A persistent fear of diminishing phosphorus reserves has pushed mining companies to search far and wide for new sources. Companies identified phosphate deposits on the ocean floor and are fighting for mining rights around the world.

Countries in southern Africa have the potential to set an international precedent by allowing the first offshore mining operations. South Africa specifically is one of the first countries on the continent to begin legislating its marine economy to promote sustainable development, and questions surround mining’s place in this new economy.

While the fishing and coastal tourism industries account for slightly more than 1.4 billion dollars of GDP, the potential economic benefits from marine mining remain unclear.

From April 2007 to August 2008, the price of phosphate, a necessary ingredient in fertilizer, increased nearly 950 percent, in part due to the idea that phosphate production had peaked and would begin diminishing. Before prices came back down, prospectors had already begun looking for deep sea phosphate reserves around the world.

Since then, the fledgling seabed phosphate industry has found minimal success. While several operations are proposed in the Pacific islands, New Zealand and Mexico rejected attempts at offshore phosphate mining in their territory.

This means southern African reserves – created in part by currents carrying phosphate-rich water from Antarctica – are the new center of debate.

Namibia owns identified seabed phosphate deposits, and the country has recently flip-flopped about whether to allow mining. A moratorium was in place since 2013, but in September the environmental minister made the controversial decision to grant the necessary licenses. Since then, public outcry forced him to set those aside.

Most attempts at seabed phosphate mining have sputtered in the face of moratoriums and other roadblocks. Graphic courtesy of Centre for Environmental Rights.

The former general project manager of Namibian Marine Phosphate (Pty) Ltd, a company that applied to mine in Namibia, told IPS that environmental groups and fisheries proved to be a loud and organised opposition. He predicted the debate in South Africa would be just as difficult for mining companies to win with no precedent for such mining.

Adnan Awad, director of the non-profit International Ocean Institute’s African region, said, “There is generally this anticipation that South African processes for mining and for the policy around some of these activities are setting a bit of a precedent and a bit of a model for how it can be pursued in other areas.”

Three companies, Green Flash Trading 251 (Pty) Ltd, Green Flash 257 (Pty) Ltd and Diamond Fields International Ltd., hold prospecting rights covering about 150,000 square kilometers, roughly 10 percent, of the country’s marine exclusive economic zone.

Diamond Fields International’s prospecting right along 47,468 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean shares space with areas of oil exploration and production. Source: Diamond Fields International Ltd. background information document Diamond Fields International’s prospecting right along 47,468 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean shares space with areas of oil exploration and production. Source: Diamond Fields International Ltd. background information document. The law firm Steyn Kinnear Inc. represents both Green Flash 251 and Green Flash 257. “Currently it does not seem as if there is going to be any progress, and there is definitely not going to be any mining right application,” Wynand Venter, an attorney at the firm, said, calling the project “uneconomical.”

Venter said the Green Flash companies received drill samples, which showed current prices could not sustain seabed phosphate mining.

This leaves Diamond Fields as the only remaining player in South African waters. The company announced in a January 2014 press release that it received a 47,468 square kilometer prospecting right to search for phosphate.

According to information the company published summarising its environmental management plan, prospecting would use seismic testing to determine the benthic, or seafloor, geology. If mining commenced, it would take place on the seafloor between 180 and 500 meters below the surface.

“A vital and indisputable link exists between phosphate rock and world food supply,” the company stated, citing dwindling phosphate reserves.

Diamond Fields did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Environmentalists argue that not only would phosphate mining destroy marine ecosystems, but it would also lead to continued overuse of fertilizers and associated pollution. They call for increased research into phosphate recapture technology instead of mining.

“We could actually be solving the problem of too much phosphates in our water and recapturing it. Instead we’re going to destroy our ocean ecosystems,” John Duncan of WWF-SA said.

The act of offshore mining requires a vessel called a trailing suction hopper dredger, which takes up seafloor sediment and sends waste back into the water column.

A southern right whale swims off the coast of the Western Cape province near Hermanus, a town renowned for its whale watching. South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources granted three prospecting rights covering about 150,000 square kilometers, or 10 percent, of the country’s exclusive economic zone. Credit: Mark Olalde/IPS. A southern right whale swims off the coast of the Western Cape province near Hermanus, a town renowned for its whale watching. South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources granted three prospecting rights covering about 150,000 square kilometers, or 10 percent, of the country’s exclusive economic zone. Credit: Mark Olalde/IPS

“It amounts to a kind of bulldozer that operates on the seabed and excavates sediment down to a depth of two or three meters. Where it operates, it’s like opencast mining on land. It removes the entire substrate. That substrate become unavailable to fisheries for many years, if not forever,” Johann Augustyn, secretary of the South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association, said.

In addition to direct habitat destruction, environmentalists argue the plume of sediment released into the ocean could spread out to smother additional areas and harm wildlife.

Mining opponents also worry offshore mining would negatively impact food production and economic growth.

Several thousand subsistence farmers live along South Africa’s coast, and the country’s large-scale fishing industry produces around 600,000 metric tonnes of catch per year.


Two federal agencies have approved a 2.4-mile-long open pit phosphate mine proposed by a Canadian company in southeastern Idaho.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service late last week issued separate decisions approving the plan by Calgary-based Agrium Inc.

The BLM manages the area where the mining will occur, while the Forest Service manages land that will receive waste materials.

Agrium turns phosphate ore into fertilizer needed by farmers to grow food. Phosphate mining is a major business in southeastern Idaho, and BLM officials said the new mine will preserve 1,700 jobs and generate about $85 million per year for the local economy in Caribou County.

The expected life of the new Rasmussen Valley Mine is just under eight years, and the project follows a pattern where companies move to a new area once an old area is mined out. Mining has taken place in the area since the early 20th century.

The area contains one the nation’s most abundant deposits of phosphate, and agribusinesses Simplot and Monsanto also have mines in the area. But the area also contains 17 Environmental Protection Agency superfund sites because of pollution from past phosphate mining.

Federal officials said the latest mine has requirements to avoid those problems.
“The water quality issue is the No. 1 issue that we deal with when it comes to determining impacts with mines that are being permitted now,” said Bill Volt, environmental planning coordinator with the BLM.

Virginia Gillerman, an associate research geologist with the Idaho Geological Survey, said the area is rich in phosphate because it was once an 116,000-square-mile inland sea where organic material from fish, plants and small animals was deposited over a 5-million-year span about 265 million years ago.

Geologic activity caused faulting and folding in the sedimentary rock that once formed the seabed that’s now part of Idaho and three neighboring states. In Idaho, the activity pushed the phosphate closer to the surface, making it economical to mine, Gillerman said.

Volk said Agrium has struck a deal with Monsanto to take waste rock from the new mine and dispose of it in a pit at a nearby Monsanto mine now going through the reclamation process.

The material will be covered, Volk said, to prevent water from reaching it that could cause selenium to leach out into streams or be absorbed by plants. Selenium is needed for life but is toxic in large quantities.

Volk said the selenium problem first became apparent in the 1990s when hundreds of sheep and horses died after eating plants over mine waste material that had absorbed selenium from that material. The realization of what caused the deaths led to the superfund sites.

Additionally, water running through the waste rock has caused increased selenium in streams that can harm aquatic organisms.

Earthworks, an environmental group, earlier this month released information from tests it did on trout in streams below Simplot’s Smoky Canyon Mine. The group said the fish in Sage Creek and Crow Creek had selenium levels up to four times the levels the EPA says can cause defects and reproductive failure in fish.

“It’s been eight years since the (Smoky Canyon) mine expansion was approved, yet there’s still no proven cover system to prevent future water pollution,” Bonnie Gestring of Earthworks said in a statement.


Arianne Phosphate , a development-stage phosphate mining company, advancing the Lac à Paul project in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, is pleased to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) agreement with ABB Inc. to provide engineering, procurement and support services for integrated electrification and automated mining solutions.

“Over the last few months, Arianne has been working closely with potential suppliers for key aspects of the project to provide the necessary technical, engineering, procurement and construction services required in developing the Lac à Paul project,” said Jean-Sebastien David, Arianne’s COO. “By choosing to work directly with the various service providers on specific aspects of the project, it allows us to retain full control over the course and cost of development and, have our selected partners help us to continue to optimize the functionality and economics of our project. The agreement with ABB fits directly into this plan as they are a global leader in power and automation technologies for the mining industry.”

Aside from scope of work and scheduling, this agreement also looks to address the financial necessities of funding this major work package. As part of this agreement, ABB has committed to assist Arianne with possible financing strategies and has already introduced the Lac à Paul project to the Swiss Export Credit Agency (“ECA”) SERV. “The work involved in this contract represents a significant portion of our projected CapEx,” said Brian Ostroff, CEO of Arianne Phosphate. “We have said that our partners must have both the technical capabilities and financial network to assist in our development. In ABB we have found that partner. Already world-renowned as a global leader in electrical design and products, ABB has also been very helpful in looking for workable financial solutions.”

“After many months of hard work and collaboration, ABB is excited to have partnered with Arianne on the Lac à Paul project,” said Mr. Remy Lanoue, vice-president Industrial Automation North America at ABB. “We believe that Arianne’s choice of ABB is recognition of our strong capabilities in process control systems and production management software. As a leading supplier of electrification and automation systems to the global mining industry, we believe our involvement in this project is important and we are looking forward to using our considerable expertise to get Lac à Paul delivered on time and on budget.”

About ABB
ABB is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 132,000 employees. www.abb.com


About Arianne Phosphate
Arianne Phosphate (“Arianne Phosphate Inc.”) (www.arianne-inc.com) is developing the Lac à Paul phosphate deposits located approximately 200 km north of the Saguenay/Lac St. Jean area of Quebec, Canada. These deposits will produce a high quality igneous apatite concentrate grading 39% P2O5 with little or no contaminants. The Company has 97,648,080 million shares outstanding.

Source: Jean-Sébastien David, C.O.O.
Tel. : 418-549-7316
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Info: Brian Ostroff, C.E.O.
Tel. : 514-908-4202
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Medias: Joëlle Brodie
Tel. : 418-549-7316
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A definitive agreement with BHP and Samarco remains subject to a successful commercial negotiation Vale informs that it agreed with BHP Billiton Brasil Ltda. and Samarco Mineração a non-binding term sheet outlining the general terms and conditions for the use of Vale’s Timbopeba pit by Samarco to deposit its tailings, should Samarco restart.

Vale would transfer the Timbopeba pit to Samarco and, as compensation, Samarco would supply to Vale an amount of non-processed ore (Run-of-Mine – ROM) for a certain period.

A definitive agreement remains subject to a successful commercial negotiation, due diligence and relevant government approvals. These processes are likely to occur during 2017.

After obtaining the required environmental licenses, Samarco is expected to temporarily deposit its tailings in its own pit, Alegria Sul, for a period of 2 to 3 years of operations. The use of the Timbopeba pit may allow Samarco to operate for up several years without new tailings structure.

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Mônica Ferreira

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Rio de Janeiro
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France's Eramet announced a preliminary agreement with Chinese steelmaker Tsingshan Group to revive a nickel mining project in Indonesia that Eramet had frozen during a downturn in nickel markets.

According to a memorandum of understanding signed by the two groups, Tsingshan would become the controlling partner by acquiring 57 percent of Strand Minerals Pte Ltd., the entity currently wholly owned by Eramet and which in turn owns 90 percent of the Weda Bay project.

The initial agreement also called for the project to target an annual capacity of 30,000 tonnes of nickel ferroalloy, refined from ore mined at Weda Bay.Eramet, which unveiled the partnership in its 2016 results statement on Thursday, did not give any details on the expected timetable or investments for the project.

The French group had put the Weda Bay development on hold three years ago, citing low prices for the stainless steel ingredient and uncertainty over tax and ownership rules in Indonesia.

The Indonesian government has since banned exports of unrefined nickel ore, which along with recent environmental restrictions on mines in the Philippines have helped curb supply to China and supported a recovery in nickel prices.

The downturn in nickel prices left most of the industry operating at a loss in the past two years, including Eramet's New Caledonian unit SLN which benefited from a rescue plan last year including a 200 million euro loan from the French government.

Eramet said cost savings and improving prices, particularly in manganese, which is chiefly used in carbon steel, helped it swing to an operating profit in 2016, although it posted another full-year net loss.

It raised its target for group savings over 2014-2017 to 400 million euros from 360 million previously, and said it would announce in July new cost reduction targets for SLN for 2018-2020, in addition to a current plan to cut nickel costs by 25 percent by end-2017 compared with the 2015 level.

Eramet also announced that Chairman and Chief Executive Patrick Buffet would step down in May after 10 years leading the firm.
The firm has nominated Christel Bories, a former CEO of aluminium products group Constellium (CSTM.N), to succeed Buffet and has named her deputy CEO with immediate effect.

Global refined nickel consumption was 1,891 thousand tonnes in 2015, increase of 1% over 2014. The marginal increase was mainly due to weak economic activity in China that resulted in slower investment growth in the infrastructure and residential sectors. Although Chinese nickel consumption increased by 3% to 980,000t in 2015, the growth rate was well below the CAGR of 20.4% reported during 2001–2014.
Global nickel consumption is expected to grow by 1.7% to reach 1,923.8 thousand tonnes in 2016. Growth is supported by rise in population and urbanization in emerging economies such as China and India, which are expected to invest heavily in upgrading infrastructure. This will support increased nickel consumption as more stainless steel is required to modernize infrastructure and industrial buildings, and alloys are used in specialist engineering, machinery and energy generation. Over the forecast period, nickel consumption is projected to grow at a CAGR of 1.3% to reach 2,023.4 thousand tonnes in 2020.

About this report

GlobalData’s “Global Nickel Mining to 2020” report covers comprehensive information on global nickel mining industry, global reserves of nickel by country, global reserves by major operating mines and grade, the historical and forecast data on global nickel production and prices. The report also includes factors affecting demand for nickel, profiles of major nickel producing companies in the world and region-wise information on the active, exploration and development nickel projects.

Global refined nickel consumption was 1,891 thousand tonnes in 2015, increase of 1% over 2014. The marginal increase was mainly due to weak economic activity in China that resulted in slower investment growth in the infrastructure and residential sectors. Although Chinese nickel consumption increased by 3% to 980,000t in 2015, the growth rate was well below the CAGR of 20.4% reported during 2001–2014.

CNM, a subsidiary of Consolidated Mining and Investments, is planning to restart the 4 500 t/y brownfield Munali nickel mine, 70 km south of Lusaka, where operations were stopped in November 2011, owing to low nickel prices and poor operational performance by its previous owners.

CNM CEO Simon Purkiss said that while the decision to compete in the Investment Battlefield was rather last minute, the results have been “fantastic”.

“Presenting, and then winning, has meant that there was a lot of discussion about the company and the project following the results, which has continued since the Mining Indaba.

“The message we were presenting was that we were raising the funds to restart the mine and so the exposure came at just the right time. The feedback from the judges, not only to us but to the audience on the merits of the project, was very well received."

Sula Iron & Gold, meanwhile, is an Aim-listed company focused on the exploration for gold, iron-ore and coltan in Sierra Leone. 
The Mining Indaba introduced the Investment Battlefield platform to support Africa’s new generation of emerging miners, giving 16 junior mining companies the opportunity to pitch their projects to a panel of expert investors, competing for prizes that will support the development of new projects.

“Identifying the best junior mining companies for investors and supporting the development of new projects is at the core of Mining Indaba, and will be a growing part of the Mining Indaba in the future,” said Mining Indaba MD Alex Grose.

Total prizes, valued at more than £15 000 include free attendance passes, an exhibition stand and hotel accommodation for the 2018 Investing in African Mining Indaba.

Ryan, a leading global tax services firm with the largest indirect and property tax practices in North America, today announced that it has acquired the key assets of Nickel & Company, a full-service real estate and personal property tax firm based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The acquisition strengthens the market leadership position of Ryan's Commercial Property Tax practice in Oklahoma and adds a team of seasoned property tax professionals to the largest property tax group in North America. The acquisition also adds a number of Fortune 1000 clients to Ryan's premier client portfolio. Dennis Nickel, owner of Nickel & Company, will work with Ryan to seamlessly transition the Firm's national clients.

"We are excited to grow our network of property tax experts in Oklahoma through the acquisition of Nickel & Company and its specialty landlord billing work, which will play an important role in our ability to offer a more comprehensive suite of value-added services to our property tax clients," said Shane Moncrief, Ryan Principal and Commercial Property Tax Practice Leader.

"Nickel & Company clients will benefit from Ryan's robust national footprint and property tax expertise across North America."

"My associates and I are excited to be joining forces with Ryan to provide world-class property tax services to our long-standing clients," said Dennis Nickel, owner of Nickel & Company. "Ryan is the industry leader in client service, and our clients will see tremendous benefits from their expansive geographic presence backed by their unwavering commitment to client service excellence."

"This acquisition supports our strategic growth plan to maintain and build on our market leadership position as the largest firm in the world focused solely on corporate tax services," said G. Brint Ryan, Chairman and CEO of Ryan. "We are pleased to add the skilled professionals of Nickel & Company to the Ryan team and are dedicated to providing our new clients superior value and results."

About Ryan

Ryan is an award-winning global tax services firm, with the largest indirect and property tax practices in North America and the seventh largest corporate tax practice in the United States. With global headquarters in Dallas, Texas, the Firm provides a comprehensive range of state, local, federal, and international tax advisory and consulting services on a multi-jurisdictional basis, including audit defense, tax recovery, credits and incentives, tax process improvement and automation, tax appeals, tax compliance, and strategic planning. Ryan is a five-time recipient of the International Service Excellence Award from the Customer Service Institute of America (CSIA) for its commitment to world-class client service.

Empowered by the dynamic myRyan work environment, which is widely recognized as the most innovative in the tax services industry, Ryan's multi-disciplinary team of more than 2,100 professionals and associates serves over 12,000 clients in more than 40 countries, including many of the world's most prominent Global 5000 companies. More information about Ryan can be found at ryan.com.


Carol Vieira
Senior Manager, Public Relations and Communications
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Nickel One Resources Inc. Nickel One announces that the Company signed a Definitive Agreement with Finore Mining (“Finore”) for the purchase of 100% interest in the Lantinen Koillismaa Platinum Group Element-Copper-Nickel (PGE-Cu-Ni) project (“LK Project”) located in North-central Finland.

Subject to TSX approval, Nickel One will issue to Finore 5 million common shares and 2,500,000 common share purchase warrants exercisable at $0.12 for 24 months from the date of closing of Nickel One. The 100% will be acquired through the purchase of Nortec Minerals Oy, the wholly-owned Finnish subsidiary of Finore. Nickel One will abide by all the underlying agreements with respect to ownership of the LK Project.

Vance Loeber, President, CEO and Director comments: “The LK Project provides us with an excellent opportunity to build on a substantial platinum, palladium, gold, copper, and nickel resource in a mining friendly jurisdiction with some of the best infrastructure in the world. Building on more than $10M in previous exploration expenditures that outlined two deposits, and our in-depth understanding of the geology and mineralization style, we are in a position to rapidly advance the project toward a very large tonnage and potentially economic precious metals deposit, with the added bonus of copper and nickel based on a current 43-101 compliant resopurce. In addition, the LK Project provides us with a foothold in Finland from which we will be taking a hard look at other opportunities to continue to build a strong portfolio of projects in Nickel One.”

Nickel One’s management is of the opinion that the purchase of the advanced LK Project provides its shareholders with exposure to a promising PGE-Cu-Ni deposit in an area of the world populated by several large scale producers and three smelters. The management of Nickel One is highly experienced in the exploration and development of ultramafic intrusion-hosted Nickel-Copper-PGE projects.

Dr. Scott Jobin-Bevans, Ph.D., P.Geo.,
Director of Nickel One, is the qualified person responsible for the technical content of the press release.

About Nickel One:
Nickel One Resources Inc. is a new base metal (copper, nickel) and precious metal (platinum, palladium, gold) exploration and development company evaluating the Tyko Property near Marathon, Ontario, Canada. Nickel One’s objective is to efficiently advance the Tyko Project through exploration and development to a mineral resource. The Company intends to build shareholder value through accretive acquisition of additional promising assets.


President, CEO & Director

“Vance Loeber”

For further information contact:

Vance Loeber
Phone: 1-778-327-5799 ext.315
Fax: 778-327-6675
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New Zealand billionaires the Todd family have struck a deal with the WA government to develop a new $5 billion-plus Pilbara iron ore project.

The Todd Corporation says construction of a 50 million tonne a year 162km railway and port between Karratha and Port Hedland that would create 3300 jobs during construction and 910 once operational.

The success of the project is dependent on Todd Corp striking a deal with ASX-listed Flinders Mines, which owns and wants to develop the Flinders Pilbara iron ore project.

Todd Corporation is Flinders' largest shareholder with a 53 per cent stake.
Todd group subsidiary BBI Group's chairman Jon Young said there was a lot of "stranded" iron ore deposits in the region that could be developed through the train line.
"The growth environment is not spectacular, it is nice and steady ... there's another 500 million (in China) going to be
urbanised in the next 20 years, the demands are incredible," he told reporters.

Construction on the rail could begin in 2018.

WA Premier Colin Barnett said the state contributed to about half of the international trade in iron ore and that meant there would always be new projects and new mines needed to replace and maintain existing rates."To all those people willing to write off the resources sector in Western Australia, you're wrong," he said.

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