Kinross poured its first gold bar at its Chilean La Coipa project in the first quarter of 2022. Courtesy of Kinross.
Welcome back to your weekly mining news recap, where we catch you up on some of the news you may have missed. This week’s headlines include the Canadian government looking to secure carbon pricing stability, Baffinland Iron Mines asked to stop icebreaking by Nunavut hunters and more first quarter reports highlights.
The Alberta Court of Appeal published a non-binding opinion on Tuesday, deeming the Impact Assessment Act unconstitutional, as reported by CBC. The opinion views the Act, previously known as Bill C-69, as posing an “existential threat” to the constitutional division of powers between provinces and the federal government. The federal government stated that it will be appealing the decision.
Eight workers trapped underground at Trevali’s Perkoa mine in Burkina Faso since April 16 have yet to be found, though rescue teams are getting closer to a refuge chamber they may have sought for safety, as reported by Al Jazeera. Flash floods initially trapped the workers, who were 520 metres from the surface at the time of evacuation. It is not known whether the missing workers were able to reach either of the two refuge chambers or whether they are still alive, though there are indications that fresh air could be reaching at least one of the chambers, which, a government spokesmen said, has given some the hope that there may yet be time to rescue the men.
The Canadian government is consulting heavy industrial carbon emitters to determine how to ensure carbon pricing outlasts the current Liberal government, as reported by Reuters. The lack of certainty around carbon pricing has held back some industries from pursuing significant investments towards emissions reduction, with the Conservative Party opposing the policy. Federal Natural Resources minister Jonathan Wilkinson expects the talks to conclude by year end.
Ivanhoe has made public the plans for Phase 3 of Kamoa-Kakula’s expansion, the copper mining complex located in the Democratic Republic of Congo now expected to ramp up its annual copper production up to 600,000 tonnes per year. Two additional underground mines will be developed, as well as a new concentrator plan and a direct-to-blister flash smelter.
Nunavut hunters and environmental groups are calling on Baffinland Iron Mines to change its Mary River mine shipping plans to avoid icebreaking due to a steady decline in narwhals in the area, as reported by CBC. The narwhals’ migration route is also navigated by ships carrying ore from Baffinland’s port. Baffinland is planning to resume icebreaking after agreeing to halt the practice last spring, arguing a lack of proof tying the drop in narwhal numbers to its shipping activities.
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For large-scale operations, issues in getting product from pit to port can engender multi-million-dollar costs. By turning to data-driven decision-making, some companies are optimizing their end-to-end strategies and greatly reducing their losses. Agile development, identifying and resolving bottlenecks, opting for goal-driven data collection and being willing to move away from traditional ways of operating are all components that can transform integrated logistics into a holistic strategy to ensure best outcomes.
Hudbay Minerals lost its federal court appeal of a 2019 Arizona District Court decision, which had ruled that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) should not have approved Hudbay’s environmental impact statement for its Rosemont copper project in Arizona. The ruling agreed that the USFS relied on incorrect assumptions as to the legal authority and validity of Rosemont’s unpatented mining claims. Hudbay plans to keep pursuing the development of the project, focusing on mining claims adjacent to the disputed Rosemont claims but are not on federal lands.
The Charge On Innovation Challenge, which invited technology innovators across industries to collaborate with mining companies to find solutions in commercializing viable electric haul trucks, has announced its eight winning innovators from 350 participants. Hitachi Energy, Shell Consortium and Siemens Off-board power supply are among the winning collaborators now working with interested companies to accelerate the technology development towards zero-emissions fleets.
In March, President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase domestic critical minerals production. Still confused about the implications for the industry? Our explainer lays down the details, from the nature of the Act to how key players reacted to the announcement.
In what was a stormy week for the metals market, first quarter reports kept rolling in. The highlights include:
Sherritt reported net earnings of $15.7 million as well as production amounting to 3,875 tonnes of nickel at a cost of $3.42 per pound and 446 tonnes of cobalt.
Wesdome produced 25,611 ounces of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $1,695 per ounce, generating a net income of $7.1 million since the start of the quarter.
Having now poured the first gold bar at its La Coipa project in Chile, Kinross reported net earnings of US$82.3 million. Production reached 409,857 gold equivalent ounces (GEO) at an all-in sustaining cost of US$1,245 per GEO.
McEwen Mining sustained a net loss of US$19.3 million due to investments in exploration and losses from operations. The company produced 25,100 gold equivalent ounces (GEO) at an all-in sustaining cost of US$2,146 per GEO.
Pan American Silver produced 4.6 million ounces of silver and 131,000 ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of US$13.41 and US$1,502 per ounce, respectively. First quarter net income reached US$76.8 million for the company.
First quarter production at Torex Gold Resources is reported at 112,446 ounces of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of US$1,034 per ounce, with net income figuring at US$40 million.
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