Gold miners keen on going green

Gold miners keen on going green
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Updated 30 November 2021

Gold miners keen on going green

Gold miners keen on going green
  • In eight countries gold mining firms account for more than 5% of all government income



LONDON: The gold mining industry is keen to show off its green credentials.
The World Gold Council has revealed that of the $60.1 billion its 33 members generated in revenue in 38 countries around the world last year, 63 percent, or $37.9 billion of it remained in the nations where the mining operations were based.
The trade body, whose members account for around 40 percent of the global output, pointed out that in five countries the industry supported more than 3 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, roughly the size of internationally recognized overseas development assistance levels.
In eight countries gold mining firms accounted for more than 5 percent of all government income, the association said in a recent report titled, “The Social and Economic Contribution of Gold Mining.”
WGC Chief Financial Officer Terry Heymann said in an interview: “In Suriname the contribution is as high as 16.3 percent, Malawi its 8 percent and 6.6 percent in Burkina Faso.
“These contributions come as tax. But they also come in the form of new roads built into the site, or energy sources to power it, which can be more than the mine needs. The surplus energy is then pumped into the local community.”
One council member, Canada’s Barrick Gold, uses hydroelectric power plants at its Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which it shares with residents of the African country’s northeastern province Haut-Uele.
In Burkina Faso, UK-based Nordgold powers its Bassi and Bouly mines with solar power, which also supplies the local towns and villages in the Centre-Nord region.
“Mines often help fund schools, hospitals and health clinics, because a site needs a healthy and educated workforce,” Heymann added.
The WGC report added: “Host nations and communities might therefore come to regard responsible and sustainable gold mining operations as representing of a ‘window of opportunity’ for development.”
Such windows can last for sustained periods. It can take a decade to fully explore a mining site, and five years to build, with a lifecycle of 30 to 50 years.
However, the world’s biggest producers of the precious yellow metal are mature countries that do not rely on its production for development.
China is currently the world’s largest miner, producing around 368.3 tons last year, followed by Russia with 331.1 tons, Australia with 327.8 tons and the US with 190.2 tons.
Gold production was not greatly affected by the coronavirus disease hitting 3,400.8 tons last year, just 4 percent down on 2019.
In the third quarter of this year, gold production increased 4 percent year-on-year to 960 tons, the largest quarterly production level on record and 3 percent higher than the same period in 2019.
Gold demand jumped by almost 25 percent last year, rising above $2,000 an ounce for the first time last August, as investors looked for a safe haven during the pandemic.
But the metal has given back those gains as the health crisis shows signs of easing, despite the emergence of the omicron COVID-19 variant, and is just under 6 percent lower than it was 12 months ago at around $1,793 an ounce.
Analysts are split on whether gold will jump to $3,000 an ounce in 2022. Some predict a rise due to persistent negative real interest rates, inflationary pressures and US dollar weakness as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. Others believe its price could fall to around $1,700 an ounce next year, due to rising supply and an easing of political tensions between China and the US as the health crisis subsides.
Heymann noted that gold remained a store of value, particularly when compared with newer digital currencies, such as Bitcoin and ether, that have grabbed headlines in the financial press in recent years.
He said: “There is a place in investors’ portfolios for gold. It is a stable long-term store of value, the pandemic has shown that. It is very liquid, it’s a physical asset, you know exactly what it is. And it’s a market that has been around for thousands of years.”


Oil falls from 7-year high after US inventory build

Oil falls from 7-year high after US inventory build
Updated 5 sec ago

Oil falls from 7-year high after US inventory build

Oil falls from 7-year high after US inventory build
RIYADH: Oil prices slid on Friday, a day after reaching a seven-year high, as higher inventories of US crude and fuel prompted profit taking.

Brent crude fell 2.1 percent to $86.50 a barrel as of 12:21 p.m. Riyadh time after touching $89.50 on Jan. 20, the highest level since October 2014. US benchmark WTI declined 2.2 percent to $83.65 a barrel after reaching a seven-year high on Wednesday.

Both benchmarks are still headed for a fifth straight weekly advance and are up about 10 percent this year.

US gasoline inventories rose by 5.9 million barrels last week to their highest since February 2021, the US Energy Information Administration said in a report on Thursday. Crude stockpiles increased by 515,000 barrels last week.

“An unexpected increase in US crude stockpiles prompted investors to take profits,” said Tatsufumi Okoshi, senior economist at Nomura Securities, who added the recent rally has been overdone. “Still, losses were limited as expectations that supply tightness would continue amid recovering demand and geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine and in the Middle East kept investors cautious about selling.”

Investors are concerned about potential disruptions to supply after Yemen’s Houthis attacked the UAE, OPEC’s third-largest producer, and Russia, the world’s second-largest oil producer, makes increasingly ominous noises about a potential invasion of Ukraine.

However, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday that oil supply will soon overtake demand as some producers are set to pump at or above all-time highs, while demand holds up despite the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant.

Oil prices were also supported by French oil giant TotalEnergies’s announcement on Friday that it would withdraw from Myanmar over “worsening” human rights abuses committed since the country’s military took power in a February 2021 coup.

“The situation, in terms of human rights and more generally the rule of law... has led us to reassess the situation and no longer allows TotalEnergies to make a sufficiently positive contribution in the country,” the company said in a statement.

A fire broke out early Friday at a site belonging to the Kuwait National Petroleum Company, forcing a suspension of export operations there, the company said in a statement.

The fire in the Shuaiba Industrial Area in eastern Kuwait did not result in any injuries, according to a brief statement issued by the company. The fire occurred at a petroleum coke flowline. The coal-like substance is a byproduct of refined crude oil that is used in the steel and aluminum industry.

Only a week ago, a deadly fire erupted during maintenance work at a major oil refinery run by the same company, killing two Asian workers. Another 10 were wounded, five of them critically. An earlier fire erupted at that same oil refinery three months prior, resulting in several injuries.

Kuwait, a nation home to 4.1 million people, has the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves.

Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens

Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens
Updated 21 January 2022

Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens

Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens
  • Qatar Airways is expected to fight the A321 contract’s termination, having said it plans to take delivery of the jets even though it is refusing to take more A350s until a dispute over surface erosion on the larger planes has been resolved

PARIS: Airbus on Thursday raised the stakes in a dispute with one of its largest customers, Qatar Airways, over grounded and undelivered A350 jets by announcing it had revoked a separate contract for 50 smaller A321s the airline needs to open new routes.
The move is expected to deepen a dispute that moved closer toward a rare courtroom clash on Thursday, with a procedural hearing over Qatar’s claim for $600 million in compensation over A350 flaws pencilled in for the week of April 26 in London.
Airbus revealed it was walking away from the contract for A321neos in skeletal arguments presented during a scheduling session over the A350 dispute at a division of Britain’s High Court on Thursday, people familiar with the matter said.
“We confirm we did terminate the contract for 50 A321s with Qatar Airways in accordance with our rights,” an Airbus spokesman said following a filing setting out provisional arguments, reported earlier by Bloomberg News.
Qatar Airways is expected to fight the A321 contract’s termination, having said it plans to take delivery of the jets even though it is refusing to take more A350s until a dispute over surface erosion on the larger planes has been resolved.
The airline had no immediate comment on the A321 contract.
The A321 order stems from a deal first signed some 10 years ago which was then worth $4.6 billion at list prices. It was later modified to switch 10 of the A321s to a newer version.
Qatar Airways has said the A321s will help it launch flights to new markets where there is currently not enough demand for larger aircraft, but which are out of reach of smaller A320s.

GROUNDING DISPUTE
The two companies have been locked in a row for months over A350 damage including blistered paint, cracked window frames or riveted areas and erosion of a layer of lightning protection.
Qatar Airways says its national regulator has ordered it to stop flying 21 out of its 53 A350 jets as problems appeared, prompting a bitter dispute with Airbus which has said that while it acknowledges technical problems, there is no safety issue.
Qatar Airways is seeking $618 million in compensation for the 21 grounded jets plus $4 million a day as the row drags on.
The Gulf carrier is also asking British judges to order France-based Airbus not to attempt to deliver any more of the jets until what it describes as a design defect has been fixed.
Airbus has said it will “deny in total” the complaint and has accused Qatar Airways, once one of its most highly courted customers, of mislabelling the problem as a safety concern.
It has indicated it will argue that state-owned Qatar Airways influenced its regulator to ground the jets to win compensation, while Qatar Airways has questioned the design and accuses Airbus of failing to produce studies, the people said.
Qatar Airways has said its local regulator is independently driving safety decisions and cannot evaluate the airworthiness of the affected jets without a deeper analysis from Airbus.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which is responsible for the overall design but not the locally regulated airworthiness of individual planes in service, has said it has not so far found safety problems with A350s that it inspected.
Qatar is so far the only country to ground some of the jets.
But a Reuters investigation https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/costly-airbus-paint-flaw-goes-wider-than-gulf-2021-11-29 in November revealed at least five other airlines had discovered paint or surface flaws since 2016, prompting Airbus to set up an internal task force before the Qatar row, and to explore a new A350 anti-lightning design.


World’s first hydrogen tanker to ship test cargo to Japan from Australia

World’s first hydrogen tanker to ship test cargo to Japan from Australia
Updated 21 January 2022

World’s first hydrogen tanker to ship test cargo to Japan from Australia

World’s first hydrogen tanker to ship test cargo to Japan from Australia
  • The hydrogen is cooled to minus 253 degrees Celsius (minus 423 Fahrenheit), liquefying it for export

MELBOURNE: A Japanese-Australian venture producing hydrogen from brown coal is set to start loading its maiden cargo on the world’s first liquid hydrogen carrier on Friday, in a test delayed by nearly a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Suiso Frontier, built by Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), arrived Australia this week from Kobe, following a longer trip than the expected 16 days as the ship dodged bad weather and rough seas, said a spokesperson for the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) venture. The ship is scheduled to head back to Japan in about a week.
Led by KHI, HESC is a A$500 million ($360 million) coal-to-hydrogen project backed by Japan and Australia as a way to switch to cleaner energy and cut carbon emissions.
Hydrogen, seen as a path to decarbonizing industries that rely on coal, gas and oil, is key to Japan’s goal to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Australia aims to become a major exporter of the fuel.
The Australian government on Friday committed a further A$7.5 million for HESC’s A$184 million pre-commercialization phase, and A$20 million for testing a capture and storage project for carbon dioxide released in the coal-to-hydrogen process to create a carbon neutral product.
Last year, HESC started extracting 70 kg of hydrogen a day from brown coal in the Latrobe Valley, about 135 km (84 miles) east of Melbourne, where brown coal mines have long fueled some of Australia’s most polluting power stations.
The hydrogen is produced by reacting coal with oxygen and steam under high heat and pressure. It is then trucked to a port site where it is cooled to minus 253 degrees Celsius (minus 423 Fahrenheit), liquefying it for export.
The partners are looking to produce up to 225,000 tons of hydrogen a year.
They will need to make a final investment decision by 2025, with Australia racing against countries in the Middle East and elsewhere to produce carbon neutral hydrogen, said Jeremy Stone, a director of J-Power, one of the HESC partners.
Partners in the project include Japan’s Electric Power Development Co, Iwatani Corp, Marubeni Corp., Sumitomo Corp. and Australia’s AGL Energy Ltd., whose mine is supplying the brown coal.


MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 

MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 
Updated 21 January 2022

MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 

MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 

RIYADH: Middle East and North Africa’s mergers and acquisition deals have hit $109 billion in 2021, a report released by Refinitiv showed.

The transaction amount is up 57 percent from 2020 and is the third year on record for the investments to hit the $100-billion mark.  

Saudi Arabia was the most targeted state, with $27.3 billion in mergers and acquisition activity, constituting half of the deals recorded in the region. 

During 2021, the amount of deals recorded a highest annual total since 1980, with 1,141 deals, up 40 percent compared to last year. 

Additionally, investment banking fees in the MENA region have totalled $1.4 billion during the year 2021, up 3 percent from the last year, the report revealed. 

The aforementioned figures were released by Refinitiv, a London Stock Exchange Group Business, in its report titled Middle East and North Africa Investment Banking Report for 2021. 


Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast

Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast
Updated 20 January 2022

Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast

Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast

RIYADH: Riyadh-based Saudi Basic Industries, also known as SABIC, one of the leading petrochemical firms worldwide, announced the start of operations of its petrochemical joint venture with US ExxonMobil.

US Texas is to witness the launch of an ethylene production unit – operating an annual capacity of around 1.8 million tons, the homegrown petrochemical company said in a statement.

The new production unit, which started construction in 2019, will produce materials to be utilized in packaging, agricultural film, construction materials, clothing, and automotive coolants.

This project is in line with SABIC’s strategy, aimed at diversifying its feedstock as well as strengthening its position in North America.

“This is a remarkable achievement that positions us well to help meet growing global demand for performance products while providing meaningful investment in the US Gulf Coast,’ president of ExxonMobil Karen McKee said, commenting on the partnership.

SABIC noted that the deal’s financial impact is expected to roll out on the company’s financial statements during the ongoing quarter.

In the latest trading session, shares of the company edged down by 0.2 percent to close at SR126 ($33.6).