Regulation latest news

  • May 2015

    Weak oilfield activity deterred international bidders from Indian barite tender

    29 May 2015

    The ex-works pricing structure for the APMDC’s auction of the oilfield clay in Andhra Pradesh, coupled with low levels of oilfield drilling globally, meant the tender was contested solely by Indian companies, despite government efforts to open up its barite market.

  • IM Agriminerals News in Brief 23 – 29 May

    29 May 2015

    MagIndustries court documents made public; South Boulder changes name to Danakali; Tunisia to conduct study on phosphate mine.

  • Fire causes CN bridge to collapse, mineral cargo rerouted

    29 May 2015

    Following a fire on one of CN’s bridges earlier this week, mineral railcars have been diverted and replacement works have begun. It remains unclear whether the incident will affect the company’s Q2 earnings.

  • PhosAgro inks 1.35m tonne fertiliser contract with Indian distributor

    29 May 2015

    India may be home to a growing population of over one billion people, each driving increasing food production, but selling potash and phosphates in the country is traditionally more difficult than expected owing to nitrogen-heavy fertiliser subsidies. Depleted stocks appear to be redressing the balance for PhosAgro, however.

  • Toshiba supplies 40MW battery storage system; GE supplies second ESS

    29 May 2015

    While Toshiba claims to be supplying Japan's largest battery energy storage system (ESS), GE's deal with the Ontario electricity system operator is the conglomerate's second contract in the ESS area this year. Unlike the GE's previous agreement in April with Con Edison, the batteries in the Ontario system are solely powered by lithium.

  • Four month potash and bromine strikes end as Israel Chemicals blinks

    29 May 2015

    Potash production is likely to surge in the near term as extraction resumes at ICL’s dried-out solar ponds full of potash. For the speciality chemicals business, however, the suspension of bromine compound production may have caused lasting damage to ICL’s plant, meaning an increase in output could take more time.

  • Duke Energy plans 2MW Li-ion storage system in Ohio

    29 May 2015

    The role of the ESS in power grid stability is being globally recognised, as companies from Asia, US and Europe come together to pool their expertise in various new ESS systems for traditional grids and renewable energy.

  • Exploration at MZI’s Australian projects brings resource to 92m total heavy minerals

    29 May 2015

    Having recently completed half of the construction required at the Keysbrook project in Western Australia, MZI is hoping to start production at the end of this year. The additional resource from its nearby Railway deposit will push up the value and potentially increase the life of the operation.

  • Fracking helps US states outpace OPEC members in natural gas ranking

    29 May 2015

    An increasing amount of domestic natural gas production has helped the country to stay in the number one spot on a new global ranking published by the API. Eight US states now outrank OPEC members thanks to innovations in fracking and horizontal drilling, which has in turn boosted the demand for oilfield minerals.

  • Price Briefing 22 – 28 May

    29 May 2015

    India cuts barite tender price; Chinese tax hurts rare earths and lithium gets a boost from short supply.

  • Agrium plays down phosphate divestment rumours

    29 May 2015

    The Canadian fertiliser company continuously reviews its business portfolio and recent comments suggesting that Agrium may dump its phosphate unit should be understood within this context, the firm has said.

  • Lithium hydroxide prices edge up on tighter supply

    29 May 2015

    Sources confirm less material available in the market; lithium carbonate prices remain stable.

  • AkzoNobel to open €30m coatings plant in Thailand as regional demand builds

    28 May 2015

    Growth in Asia’s construction, automotive and consumer sectors is buoying demand for AkzoNobel’s coatings products – which utilise raw materials such as kaolin, TiO2, talc and calcium carbonate – justifying the need for a new coatings facility in Thailand. Although the company imports most of these minerals for consumption, it told IM that it was looking at also developing local sources of supply.

  • Indian government toughens measures to check illegal mining

    28 May 2015

    After making crucial amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957, Indian government has decided to curb illegal mining by authorising state governments to frame rules and deploy committees to control unpermitted operations.

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 22 – 28 May

    28 May 2015

    Syrah gets government go-ahead for Balama; Great Lakes progresses Matheson micronisation facility.

  • Moody’s report: Surviving the oil price downturn

    28 May 2015

    The initial oil price fall in June last year was expected to be relatively short lived, with oil and gas producers intending to weather the storm. However, with the downturn lasting longer than anticipated and operators reducing the number of active wells, US frac sand producers need to rapidly adapt to the situation in order to survive.

  • Fracking protests erupt in Texas; South Africa considers regulations

    28 May 2015

    While oil prices continue to affect natural energy production worldwide, regulatory action surrounding fracking is in full force throughout North America. Meanwhile, in South Africa, government officials are preparing to publish new regulations concerning the hydrocarbon extraction process.

  • Vertical integration key to China’s fluorochemical expansion

    28 May 2015

    End-Market Analysis: Sourcing raw material from a cheap labour and low-production cost base has prompted China’s downstream expansion as vertical integration boosts the country’s acidspar demand with growing consumption rates.

  • Interview: How low oil prices are affecting project financing

    28 May 2015

    In June 2014, oil prices started to tumble, taking with them short term optimism in the US energy markets. Since then, many have speculated on the impact low energy prices will have on both conventional and unconventional oil and gas project developments, with some reacting more drastically than others. To find out what a financial services company thinks about this new energy environment, IM spoke to Karim Nassif, a credit analyst at US-based Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

  • IDTechEx 2015: Graphene market on the go-slow, says Graphenea

    28 May 2015

    Demand has failed to follow expectation resulting in companies pursuing small gains on multiple fronts. As a result, experts have said that graphene's killer application is dead and buried.

  • Andhra Pradesh concludes tortuous barite tender

    28 May 2015

    APMDC forced to climb down over bid prices but producers remain unhappy with pricing structure.

  • Imerys buys Solvay’s PCC business for €59m, posts Q1 revenue growth

    28 May 2015

    Imerys is back on the acquisition trail, as it looks to extend its growth opportunities by expanding its calcium carbonates footprint with another major addition to its portfolio of investments. The company is also looking to diversify away from its PCC division into a less cyclical business model.

  • New Asbury plant will need over 4,500 tpa graphite by December 2016

    28 May 2015

    Asbury's $8m GNP facility to open in North Carolina; plant will run on natural and synthetic feedstock.

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

    28 May 2015

    China’s overcapacity overflowing; Terna Mag holds off on third expansion phase.

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

    28 May 2015

    Liaoning aims to regulate magnesia business; centre will offer price discovery and financing.

  • China’s growing downstream dominance leads fluorspar recovery

    28 May 2015

    While infrastructure developments drive demand and the impact of a transition to HFOs remains distant, the price outlook is positive for Q2 2015.

  • StratMin clinches benchmark grade at Loharano graphite plant

    28 May 2015

    The UK-listed mining company has spent over a year tweaking the technology it uses to process ore from its Madagascan mine and has now achieved purities of over 94% C on a consistent basis, allowing it to unlock premium sales prices from its offtake partner and focus on ramping up production.

  • Abrasive commissioner nearly scuppers New Mexico garnet facility

    28 May 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.

  • Molycorp net losses widen as production ramp up continues

    28 May 2015

    Continued listing for Molycorp on the NYSE is looking increasingly unlikely, as the company’s net losses mount up. While it now has liabilities of $1.79bn, production and sales volumes continue to increase and the company’s creditors are sustaining both their industry caution and patience.

  • China allows 105,000 tonnes rare earths production as new taxes arrive

    28 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.

  • Henan Billions-Lomon merger creates new dominant force in China’s TiO2 market

    28 May 2015

    The deal between the two companies makes Billions China’s largest TiO2 producer while Lomon synergies yield competitive edge. Quality and low cost key to market share

  • Iluka and Monax sign JV for Australian iron oxide project development

    28 May 2015

    Having announced that it would continue to look for lucrative M&A opportunities in the mining downturn, Iluka has signed a JV and farm-in agreement with Monax, which is developing a number of Australian exploration projects, including two in iron oxide.

  • Greenland Minerals and Energy aims to rival rare earths suppliers to Europe by 2019

    28 May 2015

    Low European logistics costs could see GMEL rival Asian rare earths suppliers within the next four years should the company, which has just completed its feasibility study, raise finance and construct its mine on schedule. Economies of scale and by-product revenues could sweeten the $1.36bn capex requirement.

  • WIOML 2015: Economic rent theory “fundamentally unsuitable” for mining

    28 May 2015

    Standard rules on taxes not always applicable Unexpected levies fuel boom and bust business cycle Inevitable price falls result in taxes becoming punitive

  • Orbite to use potential tax credits to help fund HPA plant

    28 May 2015

    Orbite Aluminae believes it is eligible to receive a financial boost in return for investments to be made in the Gaspe region, which will help its coffers and balance sheet for its planned 3 tpd HPA plant based in Quebec. The facility is due to come online in the third quarter of this year.

  • ExxonMobil, Chevron reject fracking impact proposals

    28 May 2015

    The vote on whether more should be done to investigate the impacts of fracking proves that while there is still some concern surrounding the process, the majority of ExxonMobil and Chevron shareholders are confident that operations are effectively managed.

  • Rare earths companies battle for control in southern China

    28 May 2015

    Local government-backed companies are trying to fend off other consolidated entities given support by the central Chinese government. With many heavy rare earths-rich resources in the south of China, the stakes are higher than in the north, where consolidation has passed comparatively more easily.

  • Tata Chemicals posts $11.6m quarterly loss, despite strong soda ash and salt sales

    28 May 2015

    The Indian chemicals producer said that margin pressures in its fertiliser business affected its performance in the last quarter, although the company managed to post an overall profit for the year ended 31 March. Firm sales of edible salt and solid operations at its restructured Magadi soda ash operation helped mitigate weaker earnings in its agri businesses, however.

  • Sika Burkard family appeal to lift voting rights cap

    28 May 2015

    Sika and Saint-Gobain look like they are in it for the long haul, as the Burkard's family's most recent appeal to the Zurich court will be addressed under a long-winded 'ordinary procedure'. The willingness to take on what could be a fight of many years underlines again the determination of Saint Gobain and Sika's Burkard family to merge the two chemical companies.

  • Abu Dhabi port begins work on dry bulk facility

    28 May 2015

    A new dry bulk logistics centre at Khalifa port is expected to boost Middle East mineral trade for local chemicals and plastics manufacturing sectors.

  • Active Growth Capital and Alliance Magnesium scrap takeover

    27 May 2015

    The decision to cancel the business partnership, which was announced in March this year, was taken by both companies owing to market conditions. Active Growth Capital now plans to focus on confirming its Portage magnesium/dolomite historical resource estimate and then seek a partner to advance to advance to drilling stage as current market conditions are making financing difficult.

  • Tax reforms fail to boost Chinese rare earths market

    27 May 2015

    China’s new resource tax system raises mine gate prices for rare earths but has done nothing to boost market selling values, meaning that downstream companies, which are already burdened by overcapacity and weak demand, are coming under even more pressure.

  • Orient Refractories posts 7.6% dip in March 2015 quarter profits

    27 May 2015

    RHI-owned Orient Refractories posted lower profit but higher income in its latest financial results. The news comes as India’s economy and steel industry continues to grow.

  • Could this be the saviour of fracking?

    27 May 2015

    A relatively unheard of technique is driving change in North America’s fracking market at a time when some had begun to lose hope. Re-fracking, which allows E&Ps to revisit production sites, could boost natural oil and gas production, in turn increasing the demand for oilfield minerals.

  • Tesla large-scale Powerwall battery to get global mines running off-grid

    27 May 2015

    The potential for energy storage systems (ESS) to take whole industries off-grid has not yet been realised, but mining could be one of the sectors to benefit first. Traditionally located in remote areas, without access to the electricity grid, mines need power generation independent of the infrastructure of politics their host countries.

  • Interview: Eti Maden to strengthen borates market share

    27 May 2015

    Despite facing European legislation obstacles, Eti Maden, the world’s largest borates supplier, is set to increase its market. share within approximately three years. Emma Hughes

  • EuroChem reveals phosphate expansion plans at Kovdor

    27 May 2015

    The phosphate miner is to extend its mine life while pursuing cost-cutting via vertical integration. EuroChem says it expects to beat oversupply situation with economics.

  • Oilfield Minerals Results Review

    27 May 2015

    Fairmount Q1 income falls as demand for coated proppants slows; Hi-Crush Q1 2015 revenues up despite challenging market; Emerge Energy’s first quarter profit drops as frac sand prices fall sharply; Carbo reports net loss as ceramic proppant demand falls faster than rig count; Halliburton posts Q1 net loss; predicts further rig count drops; Baker Hughes posts net loss as a result of “extreme market forces”

  • OLS Enterprise to acquire Malaysian Phosphate Additives

    27 May 2015

    The purchase of MPA, which currently operates a 30,000 tpa phosphate plant and has plans to bring a 500,000 tpa phosphate products plant online in Malaysia, will give OLS shareholders a stake in the development intended to supply the growing demand for phosphate-based nutrients in South East Asia.

  • Syrian phosphate mine territory falls to Islamic State militants

    27 May 2015

    While the extremist terrorist group is unlikely to be able to monetise the phosphate resources – usually operated by Compagnie Generale des Phosphates et des Mines – now within its control. Syria’s phosphate industry looks set to fall further down the production league tables. Five years ago, the country was a top 10 producer of the fertiliser product.

  • MGX teams up with mining tech experts to develop Canadian magnesia plant

    27 May 2015

    The company is beefing up its strategic alliances by linking up with North America-based firms in order to develop its proposed magnesia facility at its Driftwood Creek site in British Columbia. It is hoped that the deal will help MGX to fast-track its goal of starting commercial production by late 2016.

  • Halliburton strike called off in Nigeria

    27 May 2015

    Nigeria’s oil industry is experiencing ups and downs this week after work was halted at Halliburton’s local operations following a strike – which has now been called off – and as the country’s new President-elect prepares to take office.

  • MZI passes halfway mark for WA Keysbrook mineral sands project

    27 May 2015

    The Keysbrook project in Western Australia is now 51.1% complete and is progressing on schedule and within budget, with MZI expecting production in Q4 2015. However, though zircon prices have remained steady since the end of 2014, industry participants have expressed concerns that the number of juniors planning to come online this year could weaken values for the mineral in an already uncertain market.

  • Iofina 2014 loss widens, company to revive expansion plans

    27 May 2015

    The US-based iodine producer has been hit by lower iodine prices and impairment charges in the last year, however it continues to ramp up production and said it will seek new production opportunities, despite earlier suggestions that it would focus on optimisation and profits.

  • Environmental regulations help push up China Northern Rare Earth income

    27 May 2015

    After a poor financial showing in 2014 for most rare earths companies, a substantial increase in turnover could be indicative of a stronger start to the year for China Northern, the largest Chinese rare earths producer.

  • Iofina 2014 loss widens, company to revive expansion plans

    27 May 2015

    The US-based iodine producer has been hit by lower iodine prices and impairment charges in the last year, however it continues to ramp up production and said it will seek new production opportunities, despite earlier suggestions that it would focus on optimisation and profits.

  • Water pollution from Pingdu graphite industry sparks public anger

    26 May 2015

    Efforts to control pollution from China’s graphite sector have been sporadic and mixed in their effectiveness, with the recent poisoning of water courses in Pingdu, Shandong province, suggesting a laxer approach to the environment than that pursued in nearby Laixi.

  • Four US states challenge federal government fracking regulation via lawsuit

    26 May 2015

    Following a new rule implemented by the US Interior Department in March, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota and Colorado are collectively planning to put forward a lawsuit challenging the regulation, which affects public and tribal land. The states believe the rule is pointless, could cost millions of dollars a year, and that fracking should be regulated locally owing to broad differences in geology between various locations.

  • Nabaltec profits rise as fillers market supports growth

    26 May 2015

    The Germany-based speciality alumina producer saw its revenue and income increase helped by a strong performance in its fillers and flame retardants division.

  • SQM subsidiary makes $1.2m tax payment following probe

    26 May 2015

    Once SQM Salar, one of the subsidiary businesses of SQM, was found to lack supporting documentation for expense claims, it was inevitable that the group would have to make a payment to cover tax and investment costs. The one off charge could mark the end of SQM's torrid few months grappling with the Chilean tax authorities.

  • Greenland Minerals and Energy FS estimates $1.36bn cost for rare earths project

    26 May 2015

    A big capex figure is likely to make the funding stage of project development for Kvanefjeld difficult, particularly with the current depressed state of the ASX. Low opex figures could see the project carried more easily, however.

  • IM Lithium News in Brief 19 – 26 May

    26 May 2015

    Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are appearing in military vehicles and passenger ferries, demonstrating the flexibility of the power source to supply energy. Battery technology providers such as Siemens are receiving a flood of demand as their products achieve wider potential usage.

  • Third Energy applies for UK fracking licence

    26 May 2015

    By applying for a fracking licence in the north of England, Third Energy becomes the second company to attempt operations in Britain. Environmental opposition is expected to mount after the company last week revealed it plans. Cuadrilla Resources, another UK-based operator, has faced similar resistance.

  • IM Rare Earths News in Brief 18 – 25 May

    26 May 2015

    Geomega announces new rare earth recovery rates; Medallion advances metallurgical testwork; Hastings commences 2015 drilling programme; Commerce concludes first phase of its 2015 drilling programme.

  • European Lithium pushes back AIM listing

    26 May 2015

    The exploration company is progressing its efforts to complete its IPO and list on London’s small caps market, originally scheduled for Q1 this year, in order to raise funds for its PFS, as it presses ahead with its Wolfsberg lithium project in Austria. It is hoping that strong ongoing demand will help it with its aim of becoming a major lithium producer in Europe.

  • Uncertainties reign over jumbo flake graphite production volumes

    26 May 2015

    How much +35 large flake graphite is really in the market? Considering the current supply-demand scenario, IM examines this niche, high value portion of the natural flake graphite industry.

  • Chinese TiO2 industry expects second major merger as Jilin Gpro suspends trading

    26 May 2015

    Trading of shares in Chinese TiO2 producer Jilin Gpro were suspended on the Shenzen Stock Exchange on 18 May, prompting speculation that a merger announcement was in the works. However, the market is still awaiting confirmation of the deal, with Jiangsu Taibai the most likely target, which would establish the new joint entity as the second largest TiO2 business in China.

  • IM Agriminerals News in Brief 16 – 22 May

    22 May 2015

    Fertoz receives positive scoping study; Minemakers granted small mine permit; Kazakhstan Potash resumes Satimola project negotiations.

  • Andhra Pradesh concludes tortuous barite tender

    22 May 2015

    The settling of contracts to mine and sell 400,000 tonnes Indian drilling grade barite has taken months of bitter wrangling between the APMDC and local barite companies, with two of the six qualified bidders failing to take part in the auction and a forced reduction in prices in order to get the process moving.

  • PotashCorp. reviews stakes in rival miners SQM and ICL

    22 May 2015

    The Canadian producer’s CEO has given a favourable view of equity investments that the company holds in counterparts Sinofert and Arab Potash, describing them as “strategic”. However, he has not given any direction on what it plans to do with its stakes in ICL and SQM.

  • Proppants exempt from sales taxes in Arkansas

    22 May 2015

    The legal dispute between Weatherford and the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has led to an alteration of state law, which now exempts proppants users from paying sales taxes.

  • ICL launches flame retardant product assessment tool

    22 May 2015

    At a time when strikes are hitting ICL's bromine sales the company is shifting its industrial products focus onto new services.

  • Twin Eagle delivers first 130-car frac sand unit in Texas

    22 May 2015

    Responding to calls from the frac sand industry for a smoother logistics operation, Twin Eagle now has four frac sand terminals located at the heart of US fracking destinations. Its latest delivery of 130 rail cars to Texas is one of the largest sent to the Eagle Ford formation.

  • Eagle Materials increases revenue despite oil price decline

    22 May 2015

    While Eagle Materials’ business was held up by a strong fiscal year for cement and gypsum markets, it also managed to significantly increase revenues in its proppants segment after growing its frac sand business and acquiring CRS Proppants.

  • Price Briefing 15 – 21 May

    22 May 2015

    Magnesia industry gloomy on China; Australian zircon industry optimistic for price rises.

  • Sonora drill results indicate double lithium resource and expansion possibilities for Bacanora

    22 May 2015

    Companies with stakes in the Mexican lithium project may need to court financing partners as drill results confirm that the lithium reserves are larger than expected.

  • EuroChem reveals phosphate expansion plans at Kovdor and beyond

    21 May 2015

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 15 – 21 May

    21 May 2015

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.*

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Price Briefing 8 – 14 May

    15 May 2015

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

  • 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.

  • Political unrest threatens rare earths in Burundi

    15 May 2015

    Guernsey registered Rainbow Rare Earths’ Gakara project is located just 40km from the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, which is being rocked by violence and was the scene of a coup earlier this week in protest over incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza’s intention to serve a third term in office.

  • Strict specifications: UK frac sand potential

    15 May 2015

    The UK is actively looking at the potential production of shale gas and, as a result, the country’s extractive minerals industry is looking at the role it can play in providing minerals that could be used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

  • Wogen-MRC agreement terminated after “relationship breakdown”

    14 May 2015

    Although Mineral Commodities did not specify which side had terminated the agreement, the mineral sands miner is now free to sell heavy mineral concentrate without restriction. However, the company has faced strong opposition from local residents, who fear that its mining plans will ruin their livelihoods and cause health issues.

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 8 – 14 May

    14 May 2015

    Triton signs two Chinese JVs; Applied Graphene Materials post successful results of base oil testing.

  • Mining companies set to return to Ebola-free Liberia

    14 May 2015

    Mineral production is set to be ramped up again, as the World Health Organization declared the mineral-rich West African nation to be Ebola-free.

  • EOG Resources faces opposition to Illinois frac sand facility

    14 May 2015

    Despite receiving a green light from the town Mayor, EOG Resources is facing project opposition from Earlville residents, who are worried that its proposed frac sand facility could become health and safety hazard.

  • Tantalus targets European market as it seals rare earths deal with ThyssenKrupp

    14 May 2015

    The company’s CEO expressed excitement at sealing its second commercial rare earths agreement. This agreement news will help Tantalus to push ahead with its strategy to commence commercial production at its Madagascan TRE project in the second half of 2016.

  • Nordic reports Q1 loss as Engebo rutile costs stack up

    14 May 2015

    The company has been seeking approval for its Norwegian rutile project, for which the industrial area plan was finally approved, as well as its vehemently opposed discharge permit. The group will now need to raise more equity to continue with prioritised projects and strengthen its financial position.

  • Simulus joins Altech as engineering partner for Australian HPA project

    14 May 2015

    Altech Chemicals has moved one step closer to becoming the leading low-cost supplier of high-purity alumina after bringing Simulus Engineering on-board as EPCM partner for its proposed kaolin beneficiation plant in Western Australia.

  • USA Gypsum opens $3m gypsum drywall recycling facility

    14 May 2015

    Produced via chemical synthesis and mining, recycling is also a substantial source of gypsum products. USA Gypsum will produce derivative gypsum materials, not fresh drywall from this new facility.

  • Sonora lithium doubles reserve estimate

    14 May 2015

    The move by Rare Earths Minerals to increase its stake in Sonora lithium's operator Bacanora has proved wise, after the site has been found to contain double the amount of lithium previously thought.

  • “Open recommendation” likely for Sirius Mineral’s polyhalite potash project

    14 May 2015

    In a positive development for the potash explorer, the local national park authority looks likely to advise a positive permitting decision for late June. The next big step will be financing, according to Investec Bank.

  • StratMin makes the grade at Loharano graphite plant

    14 May 2015

    The UK-listed mining company has spent over a year tweaking the technology it uses to process ore from its Madagascan mine and has now achieved purities of over 94% C on a consistent basis, allowing it to unlock premium sales prices from its offtake partner and focus on ramping up production.

  • Sheffield’s Thunderbird mineral sands project to cost $393m

    14 May 2015

    The mineral sands junior has published its PFS which has indicated returns in 3.6 years and a long mine life of 32 years. Anticipating supply gaps in zircon in the future, Sheffield hopes to be in production by 2018, while in the meantime it looks for ways to cut capex and operating costs.

  • RHI posts stable Q1 2015 results despite dip in FM demand

    14 May 2015

    RHI is continuing to reduce production of fused magnesia at its Porsgrunn Norway plant to help reduce costs, due to weak demand for its raw material products from emerging markets. However, the company is positive about its industrial and steel division results.

  • Mosaic’s reformist CEO Jim Prokopanko to retire following 2014 illness

    14 May 2015

    The efficiency-driving executive is to retire after eight and a half years at the helm of Mosaic following a spell of ill health in 2014. He will be succeeded by the company’s current chief operating officer, Joc O’Rourke, who promised more of the same management style.

  • Vesuvius acquires Sidermes but reduces 2015 capex programme

    14 May 2015

    Vesuvius’ acquisition of Italian industrial probes supplier Sidermes underscores its commitment to new technology. The refractories producer delivered stable results in the first four months of 2015, but is cautious about the backdrop of declining steel and foundry production. As a result, Vesuvius is deferring capital expenditure decisions and reducing its existing capex programme by one third.

  • Libya attacks Turkish gypsum vessel

    14 May 2015

    Turkey criticises Libya for attack on dry bulk carrier in Mediterranean Sea which kills one. The BDI firmed this week on additional activity for grain and coal shipments.

  • Russia launches WTO battle against EU and Ukraine on ammonium nitrate anti-dumping

    14 May 2015

    Russia has been accused of dumping the fertiliser and mine explosives chemical on importing nations at below market price, a claim it disputes. Moscow now has two months to resolve its two separate disputes with Kiev and Brussels.

  • Low oil price topples frac sand values

    13 May 2015

    Fire sales for ceramic proppants tempt frackers to grab bargains for better-performing materials.

  • Hudson concludes community meetings for Greenland anorthosite project

    13 May 2015

    Hudson is one step closer to obtaining exploration licences for its White Mountain property, as it aims to supply the fibre glass industry with speciality aluminas derived from anorthosite.

  • Opta Minerals reports Q1 loss as US steel industry slows

    13 May 2015

    Industrial minerals supplier Opta was hit by both the strengthening US dollar against the Canadian dollar and a sluggish US steel market, to which the company supplies refractory products. Hoping to streamline its business, Opta recently announced it had sold its Inland RC refractory product subsidiary and plans further cost reductions before the steel market picks up, which is not expected until the end of this year.

  • ICL profits held up by divestments, offsetting lower sales dented by strikes

    13 May 2015

    Stockpiles are lower and much of ICL’s profit this quarter has arisen from non-recurring divestments, but the company’s outlook in a number of pressurised sectors appears positive, despite substantial headwinds. Potash deliveries delayed by strikes in the first half of 2015 will be delivered in the second half and bromine demand in the depressed oil industry appears to be holding up, the company said.

  • DuPont triumphs over Trian in landmark proxy war

    13 May 2015

    The TiO2 producer has resisted pressure from Trian to add four of its nominees to the DuPont board, embarking instead on an expensive campaign to gain shareholder support, which has now paid off. The result is not only a blow to Trian, but to activist investors in general, who have been putting increased pressure on chemical majors to make structural changes.

  • Hengda Graphite suspends operations in Yichang on tailings pond failure risk

    13 May 2015

    The sole graphite miner in Hubei closed its mine and processing facility at Jinchang in January following the appearance of sink holes in its tailings pond. Failure of the pond’s dam poses a lethal risk to local villagers and to a nearby forest resort in Yichang.

  • New antimony trading house to capitalise on market fragmentation

    13 May 2015

    Antimony is not the largest nor the most liquid market, and until recently it has been served by the big trading houses. However, changes to the supply picture have proved attractive enough to warrant a trading house from Geodex Minerals.

  • Fairmount Q1 income falls as demand for coated proppants slows

    13 May 2015

    As activity in the oil and gas industry decelerates, exploration companies are opting for less expensive proppants such raw frac sand rather than ceramic or coated products. This was reflected in Fairmount Santrol’s sales, where sand volumes increased at the expense of coated proppants. The company however is continuing to invest in new products for the oil and gas industry to better protect it from the downturn, which is continuing for longer than anticipated.

  • MGX Minerals identifies thick sections of magnesite at Driftwood Creek

    13 May 2015

    MGX is pushing ahead with the rapid advancement of its Driftwood Creek project, as it moves ahead with its strategy to become a cornerstone producer of magnesium oxide for the North American markets and tries to locate a golden spot for its planned magnesia production plant.

  • RB Energy bankrupt after zero offers for lithium and iodine operations

    13 May 2015

    The market's lack of interest in RB Energy's lithium and iodine assets has forced the company into bankruptcy.

  • K+S Q1 revenues bounce up 16% to €1.4bn

    12 May 2015

    Firm de-icing salt prices in North America and a cost-cutting regime have led to both increased revenues and profits at K+S. The company expects its Legacy potash mine in Canada to start production in 2016, on budget, and for prices to continue to increase in salt and potash.

  • Erin Ventures begins drilling programme on borates play

    12 May 2015

    Work has progressed for Erin Ventures. After raising C$147,500 of capital via a private placement on the Toronto Stock Exchange in February, the junior minerals explorer can begin its four-month drilling programme.

  • Athabasca buys rail transloading facility to help frac sand project

    12 May 2015

    The Canadian aggregate producer’s Firebag silica sand project has been given a boost, as the company moves towards its aim of becoming a major domestic supplier of proppant for use in fracking in the oil and gas industry.

  • Trian: Prospects dim for last minute settlement with DuPont

    12 May 2015

    Ahead of DuPont’s shareholder vote tomorrow to determine the company’s new board, Trian’s CEO, Nelson Peltz, spoke to CNBC saying that although a settlement with DuPont was looking increasingly unlikely, he anticipates a win for Trian and looks forward to the companies working together in a collaborative manner.

  • IM Lithium News in Brief 5—12 May

    12 May 2015

    Australian battery manufacturer Redflow has announced that it welcomes Tesla's home battery system. Other battery manufacturers will surely follow in reaching out publicly to Tesla. A recent study by consultancy Technavio has predicted that the all-electric vehicle market in Europe alone is expected to grow at a CAGR of 29.2% in the next four years. Partnerships are one way to take advantage of this, as seen with Johnson Controls' product development partnership with fellow technology specialist the US' Lawrence Technological University this week.

  • Savana Cement applies for Ghanaian limestone permit

    12 May 2015

    Ghana’s quiet mining industry is set to get a boost from SAVACEM’s move to extend its potential lifespan in the country. Construction is a big industry in underdeveloped parts of Africa – driving demand for cement and its constituent raw materials.

  • Arab Potash to supply 505,000 tonnes potash to Indian distributors

    12 May 2015

    Despite being a smaller producer, Arab Potash has proved it can compete in the seaborne potash markets by continuing to deliver record volumes of potash to India. The company first passed the 500,000 tpa Indian potash deliveries landmark in 2014.

  • Bentonite prices expected to ride out oil price storm

    12 May 2015

    Diversified end markets shield swelling clay from oilfield volatility, despite pressure for discounts.

  • Henan Billions: The new dominant force in China’s TiO2 market?

    12 May 2015

    The Lomon-Henan Billions merger, which was confirmed last week, will not only make Henan Billions by far the largest TiO2 producer in China, but will also help the company become even more competitive in an industry where marrying quality with low cost is key to gaining market share.

  • Qingdao Customs takes out $17.7m rare earths smuggling operation

    11 May 2015

    Ending illegal mining and smuggling of rare earths has been a priority for the Chinese government in the sector since 2013. Operating at lower standards than corporate producers, the practice has been accused of causing significant environmental damage and has dented the profits of the industry by lowering prices.

  • IM Mineral Sands News in Brief: May 2015

    11 May 2015

    Strandline to focus on defining newly purchased Jacana Minerals resource; Production difficulties force Mineral Commodities Ltd to terminate marketing agreement with Wogen; Murray Zircon signs MoU with Image Resources for project development.

  • Tunisian phosphate production suspended in entirety

    11 May 2015

    CPG production, already low compared to 2011, has now halted completely. Without significant government reforms, it appears unlikely that Tunisia may once again be one of the world’s largest phosphate fertilisers exporters.

  • Highfield heaves Muga potash project forward with A$101 investment

    11 May 2015

    While the potash market is traditionally difficult for juniors to enter owing to the oligopolistic market structure, Highfield is making firm strides towards production at Muga. The company is closing in on a financing deal for 65% of its pre-production capex and expects full site construction to begin in Q4 this year.

  • FMC Corp. suffers currency effects but optimistic on 2015

    11 May 2015

    FMC Corp. found itself on the wrong side of the strengthened US dollar over Q1 2015. However, the business’ divestments and acquisitions from 2014 are expected to bolster its growth in the coming months, particularly as earnings from its acquired business Cheminova are amalgamated into the group’s total earnings.

  • Rare Earths News in Brief 5 – 11 May

    11 May 2015

    Ucore expands resource estimate in Alaska; Pele finds support from Canadian government tiers; Rare Earth Salts examines commercialisation opportunities.

  • Heraeus’ revenue falls in 2014 as quartz arm remains stable

    11 May 2015

    The technology group saw its sales income decline in 2014 as unfavourable exchange rates hit sections of its business. However, its quartz arm delivered a stable result due to strong demand from the telecommunications industry and the group predicts 2015 will bring steady year-on-year growth.

  • DuPont and Trian make last ditch pleas for shareholder support ahead of 13 May vote

    11 May 2015

    Global chemicals producer DuPont and one of its largest shareholders, Trian, have been campaigning to have their respective nominees voted onto the DuPont board as they both seek to push through rival strategies for the company’s future. Although DuPont’s shareholders have so far been supportive and loyal to existing management, with three proxy advisory firms recommending a board shake-up, it is uncertain which way the vote will go.

  • Maskom ups calcium carbonate consumption to supply new compound filler capacity

    11 May 2015

    Turkey's calcium carbonate reserves will supply Maskom's increased demand for the mineral.

  • Belarus signs five-year potash MoU with China

    11 May 2015

    After signing supply contracts before North American rival, Canpotex, the Belarusian Potash Co. has continued to work closely with Sinofert by signing this five-year document. Whether it indicates additional closeness to the detriment of North American suppliers is yet to be seen.

  • Canpotex agrees Indian potash contracts at $10/tonne increase

    08 May 2015

    The potash marketing firm for PotashCorp., Agrium and Mosaic has increased its prices to $332/tonne for its annual Indian contracts, another positive sign for the fertiliser industry, which has seen potash and phosphate prices stabilise over the first quarter of 2015.

  • Circum pushes forward with 4.2bn tonnes potash project

    08 May 2015

    The British Virgin Islands-based private company is focused on completing a DFS on its potash project in the Danakil Basin in Ethiopia, due to be completed by the second half of this year. As it pushes forward with its strategy, Circum claims that its project is expected to be the “world’s best and largest” undeveloped potash mineral deposit and it plans to target the Malaysian and Indonesian markets.

  • FLSmidth’s order intake falls in Q1 as mining capex expected to trough in 2015

    08 May 2015

    The technology supplier saw its order and order backlog decline y-o-y as the mining industry continues to be plagued by low prices and uncertainty, with minerals producers focusing on improving efficiencies rather than new investment. FLSmidth predicts 2015 will bring some growth, but this will be uneven and mining capex is not expected to increase.

  • UK General election conservative victory to bolster energy and construction sectors

    08 May 2015

    The markets have spoken, and the rally of the FTSE and the pound shows confidence in a UK Conservative government. Though many mineral companies operate outside the UK, meaning the impact on their businesses will be minimal, the win is expected to to have a positive effect on the energy and construction sectors and the minerals used to supply them.

  • Lanxess reaps rewards of realignment programme with stable y-o-y net sales

    08 May 2015

    For the first time in a few years, Lanxess has avoided a year-on-year drop in its net sales, thanks to its realignment programme. The Germany-based chemical company, which produces synthetic iron oxide, is in the second phase of its three step cost reduction programme.

  • Talent wars – how the mining sector must dig deep for the right candidates

    08 May 2015

    Offering bulging wage packets is no longer going to solve the mining industry's talent shortage, as there simply are not enough skilled people to go around. Mining sector companies will need to engage with their workforce and take responsibility for training if there are to be enough engineers for the next mining boom.

  • Price Briefing 1 – 7 May

    08 May 2015

    Weak steel market hits graphite but refractory grade olivine remains unscathed; antimony prices stabilise.

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 30 April – 7 May 2015

    07 May 2015

    Valence Industries seeks to raise $75m; Kibaran and Syrah receive environmental approvals; Zenyatta yields high purity graphite from Albany; Eagle starts 2015 exploration programme.

  • US bakery chain Panera drops TiO2 from food ingredients

    07 May 2015

    Panera Bread has published a list of more than 150 ingredients that it plans to ban from its food, including titanium dioxide (TiO2), alum and bentonite. The decision follows from the recent high profile dropping of TiO2 by Dunkin’ Donuts, another US company which succumbed to activist pressure for the removal of the mineral.

  • Orbite gets green light to patent red mud technology

    07 May 2015

    The rest of 2015 will be a busy one for the Canadian cleantech business as it gears up for commercial production of its HPA plant in Quebec in the third quarter of this year and develops its red mud process. The company says it has the potential to be a gamechanger in the bauxite and alumina industry by dealing with tailings in an environmentally sustainable manner.

  • Imerys to acquire Solvay’s €59m PCC business

    07 May 2015

    Industrial minerals giant Imerys is back on the acquisition trail, as it looks to extend its growth opportunities by expanding its calcium carbonates footprint with another major addition to its portfolio of investments.

  • USG and Boral open $37 JV gypsum plant with Omani partners

    07 May 2015

    Hoping to break into the construction market in the Gulf and the Indian subcontinent, both USG and Boral, US and Australian players, have established a JV gypsum board factory in Oman with a local partner, Zawawi Minerals. The facility has been designed to be able to double its capacity, should future demand exceed current expectations, and is in keeping with the Omani’s government strategy of commercialising natural resources.

  • Kronos net income increases with higher TiO2 sales and production volumes

    07 May 2015

    Despite lower average TiO2 selling prices y-o-y, Kronos managed to increase net income to $18.4m owing to a number of factors including higher sales and production volumes and lower production costs. 2015 income is expected at the same levels as 2014 however, with increased demand for the pigment and higher volumes likely to continue to be offset by lower prices.

  • Glencore protests show public pressure for mining best practices

    07 May 2015

    Glencore has joined Rio Tinto as the latest mining company to have a group of protesters present at its AGM. Companies are coming under increasing pressure to 'walk the walk' of their best practices, not just to 'talk the talk'.

  • Molycorp net losses widen as production ramp up continues

    07 May 2015

    Continued listing for Molycorp on the NYSE is looking increasingly unlikely, as the company’s net losses mount up. While it now has liabilities of $1.79bn, production and sales volumes continue to increase and the company’s creditors are sustaining both their industry caution and patience.

  • Albemarle income rises following Rockwood acquisition but bromine disappoints

    07 May 2015

    Albemarle has tightened and heightened its per-share earnings guidance for the year ahead. While profits for the business have risen, this is mainly due to extra lithium sales from Rockwood, which the company finished integrating earlier this year, as the bromine department continues to face substantial industry pressures.

  • Select Sands receives quarry permit for Sandtown frac sand project

    07 May 2015

    After complying with local regulatory procedures, Select Sands has been granted a quarry permit for its frac sand project. It now hopes to advance the project towards a feasibility study.

  • Tronox records $51m loss as TiO2 pigment market continues to decline

    07 May 2015

    The chemicals producer reported a net loss of $51m for Q1 2015 – a y-o-y improvement but a decline from the previous quarter as sales volumes and prices in pigments continued to decline. Although mineral sands feedstocks experienced a revival in demand, prices in this area also fell. However, Tronox hopes that its South African Fairbreeze mine, set to come online this year, and its acquisition of FMC’s soda ash business will help to drive revenues through a diverse portfolio.

  • Tor Minerals reports net loss as TiO2 revenue declines 39%

    07 May 2015

    The speciality alumina, barite, and TiO2 producer reported a loss of $190,000 in the first quarter of 2015 compared to a profit the previous year as revenue from its alumina business and particularly in TiO2 pigments fell. The situation was further compounded by negative currency fluctuations, leading the company to refocus investment on increasing capacity.

  • Great Lakes Calcium rebrands to reflect diversification into other industries

    07 May 2015

    For many years, Wisconsin-based Great Lakes Calcium has catered for other minerals besides calcium carbonate, so a change of name to GLC Minerals reflects this. The company's foray into the dairy industry is a purely logistical play, to put its transport assets to wider use.

  • Titanium dioxide drives Mombasa port volumes

    07 May 2015

    Dry bulk volumes handled by Kenyan port up on increased titanium dioxide production.

  • Hi-Crush Q1 2015 revenues up despite challenging market

    06 May 2015

    Houston-based frac sand producer Hi-Crush Partners LP saw first quarter revenues increase by 45% to $102m, compared to $71m the previous year. This is good news for the company, which has been faced with difficult market conditions following low energy prices.

  • Goodyear to use PPG silica additives to improve tyre efficiency

    06 May 2015

    According to the paints and coatings manufacturer, PPG’s chemically modified precipitated silica can replace traditional silica-silane to improve vehicle efficiency, a claim Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Co. will put to the test as it rolls out a new range of high performance tyres in various locations this year. Owing to growing demand from tyre manufacturers, PPG will need to expand its silica production in the Netherlands.

  • GrafTech enters into investment agreement with Brookfield

    06 May 2015

    Following negative Q1 2015 earnings, GrafTech has entered into an investment agreement with Brookfield, the proceeds of which will be used to repay GrafTech’s senior subordinated notes.

  • Emerge Energy's Q1 profit drops as frac sand prices fall sharply

    06 May 2015

    The silica sand producer saw revenue and income decline over the first quarter of 2015 as activity in the oil and gas industry remains subdued. Higher volumes sold during the period were not enough to offset dramatically reduced prices for frac sand and an underutilised rail fleet, forcing the company to take steps to reduce costs while demand for its products remains low.

  • Grafoid acquires advanced technology company MuAnalysis

    06 May 2015

    Having secured a C$8.1m grant to develop its trademark MesoGraf graphene process earlier this year, Grafoid has now announced its third advanced technology acquisition in 12 months. The company hopes this latest move will bring MesoGraf-based industrial materials and products one step closer to market.

  • IM Lithium News In Brief 1 – 6 May

    06 May 2015

    Li-ion battery manufacturers and distributors are continuing to partner up to pool their expertise, Boston Power and Darfon Electronics being an example this week, Electrovaya and Litarion another. Uncertainty still hangs over the future of Li-ion battery air transport, as aviation authorities find that fire from Li-ion batteries cannot be extinguished under existing systems.

  • Weir Group partners with Rolls Royce to develop efficient fracking technology

    06 May 2015

    Low oil and gas prices have forced cut backs on production and exploration, meaning that companies like Weir group, which supply technology to the oilfield market, have seen order intake fall. The development of more efficient fracking technology could help both oil and gas companies and technology providers to increase revenues.

  • Agrium Q1 2015 net earnings edge up to $14m

    06 May 2015

    The Calgary-headquartered fertiliser producer has seen a modest increase in its Q1 profits owing to a strong nitrogen performance. A late start to the spring application season in the US should make the second quarter performance more impressive, Agrium outlined, while higher potash and phosphate prices is likely to help push up revenues y-o-y.

  • Solvay posts 6.4% increase in sales as US dollar drives performance

    06 May 2015

    Like many other businesses operating in euros, Solvay has benefited from the European currency's depreciation against the US dollar. The group has seen a strong performance from its soda ash and derivatives segment and anticipates a growth of 2.5m tpa extra soda ash capacity in the market between 2017 and 2019.

  • WIOML 2015: India is not the next China

    05 May 2015

    Hope that India may take the place of China at the high-consumption commodities table is misplaced, delegates at WIOML were told. Substantial legislative challenges and new barriers to entry in manufacturing are unlikely to be solved quickly. As a result mineral pricing is not due a buoyant renaissance.

  • IM Rare Earths News in Brief 28 April – 4 May

    05 May 2015

    Ucore reaches 99.2% pure samarium and gadolinium separation; Ressources Geomega completes Montviel flowsheet; Cerium-doped magnets may displace dysprosium in high temperature applications.

  • Andhra Pradesh announces JV opportunity for beach mineral sands development

    05 May 2015

    The coastal Indian state is preparing to diversify and dig into its heavy mineral beach sand reserves to foster the growth of mineral-based and value added industries. It has identified a treasure-trove of commercially-viable materials such as ilmenite, rutile, monazite and garnet in its Srikakulam district, based in the north east of Andhra Pradesh.

  • AkzoNobel finalises €153m paper chemicals sale to Kemira

    05 May 2015

    The global chemicals company has completed the divestment of its paper chemicals division, enabling it to focus on other products to the paper industry. Q1 revenue for AkzoNobel’s pulp and performance chemicals business, which paper chemicals falls under, increased 6%, driven by positive currency effects and filler and colloidal silica products for the pulp sector.

  • Coretrack commences commissioning of fly ash proppant plant

    05 May 2015

    Despite the fact that low oil prices are reducing global demand for oilfield minerals, pioneering developer Coretrack remains on target to begin initial production of its fly ash-based proppants in Q2 2015. Once in production, the company hopes to lead the industry.

  • Saint Gobain reasserts interest in Sika merger

    05 May 2015

    After a period of silence, Saint Gobain has spoken. The French construction giant is still interested in acquiring 16.1% of Sika's shares despite having its voting rights limited to 5% by the Zurich court. The company received a vote of confidence from the Swiss market authority, FINMA, yesterday, supporting its choice to 'opt-out' of making its takeover offer to all Sika shareholders. Saint Gobain has taken FINMA's statement as confirmation that it is not abusing the spirit of the Swiss 'opt-out' clause.

  • WIOML 2015: Mining industry continues to be stalked by “myths and monsters”

    05 May 2015

    According to speakers at the World Initiative of Mining Lawyers held today in London, UK, the mining industry is holding on to a number of false assumptions that are hindering growth, particularly during a time of global slowdown in the sector. These include theories regarding manufacturing cost curves, government policies and financial assessment.

  • Lithium Americas and POSCO ready to form JV on lithium production

    05 May 2015

    Lithium Americas and POSCO are coming closer to commercialising lithium production from Argentina, providing the market with future supplies of lithium as the press becomes awash with news of lithium home batteries made from the material.

  • China confirms rare earth resource tax rates

    05 May 2015

    The Chinese government has outlined the formula for calculating new taxes on rare earths exports from China, which will replace resource compensation fees and remove provincial government authority, helping to ease some of the financial burden faced by rare earths producers in the country. The new regulations have been welcomed as fair, and could potentially help to push up export prices.

  • Moody’s report: Surviving the oil price downturn

    05 May 2015

    The initial oil price fall in June last year was expected to be relatively short lived, with oil and gas producers intending to weather the storm. However, with the downturn lasting longer than anticipated and operators reducing the number of active wells, US frac sand producers need to rapidly adapt to the situation in order to survive.

  • Borates barriers: European regulations stifle supply

    05 May 2015

    Eti Maden, the world’s largest producer of borates, has told IM that the struggle to overcome legislation and trade barriers in Europe is still a very real issue for critical raw materials suppliers.

  • Nabaltec AG reports strong FY 2014 results

    01 May 2015

    The latest set of results from Nabaltec show that it has reaped rewards from the development of new products in the fillers and flame retardants field. The company also says that it expects its boehmite and carbonate aluminium hydroxide range to grow this year.

  • Weak industrial demand pulls flake graphite prices down to new lows

    01 May 2015

    Graphite Price Review: Flake graphite prices have dropped on an average by 16% since January 2015, as weak demand compounded by currency devaluations stifled price development.

  • Indian Potash contract with Uralkali sees prices jump $10/tonne

    01 May 2015

    The increase in potash prices agreed in the contract is slightly less than the increase in prices seen for China from other companies, though logistics may play a role in the smaller increase. Without a change in tonnage on the rolling year-long contract, it appears unlikely that significant fertiliser subsidy reform in India is on the horizon.

  • Refractory grade olivine prices steady despite end-market softness

    01 May 2015

    Producers say they do not expect any sharp fluctuations in demand in 2015.

  • Glass Lewis backs Trian’s Peltz in another blow to DuPont

    01 May 2015

    As the battle over votes continues between Trian and DuPont, advisory firm Glass Lewis has recommended shareholders vote in CEO Nelson Peltz to DuPont’s board, hot on the heels of a similar ISS recommendation earlier this week. As the May deadline for voting approaches, DuPont may have to concede that a board shake-up might be in its best interests.

  • IM Agriminerals News in Brief 27 April – 1 May 2015

    01 May 2015

    Celamin dispute with TMS rumbles on; Karnalyte also embroiled in quarrel with former CEO and major shareholder; Minemakers to purchase phosphate property in Senegal.

  • Acidspar prices touch pre-boom levels

    01 May 2015

    Fluorspar Price Review: Q1 2015 price trend analysis for acidspar shows slump to two-and-a-half year lows; prices down 45% since 2012.

  • Price Briefing 24 – 30 April

    01 May 2015

    Graphite prices come down; fluorspar remains stable while TiO2 market is confirmed as weak.

  • Euroports signs 10 year fly ash handling deal

    01 May 2015

    Logistics is key in bringing industrial minerals such as fly ash to market, and long-term agreements help ensure the security of the supply chain.

  • Tesla diversifies Li-ion battery production into home ESS

    01 May 2015

    Entering the home battery market will introduce competition in the li-ion battery storage sector, driving down the cost of producing the technology and potentially expanding demand for battery grade lithium and graphite.