Tag Archives: mining

If you look very closely at B2Gold Phillipines security incidents

you begin to detect a trend.

June 25, 2014:

On the evening of 19 June 2014, a security supervisor in the process of undertaking his routine duties entered into an altercation with another security employee resulting in the fatal shooting of the supervisor.


B2Gold Corp. regrets to announce the shooting death of two security guards at the Masbate Gold Project (MGP) operation in the Philippines.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Feb 11, 2015 (Philippine time). The two guards, employees of Kublai Khan Security Services (KKSS), which is a security contractor of the MGP, were found fatally shot at their guard post.

The incident is under investigation by Philippine National Police.

Sorta makes you think there is more to this than what we’re seeing in the press releases.

(Yes this is a tribute post.)

Reuters goes to the outlaw mines in the middle of nowhere

https://i0.wp.com/blogs.reuters.com/photographers-blog/files/2012/12/PXP17.jpgYeah, read it, really. The pictures alone make it worth the click.

To get to another mine we had to cross a river that was 196ft (60 meters) wide, with water up to the waist. The clearing made by the miners made it look as if someone had taken a bite out of the jungle. Some people were cutting trees while others, several feet below, were blasting away the jungle floor with a high pressure water hose. They were riding the hose as if trying to tame a wild anaconda.

The hose is very dangerous. Its pressure and its metal nozzle turn it into a lethal weapon for the miners who work barefoot, sunk in the mud. There are no doctors or medical assistance anywhere nearby. In recent weeks two miners died here in the morning and their colleagues were only able to recover their bodies by the next morning. Mudslides, snake bites and tropical diseases are frequent.

Venezuela takes over Loma de Níquel, workers get the shaft

I know, old joke, and it doesn’t work well for an open pit mine. But it’s unfortunately true. Anglo American is now fully out of Venezuela, having sold its coal mine and involuntarily returned its nickel concession.

The Venezuelan state took over operations of the Loma de Níquel mine at midnight Sunday morning, confirming what I reported here a month earlier. The situation was more like my “Imaginary scenario 2,” in which the government has no idea it’s about to be in the nickel business and doesn’t handle the transition very well. Mine manager Carlos Dini, cited in El Universal, says PDVSA is now “operating” the mine, although a worker at the mine says it’s not PDVSA but rather managers left over from Anglo American who are running things. Continue reading

Anglo confirming Venezuela departure? UPDATE: No, but…

UPDATE: A worker tells me Anglo has said no such thing. However, the government did send someone to guarantee workers that they’d still have their jobs after Nov. 11. So, I guess it’s all going according to plan…

Earlier version of story:

Venezuela’s gossip-master extraordinaire Nelson Bocaranda says Anglo American has told Venezuelan mine workers to stay home tomorrow as its nickel mine will be expropriated. I haven’t confirmed that yet, but it would fit with the Venezuelan government’s usual method of avoiding sabotage — always expropriate a bit before the last possible minute.

In other news, a worker writes in to say that the company has been totally closed-mouthed about this whole operation, but that workers knew something was afoot as mine operations halted and the site’s electrical furnaces were cut to minimum power. No metal output in October, according to my source.

Don’t mind if I toot my own horn a bit more in pointing out that readers here knew about Anglo’s departure from Venezuela before they told their own workers. See, the Internet is more than just cat bounces after all.

Oh wow, forget mining & energy, I want to bounce cats.

UPDATE2: I missed this, from Reuters on Friday: Anglo has indeed confirmed the end of metal production at Loma de Niquel and the company’s likely departure from Venezuela.

Loma de Niquel, the Venezuelan ferronickel producer owned by Anglo-American, closed in September as a long-running dispute over the company’s mining concessions comes to a head.

Anglo has warned that unless a deal can be reached before November 10, when its last three concessions expire, “there will be no further production contribution from this operation”.

If that turns out to be the case, it will remove around 17,000 tonnes of annual capacity from the market, a larger hit on supply than any of the cost-related cuts so far announced.

I would dispute his claim that there was any long-running dispute. But otherwise, nice work getting Anglo’s statement.

Exclusive: Anglo-American out of Venezuela in a month

Image taken without permission from Minera Loma de Niquel website, click for original.

Anglo American has a nickel mine in Venezuela. A month from now, from what I hear, that won’t be the case. The concessions now being mined expire Nov. 11 along with the site environmental permit, according to a person familiar with the situation. The government hasn’t renewed the concessions, so it’s lame duck time for them. The company now has a month to comply with its permit requirements — including returning the site in pristine condition. That won’t happen. The site ain’t in bad shape as mines go, but it has some big gouges in the ground where scoops pick up damp, crumbly, pale-blue ore, dump it on trucks, which dump it into some of the most ridiculously hot furnaces you can imagine (1650°C), where the nickel is smelted out and turned into dark pellets that are cooled in little water pools and then loaded into containers (very shallow, or the container would be too heavy) and trucked to Puerto Cabello and thence to points unknown.

The writing has been on the wall for years, as Anglo American has been writing down the value of its sole remaining Venezuelan asset. Continue reading

Colombia gets more mineral-dependent. Now, mineral extraction gets tougher.

Colombia’s in a bit of a tough spot on natural resource exploitation. (But who isn’t, right?) On the one hand, the economy is getting more mineral-dependent every year. Here’s a chart showing what Colombia’s exports are made of, according to the central bank. The inner ring is 1995. The outer ring is 2012, through May. The red part is minerals. Cocaine exports aren’t included. Minerals — including fossil fuels — now make up more than half of Colombia’s legal exports, up from less than 42% every year through 2010. In other words, industrial and agricultural exports are becoming less important to Colombia’s foreign trade.

I know, the bars' thickness or radius should reflect the nominal amount of trade in each year. Excel doesn't do that.

(Below, see a chart of the overall export figures — industry has actually been doing well, just that minerals are kicking its culo.)

Continue reading

Anyone in favour of Peru giving away the store to Doe Run?

Otto gives some calm, measured advice to the government of Peru — primarily to “Grow some balls one time, will you? Doe Run Peru has failed to meet its contractual obligations… Screw ’em. Fuck ’em. …take over the plant, Ollanta.”

Then I get this press release from San Francisco, which says more or less the same thing, but in Spanish press release-ese. I’m not usually one to just run a press release here, but what the heck, maybe this will help the PR get seen:

El Congreso del Perú no debe otorgar extensión sin condiciones a Doe Run en La Oroya

Empresa usa tácticas legales y políticas cuestionables para presionar al gobierno

San Francisco, EEUU – Mientras que el Congreso peruano se encuentra considerando una norma para otorgar a la empresa Doe Run Perú (DRP) una extensión del plazo para el cumplimiento de las obligaciones del Plan de Adecuación y Manejo Ambiental (PAMA) por tercera vez, DRP usa tácticas legales cuestionables para presionar al Perú. El gobierno peruano no debe permitir la reapertura del complejo metalúrgico de La Oroya sin que la empresa cumpla de antemano sus obligaciones ambientales, se pronunciaron el martes las organizaciones internacionales Earthjustice y la Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente.

Continue reading