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Metals

  • Mick Davis has now almost $5 billion to build new mining empire

    A few pounds less and some billions more, "Mick the Miner," is ready to go on a buying spree.After losing out in the Glencore (LON:GLEN) takeover last year, former Xstrata chief executive Mick Davis has been staging a comeback and by now he’s got $4.8 billion from investors to spend doing what he likes the most: buying assets to eventually turn his X2 Resources into a midsize metal and mining group."With almost $5bn in equity and access to significant additional debt funding, X2 Resources is uniquely positioned and we are currently reviewing a number of opportunities in the metals and…

  • Can Gold Come Back From The Brink?

    After tripling in value between 2000 and 2011, commodity prices continue to crumble. Commodity indices have lost about a quarter of their value, a decline that quickened over the summer, when gold, oil, coal, corn, soy, and grain all hit multi-year lows. Much of the slide can be attributed to the slowing global economy. Most notably, decelerating growth in China has slashed demand for all types of commodities. Also, enormous capacity that was planned during the boom years has come online, increasing global supplies. The combined effect has brought about the end of the commodity “supercycle,” according to several major…

  • Mining Sector To Experience Major Investment Over Coming Months

    Countercyclical investors sitting on $8 billion unspent funds have been waiting for clear signs of a market bottom. The wait may well be over.The mining M&A market is not exactly in robust health at the moment.Mining and metals deal values during the first half of this year tanked 69% to $16.7 billion, deal volumes are down 34% and nearly 9 out of every ten agreements were valued at less than $50m according to the latest Ernst & Young market barometer.One reason for the slackness, the consulting firm notes, is that "the much anticipated influx of substantial capital from new mining-focused…

  • This Critical Uranium Shutdown is Going Ahead

    A brief news item yesterday may be one of the most important happenings in commodities for years.The coming shutdown of one of the largest uranium mines on the planet.I noted a few weeks back that workers at Cameco's McArthur River uranium mine in northern Canada were contemplating labour action. And yesterday that threat came to fruition--with the major uranium company announcing that mineworkers' unions have authorized a full strike.It appears this action is going to bring McArthur River to a complete standstill. With Cameco saying it is now initiating shutdown activities at the mine, and the associated Key Lake uranium…

  • These Miners Are Seeking Over $1.3 Billion in Acquisitions

    There's been a lot of press lately about a possible slowdown in the economy of China. And speculation over the effects that such a happening might have on the commodities sector.But two separate news items last week suggest Chinese mining companies are still cash-rich. And on the hunt for acquisitions.In the gold space, for example. Where China's largest gold miner, Zijin Mining, said it is looking to buy up to $1.3 billion worth of assets this year alone.Zijin officials told Bloomberg that the firm is primarily targeting gold projects in Africa. Noting that they are looking for projects with more…

  • How to Play the Uranium Price Rebound

    When it comes to uranium market sentiment, "it's all about Japan," says David Talbot, senior mining analyst at Dundee Capital Markets. With restart applications trickling in and reactor construction underway throughout the world, a turnaround looks less like an "if" and more like a "when." In the meantime, Talbot sees many investors sitting on the sidelines. In this interview with The Energy Report, Talbot discusses the catalysts that could trigger the next uranium boom and the companies that could make investors wish they had arrived at the party a little earlier.The Energy Report: In your last interview with The Energy…

  • Doomsday: Will Peak Phosphate Get us Before Global Warming?

    Although climate change catches the headlines, it is not the only doomsday scenario out there. A smaller but no less fervent band of worriers think that peak phosphate—a catastrophic decline in output of an essential fertilizer—will get us first.One of the worriers is Jeremy Grantham of the global investment management firm GMO. Grantham foresees a coming crash of the earth’s population from a projected 10 billion to no more than 1.5 billion. He thinks the rest of humanity will starve to death because we are running out of phosphate fertilizer.  This post on Business Insider from late last year provides…

  • China Continues to Reduce Rare Earth Production as Prices Fall

    Chicken or egg, which came first?The same question could be asked of the rare earth metals market.Rare earth metal prices have been falling steadily for the last couple of years, in spite of China reducing export volumes. Usually a reduction of supply results in a rise in prices, but the falls are indicative of the size of the REE bubble that had formed around the turn of the decade.Chuin-Weip noted in the WSJ last week that Chinese exports had plummeted 71% in 2012 from 2011; however, this year has seen a remarkable change – exports have been picking up, with…

  • Foreign Mining Companies Flee China

    In the 1990s, China opened up the country’s vast mineral resources to international investment.Over the past decade, it has reformulated its mining legislation to attract foreign companies into the Chinese mining sector with the hope of speeding up its modernization.Between 2001 and 2004 the number of foreign mining projects quickly increased from 150 to 279.But by 2010, this number had declined to 92. International firms continue to feel stymied by an inconsistent and convoluted mining policy and their inability to create relationships of trust with local mining stakeholders.Foreign investors’ hopes of being successful in the Chinese land of opportunity have…

  • Japan Signs Rare Earth Deal with India

    Japan has sealed its new “friendship” in the world of rare earths by formally signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India for imports of rare earth (REE) minerals annually.The agreement signed last Friday will allow Japan to import about 4,100 tons of rare earths per year from India, probably from next spring. Once upon a time, Japan used to rely almost 100% on China for its supply of rare earth minerals, a crucial component in mobile phones, hybrid cars and missile guidance systems.The imports from India will take care of about 10 percent of Japan’s peak annual demand. A…