Ireland, The aluminium giant Rusal warns of unprecedented pressure

Russian aluminium giant Rusal, which owns the huge Aughinish Alumina smelter in the Shannon Estuary, has warned it faces “unprecedented pressure” from the fallout of Russia’s war on Ukraine as it seeks to mend its international supply and sales chains.

The global producer employs almost 60,000 people at its mining, smelting, and manufacturing plants around the world, including in Russia, Guinea, Jamaica, Italy, and Sweden, as well as in Ireland at its Aughinish plant in Co Limerick.

Rusal last year reportedly diverted bauxite metals from Guinea for processing in Aughinish Alumina when its smelter in Ukraine shut down because of the Russian invasion.

Finished aluminium products are used globally in making cars, constructing buildings, consumer packaging, and in generating electricity.

The Russian giant hasn’t faced Western sanctions, but its international operations were rocked last year when the Australian government banned exports from Australian mines to Russia of alumina and aluminium ores.

In the 2022 earnings report released on Friday, Rusal warned that pressure remains intense.

Output by tonne of aluminium products rose last year even as output of alumina and bauxite fell, helped by “redirecting finished product flows to domestic and Asian markets”, it said.

“The group is also revising supply and sales chains, ensuring an optimal equity and debt ratio, searching for resolutions of logistic difficulties, as well as the ways to service its obligations in order to adapt the current economic changes to maintain the continuance of the group’s operations,” it said.

Rusal also warned about rising interest rates, the current banking market turmoil in the US and Europe, and the risk of any global economic slowdown.

“This complex of negative factors has a negative impact on the aluminium price,” the company said, Pro Active Investors reports.

Arkle Resources finds lithium in Ireland

Diversified explorer Arkle Resources said on Thursday it had found lithium bearing pegmatites at its Mine River Block gold project in Ireland.

The company, until 2019 known as Connemara Mining, said that of 34 rock chip samples taken from the site late last year, six returned lithium grades of more than 0.02%, with one returning 0.09%.

The six samples that showed elevated lithium were all boulders of pegmatite rock collected around mapped granite bodies.

Geochemical results also showed clear pathfinder elements for lithium – caesium, rubidium and tantalum – which can be used to target a coarse type of igneous rock in future soil surveys, Arkle Resources said.

The company, which has so far focused on gold in Ireland, said its directors believe these results are “compelling” as they suggest the Mine River Block is fertile for lithium caesium tantalum (LCT) pegmatite deposits

“These are exciting results,” chairman John Teeling said in the statement. “We have discovered lithium on our licences. We found the rock type needed, pegmatites, and in the pegmatites found lithium and other indicator minerals. This opens compelling new opportunities for our Mine River Block. Prospecting will resume in the near future.”

Shares in the company jumped as much as 21% to 69p after the announcement, but fell sharply in afternoon trading, changing hands at 56p by 2pm local time — 2.6% lower than at Wednesday’s close. This leaves it with a market capitalization of £2.21 million (about $2.6m).

Arkle Resources has been exploring for gold and zinc in the Wicklow granite for more than two decades, but searching for lithium in hard rocks has only been viable since 2018, the company said.

Lithium prices have softened after an outstanding two-year rally labelled “insane” by Elon Musk and “unreasonable” by China’s electric vehicles maker BYD, Mining reports.

Exploration update at Leinster project

Technology Minerals Plc, the first listed UK company focused on creating a sustainable circular economy for battery metals, has announced the results of the first work programme on new prospecting licence area in County Wexford, Republic of Ireland. The company have announced that it has yielded high-grade spodumene pegmatite samples in float ranging up to 2.95% Li2O.

The licence, which was awarded to Technology Minerals’ wholly owned subsidiary, LRH Resources Limited (LRH) on 22 March 2022, will form part of the company’s Leinster property exploration block, which is operated under an exclusive option and earn-in agreement with Global Battery Metals Ltd (GBML), with no project expenditure required by the company.


PLA 1597 was identified as prospective for lithium pegmatite potential by the company’s exploration consultants, Aurum Exploration Services, following detailed desktop studies which outlined two proximal areas of spodumene-bearing pegmatite, reported by previous operators in the mid 1970s as part of their exploration programmes. The lithium pegmatite boulder trains at Knockeen and Carriglead are separated by a north-south valley and form an initial area of interest covering approximately 2 km east-west and 1 km north-south. A historical exploration map and report also described a trench excavated at Knockeen as having uncovered a 1.8 m wide bedrock spodumene-bearing pegmatite vein. However, no detailed laboratory assays or geological maps of the trench were reported at that time.

LRH completed an initial one-day reconnaissance site visit to the Knockeen – Carriglead prospects, with Aurum geologists visually confirming the presence of spodumene in float and collecting six samples which were submitted for analysis to ALS laboratories, Loughrea, Co. Galway, Ireland and which returned values between 0.70% Li2O to 2.95% Li2O, Global Mining Review writes.

Ireland: A protest over plans for a new open cast mine in Magheracloone

A protest over plans for a new open cast mine in Magheracloone, Co Monaghan, took place today.

The area was affected by a sinkhole over three years ago.

Residents at the protest today said they are worried about the levels of dust, noise, fumes, heavy construction vehicles and regular explosions that will affect people living and working in the area.

“We want clean air, we want to be able to send our children to the school without worrying if the wind is blowing in the right direction,” said Breda McGuigan.

“We are looking for something like the EPA have around the country to monitor air quality with real time monitoring and alarm systems available to everyone,” she added.

“If the mining proceeds then strict borders must be established and monitored to prevent landslides that threaten our homes,” said Geraldine Ward, another local resident.

Members of the anti-mining group Communities Against the Injustice of Mining (CAIM), attended the protest. They said they wanted to show solidarity with the local residents.

Mining company Gyproc has lodged plans to expand its operations in Magheracloone.

Two separate applications have been submitted to Monaghan County Council.

One seeks a major expansion of its open cast mining operations at the site, while the second plans for the replacement of the community centre.

The expansion of the GAA facilities is included in the planning application for the new open cast mine.

The Magheracloone Mitchells GAA club and local community centre were condemned and subsequently demolished after the sinkhole emerged in 2018.

A report into the incident found that operations involving the transport and storage of water in an old part of a mine had led to the collapse of several mining pillars, which probably led to the sinkhole.

The company had committed to replacing the facilities lost during the collapse of the underground mine in September 2018.

It was given approval just over a year ago for a new playing pitch and associated works including dressing rooms, toilets and a parking area. Work is under way on the project.

The company wants to expand the development further and has submitted plans to develop two more pitches, one an all-weather pitch and one with a running track.

A new building to house a meeting room, handball alley, changing room, toilets and sports hall are included in the plans.

A separate application to replace the lost community centre has also been made to Monaghan County Council.

Decisions on both planning applications are expected by mid to late March.

Mining has been taking place in the area since 1958. Gypsum extracted is used in the production of plasterboard.

In a statement to RTÉ News, Gyproc said it is committed to engaging in open dialogue with the community regarding its ongoing planning permission process.

It said it held a community information event last September that gave residents the opportunity to view the proposed plans and raise any questions or concerns they may have.

The company said the mining element of the planning permission is for continued regular mining activity, which is currently ongoing in the area and has been for the past 80 years.

It said careful consideration has been given to all environmental and societal aspects of the area when making this submission.

The company said that should the application be approved to extend current mining activity, water quality, air quality, vibration and noise will be controlled using best practice to ensure compliance with all statutory limits under the oversight of the relevant governing authorities and comprehensive monitoring by Gyproc.

The company said it was encouraging any member of the public who has queries about this to contact them.

In a statement to RTÉ News, the Magheracloone Community Centre Committee said “it believes the proposed new facility can be a focal point for the people of the area for social and sporting activities”.

The committee said it is “excited by the huge potential the development brings”.

It added that “having held a community vote and unveiled the plans for the facility in September, there is a strong desire to see the development proceed and bring much needed sorely missed amenities to this rural community”.

Magheracloone Mitchells said the club is looking forward to the development of the new proposed sports and recreation facilities, “which will be a huge lift to the entire community”, RTE writes.

Environmental campaigners resist mining for base metals

Campaigners say the area is home to rich biodiversity and natural landscape, and is not appropriate for the type of mining that any prospecting may unveil

Environmental campaigners have said they will vigorously resist any attempts to begin mining in east Clare, after the Department of the Environment approved a licence for a company to explore the possibility.

The department said that Environment Minister Eamon Ryan intended to grant a prospecting licence to Navan, Co Meath-based Minco Ireland for base metals, barytes, as well as gold and silver ore around Tulla in Clare.

The prospecting licence allows for the exploration of mineral deposits, but does not authorise actual mining of any minerals.

The notice from the department said that environmental impacts in terms of a prospecting licence were, “in general”, non-invasive.

“The minister has assessed the exploration programme proposed by the company, and has determined that the activities are not likely to have a significant effect on the environment,” the notice stated.

There are two underground mines operating in Ireland. Tara in Co Meath produces zinc concentrate, while Drummond in Co Monaghan produces gypsum.

Mines at Galmoy in Co Kilkenny and Lisheen in Co Tipperary, which both produced zinc and lead, were closed in the past decade.

Environmental group Futureproof Clare reacted angrily to the announcement of the prospecting licence for Co Clare by the department, saying it was done by stealth and with no consultation locally.

Campaigners say the area is home to rich biodiversity and natural landscape, and is not appropriate for the type of mining that any prospecting may unveil.

A petition from the group demanding the licence be refused has garnered 1,500 signatures.

It claimed that in Europe, mining is increasingly affecting Natura 2000 and wetlands of international importance, known as Ramsar sites, set aside for conserving nature.

The petition stated: “81% of habitats, and 63% of the species that these laws were designed to protect, still have an ‘unfavourable’ conservation status, according to the European Environment Agency.

“Goldmining is one of the most destructive industries in the world. It can displace communities, contaminate drinking water, destroy the landscape, has a negative impact on small-scale farming and fishing, and eco-tourism, while also being a threat to existing employment in the area.”

According to the department’s own policy information, “there is significant potential across Ireland for industrial minerals”.

In recent years, gypsum, dolomite, silica sand, brick shale, and fireclay have all been mined, it stated.

“The development of Irish mineral deposits is an important component of the economy, providing essential minerals for industry, while generating employment and revenue for the State,” the policy states.

“By promoting mineral exploration, the Government enables the discovery and development of economic deposits. In doing this, it aims to maximise the mining sector’s contribution to the economy, while protecting against social and environmental impacts.”

Minco said in its interim six-month report ending June 2021 that the medium- to long-term demand for metals is increasing.

“The principal reason for the positive outlook is the growing recognition that metals and minerals are essential for addressing climate change and adapting to a green economy,” the report stated.


Boliden had halted production at its Tara mine in Ireland

Swedish miner Boliden (STO: BOL) said on Wednesday it had halted production at its Tara mine in Ireland, Europe’s largest zinc mine, due to increased water flows into the operation.

Water began flooding the underground mine as a crew was drilling a pilot raisbore hole for a ventilation shaft.

Inflow volumes are exceeding the capacity of the dewatering infrastructure, the company said, adding it was unclear for how long production will be stopped.

In 2020, the Tara mine produced 127,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 14,000 tonnes of lead concentrate.

The news boosted zinc prices 2.2% to 3,420 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange. On Tuesday, the metal had recorded the biggest gain in a month as Glencore (LON: GLEN) announced it was preparing to shut down production in Italy.

Zinc production had already been hit by supply cuts announced by Trafigura, Nyrstar and Glencore, which sent prices up 13% in October.

Global zinc production is estimated at about 14 million tonnes this year, with about half of that expected to come from China, the world’s largest producer.

The metal is mainly used to galvanize steel or iron by applying a zinc coating to stop rusting. Galvanized steel is used in buildings, cars and electronics.


Anti gold-mining group from Co Tyrone in Dublin to stage protest

A Co Tyrone organisation opposed to the development of a gold mine in the Sperrins will stage a protest march in Dublin this weekend.

The Greencastle People’s Office is organising the ‘Greencastle GPO to Dublin GPO’ protest on Saturday with several buses travelling down from Co Tyrone.

The group will walk from the GPO on O’Connell Street to the government buildings at Dail Eireann, where it will hand a letter to government officials stating “Ireland is not for sale”.

A controversial planning application for the development of the gold mine near Greencastle from Canadian company Dalradian Gold is currently under consideration by the Department for Infrastructure, which has indicated the project will be subject to a public inquiry.

In a Facebook post, the Greencastle People’s Office said: “Everyone is excited about next week’s march, it is brilliant to hear that all the other anti-mining groups around Ireland are coming and looking forward to meeting one and another

“In this campaign, it is good to know we are not on our own in this fight, that others have our back”.

“The bus is booked and we are ready to bring our message to the Dàil that gold mining is not an industry Ireland needs or should want”.

“We ask all the groups in the south to email their TDs and councillors and ask them to be there on the day to accept the letter which we will be handing in to say that we the people of Ireland are very clear in our opposition of gold mining and the destruction that mining would bring to our land”.

Source: Belfast Live

Irish women protected gold ores in Ireland’s ground

Around the world women are on the frontlines of the fight against extractivism. In Ireland, women are a vital component of these struggles. These land defenders are taking on leadership roles as well as less visible roles that sustain movements, such as critical domestic and administrative tasks. The women are from all walks of life, from artists, house wives, linguists, teachers, lawyers to farmers.

Ireland, North and South, has been identified as a hotspot in the new European mining boom. To date, twenty-seven percent of the south and twenty-five percent of the North has been concessioned for mineral prospecting licences. Divided by a border that water systems, pollutants and the air do not recognise. It is an Island united by the fact that both governments’ neoliberal policies actively invite the interest of the mining industry.

The global gold industry has been a driver of this mining rush, one of the most ecologically and socially destructive industries in the world. From the Sperrins in Counties Tyrone and Derry to Donegal and Connemara, rural communities are being confronted with plans to mine for gold. Most of the interest is coming from Canadian mining corporations.



While the pressing need to decarbonise our economies is often cited as the reason for increased mining around the world, there is often little to no debate on the need to reduce our consumption, particularly in the Global North. It is clear we cannot mine our way out of the climate crisis without sacrificing rural and Indigenous communities.

The Sperrin Mountains are a rolling upland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in Northern Ireland. Here, Dalradian Gold Limited, a Canadian exploration company, has applied to open a large gold mine, close to the village of Greencastle in County Tyrone. In 2017 Dalradian submitted a huge planning application extending to 10,000 pages. They are seeking approval for an underground mine, a 17 storey high waste stack facility, and a processing plant. Opposition is fierce, with 37,000 objection letters lodged to date. This journey has not been easy, with plans dividing the community and earth defenders facing threats and intimidation.

Local communities point out the impacts of such plans are numerous and varied, from biodiversity destruction, air pollution, water contamination, health impacts for local people, and a loss of livelihood and sense of place. Among the ecological impacts of such a project is the threat to tributaries which flow into the transboundary Lough Foyle. The Owenkillew (SAC) and Owenreagh (ASSI) rivers run adjacent to the proposed site. Both are protected as the home to rare freshwater pearl mussels.

Regardless, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs granted Dalradian permission to discharge effluent into these rivers. In November 2019, Fidelma O’Kane, Save Our Sperrins member, successfully challenged this decision in the High Court.



The South of the Island is also facing the incursions of the global gold mining industry. Conroy Gold have been exploring in County Monaghan, while Arkle Resources, a Canadian company, have two sites in mind- one in Wicklow and one in Inishowen, County Donegal.

Resistance group Save Inishowen have been opposing these plans since the threat emerged in 2016. In Connemara, a Gealtacht (Irish speaking) region, resistance group Protect Connemara has successfully seen off gold prospectors BTU Metals Corp of Vancouver. They petitioned the Government to oppose the plans, highlighting that mining would damage the local economy which relies heavily on tourism and small scale farming. Donegal, The Sperrins and Connemara are all rural landscapes that have faced marginalisation and socio-economic exclusion. However, they are also incredibly rich and ancient landscapes shaped by millennia of culture and tradition. Landscapes which are of immeasurable intrinsic value.

Jacqueline Keenan from Greencastle explains: “People here love their land, there’s just so much history, past generations have suffered so much to hand it to us, and we want to be able to pass it to the next generation intact. There’s a deep down rootedness in us”.



Tactics have ranged from public meetings, judicial reviews, an occupation of Dalradian’s proposed site near Greencastle, as well as in person events and webinars to share experiences and foster solidarity with other frontline communities from Peru, Cyprus, Romania, Colombia to the Lakota Nation.

Resistance is growing across the Island, not only to gold but to a range of mineral prospecting and mining. In February this year a network of community groups was formed with the name CAIM (communities against the injustice of mining).

Rose Kelly from Save Inishowen said: “It’s important this network is formed because we live on a beautiful island and it’s under threat from extractivism. It’s so important that we work together as communities who are on the frontline of this damaging industry.”

“Caim” is a Celtic term, meaning a circle of protection for the more-than-human community of life. It is an ethos embodied by the women striving to keep the gold in the ground.




IMC Exploration to buy Karaberd gold mine in Armenia

Ireland-based IMC Exploration is expanding the geographical scope of its operations by announcing a conditional agreement to buy the Karaberd gold mine, in northern Armenia. London-listed IMC will buy the entire issued share capital of MVI Ireland from Mineral Ventures Invest, a reverse takeover.

MVI holds the entire issued share capital in Assat, which has the operating licence for Karaberd, together with an ore-crushing production facility located near the site of the mine.

IMC chairperson Eamon O’Brien says the acquisition of the Karaberd mine and the development of the Karaberd ore-crushing facility will be transformational for the group, taking it from being a purely junior mining exploration company to being both a mining exploration company and a mining company.

“The proposed acquisition will transform IMC by adding a mining project and will generate cash-flow for IMC from both the monthly contribution to working capital and future mining operations. Furthermore, the geographical reach of IMC will be extended outside of Ireland which may lead to further opportunities for growth of IMC,” he adds.



Koc Holding to acquire majority in 12 Irish gold mines

The Turkish Gold Miners Association forecast that Turkey’s 2021 gold output will amount to at least 45 tonnes, surpassing last year’s record-high of 42 tonnes.

London-listed Conroy Gold and Natural Resources (CGNR) has signed a letter of intent with Turkey’s Demir Export—a subsidiary of conglomerate Koc Holding—to establish a JV, namely Demir Export JV, on an earn-in basis to operate 12 gold mining licences in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, according to a stock exchange filing by Conroy

The licences in question relate to Conroy’s 65-km district scale gold trend in the Longford-Down Massif in the vicinity of Clontibret village, located along the border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. As is the case in respect of gold mines in Turkey, gold miners in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have to deal with sometimes hostile public reaction against gold mining, with inhabitants and residents worried about the potential for environmental destruction. Such destruction continues around the world, but Conroy says it is operating in line with commitments to environmentally compatible gold extraction.

Two licences, with reserves of 517,000 ounces, are located in Clontibret village in Northern Ireland, while nine licences apply to territory in the Republic of Ireland. According to the inked letter of intent, Demir will initially inject €1mn into the JV.

In the first earn-in phase, it will spend €4.5mn and earn 25% in interest.

In the second phase, it will spend €4.5mn and earn an additional 15% in interest.

And, in the final phase, it will earn an additional 17.5% in interest.

Option to dilute

Following the final phase, Conroy will have the option of retaining its 42.5% stake or diluting its stake via other options set out in the agreement.

Conroy, which also has eight gold mining licences in Finland, previously signed a proposed JV with Azerbaijan-based and London-listed Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ) in regard to the licences in question, but the agreement in question has been terminated following the agreement with Demir. Conroy’s Finland licences, as well as one licence in Ireland, do not fall under the scope of the agreement with Demir, and the company is retaining 100% ownership in them.

However, Demir has been granted a right of first refusal on these licences in relation to any potential JV arrangements made by end-2021. Demir Export, one of a wide range of companies owned by Istanbul-listed conglomerate Koc Holding (KCHOL), has operated gold, iron, coal, zinc and copper mines in Turkey since 1957.

In February, London-listed Ariana Resources (AAU) established a JV with Turkish partners Ozaltin and Proccea in respect of the Kiziltepe gold mine in the Mardin province of Turkey