Industry bodies call for resumption of mining in Goa
Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF), a body representing the south India state’s mining industry, has appealed to central and state government to restart mining activities by the end of the month.
Mining came to a halt in March 2019 after the Indian Supreme Court quashed 88 leases and banned extraction of fresh iron ore.
This followed a ban by the Indian Supreme Court in 2012 following the unearthing of a £3.54 million scam by a judicial commission appointed by the central government. Operations resumed in 2015 with restrictions but were then stopped after the apex court found the lease irregularities.
“We strongly urge ... the Chief Minister of Goa to stick to his assurance of (finding a) solution for Goa mining crisis by end of December 2019," said GMPF president Puti Gaonkar Gaonkar.
"Recently we have heard announcements through statements attributed to various MLAs in the state regarding the intention of the state to form state-run Mining Corporation for resumption of Goa mining but it does not seem to be a feasible solution as the Mines Ministry in its IA (interlocutory application) stated that there is a likelihood of conflicting rights being created unless the challenge to Abolition Act is decided by the Supreme Court."
Gaonkar emphasises that state-run corporations do not have the necessary expertise to conduct mining activities in Goa.
"We are firm on our demand of legislative amendment or a judicial solution ... for resumption of Goa mining. If the government fails to meet the deadline of this month end for recommencement of mining activities, they must provide relief package to all mining dependents from next month onwards," he asserts.
Mining is one of two major sources of livelihood in Goa, alongside tourism - which itself has suffered from the pandemic - and the complete shutdown has adversely impacted the livelihoods of more than 300,000 people.
When the mining industry was at its peak, mining extraction, trade and export accounted for 30 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).
Lynas revenue jumps 21% as rare earth prices jump
Australian miner Lynas Rare Earths posted a 20.6% rise in revenue in the March quarter as selling prices for the key metals it mines hit record highs amid strong demand, particularly for neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr).
NdPr is used in magnets for electric vehicles and windfarms, in consumer goods like smartphones, and in military equipment such as jet engines and missile guidance systems.
The company said it plans to maintain production at 75% however, as it seeks to continue to meet covid-19 safety protocols and grapples with shipping difficulties. Shares in Lynas fell 6.1% after the results.
“They have faced a few logistics issues, and it would be good to know when they are going to start lifting their utilisation rates a bit,” said portfolio manager Andy Forster of Argo Investments in Sydney.
“Pricing has been pretty strong although it may have peeled back a bit recently. I still think the medium, long-term outlook is pretty good for their suite of products.”
Lynas post ed revenue of A$110mn ($85.37mn) for the three months to the end of March, up from A$91.2mn a year earlier as prices soared.
It said its full product range garnered average selling prices of A$35.5/kg during the March quarter, up from $23.7 in the first half of the financial year. “While the persistence of the covid crisis, especially in Europe, calls for careful forecasts for our business ahead, we see the rare earth market recovering very quickly,” said Lynas, the world’s largest rare earths producer outside China.
Freight demand has spiked during the pandemic, while the blockage of the Suez Canal in March delayed a shipment to April.
Lynas’ output of 4,463 tonnes of rare earth oxide (REO) during the quarter was marginally lower than 4,465 tonnes from a year earlier.