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Brazil’s right-wing President, Jair Bolsonaro, has issued a new decree that returns the decision-making power of indigenous reserves demarcation to the Ministry of Agriculture, effectively removing any involvement of the National Indigenous Affairs agency (FUNAI) in the matter.

In May, the country’s lower house of Congress rebuffed the exact same measure, keeping land decisions in FUNAI’s hands.

The fresh move, considered a concession to the country’s farm lobby, comes only a week after the agency’s president, Franklimberg Ribeiro de Freitas, announced he was leaving the post as he rejected the government’s push to open up reservation lands to commercial activity.

In May, Brazil’s lower house of Congress rebuffed Bolsonaro’s attempt to do the same, keeping land decisions on the National Indigenous Affairs agency’s hands.

A Native descendant, Freitas had previously run FUNAI until April 2018, but was let go by the previous government over allegations that he was “too supportive” of indigenous tribes’ land claims.

Freitas took part in several operations in the Amazon forest aimed at reducing deforestation by evicting illegal miners and loggers from the area, an ecosystem with worldwide ecological significance.

While the temporary decree goes into effect immediately, it is required to be approved by Congress within 120 days. If that doesn’t happen, the order expires.

Bolsonaro, a former Army captain elected last year, has shown no sympathy towards indigenous people, who make up less than 1% of the country’s population and live on reservation lands that cover 12% of its territory.

He has also made controversial statements, which have raised concerns among environmental experts, academics and activists.

He has said, for instance, that he wants to open reservation lands to agriculture and mining, even in the Amazon rainforest. He has also vowed to assimilate the country’s 800,000 indigenous people — less than 1% the total population — into Brazilian society.

Source: Latentes.

Climate scientists say Bolsonaro’s intentions could make it impossible for Latin America’s largest nation to meet its reduced emissions targets in the coming years.

Other issues conservationists are worried about include Bolsonaro’s criticism of Brazil’s environmental agencies for blocking or taking too long to approve mining and energy projects. He has promised to reduce the wait time to license small hydroelectric plants to a maximum of three months, rather than the decade it can sometimes take.

Brewing conflicts

There are over 400 brewing disputes involving mining companies, quilombos (communities made up of the ancestors of runaway slaves) and other indigenous peoples, according to Latentes, a journalistic project to map conflict areas in Brazil.

The investigative reporters found that from the 428 potential conflicts detected in the country, 245 are found in reserves, while 183 involve traditional bondservant communities, as Brazil was the West’s last nation to abolish slavery.

The mapping crosses data from Funai, the national indigenous affairs agency, the Palmares Foundation, which regulates quilombos and data from active mining concession contracts signed by the newly reformed National Mining Agency.

Companies operating and exploring in Brazil are mainly after iron ore (the country is the world’s top producer of the steel-making ingredient) and gold, though the nation also holds large reserves of bauxite, manganese and potash. It’s also Latin America’s No. 1 oil producer.

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A new technology that delivers commercial-scale, cyanide-free gold processing has been released by Australian-based company Clean Mining.

The process replaces cyanide with a safer, less hazardous chemical reagent called thiosulphate. This inorganic compound helps dissolve fine gold out of ores into a solution, which can then be recovered through further processing.

The new technology was developed over more than a decade by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, and trialed in Australia in 2018 with Clean Mining’s parent company – Eco Minerals Research Limited. This trial proved the thiosulphate solution could extract gold from ore at an industrial scale.

Following this Clean Mining negotiated exclusive rights to sell and distribute new cyanide-free gold processing technology worldwide.

Clean Mining’s managing director Jeff McCulloch said the deal now allows Clean Mining to launch the new technology solution and begin its global sales and distribution program.

“The world has been waiting for a cost-effective, non-toxic solution to gold processing and Clean Mining now offers that solution,” McCulloch said in a statement.

About 75% of gold extracted from ore is currently processed using cyanide or mercury, which are toxic to humans and the environment.

These chemicals are often contained in large storage tanks and, once used, expelled into large tailing dams that can potentially leach into the local surroundings.

“Eliminating cyanide and the associated tailing dams from the gold recovery process is a game-changer for the sector and, importantly, for the communities where gold miners operate,” Mr McCulloch said.

Clean Mining will initially target small to mid-scale miners who can benefit from the cost-effective leaching ore processing solution, which includes a plug-and-play plant that can be customized and scaled to meet individual needs.

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Africa-focused Gem Diamonds (LON:GEMD) said Thursday that it has sold its mothballed Ghaghoo mine in Botswana to local company Pro Civil for $5.4 million.

Gem acquired the mine from De Beers in 2007, hoping it would help it diversify its portfolio away from Lesotho, where its only asset — the prolific Letšeng mine — is located.

Instead, and after spending more than $85 million developing an underground mine, the company ended up having to write off $170 million in March 2017 against the asset, which it had placed on care and maintenance the month before.

Gem acquired the mine from De Beers in 2007, hoping it would help it diversify its portfolio away from Lesotho, where its only asset — the prolific Letšeng mine — is located.

The London-listed diamond producer intended to resume operations once market conditions improved, but it later decided to offload the operation.

“This sale is in line with our strategic objective to dispose of non-core assets,” chief executive Clifford Elphick said in a statement.

Proceeds from the Ghaghoo sale, expected to close in the third quarter, will be used for general corporate purposes, said Gem Diamonds.

Pro Civil will assume the environmental liability currently associated with Gem Diamonds. “The Government of Botswana has been consulted throughout the process and is fully conversant with the relevant details of the transaction,” the company noted.

Ghaghoo is not Gem Diamonds’ only failed attempt to extend operations beyond Lesotho. In 2008, the company shut down the Cempaka alluvial mine in Indonesia. Four years later, it had to sell its Ellendale mine in Australia, a source of rare yellow diamonds, for $15 million.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has found five of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recovered, which makes the mine the world’s highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond operation.

At an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also one of the world’s highest diamond mines.

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Gold reached a five-year high on Wednesday breaking through a major resistance level after the US Federal Reserve signalled a rate cut is in the offing.

Gold for delivery in August, the most active futures contract trading in New York, reached an intraday high of $1,366.60 an ounce, up 1.3% from yesterday settlement price and the highest since mid-March, 2014.

Gold is up 6.6% this year, finding support from safe haven buying amid geopolitical worries and trade tensions, but expectations of lower interest rates and a drop in bond yields in the US saw the metal finally breaking through $1,360, considered a major resistance level.

The relationship between long-term interest rates in the US (as proxied by 10-year Treasurys) and the gold price is strongly negative. The yield on the 10-year note fell to 2.023% on Wednesday, the lowest since the election of Donald Trump on November 8, 2016.

Rising real interest rates raises the opportunity costs of holding gold because the metal provides no yield and investors have to rely on price appreciation for returns. Lower rates also makes the dollar which usually move in the opposite direction of the gold price, less attractive.

Ross Norman, CEO Sharps Pixley, the largest bullion broker in London, told Wealthadviser on Tuesday, that gold could be in the very early stages of a bull run:

“We are seeing distinct similarities with the very early bull run in the late 1990s, just before we saw that inflection moment. There was massive despondency in the physical market for gold, increasing M&A amongst the miners and a market tracking sideways with falling prices and falling volatility.

“Everything changes once we break through $1,360; it is the mother of all resistance levels. […] Once we breach that, we should see a steady rise to around $1,800 an ounce.

“A combination of central bank buying, surging demand from institutional investors for gold ETFs and increased activity on Comex means that the mood is very positive towards gold. It’s only the retail investors that are late to the party.”

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Liberty Gold Corp. (TSX: LGD) announced today that it has intersected thick intervals of high-grade gold mineralization at its Black Pine project in Idaho. Highlights of the latest drill results include: 1.78 g/t Au over 47.2 m, 1.51 g/t Au over 48.8 m and 1.45 g/t Au over 45.7 m. Six of the ten reported drill holes had grades above 1.12 g/t.

Shares of the company rose by more than 8% during Wednesday’s trading session, at one point hitting a 52-week high of C$0.51. Its market capitalization has now reached C$93 million.

“After two years of preparatory compilation, modeling and permitting, our expectations were high, and these holes did not disappoint,” says President and CEO Cal Everett.

Drilling is continuing at Black Pine, with several targets already identified. The company is awaiting results from four additional holes at the same target zone.

Located in the northern Great Basin, next to the Utah/Idaho border, the Black Pine gold project draws comparison to many deposits located along Nevada’s Carlin trend. The historical Black Pine mine (1992-1997) produced a total of 435,000 ounces of gold at an average grade of 0.63 g/t.

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MINING.com by Canadian Mining Journal Staff - 19h ago

Newtrax Technologies, a leading provider of safety and productivity systems for underground hard rock mines – has been acquired by Swedish business Sandvik to be run as an independent business unit within the Rock Drills and Technologies division of the Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology business area.

The combined expertise of Sandvik and Newtrax will create the most powerful, streamlined digital solution to improve safety and efficiency for underground hard rock mines with Newtrax’s leading technology in wireless IoT connectivity and Sandvik’s leading suite of digital tools for analyzing and optimizing mining production and processes, including OptiMine and My Sandvik.

“By including Newtrax into the Sandvik family, we further strengthen our leading position in areas related to automation and digitalization,” says Henrik Ager, president of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology.

Founded in 2009, Newtrax started as a university project led by Alexandre Cervinka, founder and CEO, with co-founder Vincent Kassis. In 2014, Newtrax received a major investment from Jolimont Global Mining System, an Australian private equity investor in high growth mining equipment, technology and services.

Since acquiring the mining division of ISAAC Instruments in Q4 2016, Newtrax has reinforced its position as the world leader in vehicle telemetry systems for underground hard rock mines.

Newtrax will operate as an independent business unit committed to having an open architecture and will continue to interface with other vendors in the mining digital ecosystem.

“By joining Sandvik Group, we can now confidently say that we have the world’s leading digitization solution for underground mining customers,” said  Cervinka.

Newtrax generated revenues of approximately $26 million with 120 employees in 2018. Newtrax customers are the largest producers of metals in the world.

This story first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal

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MINING.com by Canadian Mining Journal Staff - 19h ago

Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals, sole owner of the Pebble project 300 km from Anchorage, has arranged a US$5 million bought deal financing that will allow it to continue the 2019 field program and complete the environmental impact statement for the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold deposit.

The lead underwriter is Cantor Fitzgerald Canada. That company and a syndicate of underwriters has agreed to purchase 12.2 million common shares of Northern Dynasty at a price of US$0.41 each, for gross proceeds of US$5.0 million. The underwriters have been given an over-allotment of an additional 1.83 million shares worth another US$750,000. The underwriters will also receive a 6.0% commission on the gross proceeds. The deal is expected to close on June 24, 2019.

Northern Dynasty says it continues to explore long term product financing options. Additional funding for the project is required by the end of 2019.

When the preliminary economic assessment was delivered in 2011, the cost of the Pebble project was estimated at US$5.76 billion. That is likely to change as the project goes forward and is de-risked.

Using a copper equivalent cut off of 0.3% for an open pit mine, the Pebble deposit has measured and indicated resources of 6.46 billion tonnes grading 0.40% copper, 0.34 g/t gold, and 240 ppm molybdenum. The inferred resource is 4.45 billion tonnes averaging 0.25% copper, 0.25 g/t gold, and 226 ppm molybdenum.

This story first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal

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MINING.com by Canadian Mining Journal Staff - 19h ago

Frank Arnott championed innovative exploration techniques (Image: Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada)

The Frank Arnott Award Committee is delighted to announce that the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) will proudly host the inaugural Frank Arnott – Next Generation Explorers Award focused exclusively on bringing together the education and mineral resource sectors to address key industry challenges around the utilization and interpretation of exploration-relevant data.

The Frank Arnott challenge is intended to provide a means for geoscience students to “bridge the real world skills gap” by working collaboratively on an unstructured problem that will hone both their university acquired and collaborative group skillsets on relevant applications used in the minerals exploration industry.

“The future success of our industry and its ability to create prosperity and positive change for communities around the world rests in future generations leading the way,” says PDAC president Felix Lee. “These students will develop and define the landscape of tomorrow, and we are honored that the best and brightest will gather and be recognized at PDAC 2021.”

This challenge is open to students who are either currently enrolled in an undergraduate or post-graduate earth science degree. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate within multi-disciplinary groups, gain hands-on experience working with modern data types encountered in real-world employment scenarios, improve leadership and team-based soft skills, receive feedback and recognition by the mineral exploration industry, as well as expand industry networks and employment opportunities.

The finalist presentations and awards ceremony for Frank Arnott – Next Generation Explorers Award will take place during the PDAC convention in March 2021.

The Next Generation Explorers Award is a non-profit organization, made up of volunteers, that are committed to supporting our future generation of explorers through collaborative and relevant events like the Frank Arnott Award.

This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal

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MINING.com by Mining.com Staff Writer - 22h ago

Jervois Mining Ltd. (ASX: JRV) today completed its previously announced merger with M2 Cobalt Corp. (TSXV: MC) following receipt of approvals from both M2 Cobalt shareholders and the BC Supreme Court.

In light of the merger, Simon Clarke, former CEO and executive director of M2 Cobalt, joins the Jervois board as a non-executive director. He is a qualified CPA and securities lawyer with 25 years of senior management experience in the resource and energy sector with companies like OSUM Oil Sands and RailPower Technologies.

Also at Jervois, Stephen van der Sluys has stepped down as the director and interim CEO for the transition period, while Andy Eldelmeier, former CFO of M2 Cobalt, joins the team as interim CFO. Edelmeier was a partner at Strata Partners, a London-based corporate finance firm, where he advised on private equity financings and cross border M&A.

Earlier this year, Jervois also entered into an at-market merger with eCobalt Solutions Inc., which will require shareholder approval on July 18, 2019. Following the mergers Jervois will be listed on the ASX and TSXV under the symbol JRV.

Acquiring M2 Cobalt gives Jervois access to the historic Kilembe mine and Kasese cobalt refinery in Uganda to support the company’s East African ambitions, the company says.

Written with material from Newsfilecorp.

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Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO), the world’s second largest iron ore miner, has once again cut its production guidance for the commodity, this time due to operational problems, particularly in the Greater Brockman hub in Australia’s Pilbara region.

The company now expects to produce between 320 and 330 million tonnes of the steel making ingredient in 2019, down from a previous guidance of 333 to 343 million tonnes.

“Given the change in volume guidance, unit costs will be updated in the second quarter operational review [due on July 16],” Rio said in the statement. The company had been targeting unit costs of around $13 a tonne for 2019.

The news come on the same day its rival Vale (NYSE:VALE), the world’s no.1 iron ore producer, announced that it was is ready to fully resume operations at its Brucutu mine, the largest in the Minas Gerais state, within 72 hours.

The iron ore mine has been operating at a third of its 30 million tonne a year capacity since February, so its reopening is expected to bring 5.4 million tonnes of production forward this year.

Rio’s new forecasted output, however, will offset Vale’s restart, BMO analyst Edward Sterck said in a note Wednesday. He sees the announcement adding further tightness to the market and support iron ore prices.

“This is the third restart announcement since 21 March, so further delays cannot be discounted. Nonetheless, a restart could ease pressure on the iron ore price, although we note this announcement coincides with a 10m cut to iron ore guidance from Rio,” Sterck said.

The miner last cut his full-year iron ore production outlook in April, after reporting a 14% drop in iron ore shipments in the first quarter, amid disruption caused by a tropical cyclone that hit its export terminal in Western Australia.

Iron ore prices have climbed this year on the back supply disruptions and record steel production in China.

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