Category: From The Editor

Putting Technology to Work

Gold crossed the $1,400/oz mark in June for the first time since August 2013. While that’s great news for those working in that sector, rising gold prices usually signal economic turbulence on the horizon, which could mean it’s time for the other sectors (base metals and bulk commodities) to tighten their belts. Often the task of optimizing operations is assigned to the engineering staff at the mine. Using technology, they are constantly tinkering with ways to adjust operations. Rather than the trial-and-error techniques of the past, today they can use models to test future scenarios against changing demand and cost situations. With great speed, they can predict possible outcomes with a high level of accuracy.
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US Drags Its Feet on Mineral Policy

While thumbing through the news in this month’s E&MJ, readers will notice a few mining companies that are working with customers to attract investment for the supply of minerals rather than simply selling ore. As an example, a European battery maker (Umicore) purchased a cobalt refinery in Finland from an American mining company (Freeport-McMoRan). Umicore also struck an agreement with Swiss miner Glencore to buy cobalt from its mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The refined materials will be shipped to a battery factory in Poland. This is one example that demonstrates how European companies secured a supply chain for lithium-ion batteries and battery-grade minerals, essentially preparing for future demand and profiting from it.
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