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 new partnership between Taseko Mines and Mitsui, Glencore’s Sukunka project skunked and Teck Resources’ latest sale.
Two separate deals struck by Iamgold this week will help it cover construction costs for its Côté Gold project in Ontario. An agreement made between Iamgold and Sumitomo Metals will see Sumitomo contribute up to US$340 to the project in exchange for increased interest in the project. The second source of funding comes from the sale of Iamgold’s 90 per cent stake in its African assets to the Morocco-based Managem for roughly $US282 million.
Taseko Mines and Mitsui & Co. are partnering up to develop Taseko’s Florence copper project in Arizona. Mitsui has contributed an investment of up to US$100 million, which will be applied to construction costs of the commercial production facility, in exchange for a 10-per cent equity interest in the project. The two companies have also entered into an offtake contract for 81 per cent of the copper cathode produced at Florence during its initial production years.
The Government of Canada put a stop to Glencore’s Sukunka metallurgical coal project near Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, following concerns over adverse environmental impacts identified in the province’s assessment of the project. The assessment concluded that the mine would negatively affect local wildlife, including caribou and grizzly bear populations, as well as risk releasing mercury and selenium into local water sources.
Teck Resources is selling its Quintette coal mine also near Tumbler Ridge to Conuma Resources Limited. Teck will receive $120 million in cash through staged payments over 36 months as well as a continuous 25 per cent net profits interest royalty. The mine has been on care and maintenance since 2000.
The Conservation Fund and Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust have raised US$20 million in an effort to conserve 44,000 acres of land located at Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed in an attempt to halt the development of Northern Dynasty Minerals’ Pebble mine, as reported by Reuters. This purchase would restrict development of a planned access road to the proposed copper-gold-molybdenum mine.
The cost for the development of Vital Metals’ Saskatoon REE plant has increased, leading the company to shift its priorities. The cost was initially estimated at over $20 million, but has since grown to $54 million due to factors including the scaling up of the capacity of the plant, “execution challenges, scoping changes and industry inflation.” Following a revision of costs and change of leadership, Vital Metals announced that it will put off the completion of the “facility’s rare earth hydrometallurgical leaching, purification and rare earth precipitation circuits until 2024,” and instead turn its focus to working on the permitting process for the Tardiff deposit at its Nechalacho project.
Ivanhoe Mines has responded to a Bloomberg story about its alleged relationship with a presidential aide arrested in a corruption case in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to Ivanhoe, the company had signed a term sheet with Congo Bantu Mining SARL (Cobamin), a company in which the aide, Vidiye Tshimanga, is a shareholder, for an earn-in for three exploration permits held by Cobamin. The company also states that no final agreements had ever been signed and no payments were ever made.
A new report from Wood Mackenzie predicts a decrease in prices of most base metals for 2023. Demand will soften due to a slowing construction sector, while the supply of copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, steel and others will grow at rates higher than 2022. The production of battery metals such as nickel, cobalt and lithium is expected to continue to expand even after seeing double-digit growth in 2022.
Canada’s Environment Minister proposed a mandate that would see one-fifth of all passenger vehicles sold powered by electricity by 2026, as reported by CTV News. Vehicle manufacturers and importers who fail to meet their sales targets under this new mandate could expect to incur penalties. The shift from gas-powered to electric-powered vehicles in the country still has a way to go, with the biggest issue currently being the availability of electric vehicles.