May 17, 2020

High taxes force Rio Tinto to exit Zimbabwe, sell diamond and coal assets

Rio Tinto
Diamonds
Zimbabwe
taxes
Admin
2 min
High taxes force Rio Tinto to exit Zimbabwe, sell diamond and coal assets
Rio Tinto is moving on from Zimbabwe after agreeing to sell its 78 percent stake in the Murowa Diamonds mine and its 50 percent holding in the Sengwa co...

Rio Tinto is moving on from Zimbabwe after agreeing to sell its 78 percent stake in the Murowa Diamonds mine and its 50 percent holding in the Sengwa colliery mine to its former local unit RioZim Ltd. 

The exit can largely be blamed on rising taxes from the Zimbabwean government. 

Rio told employees in Zimbabwe in January that high government taxes are “weighing down the business” to the point it may be forced to close Murowa, its sole diamond mine in the country, according to Bloomberg. The country has steadily raised taxes on everything from mines to water in recent years. 

 Related content: New Tax Regime Could Force Rio Tinto to Close Murowa Diamond Mine

Rio Tinto already pays a 15 percent royalty on diamond sales as well as other taxes, including corporate tax, and pays more than $109 million per year in land rental.

Earlier this year, Zimbabwe announced year it was planning to merge all diamond mining businesses into one company – part of its black economic empowerment program -- in which the state would own 50 percent of the shares.

"Rio Tinto believes that the future of these assets can be best managed by entities with existing interests in Zimbabwe," the company said in a statement.

RioZim Limited, the Zimbabwe-listed Rio Tinto subsidiary, will assume overall management of both entities. The company already holds 22 percent of Murowa and the other 50 percent of Sengwa. 

Alan Davies, head of Rio Tinto’s diamond and mineral unit, said in an emailed statement: “Rio Tinto remains committed to the diamond industry and is focused on operating its two world-class underground mines whilst obtaining the approvals for its advanced diamond project in India."

Last year, the Deutsche Bank AG valued the Murowa diamond mine at $279 million. The mine produced 101,000 carats of diamonds in the fourth quarter of 2014. 

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May 18, 2021

Anglo American: FutureSmart Mining

Anglo American
Sustainability
Digitalisation
FutureSmart Mining
3 min
Anglo American is reimaging mining to improve people’s lives by leveraging technology, digitalisation and sustainability for FutureSmart Mining

Anglo American’s approach to technology, digitalisation and sustainability is changing the nature of the way the company mines. These are the step-change innovations that will transform the nature of mining – how the company sources, mines, processes, moves and markets its products – and how its stakeholders experience that business. Anglo American is transforming its physical and societal footprint with FutureSmart Mining.

FutureSmart Mining

“FutureSmart Mining is our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining,” Anglo American’s Tom McCulley told Mining Gllobal. In his role as CEO for Anglo American Peru & Group Head of Projects he has overseen investment of more than $5bn at the company’s Quellaveco copper project in Peru.

“These are the step-change innovations that will transform the nature of mining – how we source, mine, process, move and market our products – and how our stakeholders experience our business. It’s about transforming our physical and societal footprint.”

Technology

Anglo is undertaking a feasibility study to assess the possibility of rolling out one of its FutureSmart technologies, Coarse Particle Recovery (CPR), at Quellaveco. “CPR crushes particles to 2.5 times larger than normal, reducing energy consumption and mill time, leading to a 20% increase in throughput and 85% water recovery - a key issue in Peru given the concerns around water scarcity,” says McCulley.

“By allowing water to release from the much coarser particles, CPR will reduce the risks associated with wet tailings and ultimately help eliminate them altogether. When combined with low cost additives, it is possible to dewater residual waste and produce dry stackable tailings. This technology remains a focus area for us as water sent to tailings facilities often represents the largest water loss at a mine.”

Digitalisation

Quellaveco is going to be the first mine to run the FutureSmart operating model from day one. Anglo’s idea is to build a stable base on which it can layer new technologies, CPR being one of them. 

“We will also be a fully digital mine, which brings us future benefits in terms of understanding and applying changes in real time,” adds McCulley. “Our trucks and our drills will be automation-ready. We have taken the approach that, when we decide to move into an autonomous operation, no jobs will be lost, but the nature of some people’s jobs will have to change.”

Sustainability

FutureSmart is a blend of technology and sustainability,” said McCulley in an interview with Global Business Reports. “If you go back to the vision and design of Quellaveco, it has really been focused on the long-term sustainability of the mine through effective use of things like water, energy and the environment. Quellaveco has been focused on technology such as automation, with digital and analytical tools all coming together. We will be looking at future technologies to bolt on as we go to ensure that we are optimizing the sustainable use of resources and remaining cost-effective.”

Quellaveco

Anglo American’s Quellaveco copper project in Peru has created 15,000 jobs during construction and approximately 2,500 jobs are planned for operations, increasing Peru’s copper production by a forecast 300,000 tonnes per year. The mine’s first copper production is expected in 2022. To learn more about Anglo American's Quellaveco copper project read our feature here.

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