[UPDATED] Newmont Mining Completes Sale of Jundee Underground Gold Mine
Newmont Mining Corporation announced the completion of the sale of its Jundee underground gold mine in Australia to Northern Star Resources Limited for a total profit of approximately $91 million.
Randy Engel, Newmont’s Executive Vice President for Strategic Development, commented on the sale by saying, “We are pleased to have completed the sale of Jundee as part of our ongoing effort to increase shareholder value by focusing on lower cost, longer life operations. With the closing of this sale, Newmont has generated approximately $800 million in proceeds over the last 12 months from the divestment of non-core assets.”
Located 520 kilometers north of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, the Jundee gold mine began producing in 1995 from a complex of open put mines that no longer operate. Underground mining has been performed at the site since 1997. All of Newmont’s existing fixed plant and onsite equipment has been transferred to Northern Star. Additionally, the majority of Jundee’s non-contract staff were offered continuing employment. In 2013, Jundee produced 279,000 ounces of gold and remains one of Australia’s top-producing mines.
A leading producer of gold and copper, Newmont was founded in 1921 and has been publicly traded since 1925. The company is headquartered in Colorado and has approximately 30,000 employees and contractors, the majority of whom work at managed operations in the United States, New Zealand, Peru, Australia, Indonesia and Ghana.
Northern Star Resources Limited is an Australian gold producer that owns and operates several high-grade mines including Paulsens, Plutonic, Kanowna Belle and Kundana.
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.