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Mining People: Orezone Gold, Star Diamond Gold Line Resources

Mining.Com - Fri, 01/06/2023 - 06:03
Management appointments announced: 

Andean Precious Metals named Segun Odunuga as executive vice-president, finance. 

Labrador Uranium appointed Philip Williams as interim CEO.

Orezone Gold named Rob Henderson as VP, technical services, and Kevin MacKenzie as VP, corporate development & investor relations.

Star Diamond announced Ewan Mason as interim CEO and the resignation of Greg Shyluk as CFO. 

Tearlach Resources appointed Julie Selway as vice-president of exploration.

Teck Resources announced Charlene Ripley as senior vice-president and general counsel.

Board moves include

Benchmark Metals has added Jody Shimkus to the board.

CanAlaska Uranium announced Cory Belyk, CEO and executive vice-president, to the board.

Gold Line Resources added Greg McCunn, Benjamin Gelber and Robert Leckie to the board.

Jaguar Mining denies talks to buy AngloGold’s Brazil gold mine

Mining.Com - Fri, 01/06/2023 - 03:28

Canada’s Jaguar Mining (TSX: JAG) denied on Friday media reports indicating it was engaged with AngloGold Ashanti (JSE: ANG) (NYSE: AU) (ASX: AGG) to acquire the miner’s Córrego do Sítio gold complex in Brazil.

The junior gold miner, which has two main mines in the vicinity of AngloGold’s operation, told MINING.COM there were no negotiations in progress, but did not comment on whether or not it would be interested in adding Córrego do Sítio to its portfolio.

News of AngloGold Ashanti mulling the sale of the vast gold complex in the southeast Brazilian mining state of Minas Gerais hit the wires earlier this week. 

The gold complex, operated by the South African miner’s subsidiary AGA Mineração, consists of one open pit mine and one underground mine, which have been in production since 1989.

A spokesperson for AngloGold confirmed the company was considering strategic alternatives for the Córrego do Sítio mining complex, which included the potential sale of the operation. 

“The company is working through this process and will provide an update once a final outcome is determined,” the spokesperson told MINING.COM.

The gold company also owns the nearby Cuiabá complex, made up of Cuiabá and Lamego underground mines and the Cuiabá and Queiroz plants.

AngloGold produces around 510,000 ounces of gold in Brazil from the two mining complexes. Together, they account for 15% of the miner’s total global production.

It also owns the vast Serra Grande operation, which comprises three underground mines, an open pit mine and a dedicated metallurgical plant, located in the Goiás State, central Brazil.

Watson Farley & Williams to advise Republic of Guinea on Simandou iron ore project

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 15:42

Watson Farley & Williams announced it is advising the Republic of Guinea on the $15bn Simandou project, the world’s largest untapped iron ore deposit.

The Simandou project involves the exploitation of four world class iron ore blocks in the southern region of Guinea, as well as the construction and operation of a 600km main railway line (and connecting spur lines) to connect each of Winning Consortium Simandou and Rio Tinto’s Simandou iron ore blocks to the port, and the construction and operation of a large mineral port for the export to international markets of up to 160mtpa of iron ore.

After the signing of a Framework Agreement in March 2022 between Guinea, Rio Tinto’s Simfer SA and the Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS) and the incorporation of ‘La Compagnie du TransGuinéen SA’ (a joint venture established between them to co-develop the Simandou railways and port infrastructure) in July 2022, the Simandou project reached another significant milestone on December 23, 2022 with the signing of the foundational termsheet for the financing, development, construction and operation of the railway and ports infrastructure; and the addition of China state-owned Baowu Group, China’s largest steelmaker, to the JV partners.

The JV partners include Guinea, Baowu Group (leading a consortium of Chinese steel manufacturers and other investors), Simfer Jersey (a joint venture between Rio Tinto and a consortium led by China’s state- owned Chalco Iron Ore Holdings) and WCS (a consortium comprising the Winning International Group, China Hongqiao Group, Guinean mining logistics company UMS, as well China’s Yantai Port Group).

Construction is currently expected to be completed before December 31, 2024 and operations to begin by 31 March 2025.

Transformed Dolly Varden Silver in discovery mode, says CEO

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 14:09

Looking back on the past two years since he took the reins as CEO of Dolly Varden Silver (TSXV: DV), Shawn Khunkhun points to a critical acquisition the company made in December 2021 as being the lynchpin to the company’s recent exploration and fundraising success.

The British Columbia-focused explorer has district-scale holdings, the Kitsault Valley project, in the southern leg of the province’s ‘Golden Triangle’.

Khunkhun tells The Northern Miner the company has undergone a metamorphosis since he took the reins in February 2020, pivoting on a better-defined strategy to de-risk the project, expand the existing resources and grow the business.

“Our goal is to either groom this project into a saleable asset in the next 36 months or to have it ready for a construction decision for ourselves. If someone like Hecla Mining (NYSE: HL) were to acquire us today, we’d comprise about 15% of their total resource base,” said Kunkhun in an interview.

When the executive first came to Dolly, it held a 44 million oz. high-grade silver resource, but it had already seen 20 million oz. of production. The former 100-year-old Dolly Varden silver mining camp covers four historic mines that produced more than 19 million oz of silver over four decades beginning in 1919.

“We set to work to bring in the right shareholders and cash infusion. The strategic alignment with key investors such as Hecla and mining entrepreneur Eric Sprott helped us have one of the strongest shareholder registries out there.”

A critical development came in December 2021 when Dolly Varden acquired Fury Gold Mines’ (TSX: FURY; NYSE-AM: FURY) Homestake Ridge gold and silver project in a cash-and-scrip deal valued at $50 million.

Homestake Ridge is next to Dolly Varden’s namesake project and sits about 32 km southeast of Stewart and 113 km from the town of Terrace.

Shell delays payment of cost of living grants until spring, investigation finds

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 13:10

The Telegraph

Shell delays payment of cost of living grants until spring, investigation finds

The energy giant, which received £90,141,141 from the Government to give to customers, says the hold up is due to administrative processes

 and  4 January 2023 

Shell has delayed the payment of taxpayer energy bill support payments to thousands of its customers, sparking criticism over its role in the cost of living crisis.

The energy giant’s household supply division says some of its 1.4 million customers will now have to wait until April, to get payments which were due in October when bills hit almost double their level a year earlier.

Shell Energy Retail blamed administrative processes for the delays, but the business department said it had ordered the regulator to investigate.

Shell, the FTSE 100 parent company, made profits of $30.5 billion in the first three quarters of 2022, helped by soaring gas prices which are crippling consumers.

FULL ARTICLE

Shell delays payment of cost of living grants until spring, investigation finds was first posted on January 5, 2023 at 10:10 pm.
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West Coast Leads Losses for Natural Gas Forwards Prices as Warm January Takes Center Stage

NGI Shale Daily - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 12:59

Natural gas forward prices continued to plummet during the trading period from Dec. 29-Jan. 4, this time taking West Coast markets along for the ride lower, NGI’s Forward Look showed.

After bucking the down trend that began the final week of 2022, West Coast markets led the price declines across the Lower 48 even as a bomb cyclone pummeled the region.

February fixed prices tumbled an average of $1.070 across the country, while March dropped 46.0 cents on average, according to Forward Look. Smaller losses were seen for the summer (April-October) and winter 2023-2024 (November-March) strips.

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West Coast markets saw prices fall much further, however. 

SoCal Citygate February basis plunged $2.020 through the period to finish at a $15.145 premium over benchmark Henry Hub, Forward Look data showed. With a more moderate outlook for March, basis for next month stood $4.835 above Henry Hub.

Further out the forward curve, fixed prices for the summer at the SoCal Citygate averaged $6.460 as of Wednesday, while the winter 2023-2024 strip averaged $8.392.

In Northern California, PG&E Citygate February basis was down 71.0 cents through the period to finish at plus $12.810, Forward Look data showed. March basis moved 20.0 cents higher, though, ending at plus $3.941. Summer prices fell 15.0 cents to average $6.290, while the winter strip slipped 7.0 cents to $7.404.

The general softening along the forward curve occurred despite a continuation of brutal winter weather that has lent a hand in the unprecedented price volatility that’s played out throughout the West this winter.

AccuWeather said a bomb cyclone would unleash an increasing risk for life-threatening flooding, damaging winds and power outages through Thursday. The system is then forecast to weaken, but not before dumping excessive amounts of rain throughout California, in particular.

An atmospheric river, or massive plume of moisture that originated from the tropical Pacific Ocean about 2,500 miles away at midweek, is forecast to continue to fuel the heavy precipitation, according to AccuWeather. Such a weather setup could lead to excessive rainfall and flooding, as well as snow where the atmosphere is cold enough. In this particular case, the event can be classified as a Pineapple Express, since the plume of moisture originated from near Hawaii, AccuWeather said.

“This will be a dangerous and high-impact storm for California, capable of producing life-threatening conditions and significant disruption which may last several days,” said AccuWeather chief meteorologist Jon Porter. “Not only will this storm be intense tapping into a substantial atmospheric river, but it is also arriving just days after the previous storm brought heavy rainfall and created significant flooding, increasing the impacts and risks that can occur.”

Notably, despite the ongoing wet weather pattern in place on the West Coast, prices in both the cash and forward markets have softened from recent highs. Even as some production remained offline because of freeze-offs in the Rockies, prices throughout the region followed the general trend.

Northwest Sumas February fixed prices fell $2.310 through the period to reach $15.666, and March dropped 45.0 cents to $5.654, according to Forward Look. The summer strip was down 21.0 cents to average $3.440, while the upcoming winter picked up a modest 4.0 cents to average $7.660.

Gas supplies also may be leveling off after deteriorating sharply in recent weeks.

On Thursday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that gas supplies in the Pacific region went unchanged for the week ending Dec. 30. This left stocks at 165 Bcf, which is still about 25% below year-earlier levels and around 33% below the five-year average.

In discussing the EIA’s weekly inventory report, Enelyst’s Het Shah, managing director of the online energy chat, said the holidays may have impacted demand in an otherwise frigid cold period.

The EIA reported a net 221 Bcf withdrawal for the period, lighter than the median of most major polls.

Prior to the report, projections submitted to Reuters ranged from withdrawals of 153 Bcf to 269 Bcf, with a median pull of 237 Bcf. A Bloomberg survey landed at a median pull of 240 Bcf. The Wall Street Journal’s poll found draw estimates from 156 Bcf to 265 Bcf and an average of a 228 Bcf pull. NGI modeled a 237 Bcf decrease. 

EIA recorded a pull of 46 Bcf during the same week a year earlier and a five-year average of 98 Bcf.

The 221 Bcf draw “just doesn’t add up,” Shah said. It’s “definitely an extremely loose number.”

Broken down by region, the South Central led with a decrease of 96 Bcf, which included a 53 Bcf decline in salt facilities and a 43 Bcf draw from nonsalts, according to EIA. The Midwest and East followed with pulls of 60 Bcf and 56 Bcf, respectively. Mountain region inventories fell by 9 Bcf.

Total working gas in storage fell to 2,891 Bcf, which is 308 Bcf below year-earlier levels and 208 Bcf below the five-year average, EIA said.

What’s Next For Storage?

With mild weather set to remain in place throughout most of January based on the latest weather models, analysts are rightfully looking ahead to the next EIA report. Since Thursday’s government data proved to be exceptionally bearish, Enelyst participants said they were going back to the drawing board on next week’s estimate. Early estimates to The Desk, provided before the latest EIA report, showed a range of withdrawals from 32-52 Bcf. On Thursday, most analysts were estimating much lighter withdrawals between 10 Bcf and 20 Bcf. One analyst was looking for a 5 Bcf injection.

For the comparable week last year, EIA posted a decrease of 179 Bcf. The five-year average is 151 Bcf.

After exceptional cold during the last week of the year, and amidst the even more exceptional warmth of the current storage week, Mobius Risk Group said the market is considering the odds of climbing to an end-of-March inventory level considerably above the 1.7 Tcf mark.

“If such a level is reached, the summer 2022 storage injection of approximately 2.2 Tcf becomes very important both from an absolute standpoint, and even more when weighing the potential for a larger injection during the summer 2023 injection season,” Mobius analyst Zane Curry said.

“Simple math shows that 1.7 plus 2.2 equals 3.9 Tcf, or 100 Bcf less than a level which historically creates material downside risk and steep contango,” Curry explained. “The potential for tracking toward a 4 Tcf end-of-October, or greater, is the rationale market bears are pinning their expectations to.”

For Mobius, weather is key for the balance of winter. If the current heatwave continues for another couple of weeks, the odds of testing 4 Tcf will significantly increase, according to the firm. Conversely, a shift back to a colder-than-normal balance of winter will put a wrench in market bears’ expectations, as this could push season ending inventory back below 1.5 Tcf.

“Since even the weather forecasters have a difficult time predicting the unpredictable, it will be an interesting ride for the balance of January,” Curry said.

The February Nymex gas futures contract settled Thursday at $3.720, off 45.2 cents from Wednesday’s close.

The post West Coast Leads Losses for Natural Gas Forwards Prices as Warm January Takes Center Stage appeared first on Natural Gas Intelligence

Royal Gold bolsters royalty position at Nevada’s Cortez complex with $204m deal

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 09:34

Royal Gold (NASDAQ: RGLD) has further consolidated its royalty position at the Cortez gold complex in Nevada, which has been operating since 1969 and produced approximately 27 million ounces of gold to date.

On Thursday, the company announced it has acquired two portions of a gross smelter return (GSR) royalty that together cover a 1,630 square kilometre area, including the Cortez mine operation and the entirety of the Fourmile development project in Nevada, for cash consideration of $204.1 million.

The royalty package consists of a 0.24% gross royalty covering areas including the Pipeline and Crossroads deposits, both of which are producing mines, and a 0.45% gross royalty covering areas including the Cortez Hills mine and the Goldrush, Fourmile and Robertson deposits that are in development.

The royalty interests were previously held by certain holders who are successors in interest to Idaho Mining Corporation. Royal Gold is funding the acquisition using available cash resources and a total draw of $200 million on its credit facility.

The area within the Cortez complex is controlled by Nevada Gold Mines, a joint venture between Barrick Gold (61.5% owner and operator) and Newmont (38.5% owner), with the exception of the Fourmile project, which is 100% owned and operated by Barrick.

“Cortez is a cornerstone asset for Royal Gold, and this acquisition increases and expands our interest at one of the world’s most prolific gold mines, which is operated by two of the leading companies in the gold business,” Royal Gold CEO Bill Heissenbuttel said in a news release.

“The royalty covers areas similar to those covered by the Rio Tinto royalty that we acquired in August, 2022, with the important difference that the Idaho royalty includes the existing Robertson deposits,” Heissenbuttel added.

Following the royalty acquisition, Royal Gold has reorganized its multiple royalty interests at the Cortez complex and divided them into two zones: the “legacy zone” and the Cortez complex zone.

The former represents its largest royalty exposure at Cortez — an equivalent 9.4% GSR royalty rate over the Pipeline and Crossroads deposits. The Cortez complex zone includes an equivalent 1.6% GSR royalty over the Cortez Hills, Cortez Pits, Fourmile and Goldrush deposits, a 2.2% GSR royalty rate over the Goldrush SE deposit, and a 0.45% GSR royalty rate over the Robertson deposit.

According to the company, Cortez is expected to be a top three revenue producer in the Royal Gold portfolio. The Cortez complex represents a principal property for the company and has provided total royalty revenue of over $400 million over a 27-year period, from the first royalty payment in 1995 through September 30, 2022.

Shares of Royal Gold traded 0.6% lower on the NASDAQ as of 12:30 p.m. ET. The gold stream and royalty company has a market capitalization of $7.8 billion.

Roundup Preview: BC mining and exploration off to a strong start after tumultuous 2022

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 09:05

With high interest rates, high inflation and reduced access to finance, 2022 was a challenging year for the mineral exploration sector.

But unofficial financial numbers point to a solid start for 2023 for exploration activity in British Columbia, says Kendra Johnston, the Association for Mineral Exploration B.C.’s president and CEO ahead of the organization’s annual Roundup event in Vancouver January 23-26.

“Our numbers are going to be quite strong this year,” she said in a recent interview. “Last year, we hit an almost-high of $660 million spent in the field, which was $8 million behind our previous high.”

Johnston notes that 2022 was marked by numerous financings for exploration before the market began to dry up.

During 2022, rampant inflation raised the cost of running exploration projects. “We look at the price of fuel and the war that’s happening overseas, there’s political upheaval in Peru, and most recently, it seems like there’s constant political upheaval to some degree in the United States. There’s just a lot going on in the world right now,” Johnston said.

“And it’s all overlaid by this conversation of the energy transition and the green future and the need for critical minerals that creates a push-pull dynamic of being able to get out into the field and explore for the critical minerals.”

Although the costs of exploration, including drilling and helicopter costs, were up this year, and financing was hard to capture, Johnston noted that the industry has never before had all levels of government aligned on the importance of minerals and metals for the energy transition, and with that, public support for the sector is starting to emerge.

The annual AME BC Roundup event will take place from Jan. 23-26 at the Vancouver Convention Centre East.

Fortuna Silver stock tanks as Mexico challenges environmental approvals for San Jose mine

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 09:00

Fortuna Silver Mine stock fell 11% on Thursday after a decision to re-asses the extension of the San Jose mine Environmental Impact Authorization.

The company reported that its Mexican subsidiary, Compania Minera Cuzcatlan, has received written notice of a resolution issued by the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT), re-assessing the 12-year extension to the environmental impact authorization (EIA) for the mine, located in Oaxaca.

According to the company, SEMARNAT has issued two multi-year environmental authorizations over the last four years for the mine and tailings facility.

After the grant of the EIA extension on December 2021, SEMARNAT suggested that it had made a typographical error in the EIA extension and that the correct term was two years. As a result, Minera Cuzcatlan initiated legal proceedings to challenge and revoke the alleged typographical error.

On November 2022, Fortuna Silver announced that the Mexican Federal Administrative Court had issued a judgment in favour of the company and re-confirmed the term of the EIA extension for San Jose for 12 years.

On Monday, however, Minera Cuzcatlan received another resolution from SEMARNAT, which annuls the EIA extension and requires SEMARNAT to re-assess its decision to extend the EIA by conducting a review.

“It is incomprehensible that we find ourselves again having to contest a controversial resolution issued by SEMARNAT. This specific authorization, one of the many under which San Jose operates, was confirmed by the Federal Court last November, with a ruling in our favor against SEMARNAT,” said Jorge A. Ganoza, Fortuna Silver CEO.

Minera Cuzcatlan said it would initiate legal proceedings against SEMARNAT to contest and revoke the annulment of the EIA.

The San Jose Mine was commissioned in July 2011 and began commercial production in September 2011 at 1,000 tonnes per day. In 2021, the mine produced 6.43 million ounces of silver and 39,406 ounces of gold.

Gold price retreats as new US employment data sends hawkish signal

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 08:49

Gold prices slipped by more than 1% on Thursday, putting an end to its New Year rally, as the latest release of US labour market data boosted expectations of higher interest rates for longer.

Spot gold dropped 1.3% to $1,832.08 per ounce by 11:30 a.m. ET, retreating from a near seven-month peak hit in the last session. US gold futures also fell 1.3% to trade at $1,834.50 per ounce in New York.

[Click here for an interactive chart of gold prices]

Meanwhile, the US dollar index was up 0.9%, making gold more expensive for holders of foreign currencies. Benchmark 10-year yields were close to their session-highs.

“The strength in the dollar index and yields rising were weighing on gold,” Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago, said in a Reuters note, highlighting that the Fed would continue to remain hawkish for longer as the labour market sees continued strength.

New data shows that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a three-month low last week while layoffs fell 43% in December, pointing to a tight labour market.

Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic on Thursday said US officials of the central bank “remain determined” to lower inflation back to its 2% target, while Kansas City Fed leader Esther George said the bank would need to press forward with rate rises.

The US economic outlook presented by Fed staff at last month’s meeting suggested that the battle to lower prices may last longer than anticipated.

Traders now await the US Labor Department’s nonfarm payrolls (NFP) data on Friday.

“If we get the same kind of ‘beats-expectations’ (report), we’ll probably see another extension lower on gold and silver —$1,805-$1,800 is your key level support,” Streible added.

(With files from Reuters)

Copper price bounces on news about fresh investment in China

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 08:20

The copper price rose on Thursday after news about fresh investment in China.

Copper for delivery in March rose 2.4% on the Comex market in New York, touching $3.83 per pound or $8,426 per tonne.

[Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices]

China’s southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou plans 1,722 projects in 2023 worth more than 6.5 trillion yuan ($945 billion), state media CCTV reported on Thursday.

“Knowing what the year will bring after two days of trading is virtually impossible, so there’s quite a lot of caution regarding getting too stuck with a position that may not end up being the right one,” said Ole Hansen, head of the commodity strategy at Saxo Bank in Copenhagen.

“If you started out having a handsome profit on a breakout, then a fundamental piece of supportive news is enough for those sellers to have a rethink.”

Prices are unlikely to make much progress on the upside, however, with underlying concern about rising covid-19 cases in China and weakening global industrial activity, he added.

The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped as much as 1.8% to 63,850 yuan ($9,289.98) a tonne on Thursday, its lowest since Nov. 4, 2022.

Global copper smelting dips

Global copper smelting activity dipped in December as smelters shut for maintenance after a year of sluggish activity, data from satellite surveillance of metal processing plants showed on Thursday.

China’s Yunxi plant began an annual maintenance program at the start of the month, while Codelco’s Chuquicamata smelter in Chile remained closed, according to a joint statement from commodities broker Marex and SAVANT.

Global smelting activity for 2022 fell to its lowest level in the six-year history of data from SAVANT, the satellite analytics service Marex launched with Earth-i.

(With files from Reuters)

Cleantech Lithium hails Chile project potential

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 06:53

Chile-focused junior Cleantech Lithium (AIM: CTL) said on Thursday that a scoping study for its Laguna Verde lithium project in northern Chile has confirmed “outstanding” economics.

The exploration and development company said initial drilling results support the potential for the project to become a major supplier of battery grade lithium to European and US markets.

Cleantech based its analysis on a model that calls for a mine with annual production of 20,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium carbonate and an operational life of 30 years, according to measured and indicated resources.

The study estimated accumulated net cashflows — after tax and including royalties — of $6.3 billion to be generated over the Laguna Verde’s operational life, with an operating cost of $3,875 per tonne. It also estimates an after tax net present value of $1.83 billion.

Total capital expenditure is pegged at $383.6 million, with lithium production starting in 2026, though Cleantech’s management continues to target a start of operations in late 2025.

The company noted a pre-feasibility study will begin immediately and it is expected to be completed in the second half of the year.

“Chilean lithium sector experts at Ad-Infinitum have already commenced work on the Francisco Basin scoping study and our board is hopeful that the economics and ESG credentials prove to be as attractive as we’ve seen for Laguna Verde,” chief executive Aldo Boitano said in the statement.

The company plans to mine the battery metal by using direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology. This allows drawing lithium from the brine, without the need for evaporation ponds, which results in no depletion from the aquifer or harm to the local environment, the company says. 

Laguna Verde and Francisco Basin are CleanTech Lithium’s flagship projects. In addition, the miner owns the Llamara greenfield project, located about 600km to the south of the two assets. 

Lithium prices have soared 1,200% over the past several years as supply has failed to match growing demand. That has hurt battery makers, who have been forced to raise prices. 

The average price for a lithium-ion battery pack went up by 7% in 2022, according to BloombergNEF, the first increase since the group began their survey in 2010.

Carbon-capture plants also have harmful emissions – but there is a solution

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 06:06

A group of scientists has come up with a machine-learning solution for forecasting amine emissions from carbon-capture plants using experimental data from a stress test at an actual plant in Germany. 

In a paper published in the journal Science Advances, the researchers explain that amines are compounds used in the chemical processes of carbon-capture plants and natural gas processing and refining plants. Amines are also used in certain pharmaceuticals, epoxy resins, and dyes.

The problem is that amines could also be potentially harmful to the environment as well as a health hazard, making it essential to mitigate their impact. This requires accurate monitoring and predicting of a plant’s amine emissions, which has proven to be no easy feat since carbon-capture plants are complex and differ from one another.

This is where the new development comes in. 

Tested in Niederhauẞen, on one of the largest coal-fired power plants in Germany, the solution was used for a full year to monitor a slipstream that is sent from the power station into a carbon capture pilot plant.

Stress test 

The scientists created a stress test to study amine emissions under different process conditions. “We developed an experimental campaign to understand how and when amine emissions would be generated. But some of our experiments also caused interventions of the plant’s operators to ensure the plant was operating safely,” Susana Garcia, co-author of the study, said in a media statement.

These interventions led to the question of how to interpret the data. Are the amine emissions the result of the stress test itself, or have the interventions of the operators indirectly affected the emissions? This was further complicated by a general lack of understanding of the mechanisms behind amine emissions. 

“In short, we had an expensive and successful campaign that showed that amine emissions can be a problem, but no tools to further analyze the data,” study co-author Berend Smit said. “When Susana Garcia mentioned this to me, it sounded indeed like an impossible problem to solve. But she also mentioned that they measured everything every five minutes, collecting many data.”

Looking for patterns

With the help of PhD student Kevin Maik Jablonka, the group developed a machine-learning approach that turned the amine emissions puzzle into a pattern-recognition problem.

“We wanted to know what the emissions would be if we did not have the stress test but only the operators’ interventions,” Smit explained. “This is a similar issue as we can have in finance; for example, if you want to evaluate the effect of changes in the tax code, you would like to disentangle the effect of the tax code from, say, interventions caused by the crisis in Ukraine.”

In the next step, Jablonka used powerful machine learning to predict future amine emissions from the plant’s data.

With this model, the team was able to predict the emissions caused by the interventions of the operators and then disentangle them from those induced by the stress test. They were also able to use the model to run all kinds of scenarios for reducing these emissions.

The conclusion of this work was described as “surprising”. As it turned out, the pilot plant had been designed for pure amine, but the measuring experiments were carried out on a mixture of two amines: 2-amino-2-methyl-1-propanol and piperazine. The scientists found out that those two amines respond in opposite ways: reducing the emission of one increases the emissions of the other.

“I am very enthusiastic about the potential impact of this work; it is a completely new way of looking at a complex chemical process,” Smit said. “This type of forecasting is not something one can do with any of the conventional approaches, so it may change the way we operate chemical plants.”

Investors with $2.2 trillion in assets ask Glencore to justify thermal coal plans

Mining.Com - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 03:53

Glencore (LON: GLEN) is facing fresh pressure by investors with $2.2 trillion in assets to disclose details of its coal production plans and how they align with its efforts to cut carbon emissions and keep global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Shareholders including Europe’s Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM) and HSBC Asset Management have filed a resolution demanding details on the matter, which will go to vote at Glencore’s annual meeting in May.

This is the first time investors have filed a climate resolution specifically focusing on the company’s thermal coal production, and it constitutes a significant escalation of pressure on Glencore, already on notice after nearly one quarter of shareholders rejected its climate plan in April 2022.

“As long-term investors, the ability to assess and evaluate companies’ exposure to financially material risks stemming from the energy transition is vital,” Dror Elkayam, Global ESG Analyst at LGIM said in a statement.

“Having both invested in and engaged with Glencore over many years, a higher degree of transparency is necessary in order to clarify how the company’s exposure to thermal coal is aligned with the 1.5C pathway and corresponds to its net zero commitment,” Elkayam noted.

For years the Swiss miner and commodities trader has tried balancing two competing goals: maximizing returns from its coal business and keeping investor support for mining the world’s most polluting fuel. 

Until recently, its shareholders seemed content with a promise to stop producing coal and run the mines to closure by 2050.

The company began facing increased scrutiny in 2021, with activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners, which manages about $250 million, calling the miner to overhaul its climate policy more than once.

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, a shareholder advocacy group, has also raised concerns.

Australia’s largest coal producer

Glencore is one of the world’s top thermal coal exporters and Australia’s largest miner of the fossil fuel. The commodity, used in power generation, has reached record prices in the past year, helping the company add about $10 billion to its earnings during the first half of 2022 alone.

The business is expected to generate about $16.7 billion in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization in 2023, more than half the company’s total.

The mining giant has set production targets at 110 million tonnes of coal a year during the 2023-2025 period, similar to its level last year. 

Graphic source: Bloomberg News.

Glencore has repeatedly said it would cap coal production at 150 million tonnes a year but has not disclosed specific annual targets beyond 2025.

Last month, it shelved plans for its A$2 billion ($1.4bn) Valeria coal project, citing “increased global uncertainty”.

The metallurgical and thermal coal mine in central Queensland had been planned to begin in 2024 and would have become one of the country’s largest.

British Parliament urges Government to set a “clear date” to end North Sea drilling

Oil Change International - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 20:01
C: Erik Christensen

An influential committee of British MPs is calling on the British government to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels and set a “clear date” for the end of new oil and gas licensing in the British North Sea.

Earlier today, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee launched its 100-page report on “Accelerating the transition from fossil fuels and securing energy supplies.”

The Committee, made up of parliamentarians from across the political divide, not only called for a speeding up of the energy transition away from fossil fuels but also criticized the Government’s response to the energy crisis caused by the Ukraine war.

“There are many solutions to this energy crisis that deliver synergies between affordability, security and sustainability,” concluded the MPs. “Accelerating the transition from fossil fuels will enhance the UK’s energy security, shield households from future energy shocks, and reduce the ability of aggressive and repressive regimes to use oil and gas supplies as an economic weapon.”

The Environmental Audit Committee also called on the Government to speed up the energy transition if it wanted to continue to be seen as an international climate leader. The UK, it argued, had a “historic responsibility to set a leadership example on climate change” because it launched the first industrial revolution.

The Members of Parliament called on the UK Government to honor the principle enshrined in the Paris Agreement of “equity and common but differentiated responsibilities” and, therefore “set a clear date for ending new oil and gas licensing rounds in the North Sea.” They argued that this “date should fall well before 2050.”

Another UK government response to the war – an Energy Profits Levy and Investment Allowance for oil companies – was likely to encourage investment in the North Sea rather than do the opposite, the MPs note.

“We were told that the inclusion of the Investment Allowance, which the Government itself described as ‘generous,’ would serve to incentivise near-term investment in oil and gas fields in the UK,” the report concludes. One energy consultancy, Wood Mackenzie, said that the Levy and Investment Allowance could accelerate developments such as the North Sea’s highly controversial Rosebank and Cambo fields.

The Environmental Audit Committee was critical not only of the British Government’s supply-side response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but also of how it had failed to implement any demand-side measures.

There are, said the MPs, “significant gaps” in the energy strategy being employed by the Conservatives because of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. “To deliver genuine energy security, the strategy should have placed far greater emphasis on energy saving measures,” they said.

“Boosting energy efficiency efforts is the quickest way to reduce reliance on imports, protect households and cut climate-changing emissions. Ministers missed a crucial window of opportunity during the warmer months to accelerate energy efficiency measures that could permanently protect UK citizens from the impact of volatile oil and gas prices.” They called for a national “war effort” on energy saving and efficiency to rectify this.

Oil Change International (OCI) was one of many organizations to submit evidence to the committee. Citing previously published research, OCI pointed out that the UK’s current oil and gas production trajectory and policies are not in line with the 1.5 degrees limit.

OCI had also called on the Government to phase out all fossil fuel subsidies, estimated at 14.8 USD billion, as well as other tax breaks, and redirect them to fund a just transition to clean energy. However, the report noted that “the UK Government insists it does not provide any subsidies to fossil fuels,” which shows just how in denial the Conservatives remain.

Silje Ask Lundberg, a senior campaigner from OCI, said: “The UK Parliamentarians have sent a clear message to the current Government: The UK needs to make the shift away from fossil fuels.”

Lundberg noted that there “are several hard-hitting recommendations” included in the report, “such as recommending a ban on flaring and stronger emission targets in the North sea transition deal, and said “this is something the Government must follow up on.”

She added: “In our submission to the committee, OCI pointed out how the UK current oil and gas production trajectory and policies are not in line with the pathway compatible with 1.5-degree limit. Setting an end date for new licenses is a step in the right direction, but not enough. The UK Government needs to stop all new investments in oil and gas, to be in line with the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero scenario.”

 

The post British Parliament urges Government to set a “clear date” to end North Sea drilling appeared first on Oil Change International.

Piedmont Lithium adds two new directors to board; stock soars

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 14:44

Piedmont Lithium (Nasdaq: PLL; ASX: PLL) announced on Tuesday that it has expanded its board with the addition two new directors, Christina Alvord and Michael Bless, to provide additional executive, operational and strategic guidance to support the company’s mission of becoming a US-based lithium supplier.

Alvord most recently served as the president of the Central division of Vulcan Materials Company, the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates. She previously served as Vulcan’s president of the Southern & Gulf Coast division and vice president of corporate planning and performance improvement. Before joining Vulcan, Alvord held various executive management positions at GE Aviation.

Christina Alvord. Credit: Piedmont

For nearly a decade, Bless served as president and CEO of Century Aluminum Company, a global producer of primary aluminum, and was a member of the company’s board of directors. Prior to becoming CEO, he served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Century. Previous to Century, he held a range of executive positions with several companies including Maxtor and Rockwell Automation.

“We are honoured to welcome Christy and Mike to the newly created directorships,” Piedmont board chairman Jeff Armstrong said in a statement. “Their extensive knowledge and backgrounds will be key as we and our partners look toward our targeted timeline of bringing lithium production online in 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026.”

Earlier this week, Piedmont announced it has amend its existing offtake agreement with Tesla.

Under the amended agreement, the company will now deliver approximately 125,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate to Tesla beginning in H2 2023 through the end of 2025. The spodumene supply will be sourced from North American Lithium, a project based in Quebec that Piedmont acquired in 2021.

Shares of Piedmont soared 15.4% by market close Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $884.5 million.

Analysts knock Osisko’s Cariboo gold project feasibility

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 11:31

The first phase of Osisko Development’s (TSXV: ODV; NYSE: ODV) Cariboo gold project in central British Columbia makes little economic sense, analysts say about a new feasibility study.

The project’s underground mine would produce 1.87 million oz. over a 12-year life after construction costs of C$137.3 million, the Montreal-based company proposes in the study released on Tuesday.

A three-year first phase would process 1,500 tonnes a day from the Lowhee, Shaft and Mosquito deposits for average annual production of 72,500 ounces. The plant would increase capacity to 4,900 tonnes a day in the fourth year to produce 193,798 oz. per year, the study shows.

However, total cash costs for the first phase are $1,149 per oz., according to the study and it uses a base case gold market price of $1,700 per ounce. That amounts to earnings of $113.2 million, only about a third of the projected phase two capital cost.

“They’ll need to raise another C$300 million before the larger, second stage is built,” industry blogger Mark Turner wrote on his IKN site late Tuesday. “There’s no point in getting involved before 2027,” he advised investors.

The project’s all-in sustaining costs are $1,634 per oz. to produce 205,419 oz. over phase one’s three years after including the C$137.3 million capital cost, C$134.2 million in sustaining costs and C$64.8 million in pre-permit costs, the study shows.

The project, located about 700 km northeast of Vancouver in the district of Wells, covers 1,550 sqkm and includes mineral targets across a roughly 80 km strike. Cariboo has an after-tax net present value of C$502 million at a 5% discount rate and a 21% after-tax internal rate of return, according to the feasibility study.

BMO Capital Markets, which doesn’t cover Osisko Development, cut its net asset value for Osisko Gold Royalties (TSX: OR) – a 44% stakeholder in the development company – by almost a half to C$88 million from C$161 million.

“The changes to our Osisko Gold Royalties estimates include lower grade and a 2024 startup, which is later than our previous startup estimate,” mining analyst Jackie Przybylowski wrote in a note on Tuesday.

Osisko Gold Royalties’ 5% net smelter return royalty on the Cariboo project is “juicy,” blogger Turner said.

Cariboo has probable mineral reserves of 16.7 million tonnes grading 3.78 grams gold per tonne for contained metal of 2.03 million ounces. Grading breaks down to an average of 4.43 grams gold per tonne in phase one and 3.72 grams gold in phase two, the study shows.

Sean Roosen, chairman and chief executive officer of Osisko Development, said Cariboo will be a large-scale, long-life and profitable gold mine.

“By phasing construction, we have minimized our exposure to development risk at Cariboo, optimized the sequencing of the assets in our portfolio and maximized our ability to scale Cariboo,” Roosen said. “We envision Cariboo as a project that will be a cash flow engine for the company for decades.”

Shares in Osisko Development rose 2.7% in Wednesday afternoon trading in Toronto to C$6.05 each, valuing the company at C$458 million.

NioCorp demo plant in Quebec boasts high rare earth recoveries

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 11:20

NioCorp Developments (TSX: NB) reported a rare earth dissolution rate of 86-95% at its demonstration plant in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, the company said Wednesday.

That rate was obtained through hydrochloric acid leaching of ore mined at NioCorp’s Elk Creek project in southeast Nebraska, the company said in a news release. In further solvent extraction recovery steps, the rare earths loading rate was as high as 99%, indicating potentially strong rates of recovery of separated rare earth oxides.

“These results are in line with our expectations and they show that the ongoing work at the plant is proceeding in a positive direction,” said Scott Honan, COO of the Colorado-based company.

“In the coming weeks, we look forward to seeing the final results from the separations extractions testing that is now underway and to reporting those results to the public.”

The extraction process also revealed only two significant impurities of iron and a very small amount of nickel.

NioCorp says it is focused on the recovery of high-purity rare earths such as dysprosium oxide and terbium oxide. It is also focused on neodymium-praseodymium oxide, the main component of neodymium-iron-boron permanent rare earth magnets used in the traction motors of electric vehicles.

The Quebec plant is aimed at processing Elk Creek ore in three phases: processing and rare earth extraction, demonstrating an improved process for leaching and niobium and titanium separation, and showing the technical viability of separating high-purity magnetic rare earths from the ore.

AngloGold Ashanti puts Brazil gold mine up for sale

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 09:03

South African miner AngloGold Ashanti (JSE: ANG) (NYSE: AU) (ASX: AGG) is said to be in talks to sell its Córrego do Sítio gold complex, located in the southeast Brazilian mining state of Minas Gerais.

The gold complex, operated by subsidiary AGA Mineração, consists of one open pit mine and one underground mine, which have been in production since 1989.

The same unit operates the nearby Cuiabá complex, made up of Cuiabá and Lamego underground mines and the Cuiabá and Queiroz plants.

According to local media, gold junior Jaguar Mining (TSX: JAG) is the most likely buyer. The Canadian company already has operations in the vicinity and its main mines are Turmalina and Caeté gold complexes, which produce more than 95,000 ounces of gold annually, combined.

MINING.COM reached out to both AngloGold and Jaguar, but could not confirm the information.

A spokesperson for AngloGold told BNamericas the company was continually reviewing opportunities to improve its asset portfolio. As part of this process, the unnamed person said the company had engaged in conversations with other sectorial players, as it evaluates the best options for Córrego do Sítio.

“At the moment, there are only discussions of proposals and possibilities for the site. There is no conclusion,” the source said.

AngloGold produces around 510,000 ounces of gold in Brazil from its two mining complexes. Together, they account for 15% of the miner’s total global production.

Gold price nears 7-month peak on hopes of smaller Fed rate hikes

Mining.Com - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 08:55

Gold extended its New Year rally to trade near a seven-month peak on Wednesday, helped by a weaker US dollar and growing expectations of less aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Spot gold was up 1.0% to $1,858.97 per ounce by 11:40 a.m. EST, its highest since mid-June. US gold futures also gained 1.0% to $1,864.20 per ounce in New York.

[Click here for an interactive chart of gold prices]

The US dollar index, meanwhile, slipped 0.4%, making bullion less expensive for overseas investors.

There is some optimism in the market ahead of the release of minutes from the Fed’s December meeting later in the day, Kinesis Money external analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa told Reuters.

“Majority of investors are betting on a 0.25% rate hike in the next Fed meeting, differently from a few weeks ago, when another 0.50% rate was given as almost sure,” he added.

The minutes from the last Fed meeting, at which the US central bank raised rates by 50 basis points after four consecutive 75 basis point hikes, are due at 2 p.m. ET.

According to Daniela Hathorn, senior market analyst at Capital.com, there is still some reluctance from Fed members to give in to weaker economic data.

“Their decision to lower the pace of rate hikes might have more to do with a wait-and-see approach as they determine the impact of past rate hikes, rather than them being concerned about the recent worsening economic data, which would support rate cuts throughout 2023 and favour the precious metal,” she said.

Investors will also scan Wednesday’s US job openings data and the ISM manufacturing report at 10 a.m. ET to judge the health of the economy.

(With files from Reuters)

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