Embracing a Different Outlook and New Tools

Happy New Year! The big news this month is Sibanye Gold acquiring the Stillwater Mining Co., an iconic U.S. platinum group metals (PGMs) miner based in Montana. In a little less than four years, Sibanye, which was spun out of Gold Fields in February 2013, has grown from a South African gold miner to a South African precious metals miner to a multinational precious metals miner. Readers might recall that the company also acquired several South African platinum mining operations. Besides being a bit ambitious, what makes this move a little different from previous acquisitions is that Sibanye is pursuing a healthy mining company on the other side of the world. With Stillwater producing substantially more palladium than platinum, Sibanye would control roughly 13% of global platinum and palladium production and become the third largest producer of both metals. Sibanye has placed a big bet on PGMs and a classic U.S. mining operation.

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Bidding Farewell to 2016

As 2017 dawns, the mining industry should take stock with what occurred in 2016. The year did not start well. Major mining companies that had either sold assets or optimized existing operations were contending with low commodity prices and shrinking profit margins. Vale and BHP Billiton were dealing with the environmental disasters caused by the Samarco tailings dam failure in Brazil. As the year wore on, forest fires would ravage oil sands mining operations in Alberta. For all the despair, however, the year ended on a high note with most people scratching their heads wondering what will happen in 2017.

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Miners Should Benefit From Trump Win

Steve Fiscor/Editor-in-Chief

It happened in U.K. earlier this year and now it has happened here in the U.S. A movement that the mainstream media and the political elite had discounted will now change the direction of the country and possibly alter the global economy. Voters, many of whom felt their voices were not being heard, turned out to support Donald J. Trump, a billionaire businessman who decided to take on the establishment. As the ballots were tallied, it became clear that a huge turnout in rural areas was offsetting the votes cast in the urban centers. He not only pulled off a political upset that shocked the left, but the Republicans also walked away with a majority in both houses of Congress.

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Autonomy Takes Center Stage at MINExpo 2016

The vibe at MINExpo 2016, which took place September 26-28 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, was fairly predictable, but the leap in technological advancements, especially in the area of autonomous mining, was quite surprising. More than 44,000 people attended the world’s largest mining exposition, according to the U.S. National Mining Association (NMA). That attendance figure was down 15% from four years ago, and it’s understandable considering the current state of the mining market. The general consensus on the show floor was that traffic levels weren’t as slow as many had anticipated.

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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.