Harmony Gold takes over Newcrest stake in Hidden Valley mine
Harmony Gold, the South African gold-mining and exploration company, has announced that the company will own 100 percent of the Hidden Valley mine in Papau New Guinea. This comes after Australian gold producer, Newcrest, has agreed to sell its half of the Hidden Valley Joint Venture.
Harmony will now assume all liabilities and expenses related to the JV and mine, including rehabilitation costs and remediation obligations.
The operation was owned by the Hidden Valley Joint Venture (HVJV), one of three unincorporated joint ventures between subsidiaries of Newcrest (50 per cent) and Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited of South Africa (50 per cent).
So, with Harmony assuming full responsibility for the Hidden Valley mine, heres what we learned from the Hidden Valley mine “fact sheet”:
- Hidden Valley is located in the highly prospective Morobe province in Papua New Guinea
- It sits within the New Guinea Mobile Belt of Papua New Guinea which is one of the world’s pre-eminent geological terrains for porphyry copper-gold and epithermal gold mineralisation
- It is an open pit gold and silver mine, consisting of Hidden Valley, Kaveroi and Hamata
- Gold and silver doré produced at Hidden Valley is transported to Perth Mint in Australia, where it is refined
- Construction of the mine began in 2007. The first gold was poured in 2009, while commercial production commenced in September 2010
- In the last financial year, ending 30 June 2016, 145,132 ounces of gold was produced at Hidden Valley
- Tailings from the processing plant are treated and stored in a purpose built engineered tailings storage facility. This is the first of its kind in PNG.
- Around 40 percent of Hidden Valley’s process plant water needs are met by recycling treated surface water are met from a purpose built tailings storage facility – this reduces the amount of water required from local raw water sources
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British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars
The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change.
It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.
British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad.
Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe
After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company.
“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”
Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector.
Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial.
Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production
“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”
The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction.
Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably.
“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.
“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”
Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK.
“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”
Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.