Engineering & Mining Journal

APR 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 29 of 91

REGIONAL NEWS - ASIA 28 E&MJ • APRIL 2018 Earthquakes Ravage PNG Highlands Papua New Guinea (PNG) faces a long road to recovery after a series of earth- quakes and aftershocks struck the moun- tainous region already reeling from a 7.5-quake on February 26. Australia and New Zealand sent helicopters and planes to help deliver aid to the remote region, which has been isolated by landslides. The initial earthquake forced Exxon- Mobil to shut down all of its gas facilities in the country, which it expected would be down for around eight weeks while it car- ried out inspections and repairs. Exxon's PNG LNG plant exports more than 8 mil- lion metric tons (mt) of liquefied natural gas per year. The company said its facilities in the highlands, where it produces and processes gas, and the 700-km pipeline to the coast withstood the earthquake. Ok Tedi Mining reported that a landslide occurred on a section of the Tabubil mine road in the Western Province. Employees who worked the night shift at the mine were relocated safely, with all employees accounted for. Water and concentrate pipe- lines were damaged. Maintenance work would begin once road access was restored and pipe could be transported to the lo- cation. Managing Director and CEO Peter Graham said no damages have been re- ported at the mill and mine or in Tabubil Township, however, the nearby Bultem village lost power and options for restoring power to the village were being evaluated. OK Tedi Mining also delivered two water catchment tanks and a community hall to Tupensomi village located an hour by speedboat upstream of Kiunga in the North Fly District of Western Province. OTML Deputy CEO and General Manager of External Relations Musje Werror offi- cially opened the project on March 12 in the presence of jubilant Tupensomi villagers and villagers from neighboring Drimgas village. Plenty of Asia Upside as Commodity Downturn Eases A resurgence in international precious, base and battery metals exploration and development investment activity has giv- en a leading international mining con- sulting firm good reasons to celebrate the five-year anniversary of its Hong Kong of- fice. SRK Consulting's Hong Kong general manager and principal geologist, Dr. Gavin Chan, said the global firm is increasing- ly optimistic about prospects in the re- gion as the mining industry continues to emerge from a protracted downturn. As China's $12 trillion economy ma- tures and spurs new demand for a wide range of commodities, the global mining industry is seeing renewed investment, and stronger pricing signals. Chan said new exploration and development oppor- tunities are emerging in China and other Asian countries. "Hong Kong was chosen to service both the Chinese and international fi- nance sectors, Hong Kong-listed compa- nies and state-owned enterprises," Chan reflected on the opening of SRK's seventh office in Asia, and 50 th globally. "With Hong Kong regarded as the first stop for Chinese outbound capital and a spring- board to world markets, it is one of the world's leading financial hubs. "The first five years haven't been all smooth sailing as major corrections of commodity prices resulted in a sharp decline of fundraising activities through equity and debt markets, and less mining activity in recent years." Chan said SRK Hong Kong is seeing increased activity around technical due diligence, public reporting for capital raisings, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and initial public offerings (IPOs). "We are seeing requests for these ser- vices in a number of countries across a range of commodities, including gold, copper, iron ore and coal, as well as bat- tery minerals," he said. While gold remains the dominant com- modity, there is also activity in the battery minerals space, including lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite. Recent work includes a resource es- timation and valuation of a gold project located in northwest China; sampling support and resource estimation of a lead- zinc project in inner Mongolia, and a poly- metallic (mainly tin and tungsten) also in Mongolia; and a resource estimation of a lithium hard rock project (lepidolite) in China. The company has also been in- volved with an underground gold feasibility study in Indonesia, as well as several lithi- um review projects for Chinese clients. India Consider Lithium From Argentina A senior Argentinian official recently visited New Delhi and held a series of meetings with Indian officials from minis- tries of commerce, mining and industries where India proposed a rapid setup of lithium-ion batteries in the country. He impressed that opening Argenti- na's vast lithium reserves to India would be a "win-win" proposition for both coun - ties, such as a collaboration in sourcing of the minerals for an Indian electric vehi- cle (EV) battery manufacturing plant that would give Argentina the option of jointly accessing and developing next generation Lithium-ion battery technologies. India's apex government policy adviso- ry body, NITI Aayog (National Institute for Transformation of India Commission) while laying down the roadmap of India achiev- ing 100% EV mobility across the country by 2030, in a report said, "India would need to forge international partnerships and joint ventures to secure access to key materials." The Indian lithium requirement to meet the projected demand for EV batteries by 2030 as estimated by the advisory body would be 60,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) and though this would be just 0.7% of total global reserves, there could be raw material shortages in the short term. India has nil reserves of this critical mineral in- put for EV battery manufacturing. OTML Deputy CEO Musje Werror turns the spigot that will supply fresh water to villagers isolated by recent earthquakes in PNG.

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