MAC/20: Mines and Communities

China Update

Published by MAC on 2006-05-12


China Update

12th May 2006

The Australian prime mininster confirms his government's commitment to selling uranium to China (while still excluding India as a customer).

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) announces it will draft a code of practice on coal mine safety. The UN body points out that accidents and fatalities in the world's two most populous nations have increased, while those in the US, UK and Australia have "significantly reduced." What the article (below) doesn't point out is that neither India nor China have signed on to ILO 176 on safety and health in mines - but then neither has Australia.

Meanwhile, as the world's largest zinc producer, Teck Cominco, announces a takeover bid for Inco, the Big Nickel itself announces plans to profit from China's advance to becoming the world's premier stainless steel producer. The ore will be supplied from Inco's stalled Goro project in New Caledonia.


INTERVIEW - Australia PM Says Will Not Sell Uranium to India

PlanetArk AUSTRALIA

12th May 2006

CANBERRA - Prime Minister John Howard said on Thursday Australia would stick to its policy of banning uranium sales to India but he would seek more details on a US-India nuclear deal when he visits Washington this week.

Howard told Reuters in an interview he would raise the issue with US President George W. Bush, but that Australia would not sell uranium to India because it had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"I will only discuss it to the extent that I will be seeking further information about the arrangement between America and India," said Howard in his office in Parliament House, Canberra.

"We are not currently disposed to change our policy in relation to selling uranium to countries that aren't party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," he said.

India wants to buy uranium from Australia, which has more than 40 percent of the world's known reserves of the mineral, and Howard said Australia was keen for further uranium sales.

"As one of the major exporters of uranium, we remain interested in sales of uranium, subject to proper safeguards," he said. Howard leaves on Friday for the United States, Canada and Ireland. Australia has sent a team to India to find out more about the deal that will see New Delhi receive US nuclear technology in return for separating its military and civil nuclear operations and opening civilian plants to international inspections.

"The same group will go on to Washington to talk to the Americans about that arrangement," said Howard. "But it doesn't, of itself, indicate or flag a change of policy."

RISE OF CHINA

Australia signed a nuclear safeguards deal with China last month that set the stage for huge uranium exports to Beijing for its power industry. Australia now has 20 nuclear safeguard agreements, covering 37 countries.

China is expected to build 40 to 50 nuclear power plants over the next 20 years, while India is looking to boost its nuclear power industry, which currently accounts for only three percent of energy production.

Howard, who will attend an official dinner at the White House and address the parliaments of Canada and Ireland, also said he plans to discuss the broader international situation with Bush, in particular Iran and Australian and US ties with China.

Canberra's willingness to embrace Beijing has highlighted a divergence with a wary United States, which has questioned China's military and economic ambitions and chosen to pursue a nuclear energy deal with Asia's other growing power, India. "We have a good relationship with China and one that has brought great dividends for Australia," Howard said.

"But obviously it's a different relationship (to US-China ties) and we bring a slightly different perspective as we are here in the Asia-Pacific area. America brings a different perspective again and I think part of the value of these exchanges is to, as it were, blend our perspectives on China."

The United States has said it wants to be sure China's military build-up does not "outsize" its regional ambitions and interests and ensure that China's growing influence in international politics was positive.

Australia has long battled to balance a strong alliance with the United States with its geographical location in Asia, home to two of its largest trading partners, Japan and China. Canberra and Beijing are also negotiating a free-trade agreement. (Additional reporting by James Grubel)

Story by Michelle Nichols

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE


ILO Meeting of Experts to discuss new Code of Practice on coal mine safety

http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/inf/pr/2006/17.htm

8th May 2006

GENEVA (ILO News) - In an effort to modernize safety and health regulations in underground coal mines, representatives of workers, employers and governments meet here on 8-13 May to discuss a draft Code of Practice (Note 1) for one of the world's most hazardous occupations.

The new draft code would update 20-year-old occupational and safety recommendations, reflecting major developments in underground coal mining that have seen new technologies, investment, training and regulations cut the mine death toll in some countries, especially in the developed world.

Nevertheless the incidence of coal mining fatalities reveals considerable differences between countries. While the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have significantly reduced fatalities, rates in India and China are higher.

The draft code to be discussed by the Meeting reflects the many changes in the industry over the last 20 years - a leaner, multi-skilled workforce and new technologies - and follows a less prescriptive, more systems-oriented approach. It addresses, within a national framework, the responsibilities, duties and rights of the competent authority, the labour inspectorate, employers, workers and their organizations, suppliers, manufacturers and designers, and contractors, and occupational safety and health (OSH) management systems and services and OSH reporting.

The second part of the code deals with the different facilities used and dangers encountered in the production of coal from underground mines - from means of access and egress, roads, haulage and transport, support of roofs and walls, ventilation and lightning to the dangers resulting from coal and other dust, mine fires, inrushes of water, gas or other materials as well as from the use of electricity, machinery and explosives. It also covers transport, competence and training, personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency preparedness, and special protection and hygiene issues.

The practical recommendations of ILO codes of practice are intended for the use of all those, both in the public and private sectors, who have responsibility for safety and health management. Codes of practice are not intended to replace national laws or regulations or accepted standards.


Inco to build fifth China plant

Canadian Press

5th May 2006

Inco Ltd. confirmed Friday it plans to build a new plant in China to produce refined nickel for the stainless steel industry.

The big nickel producer said the $63-million (U.S.) plant in Dalian, a city in the northern Liaoning province, will make Utility brand nickel. Construction is scheduled to begin in the third quarter with commissioning to follow in the first half of 2008. "With China poised to become the world's No. 1 stainless steel producer, this new facility puts us in the right place, at the right time, with the right product," Inco executive vice-president Peter Goudie said in a release. "Inco's strategy is to continue expanding its presence not just as a nickel marketer but also as a local manufacturer in the world's fastest growing nickel market." The processing plant will be Inco's fifth in China. It currently operates a nickel shearing and packaging facility in Dalian, a nickel salts refinery near Shanghai and nickel foam plants in Dalian and in Shenyang in northern China.

The new plant will have a nominal capacity of 32,000 tonnes per year and will be supplied in part by Inco's Goro nickel project in New Caledonia. Inco said it has also signed a letter of intent with Taiyuan Iron and Steel Corp., China's largest manufacturer of stainless steel, regarding the possible construction of a second such plant. Its shares were up $1.19 at $65.20 in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.


Inco to build nickel plant in China

Reuters Canada - Toronto,Ontario, Canada (Reuters)

Inco Ltd. said on Friday it will build a new plant in Dalian, China to make nickel products to supply stainless steel makers in the fast-growing Chinese market.
Inco, which will spend $63 million to build the facility, said the construction will start in the third quarter of 2006, and commissioning is expected in the first half of 2008.
The new Dalian facility will have a nominal capacity of 32,000 tonnes per year. It will be Inco's fifth processing plant in China.
Feed for the new plant will be supplied by Inco's Goro nickel project in New Caledonia and other sources, the company said.


Reunión de expertos de la OIT discute un nuevo Repertorio de recomendaciones prácticas sobre seguridad en las minas de carbón

http://www.ilo.org/public/spanish/bureau/inf/pr/2006/17.htm

Lunes 8 de mayo de 2006 (OIT/06/17)

GINEBRA (OIT EnLínea) - En un esfuerzo por modernizar las normas de seguridad y salud en las minas de carbón subterráneas, representantes de trabajadores, empleadores y gobiernos se reúnen en Ginebra del 8 al 13 de mayo para discutir el proyecto de Recomendaciones prácticas (Nota 1) para uno de los trabajos más peligrosos del mundo.

El nuevo proyecto actualizará recomendaciones aprobadas hace 20 años sobre seguridad laboral, y refleja los progresos más importantes en la minería de carbón que gracias a las nuevas tecnologías, inversiones, formación y normas lograron reducir el número de víctimas mortales en algunos países, en especial en los desarrollados.

Sin embargo, la incidencia de víctimas mortales como consecuencia de la minería de carbón revela importantes diferencias entre países. Mientras que en Estados Unidos, Reino Unido y Australia el número de víctimas mortales disminuyó de manera significativa, los índices de India y China aumentaron.

El proyecto de repertorio de recomendaciones prácticas que será discutido en la Reunión refleja los numerosos cambios de la industria en los últimos 20 años - escasa mano de obra, con más de una destreza y nuevas tecnologías - es el resultado de un enfoque menos descriptivo y está orientado hacia diversos sistemas. Aborda, dentro de cada contexto nacional, las responsabilidades, deberes y derechos de autoridades competentes, inspectores del trabajo, empleadores, trabajadores y sus organizaciones, proveedores, fabricantes y proyectistas, y contratistas, y la gerencia de los sistemas y servicios de seguridad y salud laboral (OSH) así como sus registros.

La segunda parte se refiere a las diversas instalaciones utilizadas y a los peligros en la producción de carbón en las minas subterráneas, desde medios de acceso y salida, circulación, almacenaje y traslado, resistencia de techos y paredes, ventilación e iluminación hasta los riesgos causados por el carbón y otras partículas, incendios de minas, inundaciones de agua, emisión de gases u otros materiales así como por el uso de electricidad, maquinaria o explosivos. También se ocupa del transporte, cualificación y formación, equipo de protección personal (PPE), preparación para la emergencia y otros temas sobre protección especial e higiene.

El repertorio de recomendaciones prácticas de la OIT fue concebido para ser utilizado por todos los que, en el sector público y privado, tienen la responsabilidad de la gerencia de la seguridad y la salud. No pretende sustituir la legislación nacional o las normas establecidas.

 

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