domingo, 20 de agosto de 2017

México prepara estrategia nacional para reducir emisiones de mercurio

Las autoridades ambientales mexicanas buscan ponerse a tono con el Convenio de Minamata, que entró en vigor esta semana.

México anunció que diseñará una estrategia para cumplir con el Convenio de Minamatacuyo objetivo es reducir las emisiones de mercurio, un metal pesado que provoca graves daños a la salud humana y el medio ambiente.

El gobierno de Enrique Peña Nieto prepara un diagnóstico de la situación nacional sobre el mercurio, a raíz de la entrada en vigor este miércoles del Convenio de Minamata, ratificado por el país latinoamericano.

"A finales del presente año se tendrá lista una estrategia para atender este problema", informó la Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Semarnat) en uncomunicado.

Los efectos dañinos de este metal para la salud humana fueron identificados en los años 50 tras la catástrofe de la Bahía de Minamata (Japón), ocasionada por unafábrica de productos químicos que arrojó al agua metilmercurio, un compuesto altamente tóxico, reportó el portal 20 Minutos.

La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) ha determinado que "la exposición a ese metal pesado ocasiona daños cerebrales y neurológicos, principalmente a los jóvenes". A ello se agregan efectos nocivos en pulmones, riñones, sistema nervioso, digestivo e inmunológico.

domingo, 30 de abril de 2017

Inside The World's Top Copper Nations - ValueWalk

I’ve talked a lot lately about the rise of Peru. With this week’s apparent approval of the new Quellaveco mega-mine being the latest addition to output here.

The emergence of new Peruvian mining projects is big news for the global copper market. Because there’s been a lot of question lately about where supply growth globally might be coming from.

As the chart below shows, Peru is a big part of the answer. Of the world’s top copper-producing nations, Peru is the only one showing significant yearly production growth over the last five years.

Peru is the only one among the world’s top copper-producing nations to show sustained and significant growth over the last five years (source: U.S. Geological Survey)

Between 2012 and 2016, Peru’s copper production jumped 77% to 2,300 tonnes per year. Putting it solidly into second place in global output.

During the same period, other big copper nations struggled. Top producer Chile was flat, as were #3 and #5 China and Australia.

Number-four copper producer America has managed to steadily grow production each year since 2012. But the scope has been small — with U.S. producers upping output by 20.5% or 240 tonnes per year. Not even a quarter of the supply growth Peru has seen.

But there is one other nation that was having a good run the past half-decade: Africa’s top copper producer, Democratic Republic of Congo.

As the chart above shows, DR Congo saw a big growth spurt between 2012 and 2014 — when copper production jumped 430 tonnes, or 72%.

But then, producers hit the wall. Output in 2015 was flat, before falling to 910 tonnes in 2016 as copper prices declined.

The big reason DR Congo stalled is electricity. This is a massive country — the 11th largest in the world by area — but has one of the lowest rates of national electricity availability.

Look at some numbers. Nationwide, only 9% of DR Congo’s population has access to electricity. Even in urban centers, the electrification rate is just 19% — dropping to 1% in the countryside.

The government here has tried to allocate power to the copper mining sector. But there just isn’t enough to go around — only about half of the nation’s 2,500 MW of installed generating capacity (almost entirely hydropower) is functional.

Nationwide the power shortfall is estimated at 750 MW. With the mining sector alone short about 300 MW.

That lack of power has almost completely frozen new mine development. Which is why this week’s power import deal with South Africa is so critical — if more electricity does arrive, things could be de-bottlenecked enough to get new operations up and running.

That would be very significant for global copper supply. Potentially allowing DR Congo’s output to resume the upward trend it enjoyed during 2012 to 2014.

In fact, the country might be one of the only places with big growth potential outside of Peru.

There’s no shortage of in-ground copper resources in DR Congo — unlike the U.S. and Australia, where big, new discoveries are hard to come by (although developments like in-situ leaching in Arizona could change that).

The country is also largely free of the regulatory problems and social opposition that have plagued Latin American copper nations. It has its own challenges to be sure — but the government has shown willingness to move developments along, unlike spots like Chile where lawmakers are getting more restive.

Even Peru’s future is uncertain. Anglo American walked away from the Michiquillay project a few weeks ago, saying government terms were too steep. And big copper mines in the country like Las Bambas have seen significant protests from local communities the past year.

DR Congo’s power problems aren’t easy to solve. Even the term sheet signed this week with South Africa’s Eskom still has a way to go — with lingering doubts over the Congolese ability to pay bills being a potential stumbling block.

But if an import deal can get done, it opens up one of the clearest paths to copper supply growth anywhere in the world. That’s a key development to watch for all market players, including project developers.

jueves, 20 de abril de 2017

Huge Decline In Peru's Silver Production Suggests Future Supply At Risk

The Peru Ministry of Energy and Mining just released their silver production data for February, and it was a whopper to the downside. Actually, I was quite surprised to see how much the country's silver production declined versus the same month last year. Also, Peru's gold production in February took a similar big hit.

According to the ministry data, the country's silver production fell 12% to 323.1 metric tons (mt) this February versus 367.4 mt the same month last year:

This is a 44 mt decline in one month, nearly 1.5 million oz lost. Here is the table from the Peru Ministry of Energy and Mining showing various metals production data for February:

Silver is shown as "PLATA," and as we see, overall silver production for January-February has declined 6.7% compared to the same period last year. Which means, Peru's silver production took a much larger hit in February than in January.Furthermore, the country's gold production (shown as "ORO") also declined significantly by falling 11.3% in February.

The Peru Ministry of Energy and Mining put out this brief explanation why their silver and gold production declined in February:

However, in this month precious metals slightly suffered a lower production volume gold decreased by -11.91%, while silver -11.29%. In the accumulated January, national production of these precious metals decreased by 6.81% for gold and 6.3% for silver.

In the national production of silver, the Lima region (127,157 kg fine), Ancash (126,816 kg fine) and Junín (116,473 kg fine) regions are in the top positions, associated with the polymetallic exploitation of the center of the country. Peru is the second largest silver producer in the world and boasts the largest proven and probable reserves of this precious metal in the world.

Antamina (101,824 kg Fine) in the Ancash region, followed by Uchucchacua (84,745 Kg. Finos) in Lima and Inmaculada (30,468 Kg Finos) in Ayacucho, among several others.

In the case of gold, the national production accumulated to February 2017, reached 23.8 tons fine. Its production was concentrated in the regions of La Libertad (6.4 tons) contributing the total production in 26.92%; Cajamarca cooperating with 23.32% (5.5 tons fine) and Arequipa (3.03 tons fine) contributing 12.74%. These regions accumulate 63% of the national gold production.

The decrease is explained by the lower results (-23.53%) of the main producer: Minera Yanacocha S.R.L. Whose operations in Cajamarca have been affected by an exhaustion of the reserves in the current deposits in operation.

I don't know why the ministry's data for gold and silver production declines are different in their explanation than what they show in the Excel spreadsheets. However, it is only off by a small percentage. Regardless, the important part of the text above is highlighted in redThe reason for the big decline of Peru's gold production was due to "an exhaustion of reserves in the current deposits of operation." This is a key factor that will be played out across the world as other mines lose production due to the same situation of reserve exhaustion.

We must remember, Peru is the second largest silver producer in the world, right behind Mexico. According to the Silver Institute's 2016 Interim Report, Mexico's silver production is estimated to decline to 183 Moz in 2016 (189 Moz in 2015), while Peru's silver production increased to 141 Moz (136 Moz in 2015).

Global Future Silver Production At Risk

As the global markets finally succumb to the massive amount of debt, economic activity is going to plummet. This will have a negative impact on most energy, metals and commodity prices. Thus, production of base metals will decline significantly. This will impact the production of silver the most, as the majority comes as a by-product of zinc, lead and copper production.

According to the World Silver Survey, 34% of silver production came as a by-product of zinc and lead mine supply, while 22% came as a by-product of copper production. Thus, 56% of global silver production is a result of copper, zinc and lead production:

Which means more than half of the world's future silver production is at risk when base metals prices take a big hit during the next economic crash. People need to realize that using a massive amount of leveraged debt to continue economic activity is not only unwise, it is seriously insane.

While there is no guarantee what the value of gold and silver will be in the future, logic suggests investors holding onto moststocksbonds and real estate will suffer the financial enema of their life. Again, this is all due to the disintegrating U.S. and global oil industry in the future.

So, place ya bets and let's see who made the better investment decision when the global market finally cracks.

domingo, 19 de marzo de 2017

Germany supports e-waste disposal in Ghana

The German government has unveiled a plan to help Ghana deal with electronic waste at Agbogbloshie, a major dumping site outside of the capital, Accra. The project aims to protect both workers and the environment.

Young men busy themselves extracting copper from the dumped electronics and other scrap materials so they can resell what the collect. With bare hands, they burn the electronics, which causes a thick black smoke. Though this is a necessity for their business, the smoke makes it difficult for people nearby to breathe.

Agbogbloshie is the hub of electronic waste (e-waste) in West Africa and most of the electronics dumped at the site are hazardous. The site is notorious for the dangerous manner in which electronic waste is collected and burned. The practice pollutes not only the atmosphere but also nearby bodies of water and is dangerous for the workers.

The processing of e-waste pollutes the environment and poisons workers

The German government announced this week a 20 million euro ($21.5 million) project it says will transform the electronic waste processing system in Accra. It calls for the building of an e-waste recycling facility where materials can be brought and sold and processed safely to the benefit of the local community. The plan was presented at a public event by the German Ambassador to Ghana, Christoph Retzlaff.

"The second component [of the plan] is a health station in Agbogbloshie to support people living there," he added.

Global and local problem

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) reported in 2015 that 60 to 90 percent of the world's electronic waste is illegally dumped. In 2014, an estimated 42 million tons of e-waste were generated. But according to UNEP, 85 percent of the e-waste dumped in Ghana and other parts of West Africa is produced in Ghana and West Africa. 

The local group City Waste Management is already excited about the initiative and is positioning itself to make the best out of the project.

"We are grateful that the German embassy here in Ghana has come on board to do this with the Ghanaian private sector. We are looking forward to working with them," said Wendy Ahiayibor, a representative of the company

viernes, 10 de marzo de 2017

Australian e-waste ending up in toxic African dump, torn apart by children

A computer monitor from St George Bank, destined for recycling in Australia, has been found on a toxic e-waste dump in west Africa, being pulled apart by children as young as five.

At Agbobbloshi dump, in Ghana's capital, Accra, children tear apart e-waste from western nations with their hands, and burn circuit boards over open fires to melt out the precious metals.

Broken or redundant computers are considered hazardous waste and are illegal to ship out of Australia — so the discovery of the bank monitor raises serious questions about the integrity and regulation of Australia's growing e-waste problem.

St George Bank, wholly owned by Westpac, claims gold standard environmental stewardship.

It says it followed the "right processes to ensure the St George Bank monitor was despatched" to their recycling partner.

Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

Ghanaian environmental reporter, Mike Anane, on assignment for RN's Background Briefing, discovered the broken monitor during a routine visit to check on the health and welfare of children working at Agbobbloshie dump, considered the worst dump in the world.

"Over 500 container loads of electronic waste are coming from these developed countries, including Australia, every single month," said Mr Anane, speaking from Accra.

"Lately there is so much coming from Australia. I see about three container loads of electronic waste coming from Australia every single month.

"It is not just immoral, it is criminal to ship these things here."

Australia is one of the biggest consumers of electronics in the world, buying millions of items a year, which translates into almost 600,000 tonnes of e-waste annually.

The St George Bank monitor is part of that growing pile.

Background Briefing showed a video of a 13-year-old boy on the Agbobbloshie dump holding the bank's monitor to Don Quinn, operations manager at WorkVentures, which has the contract for Westpac's 15,000 e-waste items every year.

Mr Quinn said he did not believe the monitor passed through WorkVentures.

But when asked to confirm this by checking back through their asset register, the company advised by email a week later that the monitor had indeed been put through their system as e-waste in 2012.

"We looked up the sticker number on the monitor from the video you showed us and found we picked it up from St George Bank and decommissioned it in May 2012," the email said.

Because the monitor was deemed broken and not able to be fixed, it was sent on to another recycler.

WorkVentures is a not-for-profit group that refurbishes computers and sells them to the disadvantaged and community groups at discounted prices.

Items that cannot be repaired are disposed of through other recyclers.

From what the ABC can tell, the monitor made its way from one of these other recyclers to Ghana.

Neither WorkVentures nor Westpac would agree to further interviews about the integrity of their e-waste disposal chain, or how the monitor ended up on the Agbobbloshie dump.

WorkVentures declined to identify the third-party Australian recycler they used, but said they severed that relationship in 2012 because their documentation was not up to standard.

WorkVentures also declined to say if there were other monitors and computers in the batch that found its way to Ghana.

Westpac said in an email: "We can't speculate on how the monitor ended up in Ghana five years after we dispatched it, however it is of great concern to us.

"We are determined to work with WorkVentures and our suppliers to understand how this has happened."

Westpac is not alone in losing control of its hazardous e-waste.

Mr Anane says the lack of regulatory oversight is one of the reasons Australian e-waste is ending up on dumps in Africa.

He has been warning western nations for years about the temptation for recyclers to avoid costly, legitimate disposal of what they collect.

Indeed, it seems very easy to find third-party recyclers who are prepared to illegally export hazardous e-waste from Australia.

Background Briefing made contact with an e-waste dealer in the Middle East who offered $500 per 1,000 kilograms of broken and smashed computers.

A major Australian national e-waste recycler, Geordie Gill, confirmed he was regularly contacted by rogue dealers hungry for his e-waste.

"On a fortnightly basis we will get emails from offshore and basically it comes down to: 'I will buy your e-waste from you'," Mr Gill said.

"The majority of the emails come from Africa and we've been offered up to $20,000 per shipping container of e-waste."

When asked if he believed there were Australian operators selling to these dealers Mr Gill said: "The opportunity is there. I would have to say yes."

Background Briefing is not asserting that Westpac or their recyclers sent the broken St George Bank monitor to Ghana, but its appearance at Agbobbloshi dump reveals a lack of oversight.

Mr Anane tells us the health problems suffered by the children exposed to e-waste are life-threatening.

"Each time I go to the dump ... I see the children with all these open sores, I see them with skin diseases," he said.

"They tell me, 'We cannot run, I have a problem with my heart, my heart beats faster, I cannot play football, I have headaches all the time.'

"It's obvious that these children will not live to see their 20th birthday. A lot of the kids disappear from the dumps and it's obvious what happens to them."

sábado, 4 de marzo de 2017

At PDAC Peru will introduce new mining promotion policy to attract investment - International Mining

Peru's Minister of Energy and Mines, Gonzalo Tamayo Flores, leads the Peruvian delegation of more than 200 representatives from public and private sectors to the PDAC. During this event, the head of the sector will introduce a new direction for the mining promotion policy promoted by the current government of Peru, which intends to reactivate foreign investment in the development of exploration projects. The geological potential and competitive advantages of Peru in comparison with other countries will also be displayed.

"The new government's challenge is to increase competitiveness of mining investment in Peru through a new approach that will allow simplification of administrative procedures, reduction of social conflict and implementation of development projects in the areas of influence of the mining sites", highlighted Flores.

Peru is the world's second producer of copper, zinc and silver. In Latin America, Peru is the first producer of gold, zinc, lead and molybdenum. It also has the world's largest silver reserves and leads the Latin American ranking of gold, silver, zinc and molybdenum reserves.

"These figures reflect the wealth of our resources, the Peruvian mining production capacity and the stability of our economic policies", emphasized the Minister of Energy and Mines.

Among Peru's competitive advantages of investing in the Peruvian mining sector that the delegation aims to highlight are the low exploration and operating costs, macroeconomic stability, the innovation level of local suppliers and the efforts made by the Peruvian government in promoting a convergence among the production sectors, the communities and the mining industry.

Another important factor is the Peruvian economic model, which offers a regulatory framework that establishes equal treatment to investors regardless of their origin, as well as opportunities in every productive and service activity, within a free market policy.

As part of the PDAC Convention 2017, the 'Peru Day' will take place on Monday 6 MArch. It will be an entire day dedicated to introduce diverse aspects of the Peruvian mining industry and its investment opportunities as well as to meet national entrepreneurs.

On Tuesday 7, the 'CEO & Investors Luncheon' will take place, which is an opportunity to join more than 130 top executives from mining companies and investment firms interested in investing in the Peruvian mining industry. The Peruvian Head of the Ministers' Office, Fernando Zavala Lombardi, will attend this event.

During the four-day event, Peru will have an official pavilion offering official updated and useful information for investors, which will be distributed by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. The inauguration of this pavilion will take place on Sunday 5th with the presence of the Minister of Energy and Mines.

miércoles, 1 de marzo de 2017

Samsung and Greenpeace: what you need to know about e-waste

At the smartphone world’s annual shindig in Barcelona, there are some things the tech giants have been trying to get people talking about – the relaunch of the Nokia 3310, BlackBerry’s new fingerprint scanner, Samsung’s virtual reality headset.

But there’s another, less glamorous story that they haven’t been so keen to promote. And that concerns the fate of their gadgets when consumers have finished with them.

On Sunday, Greenpeace interrupted a Samsung press conference to protest the company’s failure to produce a recycling plan for the defective Galaxy Note 7, recalled last year due to fire risk. The campaign group claims Samsung has 4.3m handsets to get rid of.

A Samsung spokesperson has since said the company is working “to ensure a responsible disposal plan” for its defunct phones, and prioritising safety and environment. But if the piled up Galaxy Note 7s go the same way as the rest of our old smartphones, computers and tablets, where might they end up?

Sending e-waste offshore

Since the start of 2017, we have thrown out more than 6.4m tonnes of electronic goods, according to The World Counts, a website keeping a live tally of global e-waste. If past patterns are any judge, not much of this will get properly recycled: less than a sixth of the e-waste discarded around the world in 2014 was dealt with in this way, says the UN.

Even in developed countries with advanced infrastructure, electronics recycling rates are low. The US recycled just 29% (pdf) of the 3.4m tonnes of e-waste it produced in 2012, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, while the rest was sent to landfill or incinerated.

“Our recycling rates for electronics are abysmal,” says Jim Puckett, executive director and founder of the Basel Action Network (BAN), an NGO. He estimates that 5% of metals used in electronics are recycled, at most.

When products are handed over for recycling, a portion end up in informal recycling hotspots in developing countries, such as Accra in Ghana or parts of southern China, where they are broken down in an uncontrolled environment, Puckett explains. UN figures suggest up to 90% of the world’s e-waste is illegally dumped.

“We sweep everything to developing countries where they have the least infrastructure and efficient recycling,” says Puckett.

In a recent experiment, BAN placed GPS trackers on 205 old printers and monitors to see what happened to them. Of the devices handed over for recycling, 40% were sent offshore, mostly to Asia. BAN’s team followed 37 of them to Hong Kong, where it found workers breaking down electronics by hand in informal junkyards.

This kind of unregulated processing of e-waste carries severe consequences for environment and human health, including air pollution when circuit boards are heated to access the metals, soil pollution as chemicals seep into the earth, and water pollution as toxic materials get into groundwater and other supplies.

Lost value

Recycling failures also lead to a waste of precious materials, like gold, copper and platinum. This not only means that fresh supplies are mined unnecessarily, but also that money is wasted through missed recycling opportunities. Potential revenues from e-waste recycling in the European market in 2014 were as high as 2bn euros, estimates Sheffield University’s centre for energy, environment and sustainability.

Companies including Microsoft and Dell have sought to address their e-waste footprint by partnering with third-party organisations like Goodwill, which sells or recycles donated electronics. Last year Apple unveiled a recycling robot called Liam, who it says can take apart an iPhone in 11 seconds.

More recent ideas have included a mobile phone offset scheme, launched on Tuesday by recycling company Sims Recycling Solutions and Dutch social enterprise Closing the Loop. They promise to remove one phone from an e-waste dump for every phone used by the scheme’s customers, including ING Bank.

Puckett believes more systemic change is needed, however. When it comes to tackling the sheer quantity of discarded electronics, he says progress will only come via market-based incentives for longer-lasting electronics. A system where electronics are leased out rather than bought and sold, for example, would incentivise companies to make products last as long as possible, he says.