According to a news report Australians are not seeing enough economic benefits from the country’s once-in-a-century mining boom.
while mining company profits have surged over the past 20 years the share of industry income paid in wages has dropped according to the study commissioned by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.
In addition, it says record mining industry profits have outstripped growth in taxes and royalties.
CFMEU mining division general secretary, Andrew Vickers, says the economic benefits of the resources boom have been highly concentrated.
"Australia as a country and Australians generally haven’t benefited from the mining boom, the unprecedented mining boom we’ve seen over the last ten years," he said.
"And the alarming thing is just how well companies have done out of it. What tax they haven’t paid compared to what they sprout about themselves paying," he said.
The CFMEU asked for the mining tax to be changed instead of repealing it.
It wants to a Norwegian-style sovereign wealth fund to be considered to invest the proceeds of the mining boom as well.
"What the report concludes is that this country ought to have a very long, hard but quick look at what the Norwegians have done and that’s a sovereign wealth fund," Mr Vickers said.
The study contrasts with a recent report commissioned by the Minerals Council, which said the benefits of the mining boom were trickling down to the community.
The Minerals Council report said the mining industry spent $35 billion on community infrastructure and local suppliers in 2011-12 and paid about $21 billion in taxes and royalties.
According to the report, most of the $35 billion was spent on local contractors and suppliers to service mines.
The Minerals Council’s Ben Mitchell has rejected the report and says mining companies have made enormous contributions to the country.
"98 per cent of everything we’ve earned out of Australia has been invested back in Australia to keep operations going," he said.
"Now, that revenue has to come from somewhere; it’s come from Australian operations, even come from overseas operations coming back into Australia so we have invested massively in Australia over the past ten years."
November 18, Monday, federal mine safety inspectors were trying to determine the cause of an accident that killed two miners and injured 20 others near the mountain town of Ouray in southwestern Colorado.
According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, a foreman and a miner at the Revenue Virginius Mine, which conducts underground gold and silver mining, were overcome by gas in an area where an explosive had been detonated.
Officials said, the fallen miners, identified as Nick Cappanno, 34, of Montrose, and Rick Williams, 59, of Durango, died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Mine rescue teams searching for the men detected fatal levels of the gas, and 20 miners were taken to hospitals, said Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for the mine safety agency. Nonetheless all have been released.
Star Mine Operations of Denver was the owner of the mine; the mine has been cited for many federal safety violations from the time when the company began operating it in 2011. A lot of of the violations involved the misuse of electrical equipment and machinery, or a failure to follow safety precautions, federal mine safety records show.
On Oct. 22, which was the latest incident, federal inspectors cited the company for failing to secure gas cylinders safely and for using defective equipment.
According to the mine safety agency, the rate of workdays lost to nonfatal accidents at the mine was more than double the national average for each of the past two years.
Rory Williams, the mine’s manager (not related to Rick Williams) did not return phone messages right after but according to The Watch Newspaper in Telluride, the defended the mine’s safety record.
The miners who died were equipped with self-rescue and oxygen devices, Mr. Williams said at a news conference Sunday night. Equipment malfunction was not suspected as having played a role, he added.
As of this year the two deaths brought the number of mining fatalities in the United States to 36.
Investigators were trying to gather into whether the mine was sufficiently ventilated.
Ellen Smith, the owner and managing editor of Mine Safety and Health News, which tracks mining accidents, said there did not appear to have been any warning signs of potential gas leaks.
There were other concerns, she said. On four occasions this year, complaints about hazards were lodged, according to federal records.
Those complaints resulted in a single citation. But Ms. Smith said the fact that miners had repeatedly raised concerns was unusual, especially at a relatively new operation.
Gas leaks are not rare in underground mining; however they do not usually cause as mugh deaths as blasts or cave-ins.
Bruce Dial, a former federal mine inspector, said it was possible that the minors had encountered carbon monoxide that had lingered for years from previous mining operations. Another possibility, Mr. Dial said, was that carbon monoxide released by the mine’s own operations may have built up.
http://blackhawk-mining.com/2013/11/26/cause-of-gas-leak-that-killed-2-colorado-miners-is-sought/Cause of Gas Leak That Killed 2 Colorado Miners Is Sought
The introduction of Statutory Instrument No.32 is not meant to “kill” the mining sector or is it a form of exchange controls but is aimed at ensuring that the proceeds from the mineral resources benefits the Zambian people said VICE President Guy Scott.
Government would ensure that taxes remitted by companies were thoroughly scrutinized so that they could fully benefit the nation said Dr Scott.
“Some sectors feel we are going backwards by claiming that we are introducing exchange controls but I want to tell you that we are an intelligent Government that wants to ensure that the resources are properly managed through the implementation of the SI 32,” he said.
Dr Scott said while speaking during the 3rd Zambia International Mining and Energy Conference (ZIMEC) in Lusaka yesterday, it was sad that more money continued to leave the country through tax avoidance hence the need to intensify policies that would ensure transparency in the industry.
Issues globally with the on-going Group of eight nations meeting on taxation and transparency in Northern Ireland being timely as it would assist countries like Zambia find a lasting solution to the challenges Dr Scott further added.
“We are very in line with this meeting and we expect that we will have increased transparency and access to offshore bank accounts,” he said.
Government would continue to create an enabling environment for investors in the mining and energy industries saying the sectors were key in national economic development, Dr Scott said.
He further said that investors should also ensure they ploughed back to the communities they operated in through job creation and other corporate social responsibility activities.
“Government was not elected by the people of Zambia to extract 750,000 tonnes of copper a year but to see to it that the minerals are beneficial to the people of Zambia. If it was important, we would not allow for the extraction of minerals but we allowed it because the minerals are supposed to provide jobs, taxation and other multiplier benefits,” Dr Scott said.
He said the mining industry should support local industries by buying locally produced equipment unlike the current trend where all equipment’s was imported.
“We want locally value-added content in the inputs used by the mines. We want local industries to process steel boards and other equipment used by the mines, that way more jobs will be generated from the mining industries.
“It does not make sense again for local enterprises to import equipment and supply it to the mines but it is better to have foreign firms that are established in the country and are engaging local people to produce the equipment,” he said.
The conferences which was held two days aimed at creating a platform for stakeholders in the energy and mining sectors to engage on issues that would enhance the mining and energy sectors.
Over 300 delegates and mining giants including Mopani copper mines Rio Tinto, First Quantum Minerals, among others was attracted by the conference organized by AME Trade in partnership with Association of Zambian Mineral Exploration Companies.
The mine would continue to invest in Zambia, with the mining firm investing over US$2billion to date, Mopani Copper mines chief executive officer Danny Callow said.
“Mopani will remain a committed partner in Zambia as demonstrated through the expansion drive and infrastructure upgrade we have embarked on,” he said.
Mr Callow said copper production was expected to increase to 1.5 million tonnes by 2016 due to expansion projects being undertaken by various mines across the country adding that the expected production capacity would only be sustainable if reliable energy and good road and railway infrastructure were enhanced.
He said Government and the mining firms should continue to dialogue on various policy issues if the industry was to be fully developed.
Investment Banks Moving To Neutral on Mining Stocks
At least for a few investment banks like JP Morgan Cazenove and Citigroup, the negative tides for mining stocks appear to shifting towards the positive as they have changed their views from bearish to neutral.
JP Morgan Cazenove is still taking a guarded position towards mining stocks but sees companies within the industry aggressively cutting costs which is one of the reasons why mining stocks rise.
Citi analysts stay negative in their short-term outlook of the sector except furthermore observe some positivity in mining stocks in six months.
“We believe that the large miners, such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, are now reaching yield support as they are trading on higher yields than the market,” Citi said.
Eric Lemieux, mining analyst with Laurentian Bank Securities in Montreal, remains bullish on mining stocks, saying that the commodities super cycle has not ended and despite slowdowns in the economy, there is still strong metals consumption.
The hit that commodity prices and miners have taken in 2013 may not necessarily be a bad thing, he said.
“With this downturn, in the scope of things, I think it’s positive for the industry because we did have a period of micro inflation where costs had gone up tremendously in terms of labor and engineering firms; it just overheated,” Lemieux said. “This retreat and decline in commodity prices, although it hurts, there’s some positives here in terms of cost settling down.”
JP Morgan mentioned a bottoming out in Chinese commodity import volumes and Chinese commodity inventories coming off recent highs as a possible catalyst for stronger metals demand.
While it boils down to consumption and a need for commodities for Lemieux.
“If you look at what’s going on in Asia, even though there’s been a slowdown in China, they’re still consuming, they still have to modernize,” Lemieux said. “I have a sense that things will eventually bounce back up.
“I think the end game is that commodities have some way to go and I wouldn’t be neutral,” he added.
Helping the government arrest illegalities and prepare a roadmap for future of mining industry in the state is the Goa government-appointed Justice R M S Khandeparkar committee on illegal mining. He has decided to probe further the illicit tapping of iron ore in Goa.
“The terms of reference of the Committee are very clear. They are not just restricted to findings of Justice M B Shah Committee….It also includes the assistance to the government to decide on future of proper mining in the state,” Khandeparkar said.
The Committee will not only go through the findings of Shah Commission, but will also probe several aspects which were left untouched by them he said.
“The Shah Commission has not been able to do many things because of absence of material on record,” the former High Court judge said.
“Whatever they have left out would also be investigated,” he said.
The state government had informed Khandeparkar Committee to investigate more into the findings of Justice M B Shah Commission. This has pegged illegal mining in the state to Rs 35,000 crore.
The claim of illegality was refused by the mine owners. These mine owners had stated that they were not given hearing as a part of natural justice.
Khandeparkar said that he has already approved the first draft of the notice which would be issued for the public asking them to come forward with any information regarding illegal mining in Goa.
He said that everyone would be heard during the course of the investigation by the Committee.
“Whoever wants to be heard would be heard,” he said responding to a question whether mine owners would be called for hearing.
Khandeparkar said the first meeting of the Committee is yet to be held as they are waiting for the infrastructure to be put in place.
“The Committee will decide how to go ahead with the investigations,” he said, adding that there is no deadline set for submitting the final report to the government.
The former High Court Judge, however, said that the committee will continue with its investigation but will wait for the final judgement from SC on the mining matter.
“For forming any final conclusion we should have proper respect for the judiciary (SC),” he said.
The pioneers in progressive mine rehabilitation is one of the greatest assets in departmentalizing mining stereotypes. Environmentally friendly procedures and more and more miscellaneous ecosystems are becoming the standard as companies regard local ecosystem rehabilitation as a part of the on-going mining process.
“There’s an increasing focus on establishing complex and diverse natural ecosystems as part of mine rehabilitation,” she says. “With progressive rehab, it takes a much shorter time after the mine closes before the original flora and fauna can take over naturally.”
Deserted mines and plateaued soil heaps are not natural and can take expanded time to renew because of erosion. But gradually rehabilitated mines have extra defiance to erosion. This is because spoil piles are benched with draining slopes and layered with mulch.
Even though we always say there could be such a thing as responsible mining, sadly, mining can often have distressing effects on the environment. Mining necessitates the use of many seriously harmful chemicals such as, Mercury, Cyanide, Sulfuric acid, Arsenic, and Methyl mercury. These can have acutely dangerous effects on water.
Because these chemicals are used the whole time of mining process, consequently these chemicals will seep into the ground. Because of the chemicals seeping underground the groundwater becomes polluted and even if pipes were used to dispose of the chemicals, the chemicals often leak from the pipes.
What is causing it to become more of a burden is that these chemicals are often disposed in close by bodies of water, thus causing water pollution. Moreover, when this happens worse part is, when the chemicals are released into the bodies of water, it frequently results in the loss of aquatic plants and animals. When run-off of the chemicals takes place above ground, it is harmful for nearby vegetation and plants.
Gold mining has equally devastating effects on water. The process that is required in mining gold has negative effects on water. River dredging is just one way which gold is mine.
River dredging is a method in which gravel and mud is suctioned from a specific part of the river. The gold will then be sifted out of this gravel and mud then the gravel and mud will be returned to the river.
Most of the time, the gravel and mud is returned to an area of the river that they did not originally come from. Making the natural flow of the river disturbed resulting to deaths of multiple fishes and plants in the river.
Water and land has no much of a difference when it comes to the consequences mining gives. The process of mining alone entails a large area of land is cleared. Mining means digging through the earth to find the minerals or substances for which they are seeking. Worst, mining often requires large-scale deforestation.
In addition, deforestation means loss of numerous types of animals, and wildlife. Besides deforestation, large areas of nearby vegetation must be cut and trimmed to clear a road for the mining workers to even reach the area that they are mining.
Recurrent deforestation of neighborhood areas can put the whole species at threat for becoming scarce, or shoddier, extinct. When vegetation is not detached through the procedure of mining, it dies because of land pollution from the chemicals. What’s more, when the chemicals soak into the soil, it makes the soil inappropriate for new plants to grow in it. No organisms can live in the polluted soil; it will die due to the pollution.
The process of mining results in a type of liquid waste in some occasions. Instead of being properly disposed, this liquid waste is sometimes disposed in the mining pits.
This frequently takes place in countries in which the mining policies are not as firm as other countries. When the pit becomes overflowing with this liquid waste, it turns into a sluggish and hazardous pool of liquid. It is hazardous because diseases normally develop in it.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) on Thursday listed a local content code of practice that would observe the state’s resources industry strengthen its binds with local contractors.
It was in the state and nation’s long-term interest to support flexible and outcomes-based measures to ‘join the dots’ between the resources sector and local suppliers, QRC CEO Michael Roche said.
“The minerals and energy sector is recognised as underpinning the Queensland economy by providing more than 70 000 direct jobs, and through A$28-billion in local purchases, more than 400 000 indirect jobs.
“However, we’re not resting on our laurels. This code is the right vehicle to pursue the twin goals of facilitating a high level of Queensland content in Queensland resource projects, while maintaining and enhancing the sector’s competitiveness in increasingly tough global markets,” Roche said.
The code presented enhanced opportunities for local industry participation in major projects, allowing resource companies to tailor their approach, based on their individual circumstances, he added.
“It replaces and improves upon the ‘tick-a-box’ regulatory approach embraced by both the previous state government and current federal government using a system built on giving local businesses a ‘full, fair and reasonable’ opportunity to be a supplier to resource projects in Queensland.”
Roche further added that the code adopted a strong “shared responsibility” framework, with the QRC, government, minerals and energy producers and local suppliers working together to deliver on the principle of ‘full, fair and reasonable’ opportunity.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said on Thursday that a new code of practice will see more major resources projects engage local industry suppliers.
He noted that the code would be owned, led and managed by industry and focused on ‘full, fair and reasonable’ access for local industry in all aspects of their projects.
“The benefits to Queensland’s economy of resources and energy investments are potentially huge – the pipeline of projects for environmental approval alone is worth a forecast A$71-billion, plus A$56-billion in liquefied natural gas investment already approved. But the maximum benefit depends on Queensland companies and workforce getting access to major project opportunities.”
Resources projects needed practical strategies to engage local industry if they were going to secure enduring community support, deliver projects effectively and maximise benefits for Queenslanders, the Minister noted.
The code would request proponents to take on practical local content tactics to make certain there was early engagement with Queensland industry, all-encompassing procurement practices and presented for guidance and support for proponents to carry out successful strategies.
It established an implementation framework, and a group of industry stakeholders including suppliers to monitor and refine delivery. Importantly, the code also provides a means to assess progress and report outcomes publicly, Seeney aid.
The project proponents would benefit directly from taking ownership of local content principles he added.
“Wherever local companies rise to the challenge, there’s an opportunity for long-term local supply solutions to their needs,” he said.
He renowned that the state government would do its part in promoting the adoption of the code, in supplier education and helping to position local industry to tender successfully.
The country’s highest court upheld the 1997 Mining Law against a constitutional challenge brought by the Western Peoples’ Council (CPO) for lack of prior consultation with indigenous peoples, reported by Guatemalan national press last March 1 of this year. Finally after the complaint was filed, the ruling comes out and it is against Guatemala’s international human rights obligations. It also represents a hold up from a 2011 Constitutional Court decision that ruled in favor of the right of Guatemala’s indigenous majority to consultation on legislative proposals that could have an effect on their lands and natural resources.
Frequent conflicts had been repeatedly ongoing due to Guatemala’s mining sector. These conflicts caused an increase in threats, criminalization and violence in the past recent months. Despite having over 400 mining licenses issued and more than 700 pending, the tension was caused by lack of respect for free, prior and informed consent.
Guatemala is obliged to respect the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent for any project that could adversely impact them, and to consult with them before passing laws or administrative initiatives that would affect their rights this is all under Guatemala’s Peace Accords, the American Convention on Human Rights, and as a signatory to the International Labour Organization Convention No. 169 on the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples, as well as having endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
“This ruling is a contravention of Guatemala’s international obligations to respect indigenous rights and an unwelcome reminder of how the Guatemalan legal system continues to deny justice to the country’s Mayan population,” said Kris Genovese, senior attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law.
More than a year ago back in December 2011 the Constitutional Court overturned the government’s attempt to regulate prior consultation on the basis that it had not been consulted with indigenous peoples first. This is supposed to be the first step toward respect for such rights but then again this month’s ruling is a disappointing turn around.
“Not only is this ruling a negation of justice, it is a negation of the existence of indigenous peoples’ right to participate as political actors,” said Francisco Mateo Rocael, representative of the Western Peoples’ Council. “We knew the odds of winning were against us in this case. Despite our strong legal arguments, economic and political powers continue to influence how justice is carried out in Guatemala.”
A group of Canadian parliamentarians and one Canadian senator traveled on a trip sponsored by the company to Guatemala together with the Chairman of the Board of Goldcorp in August 2012 just after a month subsequent to a hearing on the constitutional challenge contra mining law. Goldcorp is one of the biggest gold manufacturers in the world and has one of its most cost-effective mines in Guatemala’s northwestern highlands. The Canadian group congregated with the Guatemalan legislative commission charged with mining legislation in the country during the three-day junket.
“We don’t know what took place behind closed doors, but the timing was crucial given that the Constitutional Court decision was due,” says Jen Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator at Mining Watch Canada. “While it is Guatemala’s obligation to respect the rights of indigenous peoples living there, we also need to ask what role Canadian interests might have played behind the scenes that run contrary to Canada’s responsibilities to promote respect for indigenous rights as well.”
The Western People’s Council, or CPO, will now forward this case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The CPO is a coalition of indigenous authorities and institutions from seven departments of Guatemala. They have already well thought-out nearly 60 community referenda. This referendum will give indigenous communities the right to vote and decide whether or not to accept development projects on their lands.
Forest planning and management in the whole of India is so scientific and systematic that no irregularities, pilferage or smuggling of any kind should be possible. This is a British pattern of administration of the forest resources introduced in India by Dr Bandish.
The forest of a State is divided into several circles and each circle into several divisions according to management facilities.
For systematic administrative management, a division is further divided into several ranges, a range into sections and a section into beats.
Beat is the smallest unit. When a divisional forest officer is the sole authority of a divisional forest administration, an assistant conservator assists him for the same. When a range officer is in charge of a range, a forester is in charge of a forest section. A forest guard is in charge of a beat and runs the beat administration.
A regional chief conservator of forests remains in charge of a circle as a supervising authority over four to five divisions. All forest cases are cognizable offences. In face of such an administrative setup, one wonders how the illegal mining of minerals went unabated for several years!
Further, for the systematic management of the forest wealth in Odisha, the forests are divided into blocks, blocks in to compartments and sub- compartments.
Every forest block is surveyed and demarcated as well as mapped for records.
Similarly, the boundaries of each block are well laid up with pillars. Every pillar is verified in respect of its position in the concerned block map and is repaired if needed. The boundary lines are cleared during winter before commencement of fire season. The boundaries of every forest block act as fire protection line.
The work is done as preventive corse of action to protect forest resources from fire damage. Again, the compartment boundary lines are renewed with white paint. Trees standing on the compartment boundary lines are marked with double paint marks at breast height which can be visible from a distance. In certain cases, watchtowers are made to watch the incidence of fire and poaching.
People are engaged, especially during summer season, to watch the incidence of fire. The compartment history and fire control maps are regularly maintained for each forest block.
The blocks are vividly inspected and watched by the concerned range officers. During rainy season, cultural operations like surveying and regeneration of minor forest produces are undertaken. Besides, plans are devised to prevent theft of timber and poaching of wild animals. So, round the year, cultural activities are carried out to meet the provision of departmental code and working plan code.
Every DFO is supported to inspect the forest blocks within a division and he is supposed to reflect the current positions in his fortnightly tour diaries and send the same to the conservator of forests.
This is the usual practice to carry on the management of a forest. The whole forest management is governed by three instruments, including working plan code, working plan and departmental code.
The indiscriminate smuggling of iron ore and manganese from State forest shows either the forest officials grossly neglected their duties and allowed the wrongdoings to continue or connived with the illegal miners.
The writer after returning from the forest college was first posted at Keonjhar forest division and was given the task of carrying out field tasks in connection with revision of working plans, which was written by a British officer.
he plan period was ten years but the works were getting delayed. So, a revision of the plan was necessitated which was taken up by Pravakar Pani and subsequently was completed by Udayanath Sarangi. The writer was posted as a range officer. All the major blocks like Reban, Kalapat, Baula, Atei, Palashpal and Telkoi were in my charge.
They were to be surveyed and re-demarcated and boundaries pillars were to be posted. Later, the writer was posted as range officer at Champa range for some time and all the mining leasehold areas were under his control.
All the forest blocks like Karo, Sidhematha, Thakurani, Joda, Nalda, Barbil and Kiribar were personally surveyed by the writer. Scientific field operations were done before a final shape was given to Sarangi’s plans in the Keonjhar division.
The writer personally visited the boundaries of each leasehold area and submitted the verification certification to the authorities in every fortnight.
Further, the writer served in different capacities in Karanjia and Baripada divisions for long years, where Gorumaisani and Badampahad mining leases had gone controversial. The writer is also acquainted with Sukinda mines because Sukinda forests were under the forest administration of Keonjar division.
The moot point is if the forest areas had been regularly verified and records maintained, the question of mining beyond leasehold areas would not arise.
But, the regular monitoring and surveillance were not done violating the working plan code. If the officials had stuck to the working plans, departmental code and management map in the field practices, no illegal mining would have taken place.
Given this, the writer sincerely believes Justice MB Saha Commission is being kept in dark of the violation of forest management norms and practices which led to plunder of forest resources and minerals. The mining scam is therefore a result of utter negligence of duty of the forest, environment, revenue, police, mines and transport department officials. Coupled with this, it involves nexus between the dishonest officials and mine owners to make easy money.