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With the recent lifting of the moratorium on Iron ore exports from India and the loss of two bulk cargo ships last year, the timing for a presentation on the Challenges of Mineral Bulk Shipping seemed rather appropriate. For those of you unlucky few who missed the event on Wednesday 21st May, here is a quick overview of what our guest speaker, Andy Wells, talked us through.

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On Wednesday 26th March, Nick and Tommy headed to Westminster Parliament in London to meet the Deputy Minister of Mines for Zambia, Hon. Richard Musukwa MP at an event sponsored by the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) department. The meeting was held in an oak panelled room overlooking the London Eye just off the bustling corridors of the House of Commons and included attendees from all areas of the mining industry who had an interest in Zambia.

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So another year and another Indaba has gone by, but was it any different this year?

On paper it looks like a huge success, almost 8,000 registered with probably that number again “attending” and lounging by the side of the Cullinan pool.  Talking to attendees one received a very mixed view, particularly dependent on whether one was buy side or sell side, though the service providers, who seem to be growing in number each year, all had smiles on their faces as they enjoyed the Cape Town weather, presumably they were from the north hemisphere where sun and chardonnay in February is a novelty.

Generally exploration companies had an optimistic air about themselves talking about a window of opportunity and that accessing capital looked likely – how this will translate in reality we shall soon see, it was definitely not a view shared by every fund manager or analyst.  Meanwhile development stories seemed to be getting a little more traction with talk of one or two West African gold companies making good headway.  The NE of Africa is starting to get a little more attention and this despite the recent troubles in Egypt and South Sudan; the geologic prospectivity of the region is well known and companies it would appear are starting to take a good look at the opportunities which exist.  As usual investment banks were there in force talking about how this will be the year of M&A, for the third time running….

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14 Nov 2013

Strathcona vs Snowden

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There's talk of another Bre-X style con/saga in the Canadian market as two consultants, Strathcona and Snowden, battle it out over sampling methodology. The two companies are working on Pretium's Valley of the Kings deposit, part of the Brucejack project, in BC, Canada, with the company having already paid a heavy price for the uncertainty over its resource at the project. Again, we wonder how the reputation of consultants can be tied to the accuracy of feasibility studies, and who polices the consultants?

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Perhaps to try and counteract their perceived operating opacity, Glencore held an Investor's Day on 10th September. The discussion revolved around how the company has changed following the merger between Glencore and Xstrata. Ivan Glasenberg gave an interesting overview of how he sees the world following a softening of commodity prices across the board. Lack of developer discipline has led to value destruction and overcapacity. Glencore Xstrata's focus going forward will be on operating profitability rather than market share maximisation.

The video and accompanying slides are well worth viewing.