Asia Top Stories

Freeport to yield control of giant Grasberg copper mine to Indonesia

The company has greed to reduce its stake in the…

Glencore to offload second coal mine in Australia in less than three months

Decision comes as the Swiss-based miner and commodities trader rethinks…

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Indonesia to review all existing mining permits as new mining regulations passed

Indonesia will audit over 8,000 existing mining permits to make sure they are in line with mining and environmental laws, the country's finance minister said on Monday, days after the country passed new regulations on environmental protection. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last week signed a two-year moratorium on permits for logging and another decree allowing underground mining in protected forests if conditions such as an environmental assessment had been met.

Bloomberg: GVK said to be in talks to borrow $850m for Australia’s Hancock mines

Bloomberg reports on Thursday that GVK Power & Infrastructure, a builder of airports and utilities controlled by Indian billionaire GV Krishna Reddy, is in talks to borrow as much as $850m to fund the purchase of two Hancock Prospecting coal mines according to people with knowledge of the negotiations. GVK will use the money to pay Hancock $500m for equity in the mines and another $350m as compensation for costs incurred by the Australian company for running them.

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.

India Net Polished Exports $553M in April

Gross exports of polished diamonds from India continue to grow, rising 5.5% year over year. In April the country exported nearly 5 million carats worth $2.05 billion, according to the latest figures published by the GJEPC.

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.

Los Angeles Times uncovers child labour in India’s coal mines

Los Angeles Times published a photo essay on May 14 looking at child labour in the coal mines located in India: "Times South Asia bureau chief Mark Magnier and photojournalist Daniel Berehulak report on the mining situation in the Jaintia Hills district of India, located in the northeastern state of Meghalaya. Perhaps as many as thousands of underage workers as young as 8, lured by the wages, leave school to work in coal mines under perilous conditions."

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.

Errant Indian diamond exporters to face the heat

In a move meant to curtail fake diamond exports and the round tripping of funds and diamonds indulged in by some nefarious diamond merchants, India's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, has reduced the term of letters of credit for the import of diamonds into the country. An immediate consequence of reducing the term, to 90 days instead of one year, will ensure that diamond importers cannot earn interest arbitrage on their packages.