Asia Top Stories

Precious metals, nickel, zinc likely to outperform over next 2 years — analysts

The commodity research teams at Macquarie and Barclays, however, are…

US miner goes after rare earths in the Cook Islands

Texas-based Ocean Minerals says the area is also rich in…

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In northeast India, children are lured into coal mining

The young miners descend on rickety ladders made of branches into the makeshift coal mines dotting Jaintia Hills in northeast India, scrambling sideways into “rat hole” shafts so small that even kneeling becomes impossible. Lying horizontally, they hack away with picks and their bare hands: Human labor here is far cheaper than machines. Many wear flip-flops and shorts, their faces and lungs blackened by coal. None has a helmet. Two hours of grinding work fills a cart half the size of a coffin that they drag back, crouching, to the mine mouth, where a clerk credits their work. Most earn a dollar or two an hour.

As gold reaches another record high in India doubts begin to creep in

Gold reached another peak in Saturday trading in India, the world's largest consumer of the precious metal, and is now within reach of the psychologically important level of 30,000 rupees. Bullion hit an all time record on Friday in New York and is already up more than 30% in 2011, after a decade of annual gains. India's imports could hit a record high of 1,000 tons this year the president of the Bombay Bullion Association told reporters at a major gold conference in Kovalam in south India, but others struck a more cautious note with Scotia Mocatta, a leading Asian precious metal trader, saying imports could fall 20% as higher prices scare of retail buyers. Consumption in India last year drove Indian bullion imports to the highest ever at 958 tons, according to the World Gold Council.

Miners reel after Papua New Guinea ownership bombshell

In a surprise announcement Papua New Guinea on Friday introduced a plan to hand state ownership of mineral and energy resources to landowners, a move that may prove disastrous to foreign miners developing massive projects and pushing into new regions of the resource-rich country. The announcement by PNG's new leader comes ahead of elections in 2012 that many observers have warned is bound to lead to civil unrest. The move may also derail PNG's economy which is booming with growth this year expected to reach 11%. The mining industry employs roughly 30,000 people and supplies 80% of export earnings.

Newcrest wants all of billion tonne Wafi-Golpu

Mining Review reports Newcrest Mining CEO Greg Robinson told reporters on Friday it would acquire Harmony Gold Mining’s 50% stake in their massive Wafi-Golpu joint venture in Papua New Guinea if it was for sale. Last month Harmony Gold upgraded the resource estimate for Wafi-Golpu increasing it by 57% to over 1 billion metric tons, making it one of the highest grade copper-gold porphyry systems on the planet. Rumours about a possible sale by Harmony have been swirling for months and estimates of the value of the mine forecast to start production only in 2017 have bounced up and down with one investment bank pegging it at $9.9 billion.

Asian axis of India and China continues to advance gold demand

Gold’s strong start to the year was reinforced during the second quarter of 2011 where total global gold demand measured 919.8 tonnes (t), worth a near-record US$44.5bn, with broad-based support across all sectors and geographies. Standout markets were India and China, as these two markets accounted for 52% of total bar and coin investment and 55% of global jewellery demand, the World Gold Council announced today. Despite a higher gold price, Indian and Chinese demand grew 38% and 25% respectively during Q2 2011 compared to the same period of 2010. This growth is likely to continue, due to increasing levels of economic prosperity, high levels of inflation and forthcoming key gold purchasing festivals.

India fails to enter brave new world of iron ore trading

India’s iron ore exports could halve over the next five years as the country feeds the expansion of its steel industry and resource nationalism becomes a big driver of policy in Delhi. Lower shipments from India, which exports almost half the 200 million tonnes it produces, should help bolster prices that have more than tripled in three years before massive Australian projects come on stream around 2014. The global trade in iron ore which not long ago featured antiquated annual contracts and secretive pricing has been transformed and Singapore will this week launch the first global iron ore futures contract.

Copper steady as Japan data, soft dollar support

Copper was steady on Monday, supported by glimmers of economic resilience in Japan, a drawdown in inventories of the metal, and a softer dollar, but investors were wary after wild market swings last week.

Film mines rich seams of history

Hiroko Kumagai will never forget the day in 1998 when she first stepped inside the red-brick building at the entrance to the closed and shuttered Miyahara shaft in the Miike coal mine. Image from YouTube