Swedish equipment and tool manufacturer Sandvik Mining (STO:SAND) has unveiled plans to relocate its various global mining equipment facilities to India and China from the U.S. and Europe, as part of a two-year business reorganization set to conclude in the next fiscal.


Kobus Malan, president emerging markets for Sandvik, told The Hindu’s Business Line the company is concentrating on cost-efficiencies and shifting its operations. Beginning next fiscal year, it hopes that underground coal mining gear business drives the growth of its operations in India, a country where it has had strong presence since 1960.


In September the firm announced the sale of Sandvik Materials Technology (SMT)’s steel distribution business in Australia and New Zealand to Vulcan Steel Ltd. Further disposals of smaller units may be considered as part of an “active portfolio management model,” the company said.


“We will prune the portfolio by divesting areas where we see lesser potential for Sandvik, while at the same time making acquisitions and build in areas where we see more potential,” Chief Executive Officer Olof Faxander said.

GW4 Alliance has initiated a new research project that uses algae to harvest precious heavy metals and produce biofuel while cleaning up water at a Cornish tin mine.

GW4 consists of South West and Wales' research-intensive universities, Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.

Researchers from the four universities have joined Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) on work with the Coal Authority and Veolia to collect untreated mine water samples from Wheal Jane tin mine in Cornwall and grow algae in them under laboratory conditions.

The effectiveness of algae in removing materials such as arsenic and cadmium from the mine water will be revealed in the research.

Algae will be converted into a solid, which researchers plan to extract heavy metals from and recycle it for use in the electronics industry. Biofuels will be made using the remaining solid waste.

"This technology could be applied to any type of mine or could even be used to clean-up industrial effluent in the future."


University of Bath Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies Whorrod Research Fellow Dr Chris Chuck said: "It's a win-win solution to a significant environmental problem.


"We're putting contaminated water in and taking out valuable metals, clean water and producing fuel.


PML microbial biochemist Dr Mike Allen said: "Acidic waste run-off from mines is not a regional issue restricted to Cornwall, it's a global problem.


"It's a particular problem in the developing world where costly clean-up and remediation activities are ignored because of their high cost and low return.


"By making the clean-up process pay for itself, we can improve both the health and the environment of millions of people around the world."

Mining entrepreneur Julian Malnic, the founder of world's first deep-sea miner Nautilus Minerals (TSX:NUS), is taking his knowledge and vision to a whole new level, literally. He has joined the board of Deep Space Industries (DSI), a privately-held U.S. company planning to mine asteroids as early as 2016.


The geologist and business leader, also known for launching Direct Nickel (ASX:DIR), an emerging nickel producer with a revolutionary lower cost extraction technology, brings to DSI an invaluable level of experience in “transformatory mineral resource ventures,” the company in a statement.


Malnic joins his fellow board member and Australian mining expert Mark Sonter to provide insight into business and mining policy and practices, as well as the practical, "shovel in the dirt" realities of processing raw mineral materials, DSI added.


The space mining firm is rolling out a multi-stage plan that they hope will lead to near Earth asteroid operations within a decade or so. First, they are launching their “Fireflies,” one-way travellers meant to grab data about potential targets. The next kind of spacecraft to be sent (“DragonFlies”) will capture asteroids for analysis. Their final stage, “Harvestors” will do as the name implies collecting materials for use from nearby asteroids.


Deep Space was the second company to jump into the asteroid mining business. The first, the billionaire-backed firm Planetary Resources, was launched in 2012.

The European Union voted by a extremely narrow majority Wednesday against a proposed fuel quality directive that would have stigmatized as "dirty" all imports coming from Canadian oil producers, and which Ottawa has been fighting for over two years.


The rule, passed by a difference of just 12 votes, will now go to a ratification vote early in 2015.


"Our government will continue advocating for Canadian interests and Canadian jobs," Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford told CP after the vote.


"We are encouraged the European Parliament relied on science and the facts in making this decision."


Geoff Regan, MP for Halifax West and Liberal Critic for Natural Resources, was not nearly as positive about the news. "The fact today’s vote even happened is the direct result of this Prime Minister’s failure to champion strong environmental policies that will ensure we get our resources to European and international markets," he told


The vote of the full plenary was prompted earlier this month when the European Parliament's environment committee utterly rejected a deal allowing oil producers to report an average carbon rating of their oil stock, instead of singling out oil sands content.


Canada and representatives of the oil industry have said unconventional oil has a valuable role in diversifying EU supplies and that Canada’s huge deposits of oil sands, being developed by oil majors such as Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, were being unfairly singled out by the original EU plan.


Russian workers at Alrosa's Udachnaya diamond mine have found a strange red and green 30 mm rock containing over 30,000 tiny diamonds, which may yield valuable information about how the precious gems form in natural conditions.


While the stone had a concentration of diamonds 1 million times higher than normal, the miners knew such small diamonds were pretty much worthless as gems, so they donated it to the Russian Academy of Sciences for study, LiveScience reports.


After scanning the rock with X-rays, scientists found that the diamonds inside measure just 1mm and are octahedral in shape — similar to two pyramids stuck together at the base. The red and green colouring comes from larger crystals of garnet, olivine and pyroxene.


"The exciting thing for me is there are 30,000 itty-bitty, perfect octahedrons, and not one big diamond," Larry Taylor, a geologist at the University of Tennessee, who presented the findings at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting, was quoted as saying. "It's like they formed instantaneously. This rock is a strange one indeed."


Russia is the largest diamond-producing country in the world, generating over 33 million carats last year. State-run Alrosa, the owner of Udachnaya mine, is the world's largest diamond miner, accounting for 99% of Russia’s output and 27% of global production.

German equipment manufacturer Liebherr said this week the group’s overall turnover for this year is expected to be close to $11 billion (€8.87 billion), slightly below (1%) what achieved in 2013.


While the decline does not seem significant, it quickly turns ugly when analyzing the firm’s mining and construction business. Liebherr said turnover in this particular division is expected to drop at least 4.5%, reaching $6.6 billion, or about $317 million less than last year.


Despite the dip, the group is forecasting an increase in revenues as a result of an expected global growth of 3.8%.


Liebherr ‘s construction machinery and mining area comprises the mobile crane, tower crane, concrete technology and mining divisions.

Forty one members of the British Parliament have signed an early day motion that seeks to eliminate “slavery-like” working conditions in Eritrea’s mines, which they say it the main cause for over 5,000 people fleeing the country every month.


According to the legislators, international mining companies —mainly from Australia, Canada and the U.K— are using the forced labour of Eritreans for work in their operations under conditions best described as “abject slavery.”


Last month Canadian miner Nevsun Resources (TSX:NSU) became the latest target of a human-rights violations lawsuit. This one that claims the Vancouver-based company’s Bisha copper and gold mine was built using “forced” labourers who faced the threat of torture by the Eritrean government. The company denied the allegations.


The MPs, reports The Guardian, have also asked Eritrean authorities to allow Sheila Keetharuth, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the African nation to assess claims of widespread rights violations. She has not been allowed to enter Eritrea since her appointment in 2012.


Human rights conditions in Eritrea are “dismal” with indefinite military service, torture, arbitrary detention and restrictions on freedom of expression driving a refugee exodus, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2014.


Forced labour, slavery, torture, cruel or degrading treatment and crimes against humanity are prohibited under international law, and such provisions are also incorporated into Canadian law.

Prolor Biotech, a clinical phase biopharmaceutical company formerly known as Modigene, has opened a new corporate headquarters and R&D facility within the Weizmann Science Park, a major biotech cluster located in Ness Ziona, Israel.

The facility is located close to the company's existing facility within the park. Prolor is expected to relocate operations to the new facility by the end of the first half of 2011.

The new facility will propel the Prolor's growth across all fields, including new drug research and clinical development. It will allow the company to develop a host of therapeutic proteins at substantially reduced costs and with quicker production cycles and superior control.

The relocation is subject to positive results from the company's Phase II clinical trial on its longer acting version of human growth hormone. Positive preliminary results from the randomised, open-label and multicentre trial were announced on 11 April 2011; final results are expected to be released by the second half of 2011.



The new facility occupies 10,000ft² of rented space within the park. Its R&D area houses several cleanroom suites designed for the development of therapeutic drug candidates to GMP standards.

The company's existing facility occupies 6,000ft² and has dedicated molecular biology laboratories, cell culture laboratories, in-vitro potency and activity testing laboratories, protein purification laboratories, pharmaceutical development laboratories and analytical development laboratories. The lease of the existing facility is due to expire on 20 January 2012.

"The relocation is subject to positive results from Prolor's Phase II clinical trial on its longer acting version of human growth hormone."



The new facility will produce therapeutic drug candidates. Prolor Biotech's current pipeline of therapeutic proteins and peptides include human growth hormone, interferon ß, factor VIIa, erythropoietin, GLP-1 and OXY-CTP – all of which are in the developmental stage and targeted for markets valued between $1bn and $10bn.

The facility will additionally be dedicated to Phase I clinical studies for new indications of its drug candidates, including both approved drugs and drugs in the clinical stage of development. This will include a drugs for haemophilia and obesity. Phase II and III clinical trials will be outsourced to third-party pharmaceutical companies.



The facility will be equipped with Prolor Biotech's proprietary carboxyl terminal peptide (CTP) technology to develop longer-acting, patented versions of therapeutic proteins. CTP is an amino acid sequence released naturally within the body, which is bound to a therapeutic protein.

The technology is compatible with all proteins and has proved to be non-immunogenic to humans when bound to proteins. It prolongs the duration of protein activity within the body. The technology stabilises therapeutic protein molecules in the blood and reduces its elimination from the body without increasing the level of toxicity or changing the overall biological activity.

Therapeutic proteins industry


"The facility will be equipped with Prolor Biotech's proprietary carboxyl terminal peptide technology ."

The global therapeutic proteins market is one of the fastest growing segments of the biopharmaceutical industry. Worldwide sales of therapeutic proteins are projected to reach $77bn by 2011, according to industry analysts RNCOS. The sector reported a 14% growth in 2008.

Competition is expected to increase over the next ten years as several proteins in the market are expected to go off patent. In addition, improved versions and other therapeutic proteins will pose increased competition to several commercial proteins. Aside from erythropoietin, none of the therapeutic proteins Prolor Biotech has in development has any substitute in the market.

DuBiotech, or the Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park, is a science park development in the city of Dubai. It has been under construction since the official launch in February 2005 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice-president and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

This project forms a major part of the Dubai 2010 vision to base the city's economy on a more knowledge-based footing. It is expected to attract more biotechnology/life science research, development and manufacturing to the country.

The new research park will be the world's first biotech park free-zone. It will offer major tax advantages and services such as 50 years' exemption from personal, income and corporate taxes, long-term land leases, 100% foreign ownership, state-of-the-art IT and telecommunications infrastructure, 100% repatriation of profits, trouble-free incorporation with little formality, government services division for registration, fast-track immigration and customs procedures.

DuBiotech is a subsidiary of the Government of Dubai's holding company, Dubai Holding and a member of Tecom Investments. DuBiotech Park, which was set up under the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority, is being built on a 300ha area with an estimated cost of about Dh130m for the infrastructure, and Dh600m for the lab and headquarters buildings.

The DuBiotech entity will have two operating arms: the first is a Foundation for Research and Innovation focusing on government-funded R&D in a number of important areas (medicine, genetics, agriculture, stem cell research); and the second will aim to set up biotech clusters with high-quality infrastructure for incubators, research labs, manufacturing facilities and educational facilities.

"The project forms a major part of the Dubai 2010 vision to base the city's economy on a more knowledge-based footing."

Phase 1

Phase 1 of DuBiotech was completed at the end of 2008. During this phase, DuBiotech partnered with relevant government authorities to develop the regulatory framework required to facilitate biotechnological and pharmaceutical research in the area. In order to ensure that the actual business ecosystem are followed, DuBiotech also benchmarked its regulatory framework with international best practices

The first phase also saw more than 50 international life sciences companies register with DuBiotech as business partners. They include Genzyme, Pfizer, Merck Serono and Amgen.

Phase 2

Phase 2 includes the completion of the Lab Nucleotide Complex and the Bio Headquarters towers. Major life sciences industrial clusters were created in the Middle East while establishing a co-operation framework among government bodies, academic institutions and business partners.

Relocation of the existing life sciences companies to the new DuBiotech headquarters and labs will also happen in the second phase. In April 2009, VINS Bioproducts announced its decision to set up its regional headquarters at DuBiotech. In May 2010. Spain-based Flores Valles Group announced its plans to establish its Middle East subsidiary at DuBiotech.
At completion, the direct investment of DuBiotech is estimated to be around $400m excluding third-party investments. DuBiotech aims to strengthen the partnerships with governmental bodies in key areas such as regulatory affairs, federal and local policies and academic projects during the second phase.


The DuBiotech complex will eventually occupy an area of around 30,000,000ft² (2,790,000m²) in a strategic area of the city near the the Al Maktoum International Airport, which opened in June 2010.. The first phase has attracted an investment of over DH1.2bn. The masterplan of the new park, produced by Parsons and CHU2A, divides it into zones that will focus on different areas including R&D, manufacturing and commercial/office use.

"All park buildings are expected to be constructed to LEED, GLP and ISO 17025 certification standards."

DuBiotech will comprise four buildings including the DuBiotech Headquarters (Bio-HQ), which won the American Institute of Architects Honor Award for Design and Sustainability in 2007 and the large-scale four-storey laboratory complex, which is called 'The Nucleotide Complex' (company R&D use). The Nucleotide complex became operational in December 2009, and received LEED certification in April 2010. Bio-HQ is scheduled for completion in 2011.

All park buildings are expected to be constructed to LEED, GLP and ISO 17025 certification standards. The park is expected to generate some 20,000 jobs after completion.

The Nucleotide Complex


Spanning an area of about 256,000ft², the Nucleotide Complex comprises of state-of-the-art laboratory buildings. These were custom built for industrial and scientific R&D, analytical testing, diagnostics, equipment training activities and after-sales services, among others.

The LEED-certified core-and-shell lab space of the complex can accommodate up to 160 laboratory units. These are designed to meet class III bio-safety standards/guidelines. The laboratory units have unique layout customisations with a biological safety cabinet and exhaust systems for air filtration. Air exhaust and ventilation systems are designed specifically to stop cross contamination between lab spaces.

It is also equipped with sterilised high-grade stainless steel mechanical equipments ensuring required standards of hygiene. They also have pH neutralisation systems and acid resistant drainage along with a back-up power system.

The Nucleotide Complex cost AED289m ($68m) to construct and has four wings named A, C, T and G, after the four nucleotide bases that make up the structure of DNA. All four wings were booked at the time the complex became operational. The companies that have agreed to relocate to the labs include MAQUET Middle East, a producer of operating room systems and ICUs; and phase one of the National Reference Lab, an initiative by Mubadala Healthcare in association with Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings.

The complex was designed by CUH2A, a well-known designer of scientific facilities. It will have the most modern of amenities including a pre-clinical vivarium and an animal testing laboratory spread over 10,000ft².

The BIO Headquarters Towers

The 60,000ft² headquarters of DuBiotech (designed by CUH2A) will become one of the world's largest LEED-certified buildings. The building has 22 storeys.

"The 60,000ft² headquarters of DuBiotech (designed by CUH2A) will become one of the world's largest LEED-certified buildings."

DuBiotech won the Design and Sustainability Honour Award from the American Institute of Architects for the technologically complex headquarters in 2007. The building is designed to reflect a DNA movement in a gel electrophoresis, a technique commonly used in the industry. The two towers are flanked through a jewel case which has the business centre and retail facilities.

The buildings have been cleverly sited and designed to make maximum use of natural light, but also to minimise solar gain without resorting to expensive AC cooling systems. The HQ will also have a 500,000ft² animal reserve for indigenous conservation and wildlife protection. The architecture of the building is meant to represent the DNA migration in an agarose gel seen during electrophoresis.

Warehousing amenities and leasable land

The pre-built units are designed mainly for showrooms, distribution, storage, logistics and light manufacturing for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. With specialised focus on manufacturing research and development, this land can be leased by third-party investors. The total leasable land is about 8.2 million square feet with flexibility in size, starting from 38,000ft².

DuBiotech Business Center offers furnished offices that cater to small and medium-sized companies and start-ups.

Other parts of the park

With the generous taxation allowances offered by the free-zone so far, over 42 companies have set up offices in the area with many others set to follow suit. For the space offered in the park there will be 457,780ft² of commercial space, 245,003ft² of laboratory space (both permanent), 5,369,092ft² of R&D space and 2,127,735ft² of manufacturing space (both leased land areas).

It had been announced that 50% of the manufacturing space allocated at the park has already been taken up with 28 facilities already in the construction stage. These facilities are to produce medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotech products.

The New Medical Center (NMC) Group based in Abu Dhabi is expected to set up a large biotechnology facility in the park. BioMedix Inc is constructing the 47,232ft² BioMedix facility at DuBiotech that will manufacture in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) equipment such as: ELISA kits, PCR requisites, run controls and proficiency panels.

The double-tower HQ building of the Dubiotech complex was completed ahead of schedule.
The Nucleotide Complex lab building has begun operations.
The DuBiotech complex will eventually occupy an area of around 30,000,000ft².
The Nucleotide building has four wings: A, T, C and G, named after the DNA nucleotide bases.
The HQ building architecture is based on an agar gel electrophoresis plate analysing DNA fragments.
The first phase of the DuBiotech park has attracted over DH1.2bn in investment.

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