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China steel futures steady, mill output cuts continue

By: Reuters     12th December 2017 Chinese steel futures held steady on Tuesday, but prices for steelmaking raw material iron ore dropped as steel mills in the world's top producer cut output. China's government has vowed to clear its air, ordering 28 cities to curb industrial production, prompting a shortage of supplies in some... 

Africa's Sula Iron and Gold changes gear with DRC cobalt licence

By: Reuters     12th December 2017 Junior explorer Sula Iron and Gold plans to change its name to African Battery Metals, reflecting a shift in focus after it bought a controlling stake in a cobalt licence in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The deal, which needs to be approved by shareholders later this month, would make Sula... 

Seasonal battery demand, tight supply to buoy lead prices

By: Reuters     12th December 2017 Seasonally strong demand from battery makers, tight supplies caused by mine shutdowns and dwindling inventories in London Metal Exchange warehouses are expected to sustain lead prices, which recently hit six-year highs. Benchmark lead on the London Metal Exchange at around $2 500/t is up about... 

Heartland-to-heartland linkages sought in China-driven industrial superproject

By: Schalk Burger     12th December 2017 The China-driven superproject, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is a conceptual redevelopment of the ancient global tradeways of the Silk Road, aims to link the heartlands of countries by land, sea and air routes, said Renmin University School of International Studies Professor Wang... 

Sheffield signs 27 000 t/y offtake deal for Thunderbird zircon

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     12th December 2017 ASX-listed Sheffield Resources has signed a maiden binding offtake agreement with the largest mineral sands processor in China, Hainan Wensheng High-Tech Materials Company, for the future sale of zircon concentrate from its Thunderbird mineral sands project, in Western Australia. The agreement is... 

Morocco announces auto industry deals worth $1.45bn

By: Reuters     12th December 2017 Morocco said on Monday it had signed deals for 26 auto industry projects worth a total of €1.23-billion ($1.45-billion) as it seeks to build its position as an international hub for the sector. The deals include six agreements with French company Renault to expand an "industry ecosystem" allowing... 

Congolese lower house adopts new mining code that increases taxes

By: Reuters     11th December 2017 The Congolese lower house of parliament has adopted a new mining code that will increase taxes and royalties, two members of parliament and an aide to the speaker said. The code had originally been proposed in 2015, but was shelved because of fierce objections from mining companies, which... 

Cobalt 27 adds more than 700 t cobalt metal to stockpile at $36/lb

By: Henry Lazenby     9th December 2017 Cobalt direct investment vehicle Cobalt 27 has announced that it plans to add about 720 metric tonnes of physical cobalt metal to its current stockpile of just under 2 200 t. The Toronto-headquartered company said on Thursday it has entered an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters co-led by... 

New polishing facility a boost to Dubai’s status as a diamond trading centre

By: Dylan Slater     8th December 2017 The global diamond industry is either growing in affluent regions or remaining steady in less affluent ones, thereby reflecting a degree of positivity, as well as signs of growth. This also points to untapped potential that is ready to be unlocked through increased investment upstream and... 

IHS Materials Price Index chalks up fourth weekly gain

By: Henry Lazenby     8th December 2017 The materials price index (MPI) from Global Insight by IHS Markit has reported the fourth week of consecutive gains, adding 0.5% last week. IHS Markit economist Cole Hassay said the increase was more broadly based than in recent weeks, with six of the ten subcomponents rising. Freight and ferrous... 

Platinum's discount to palladium hits 16-year-high

By: Reuters     8th December 2017 Platinum's discount to fellow precious metal palladium reached its highest level since 2001 on Thursday, as the latter soared on heightened vehicle demand and an ongoing supply deficit. Palladium hit a high of $1 022.70 on Thursday, just off a 16-year high from last week, while platinum hit a... 

Vale sells last two Valemax vessels

By: Henry Lazenby     8th December 2017 Global iron-ore leader Vale has sold the last two of its former fleet of 19 Valemax vessels of 400 000 t capacity. The transaction with the nominees of the Bank of Communications Finance Leasing, netted Vale about $178-million. 

Electric vehicle growth puts pressure on nickel supply

By: Robyn Wilkinson     8th December 2017 Global research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie estimates that nickel demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries will increase from about 40 000 t in 2016 to 220 000 t in 2025, as demand for hybrid, plug-in and full EVs grows in developed countrie 

Mine improves output as copper price slated to rise

By: Donald Makhafola     8th December 2017 In the medium to long term, the fundamental outlook for copper is among the strongest of all metals, says diversified natural resources producer Eurasian Resources Group (ERC), which has copper assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). “The lack of major copper plants due on stream,... 

Polestar Production Centre, China

By: Sheila Barradas     8th December 2017 The project entails the construction of a state-of-the-art production centre for Polestar’s first electric vehicle model, the Polestar 1. 

Africa and China have a shared future under new world order

By: African News Agency      7th December 2017 The world order has changed and it was time to take hands and chart a common destiny. This was one of the central themes to emerge from a seminar held in Cape Town on Thursday under the twin headings Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping: the... 

Surge in international iron-ore prices changing Indian market dynamics

By: Ajoy K Das     7th December 2017 The sharp rebound in international iron-ore prices over the last month is changing dynamics of the Indian market, with imports of the steel-making ingredient surging and local miners hiking prices. India’s largest miner, the government-owned and -operated NMDC has increased the domestic sales... 

Billionaire's mine financing hurdles fuel bondholder jitters

By: Bloomberg     7th December 2017 The Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises is learning how one financing problem can lead to headaches for debt investors elsewhere as it tries to secure money for one of the world’s biggest coal mines. Three of China’s largest banks this week ruled out any involvement in financing the mine in... 

Top iron-ore miner threatens to flood market if prices jump

By: Bloomberg     7th December 2017 Vale SA has a somber message for anyone betting on iron-ore prices returning to the heady days of 2011. The world’s biggest producer of the steel-making ingredient is prepared to unleash as much as 50 -million metric tons of spare capacity to balance the market if prices get too high, CEO Fabio... 

World's No 1 miner sees bigger role for carbon-capture systems

By: Bloomberg     7th December 2017 BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, said wider use of systems that trap carbon emissions will be needed to meet international climate goals, even as investments in the technology stall. “We have knowledge of geology, markets and economics, so there’s probably something we can bring... 

Lithium giant SQM eyes new project to tackle electric-car boom

By: Bloomberg     6th December 2017 One of the world’s largest lithium producers is looking to expand into a new country as prices surge to record highs amid a nascent electric-vehicle boom led by car makers such as Tesla and Mitsubishi. Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile SA is considering opportunities to establish a foothold in a... 

Mining should prepare for future of technology and automation

By: Mariaan Webb     6th December 2017 Global mining major BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie says the mining industry has to show leadership and prepare its workforce for a future in which technology will play an ever-important role. In a philosophical address at the Melbourne Mining Club this week that also delved into how the West and the... 

China's Mingtai shrugs off US aluminium sheet probe

By: Reuters     5th December 2017 Henan Mingtai Aluminum, one of China's biggest aluminium sheet manufacturers, on Tuesday said it expected its production and sales to keep growing in 2018 despite the launch of US trade probes into imports of the product from China. Mingtai, with a production capacity of 650 000 tonnes per year... 

Global air transport set for strong 2018 growth

By: Natasha Odendaal     5th December 2017 Despite entering what is typically considered the downturn year of a cyclical period in air travel, the aviation industry is expected to continue its strong growth in 2018, underpinned by strong global economic growth. While the past three cycles in air travel lasted around eight years before... 

Kibaran to build battery-grade graphite producing pilot plant

By: Mia Breytenbach     5th December 2017 Following the successful completion of a feasibility study on downstream processing of graphite from its Epanko graphite project in Tanzania, ASX-listed Kibaran Resources will establish a pilot plant in Germany that will be expanded to commercial scale for the supply of  premium battery graphite... 

SMB plans Guinea alumina refinery by 2022

By: Reuters     4th December 2017 A consortium of the Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB) and Singapore's Winning Shipping plans to build Guinea's first alumina refinery in a $3 billion effort to develop the West African country's bauxite industry, it said on Monday. Guinea has about a third of the world's bauxite reserves and expects... 

China to encourage private funds to invest in defense firms – cabinet

By: Reuters     4th December 2017 China will encourage private funds to invest in defense firms to promote reform in the industry, China’s cabinet said on Monday. China will encourage defense firms to list on the stock market or invest in listed companies, the State Council said in guidelines issued to further open up the... 

China steel, iron ore futures hit 3-mth highs as mills cut output

By: Reuters     4th December 2017 Chinese iron ore and steel futures surged to three-month highs on Monday as the government-ordered steel production cutbacks led to tighter supplies for some mill products. The upwards push was led by a big spike in steel prices that follows the global top producer's orders to 28 cities to cut... 

Syrah signs sales agreement with China-based battery manufacturer

By: Samantha Herbst     4th December 2017 ASX-listed graphite developer Syrah Resources has signed a binding sales agreement with China-based Zhanjiang Juxin New Energy materials for 20 000 t of natural graphite from Syrah’s Mozambique-based Balama operation, in 2018. “This contract represents another significant import of Balama... 

Iron-ore enters bull market as China's curbs supercharge steel

By: Bloomberg     4th December 2017 Iron-ore has rallied back into a bull market. Prices are surging as China’s crackdown on steel output this winter runs down inventories, helping mills’ profitability and stoking demand for high-grade ore even as investors discount signs of ample supply. Spot ore with 62% iron content jumped 3.7%... 

Rio Tinto aims for 'intelligent' Australian iron-ore mine

By: Reuters     4th December 2017 Rio Tinto next year will seek board approval to develop an "intelligent" iron ore mine at a cost of $2.2-billion, fully incorporating technologies such as robotics and driverless trains and trucks on a single site, the company's head of iron-ore said on Monday. A feasibility study was underway... 

Wuhlf ready to fill orders for its Africa-tough TLB

     4th December 2017 The new locally manufactured 70 kW 4 x 4 Skerpioen tractor loader backhoe (TLB) will provide businesses in Africa with an affordable, low-tech solution that is robust enough to withstand the harsh operating environment synonymous with the continent. After developing the machine for the past two... 

Rio picks Thompson for chairperson as investors target discipline

By: Bloomberg     4th December 2017 Rio Tinto named industry veteran Simon Thompson as chairman after shareholders rejected a plan to install a renowned dealmaker -- reinforcing an industry-wide investor drive for higher returns and caution over project spending. Thompson, 58, a Rio director since 2014 and previously an executive... 

China steel clings to near 11-week high, posts best week since Aug

By: Reuters     1st December 2017 Shanghai steel futures traded near their strongest level since mid-September on Friday and chalked up their biggest weekly gain in four months, supported by tighter supply in the world's top producer. Steel mills across northern China were ordered to slash sintering output by up to half from this... 

The cobalt crunch for electric cars could be solved in suburbia

By: Bloomberg     1st December 2017 Almost 9 000 miles from the dusty Congo savanna, miners have hit on an entirely new source of cobalt – the rare mineral at the heart of the electric-car boom. And not only can they take coffee breaks, when they take a break, they can grab a doughnut at Tim Hortons. Scientists working for American... 

Demand for battery metals will drive African exploration, investment

By: Nadine James     1st December 2017 Growth in the electric vehicle (EV) market will boost demand for battery metals exponentially, driving exploration and investment in Africa. This was discussed during a live-streamed Mining Indaba panel on energy metals in which Cobalt 27 chairperson Anthony Milewski, Montero president and CEO Dr... 

Nasa outlines the developments to watch in civil aeronautics

By: Keith Campbell     1st December 2017 The global aviation industry continues to be a rapidly growing sector, far from reaching maturity. This was stressed at the recent International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR) open session at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) International Convention Centre (ICC), in... 

Cobalt’s dramatic demand bump gives rise to novel investment vehicle

By: Henry Lazenby     1st December 2017 Cobalt supply constraints, coupled with a never-before-seen boom in the adoption rate of electric vehicles (EV) across the globe, have conspired to create an ideal market in which a pure-play cobalt investment and participation vehicle's profits can outpace its peers. Cobalt, a critical ‘energy... 

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