Regulation latest news

  • April 2015

    IM Graphite News in Brief 24 – 30 April

    30 April 2015

    Flinders triples Woxna resource; SGL and GrafTech report losses for Q1.

  • Jordan Phosphate Mines Co. profits increase eightfold over 2013

    30 April 2015

    While the company has noted the irritability of shareholders on a lack of available cash for dividends, substantial investment in the company’s operations to be now paying a dividend in of themselves. A restructuring of the company’s management and product ranges may be on the horizon, the CEO confirmed.

  • Carbo reports net loss as ceramic proppant demand falls faster than rig count

    30 April 2015

    North American proppant producer Carbo posted a net loss for Q1 2015 as exploration in the oil and gas industry continues to shrink, along with demand for the company’s proppant products. With many companies predicting additional cutbacks on exploration in the second quarter, Carbo plans to focus on reducing production and costs in an uncertain market.

  • Martin Marietta generates record sales and profit in magnesia arm for Q1 2015

    30 April 2015

    The US magnesia producer has reported its first quarter profit for the first time since 2008, helped by record sales and “significant contributions” from its magnesia specialities business.

  • Huntsman Q1 profits down as European TiO2 market fails to pick up

    30 April 2015

    Titanium dioxide producer Huntsman saw its revenue and income fall year-on-year as it continues to integrate its recently purchased pigments business from Rockwood in a challenging market where European demand and global TiO2 prices remain low. However, Huntsman is confident of future growth as it continues with its aggressive cost cutting measures, including huge reductions in its newly acquired segment.

  • Chemtura net sales fall; company to focus on bromine prices and cost cutting

    30 April 2015

    Bromine price hikes appear here to stay, if Chemtura's Q1 2015 results are anything to go by. In a market where product demand is soft and supply chain disruptions are holding up deliveries, Chemtura has said that it will focus on cost-cutting and maintaining existing bromine pricing in order to drive its earnings up.

  • Mosaic earnings jump 35% to $295m as fertiliser prices and sales volumes rise

    30 April 2015

    Mosaic’s CEO, Jim Prokopanko, appeared cautiously optimistic in his statements for the company’s Q1 2015 earnings. While record crop yields and resultant low grain prices may dampen demand in the short term, Mosaic is successfully positioning itself as a lower cost producer in both potash and phosphate, he said.

  • PotashCorp. profits rise 8.8% to $370m, predicts offshore fertilisers market growth

    30 April 2015

    Despite a nearly 9% rise in net earnings, PotashCorp. is subdued in its market enthusiasm, noting the presence of several possible headwinds for the potash and phosphate industries. The company believes, however, that market fundamentals, less these possible disruptions, remain strong.

  • Emerging economies to drive fluorspar resurgence

    30 April 2015

    End-Market Analysis: Growing demand from end markets in the Asia-Pacific region to boost fluorocarbons demand; acidspar consumption rates likely to soar

  • Iluka lowers bid for Kenmare TiO2 feedstock assets

    30 April 2015

    Iluka’s original bid, made last year, was rejected by Kenmare on the basis that it undervalued the company’s Moma mine in Mozambique. The latest revised offer is substantially lower, however, Kenmare – which has suffered from low demand, debt and operational issues – looks set to work with the mineral sands giant to meet its takeover preconditions.

  • Kenmare records $101m 2014 loss as ilmenite overcapacity keeps prices low

    30 April 2015

    Although the company increased sales volumes, a number of factors combined to push Kenmare’s 2014 results down to a $101m loss. These included lower prices, ilmenite oversupply and higher production costs owing to declining grades. Though the pigment market has shown some signs of recovery, these have yet to trickle down into TiO2 feedstocks.

  • Iran identifies lithium reserves in northern province

    30 April 2015

    As relations between Iran and the rest of the world take a step towards resolution, speculation is mounting about the country's mineral reserves.

  • Vale income slips on currency shifts, fertilisers hold steady

    30 April 2015

    Despite soft fertiliser prices caused by recent record crop yields, Vale’s fertiliser segment has held up comparatively well with revenues dropping by 10%. Wider earnings, however, have been significantly impacted by the depreciation of the Brazilian real against the dollar and a steep fall in the price of iron ore, of which the company is the world’s largest producer.

  • Orbite on schedule to complete Quebec HPA plant

    30 April 2015

    Orbite remains on track to start commercial production of high purity alumina from its plant in Cap-Chat, Quebec, in the third quarter of this year. The company reported a narrowing of losses as it gets closer to commercial production.

  • Uganda waives taxes on exploration

    30 April 2015

    The decision by the Ugandan Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to scrap VAT and withholding taxes for locally-based operators comes after years of lobbying by the Uganda Chamber of Mines. It is hoped that the removal of these fiscal burdens will make the country a more attractive destination for mining investment.

  • IM Lithium News In Brief 22 – 30 April

    30 April 2015

    Venture Capital financing is pouring into the energy storage system (ESS) market, an important end-user of li-ion battery technology. Partnerships in this area are flourishing, with renewable energy providers in particular interested in finding a way of harvesting and storing their energy. In other news, airlines are continuing to enforce a ban on the transportation of lithium-ion batteries, with Cargolux the latest to leap on the bandwagon. Lithium as a treatment for bipolar disorder, however, could be here to stay as researchers find a way to improve its efficacy in patients who previously did not respond to lithium-based drugs.

  • IDTechEx: Who killed graphene’s killer application?

    30 April 2015

    As graphene investors become impatient with the material’s inability to make the jump from laboratory to market, developers are dropping the idea of a “killer application” as the route to commercial penetration to target smaller gains on multiple fronts instead.

  • Canada’s Algoma expands dry bulk fleet for mineral shipping

    30 April 2015

    The ship operator has purchased an ex-gypsum carrier and has two more dry bulk vessels on order to meet the needs of industrial mineral customers, which include Martin Marietta and Morton Salt.

  • Imerys sees 7.7% revenue growth thanks to S&B acquisition

    29 April 2015

    Leading industrial minerals producer Imerys saw its revenue and operating income increase owing to the positive impact of its S&B acquisition, finalised earlier this year, and the effects of positive currency exchange. However, lower steel production and a drop in oil and gas exploration has hit its refractories and proppants business, the effects of which are likely to trickle into Q2.

  • Weir Group Q1 revenue falls as mining, oil and gas markets remain subdued

    29 April 2015

    Weir Group, which supplies engineering solutions to the mining, oil and gas markets saw its revenue and orders decline as spending in both markets continues to be reined in. With no sign of improvement in oil and gas, the company painted a bleak outlook for the rest of 2015.

  • IDTechEx: UK firm's liquid exfoliation process turns natural graphite into pristine graphene

    29 April 2015

    Family-owned Thomas Swan has been in the chemicals business for nearly 90 years, but turned its hand to graphene about four years ago and is now targeting markets including printed electronics and touchscreens.

  • Bolivia shortlists three companies for lithium plant partnership

    29 April 2015

    The South American country needs international investment in order to be able to develop its substantial lithium reserves. The tendering process for its planned lithium carbonate production plant is a step in the right direction.

  • Altech Chemicals signs MoU with Melewar to develop HPA plant

    29 April 2015

    Altech Chemicals, which is hoping to become the leading low-cost supplier of HPA, says its MoU with Melewar Integrated Engineering will help the company to proceed with its Malaysian HPA project without compromising on quality or time.

  • Orocobre dispatches first commercial lithium carbonate orders

    29 April 2015

    Orocobre has dispatched its first commercial order of lithium carbonate on schedule, boding well for the company's target of full commercial ramp up by the fourth quarter of this year.

  • US Silica sees Q1 net income fall as oil and gas market remains tough

    29 April 2015

    Frac sand producer US Silica saw its net income drop to $14.8m as falling oil prices and a declining rig count created a challenging environment in which demand for proppants used in fracking fell. Frac sand prices and demand are expected to remain under pressure, leading to lower profits in the second quarter of 2015.

  • IDTechEx: Graphene market on the go-slow, says Graphenea

    29 April 2015

    Graphene demand has failed to expand as quickly as many people had hoped, despite the snowballing of companies and funding behind its research. Spanish nanotech specialists Graphenea, say that growth in the market is unlikely to accelerate in the near future.

  • PhosAgro grows EBITDA 57% but suffers currency devaluation losses

    29 April 2015

    PhosAgro has both suffered and benefited from the depreciating Russian rouble in 2014. Cheaper production costs have improved its EBITDA, but at the same time, US dollar debt held by the company has ballooned in value too. The group remains optimistic about fertiliser demand in 2015, particularly from India.

  • China slaps new resource tax on rare earths

    29 April 2015

    The new levy has been greeted with a sigh of relief by China’s rare earths industry, which had feared that it would be forced to adopt punitive tolls on production. Although the formula for calculating the new tax, which will be linked to rare earths prices, has yet to be released, industry observers regard the new measure as even and fair.

  • Compass Q1 income up 21% despite uncertain salt, potash demand

    28 April 2015

    Although lower demand in both potash and salt caused sales volumes to fall in Q1 2015 compared with the previous year, lower operational costs in salt and higher SOP prices helped to push income and EBITDA up.

  • Intrepid Potash income up as potash prices increase y-o-y

    28 April 2015

    Strong demand in the first quarter of 2015 as well as higher year-on-year prices for potash pushed Intrepid’s income up to $6.5m compared with a loss the previous year. While the company expects to maintain its potash price advantage over other North American producers, global pricing pressure and lower expected demand in the second quarter have forced it to revise its full year sales expectations.

  • Rio Tinto cuts TiO2 output by 17% in weak market, continues lithium investment

    28 April 2015

    Rio Tinto aligns minsands with industry condition by slashing TiO2 output, borates benefit from good demand but salt sinks. Miner continues to invest in Jadar project in Serbia.

  • ICL inks potash and vacuum salt marketing agreement with AkzoNobel

    28 April 2015

    After signing an MoU in 2014, the two companies, ICL and AkzoNobel, have made it official. ICL's partnership with AzkoNobel will help it to strengthen its food and agrimarkets segment after having been impacted by strike action.

  • Could Turkey substitute China’s falling amorphous supply?

    28 April 2015

    IM examines Turkey’s standing in the amorphous graphite industry and whether it could substitute for China’s dropping amorphous export figures

  • ISS is wrong to side with Trian, says DuPont

    28 April 2015

    DuPont has criticised the influential proxy firm for ignoring the success of its current strategy and ignoring Trian’s destructive plans in its recommendation that shareholders vote for two of Trian’s four board nominees at DuPont’s AGM. However, while Trian has the backing of ISS, its victory is in no way secure as shareholders have been supportive of DuPont’s management.

  • MbAC reduces losses but suspends Itafos operations

    28 April 2015

    The TSX-listed junior phosphate producer’s performance throughout 2014 was impacted by significant working capital constraints, which has led the company to suspend production at its Itafos project in Brazil this year, in order to save money. Nevertheless, fertiliser consumption has continued to be strong, driven by increased demand from Brazil and the company hopes that this will drive future sales growth.

  • Highfield Resources to consolidate Spain position with new permit applications

    28 April 2015

    With three new permit applications pending, Highfield would occupy a significant chunk of Spain's potash-producing Ebro basin in the country's Navarra province.

  • IDTechEx: Reinventing the wheel: Graphene tyres can up racing bike performance

    28 April 2015

    Switzerland-based Vittoria has launched a new range of graphene based bicycle tyres made using novel technology from Italian company Directa Plus, which it says has smashed existing performance standards in the industry and has the potential to be rolled out to other products.

  • Oil exploration activity slows down in West Africa

    28 April 2015

    Oil companies are still facing an uncertain market, as prices continue to remain around 50% lower than last year. As a consequence demand for industrial minerals used in the oil drilling process has been falling, but oilfield mineral producers which may have been hoping for a new source of demand from West Africa will be disappointed in the slowing of exploration.

  • Kenmare workers return to Moma mine site

    28 April 2015

    Kenmare has been quick to reassure the market that it has experienced 'minimal disruption' after repatriating 62 of its workers last week. The Irish mineral sands miner has suffered from a series of setbacks at its Moma mine in Mozambique, including fire and power failures.

  • FIFO workers at risk need more support, says Australian organisation

    28 April 2015

    With a final report expected from the WA government inquiry into the link between FIFO workers and suicide in June, FIFO Families has warned that this should not distract from the key issues faced by workers in the industry. The downsizing of the mining sector is placing additional stress on employees, and a more collaborative approach is needed to create a balance of individual and commercial needs.

  • Innophos revises fertiliser volumes forecasts down as headwinds bite

    28 April 2015

    Despite improving its performance quarter-on-quarter, Innophos' performance year-on-year continues to suffer from low demand for fertilisers and phosphates and a strong US dollar. The company is expecting 2015 volumes to be flat and has revised its margins forecast down 100 basis points to reflect the market environment.

  • Consolidation and tightening pollution rules thin out China’s refractories producers

    28 April 2015

    Tougher environmental standards and enforced closures for companies that fail to meet them look set to narrow the field of China’s refractories sector, with some smaller companies already being edged out in Shandong’s Zibo City, one of the country’s main refractories production bases.

  • South Boulder to raise A$6m; seeks partner for Colluli Potash Project costs

    28 April 2015

    Raising A$6m is a step in the right direction, but with Colluli potash phase i project costs estimated at $442m, South Boulder will need the backing of a significant strategic investor.

  • Wind energy market offers double boost for cleantech minerals

    28 April 2015

    Saft wins Li-ion contract for Faroe Island wind farm; Siemens taps Molycorp for turbine magnet rare earths while investment in wind energy continues to grow.

  • Halliburton posts Q1 net loss; predicts further rig count drops

    28 April 2015

    Net loss as North American drilling declines. Job and cost cutting measures to continue as North American activity expected to slow further in Q2.

  • National suicide prevention programme launched for Australian FIFO workers

    28 April 2015

    Following an increase in suicides among FIFO workers in Australia, non-profit organisations have rolled out a suicide prevention programme to support those at risk. Kasia Patel, Deputy Editor, speaks to Wesley Mission and Mining Family Matters about the progress they are making in this challenging area.

  • Lobbyists push to change shape of Nevada mining

    28 April 2015

    Although Nevada has far more sensitive environmental regulation than many parts of the world, it is still the loosest jurisdiction for mining in North America. Josie Shillito looks at how changes to regulation for gold mining in the US state may also affect industrial minerals such as lithium and graphite.

  • Sri Lankan political deviations hinder vein graphite rebound

    28 April 2015

    New mining reforms to govern market; downstream expansion remains priority while domestic entrepreneurs to take lion’s share.

  • Midden Mining discovers bentonite in South Africa’s Western Cape

    28 April 2015

    Midden mining has identified Mossel Bay purities ranging from 50-90% smectite. The discovery coincides with Karoo shale exploration, however further drilling is required to establish continuity.

  • Imerys takeover of SA Andalusite Resources blocked by CompComm

    28 April 2015

    Commission says deal will be bad for customers, however the companies are rumoured to be planning appeal, while is Imerys still hopeful of ‘positive’ outcome.

  • Political certainty at the heart of African mining investment, says SNL

    27 April 2015

    Changeable laws central to investor timidity; industry meetings seek concrete deals but nfrastructure and mineral prices remain key barriers.

  • Trade unions accuse Rio Tinto of irresponsible operation

    27 April 2015

    Activists say company flouts community rights; Rio accused of dismissing workers’ concerns but declines to comment on protestors’ views.

  • Rising tide for olivine in underwater concretes

    27 April 2015

    Olivine consumption rising in underwater concretes but refractories remain mineral’s key market.

  • Iraq eyes industrial mineral prospects as it diversifies away from oil

    27 April 2015

    Government encourages foreign investment; Iraq plans to establish new mineral council.

  • Triton secures $2bn offtake with Yichang Xincheng Graphite

    27 April 2015

    Chinese company agrees to buy 100,000 tpa Triton graphite; deal follows hook up with AMG to explore Ancuabe.

  • No V-shaped recovery for mining industry

    27 April 2015

    Cycle is nearer the bottom than many people think.

  • IM Rare Earths News in Brief 21 – 27 April

    27 April 2015

    Rare Element Resources agrees to sell shares, Namibia Rare Earths unveils exploration costs for Lofdal project and Peak Resources focuses on producing neodymium and praseodymium to feed demand in growing magnet market.

  • ISS backs Trian recommendations for DuPont board shake-up

    27 April 2015

    Following meetings with both DuPont and major shareholder Trian, ISS has recommended shareholders vote in two of Trian’s four proposed nominees to help improve operational performance for the chemicals company. While ISS conceded that it is unclear whether a break-up of DuPont would be beneficial, it proposed that additional insight from Trian’s nominees would be a welcome change.

  • Henan Billions’ Q1 profits surge 972%

    27 April 2015

    In defiance of trends reported by its Western peers, the Chinese TiO2 producer said that high demand from the domestic paints market, coupled with lower raw materials costs, had helped boost its profits as it moves to increase its chloride route pigment capacity.

  • Sunrise Resources highlights commercial potential of US diatomite project

    27 April 2015

    Recent test work from the company’s reserves in Nevada, US, indicates high quality mineralisation and low levels of impurities. The company plans to produce diatomite for the filtration market, which it says is currently undersupplied.

  • Yara leverages low gas price to deliver strong Q1 EBITDA

    27 April 2015

    Falling gas prices have benefited international fertiliser producer Yara, which uses substantial energy input to produce its nitrogen-based products. The group expects its energy costs going forward to be NKr 800m lower than a year earlier, according to company results.

  • ICL signs 1.1m tonne potash supply contract with China

    27 April 2015

    Despite long-term, ongoing strikes, Israel Chemicals is trying to overcome potential supply problems by reaching out to its customers in China, which has a rapidly growing potash market.

  • Outotec reports lower profit and sales as greenfield mining investments stay low

    27 April 2015

    The Finnish technology provider saw sales and profit fall for the first quarter of 2015 as capex in greenfield projects failed to pick up, owing to low minerals and metals prices and concerns regarding China’s growth. However, Outotec has focused on increasing service sales while growth in sustainable solutions is also expected to continue.

  • SQM confirms new board; chairman Julio Ponce replaced

    27 April 2015

    Julio Ponce, former son-in-law of General Pinochet, is no longer chairman of SQM's board of directors. Replaced by existing SQM board member Juan Antonio Guzman, his name does not feature in the board line up announced by SQM today, as the company tries to distance itself from its links to the Pinochet regime.

  • MTI monitors refractories segment as Q1 sales drop

    24 April 2015

    The US-based company has recorded a fall in sales for the first quarter of 2015 in its refractories business, prompting MTI’s CEO, Joseph Muscari, to say that he will be keeping a close eye on the segment’s operations.

  • IM Agriminerals News in Brief 17 – 24 April 2015

    24 April 2015

    PhosCan’s Martison project no longer supported by any assessment or feasibility study; Arianne contests commission claim; Karnalyte investigates divestment of Wynyard potash project; Manitoba extends deadline for potash resource bid.

  • SQM Salar expense claims under investigation by parent firm

    24 April 2015

    SQM's subsidiary has been found to have made expense claims without proper supporting documentation, prompting the parent company to investigate to ensure it is properly dealing with its recent tax scandal.

  • IM Mineral Sands News in Brief: April 2015

    24 April 2015

    Base Resources continues to ramp up production at its Kwale mineral sands mine; MZI Resource’s Keysbrook mineral sands project progressing on schedule; DuPont again urges shareholders for support ahead of 2015 AGM.

  • IRC ilmenite sales increase 106% owing to China-focused strategy

    24 April 2015

    Despite a slowdown in the Asian construction industry, low demand and low prices, IRC Ltd managed to increase both production and sales of ilmenite via a China-led sales strategy, which it started in 2014. The company also expects supply rationalisation and a demand recover for TiO2 feedstocks, as poor market demand will force some ilmenite capacity to be idled, thus restoring balance to the industry.

  • Glass growth: Industry welcomes EESC policy recommendations

    24 April 2015

    Tough economic conditions have plagued the glass industry over the past few years, leading to a significant decrease in production. It is hoped that new EU-wide policies will drive the market forward, saving jobs and providing demand for glass minerals such as soda ash, silica sand and feldspar.

  • New US Soda Ash bill to maintain US global competitiveness

    24 April 2015

    Reducing US government royalties on soda ash will keep US soda ash producers' balance sheets healthy, while allowing the US to maintain its soda ash market share overseas.

  • Currency devaluations take toll on struggling graphite prices

    24 April 2015

    Price Review: European traders struggle to secure their margins as Euro drops against dollar; further downwards revision of graphite prices likely

  • Celamin denies TMS allegations of funding difficulties and “delaying tactics” on phosphate project

    24 April 2015

    A stalemate is in play between TMS and Celamin on their JV phosphate project in Tunisia. The legitimacy of TMS’ claim appears to hinge on a board meeting that allegedly resulted in a terms-of-ownership change, something that Celamin denies took place. Celamin is currently seeking legal advice on TMS’ shares confiscation and hopes to restore its stake in the project.

  • Lynas achieves positive free cashflow for the first time in March

    24 April 2015

    Lynas may be battling against a pricing poor environment for rare earths, but the company is making significant headway in improving the going viability of its business. A positive free cashflow is a further step in the right direction for the Australian miner.

  • Price Briefing 17 – 23 April

    24 April 2015

    Graphite prices flat as rumours surface of higher TiO2 offer prices in Asia.

  • Saft nets €7m battery order from Indian telecoms provider

    24 April 2015

    Another order from Reliance Jio for lithium-ion batteries is a testament to the technology's suitability for providing back up power in a wide range of climate conditions.

  • Pushy TiO2 Asian suppliers not helping feedstock prices

    24 April 2015

    Rumours that Asia-based pigment producers are increasing offer prices is not trickling down to mineral sands values.

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 17 – 23 April

    24 April 2015

    Valence reunites with UK sales agent after 25 years; BatteryLimits approves IMX’s Chilalo project plan.

  • Uralkali approves programme to purchase common shares

    24 April 2015

    The Russian potash producer is busy. In the wake of its six month supply contract to China and its $800m loan financing success, the company is now taking the opportunity to distribute cash to security holders at a time when a dividend distribution would not comply with the company's dividend policy.

  • Storage solutions: why battery developments are forcing utility change

    24 April 2015

    Disruptive technologies, including battery storage, smart meters and other energy gadgets, are driving change to the traditional utility model around the world, which could in turn increase the demand for critical energy minerals such as lithium, graphite and rare earths.

  • Victory Nickel granted loan extension as frac sand conditions bite

    23 April 2015

    Along with other frac sand producers, Victory Nickel has been forced to manage output from its plants and reorganise financing in order to weather the market downturn.

  • SQM asked to explain unusual share price rise

    23 April 2015

    SQM has reverted to a buyable stock again, after it made it clear that it was severing its connections with the Pinochet regime and other allegations of fraud and insider dealing. The news of the new board sent shares soaring 10.44%.

  • Sirius Minerals nets approval for York Potash transport system

    23 April 2015

    Even with approval from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Sirius Minerals still needs the go-ahead from North York Moors National Park Authority before it can begin to build its underground transportation system connecting the York Potash Project to Teesside.

  • Philadelphia set to become fertiliser hub

    23 April 2015

    A new lease at the Philadelphia dry bulk terminal is intended to encourage more fertiliser imports into the eastern US and Canada.

  • Canada dedicates C$23m to rare earths and chromite research in 2015 budget

    23 April 2015

    How much of the C$23m will be allocated specifically to the chromite industry remains unclear, but the 2015 Canadian budget allocation for rare earths research has been applauded by the industry. Money will be delivered to companies working in separation and development technology for rare earths, a significant development in a tough project finance market.

  • Strandline Resources secures Tanzanian minsands dominance with Jacana deal

    23 April 2015

    By buying Jacana Resources, Strandline has secured 100% ownership of 3500km2 of exploration tenure, a position which it hopes will encourage partnership opportunities.

  • Altech starts permitting process for Malaysian HPA plant

    23 April 2015

    The company is pushing ahead with plans to become a large-scale HPA producer and expects its BFS to be completed by the third quarter of this year. Altech is designing its plant to meet both international and Malaysian environmental standards.

  • Chinese State Council officially cancels rare earths export taxes

    23 April 2015

    The reporting of the State Council’s decision by the Ministry of Finance will finally put to bed any uncertainty regarding the abolition of the surcharges on the technology metals shipped to overseas buyers. Whether or not the government will implement resource taxes in place of export taxes to retain control of the industry remains to be seen.

  • SQM to elect new board members on Friday

    23 April 2015

    The Chilean lithium, potash and iodine miner appears keen to sever its links to the former Pinochet regime, with chairman Julio Ponce, the former son-in-law of General Pinochet, absent from the nominees for election to the board.

  • Baker Hughes posts Q1 net loss as a result of “extreme market forces”

    22 April 2015

    Oilfield services providers such as Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Schlumberger have been caught off guard by the faster than expected decline in demand for their products. Exploration activity has particularly slowed in North America, resulting in aggressive cost-cutting measures and more job cuts than previously anticipated.

  • Mexichem boosts Q1 2015 results with strong fluorine performance

    22 April 2015

    The company’s CEO Antonio Carrillo says that the first quarter of this year has started positively, as the business has managed to turn its fluorine sales around and posted strong sales.

  • Tesla confirms new home battery product launch

    22 April 2015

    After tweeting about it in March, Tesla has revealed in an investor relations email that its new product will be a home battery.

  • I-Minerals sues Sibelco subsidiary for unfair and deceptive trade practices

    22 April 2015

    Mining junior I-Minerals is suing production giant Unimin over "nuisance" claims it made last year designed to "consume" I-Minerals limited resources. The David and Goliath battle began last year when Unimin issued a restraining order against I-Minerals claiming they were competitive producers of high purity quartz.

  • NALC to invest $5m in Indiana calcium carbonate and limestone facilities

    22 April 2015

    The Indiana-based company is to expand its calcium carbonate output for the animal feed, fertiliser and industrial products markets in the US.

  • DuPont’s Q1 earnings dragged down by TiO2 business and currency exchange

    22 April 2015

    Leading chemicals and coatings producer DuPont saw its first quarter earnings slip 28% as sales in all of its businesses fell owing to negative currency exchange impacts, while its TiO2 and agriculture businesses experienced challenging market environments. However, as all eyes are on the company’s performance amid its battle with shareholder Trian, DuPont was quick to point out that volumes in its core businesses were up and its TiO2 business spin-off would help enhance performance.

  • Uralchem Q1 fertiliser production edges up 3.5% y-o-y

    22 April 2015

    Apparently unaffected by wider economic malaise in Russia, Uralchem has upped its fertiliser production for Q1 by a small fraction compared with the same period last year. A reduction in MAP and DAP production is likely to be an internal matter, with output being absorbed by the company’s complex fertilisers division.

  • Ukraine conflict fails to rub more salt into Artemsol’s wounds

    22 April 2015

    Rock salt producer Atermsol has seen only a small impact on its operations from continuing unrest in its native eastern Ukraine, according to the company. While Russian sanctions are continuing to affect the company’s export incomes, Eastern European imports remain strong.

  • Elementis removes currency effects from Q1 2015 results

    22 April 2015

    As global currencies decline in value against the US dollar, companies operating in the hard currency are suffering the effects. In Elementis' Q1 2015 results, the group has decided to take currency changes out of the equation in order to report more realistic like-for-like figures.

  • MANAJIM 2015: Iraq eyes industrial mineral opportunities as it diversifies away from oil

    22 April 2015

    Despite political instability in the region, Middle East countries like Iraq are trying to diversify their economies away from oil and gas and focus more on developing their industrial minerals sector.

  • Low fluorspar consumption rates see prices drop further

    22 April 2015

    Price review: China’s low-priced offers in a phase of industrial slowdown and currency devaluations puts downwards pressure on prices yet again

  • Base Resources nudges Kenyan government for VAT refund to help clear loan

    22 April 2015

    The ASX-listed mineral sands miner is expecting to receive a $25m payment for VAT paid to the Kenyan Revenue Authority in respect of its Kwale mineral sands mine – a refund it is anxious to receive as low ilmenite and zircon prices have put pressure on its cash flow at a time when loan repayments are on the horizon.

  • Positive currency exchange drives up AkzoNobel revenues despite drop in sales

    21 April 2015

    Paints and coatings manufacturer AkzoNobel posted positive results for the first quarter of 2015. Its financials are unlikely to bring raw materials suppliers much joy, as most of its gains were owing to favourable currency exchanges and cost cutting within the company. However some volumes gains were seen in Q1, driven by the automotive and aerospace coatings markets.

  • Schlumpberger: High hopes for Highfield potash

    21 April 2015

    Michael Schlumpberger, executive general manager of operations at ASX-listed Highfield Resources Ltd, talks to IM about the company’s plans for the Muga potash Project in Spain.

  • ICL suspends job cuts pending court decision as bromine and potash strikes continue

    21 April 2015

    The suspension is court-ordered and so no seismic shift can be inferred in the strained relations between ICL management and the Histadrut labour union. No matter which way negotiations head in the coming weeks, it is certain that material damage to ICL’s earnings will have taken place.

  • Halliburton posts Q1 net loss; predicts further rig count drops

    21 April 2015

    Oilfield services major Halliburton saw a net loss of $643m for the first quarter of this year as oil prices and drilling activity continues to fall. Although the company has slashed 10% of its workforce and predicts further cuts will be necessary, it painted a grim outlook for North America with additional revenue declines expected.

  • Harbison Walker refractories plant shut down in strike dispute

    21 April 2015

    Talks to resolve a conflict between workers at an Ohio refractory plant and the plant's managers have collapsed, resulting in the shut down of the plant by its management. The facility produces clay refractory linings and the company is focusing on resolving the issue to prevent any prolonged disruption to production.

  • Rio Tinto cuts Q1 TiO2 output by 17% in weak market

    21 April 2015

    The Anglo-Australian miner is curbing its mineral sands production in response to industry conditions and expects overall output to be 140,000 tonnes lower this year. Borates demand is strong, meanwhile, and the company is continuing to invest in its Jadar lithium-borates project in Serbia.

  • Encanto anticipates signing of $9.1bn potash offtake deal with Indian fertiliser company

    21 April 2015

    A large offtake deal with RCF would be a major boon to Encanto, particularly as the Indian market is viewed as one ripe for potential growth. Having contacts on the ground in India may also aid Encanto in a market that is distorted by government subsidies.

  • Japan’s dropping amorphous consumption rates

    21 April 2015

    Amorphous graphite imports in to Japan have dropped drastically as steelmakers switch to other substitute materials

  • Sierra Rutile begins construction of 93,000 tpa Gangama rutile expansion project

    21 April 2015

    The mineral sands miner has started construction of its Gangama Dry Mining project, which has been on hold as Sierra Rutile waited for optimum market conditions to continue with its expansion. The project indicates the company believes industry improvements are imminent and will offer it a growth route, even if prices remain flat.

  • Sirius Minerals recommended for approval with potash project decision due 23 April

    21 April 2015

    If Sirius passes this regulatory hurdle, it will still have the North York Moors National Park Authority application to see off. A positive recommendation by the local council’s committee on the project, however, is a good sign for now.

  • GCCP Resources to raise $20.8m for new calcium carbonate plant

    21 April 2015

    Following a listing on the Singapore Stock Exchange in April, GCCP is tapping the capital markets to finance a new calcium carbonate plant.

  • Aecon secures potash equipment contracts from K+S and Vale in Canada

    21 April 2015

    K+S continues to reinforce its commitment to the Legacy project in Saskatchewan. The signing of an engineering supply contract with Aecon should keep it on-track for a summer 2016 production start date, a commencement that would see K+S open the first greenfield potash mine in the province in 40 years.

  • Lithium News In Brief 8 – 21 April

    21 April 2015

    A clutch technology providers are supplying Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) using lithium-ion batteries to energy grids worldwide. Elsewhere, researchers are taking advantage of lithium-ion scaremongering stories to develop batteries using other minerals. Magnesium-ion batteries are being researched at the University of Illinois and Google itself is developing several lithium-ion batteries for use in technology applications.

  • Uralkali raises $530m in loan financing with international bank group

    21 April 2015

    Despite global sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, Uralkali has successfully raised loan financing for its potash business from international banks. The debt financing bodes well for the potash producer, which is planning a capex-intensive few years at its production sites in order to increase its output to 14.4m tonnes by 2020.

  • Lithium production is no field of dreams, says Galaxy Resources

    20 April 2015

    ASX-listed lithium company Galaxy Resources has had a bumpy few years which saw the closure of its Mt Cattlin spodumene mine in Western Australia and the divestment of its Jiangsu lithium plant in China to Tianqi Industries. Now, the miner is sitting on around $30m cash from the sale and has leased Mt Cattlin for tantalum production, putting it in a position to rebuild its place in the lithium industry.

  • Imerys takeover of SA Andalusite Resources blocked by Competition Commission

    20 April 2015

    According to South Africa’s Competition Commission, a merger between the two companies would remove competition in the fine and medium grade andalusite market and negatively impact customers. Imerys and Andalusite Resources however will continue to argue a case for the merger with plans to appeal the decision through a tribunal process in SA.

  • Kenmare repatriates South African workers in Mozambique amid growing anti-immigrant unrest

    20 April 2015

    Kenmare has sent 62 of its 1,391-person workforce back to South Africa as a precautionary measure to growing unrest in the region, following initial anti-immigrant action and seven deaths in South Africa. The Irish mining company hopes the issue will be resolved without any significant disruption owing to work carried out by the governments of both countries.

  • IM Rare Earth News In Brief 14 – 20 April

    20 April 2015

    China is busy getting a handle on foreign investors in its rare earths industries and private placements are a popular way to raise extra capital, although not always fully subscribed.

  • MANAJIM 2015: ASCOM to exit industrial minerals in favour of precious metals

    20 April 2015

    ASCOM has announced that it will sell of its industrial minerals assets and focus on precious metal exploration instead, as it sees itself as a development, rather than mining, company. The firm will however continue to expand its calcium carbonate production capacity to 480,000 until the sale takes place.

  • Highfield scoping study reveals ‘‘one of the best’’ undeveloped potash projects

    20 April 2015

    The results of the scoping study for potash specialist Highfield Resources reveal future potential for its broader project strategy in northern Spain. This is an important step for the company, as it plans to target the potash market in north western Europe and Brazil.

  • Taiwan calcium carbonate drugs scare identifies 19 companies

    20 April 2015

    Taiwan's industry body appears to be taking the presence of industrial grade magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate in stomach medicine very seriously. Its ongoing investigation has revealed even more over the counter drugs at risk

  • MANAJIM 2015: Middle East moving to modern mining approach

    20 April 2015

    Delegates at the Middle East Mining Conference 2015 were told that the majority of countries in the Middle East were moving towards a modern mining approach defined by open and equal access by companies and capital from all jurisdictions. However, some regions remain stuck in other approaches pursuing existing project development rather than exploration or a narrow focus on oil.

  • Cuban calcium carbonate and zeolite plant undergoes upgrade

    20 April 2015

    Cuba does not currently have the mineral production capacity to support an export market, but this could change. Upgrading an existing calcium carbonate and zeolite plant to improve efficiencies is a step in the right direction for the country, which welcomes a UK trade mission this month.

  • Heilongjiang offloads second tranche of state-owned graphite mines

    17 April 2015

    The auction follows an earlier divestment of assets by the northeast Chinese province, as the Chinese government looks to increase competitiveness in the domestic mining sector.

  • China’s major AlF3 producing regions

    17 April 2015

    Downloadable: IM Data outlines China’s major AlF3 producing provinces highlighted on the basis of their total production capacity

  • Abrupt fall in oil and gas activity forces Schlumberger to slash 11,000 jobs

    17 April 2015

    Schlumberger, the world’s biggest oilfield service provider, is to reduce the number of its employees by an additional 11,000, shrinking its total workforce by 15% since 2014. Oil and gas E&P spending in North America is expected to fall 30% in 2015, leaving suppliers to the industry – including frac sand, barite and bentonite producers – with no choice but to make further cuts.

  • New entrance for UK limestone quarry to reduce opex for Hanson in UK

    17 April 2015

    Reduced opex costs are on the horizon for Hanson Bath and Portland Stone if its application for a new entrance for its Wiltshire-based limestone quarry is approved by the local council. As the mine has shifted its working face, inefficiencies have increased and the new entrance is expected to reset the mine’s profitability.

  • Automotive coatings drive PPG’s first quarter net sales growth

    17 April 2015

    PPG saw net sales increase 8% in Q1 2015, discounting unfavourable currency translations, and both of the company’s coatings businesses posted record first quarter earnings, primarily driven by the automotive markets. This could result in positive demand for producers of paint and coatings raw materials, such as TiO2 and iron oxide.

  • OCP takes out $1bn debt facility to fund phosphate capacity expansions

    17 April 2015

    Rapid expansion plans – the company is looking to triple its fertiliser output in 10 years – are to be partially financed by the new $1bn loan facility, which OCP has raised from international capital markets. The company anticipates that its extra production capacity will be swallowed by rising demand, especially by internal African markets.

  • Mexichem plans to reduce debt load will help finance acquisitions

    17 April 2015

    The company’s chairman Juan Pablo del Valle says that he wants to focus on delivering EBITDA growth, as Mexichem absorbs two major purchases it made last year.

  • Laixi graphite industry buckles under strictest Chinese water pollution law yet

    17 April 2015

    New rules aimed at limiting pollution of public water courses by the graphite industry in Shandong could force the closure of a number of companies in Laixi city as the government moves to crack down on offenders.

  • Ma’aden Q1 profits jump 108% y-o-y on higher sales and reduced investment

    17 April 2015

    A leap in profits for Ma’aden is not solely down to higher sales volumes and prices – the near completion of its Wa’ad Al-Shamal phosphate project is likely to be the reason for lower investment expenditure, which helped improve the company’s balance sheet.

  • Gulf Resources expects list price rises to boost Chinese bromine

    17 April 2015

    Asian producer says rises by Albemarle and ICL should translate into higher selling values in China.

  • Price Briefing 10 – 16 April

    17 April 2015

    Fused alumina on the slow burn; bentonite stable despite oil price decline.

  • Cobre Montana produces battery grade lithium in Czech Republic

    17 April 2015

    The production of battery grade lithium at the Czech Republic site has confirmed that Cobre Montana can move forward with commercial development of the project.

  • Trade unions accuse Rio Tinto of irresponsible operation

    16 April 2015

    Protesters gathered outside Rio Tinto’s AGM in London today to raise concerns about the company’s operations, particularly its treatment of employees and communities living in areas from which the mining giant sources its raw materials. Though the company has yet to respond to reports published by IndustriALL, it has previously refuted claims by the trade union regarding its safety records and staff treatment.

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 10 – 16 April

    16 April 2015

    StratMin ups monthly production while Eagle secures permit for Black Crystal project in BC.

  • Graphite prices face downwards revision

    16 April 2015

    Slump continues as industrial inactivity fails to pick up; downwards revision likely.

  • CRP disputes EPA and NZPAM phosphate permitting process costs

    16 April 2015

    Working capital is scarce in the presently depressed mining finance markets. After spending NZ$30m on a rejected bid for marine consent, phosphate explorer CRP is looking to all available avenues to recover its cash reserves.

  • Iluka 2015 production and revenue declines as prices remain low, sales deferred

    16 April 2015

    Revenue and production for the first quarter of 2015 was seasonally low, and though it remained in line with Iluka’s expectations, the company was further negatively impacted by low prices – particularly in ilmenite and iron oxide – and deferred sales. Nevertheless, the company is continuing with the development of a number of new mineral sands project as it expects demand for zircon and high grade TiO2 feedstocks to increase throughout the year.

  • CRM Alliance: fighting for critical raw materials

    16 April 2015

    Speaking out at a meeting in Brussels this week, a member of the European Parliament said that communication should be at the centre of creating an effective critical raw materials policy. But with pressure on the European Commission mounting, and industry facing various trade obstacles, is the message really getting through?

  • Chinese rare earths producers report first ever collective loss

    16 April 2015

    Continued weakness in rare earths prices led to the Chinese industry reporting its first overall financial loss for the full year 2014. After showing signs of picking up from winter lows, prices now appear to be softening again.

  • Iron ore price raises concerns over Australian industrial mineral port sale

    16 April 2015

    Low prices for the steel feedstock are threatening the sale of Western Australia’s industrial minerals-focused Kwinana port, which is used to ship gypsum, mineral sands and silica sand out of the state, throwing the facility’s future into question.

  • Tunisian Mining Services accused of inaccurate statements by Celamin

    16 April 2015

    Celamin is currently suspended from trading on the ASX while it works out its legal position concerning ownership of the Chaketma phosphate project in Tunisia. The company disputes a number of statements made by its JV partner, which has taken full ownership of the deposit’s holding company on the basis of an alleged default by Celamin.

  • UKOG Horse Hill may not be such a good bet for oilfield minerals after all

    16 April 2015

    The AIM-listed investment company has clarified its estimate of billions of barrels of onshore oil in Sussex’s Weald Basin, saying that the resource should not be considered as “either contingent or prospective” – a climb down which paints a less rosy picture for oilfield mineral demand in the UK.

  • Burrell Western reverses earlier disapproval of garnet mine tax breaks

    15 April 2015

    Burrell Western will now be able to develop its facility as originally stated, after the local county commission board approved its plan for a garnet processing plant in New Mexico. Further rejection could have seen the facility moved to Texas.

  • Altech appoints Castle as operator for Australian kaolin deposit

    15 April 2015

    Altech Chemicals, which is hoping to become the leading low cost supplier of HPA using its Meckering kaolin as a feedstock, has signed an MoU with Castle Equipment as contractor and operator owing to its experience in mining services. This brings the company one step closer to completing its BFS on time, due in Q3 2015.

  • Monax Mining secures government funding for Australian iron oxide project

    15 April 2015

    The company is in the process of developing three projects in South Australia, one of which is the Punt Hill iron oxide copper-gold project. Government funding of A$75,000 for the project highlights its potential in becoming a new source of iron oxide in Australia, which last year increased its imports of the mineral. In other iron oxide news, major natural iron oxide producer LKAB is looking to expand its supply to meet growing demand.

  • Bentonite prices remain flat despite oil market woes

    15 April 2015

    Suppliers of drilling clay mineral stand firm over offers as buyers push for cheaper deals.

  • Rainbow Rare Earths to offload entire production to ThyssenKrupp

    15 April 2015

    The UK-based explorer has signed an offtake with a subsidiary of the German engineering group to supply 5,000 tpa rare earth oxides from its project in Burundi, which consists principally of lower value light rare earths.

  • Mongolia’s fluorspar slump fuels market weakness fears

    15 April 2015

    A sliding economy and fading investor confidence coupled with sluggish downstream demand and the increasing dominance of China with its low cost supply pacified Mongolian fluorspar growth last year as 2014 figures indicate.

  • Iofina to shut Texas iodine plant owing to poor brine availability and low prices

    15 April 2015

    The closure of the IO#1 facility, which has been operating for less than three years, will not affect the company’s targeted H1 production and will allow Iofina to focus on generating profit at its remaining five facilities, the company said. However, it's reliance on the troubled US oilfield market could snag its plans to achieve profitability.

  • Siemens selects Molycorp as rare earths supplier for wind turbine magnets

    15 April 2015

    In a welcome break from consistently poor earnings results and processing difficulties, Molycorp has signed a supply agreement with a large international conglomerate operating in the high-tech industries in which rare earths are heavily used.

  • Uragold subsidiary signs MoU with Anzaplan to develop high purity quartz sands

    15 April 2015

    The Canada-based junior says its new deal with Anzaplan represents a strategic step forward in its quartz strategy, as it claims that the material has become one of “today’s key strategic minerals” with applications in pharmaceutical, semiconductor and solar applications.

  • Healthcare strikes halt work at Asbury’s Anthracite Industries

    15 April 2015

    Employees at Anthracite Industries, a Pennsylvania-based division of graphite materials supplier Asbury Carbons, have walked out over what they consider to be an unpalatable offer of employer health insurance contributions. The company has not said whether production has been affected.

  • MagIndustries granted management cease trade order by Ontario Securities Comission

    14 April 2015

    No insolvencies proceedings have been levied against potash developer MagIndustries, but it has been allowed an MCTO owing to its inability to file with the OSC for a number of reasons. The company is now aiming for a 1 June submission of 2014 financials.

  • Fused alumina prices creeping up as Chinese competitiveness wanes

    14 April 2015

    China prices still used as benchmarks; industry remains in oversupply.

  • Victory Nickel shuts Canadian frac sand plant just as full production reached

    14 April 2015

    Following disappointing 2014 financial results posted at the start of April, Victory Nickel has announced the closure of its 7P frac sand plant in Alberta, which only reached nameplate capacity at the end of last year. Though it had predicted a market recovery a few weeks ago, the company today said that prices had reached levels which were no longer sustainable in the long term.

  • Mandalay boosts antimony production for Q1 2015 but reports lower prices

    14 April 2015

    Mandalay Resources reported higher production but lower prices for antimony for the first quarter of 2015, illustrating the present oversupply and soft demand situation for ingot and trioxide in the wider market.

  • Political deviations hinder vein graphite rebound

    14 April 2015

    The new Sri Lankan government’s rigorous approach towards mining is likely to prevent any rebound in vein graphite market this year.

  • Another year of woe expected for TiO2 feedstock producers in 2015

    14 April 2015

    The market recovery in mineral sands that was widely expected in 2014 failed to materialise and according to analysts at TZMI and mineral sands miner Iluka, producers will fare no better in 2015. While a gradual recovery is anticipated in zircon, conditions in the TiO2 feedstock industry, particularly sulphate ilmenite, are expected to remain weak.

  • Galaxy Resources left with A$50m following lithium plant sale

    14 April 2015

    Galaxy Resources will have A$50m from the sale of its lithium plant to Tiangi Lithium Industries, which will help offset any operating losses occurring in its upcoming results.The company has been struggling with operating costs for a few years now and the sale is one of a number of routes Galaxy has pursued to generate extra cash flow.

  • Saft lithium batteries to smooth out Faroe Island wind power issues

    14 April 2015

    For the very first time, Li-ion batteries are being used in wind farm technology, with France-based Saft agreeing to provide a grid-regulating solution to the Faroe Islands. The energy storage capacity of a Li-ion battery can help iron out the fluctuations in wind power availability. Energy grids are traditionally used to coping with a steady supply of power, and not the peaks and troughs that come with a renewable energy source.

  • Kenya cancels 65 mining licences

    14 April 2015

    The East African country has concluded a further cull of mineral rights that do not comply with Kenya’s Mining Act, designed to ensure that resources are developed in a timely manner rather than being allowed to languish unused at the expense of government revenues.

  • IM Rare Earths News in Brief 8 – 13 April

    13 April 2015

    China North expands reach with New Damao stock acquisition; Montero reports encouraging results from bulk leach tests on Wigu Hill ore.

  • Opta Minerals exits refractories business

    13 April 2015

    The Canada-based processing company of several materials such as alumina, bentonite, chromite sand and garnet announced that it has decided to withdraw from the refractories business to focus on its other core steel businesses. The news comes as the company’s CEO acknowledged that its industrial minerals group is underperforming, as it continues to experience tough economic conditions and fierce competition.

  • China announces first rare earths production quotas for 2015

    13 April 2015

    China’s MIIT is to allow increased output of rare earths from domestic producers this year as it forecasts a recovery in the sector. However, signs that major importers like Japan are looking to reduce their reliance on Chinese minerals may mean this move is over optimistic.

  • Andhra Pradesh limestone catches eye of cement producer Sinoma

    13 April 2015

    The mineral-rich state of Andhra Pradesh has attracted the intention of China's Sinoma group, which is reported to be interested in setting up a cement plant in the region to take advantage of the local limestone reserves and supply the Indian construction industry.

  • Twin Eagle opens fourth US frac sand terminal

    13 April 2015

    Twin Eagle, one of the largest independent US frac sand terminal developers, has opened its fourth strategically located frac sand terminal in the DJ Basin, Colorado. However, while the company maintains that proximity to the wellhead and a reliable service is important to its sand customers, other logistics networks in North America are struggling in the wake of a faster than anticipated drop in demand for the hauling of oil and gas extraction materials.

  • Acron boasts strong financials thanks to weak Russian rouble

    13 April 2015

    The weaker rouble has helped many Russian producers to sell their fertilisers over 2014 and Acron is no exception. However, the group is busy making plans to ensure it moves forward with cost efficiencies and domestic sales to offset the otherwise downwards effect of the torpid global fertiliser market.

  • CIF Rotterdam antimony prices sink to FOB China levels

    13 April 2015

    Market continues to weaken; Lengshuijiang government removes 1,000 tpm ingot from Chinese market in latest consolidation move.

  • REM's stake increase in Sonora symptomatic of consolidation trend

    10 April 2015

    REM's move to up its stake increase in Bacanora Minerals is the latest example of consolidation in the lithiun sector, as would be producers position themselves for an anticipated boom in demand led by new energy technologies.

  • Argex TiO2 plant could yield gross profit up to $96m

    10 April 2015

    Following the completion of technical due diligence on its 50,000 tpa TiO2 plant in Quebec, Argex has estimated between $80m and $96m worth of gross profit as it uses its environmentally friendly patented technique to produce the pigment. It has also announced changes to the plant location, which lowers the project’s risk and places the facility in a more logistically favourable location.

  • Uralkali signs $315/tonne potash supply contract with China

    10 April 2015

    The former joint venture partner of Belaruskali, which signed a deal of equivalent value with China last month, has settled on the same potash supply price to the Asian consumer, thereby cementing the potash price benchmark for 2015.

  • Canadian gypsum mine gets go-ahead for expansion

    10 April 2015

    The Canadian province of Nova Scotia appears to be supporting its miners, which are an important part of the sparsely populated region's economy, with the local government granting National Gypsum the right to increase its mining operations in the province.

  • DuPont steps up proxy war ahead of director vote

    10 April 2015

    In its latest letter to shareholders, DuPont has urged votes for its board nominees in May. The alternative would be to vote in Trian’s nominees, enabling the company to push for a breakup of DuPont, which has been estimated to cost $4bn.

  • Midden Mining discovers bentonite in South Africa’s Western Cape

    10 April 2015

    The discovery of a rich bentonite resource near Mossel Bay coincides with an interest in shale gas exploration in the Karoo, a semi-desert region of South Africa, where any prospecting activity is likely to require significant volumes of the drilling mud.

  • OCP to issue bond for fertiliser investment programme financing

    10 April 2015

    After raising $1.55bn in bond financing last year, Morocco's state-run fertiliser giant is out to the capital markets for another slice of the pie. The company's reasonable leverage suggests an issue of similar size could be supported.

  • Cement rebound to push fluorspar demand

    10 April 2015

    End-market update: Recovering cement markets in emerging economies are likely to boost demand for fluorspar in 2015 as infrastructure projects gain pace.

  • Oro Grande garnet plant stymied by commissioner's financing motion

    10 April 2015

    A spat has broken out between New Mexico commissioners and Chamber of Commerce president Mike Espiritu over plans for a garnet mine that could have created hundreds of jobs in the US state. Due to the vote of one commissioner, the project will now be delayed and may even be moved to a different state.

  • Lightweight vehicles to push global TiO2 market to reach estimated $17.12bn in 2020

    10 April 2015

    Despite suffering from high inventories and low consumption rates in recent years, new research predicts that demand for polycarbonate coatings used in fuel efficient vehicles as well as a rising need for nanoparticles will ensure growth in the market to the end of the decade.

  • Western Australian mining: access all areas

    10 April 2015

    As the downturn in mineral prices continues to drag on Australia’s economy, a project led by Perth’s Curtin University is seeking to create an open access digital mineral inventory of WA that it hopes could stimulate interest in further exploration in the state.

  • Price Briefing 3 – 9 April

    10 April 2015

    Barite prices confirmed as flat despite Indian market ructions; rare earths broadly steady as dysprosium rises.

  • Chemtura increases bromine product prices by $0.90/kg

    09 April 2015

    US chemicals firm raises prices in all regions and warns of worldwide supply chain pressures.

  • Tri-Star Resources antimony roaster to cost $62.1m

    09 April 2015

    Progress continues on the roasting facility, with no sign yet of escalating costs.

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 3 – 9 April

    09 April 2015

    AMG completes sale of GK stake while Kibaran retracts upgraded NPV and Grafoid buys rubber business.

  • Orbite gears up for commercial production of high purity alumnia

    09 April 2015

    CEO Glenn Kelly says that Orbite shipping HPA to five prospective customers is an “important milestone”. The news comes as the company is gearing up to start commercial production of HPA at its production plant in Cap-Chat, Quebec, in the third quarter of this year.

  • UKOG Horse Hill tight oil discovery to be drilled not fracked

    09 April 2015

    The identification of 158m barrels of oil per square mile in the south of the UK has raised eyebrows with the announcement that despite being a shale oil resrve, the discoverers UKOG believe it can be extracted using conventional drilling muds, rather than by fracking.

  • Sierra Rutile Q1 ilmenite, rutile production imbalance pushes up costs

    09 April 2015

    Lower than forecast rutile production caused by Ebola-related delays and maintenance shutdowns has pushed up Sierra Rutile’s operating costs. However, the higher than expected ilmenite production, together with maintenance improvements and Ebola now under control means the company is still confident that full year targets will be met.

  • Belaruskali expands Chinese potash product ranges

    09 April 2015

    By expanding its product range, Belaruskali hopes to penetrate niche markets and take market share in speciality fertiliser application from its competitors. The exact make-up of its extra products in China was not divulged.

  • Low opex sweetens light rare earths distribution for Rainbow

    09 April 2015

    Rainbow Rare Earths has just received a $12m investment from Pala Investments, which it expects will enable it to bring the Gakara project in Burundi to full production. The low capital intensity project will not suffer from its light rare earths-dominated product basket, owing to an industry-leading grade figure and low opex costs, its managing director told IM.

  • Lobbyists push to change the shape of Nevada mining

    09 April 2015

    Although Nevada has far better environmental regulation than many parts of the world, it is still the most lax jurisdiction in North America. Changes to regulation for gold mining in the US state will also affect industrial minerals such as lithium and graphite, which are being developed for extraction in the state.

  • Fairmont’s aggregate and quartzite developments may boost Canadian port

    09 April 2015

    Canada’s Fairmont is eyeing the Quebecoise port of Saguenay for aggregate exports from its Buttercup development while it continues to push ahead with its quartzite projects.

  • Rare earths prices hold on as market confidence gains

    09 April 2015

    A belief that demand and prices for rare earths used in magnets is turning positive is backed by flat and even slightly stronger prices for the minerals, which saw a steady decline throughout 2014.

  • Refractories bear the brunt of shift in consumption patterns

    08 April 2015

    Changing preferences towards more sophisticated refractories and falling end market demand, particularly in the steel sector, have stalled the refractories boom, with production figures from the world’s largest producer falling

  • IM Agriminerals News in Brief 2 – 8 April

    08 April 2015

    Uralkali receives carnallite extraction licence; Belarusian president maintains position on marketing re-merger; Arab Potash signs supply deal with China for 2015.

  • Low oil prices hurt US frac sand producers as more states sour on fracking

    08 April 2015

    The plunge in the price of oil has hit demand for frac sand in the US, just as many companies approach record output in the wake of the North American fracking boom. Meanwhile, fracking has come under renewed criticism in Maryland and California, while ONSOL Energy and Halliburton are seeking to improve the industry’s image with new low-emissions technology.

  • Superior Silica cancels frac sand processing plans

    08 April 2015

    Tough market conditions brought on by plummeting oil prices have filtered through to frac sand producers like Superior Silica Sands, which has had to reign in plans for a new Wisconsin-based processing facility.

  • Momentive sees sales growth in 2014 but demand for quartz falls

    08 April 2015

    The US producer’s EBITDA remained flat to 2013, as the company acknowledged that demand for semiconductor-related quartz products remained weak. Momentive’s CEO Jack Boss was in agreement with an idea that some big ship makers have postponed orders for semiconductor manufacturing kit, in order to drive “productivity through their existing assets”. Nevertheless, earlier this year, order rates for non-performing conductor portions of the quartz business improved.

  • Halliburton to sell three drilling businesses

    08 April 2015

    As Halliburton continues to seek regulatory approval for its acquisition of former rival Baker Hughes, the company recognises that it will need to sell off certain “overlapping” businesses.

  • Melior begins commissioning upgraded processing plant at Goondicum ilmenite mine

    08 April 2015

    The TSX-V-listed company has completed its upgrade and expansion of the Australian mine on budget and ahead of schedule, but said that it recognised the TiO2 market remains in scant need of new feedstock capacity at present.

  • 2014 gypsum consumption up 24% y-o-y in the US

    08 April 2015

    A rise in the number of housing starts is likely to be the impetus behind increasing US gypsum consumption. While number of housing starts continues to go up, the rate of this increase appears to be slowing.

  • Indian barite prices steady as Andhra Pradesh tender stumbles

    08 April 2015

    The APMDC tender to mine barite in the southwest Indian state has so far not received any bids, as local exporters complain that floor prices are too high and that the conditions of the tender are impractical. International market sources have however confirmed that prices are within published ranges.

  • IM Lithium News in Brief 27 March – 8 April

    08 April 2015

    Stanford puts forward aluminium battery as rival to Li-ion; Tesla proposes new Gigafactory in Japan; explorers move ahead with shareholder and community approcals.

  • Uralkali Q1 potash output falls by 7.8% following Solikamsk-2 mine flooding

    08 April 2015

    Solikamsk-2 troubles have dented Uralkali’s Q1 2015 potash production, however, lower market demand following 2014’s record crop yields have rendered this drop less significant. With the snowmelt season on the horizon, investors are likely to be looking at the company’s challenges at Solikamsk with a renewed focus in the coming months.

  • Chinese rare earths producers report steep fall in profits

    07 April 2015

    Price falls throughout 2014 had a negative effect on Minmetals and China North, some of the largest producers of rare earths in China. Spring Festival effects on magnet exports were relatively limited this year, indicating that the a rare earths magnet industry renaissance may be starting to become reality.

  • IM Rare Earths News in Brief 31 March – 7 April

    07 April 2015

    GWMG and Frontier look to restructure in tough rare earths and financing climate; Kvanefjeld project permitting on the horizon; Rare Earth Salts loses out on city funding.

  • MGX Minerals nears decision for Canadian magnesia plant location

    07 April 2015

    MGX is in discussions regarding where to situate its 220,000 tpa magnesia processing facility, which will produce DBM and CCM using ore from the Driftwood Creek property in British Columbia and expects its other mineral assets in the region to benefit from economies of scale offered by the project.

  • No takers for RB Energy's lithium and iodine operations

    07 April 2015

    The lack of buyers for RB Energy's lithium assets is more of a reflection of the status of the company's own assets and operations than of the lithium market as a whole, say analysts.

  • MTI to build 100,000 tpa PCC plant for China’s Sun Paper

    07 April 2015

    The deal is US-based Minerals Technologies’ third commercial agreement with Sun, as it looks to broaden its relationship with the largest privately owned paper maker in China.

  • DuPont slaps $4bn price tag on Trian breakup plan

    07 April 2015

    The chemicals firm has launched a ferocious attack on its largest shareholder’s plans to further divide the company and appoint its own directors to DuPont’s board, saying that the proposals will hit the business with large one-off and running costs while leaving it bereft of key skills and experience.

  • ICL empties speciality bromine stockpiles and warns permanent production cease possible

    07 April 2015

    The stakes for both the Histadrut labour union and Israel Chemicals are only getting higher, but a deal between the two looks no more likely than it did at the beginning of the employment dispute. If the organisations cannot meet agreement soon, ICL could see entire product lines permanently disappear, which would likely knock its future earnings.

  • Fluorspar prices remain stable; lower grades more competitive

    03 April 2015

    Price review: Acidspar sees slight recovery in demand while metspar fears downward trend

  • EuroChem integrates gas supplier via takeover

    02 April 2015

    EuroChem already covered 25% of its internal gas consumption before this acquisition – now it will be able to control its supply chains further, potentially reducing its production costs for its nitrogen-based and phosphate fertiliser products.

  • Flake graphite prices face demand-side pressures

    02 April 2015

    Price Review: Higher purity grades experience a small decrease in the continually weak market; price disparity between large and medium flake projected to grow

  • Mineral Commodities reports maiden profit for Tormin mineral sands project

    02 April 2015

    MRC began plant commissioning of its plant in January last year and since then has ramped up mineral sands production and sales, as well as receiving a tax benefit for production start-up and a positive cash flow forecast. With plans to upgrade its processing plant, the company anticipates strong growth over the next year.

  • Cuba awakening: what the country has to offer mining investors

    02 April 2015

    Tentative olive branches between the US and Cuba could open its mineral resource up for international investments. Kaolin, lime, feldspar, bentonite, zeolite, and gypsum are all present in the geology of the country for those brave enough to take on the regime.

  • CRP to diversify interests and join TSX following permitting rejection

    02 April 2015

    CRP has concluded that the New Zealand stock exchange is now not enough on its own to serve the financing needs of its offshore phosphate project. In an attempt to reduced investor risk, the company is looking to diversify, which could see several other phosphate projects brought forward.

  • South Africa seeks legal ruling on black ownership of mining projects

    02 April 2015

    The 2004 Mining Charter stipulates that black South Africans must own a 26% share in all mining assets in the country – with the deadline for compliance expiring last year. Mining companies argue that the legislation does not provide for disposal of shares by black owners after the threshold has been met, and the industry is anxiously awaiting legal interpretation of this clause to see whether any firms will be penalised.

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 27 March – 2 April

    02 April 2015

    Magnis Resources signs binding term sheet with China National Materials Industry Import and Export Corp. for funding; Kibran Resources Ltd receives interest from a development finance institution in its Epanko graphite project.

  • Reward scoping study suggests lowest SOP capex globally

    02 April 2015

    By opting for a smaller operation of 400,000 tonnes in a niche agrimineral market, Reward may have set itself up well for investors. The price premium of SOP over MOP continues to increase, making potential future profitability larger and more likely.

  • Price Briefing 27 March – 2 April

    02 April 2015

    Antimony prices fall by 50% since 2011; price wars put pressure on Chinese magnesia.

  • SQM directors charged for withholding information in tax probe

    02 April 2015

    The Chilean regulator has its teeth sunk into SQM and is not letting go as it digs up unsavoury links between the company and electoral campaigns, including politicians with links to the Pinochet regime.

  • Tronox closes acquistion of soda ash business from FMC Corp.

    02 April 2015

    The finalising of the sale means that Tronox will operate two vertically integrated businesses; one which focuses on TiO2 pigments and one on trona ore and natural soda ash. This will leave FMC able to fully focus on its lithium business under the name FMC Lithium.

  • Namibia expands dry bulk port

    02 April 2015

    China Harbour and Engineering Co. starts to expand West African dry bulk port at Walvis Bay.

  • Metspar feels strain of steel slowdown

    02 April 2015

    End-market update: The seasonal slump in China’s steel production will keep demand for metspar low from the world’s largest consuming country of the mineral; price review underway

  • Triton secures $2bn offtake with China’s Yichang Xincheng Graphite Co.

    01 April 2015

    Analysts have questioned the size of the deal and the minimum $1,000/tonne sale price, but Triton insists that its Chinese buyer is prepared to pay a premium for long-term supply of quality material and that it is confident in the expansion prospects of its new customer.

  • Group DF’s ilmenite business profits increased 67% in 2014

    01 April 2015

    Despite low demand for TiO2 feedstocks and political instability in the Ukraine, Group DF’s subsidiary Valky Ilmenite managed to grow profit by 67% as its year-on-year ilmenite production and sales increased.

  • Victory Nickel reports 2014 net loss following poor start to new frac sand plant

    01 April 2015

    The company started production at its Canadian 7P Plant in August last year, which it now says was premature, resulting in lower sales and production. The situation has been aggravated by low oil prices and consequent low silica sand demand, as well as the spring break-up slowing activity. However, a number of factors are expected to push up demand for the mineral, leading to a frac sand recovery.

  • Brazilian graphite industry registers modest growth in 2014

    01 April 2015

    Upward annual trend in production boosts exports from Brazil; Germany and US major consumers

  • IM Agriminerals News in Brief 25 March – 1 April

    01 April 2015

    Mosaic expects $80-100m revenue loss following tax changes; Tunisian phosphate output returning to normal; Focus raises funds for Peruvian phosphate project.

  • Fishing for minerals: seabed mining vessel and underwater robots in development

    01 April 2015

    Despite recent disappointments for would-be offshore miners of phosphate in New Zealand and Namibia owing to environmental concerns, engineering and mineral exploration companies continue to see seabed mining as a potentially lucrative revenue stream. Rolls-Royce has secured a contract to power MAC’s seabed mining vessel, while Damen Shipyards is working with the EU to develop underwater robots for seabed mineral exploration.

  • SQM operating “normally” in Chile despite flooding chaos

    01 April 2015

    The lithium, potash and iodine miner has said that delivery of its products has been disrupted by severe weather conditions in northern Chile, but that rescheduled shipments would allow it to meet customer commitments after staff worked over the weekend to resume operations.

  • Athabasca Minerals cost cutting boosts thirteen month 2014 sales

    01 April 2015

    Athabasca Minerals appears to have successfully implemented cost cutting measures and improved its performance, but like-for-like figures will give a clearer picture of this. The group is refocusing itself on its Firebag Silica Sand project which will come into production in 2016.

  • Fluorspar signals recovery as the industry enters Q2 2014

    01 April 2015

    Enquiries surge moving into the buying season with potential price increases despite excess supply in China; industry remains optimistic for H2 2015

  • Perlite Canada maintains upwards sales trajectory despite net losses

    01 April 2015

    Upping perlite product prices last year appears to have been the right move for Perlite Canada, which posted an increase in revenues year-on-year in its first quarter 2015 results. However, mounting costs associated with a weaker Canadian dollar caused a net loss to the producer over the past three months.

  • Price wars put pressure on Chinese magnesia prices

    01 April 2015

    Aggressive bidding for refractory mineral tenders is forcing down the price of magnesia, while stricter environmental rules, policy mistakes and overcapacity are also putting pressure on refractories producers and their raw material suppliers.