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Posts Tagged ‘Tanzania’

African Barrick Says 7 Killed in Mine Invasion

May 23, 2011 2 comments

“U.K.-listed African Barrick Gold said seven people were killed and twelve injured after hundreds of people invaded one if its mines in Northern Tanzania in an attempt to steal gold. African Barrick Gold said the local Tanzanian police were called Monday to protect its North Mara mine from around 800 intruders who entered the site illegally with machetes, rocks and hammers in an attempt to steal ore from the site.

‘A number of intruders sustained gunshot wounds, resulting in seven intruder deaths and 12 injuries,’ the company said. ‘African Barrick Gold sincerely regrets any loss of life or injury on or near its mine site. The company will continue to support the government and the community in their efforts to improve law and order and security in the North Mara region,’ it added.

The gold miner said there was no material impact to operations or production at North Mara. It noted that additional police have been deployed around the area and both the police and the company have started their own separate investigations into the incident.”

Source: Wall Street Journal, May 17 2011

Observations:

  • African Barrick Gold, put on the stock exchange by majority shareholder Barrick Gold in 2010, operates 4 gold mines in Tanzania. The company achieved approx. $1.0bln revenue in 2010 and had net income of $218mln in the same year.
  • North Mara mine is an open pit operation consisting of 4 pits; feasibility study is done to take the mine underground, which would make protection of operations easier. In 2009 the North Mara mine came in the news with a toxic sludge spill.

Implications:

  • The incident in Tanzania draws the attention to the safety risk related with the increasing activity of western mining companies in developing countries. Focus is normally on the political risk of operations in these environments, but especially for producers of precious metals and gemstones the risk of theft should be considered.
  • Though all major mining companies work hard on community development programs around the mine sites, these programs certainly do not serve as fire-proof protection against unrest. Most corporate social responsibility programs are set up for good purposes, but do not target the underlying causes of unrest in the region or of unrest versus the mine.

©2011 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com

Russia’s ARMZ Buys Mantra for $1.15 Billion

December 16, 2010 Comments off

“Russia’s ARMZ Uranium Holding Co. agreed to acquire Australia’s Mantra Resources Ltd. for about 1.16 billion Australian dollars (US$1.15 billion) in its ongoing bid to acquire low-cost sources of uranium for its parent company, State Atomic Energy Corp., Russia’s largest utility.

At the same time, ARMZ entered an option agreement to flip Mantra to Vancouver-based Uranium One Inc., for the same price it paid. ARMZ agreed to acquire a 51% stake in Uranium One earlier this year, establishing Uranium One as ARMZ’s platform to acquire additional uranium sources for State Atomic Energy. “

Source: Wall Street Journal, December 15 2010

Observations:

  • Canadian miner Uranium One is controlled by ARMZ, which in turn is controlled by State Atomic Energy (or Rosatom), the Russian utility that controls 17% of the world’s nuclear fuel production.
  • Uranium One operates 3 mines in Kazakhstan, with an additional development project in the country, and various exploration projects and an In Situ Leach mine in the United States.

Implications:

  • Rosatom is attempting to secure access to uranium ore as global demand is expected to increase strongly over the next decade. The company is smartly using Uranium One, with its proven mining and processing experience, as a vehicle to produce.
  • Depending on the success of international climate change conventions and the approach to small-scale nuclear energy in these conventions the exploration of uranium deposits might experience a surge. However, as uranium deposits typically have a very different geological composition than gold deposits it will not be easy for the many small gold exploration companies to switch to uranium.

©2010 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com