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 a challenge to British Columbia’s mineral claim regime, approval from Eldorado to restart Skouries and Las Bambas running out of storage space for its copper concentrate.
Altiplano Minerals is taking a different approach with its Chilean Farellon iron-copper-gold mine to maximize value while sticking to tight limits on production. Building its own milling operation will allow Altiplano to recover more metals and market them as opposed to selling its concentrate to the state-controlled mineral processor, and staying within Chile’s small-mining permit regime allows Farellon to access government support that would be unavailable otherwise.
Rio Tinto has completed its US$3.3 billion takeover of Turquoise Hill, giving the company a 66 per cent stake in the Mongolian Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, as reported by Reuters. Some minority shareholders opposed the deal, with Pentwater Capital Management – a 10-per cent shareholder in Turquoise Hill – possibly pursuing a class action lawsuit against Rio Tinto for allegedly concealing delays and cost increases. Rio Tinto says that the new, simpler ownership structure will help move production forward at the mine.
A court case surrounding British Columbia’s mineral claims process could result in significant changes to how mineral exploration is conducted in the province, as reported by Business in Vancouver. The case, which has First Nations, environmental groups and mining and exploration associations seeking intervenor status, will determine whether mineral claims must first obtain free, prior and informed consent as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which was enacted in 2019. The case is set to be heard in April 2023.
Barrick Gold has received final permission from the Supreme Court of Pakistan to proceed with its Reko Diq copper-gold project. According to Barrick, Reko Diq is one of the largest undeveloped copper projects in the world and is expected to produce approximately 430 million pounds of copper and 280,000 ounces of gold in the first five years of a 40-year mine life. Barrick is currently updating the project’s 2010 feasibility and 2011 feasibility expansion studies, which are expected for 2024, with first production targeted for 2028.
The government of Panama has ordered the stoppage of production at First Quantum Minerals’ Cobre Panama mine after the two parties failed to agree on an economic package for government payments, as reported by Reuters. A deal had previously been reached in January for First Quantum to pay US$375 million in benefits per year, but was not finalized due to “necessary legal protections on termination stability and transition arrangements could not be agreed upon,” according to First Quantum. The company says it will look to defend the mine and its stakeholders from the government by any means, including taking legal action.