National Geographic documentary research.

Posts by Frik Els:

SMH: New South Wales freezes coal and gas exploration licences

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on Friday that the state of New South Wales announced a 60-day freeze on new exploration licences for coal, coal seam gas and petroleum in a push to resolve the escalating conflict between farmers, miners and conservationists over land use. The need for a moratorium was questioned by the state's mining industry, which said billions of dollars in investment were at stake, but it said it broadly supported the development of a new approach to avoid conflict over valuable land.

Reports: Chinese steel giant says iron ore market is in a ‘bubble’

"Everyone who has money is rushing to invest in iron ore," Baosteel Group chairman, Xu Lejiang said on Friday, warning that supply may outstrip demand “sooner than expected” pushing prices down in the process. Brazil’s Vale, and Australian heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto have some $45bn slated for new mines. The cash price of 62%-iron ore shipped to China's Tianjin port has almost tripled from Nov. 21, 2008 when data became available, according to the Steel Index.

Canadian Press: Chinese invest $73m in Quebec iron ore explorer

Two Chinese state-owned companies have invested over $73m for a roughly 30% interest in privately-owned Century Iron's plans to export iron ore extracted at several properties in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador in eastern Canada. The transactions are part of $115.5m of financing arranged by Century Iron through private placements and the amalgamation of Century Iron Mines Corp. and Century Iron Ore Holdings.

Pan Terra clinches African gold and copper deal

Mitchell Adam, President and CEO of Vancouver-based Pan Terra Industries announced on Thursday it has entered into a deal to acquire 80% of Namibia’s Congo Namibia Trading, a private gold and copper exploration company. Under Thursday's letter of intent, TSX-Venture listed Pan Terra will pay C$300,000 in cash and issue 3m shares as well as 3m share purchase warrants priced at C$0.73. Congo Namibia Trading holds 100% interest in five exclusive prospecting licenses in the Tsumeb Copper Belt in Namibia as well the rights to acquire 51% stake in an Angolan and a Zimbabwean gold joint venture.

Reuters: Quality issues threaten India iron ore sales to China

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.

Casablanca Mining narrows loss, increases assets

California-based Casablanca Mining reported first quarter results that consolidated the gains made by the exploration and intellectual property rights company in 2010. Total assets increased to $3.8m and net loss declined to $0.01/share. Construction of Sulfatos Chile Copper Sulfate plant using the company’s patented electrolysis extraction process was continued. Casablanca also said it is in negotiation to acquire further gold mining properties in Chile and has some 43-101 technical reports in progress.

Investors worried about bullion’s direction should look east

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.

Extorre’s Cerro Moro receives development go-ahead

TSX and Amex-listed Extorre Gold Mines took a step closer to the development of its flagship mine Cerro Moro in Argentina on Tuesday with the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment and the purchase of the 14,000 ha that cover the project. Extorre, which was spun out of Exeter Resource Corporation last year, said the Project Pre-Feasibility Study is expected in June 2011 and start-up for the high grade gold and silver mine is scheduled for 2012. Capital costs for the mine are some $130m and cash costs are estimated at $201/ounce. Extorre is worth close to $800m on the TSX and is sitting on roughly $33m in cash. The company also owns the Don Sixto projects, and other mineral exploration properties in Argentina.
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ANIMATION: Gold ETF winners and losers since 2003

Since its inception 16 years ago the industry has grown to 110 physically-backed ETFs holding gold worth $115 billion.