Posts Tagged ‘open pit’

ICMM: Trends in the Industry

October 21, 2012 Comments off

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) published 2 new reports this week:

Trends in the Mining and Metals Industry

This 16-summary of where the industry is coming from and where it is going mainly gives an interesting perspective on geographic developments in the mining industry. The report shows how center of mining activity has shifted from Europe, via the US, to the BRIC countries and new frontiers. At the same time the report illustrates how a large part of processing capacity still is located in the developed world, though China’s processing surge is instrumental in changing this situation.

The report in summary:

  • Center of mining is shifting to new frontiers, including BRIC countries;
  • Iron ore, gold, and copper continue to account for roughly two-thirds of value of global mined metals;
  • Large companies are responsible for an increasing share of global production;
  • With lower average ore grades, bulk open-pit mining is more and more the mining method of choice;
  • Human resource challenges are becoming restrictive;
  • China-led nationalized mining is leading to a global increased in state participation in mining companies.

The role of mining in National Economies

This report presents a Mineral Contribution Index (MCI), ranking countries’ dependency on the mineral industry. The index includes:

  • The percentage contribution of the mineral industry to export value;
  • The change in this contribution over a 5 year period;
  • The mineral production value as percentage of GDP.

The top 25 countries according to the ranking with their respective scores are displayed below.

Xstrata continues mine studies in Philippines

June 11, 2010 1 comment

“A unit of Xstrata said on Friday it will proceed with public discussions and technical studies on its $5.2 billion copper-gold project in southern Philippines despite a looming local ban on the venture.

State agency Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said it may question the ban with the courts as a last resort, adding the measure could hinder investment in the mining sector.

Manila has ambitious plans to develop the mining sector from a moribund state by attracting billions of dollars of foreign investment.

The Tampakan mine, considered Southeast Asia’s largest undeveloped copper-gold prospect, was opposed by local residents who feared the open pit mining method to be used by Xstrata’s Philippine affiliate Sagittarius Mines Inc would pollute a major river irrigating farms. Mine production is set to start in 2016.”

Source: Reuters, June 11 2010


  • Feasibility studies indicated the Tampakan deposit could sustain an annual average copper production of 340,000 tonnes per annum and 350,000 ounces per annum of gold, based on a 20 year operation (source:
  • Local government at Tampakan has banned open pit mining at the Tampakan deposit. Fears are that the large scale mining operation will pollute the local river on which water many farmers are dependent.


  • Local government might be overruled by national government. However, Xstrata will need to prove to the locals that the open pit mining operation will not lead to pollution of the river in order to change public opinion.
  • Proving impact of mining on groundwater and river and influencing this impact is typically very difficult, as groundwater aquifers are very hard to map.
  • Underground mining, which is favoured by the local government, reduces the need for lowering the groundwater level, but pollution risk from processing and waste/tailings is the same as with open pit mining.

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