Monday 13th July 2020

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘us’

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

Thousands of new graphene patents show strong competition, enormous potential

February 13th, 2013

Resource Clips - essential news on junior gold mining and junior silver miningContinuing a worldwide surge that started in 2007, last year saw an especially high number of graphene patents filed, according to CambridgeIP. On February 13 the organization, whose mission is to “accelerate the development, deployment and dissemination of valuable technologies,” revealed the top 10 list of companies and organizations claiming new applications for the graphite derivative. In alphabetical order, they are:

  • International Business Machines (IBM)
  • Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
  • Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST)
  • Rice University (William Marsh)
  • Samsung
  • Sandisk 3D LLC
  • Sungkyunkwan University (Seoul)
  • Tsinghua University (Beijing)
  • Xerox Corp
  • Zhejiang University (China)

In January BBC News reported other CambridgeIP info indicating “an intensifying global contest to lead a potential industrial revolution.” Last year’s number of patents per country showed:

  • China 2,204
  • U.S. 1,754
  • South Korea 1,160
  • UK 54

All told, CambridgeIP found 7,351 graphene patents and patent applications by 2012 year-end, “a remarkably high number for a material only recognized for less than a decade,” the BBC stated.

The BBC report describes graphene as the thinnest material ever created, with only two dimensions. It’s 200 times stronger than steel, tougher than diamonds, flexible, foldable and stretchable. And, as another BBC report states, it can be crumpled up, thrown through a washer and dryer yet continue to conduct electricity better than copper. Graphene’s possibilities have yet to be fully imagined. But the patents are rolling in.

by Greg Klein

Spotlight on the juniors

January 21st, 2013

Companies, investors and pundits converge on the 2013 Vancouver Resource Investment Conference

by Greg Klein

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A marketplace of ideas about the market itself—that partly describes the 2013 Vancouver Resource Investment Conference. This year the Cambridge House event brings several hundred companies together with prospective investors. But the conference also features about 50 speakers with maybe 50 divergent (although often overlapping) perspectives on the state of the juniors.

Cambridge House calls this Vancouver event the world's largest investor-focused resource exploration conference

Cambridge House calls this Vancouver event “the world’s
largest investor-focused resource exploration conference.”

Among those on hand January 20 were Michael Berry speaking on Obamanomics, Rick Rule on his love for bear markets and Chris Berry on specific critical and strategic commodities for 2013.

Canadian-born Michael Berry, co-founder of Discovery Investing, fell just short of doom and gloom in his cautionary tale about the transformation of United States economics, culture and governance. More than ever before, he said, taxation, deficit spending and redistribution of wealth are firmly entrenched as government polices. The purpose, he stated, was to remake America. The program has disturbing implications for Canada and the rest of the world, he added.

“We have now turned the corner with the second administration of Barack Obama. Politics, not economics, is now the driving force—period, end of story.”

When it comes to boosting its power, U.S. government methods are myriad: Executive orders, challenges to the constitution, the appointment of czars who aren’t checked by the constitution, redistribution of wealth, repression of investment and market manipulation of gold, silver and currency. Outright confiscation, Berry warned, has happened historically and could happen again.

Helping rationalize government policies is a government belief that “anyone in government is smarter than anyone else.” Society, meanwhile, becomes ever more polarized. “It’s not violent yet but it could be violent at some point in the future,” he warned. “It’s happened before.”

The market of course went off the cliff in 1997, so there was the ’97-to-2002 bear market, a truly dismal bear market—when my net worth skyrocketed.—Rick Rule, chairman of Sprott Global Resource Investments

But just from an economic viewpoint, the future looks bleak indeed. “Sometime around 2030, which is not all that far in the future, we will have amassed 200% federal debt relative to GDP…. That’s exactly what the Obama administration wants to do…. When that happens, the current structure will not be sustainable and the government will have to step in and reorganize the economy.”

Massive, growing government debt “is the tool the government is using to socialize the economy,” Berry stated. “It’s not a legacy we want to leave to our children. But it is a legacy with great implications for gold and silver.”

To protect themselves, Berry suggested investors “must eschew the dollar and every fiat currency you can think of,” own precious metals and consider other investments including water and infrastructure.

“I think you need to be looking at risk, thinking about risk, and those ten-baggers that will help you tread water as the U.S. moves towards an ultimate socialist state,” he concluded.

Following with good-natured overstatement was Rick Rule, chairman of Sprott Global Resource Investments. “There’s basically nothing I could say that would depress you more,” he quipped. But ever the contrarian, Rule added, “It defines me well that when everyone else seems to be depressed, I’m on my way to being elated.”

He predicted the junior bear market—the “nice, ugly bear market,” as he called it—has another 18 to 24 months to go. And for anyone who wants to make money, “it’s an extremely good thing.” It’s time to do some bargain-hunting, he maintained.

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Year in review: Part II

December 29th, 2012

A mining and exploration retrospect for 2012

by Greg Klein

Read Part I of Year in Review.

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Graphite boom, bust and echo

One of the commodities that excited the 2012 market, graphite began stirring interest in 2011 and really gained momentum early this year. But the precipitous fall, right around April Fool’s Day, let cynics bask in schadenfreude. It was a bubble all along, they insisted.

Well, not quite. Despite reduced share values, work continued as the front-runners advanced their projects and earlier-stage companies competed for position in graphite’s second wave of potential producers. By autumn some of the advanced-stage outfits, far from humbled by last spring’s events, boldly indulged themselves in a blatant bragging contest.

Old king coal to regain its throne

If clean carbon doesn’t excite investors like it used to, plain old dirty carbon might. By 2017 coal’s share of the global energy market will rival that of oil. So says the International Energy Agency, which issued its Medium-Term Coal Market Report in December.

A mining and exploration retrospect for 2012

The forecast sees China consuming over half the world’s production by 2017. “Even if Chinese GDP growth were to slow to a 4.6% average over the period, coal demand would still increase both globally and in China,” the report stated. India, with the world’s “largest pocket of energy poverty,” will take second place for consumption.

Coal’s growth in demand is slowing, however. But its share of the energy mix continues to increase even though Europe’s “coal renaissance” (sic) appears to be temporary.

Bringing coal miners to new hassle

Chinese provide much of the market and often the investment. So why shouldn’t they provide the workers too? That seems to be the rationale of Chinese interests behind four British Columbia coal projects.

The proponents plan to use Chinese underground workers exclusively at the most advanced project, HD Mining International’s Murray River, for 30 months of construction and two additional years of mining. Only then would Canadians be initiated into the mysteries of Chinese longwall mining. But with only 10% of the workforce to be replaced by Canadians each year, Chinese “temporary” workers would staff the mine until about 2026. The B.C. government has known about these intentions since at least 2007.

The HD Mining saga has seen new developments almost every week since the United Steelworkers broke the story on October 9.

As Greenland’s example suggests, the scheme might represent another facet of China’s growing power.

Geopolitical geology

Resource imperialism aside, resource nationalism and other aspects of country risk continued throughout 2012. South American Silver TSX:SAC continues to seek compensation after spending over $16 million on a silver-polymetallic project that the Bolivian government then snatched as a freebie. Centerra Gold TSX:CG escaped nationalization in Kyrgyzstan but works its way through somewhat Byzantine political and regulatory intrigue, as does Stans Energy TSXV:HRE. In November the latter claimed a court victory over a hostile parliamentary committee.

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