Thursday 27th October 2016

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘tin’

Vancouver Commodity Forum adds speakers: Gerald McCarvill, Jon Hykawy and Joe Martin

May 30th, 2016

by Greg Klein | May 30, 2016

Three more names bring additional expertise and insight to the June 14 Vancouver Commodity Forum. Prince Arthur Capital chairperson/CEO Gerald McCarvill, Stormcrow Capital president/director Jon Hykawy and Cambridge House International founder Joe Martin will address the conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Already booked are Chris Berry of the Disruptive Discoveries Journal, John Kaiser of Kaiser Research Online and Stephan Bogner of Rockstone Research.

Vancouver Commodity Forum adds speakers Gerald McCarvill, Jon Hykawy and Joe Martin

The speaker lineup grows as the June 14 Vancouver event approaches.

McCarvill’s 30-year CV includes conducting mining and energy projects globally, as well as private equity and finance transactions. Among other career highlights, he helped establish Repadre Capital, now IAMGOLD TSX:IMG, and Desert Sun Mining, later acquired by Yamana Gold TSX:YRI. McCarvill also helped develop and finance Consolidated Thompson Iron Ore from a $2-million entry valuation to its $4.9-billion sale to Cliffs Natural Resources NYSE:CLF.

An expert in areas such as lithium, rare earths, fluorspar and tin, Hykawy combines a 14-year Bay Street background with an MBA in marketing, along with post-doctoral work as a physicist with Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories and the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. His technical background also includes work on rechargeable batteries and fuel cells, as well as wind and solar energy.

Starting off in business journalism, Martin created BC Business magazine, then founded Cambridge House International to present some of the world’s largest mining/exploration conferences. He remains active in semi-retirement as a prominent advocate for investment regulatory reform.

The Vancouver Commodity Forum also features a range of companies pursuing lithium, uranium, rare earths, gold, nickel, copper, diamonds, jade, scandium, zeolite, magnesium and potash. Click here for free registration.

Interview: Chris Berry discusses the lithium boom.

Strongbow Exploration wants to revive Cornwall’s last tin mine

March 17th, 2016

by Greg Klein | March 17, 2016

Four millennia of mining have yet to exhaust this region’s potential, Strongbow Exploration TSXV:SBW believes. On March 17 the company announced an agreement to acquire Cornwall’s South Crofty tin project, a past-producer dating to the 16th century.

The mine had already begun production by 1592, Wikipedia states, reaching large-scale production in the mid-17th century and continuing operations until 1998. According to another Wikipedia post, its closure marked the end of Cornish mining, which began circa 2150 BC.

Strongbow Exploration wants to revive Cornwall’s last tin mine

By 2012, extensions to South Crofty covered 34 earlier mines.

Some historians have attributed Rome’s AD 43 invasion of Britain to the empire’s lust for tin.

Declining metal prices during the late 19th century shut down many Cornish operations, coinciding with the Great Migration of 1815 to 1915, when the county lost 250,000 to 500,000 people, according to the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. The region’s miners, known as Cousin Jacks, brought their skills and technology to at least 175 locations across six continents, the organization adds.

Strongbow’s grasp of history seems a tad confused, though. At one point its press release says Cornwall’s tin mining history lasted over 400 years. Later, the communiqué says mining took place “since at least 2300 BC.” Nevertheless president/CEO Richard Williams said South Crofty “represents one of the best tin opportunities currently available globally.”

Other companies have tried to revive the mine, Strongbow acknowledges. The project comes with a mining permit valid until 2071, “subject to certain planning conditions being met.”

The company plans to evaluate tin mineralization occurring about 400 metres below surface and expects to release a resource estimate within two weeks.

The deal would have Strongbow make a series of payments and share issues to Galena Special Situations Fund, the creditor of the companies holding rights to South Crofty, as well as payments to Tin Shield Production, which would forego its option to acquire the project.

Last July Strongbow picked up two tin projects in Alaska, Sleitat and Coal Creek. Earlier this month the company closed its purchase from Teck Resources TSX:TCK.A and TCK.B of two royalties on the Mactung and Cantung projects formerly of North American Tungsten TSXV:NTC, which is now under creditor protection.

92 Resources pursues lithium with NWT property acquisition

March 1st, 2016

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2016

The search for energy minerals draws 92 Resources TSXV:NTY to the Northwest Territories with a purchase agreement announced March 1. The object of desire is a 100% interest in Hidden Lake, described as highly prospective for spodumene-bearing lithium pegmatites. The 1,100-hectare property sits about 40 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, just off Highway 4.

92 Resources pursues lithium with NWT property acquisition

Electric vehicles present a bullish case for lithium-ion
batteries, but energy storage inspires even greater forecasts.

Previous work mapped and sampled the property’s LU#12 pegmatite over an exposure measuring about 10 metres by 300 metres. Historic, non-43-101 results for seven samples from surface trenches ranged between 1.37% and 3.01% lithium oxide. “The very high grades of lithium were attributed to observed concentrations of coarse-grained spodumene,” the company explained.

“Spodumene-bearing pegmatites continue to be an important supply of lithium despite the advent of low-cost production from lithium brine deposits in South America in the mid-1990s,” 92 Resources stated.

“As the demand for lithium is increasing, other pegmatite deposits around the world are gaining attention. In many lithium pegmatite districts, including the Yellowknife district, other rare and specialty metals have been recovered. Tin, beryllium, tantalum and niobium are often associated with spodumene pegmatite deposits.”

With a private placement of up to $300,000 on offer, the company hopes to get on the field as soon as weather allows. Initial work would consist of mapping and sampling the project’s known pegmatites to determine grade, mineralogy and surface dimensions.

The 100% interest would close on completing a series of payments to Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC and two of its prospecting partners. The price consists of a $5,000 deposit, two million shares on regulatory approval, $50,000 within 30 days of approval, another $35,000 and two million shares a year later, $250,000 of exploration expenditures by September 30, 2016, and another $250,000 of spending by May 31, 2017.

A 2% NSR applies, of which 92 Resources may buy half for $2 million.

As massive expansion takes place in manufacturing facilities for batteries used in power tools, consumer electronics, electric vehicles and energy storage, lithium demand has attracted highly bullish forecasts. Read more.

Major car and phone companies might rely on child labour for cobalt: Amnesty International

January 19th, 2016

by Greg Klein | January 19, 2016

Major car and phone companies might rely on child labour for cobalt: Amnesty International

(Graphic: Amnesty International)


Children as young as seven in the Democratic Republic of Congo toil in perilous conditions to produce cobalt for lithium-ion batteries, according to an Amnesty International report released January 19. The study casts a pall on companies like Apple, Samsung and Sony which “are failing to do basic checks to ensure that cobalt mined by child labourers has not been used in their products,” the organization alleged.

Child miners work up to 12 hours daily in dangerous conditions, making between $1 and $2 a day, the report states. “In 2014 approximately 40,000 children worked in mines across southern DRC, many of them mining cobalt, according to UNICEF.” Most of the workers lack protective clothing to guard against lung or skin disease.

“It is a major paradox of the digital era that some of the world’s richest, most innovative companies are able to market incredibly sophisticated devices without being required to show where they source raw materials for their components,” said Emmanuel Umpula, executive director of Africa Resources Watch, which collaborated with Amnesty on the report. “The abuses in mines remain out of sight and out of mind because in today’s global marketplace consumers have no idea about the conditions at the mine, factory and assembly line.”

The global cobalt market is unregulated, Amnesty stated, and unlike the DRC’s gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten, cobalt falls outside American conflict minerals rules.

The report charges that Chinese mineral giant Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Ltd and its subsidiary Congo Dongfang Mining “buy cobalt from areas where child labour is rife,” process it and sell it to three battery component manufacturers in China and South Korea. “In turn, they sell to battery makers who claim to supply technology and car companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, Daimler and Volkswagen.”

Amnesty said it contacted 16 multinationals listed as customers of the battery manufacturers. “One company admitted the connection, while four were unable to say for certain whether they were buying cobalt from the DRC or Huayou Cobalt. Six said they were investigating the claims. Five denied sourcing cobalt from … Huayou Cobalt, though they are listed as customers in the company documents of battery manufacturers. Two multinationals denied sourcing cobalt from DRC. Crucially, none provided enough details to independently verify where the cobalt in their products came from.”

The DRC produces at least half of the world’s cobalt, with about 20% of the country’s output coming from artisanal mines, Amnesty stated. According to numbers reported in October by Chris Berry, “cobalt demand is growing by 6% overall with demand in the battery supply chain growing by some estimates at a cumulative annual growth rate of 10% out to 2020…. This is driven almost exclusively by cobalt’s use in the cathode of the lithium-ion battery.”

In responses to the CBC, Apple and Sony said they were investigating their sources while Samsung denied doing business with CDM or Huayou Cobalt. Daimler replied, “We neither source from the DRC or the mentioned companies directly.” Volkswagen stated “to our best knowledge” the company doesn’t use cobalt from CDM, Huayou Cobalt or the DRC. “Microsoft said it is unable to confirm ‘with absolute assurance’ if its supply chain is involved,” CBC reported. “LG confirmed that Huayou is one of its suppliers of cobalt” providing material from the Katanga region of the DRC.

In The Elements of Power, a book published late last year, author David S. Abraham and MetalMiner publisher Lisa Reisman stated that long, complex supply lines prevent many major companies from knowing the origin of the minerals they use.

Download the Amnesty International report.

‘The Rare Metal Age’

December 23rd, 2015

Our high-tech society doesn’t understand its dependency on critical elements

by Greg Klein

Read this book and you might want to renounce technology to live in a cave—provided it’s equipped with battery rechargers. Author David S. Abraham brings out some of the paradoxes of our dependency on increasingly elusive minerals while explaining the complicated but murky background of interconnected economic, social and geopolitical forces. It might take an event comparable to OPEC’s 1973 oil embargo to jolt Western society out of its ignorance. Abraham tries to protect us from such a rude awakening with The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age.

“This book comes at a defining time when rare metals are increasingly critical for high-tech, green and military applications,” he declares. “Yet despite their prevalence, they are not understood.”

Our high-tech society doesn’t understand its dependency on critical elements

By rare metals he means rare earths, tantalum, niobium, lithium, cobalt, graphite and more. Having examined a decade’s worth of reports, he finds “more than half the elements on the periodic table are ‘critical’ to one country or another.”

Resources can be limited and the route from mine-to-market complex. As a case study he presents the electric toothbrush, comprised of roughly 35 metals and relying on “an extensive supply chain: miners like China’s Xiamen Tungsten to supply the metal; a plant in Estonia to process it; and metal traders in New York to provide the alloys to component manufacturers, who sell their wares to the toothbrush manufacturer. It is a web that spans six continents.”

That’s just one example. As the “electronification of everything” coincides with the growing aspirations of emerging economies, “the future of our high-tech goods may lie not in the limitations of our minds, but in our ability to secure the ingredients to produce them…. At no point in human history have we used more elements, in more combinations and in increasingly refined amounts. Our ingenuity will soon outpace our material supplies.”

Our high-tech society doesn’t understand its dependency on critical elements

Hardly limited to consumer luxuries, the metals are essential to uses ranging from green technology to medical instruments to the weapons systems behind a country’s national defence.

Yet sources of production can be frighteningly limited. Some 85% of the world’s niobium comes from Brazil’s Araxa mine, Abraham points out. “Relying on one country and one mine in particular is a risky proposition. A natural disaster, political changes or conflict such as we have seen in Congo can quickly create shortages.”

Then there’s the geopolitical power of countries holding scarce resources. That’s a lesson Japan learned quickly when it challenged China in a territorial dispute, only to lose access to rare earths.

In fact manufacturers from Japan and elsewhere have been relocating their operations to China to ensure supply. One academic tells Abraham that “over the next several decades, every high-tech system—from cars to solar panels—could very well be produced in China.”

Moving to another disturbing topic, Abraham looks at some conflict minerals.

In Colombia, FARC rebels, who have been fighting an insurgency against the government since 1987, produce tungsten from the depths of the Amazon jungle. In Democratic Republic of Congo, anti-government forces and rebel gangs make millions producing tungsten, tin and tantalum. In 2011, about 21% of the world’s tantalum supply came from regions in conflict and almost all of it was processed in China. On the twin Indonesian islands of Bangka and Belitung, bands of small-scale illegal miners dig up more than a third of the world’s tin from jet-black cassiterite minerals, and unknown amounts of other minerals like xenotime and monazite, which hold rare earth elements.

Even Apple notes that it does not have enough information to conclusively determine which country the minerals it uses come from.—David S. Abraham

Where’s that stuff going? Often into products we take for granted. Due to long, baffling supply lines, “a lot of companies have no idea whether or not they’re using conflict minerals,” MetalMiner publisher Lisa Reisman tells Abraham. The author adds, “Even Apple notes that it does not have enough information to conclusively determine which country the minerals it uses come from.”

Abraham tackles other topics as well, including the appalling environmental practices in mining regions like China’s Jiangxi province. Our footprint is there, he says, because “nearly all of your electronics contain specks of metals from those mines.”

Here in the West, our efforts to produce cleaner energy and more energy-efficient machines call for additional metals. “Mining is not antithetical to a green economy; it’s a necessity.”

People who follow resource-related topics will certainly appreciate Abraham’s insights. But other readers might find his book an especial eye-opener. It could make a suitable Christmas gift for any high-tech consumers or green activists who not only disdain mining but deludedly think they abjure the industry.

Unless they live in caves—without battery rechargers—they’re as much a part of the Rare Metal Age as anyone else.

EU prepares scheme to stem use of conflict minerals—report

February 5th, 2014

by Cecilia Jamasmie | February 5, 2014 | Reprinted by permission of

Karel De Gucht, the European Union’s trade chief, is ready to submit a voluntary certification scheme to the bloc’s lawmakers and governments aiming to prevent warlords funding their militias by selling minerals to European companies.

EU prepares scheme to stem use of conflict minerals—report

Regulation seeks to prevent warlords funding their militias
by selling minerals to European companies.
Photo: Julien Harneis via Flickr

The EU’s trade directorate had been expected to publish a regulation that would secure uniform compliance among coalition members—and beyond—by the end of last year. However it was delayed without explanation.

The proposed regulation would allegedly cover only gold and the “three Ts”—tin, tungsten and tantalum—leaving out diamonds, Reuters reports.

The EU is already a member of the Kimberley Process, a government, industry and civil society initiative set up in 2002 to control the use of rough diamonds that fund rebel movements and human rights abuses.

Analysts believe the Dodd-Frank Act provisions on source-checking materials acquired from the Democratic Republic of Congo or nearby have been a catalyst to international efforts to deal with the conflict minerals problem.

Dodd-Frank forced the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to create rules for addressing whether conflict minerals were benefitting armed groups in the DRC and introduced a due diligence certification plan, imposing companies to source-check materials.

The set of rules also caught European firms operating in the DRC in its net, and this in turn nudged the EU to come forward with its own proposal.

Reprinted by permission of

Indonesia ban rocks nickel market

January 13th, 2014

by Frik Els | January 12, 2014 | Reprinted by permission of

Indonesia rocked the mining world on January 12, putting into effect an outright ban on nickel, bauxite and tin ore exports.

The Asian nation is the world’s premier thermal coal and tin exporter and is also a gold and copper powerhouse, but the ban on nickel and bauxite ore would have the most dramatic effect on markets.

Last week Indonesian energy and resource ministry officials scrambled to ease provisions of the raw mineral export prohibition that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed into law on January 12, the most controversial decision of his 10-year presidency.

Indonesia dominates the nickel export business, accounting for over a fifth of global supply at an estimated 400,000 tonnes of contained metal. Chinese nickel pig iron producers imported more than 30 million tonnes of nickel ore from Indonesia last year and China’s aluminium smelters rely on Indonesia for 20% of their feedstock.

According to the latest rules under the ban, base metals including copper, manganese, lead, zinc and tin will be allowed to be exported in concentrate until 2017.

This benefits producers like Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold NYE:FCX, which operates the world’s third-largest copper mine at Grasberg in the West Papua province and warned about a 60% drop in output should copper form part of the ban. Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan and Newmont Mining NYE:NEM together account for 97% of Indonesia’s copper exports.

[The ban] is the biggest supply risk facing base metals in a long time. The market has been very complacent, thinking the Indonesians would backtrack.

However against expectations of a last-minute climbdown by authorities, the nickel and bauxite ore ban, as well as the prohibition of unprocessed exports of tin, chromium, gold and silver, went into effect January 12. quoted Gayle Berry, base metals analyst at UK bank Barclays earlier as saying the ban “is the biggest supply risk facing base metals in a long time. The market has been very complacent, thinking the Indonesians would backtrack.”

Privately owned Ibris Nickel last week announced it will cease operations in Indonesia, laying off 1,400 workers at its two-million-tonne-per-year mine. The nickel industry employs some 200,000 Indonesians across hundreds of small-scale operations.

Reuters reports the Indonesian Mineral Entrepreneurs Association said it planned to challenge the ban in the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court while almost 30,000 mine workers have been laid off, sparking protest in the capital Jakarta:

“We call on all mining workers to prepare to go on the streets and swarm the presidential palace if the government goes ahead with the implementation of the ban,” said Juan Forti Silalahi of the National Mine Workers Union in a statement on January 11.

So far the price of nickel has not reacted in a big way to the looming ban, but now all bets are off.



Three-months nickel on the LME retreated more than 20% in 2013 from opening levels of $17,450 and, after hitting a high of $18,700 in February, dropped to a four-year low in October amid an oversupplied market.

After a brief uptick in December to over $14,200, the steelmaking raw material last week fell back to the mid-$13,000s and on January 10 the contract closed at $13,725.

Even without the Indonesian ban, the prospects for nickel aren’t rosy.

Global output is forecast to rise for the first time to over two million tonnes in 2015. That’s up from 1.4 million tonnes in 2007.

Stockpiling of ore and metal in anticipation of Indonesian disruptions and the inexorable rise of nickel warehouse levels over the past two years—hitting a record 260,000 tonnes last week—have also kept prices subdued.



Indonesia, with a population of 240 million, goes to the polls for parliamentary elections in April and in July will choose a new president, so much can change over the course of the year before the true extent of the ban can be felt.

Reprinted by permission of

A look at the mines funding warlords in the DRC

November 21st, 2013

by Ana Komnenic | November 21, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

The eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has long been recognized as a major source of conflict minerals.

Although the DRC’s natural wealth is an important source of income, it also presents a classic example of a resource curse. Militia groups control the country’s mines, fuelling conflicts with profits derived from mineral sales.

In an effort to expose and monitor these mining operations, a Belgian research group called the International Peace Information Service has been creating the first maps of eastern DRC’s artisanal mining areas.

A look at the mines funding warlords in the DRC

Eastern Congo’s major conflict mineral:
Gold points on the map represent gold mines. (Image: IPIS interactive map)

After releasing the first of such maps in 2009, the organization has now released a second version. By collaborating with the Congolese mining register, IPIS has set up a permanent system to monitor artisanal mining activities and the involvement of armed groups in mineral exploitation and trade.

IPIS research has shown that gold is currently the most important source of conflict minerals in the region.

“Even though there have been previous indications about the great extent of artisanal gold mining in the region, the data collected suggest[s] a scale that probably surpasses any estimate or expectation,” the report reads. “The number of miners active in gold mining … is nearly four times higher than that for tin, tantalum and tungsten combined.”

The report authors urge the country to formalize and control gold mining operations, as the DRC’s “gold production is exported almost entirely unrecorded.”

In an interview with Voice of America, Judith Sargentini—a member of the European parliament who is campaigning for a European conflict minerals law—said that while U.S. legislation to curb the influx of conflict minerals has had a big effect on tin, tungsten and tantalum, gold is still very profitable for armed groups.

“You do not smuggle a pack of tin because it is just too heavy and it is only worth it if you have plenty of it, whereas gold is like diamonds—it is easier,” Sargentini said. “So I think it is much more difficult to certify, which shows again that certification is not necessarily the way forward.”

See the full IPIS interactive map.

Read how the DRC supplies conflict minerals to the IT world.

(Photo on index page: Julien Harneis)

Reprinted by permission of

This is how the Congo supplies conflict minerals to the IT world

September 23rd, 2013

by Cecilia Jamasmie | September 22, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

This is how the Congo supplies conflict minerals to the IT world

National Geographic describes miners in the DRC as “an ant-like army expending
millions of calories and gallons of sweat to feed a vast and distant global industry.”


If you are reading this on a tabloid or a smartphone, then you are likely holding bits of so-called conflict minerals, mostly mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where National Geographic travelled recently to investigate the current state of the country’s mineral trade.

In the magazine’s October 125th anniversary issue, Jeffrey Gettleman and photographer Marcus Bleasdale document the horrifying conditions under which the country’s miners still work to produce nearly half the world’s supply of tantalum, as well as an important amount of tin ore, tungsten, gold and dozens of other minerals used in today’s most popular electronics.

Described by Bleasdale as “an ant-like army expending millions of calories and gallons of sweat to feed a vast and distant global industry,” the majority of these people work for militia groups that still control most of the country’s mines.

Unlike legitimate countries that export tantalum, the Congo is a nation dominated by warlords who slaughter innocent people to take land that is rich in highly demanded minerals including cobalt, gold, diamonds, copper and tin.

For much of the past decade, cheap supplies of tantalum derived from these mines have flowed into a long and complex supply chain, involving infamous groups such as the Hutu militia associated with the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

U.S. intervention

In an effort to curb the imports of tainted minerals from the beleaguered African country, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last year passed a set of strict rules requiring manufacturers to report the origin of their tantalum, tin, gold and tungsten. The rules also force companies to disclose payments made to overseas governments to develop natural gas.

While the ruling goes into effect in 2014, more than a third of U.S. firms are absolutely unprepared to adopt it, revealed a poll conducted in April during an IHS NYE:IHS webinar, “The clock’s ticking: How to comply with the new conflict minerals regulations.”

What’s more, America’s biggest manufacturing trade groups—the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable—began an ongoing court battle against the SEC, aimed to stop the rules from taking effect.

In late July, Judge Robert L. Wilkins decided to uphold the SEC’s rule, to which the U.S. companies replied this month by filing a brief that includes pretty much the same arguments defeated earlier in the year.

The upcoming verdict, expected this fall, will determine whether U.S. firms can use conflict minerals without telling consumers and investors what is the nature of the electronic components used in the next best-seller tabloid or smartphone.

Take a look at “The Price of Precious” photo gallery from National Geographic.

Learn more about conflict minerals:


Reprinted by permission of

June 13th, 2013

Is fear of nuclear power overblown? by Equedia
Three oases in the desert of financial TV by the Grandich Report
The connection between quantitative easing and the gold price by GoldSeek
Lisa Reisman: The conflict over conflict metals by the Gold Report
Frank Holmes: The love trade for gold is still on by VantageWire