Randgold’s Bristow on all-in sustaining cost vs cash costs, and the gold industry is bust at $1300

all-in vs cash

Photo: Miningglobal.com

Do you agree with Mark Bristow on the issue of all in sustaining cost (AICS) vs cash cost?

The gold mining industry was fundamentally broke at a gold price of $1 300/oz, Randgold Resources CEO Dr Mark Bristow said on Wednesday.Speaking to journalists at a media lunch, Bristow said the industry was unable to make returns at that low level of gold price range.

Continue reading


Make sure you’ve had your breakfast before watching this safety training video!

I had to re-post this video. It recently appeared on Australian Mining‘s website. It’s German, and from the 80’s… the video, that is. It is a bit long (9 odd minutes) but do yourself a favour and watch to the end. If ever there was going to be a forklift apocalypse, this is what it would look like. Enjoy!

The farce that is the Junior Explorer Website

I was reviewing a project this week, a Cu-Ni-PGE advanced stage project in North America. On my way to their NI 43-101 technical report I had to wade through what is the usual marsh of marketing rubbish that is known as the “junior explorer website”. I review a lot of early and advanced stage projects and I can count on my one hand websites that I have come across that are actually attempting to present their results in a truthful and conservative (wise) way.

In the mud!

Me, try to get valuable information from a junior explorer website. (Photo: http://www.dailymail.co.uk)

Continue reading

Top 5 things to watch for at this year’s African Mining Indaba

Today was the first day of the 20th Investing in Africa Mining Indaba. This year will once again see the influential mining houses, government, labour and other stakeholders converge in Cape Town until Thursday this week. If you have any interest in the African mining industry, companies that operate in Africa or you are an African it will do you well to keep at least one eye on proceedings this week. After all, many, if not most African economies are dominated by natural resource-based contributions to GDP. Therefore, what affects mining in Africa will probably affect Africa as a whole.

Lighting in the air over SA mining

The Union Platinum Mine, South Africa. (Photo: Flickr Anglo American Feed)

Continue reading

Back from wild Patagonia: Wild geology, wild mountains and wild glaciers!

This year is already in full swing and I managed to enter it in style! My new year’s eve party went something like this: On the morning of the 31st we woke up in our tent, pitched in an alpine forest, at the foot of a glacial valley. We then spent the day trekking through deciduous Beech forests, rolling shrub-land, flanked by the spires of the Paine Massif on our left and turquoise blue glacial lakes on our right. By late afternoon, with icy winds carrying light snow, we slogged into the next camp site, welcomed by a Chilean meat buffet next to the fire place! Bubbly cider, hats, wigs and even the Chilean national anthem at the base of the Torres! A spectacular setting close of 2013 and greet 2014!

Unbelievable Torres!

The spectacular spires of the Torres del Paine National Park. Cuernos Norte can be seen on the right.

Continue reading

Friday treat: Sit down chat and advice from Anglo ex-CEO

Rick Menell gives an interview and chats about the birth and development Anglo Vaal Corporation, how he became a geologist, his stint as a Wall Street banker, outlook on South Africa and some advice to young geologist. The interview is shared here as a play list of short videos. He is a 35 year mining veteran that headed the Anglo Vaal Corp and Teal Exploration amongst other things. There is a brief biography included below. Enjoy the video and the weekend!

‘Rick Menell “trained as an exploration geologist and worked as an investment banker with JP Morgan in New York and Melbourne. He also worked as an executive director of Delta Gold in Australia. He worked with Anglovaal Mining from 1992 – 2006, becoming CEO in 1999 and executive chairman in 2002 before his current position at Teal Exploration & Mining, Inc. He is also deputy chairman of Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited, Chairman of the South African Tourism Board, a director of the Standard Bank Group and Mutual & Federal, and chairman of Village Main Reef Gold Mining Company (1934) Limited. He is a director of the Chamber of Mines where he was president from 1999 to 2001. Richard Menell was appointed a Weir Group “non-executive director in April 2009. Richard was previously an investment banker with JP Morgan in New York and Australia and an executive director of gold producer Delta Gold in Australia. He returned to South Africa in 1992 to join the Anglovaal Group and was appointed chief executive of Anglovaal Mining in 1996 and executive chairman in 2002. He was president and chief executive of TEAL Exploration & Mining Inc from 2005 until 2008. He was also formerly chairman of Avgold Ltd (1996-2004) and Bateman Engineering BV (2005-2009) and director of Mutual & Federal Insurance Company Ltd (1996 -2010) and Standard Bank Group Ltd (1997-2011). Richard is currently a director of Gold Fields Ltd in South Africa and a senior advisor to Credit Suisse. He is a fellow of the Geological Society (London), and both the Australasian and South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.’

Post from the field: Termite mound sampling?

Today I am writing from the field, connecting with the fastest, most rural internet connection I have every had the privilege of connecting to! And what a day it was! The site where I am currently working is one of the few near-equatorial, semi arid regions in the world and is far from anything and everything, they way I love it! Apart from a very short rainy season, the rest of the year is blistering hot and dry. From about 10 am the temperature starts flirting with 40C and then it only goes up. I made the mistake of mapping the largest mountain in the region over the heat of the day and at one point had a real fear that my heart was going to explode! Most of the way was through thorn thicket and wood land, looking for fresh outcrop, a rare commodity in these parts.

The view from the top of the mountain.

The view from the top of the mountain.

Continue reading

Friday Treat – Blast Sequence from Kolomela

Kolomela is one of Anglo American’s large iron ore producing mines. This open cast operation is situated near the town of Postmasburg in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. Today’s post is a stunning blast sequences as published on Anglo’s Flickr feed.

According to Anglo “exploration on this project dates back to the 1950s, although the first impact studies were only undertaken in 2001. Construction started in late 2008 following the receipt of relevant permits. At the end of December 2011 the mine was 98% complete. The mine will achieve full production in 2013. The Kolomela mine ore bodies comprise hard, high-grade, conglomeratic and laminated haematite orebodies. The ores have been preserved as three separate orebodies within basinal and graben structures up to 2km long, 400m wide and 300m deep. Kolomela’s lump ratio is expected to be 60:40. Kolomela mine’s Ore Reserves amounted to 203.4Mt at 31 December 2011, while Mineral Resources (excluding reserves) were 162.3Mt at 63.6% Fe. The current LOM is 28 years”.

You can get more info on this project and the source of this info here and here.







Old Timers’ Legacy

Keep the grey heads near!

My first assignment as a young geologist was to the core yard of a platinum mine on the Bushveld Complex. I was the apprentice and my “master” was one from the old school. He’d been resident on the mine for near on 25 years. His figure under the tin roof of the logging area with head tilted over the core trays, cigarette in hand, in his daily uniform of faded jeans, safety boots and washed-out khaki shirt, represented an era nearing an end. A time when entire drillholes were logged on the back of a Stuyvesant 30 packet, before databases and remote sensing.

I read an article this week which made me think back on the time that I had under my “master”. It quotes a number of older generation geologist, snippets of their opinion of the profession, the value of experience and what they deem important and it recalled my memory of the many invaluable moments I had experienced while spending time in the field  and core yard with the old grey-headed geo.

He kept a notebook and clino-ruler with him wherever he went, meticulously recording every observation. He new the facies variations on the mine better than anyone and instinctively new the expected depth of reef intersection without fail. He could recall from memory intersections from boreholes drilled 10 years ago, their location, the ground conditions and the reef type. He knew the rocks.

Through spending time with him, working, drinking coffee, staring at core in silence and driving around in the field ‘bakkie’ I learnt some of the most valuable insights and observed key skills in action, and hopefully picked some up! Most importantly we started a friendship. One skill that almost certainly separates the old timers is being able to filter through the clutter and data and in an instant identify what is important and essential.

If you are a young geo, go find the old timers around you and follow them around. Have coffee in the morning together, hover over drill core, and be a friend. In a time when our culture increasingly pushes the elderly and the wise to the fringes of our society you will find such a friendship invaluable to both you career and you personhood.