Friday 9th December 2016

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘india’

Cash ban hits India’s diamond capital, threatens lower-priced trade

December 2nd, 2016

by Greg Klein | December 2, 2016

India’s sudden ban on 500- and 1,000-rupee notes early last month has suspended at least some operations in the northwestern city of Surat, the world capital of diamond cutting and polishing. Various sources credit the city with transforming approximately 80% of the globe’s rough into jewelry. India is also the world’s third-largest consumer of diamond-ensconced bling.

Cash ban hits India’s diamond capital, threatens lower-priced trade

NDTV reports businesses closing as the lack of cash prevents them from buying rough and paying employees. The government ordered citizens to deposit the notes, worth about $9.77 and $19.54 Canadian, and conduct transactions electronically.

Governments that have limited the use of cash have cited the need to combat terrorism, money laundering, corruption, counterfeiting, tax evasion and the underground economy. Rapaport News stated India’s underground economy constituted 23.2% of GDP, according to 2007 data in the latest World Bank survey.

Only about 30% of Surat’s diamond cutters have bank accounts, NDTV added.

“This industry has been working on an illegal mode of payment in cash until now and to shift to a cashless system will take at least four to six months,” one business owner told the news outlet. But he stated the government decree will eventually benefit merchants and workers. Another source said he expects the suspension to last at least one and a half months.

The two denominations reportedly accounted for 85% or 86% of Indian money in circulation. “The liquidity freeze could influence a global slowdown in demand for lower colour and clarity polished, and in very small melee stones,” Rapaport stated.

Following the first tender of Quebec diamonds in Antwerp last month, Stornoway Diamond TSX:SWY president/CEO Matt Manson attributed India’s demonetization to reduced prices and demand for smaller and lower-quality stones. He said some were removed from the event, to be sold later.

India’s government plans to issue new denominations of 500 and 2,000 rupees. But, NDTV reported December 2, an enormous hoard of contraband seized from a group of low-paid government employees included 57 million rupees (in Canuck terms, over $1.11 million) in so-far uncirculated 2,000-rupee notes.

Pushing the boundaries

October 12th, 2016

Technology opens new mining frontiers, sometimes challenging human endurance

by Greg Klein

This is the second of a two-part feature. See Part 1.

“Deep underground, deep sky and deep sea” comprise the lofty goals of Three Deep, a five-year program announced last month by China’s Ministry of Land and Resources. Part 1 of this feature looked at the country’s ambitions to take mineral exploration deeper than ever on land, at sea and into the heavens, and also outlined other countries’ space programs related to mineral exploration. Part 2 delves into undersea mining as well as some of the world’s deepest mines.

Looking to the ocean depths, undersea mining has had tangible success. De Beers has been scooping up alluvial diamonds off southwestern Africa for decades, although at shallow depths. Through NamDeb, a 50/50 JV with Namibia, a fleet of six boats mines the world’s largest-known placer diamond deposit, about 20 kilometres offshore and 150 metres deep.

Technology opens new mining frontiers, sometimes pushing human endurance

Workers at AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng operation
must withstand the heat of deep underground mining.

Diamond Fields International TSXV:DFI hopes to return to its offshore Namibian claims, where the company extracted alluvial stones between 2005 and 2008. The company also holds a 50.1% interest in Atlantis II, a zinc-copper-silver deposit contained in Red Sea sediments. That project’s now on hold pending a dispute with the Saudi Arabian JV partner.

With deeper, more technologically advanced ambitions, Nautilus Minerals TSX:NUS holds a mining licence for its 85%-held Solwara 1 project in Papua New Guinea waters. A seafloor massive sulphide deposit at an average depth of 1,550 metres, its grades explain the company’s motivation. The project has a 2012 resource using a 2.6% copper-equivalent cutoff, with the Solwara 1 and 1 North areas showing:

  • indicated: 1.03 million tonnes averaging 7.2% copper, 5 g/t gold, 23 g/t silver and 0.4% zinc

  • inferred: 1.54 million tonnes averaging 8.1% copper, 6.4 g/t gold, 34 g/t silver and 0.9% zinc

Using the same cutoff, the Solwara 12 zone shows:

  • inferred: 2.3 million tonnes averaging 7.3% copper, 3.6 g/t gold, 56 g/t silver and 3.6% zinc
Technology opens new mining frontiers, sometimes pushing human endurance

This Nautilus diagram illustrates
the proposed Solwara operation.

A company video shows how Nautilus had hoped to operate “the world’s first commercial high-grade seafloor copper-gold mine” beginning in 2018 using existing technology from land-based mining and offshore oil and gas. Now, should financial restructuring succeed, Nautilus says it could begin deployment and testing by the end of Q1 2019.

Last May Nautilus released a resource update for the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone in the central Pacific waters of Tonga.

Another deep-sea hopeful, Ocean Minerals last month received approval from the Cook Islands to explore a 12,000-square-kilometre seabed expanse for rare earths in sediments.

A pioneer in undersea exploration, Japan’s getting ready for the next step, according to Bloomberg. A consortium including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal will begin pilot mining in Chinese-contested waters off Okinawa next April, the news agency stated. “Japan has confirmed the deposit has about 7.4 million tons of ore,” Bloomberg added, without specifying what kind of ore.

Scientists are analyzing data from the central Indian Ocean where nodules show signs of copper, nickel and manganese, the Times of India reported in January. The country has a remotely operated vehicle capable of an unusually deep 6,000 metres and is working on undersea mining technology.

In August the World Nuclear News stated Russia is considering a nuclear-powered submarine to explore northern seas for mineral deposits. A government report said the sub’s R&D could put the project on par with the country’s space industry, the WNN added.

If one project alone could justify China’s undersea ambitions, it might be a 470.47-ton gold deposit announced last November. Lying at 2,000 metres’ depth off northern China, the bounty was delineated by 1,000 workers and 120 kilometres of drilling from 67 sea platforms over three years, the People’s Daily reported. Laizhou Rehi Mining hopes to extract the stuff, according to China Daily.

China’s deep underground ambitions might bring innovation to exploration but have been long preceded by actual mining in South Africa—although not without problems, as the country’s deplorable safety record shows. Greater depths bring greater threats from rockfalls and mini-earthquakes.

At 3.9 kilometres’ depth AngloGold Ashanti’s (NYSE:AU) Mponeng holds status as the world’s deepest mine. Five other mines within 50 kilometres of Johannesburg work from at least three kilometres’ depth, where “rock temperatures can reach 60 degrees Celsius, enough to fry an egg,” according to a Bloomberg article posted by Mineweb.com.

In his 2013 book Gold: The Race for the World’s Most Seductive Metal, Matthew Hart recounts a visit to Mponeng, where he’s told a “seismic event” shakes the mine 600 times a month.

Sometimes the quakes cause rockbursts, when rock explodes into a mining cavity and mows men down with a deadly spray of jagged rock. Sometimes a tremor causes a “fall of ground”—the term for a collapse. Some of the rockbursts had been so powerful that other countries, detecting the seismic signature, had suspected South Africa of testing a nuclear bomb.

AngloGold subjects job-seekers to a heat-endurance test, Hart explains.

In a special chamber, applicants perform step exercises while technicians monitor them. The test chamber is kept at a “wet” temperature of eighty-two degrees. The high humidity makes it feel like ninety-six. “We are trying to force the body’s thermoregulatory system to kick in,” said Zahan Eloff, an occupational health physician. “If your body cools itself efficiently, you are safe to go underground for a fourteen-day trial, and if that goes well, cleared to work.”

Clearly there’s more than technological challenges to mining the deeps.

By the way, credit for the world’s deepest drilling goes to Russia, which spent 24 years sinking the Kola Superdeep Bore Hole to 12,261 metres, halfway to the mantle. Work was halted by temperatures of 180 degrees Celsius.

This is the second of a two-part feature. See Part 1.

June 13th, 2016

Limestone: Commodity overview Geology for Investors
Is India the new China? Stockhouse
Texas is waging a new battle—against the entire financial system Equities.com
Lithium penny stock soars on sample results SmallCapPower
Bank of Montreal warns against other banks in gold business GoldSeek
U.S. jobs report changes the landscape for gold Streetwise Reports
Elon Musk: Our lithium-ion batteries should be called nickel-graphite Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
Dissecting lithium battery technology Industrial Minerals
Lithium in Las Vegas: A closer look at the lithium bull The Disruptive Discoveries Journal
A tale of two gluts: Oil and ore approach $50 on opposite paths NAI 500

June 10th, 2016

The central African copper belt Geology for Investors
Is India the new China? Stockhouse
Texas is waging a new battle—against the entire financial system Equities.com
Lithium penny stock soars on sample results SmallCapPower
Bank of Montreal warns against other banks in gold business GoldSeek
U.S. jobs report changes the landscape for gold Streetwise Reports
Elon Musk: Our lithium-ion batteries should be called nickel-graphite Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
Dissecting lithium battery technology Industrial Minerals
Lithium in Las Vegas: A closer look at the lithium bull The Disruptive Discoveries Journal
A tale of two gluts: Oil and ore approach $50 on opposite paths NAI 500

June 8th, 2016

Is India the new China? Stockhouse
Texas is waging a new battle—against the entire financial system Equities.com
Lithium penny stock soars on sample results SmallCapPower
Bank of Montreal warns against other banks in gold business GoldSeek
U.S. jobs report changes the landscape for gold Streetwise Reports
Elon Musk: Our lithium-ion batteries should be called nickel-graphite Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
Dissecting lithium battery technology Industrial Minerals
Lithium in Las Vegas: A closer look at the lithium bull The Disruptive Discoveries Journal
A tale of two gluts: Oil and ore approach $50 on opposite paths NAI 500

Nuclear power to nearly double by 2040: U.S. Energy Information Administration

May 16th, 2016

by Greg Klein | May 16, 2016

Projected to grow 2.4% annually, nuclear power will remain one of the most important means of generating electricity, says a new report. With last week’s release of International Energy Outlook 2016, the U.S. Energy Information Administration looked at energy markets from 2012 to 2040. Electricity continues to be “the world’s fastest-growing form of end-use energy consumption.”

Nuclear power to nearly double by 2040

The report foresees world net electricity generation increasing 69% by 2040, from 21.6 trillion kilowatt-hours in 2012 to 25.8 trillion kWh in 2020 and 36.5 trillion kWh in 2040.

Renewables will be the fastest-growing source of electricity, with annual increases averaging 2.9%. Natural gas follows with 2.7% a year, then nuclear with 2.4% a year. That increase would almost double nuclear generation from 2.3 trillion kWh in 2012 to 4.5 trillion kWh in 2040.

The EIA sees most of nuclear’s increase coming from emerging countries outside the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The only OECD nation planning a significant increase is South Korea, with an additional 15 GW. Despite that, reductions in Canada, OECD Europe and Japan would cut total OECD nuclear capacity by six GW.

The trend changes radically with non-OECD countries, especially China, India, other Asian economies and the Middle East. The report sees 9.6% average growth in China, adding 139 GW from 2012 to 2040. India would expand by 7.9% for 36 GW. Other non-OECD Asian economies would average 2.9% to add eight GW. Even the oil-rich Middle East would increase nuclear capacity from less than one GW in 2012 to 22 GW in 2030, according to the report.

Uranium prices, however, seem oblivious to such robust projections. At a shareholders meeting last week, Cameco Corp TSX:CCO president/CEO Tim Gitzel bemoaned “levels not seen since 2005.” Having put Rabbit Lake on care and maintenance the previous month, the miner cut its 2016 guidance from 30 million pounds to 25.7 million pounds U3O8.

But noting that the world has more than 60 reactors under construction, Gitzel predicted demand rising about 3% annually, from 170 million pounds this year to 220 million in 2025. “That equates to about three to four more Cigar Lakes being required over those same 10 years—not an easy task, as we know by experience.”

The EIA concedes its projections “are not statements of what will happen, but what might happen given the specific assumptions and methodologies used for any particular scenario.”

Download International Energy Outlook 2016.

Another overwhelming election victory for the Saskatchewan Party

April 4th, 2016

by Greg Klein | April 4, 2016

Updated results:

  • Saskatchewan Party 51 seats, 62.63% of the popular vote
  • New Democratic Party 10 seats, 30.36%

Pollsters must be as happy as Saskatchewan Party supporters to see Brad Wall’s group win a predicted third consecutive landslide. The results might suggest a continued status quo for a province that’s held second place for two years in the Fraser Institute’s most important index of mining jurisdictions globally. Saskatchewan has stayed in the top six for the last five years.

Another overwhelming election victory for the Saskatchewan Party

Mining-friendly Saskatchewan once
again carried Brad Wall to victory.
Photo: Saskatchewan Party

The province’s Athabasca Basin region hosts the world’s highest uranium grades, while potash resources farther south also rank among the world’s most important. According to the Saskatchewan Party, the province’s mineral sales rose more than 90% from $4.4 billion in 2007 to an estimated $8.3 billion in 2015.

During the campaign, the party credited itself with promoting the province’s uranium to China and India. The latter country resumed imports last year after Ottawa lifted a previous ban on sales to that country.

Wall has said he’d support federal legislation that would allow foreign companies to hold a majority stake in Canadian uranium mines. But in 2010, his party successfully lobbied Ottawa to block BHP Billiton’s (NYSE:BHP) attempted takeover of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan TSX:POT.

Wall opposes resource revenue-sharing for natives, saying “that money belongs to everyone equally.” But the opposition NDP hasn’t supported such a policy either.

Meanwhile there’s speculation that the supposedly “arch-conservative” Wall might avoid new taxes by launching a post-election deficit budget for a province hit hard by the oil downturn. There are also rumours, according to the National Post, that he’s studying French.

Could that mean an enthusiasm for the French cuisine of Swift Current? An effort to incorporate existentialism into Saskatchewanian political discourse? Or, as the NP wonders, does Wall harbour federal ambitions?

February 10th, 2016

Joe Reagor’s equity picks for patient pickers Streetwise Reports
The surprising new case for gold NAI 500
Does Canada have the Holy Grail of regulated crowdfunding? Equities Canada
Recession on the horizon? Look at the big picture GoldSeek
Indian refractories: Bearish or better in 2016? Industrial Minerals
How short-sellers are killing companies—and the market Stockhouse

February 8th, 2016

Joe Reagor’s equity picks for patient pickers Streetwise Reports
The surprising new case for gold NAI 500
Does Canada have the Holy Grail of regulated crowdfunding? Equities Canada
Recession on the horizon? Look at the big picture GoldSeek
Indian refractories: Bearish or better in 2016? Industrial Minerals
How short-sellers are killing companies—and the market Stockhouse

February 5th, 2016

The surprising new case for gold NAI 500
Does Canada have the Holy Grail of regulated crowdfunding? Equities Canada
Recession on the horizon? Look at the big picture GoldSeek
Indian refractories: Bearish or better in 2016? Industrial Minerals
How to profit from the demands of a growing world population Streetwise Reports
How short-sellers are killing companies—and the market Stockhouse