Can Reindeer and Mining Coexist?

By Steve Fiscor, Editor-in-Chief

Annually, the October edition of E&MJ covers Nordic Mining & Technology. This year, the subject has been divided into two feature articles. The first covers mining activities in the region (Nordic Mining) and the second discusses some of the developments among suppliers in the region (Nordic Technology), who are also interested in exporting their equipment and expertise. The speakers and exhibitors at Euro Mine Expo 2014, which took place during June in Skellefteå, Sweden, offered some interesting insight into both of these areas.

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Developments to Watch

By Steve Fiscor, Editor-in-Chief

One of the big stories this month is BHP Billiton spinning off a group of assets as the company plans to get back to basics (See Leading Developments, p. 4). The $16 billion deal, the largest of its kind in the mining business, drew immediate fire from analysts and stockholders, who were anticipating something else. If the new company, which has no name and will not be headquartered in Melbourne, were a restaurant, the menu would be described as an eclectic mix. The new company could become a takeover target. In this business climate, there are only a few companies with deep enough pockets to buy everything on the menu, but some may order a al carte.

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Looking for a Fix

After sweeping changes were announced for the London silver fix, the London gold fix will likely follow suit. Gold prices are set twice daily by the London Gold Market Fixing (LGMF) at 10:30 and 15:00 and are expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. The silver price is set once daily at 12:00 by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and is expressed in U.S. dollars per troy ounce. The fixes provide benchmarks for mining companies to settle contracts, and more recently, to price exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

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The Mid-year Report

The first half of 2014 is history and, despite all of the moaning from groups not actively involved in mining and mineral processing, the mining business has stabilized from the shakeout it experienced starting in 2013. The news department and the opening spread (See Leading Developments, p. 4-5) in particular showcase the current state of the mining business. E&MJ leads off this month with the best news South Africa could have received, which came toward the end of June when striking platinum miners agreed to return to work. Hopefully, they have reached a lasting agreement and can begin working toward restoring that segment.

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From the Editor

Steve Fiscor, Editor-in-Chief, EMJ, Engineering Mining Journal
Steve Fiscor heads a world class group of writers and editors serving the mining and construction markets. He has served as editor-in-chief for E&MJ since 2003 and Coal Age since 2001. He writes articles on mining and processing, organizes the technical programs for several conferences, and produces many of MMI's ancillary products.