Flash News: Major Events

2 02 2011

Less than a year after the Upper Big Branch accident, Massey Energy is set to be acquired by Alpha Natural Resources. Mineweb

Rejoice! The 18-month strike at Vale’s Voisey’s Bay operations is over. Mineweb

The Russians were right. Guinea is seeking to double its share in mining projects to bring it to at least 30 per cent. It is however taking 20% in Rio Tinto, Chinalco and the IFC’s Simandou iron ore project. Mining Weekly

Mongolia is implementing a law regulating nuclear energy. Uranium exploration will begin in 2012 and according to the Prime Minister will be the most ambitious mining venture after the Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi projects. Talking about the later, the bid to develop about half of this coking coal deposit recently wrapped up – 15 bidders have shown interest.

The European Union still très féroce on securing rare earths. Reuters


The European Union acting on Rare Earths too

10 05 2010

On April 30th, the EU’s commissioner for industry, Antonio Tajani, has announced that the EU will be putting more pressure on China and Africa to access rare earth supply. Earlier this year, worries of China imposing trade restrictions on rare earths to secure access to supply for its domestic industries have prompted many initiatives to increase the supply of rare earths from outside of China. I have recently reported on the United States’ RESTART Act.

Unlike the United States which has rare earth deposits on its territory, the EU has little or no deposits. As is the case with other minerals whose sourcing has become problematic for industries, the EU is envisioning a strategy for rare earths which it will draw up in the form of an upcoming Communication of the Commission to the Council and the Parliament.

The Commissioner has already mentioned that the intent of the document will be to list the sensitive rare materials in light of industries’ needs, pledge to work with China on easing its exports quotas (which are in breach of WTO rules), increasing recycling capacity within the EU and to cooperate with African countries to gain a foothold on the extraction of rare earth deposits in Africa. At present many deposits are exploited by Chinese company.

Raw material supply has been an ongoing issue affecting the competitiveness of EU-based metal industries (an in-depth discussion of the issue can be found here). In response to this, the EU launched in 2008 the Raw Materials Initiative- meeting our critical needs for jobs and growth in Europe, on which it should report on the implementation this year.