MAC: Mines and Communities

China update

Published by MAC on 2007-09-15

China update

15th September 2007

A Chinese lead smelter exploded last week, sending eight people to their deaths - yet it had been officially commissioned only a week before.

Last than a month ago, a similar "accident" occurred at an aluminium smelter in Shangong, claiming the lives of fourteen employees.

[see: ]

Although the Australian government last week refused to back the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Queensland's Minister for Mines and Energy says the Aboriginal Wik and Wik Way must give prior consent before Chalco can embark on its huge proposed integrated bauxite-alumininum project at Aurukun.

[for earlier story see:]

For a decade, the world's sixth biggest copper producer has supplied refined metal to China's Minmetals. Now, Poland's KGHM has concluded a major " strategic cooperation framework agreement" with the Chinese company, presaging expansion, not only at nonferrous mines within in the two countries, but similar projects elsewhere in the world.

Fire at lead smelter in Gansu leaves 8 dead and 10 injured

Interfax Metals China

14th September 2007

A fire that broke out at a lead smelting plant in Gansu Province Sunday morning killed 8 and left 10 injured, a Jiuquan Municipal Work Safety Administration official told Interfax on September 10th

A slag spout set fire to an oxygen-enriched top-blown converter at Guazhou Industrial Park Lead Smelter Co. Ltd. in Jiuquan city. Out of the four technicians on site at the time, three were killed instantly, leaving one severely injured. The rest of the wounded were transported for hospitalization immediately.

The lead smelter was officially commissioned on Sept. 2, following a previous trial-run period and hasa designed annual production capacity of 50,000 tons of lead ingot and 60,000 tons of vitriol.

Chalco attains mineral development license for Aurukun project feasibility study

Interfax China Metals

15th September 2007

The Queensland government in Australia has granted a mineral development license to the Aluminum Corporation of China Co. Ltd. (Chalco) for its Aurukun project, according to a government announcement released Monday.

The license covers a 40,000 hectare site in the western part of the Cape York Peninsula, and gives Chalco the green light to push ahead with its AUD 40 million ($33.06 million) feasibility study, Anna Bligh, Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Infrastructure in Queensland, said.

The feasibility study will be carried out over the next two years and contribute AUD 2 million ($1.65 million) per annum to the local Aurukun economy.

Geoff Wilson, Minister for Mines and Energy in Queensland, said that the feasibility study will include mining, geo-technical and engineering studies, as well as various other investigations.

"The study will determine the preferred location for an AUD 2.2 billion ($1.82 billion) alumina refinery at Gladstone, Bowen or Townsville," Wilson said.

Wilson commented that the granting of the license is a milestone in the implementation of the Indigenous Land Use Agreement between the State of Queensland, Chalco, the Wik and Wik Way indigenous people, and the Aurukun Shire Council.

However, Chalco's decision as to whether or not to proceed with the development of the bauxite mine and alumina refinery will be based on results of the feasibility study, he said.

"Before any mining can occur, Chalco has to be granted a mining lease over the bauxite deposits. This also requires consent from the Wik and Wik Way people and the Aurukun Shire Council," Wilson said.

The Aurukun mine is located in the remote Cape York area of Queensland and contains bauxite reserves estimated to range between 500 million tons and 650 million tons.

Chalco's proposed AUD 3 billion ($2.48 billion) Aurukun project includes the development of a bauxite mine with an annual capacity of 6.5 million tons, the construction of bauxite loading facilities, as well as a refinery on the east coast of Queensland.

Birth Defects on the Rise in Polluted China - Media

PlanetArk CHINA

14th September 2007

BEIJING - Growing numbers of Chinese children are being born with
deformities due to pollution, later pregnancies and unhealthy
lifestyles, state media said on Thursday quoting a medical expert.

About 1 million Chinese children were born each year with congenital
heart problems, cleft palettes, nerve defects, limb abnormalities
and other physical defects, director of China's National Centre for
Maternity and Infant Health, Li Zhu, told the China Daily.

The number of such congenital deformities was rising and the current
occurrence rate of 60 out of every 1,000 births was three times that
of developed countries, Li said.

Chinese parents, especially urban couples, were having children
later in life, making defects more likely, said the report, which
also blamed "exposure to hazardous pollutants and long-term
unhealthy lifestyles".

About a third of the babies born with such problems died shortly
after birth, the paper said, citing experts.

Birth defects affected a tenth of Chinese households and created an
annual financial strain of 1 billion yuan (US$133 million), the
Ministry of Health has estimated.

The Financial Times reported in July that China had asked the World
Bank not to publish estimates of the number of premature Chinese
deaths each year from polluted air and water.

The bank study said about 460,000 Chinese died prematurely each year
from water and air pollution and about 300,000 more died from indoor


Minmetals teams up with Poland's KGHM to develop nonferrous metals resources

Interfax China Metals

15th September 2007

The China Minmetals Corp. has concluded a strategic cooperation framework agreement with Poland's KGHM Polska Miedz SA, the world's sixth largest copper supplier, to jointly develop both domestic and overseas nonferrous metal resources, a company official told Interfax Thursday.

"The two companies have pledged to jointly develop nonferrous metal mines in China, Poland and other countries worldwide. The framework agreement demonstrates that the two companies are in the early stages of cooperating over nonferrous metal deposit development, and no specific projects have been nailed down yet," a Minmetals press department official, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

"The two companies are considering exploring a new nonferrous mine in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region," according to Krzysztof Skora, chairman and chief executive officer of KGHM

For its part, Minmetals says it considers KGHM to be the most suitable partner for copper mine development, since the two companies have developed a high degree of trust over 10 years of cooperation. .

KGHM has been supplying refined copper to China through Minmetals since 1997. In May this year, Minmetals signed a contract worth $300 million with KGHM for the supply of 40,000 tons of copper.


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