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Posts tagged ‘Southridge Enterprises Inc (SRGE)’

Week in review

February 15th, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for February 9 to 15, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Negligence, aging infrastructure behind Russian mining disasters

Just two days after at least 18 people died in Russia’s latest coal mining accident, an investigation wrapped up into a much bigger disaster that took place in 2007. Six mine employees and three government officials now face criminal charges for safety violations causing a methane gas explosion that killed 110 workers, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.

Negligence, aging infrastructure behind Russian mining disasters

Monday’s Komi mine disaster took place 1,200 miles from Moscow
in “a grim part of northern Russia that was initially developed as
part of the Gulag system of labour camps.”

Methane gas has been blamed for Monday’s Komi accident as well, although some sources also point to aging infrastructure. The Komi blast took place about 800 metres underground in “a grim part of northern Russia that was initially developed as part of the Gulag system of labour camps,” the Independent stated. About 250 miners were present. In 2010 another Russian mine disaster claimed over 60 lives.

On Friday the owner of the Komi mine, Russian steel giant Severstal, announced production had resumed.

RIA Novosti published an infographic illustrating the danger of methane gas.

Some improvement in China despite high death toll

A death-to-tonnage ratio paints a disturbing picture of Chinese mine safety. For every 100 million tonnes of coal produced in the country last year, 37 workers died, China Daily reported on Tuesday. Citing government sources, the paper said the death rate was down “from 56.4 deaths per 100 million tonnes of coal output in 2011, but still well above the U.S. level of 1.9 in 2011.” Coal mining accidents killed 1,384 last year compared to 1,973 in 2011, the paper added.

So far this year China has had at least 45 people die in coal mining accidents with seven others missing, according to the U.S. Mine Rescue Association. The organization attributes its info to news reports that “do not represent the actual total number of miners killed or missing in China mine disasters.”

Would-be miner to sue B.C. government

Pacific Booker Minerals TSXV:BKM has hired a lawyer “to advance litigation against the province of British Columbia” for rejecting its proposed Morrison copper-gold-molybdenum mine, the company announced on Wednesday. Last October two B.C. ministries denied the project an environmental assessment certificate even though it passed an environmental assessment review.

De Beers blockade typifies Canada’s country risk

One native blockade ended February 7 only to be replaced by another three days later. On Sunday a new group of about 16 protestors prevented winter convoys from reaching De Beers’ Victor diamond mine in northeastern Ontario. By Friday afternoon the company was reportedly in court asking for an injunction.

The blockades struck at a crucial time when a winter road allows approximately 45 days to haul heavy equipment, fuel and other supplies to the isolated location. The rest of the year the ground is too soft. As a result, De Beers spokesperson Tom Ormsby said the blockades could “jeopardize the health and safety of our employees and the future of the mine,” the Toronto Sun reported on Friday.

The grievances seem to stem from a 2005 impact benefit agreement with the Attawapiskat native community 90 kilometres away. Paraphrasing Ormsby, the Timmins Daily Press wrote, “Sometimes it’s because someone who was dismissed wants to be rehired, or they feel they are owed money from a contractor or they are not being compensated properly for their trap line.”

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Fortnight in review

January 4th, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for December 22, 2012, to January 4, 2013

by Greg Klein

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To accommodate the Christmas/New Year publishing schedule, this review covers two weeks.

From risk to risk

“Although some companies and the province laud Ontario as being one of the best mining-friendly jurisdictions in the world,” that reputation is changing, according to a Thunder Bay-based drilling contractor. In the January 2 edition of Northern Ontario Business, Barb Courte, president of Cobra Drilling and North Star Drilling, said the province is facing a downturn in early-stage exploration.

The article stated, “In conversation with her industry colleagues, Ontario is considered a ‘risk area’ for investment, based on some high-profile First Nations-industry conflicts, along with the uncertainty of how the new Mining Act plans and permits regulations will play out.”

Regulations that take full effect in April will give native bands more power to block drilling on Crown land.

A mining and exploration retrospect

Courte told Northern Ontario Business her companies did well in 2012 but business has now dropped by about 50%.

A supplier dates the drilling downturn to last April. Hugh Paxton, GM of Wire Rope Industries Distribution, told the paper, “It’s the lowest numbers we’ve seen for drilling supplies since we’ve been [in] it for the last four years.”

Courte, meanwhile, hopes to make up for lost business in the Caribbean. Unigold TSXV:UGD has contracted her to send four drills to the Dominican Republic in autumn and she’s getting inquiries from other companies operating in the country, the story stated.

Unigold calls the country a “premier mining destination.” The company’s most recent (November 28) news release stated the government “supports development and exploration in the mining sector. In addition, the country has well-established mining laws and environmental laws.”

Two days later, however, Mining Weekly offered a different perspective. A spokesperson for the Xstrata Nickel subsidiary Falcondo told the publication, “Security in the country has seen a gradual deterioration, which has forced us to significantly increase our security costs. They have tripled in the past few years.”

Mining Weekly added, “Dominican President Danilo Medina has acknowledged the problems and promised in a televised speech to the nation on [November 27] to improve security and reform the country’s police force. According to the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Index released in October, the Dominican Republic ranked 143rd out of 144 countries worldwide in reliability of its police force.”

New mega-company consolidating China’s rare earths production

A planned 12-company takeover could mark the first step in creating “a massive rare earth enterprise that will integrate light rare earth resources” in northern China. According to a December 28 China Daily article, newly signed framework agreements would have the companies and their shareholders hand over a combined 51% interest for free to the Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Hi-Tech Co (REHT). In return, REHT would provide management, technology and funding, while setting production and export quotas. The agreement allows one year for the deals to be consummated.

“If the first step goes well, REHT will eventually team up with major rare earth producers in Gansu, Sichuan and Shandong provinces to form the China North Rare Earth Hi-Tech Co,” China Daily reported. “Authorities expect bigger enterprises to churn out products with higher added value and shoulder more responsibility in environmental protection.”

With just 23% of the world’s rare earths reserves, China supplies over 90% of global demand, the paper added.

Can placer miners meet B.C.’s environmental code?

An enduring legacy of the Fraser and Cariboo gold rushes, placer mining remains a British Columbian institution. But now that a forgotten 2011 environmental report has come to light, the miners are worried.

An audit from B.C.’s Ministry of the Environment found 74% of 23 placer operations inspected in 2010 didn’t comply with land restoration requirements and 43% of miners “were also working in streams without authorization,” the Vancouver Sun reported on December 26.

“The placer mines range from one-person operations to larger operations that employ dozens of people and use heavy equipment to extract gold from sand and gravel,” said the story.

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