Meghan Markle’s wedding band made with Welsh gold from historic mine

It’s the story of the weekend. Even if you don’t follow the Royals, you probably got a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding somewhere.

One of the most important elements in the ceremony was the wedding ring, particularly the one given to the bride. Similar to her engagement ring and following a 100-year-old tradition, Markle’s band was fashioned from a piece of Welsh Gold, gifted by Her Majesty The Queen.

The 24-carat piece of gold originated at the Clogau St. David mine, located near Bontddu in northwest Wales and owned by Clogau Gold of Wales. The Royals started receiving nuggets of the yellow metal from this mine back in 1923.

From Clogau St. David was also extracted the gold behind three generations of royal wedding bands, including those of the Queen Mother, the Queen, Princess Margaret, the Princess Royal and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Later on, in 1986, the Windsors started receiving gold from the Gwynfynydd mine, which is also located in northwest Wales and is now owned by Clogau.

The Clogau St. David and Gwynfynydd mines are currently closed, having last operated in the 1990s. However, early this year it was announced that the former might reopen.

London-based Alba Mineral Resources said it has taken a 49 per cent interest in Gold Mines of Wales Limited and that it had decided to restart the project because it sits on “a vastly under-explored exploration ground.”

In terms of Prince Harry’s wedding ring, a press release issued by Buckingham Palace revealed that his was made of platinum with a textured finish.

The couple chose Cleave and Company to make their bands. They were carried to St. George’s Chapel by The Duke of Cambridge Prince William, Harry’s older brother and best man.

Cleave and Company also crafted Markle’s engagement ring, which was designed by the Prince himself and features a yellow gold band and a central stone from Botswana, where Harry traveled to while growing up and again in the summer of 2017 to celebrate his now wife’s 36th birthday.

 

Photo from Buckingham Palace’s Facebook page.

source: http://www.mining.com/meghan-markles-wedding-band-made-welsh-gold-historic-mine/

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US lab mines gold from discarded SIM cards

Researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque are using ultrasonic waves to strip gold from SIM cards.

In a report by ABC, materials chemist Dale Huber said that even though many different research groups are trying to recover the yellow metal from electronic waste, in most cases they are using environmentally unfriendly techniques like separating gold from other components by boiling off mercury and letting the fumes go into the air.

To avoid such practice, Huber’s team is submerging SIM cards in water and blasting it with ultrasonic waves. The process creates bubbles that collapse and when they do so, they can “shoot out a jet that hits the surface and actually physically breaks off pieces of metals,” Huber told the Australian broadcaster.

The researchers are still in the process of refining the new method, however, the idea is to develop the technology into a larger scale operation.

 

source: http://www.mining.com, Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

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Eldorado scores key win in row with Greece over projects

Canada’s Eldorado Gold (TSX:ELD)(NYSE:EGO) has won a key battle in its ongoing row with Greece after an arbitration panel ruled in favour of the company’s plans to build a plant for treating concentrates form the Olympias and Skouries projects, in the country’s north.

The panel rejected allegations that a technical study submitted by Eldorado was deficient and in violation of a transfer contract and the environmental terms of the project.

The panel’s verdict rejects the Greek government’s motion that the company violated its contractual obligations by submitting a deficient plan for the Madem Lakkos metallurgy plant, Eldorado said.

Authorities had also argued Eldorado breached a 2003 contract by which its subsidiary Hellas Gold acquired the Kassandra assets — Olympias, Skouries and Stratoni — in the country’s Halkidiki region.

The company’s President and CEO, George Burns, hailed the ruling. “We believe this decision provides a foundation to allow us to advance dialogue with the Greek government in order to define a mutually-agreeable and clear path forward for our Kassandra investments,” he said in the statement.

Burns added the company expected the Greek government to fulfil its obligations under the 2003 contract, including issuing the outstanding permits for the Skouries project.

Speculation surrounding the outcome of the arbitration lifted the company’s shares on Tuesday. It closed almost 6.6% higher in Toronto to Cdn$1.14 — the stock’s best day in six months.

Eldorado scores key win in row with Greece over projects

Source: Google Finance.

In September, the Vancouver-based firm threatened to halt new investments in its three key projects unless the government granted it permits and showed a willingness to engage in talks.

As a result, Eldorado was almost immediately granted several of the pending permits, with Greek authorities saying they were open to engage in talks with the company. The miner then postponed its decision to leave the country, but warned it reserved the right to place its assets on care and maintenance and to take prompt legal action to protect both the company and its assets should negotiations proved unsuccessful.

As talks with authorities stalled, the gold miner stopped in November all development and investment in its Skouries gold project located in the country’s northern region of Halkidiki.

Eldorado also initiated legal actions against the government in order to enforce and protect its rights in Greece. The measures include three lawsuits against the Ministry of Energy and Environment for failing to issue routine installation permits, which Eldorado said caused unjustifiable delays to the development of Skouries.

Last week, the company filed a new technical report for the gold project, which said it “significantly” reduces the development’s environmental footprint.

For this year, the company has forecast $20 million in development capital with future care and maintenance costs at Skouries estimated at $3 million to $5 million annually.

 

source: http://www.mining.com/, by Cecilia Jamasmie

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Steel and aluminium companies fear indirect hit from US tariffs

Greece’s steel industry is on high alert after US President Donald Trump’s decision to slap a 25 percent tariff on imports of the commodity.

Greek firms do not export to the US, but the obstacles that Washington is raising to the flow of steel from abroad are expected to turn many major companies to markets where Greece currently exports to, thereby weighing on profit margins and reducing raw material prices.

The Aluminium Association of Greece added that if a 10 percent levy is added to the existing 3.5 percent tax in the US, there is a risk the European market will be flooded with aluminium products from third countries.

 

source: http://www.ekathimerini.com, ANESTIS DOKAS, 2/3/2018

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German scientists to build machine that speeds up urban mining processes

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, Germany, want to build a machine that is able to disassemble two mobile phones in one minute and remove its components to, later on, extract metals from them.

The process is known as urban mining and it aims to recover raw materials such as copper, silver, gold, neodymium, and tantalum from old electronic devices. The metals would be destined to the production of new cellphones, computers, tablets, etc.

Following the extraction of individual, larger components, a laser would be used to unsolder them from the electronic circuit board before they are sorted by type and treated differently to make them reusable.

In an interview with Horizon Magazine, Cord Fricke-Begemann from the Fraunhofer Institute said that the main challenge his team is facing right now, when it comes to the machine’s design, is figuring out how to make it work with all the different types of electronics that exist.

“There are hundreds of different types of mobile phones so we need a device that is flexible and can handle all of them,” Fricke-Begemann told the institutional publication.

According to the researcher, turning to this type of mining and making it more efficient would not only support the EU efforts to move towards a low-carbon economy, but it would also reduce the bloc’s dependence from foreign metal providers and shield it from fluctuating prices.

According to Horizon, some urban mining already takes place in the region but it involves melting devices together in a furnace and removing the most valuable metals.

 

SOURCE: MINING.com, Valentina Ruiz Leotaud, 26/2/2018

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New shaft will extend EU’s largest gold mine to 2035

Agnico Eagle plans to spend 160 million euros to expand its Kittilä mine in Finland

The biggest gold mine in the European Union is getting a new lease on life, thanks to a shaft sinking project that will increase throughput.

Reporting its fourth-quarter and full-year results last Thursday, Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX,NYSE:AEM) said it will invest 160 million euros on expanding its Kittilä gold mine in Lapland, northern Finland, including the construction of a kilometre-deep mine shaft.

“The expansion project is expected to increase the efficiency of the mine and decrease or maintain current operating costs while providing access to the deeper mining horizons”: Agnico Eagle Mines 

Lower gold grades in the mining area for 2018 and 19 has meant lower expected production from the mine in the next two years – 10,000 ounces less this year and 20,000 next year. As a result the Toronto-based company approved a plan in 2017 to increase throughput 25% from 1.6 million tonnes per annum to 2mtpa by 2021. Higher rates will be achieved through a new 1.4 kilometre shaft and a modification to the 4,500 tonnes per day mill, as well as other infrastructure and service upgrades.

Agnico Eagle adds the increased throughput rate is further supported by additional drilling that has yielded favourable results in the Rimpi and Sisar zones.

“The expansion project is expected to increase the efficiency of the mine and decrease or maintain current operating costs while providing access to the deeper mining horizons.  In addition, the shaft is expected to provide access to the mineral resource areas below 1,150 metres, where recent exploration programs have shown promising results,” the company stated.

The new shaft will have hoisting capacity of 2.7 mtpa (2.0 mtpa of ore and 0.7 mtpa of waste), while the mill expansion involves installation of a secondary crushing circuit, new thickener and reactor capacity, and minor modifications to the existing grinding circuit and autoclave.

The improvements will boost average annual gold production by 50,000 to 70,000 ounces per year starting in 2021.

In 2016 Kittilä, located about 150 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, produced 202,508 ounces. It contains proven and probable reserves of 4.5 million ounces as of the end of December. Gold deposits were discovered in 1986 by Finnish geologists and underground mining has taken place there since 2010, states a project page.

Agnico Eagle beat its 2017 guidance of 1.68 million ounces by producing a record annual gold output of 1.71 million ounces. All in sustaining costs for the year were $804 per ounce, lower than the most recent guidance of $845 per ounce. The company grew its mineral reserves last year (net of production) by 3.1% to 20.6 million ounces, with grades increasing by about 7.7%, due to the conversion of resources to reserves at Amaruq, in Nunavut, Canada. Gold production is expected to increase in 2018 and 2019 as the Meliadne mine in Nunavut starts up and production at Meadowbank, also in Nunavut, extends into 2019. Production is expected to reach about 2 million ounces in 2020.

 

source: mining.com, 19.2.2018

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Complex engineering and metal-work discovered beneath ancient Greek ‘pyramid’

Latest find on Cyclades’ Keros includes evidence of metal-working and suggests the beginnings of an urban centre, say archaeologists.

More than 4,000 years ago builders carved out the entire surface of a naturally pyramid-shaped promontory on the Greek island of Keros. They shaped it into terraces covered with 1,000 tonnes of specially imported gleaming white stone to give it the appearance of a giant stepped pyramid rising from the Aegean: the most imposing manmade structure in all the Cyclades archipelago.

But beneath the surface of the terraces lay undiscovered feats of engineering and craftsmanship to rival the structure’s impressive exterior. Archaeologists from three different countries involved in an ongoing excavation have found evidence of a complex of drainage tunnels – constructed 1,000 years before the famous indoor plumbing of the Minoan palace of Knossos on Crete – and traces of sophisticated metalworking.

The entrance staircase from above: the sea level was much lower in the early bronze age

The Dhaskalio promontory is a tiny island as the result of rising sea levels, but 4,500 years ago was attached by a narrow causeway to Keros, now uninhabited and a protected site. In the third millennium BC Keros was a major sanctuary where complex rituals were enacted. Earlier excavations by the team from the University of Cambridge, the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades and the Cyprus Institute have uncovered thousands of marble Cycladic sculptures – the stylised human figures which inspired western artists, including Pablo Picasso – and which appear to have been deliberately broken elsewhere and brought to the island for burial.

Maintaining as well as constructing the settlement would have taken a huge communal effort. The now-deserted slopes of Dhaskalio were once covered with structures and buildings, suggesting that 4,500 years ago it was one of the most densely populated parts of the islands – despite the fact that it could not have been self-sufficient, meaning that most food, like the stone and the ore for metal working, had to be imported.

The first evidence of metal-working was found in excavations 10 years ago. The new finds have uncovered two workshops full of metalworking debris, and objects including a lead axe, a mould for copper daggers and dozens of ceramic fragments from metalworking equipment including the mouth of a bellows. Archaeologists will return to excavate an intact clay oven, found at the very end of the last season.

Joint director of the excavation Michael Boyd, of the University of Cambridge, said metalworking expertise was evidently concentrated at Dhaskalio at a time when access to both skills and raw materials was very limited.

“What we are seeing here with the metalworking and in other ways is the beginnings of urbanisation,” he said. Far-flung communities were drawn into networks centred on the site, craft and agricultural production was intensified, and the architecture became grander, gradually overshadowing the original importance of the sanctuary.

Excavated soil reveals food traces including pulses, grapes, olives, figs and almonds, and cereals, including wheat and barley. Evi Margaritis of the Cyprus Institute said: “Much of this food was imported: in the light of this evidence we need to reconsider what we know about existing networks to include food exchange.”

A researcher holds a mould for making a spearhead from molten copper.
 A researcher holds a mould for making a spearhead from molten copper. Photograph: Michael Boyd

The pyramid of terraces would have blazed in the Greek sun, visible from far off, covered in white stone imported from Naxos 10 kilometres away. The complex of drainage tunnels was discovered when archaeologists were excavating an imposing staircase in the lower terraces: research continues to discover whether they were for fresh water or sewage.

Lord Renfrew, joint director of the excavation, former Disney professor of archaeology at Cambridge and now the senior fellow at the McDonald Institute for archaeological research, first landed on Keros as a student and has returned often throughout his long career. He believes the promontory may originally have become a focus for development because it guarded the best natural harbour on the island, with wide views across the Aegean.

The excavations are being recorded digitally, using the iDig programme running on iPads for the first time in the Aegean. This creates three-dimensional models using photogrammetry recording of the entire digging process, giving everyone involved access to all data in real time.

  • This article was amended on 18 January 2018 to correct an erroneous reference to the palace of Knossos, which is Minoan, not Mycenaean.

source: www.theguardian.com

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Gold cracks $1300 to finish year up 12.5%- Best performance since 2010

Gold bulls have something to cheer about today even before the champagne corks fly on Sunday night.

In afternoon trading on Friday, the last business day of the year, gold was bid up to $1306.50, before dropping to $1303 at 13:53 EST. It was the first time since August, corresponding with a terrorist attack in Barcelona, that gold crossed the important $1300 an ounce thresshold. The yellow metal hit a 52-week high of $1346 an ounce in early September but then quickly sold off. February Comex gold was last trading at $1307.10, up .76% on the day.

On Tuesday spot gold reached a three-week high of $1281.03 in post-holiday trade on geopolitical concerns, while February gold futures hit $1285.10.

The gains continued yesterday, with spot gold closing in New York at $1294.70.

Today’s price jump means gold has posted a monthly rise of 1.51% and a yearly advance of 12.53% – its best annual performance since 2010.

A wilting US dollar, political tensions and less concern over the impact of US interest rate hikes, all fed into the gold rally.

Reuters noted the dollar is heading towards its worst year since 2003, “damaged by tensions over North Korea, the Russian scandal surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign, and persistently low U.S. inflation.”

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index dropped 0.5% on Friday, deepening its 2017 loss to 9.7%.

According to analysts the $1300 target will be the psychological level to reach in the new year.

“Look for continued steady gold over the 200-day moving averages and as gold is under invested. If we close over $1,300 more asset allocators joining the long side,” Kitco quoted George Gero, managing director at RBC Wealth Management. “Gold is still much about the dollar weakness, bonds — ten-year [yields] not moving after rate hike — and tax season in full swing.”

 

SOURCE: mining.com, Andrew Topf , 30/12/2017

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Thessaloniki Port Sold to German Fund

Although delayed for a few days, the announcement concerning the privatization of the Thessaloniki port came late on Thursday, by the country’s liquidation fund.

The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund has announced the sale of its 67% stake in Thessaloniki Port to Deutche Invest Equity Partners, Belterra Investments and CMA CGM’s ports division, Terminal Link.

The German-led joint venture – called South Europe Gateway Thessaloniki (SEGT) – beat out bids from International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) and DP World to win the concession agreement.

HRADF had asked the bidders to improve their first-round offers in April, and SEGT’s proposal came out ahead.

The price of the shares acquisition was $275 million, and the contract requires a further $215 million investment in the port within the next seven years, along with concession revenues. In total, the agency estimates that the agreement is worth $1.3 billion.

“The exploitation of the Thessaloniki port along with the positive impact the successful conclusion of the exploitation agreement of Piraeus Port already has, form an axis of growth and development that crosses vertically our country, further enhancing the role of Greece as the European gateway to international companies for trade and cruise,” said HRADF chairman Aris Xenofos.

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Market test set to determine the course of PPC plant privatization

The agreement for the sale of lignite-fired power plants owned by Public Power Corporation was sealed last Thursday in Brussels, and the government’s next challenge on the matter is attracting investment interest, otherwise it will have to sell hydroelectric units too – its last line of defense in the controversial issue of reducing PPC’s lignite capacity.

Although Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis is optimistic about the outcome of next month’s market test, there is no sign from investors in that direction. People active in the domestic power market appear certain about the opposite – that the failure of the market test will bring them closer to their goal of entering the hydroelectric market.

Domestic investors start from the view that “lignite as a form of fuel is not productive” in the context of European Union’s policy to reduce carbon emissions, and go as far as saying they will abstain from the December market test, which is intended to gauge investor interest in the plants to be privatized.

Given that this will constitute a major shift in the domestic power market, and until the issues regarding the sale of the plants become clear, investors will keep monitoring developments and no one can rule out a change in their attitude.

Speaking to local investors, one gleans a variety of positions on the matter. The most emphatic attitude comes from Italy’s Edison, which cooperates with Hellenic Petroleum through Elpedison in electricity production: Edison sources say the firm is not interested in investing in lignite units and expect that other investors have a similar attitude.

The mind-set is similar at Hellenic Petroleum, with a source telling Kathimerini that “the EU policies on coal render the acquisition of lignite units a negative investment,” adding that the participation of a European investor in the market test would come as a surprise. Mytilineos sources echo the same view, adding the firm will not take part in the tests.

However, Terna does seem interested in the sale of the PPC lignite plants, while Copelouzos appears to be in two minds about it, having previously shown an interest in cooperation with China’s Shenhua. Sources say the Chinese interest in the Greek lignite plants has diminished.

 

source: http://www.ekathimerini.com,  by Chryssa Liaggou,  26/11/2017

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