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  • EuroChem reveals phosphate expansion plans at Kovdor and beyond 21 May 2015

    The expansions one of the largest apatite mines in Russia are only one part of EuroChem’s growth ambitions. Different ore types will be tapped and the mine could continue being worked to twice its current depth, James Sean Dickson, Reporter, learned on a recent visit to the company’s Kovdorskiy mine in northwest Russia. Read More

  • Kerneos to push back Indian CAC plant opening to 2017 21 May 2015

    The France-based calcium aluminate producer plans to complete the construction of its $20m Vizag production plant in India within the next two years, as the country’s infrastructure and demand for refractory products used in the steel industry grows. Read More

  • Sasol Performance Chemicals expands alumina spheres production 21 May 2015

    The Germany-based high purity alumina producer is ramping up its production capacity, as it aims to satisfy demand in the growing refinery catalyst market. Read More

  • Complaints withdrawn as I-Minerals prepares to counterclaim 21 May 2015

    Legal proceedings appear to be winding down and in I-Minerals’ favour. A claim had originally surfaced that the company did not meet its payment obligations for the Helmer-Bovill quartz-feldspar-halloysite-kaolin deposit. The company is continuing to push the project forward despite the legal action siphoning away I-Minerals’ time and cash reserves. Read More

  • North Carolina ruling temporarily halts fracking approval 21 May 2015

    The North Carolina lawsuit prevents any fracking applications from being accepted or approved until an agreement is reached on the legality of the Mining and Energy Commission. Read More

  • Halliburton, BP, reach agreement over Deepwater Horizon disputes 21 May 2015

    After resolving remaining issues relating to Deepwater Horizon, Halliburton and BP are expected to negotiate new project agreements, which could in turn increase the demand for oilfield minerals. Read More

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 15 – 21 May 21 May 2015

    GrafTech to merge with Brookfield; Talga announces site for German graphene plant. Read More

  • Iluka to pursue M&A opportunities in mineral sands market downturn 21 May 2015

    The TiO2 feedstock producer outlined in its AGM this week that it plans to seek out suitable acquisition targets, should they have financial merit, as the downturn is lowering the value of assets, as was the case with Iluka’s bid for Kenmare. Through additional acquisitions, the company hopes to continue with its flexible production strategy to weather low market demand. Read More

  • Severe West Coast drought driving US diatomite and calcined clay demand 21 May 2015

    The West Coast region of the US is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in its modern history. Diatomaceous earth and calcined clay products, which increase the water retention of soils, are gathering interest for their potential to reduce water usage – something now mandated by state law. Read More

  • Aggregates producer Athabasca hit by low oil prices in Q1 21 May 2015

    Although Athabasca is not yet active in the North American fracking industry, its key role as aggregates supplier to major oil sands customers means the company has failed to escape the effects of the oil price plummet in Q1 2015. Read More

  • Broken Hill confirms high grade mineral sands in Australia 21 May 2015

    Test work at Broken Hill’s Copi North prospects has established the presence of high quality ilmenite, rutile and zircon at the deposit. The results give the company the opportunity to consider low-cost mine development options in its forthcoming PFS. Read More

  • Potash West commissions mini plant for low-cost lithium carbonate extraction 21 May 2015

    As demand for lithium is expected to grow, companies like Potash West and Cobre Montana are entering into collaborations with technology providers to improve their prospective capacities. Read More

  • New Nigeria port to boost dry bulk 21 May 2015

    The Lekki deep seaport project is set to be completed in 2019 and will be the largest port in Nigeria. With a 4m tpa dry bulk handling capacity the port could result in increased industrial imports to supply the oil and gas and cement industries. Read More

  • China tells WTO it has scrapped rare earths export restrictions 21 May 2015

    The world’s top rare earths producer has moved to assure the global trade regulator that it has complied fully with rulings handed down last year to liberalise trading of rare earths, however the US has expressed scepticism over whether the WTO demands have been implemented in the spirit in which they were intended. Read More

  • EuroChem registers $339m profit for Q1 after 2014 loss 20 May 2015

    Favourable currency shifts and efficiency gains offset iron ore difficulties and nitrogen weakness at EuroChem. The group transitioned from a small loss last year to a strong profit figure in Q1 2015. Read More

  • MagMin 2015: Tokyo Olympics to boost Japanese magnesia demand 20 May 2015

    Japanese magnesia producer Ube Materials said it is expecting strong demand for magnesia from the construction industry over the next five years, as Japan’s capital city gears up to host the Olympics in 2020. This means Japan’s reliance on Chinese magnesia imports is unlikely to decline significantly in the next five years. Read More

  • Morgan Advanced Materials maintains strong balance sheet for start of 2015 20 May 2015

    The UK-based refractories producer has issued a trading update for the first four months of the year, showing that refractory ceramic sales in North America and Europe have contributed to the group’s revenue growth. As a consequence of this, the group is well placed to seek new expansion prospects. Read More

  • Tertiary Minerals records wider loss but moves Swedish and US operations forward 20 May 2015

    Tertiary Minerals has managed to find financing through share issuance on London's AIM market. With prospects in the US and Europe, the company is strategically placed to exploit the fluorspar market once it gets to production stage. Read More

  • Base Resources rejects “untrue” royalty and VAT allegations 20 May 2015

    The mineral sands miner, which is upping production at its Kwale mine in Kenya, has hit back at media accusations of not paying enough royalties, agreeing to corrupt contracts, and operating in an unfavourable mining jurisdiction which does not require transparency and clear financial reporting, saying that such allegations are unfounded attempts to undermine its project. Read More

  • New Texas bill stops local fracking bans 20 May 2015

    Following a fracking ban in Denton, near Dallas, Texan governors have stepped in to provide new legislation that prohibits cities and towns from banning these natural oil and gas operations. Read More

  • US Silica to lay off 30 staff at Sparta frac sand facility 20 May 2015

    Tough market conditions, brought on by the oil price decline, have caused US Silica to join the ranks of other oilfield minerals companies forced to make staff layoffs and production slowdowns. While the company hopes the decision will be temporary, many say an uptick is not likely before the end of 2015. Read More

  • CGrowth Capital looks to expand dolomite production 20 May 2015

    The dolomite supplier is working with get geologists to take samples of the industrial mineral from its North Stevens County reserve, located in Washington, US, in order to help the company substantiate assets on its balance sheet and expand operations. Read More

  • MagMin 2015: New spot trading centre to aid development of Chinese magnesia industry 20 May 2015

    The establishment of a magnesia trading platform in Liaoning last year aims to help regulate and mature China’s magnesia business and its pricing, although its strategy remains unclear and the dubious efficacy of similar Chinese bourses for rare earths and graphite pose tough questions for the scheme. Read More

  • MagMin 2015: China to curtail “wasteful” magnesite mining 20 May 2015

    A mounting glut of magnesia products and the destruction of valuable mineral reserves for little or no profit has forced the Chinese government to intervene in its domestic magnesia industry in an effort to halt the rapid erosion of the market. Read More

  • Solvay forms JV to meet growing US sodium biocarbonate demand 20 May 2015

    The Belgian company has teamed up with chemicals specialist Enirgi for the development of sodium biocarbonate product to satisfy US demand. Solvay is hoping that the new alliance will help it meet its goal of becoming a major supplier of soda derivatives to the market, for which there is growing demand owing to more stringent environmental regulations in North America. Read More

  • Mercantile flops in A$3.55m bid for Phosphate Australia 20 May 2015

    Phosphate Australia is sore over what it sees as wasted time and money spent on defending Mercantile’s takeover bid, which was placed at a value far below an independent expert valuation. Mercantile, which has been accused of propagating false information, has previously said that the company is “simply not worth” this valuation. Read More

  • SQM revenues drop 27.4% in fraught first quarter 20 May 2015

    It has been a deeply unpleasant quarter for SQM, encompassing the loss of CEO Patricio Contesse and an embarrassing tax probe. Understandably, the Q1 2015 performance of the Chilean lithium and fertilisers producer has suffered. However, ongoing demand for lithium and iodine should help the company to put its recent drama behind it and deliver better performance in the rest of the year. Read More

  • MagMin 2015: Rock bottom Chinese prices drag down global fused magnesia market 19 May 2015

    FOB China prices below $500/tonne for 97% MgO material reported as overcapacity burdens industry. Read More

  • Victory Nickel posts Q1 loss; production still suspended 19 May 2015

    A lack of E&P activity in Canada owing to low oil prices and road bans preventing the transport of heavy equipment contributed to low demand for frac sand, resulting in a Q1 2015 loss for the producer. Victory Nickel hopes that its production halt, refinancing, cost cutting and sales from frac sand stockpiles will better position it to grow when the market rebounds. It is possible that an uptick might not happen until 2016. Read More

  • MagMin 2015: Chinese competition squeezes Europe’s CCM producers 19 May 2015

    Magnesia producers in countries like Greece pride themselves of state-of-the art facilities, which are clean and efficient, but investment in technology is not being matched by companies in China, which continue to undercut European suppliers, even in their local markets. Read More

  • Knauf opens $50m board plant to satisfy Egyptian demand 19 May 2015

    The German company has selected Suez, a seaport city in Egypt, for the building of its first plant in the country. Knauf has outlined that it is keen to expand its gypsum strategy and satisfy demand for the product in the African country. Read More

  • Pure Energy Minerals extends scope of POSCO MoU 19 May 2015

    Pure Energy Minerals' strong cash position means it has been taken seriously by industry heavyweights such as POSCO, who are keen to deploy their environmentally friendly technology into the much sought-after lithium space. Read More

  • South Boulder announces 1.1bn tonne SOP salts reserve estimate 19 May 2015

    Big reserve estimates and their often higher capex figures may be off-putting for investors in the potash space. An open pit mine producing SOP instead of MOP, may make the difference at Colluli however, by improving project economics. Read More

  • IM Lithium News in Brief 12—19 May 19 May 2015

    Research into lithium battery technology is outpacing lithium production. Until more capacity comes on stream, the developments and innovations will remain in the laboratories. Read More

  • Diatreme secures $3m funding for Cyclone zircon development 19 May 2015

    Located in the Western Australian Eucla Basin, the company’s flagship Cyclone zircon project will progress to DFS stage with the help of funding from a private Chinese investor, following the expansion of the project area in November 2014. Read More

  • Asbury to require over 4,500 tpa graphite for US GNP facility by December 2016 19 May 2015

    Just over 4,500 tpa additional graphite supply will be needed by 2016 with the opening of Asbury’s new plant in North Carolina. The company will make a range of graphite nanoplatelet products at the site for nanometric conductive filler markets at the site. Read More

  • Indiana Limestone to double annual production 19 May 2015

    At a time when banks are reluctant to lend money, private equity investors have an opportunity to step in. Prior to filing for bankruptcy, Indiana Limestone Co. owed $50m to more than 1,000 creditors, illustrating how the financial markets were only willing to lend in small increments. Under the ownership of Wynnchurch Capital, the business has been able to access the cash to invest in its equipment and to double its production. Read More

  • IFGL reports dip in profit due to low steel demand 18 May 2015

    More than half of IFGL’s revenues come from sales of refractory products in Europe and the continent’s challenging steel market has contributed to the firm’s decrease in profit between 2014 and 2015. However, initiatives in Europe and India could help to stimulate demand in the steel industry, and the company is banking on these for an uptick in refractory product demand. Read More

  • IM Rare Earths News in Brief 12 – 18 May 18 May 2015

    Stans announces new arbitration proceeding against Kyrgyzstan; Frontier releases positive PFS for Zandkopsdrift; SourcingLink finds rare earths mineralisation adjacent to Commerce’s Ashram project. Read More

  • Momentive Q1 net sales decrease due to volatile quartz end-markets 18 May 2015

    The US silicones and quartz producer’s sales were hit by unfavourable exchange rates and weakness in end-markets such as semiconductors and solar. On an optimistic note, Momentive reduced its net losses and expects quartz segment growth for Q2 2015, as its restructuring post-bankruptcy has freed up cash flow for capex and R&D investment. Read More

  • Zircon industry optimistic for price rises 18 May 2015

    Producers in Australia and Africa see potential for market tightness but this could be scuppered by near-term new supply. Read More

  • PhosAgro Q1 production volumes increase by 8.3% 18 May 2015

    Firming prices and demand-positive forex shifts appear to be pushing PhosAgro in the right direction, despite historically low dollar-denominated crop prices holding down demand for fertilisers. The company continues to focus on operational improvement to increase production and sales volumes. Read More

  • Sika's shareholders appeal FINMA decision on Saint Gobain takeover 18 May 2015

    Saint Gobain’s tenacity in the face of obstruction from Sika’s shareholders underscores the strategic importance it must place on the acquisition of the Swiss chemicals company, and the value of consolidation in the construction sector as a whole. Read More

  • Kenya Fluorspar fully compliant with government tax obligations 18 May 2015

    Despite press reports that the company was at odds with the Kenyan government over its tax payments, Kenya Fluorspar has stressed that it has fulfilled state demands for increased royalties on production from its Kimwarer project and is not required to compensate landowners for use of its mining lease area.* Read More

  • IM Agriminerals News in Brief 8-15 May 2015 15 May 2015

    India to leave subsidies unchanged; DuSolo expands DANF resource; Allana offered higher priced offer before ICL buyout; Fertoz announces resource upgrade. Read More

  • Latin Resources pushes ahead with intention to list on AIM 15 May 2015

    The Australian junior is progressing its efforts to list on London’s small caps market, as it presses ahead with its Guadalupito andalusite and heavy mineral sands project in Peru. Read More

  • Kenya reduces diatomite royalty charges 15 May 2015

    The Kenyan Mining Ministry has rolled back its tax on the filtration mineral from 5% to 2%, although it plans to increase the rate back to 5% incrementally over the next four years. The move will provide some relief to diatomite miners in the country in the meantime. Read More

  • China to produce 105,000 tonnes rare earths in 2015 15 May 2015

    Dominated by light rare earths, China has announced its production quotas for 2015. The majority has been assigned to China North Rare Earth Group, but, where unspecified, provincial governments may distribute their quota to companies by choice. Read More

  • Price Briefing 8 – 14 May 15 May 2015

    Bentonite balances while frac sand prices topple; India agrees to pay more for North American potash. Read More

  • Magnesita's Q1 sales increase 12.1% despite steel slump 15 May 2015

    Over the past two years, Brazil-based refractories producer Magnesita has been carefully positioning itself to gain market share in its sales to the steel industry, in the face of flat global steel production. Expansion in established markets like mini-mills and stainless steel mills, and in new segments like integrated mills and Mexico, continues to pay off for Magnesita, which has just posted the latest in a series of sales gains in its quarterly results. Read More

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