Global Trade and Sustainable Developmnet Essay

Today an international mining industry is very important branch especially in the context of global trade. The world of today could not exist without mineral products. Mining is taking full advantage of the quick expansion of computers and microelectronics. These technologies are found in nearly every aspect of mineral development activity – from exploration methods, through production, mineral processing and even marketing. Computers and related equipment now have a lot of different applications in geophysical logging, geochemistry,  geological mapping and surface contouring. At the mine planning stage, the job of designing a mine is now greatly simplified by automation. Through the use of advanced software, geological models can be produced from drill hole data. Computers are also being used to develop plans for mine expansion, develop mining schedules for yearly, quarterly and in some cases, weekly operations. At the operating stage, this new technology is everywhere. Both in research and operational applications, automated mine monitoring systems now determine immediate information on the status of equipment in underground or remote
locations.[1]

Speaking about ancient mining it is important to mention that it begins with a premise, to survey the history of the extractive industries from the dawn of history to the final years of the Roman Empire (p. v). The mining industry has been in the doldrums since the start of the 1980s. The worldwide price of base metals and gold went down, which substantially reduced the profit margin of mining multinational corporations (MNCs). The mining industry was unable to adjust to the global economic crisis that slowed down economic growth worldwide.

There are many factors that lessened the demand for metals. Manufacturing companies resorted to substitution and recycling in order to cope with escalating high prices of industrial metals. There was relative “peace” when Eastern Europe collapsed and China opened up to the west, easing somewhat the arms race that characterized the tension among the superpowers. It was also a period when more focus was given to the development of the electronics and service sector industries – industries that do not consume too much metal.

The new initiative by industrialized countries to bail themselves out from the economic crisis would intensify the exploitation of developing countries under the concept of the “borderless” economy. The mining industry was in the stage of restructuring itself in preparation for the anticipated increase in demand in metals, especially in Asia. Prior to the Mexican and Asian financial crises, Asia was an engine of growth for world metal consumption.

The Chamber of Mines of the US, Canada, UK and Australia and some chief executive officers (CEOs) of top mining MNCs like Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ) (now Rio Tinto) made sure that they would benefit from liberalization, deregulation and privatization as they became active actors themselves. They initiated the changes in the mining codes of more than 70 countries that would provide ease of access to mineral resources, guarantees and tax breaks against loss, tax holidays, guaranteed rights to move from exploration to mining, freedom from interference and expropriation, reduced payments and share to government, and repatriation of capital and profits. The liberalization of the mining industry in these countries was in different stages of implementation when two successive financial crises struck.[2]

Today mining industry is experiencing considerable growth. Minerals production figures for the year 2003 show that for the first time production values for key commodities, notably coal, aggregate and iron sand exceeded $1 billion. In addition, coal production has doubled since 1990 and the amount of coal exported has increased seven fold.[3]

The problem of producers and consumers are closely connected  with the main international mining companies or corporations. Special attention should be given to the Canadian mining companies.

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC).  MAC is the national association of the Canadian mining industry. The Association represents companies engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting and refining. Member companies account for the bulk of Canada’s output of metals, and they produce major quantities of other industrial materials.

MAC strongly believes that the liberalization of trade and investment, and a strong, open, and smoothly functioning multilateral trading system is essential to creating economic growth, fostering employment creation, and raising standards of living in all parts of the world. MAC encourages the Canadian government to work both with WTO members and countries seeking to accede to the WTO to establish meaningful market-opening commitments by broadening market access and product coverage, opening government procurement to guarantee access for Canadian suppliers, promoting the advancement of information technology through the reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers, addressing the expansion of trade through electronic commerce, and advancing the use of intellectual property to foster the development of new technologies around the world.[4]

Superior Mining Corporation. It is also Canada-based corporation, focussed on the exploration and development of alluvial placer diamonds. The company has three 100%-owned subsidiaries:

Superior Diamonds Ltd registered in Bermuda;

Anscar Resources (Pty) Ltd registered in South Africa;

Mokutu Mining (Ptg) Ltd registered in South Africa.

In South Africa Superior Mining Corporation has its main activity, in alluvial placer diamond exploration in the Bushmanland Plateau region of Namaqualand in North West Cape Province. In late 2001, Superior Mining completed a surface exploration and sampling programme on the company’s properties at Lekkerdrink, Goubees and Kamiesbees farms, and targets were identified for a proposed bulk testing programme. In January 2002 Superior Mining acquired and installed a bulk testing plant and ancillary equipment and commenced testing on the Goubees project area, with a “first phase” exploration programme completed by the end of March 2002. Results were encouraging but also highlighted the critical risk of the area. Although the sample trenches and pits reached bedrock at only 0.3-3.0m depth, the results appear to show that the diamondiferous gravels are relatively old, possibly of Miocene age, cut into by non-diamondiferous gravels of younger post-Miocene age. Distinguishing between the diamond placer target of the Miocene channel gravels and the younger non-diamondiferous channel gravels seems to be the key to success in this area, and the main difficulty. The cross-cutting younger channels appear to be visible on 1:36000 scale air photos as “very subtle discolourations.”

In South Africa Superior Mining Corporation entered into an option and joint venture in February 2002 with an undisclosed third party, whereby the third party can earn “an undivided 49% interest in, and to, the company’s various and potential diamond mineral property interests located in Namaqualand…” in return for paying Superior Mining CDN$170,000 and to “provide funding for, or expend, minimum cumulative expenditures for exploration nad development work on any of the mineral interests of at least CDN$70,000 prior to March 31, 2002”. Superior Mining remains the operator.[5]

LionOre. LionOre is a profitable international mining company whose primary objective is to achieve continued growth through a combination of strategic acquisitions, exploration success, advancement of the Company Activox downstream metals technology and the identification and development of exploration and acquisition targets with the potential to become low-cost mining operations.

The Company currently owns: 85% of the Phoenix mine (Botswana  in production) and associated leases; 100% of the Emily Ann nickel sulfide mine (Australia  in production); 100% of the Maggie Hays nickel sulfide project (Australia  under development); 100% of the Thunderbox gold mine (Australia  in production) and surrounding tenements, as well as a number of other exploration properties in the Northeastern Goldfields region; 100% of the Waterloo and Amorac nickel sulfide deposits (Australia  under evaluation/ongoing exploration); 100% interest in the nickel rights of the Southern Cross region tenements (Australia  under exploratio).[6]

Three-Year Strategic Targets:

·         To be recognized as a profitable and growing international mining company with significant producing and exploration properties in Australia, Botswana and other mining regions of the world;

·         To increase attributable nickel production to not less than 30,000 tonnes per year;

·         To build on the existing asset base at Thunderbox to provide a sustainable production level in excess of 200,000 ounces of gold per annum;

·         To expand existing operations in Western Australia and Botswana and to establish important and strategic production bases in highly prospective regions;

·         To successfully commercialize the Activox hydrometallurgical technology;

·         To retain, enhance and utilize LionOre’s corporate and financial management capacity to rapidly pursue and capitalize on appropriate opportunities in the international mineral business.[7]

Austrade’s Global Mining Team. Austrade’s global network, with offices in 90 cities around the world, is well placed to respond to this ever-changing, international business environment and provide relevant assistance to exporters. In recognition of the importance of mining supply exports, Austrade now has a Mining Unit based in Sydney and specialist staff located in emerging markets, including Indonesia, Latin America, India, China, PNG and Africa among others. These personnel make up the Austrade Global Mining Team.

According to Austrade’s National Manager Mining Geoff Spears, in order to ensure Austrade’s strategies in this area meet the needs of industry Austrade needs to work closely with the Austmine Export Network in developing and implementing market development initiatives and in targeting specific opportunities. “Austrade also draws on the advice of its Mining Export Advisory Panel comprising senior representatives of the resources industry to enhance Australian mining industry exports,” he said.[8] With regard to Africa, Austrade Senior Trade Commissioner Johannesburg Terry Goss sees the continent growing in importance to Australian mining companies. “Australian companies with skills in mining exploration, engineering management, contract mining and mining supplies have been winning business all over Africa, from Ghana to Tanzania and Austrade will be devoting more resources to further strengthening linkages into the mining houses,” he said.[9]

AAI-T AMT International Mining Corporation. AMT International Mining Corporation is a company in an advanced stage of mineral exploration that has focused its activity on earning an interest from BHP Copper Inc. in a copper property with recoverable molybdenum and precious metal values, and on acquiring adjacent mineral tenements. The property is located at Copper Creek, Pinal County, Arizona. The Copper Creek Property is ideally located close to three major copper smelters and refining complexes, including BHP’s San Manuel facility twelve miles away.[10]

DAY-T Dayton Mining Corporation. Dayton Mining Corporation is an international mining company engaged in the exploration, development and operation of precious metals properties. The Company’s primary asset is its 100% owned and operated Andacollo Gold Mine located in northern Chile. Commercial production at Andacollo began January 1, 1996. Andacollo is a 14,000 ton per day open-pit, heap leach operation. Cash operating costs are US$155 per ounce making the Andacollo gold mine one of the lowest cost producing mines. Gold resources are 2.3 million ounces of gold contained, including proven and probable reserves of 1.3 million ounces. There is excellent potential to add to the current reserve base and Dayton is currently engaged in a US$2.6 million drilling program for 1996 on the Andacollo property.[11]

Today, consideration of the environmental impact of mining is an essential part of planning and operating a mine. It is common practise all over the world to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for any new mine project. This requires a detailed environmental Baseline study of the proposed location of a mine, a complete mine plan which details the potential environmental impacts of the mine, and how the best available technology can be used to mitigate these impacts. In addition, a plan is required which describes the mine closure process and the post-mining use of the land. It is essential for mining engineers to have an adequate understanding of all aspects of this process and to appreciate how to modify a mine design to minimise impact within the economic parameters of the project.[12] Mining is a short-term activity with long-term effects. There can be no
doubt that when it takes place in forest zones, it is a factor of
degradation. It is calculated that, together with oil prospecting, mining
is threatening 38% of the last stretches of the world’s primary forests.[13] The enormous consumption of water required by mining activities generally
reduces the water table around the site drying up wells and springs. Air pollution can be caused by the dust generated by mining activities, a
serious cause of illnesses, generally in the form of respiratory troubles
in people and asphyxia of plants and trees. Furthermore, usually, a
release of gases and toxic vapour takes place.[14]

Environmental impact of mining is closely connected with social and economical impacts.

Mining comes along with its promise of wealth and jobs, but millions are those throughout the whole world who can testify to the high social costs that it brings with it: appropriation of the land belonging to the local communities, impacts on health, alteration of social relationships, destruction of forms of community subsistence and life, social disintegration, radical and abrupt changes in regional cultures, displacement of other present and/or future local economic activities.[15] All this is added to the hazardous and unhealthy working conditions of this type of activity. It may be held that many of the affected communities have given their consent. However, it is hard to speak of previous, genuine informed consent, as they do not have the opportunity to fully understand what is waiting for them when they are asked to place their signature on the dotted line at the foot of a contract. For this reason, mechanisms to enable indigenous and local communities to effectively participate in decision-making processes are called for, together with legislation enabling them to reject this type of undertaking in their territories.[16]

1.      Free Student Essays Network. 2004. The Importance of Mining Industry. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.freestudentessays.com/economy/12.shtml>

2.      Mines and Communities Homepage. 20 Oct. 1999. National Workshop on Mining. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Company/trends.htm>

3.      Scoops Media on the Web. 30 Aug. 2004. Mining Industry Experiencing Considerable Growth. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PA0408/S00522.htm>

4.      Mining Association of Canada. Study on World Trade Organization. 27 April 1999. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.mining.ca/english/publications/trade-eng.html>

5.      Eco-Minex International Co Ltd. 13 Aug. 2002. Superior Mining Corporation. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.mine.mn/Placer_Stockfile_Superior_Mining.htm>

6.      LionOre Home Page. Lionore Mining International Ltd. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.lionore.com/about/default.asp>

7.      Australian Trade Commission Home Page. 25 May 1999. Australian Trade Commission. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.austrade.gov.au/corporate/layout/0,,0_S1-1_-2_-3_PWB1143564-4_-5_-6_-7_,00.html>

8.      Free Daily Mining Stocks Price Charts. 10 June 2001. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://futures.tradingcharts.com/miningcharts.html>

9.      World Rainforest Movement on the Web. Environmental and Social Impacts of Mining. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/wrr2003/wrr03%20march-april/impacts%20of%20mining.htm>

10.  World Rainforest Movement on the Web. Environmental and Social Impacts of Mining. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/wrr2003/wrr03%20march-april/impacts%20of%20mining.htm>

11.  Heathgate Online. 2001. Economical Impact. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.heathgateresources.com.au/public/content/heathgate_beverly_mine.asp?xcid=158>

12.  Nuclear Information Centre. Sept. 1999.The Economic Impact of Mining at Roxby Downs. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.ccsa.asn.au/nic/UMining/Roxbyeconomics.htm>

[1] Free Student Essays Network. 2004. The Importance of Mining Industry. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.freestudentessays.com/economy/12.shtml>
[2] Mines and Communities Homepage. 20 Oct. 1999. National Workshop on Mining. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Company/trends.htm>
[3] Scoops Media on the Web. 30 Aug. 2004. Mining Industry Experiencing Considerable Growth. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PA0408/S00522.htm>

[4] Mining Association of Canada. Study on World Trade Organization. 27 April 1999. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.mining.ca/english/publications/trade-eng.html>
[5] Eco-Minex International Co Ltd. 13 Aug. 2002. Superior Mining Corporation. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.mine.mn/Placer_Stockfile_Superior_Mining.htm>

[6] LionOre Home Page. Lionore Mining International Ltd. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.lionore.com/about/default.asp>

[7]LionOre Home Page. Lionore Mining International Ltd. 18 Sept. 2004  <http://www.lionore.com/about/default.asp>
[8] Australian Trade Commission Home Page. 25 May 1999. Australian Trade Commission. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.austrade.gov.au/corporate/layout/0,,0_S1-1_-2_-3_PWB1143564-4_-5_-6_-7_,00.html>

[9] See: Australian Trade Commission Home Page. 25 May 1999.
[10] Free Daily Mining Stocks Price Charts. 10 June 2001. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://futures.tradingcharts.com/miningcharts.html>
[11] See: Free Daily Mining Stocks Price Charts. 10 June 2001.
[12] Mackay School of Mines on the Web. Environmental Courses within Mining Program. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.unr.edu/mines/mine-eng/courses/envmine.html>
[13]  World Rainforest Movement on the Web. Environmental and Social Impacts of Mining. 18 Sept. 2004 <http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/wrr2003/wrr03%20march-april/impacts%20of%20mining.htm>
[14] Abend, Paula.  “Mining’s Legacy – Animals Talk – Environmental impact on Animals.” Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Summer 2002. 18 Sept. 2004 ;http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FRO/is_3_135/ai_88575965/print;
[15] Heathgate Online. 2001. Economical Impact. 18 Sept. 2004 ;http://www.heathgateresources.com.au/public/content/heathgate_beverly_mine.asp?xcid=158;
[16] Nuclear Information Centre. Sept. 1999.The Economic Impact of Mining at Roxby Downs. 18 Sept. 2004 ;http://www.ccsa.asn.au/nic/UMining/Roxbyeconomics.htm;

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