|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
Apart from gold’s big bugbear which some regard with such loathing they cannot bear to call it by name (starts with a b and ends in coin), the buzz at the 2017 Mines & Money conference in London was – unsurprisingly – around battery materials for the booming electric vehicle and energy storage market.
Presentation after presentation featured (often overly) optimistic forecasts about how the nascent industry will fire up already hot commodities like cobalt, lithium, vanadium and manganese, and how it will spur a new supercycle in copper and nickel.
But for your reporter, a company mining an ore for perhaps the most everyday commodity in mining – alumina – stole the show.
Granted, there is a connection with electric vehicles but the Perth-based junior is also addressing even faster growing markets.
What made the presentation of Iggy Tan, MD of Altech Chemicals who’ve also built a lithium company, particularly impactful is its simplicity.
Sapphire is formed naturally from aluminum oxide and is almost as hard as diamond. It is used in LEDs, cellphone and watch displays.
To make synthetic sapphire (its transparent – the gems are blue due to presence of titanium and iron) you need high purity alumina.
The current process to manufacture high purity alumina is inefficient.
Bauxite, the most common alumina ore, is refined to a smelter grade of 99.5% alumina which is then turned into aluminum metal only to be dissolved back into 99.99% (4N) alumina which is of sufficient purity to make sapphire. 4N alumina is also used to make anode/cathode separators in lithium-ion batteries.
ASX-listed Altech owns 100% of a kaolin deposit, a high grade aluminous clay, in Western Australia 130km from Perth’s Fremantle port. The company is bypassing the intermediate steps with plans to ship ore to a plant in Malaysia to produce 4N purity alumina.
Turning kaolin (which also finds application as a whitening agent) into alumina is a process first developed by the US Bureau of Mines in the 1980s.
The price gaps between different powders are stark. The smelter stuff sells for only $400 a tonne. For 99.9% (3N) alumina the price jumps to $7,000.
The 4N product Altech is targeting goes for an eye-watering $28,000 per tonne. And that’s the long-term contract price – spot prices in Japan for this level of purity recently hit $40,000 a tonne. Altech says its production cost is under $10,000.
It’s a small, but rapidly growing market. Global demand for high purity alumina was approximately 25,300 tonnes in 2016. Next year demand will top 34,000 tonnes. It is expected to grow at a rate of 16.7% through 2024 hitting nearly 87,000 tonnes six years from now.
From a 30-year (first phase) 1.2m tonne reserve grading 30% Al2O3 Altech’s ambitions are for a 4,500 tonnes per year alumina operation. That would catapult the company to the top spot compared to current producers led by Sumitomo Chemicals of Japan with just over 3,000 tonnes per annum.
Capital costs are a shade under $300m and Altech hopes to finalize a debt deal with a German bank (Germans are also building its plant in Malaysia with incentives from the government of the Asian country) next week. An off-take agreement with Japan’s Mitsubishi has already been signed....
The IJF President Mr. Marius Vizer and Mr. Battulga Khaltmaa, President of the Republic and of the Mongolian Judo Association, exchanged awards in Mongolia during a special visit this week.
Mr. Vizer travelled to Mongolia following the Tokyo Grand Slam, the penultimate event of the IJF season, after being invited by Mr. Battulga Khaltmaa, President of the Republic and of the Mongolian Judo Association.
Mr. Vizer was awarded the Polar Star Merit, the highest distinction that foreigners can receive in Mongolia, for his contribution to the development of judo in the world.
President Vizer awarded Mr. Battulga with a 6th Dan diploma.
The International Judo Federation and the Mongolian Judo Association signed a partnership for Judo in Schools, where the IJF will support the implementation of the project in 15 different regions in Mongolia.
Mr. Vizer also visited the Mongolian national team and the dojo where they train.
A former Volkswagen executive has been sentenced to seven years in prison and a $400,000 (£298,778) fine, after admitting he helped the firm evade clean-air laws.
Oliver Schmidt, 48, is the second person to be imprisoned in the US over the diesel emissions scandal.
Volkswagen first admitted in September 2015 that it had used illegal software to cheat US emissions tests.
The scandal has cost it almost $30bn.
US prosecutors say Volkswagen installed special software in certain diesel vehicles that allowed them to perform better during emissions tests than they did under normal driving conditions.
The emissions were sometimes 30 times higher than permitted under US rules.
Volkswagen sold almost 600,000 vehicles with the devices in the US between 2006 and 2015, and about 11 million globally. The allegations have also prompted probes in other countries and led to arrests in Germany.
'I made bad decisions'
Mr Schmidt, who led the firm's environmental and engineering office in Michigan, learned of the cheating scheme in 2015, according to court documents.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy and violating the Clean Air Act in August.
His attorney had urged the court to deliver a lesser punishment, saying he had played a minor role in the scheme compared to more senior people at the company.
But Michigan-based US District Judge Sean Cox sentenced Mr Schmidt to the maximum sentence proposed by prosecutors, who had already dropped some charges against Mr Schmidt in exchange for the guilty plea.
"I made bad decisions and for that I am sorry," Mr Schmidt said in court on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Mr Schmidt, a German national, is one of eight current and former VW officials charged in the US in the diesel emissions scandal.
James Liang, a former engineer, was sentenced to more than three years in August.
Development bank of Mongolia to introduce standard of anti-bribery management system www.montsame.mn
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Development Bank of Mongolia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation with ISO Mongolia LLC on December 5.
In frame of the memorandum DBM will introduce standard of ‘Anti-bribery management system, requirements with guidance for use’ which was adopted by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to support work for fighting bribery.
Introduction of the standard has importance to DBM to frame anti-bribery system, reduce risk to corrupt, contribute to decrease corruption index of Mongolia in international corruption perceptions index and to have an advantage to be involved in international projects and programs. DBM is the pioneer in introducing anti-bribery management system in Mongolia.
ISO 37001:2016 anti-bribery management system was adopted by ISO in October 2016 with an aim to back fighting bribery. The standard sets requirements and provides guidance for a management system designed to help an organization to prevent, detect, and respond to bribery and comply with anti-bribery laws and voluntary commitments applicable to its activities.
The National Council of Standardization of Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology approved MNS ISO 37001:2017 in February 2017. ISO Mongolia LLC provides consulting service to introduce new management standards adopted by ISO.
Signing of Japanese ODA Loan Agreement with Mongolia: Supporting reforms in Mongolia under an international aid framework with the aim of economic and fiscal reconstruction www.jica.go.jp
On December 5, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement with the Government of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, to provide a Japanese ODA loan of up to 32 billion yen for the Fiscal, Social and Economic Reform Development Policy Loan.
The economy of Mongolia depends heavily on the mineral resource sector, which accounts for 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 90 percent of exports, which are primarily coal and copper. Due to a drop in the prices of minerals, which are major exports, a slowdown in the economy of China which purchases 80 percent of the exports from Mongolia, a drop in foreign direct investment caused by restrictive investment policies and other such factors, the GDP growth rate dropped from 17 percent in 2011 to one percent in 2016. Fiscally, the country faces such challenges as increasing domestic infrastructure expenses, and rising social welfare expenditures due to inadequate controls on payees. Such factors pushed the fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio to 17 percent in 2016 while the public debt-to-GDP ratio grew from 33 percent in 2011 to 88 percent in 2016, making reforms toward economic and fiscal reconstruction priorities.
Given these circumstances, an international aid framework totaling approximately 5.65 billion dollars was created in 2017 by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and others. With the aim of economic and fiscal reconstruction in Mongolia as a part of the international aid framework, the project will support reforms by the Government of Mongolia in three areas: stable macroeconomic management, the promotion of helping the socially vulnerable and enhancing economic growth.
Specifically, the project will support reforms such as those aimed at strengthening fiscal discipline in the area of stable macroeconomic management. In the area of the promotion of helping the socially vulnerable, the project will support reforms directed at targeting subsidies to the socially vulnerable and improving their living environment, and in the area of enhancing economic growth, the project will support the stimulation of foreign direct investment through improvements to the investment environment and reforms aimed at economic diversification.
The project will support mid- to long-term reforms from such a macro perspective, contribute to the short-term reduction in the fiscal burden of Mongolia, and contribute to fiscal, social and economic stability.
Two years have passed since the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all UN member countries, including Japan and Mongolia. This project aims to accomplish the core SDG principle of “leaving no one behind,” through providing support to the socially vulnerable such as the improvement of living conditions in ger (yurt) districts where many poor people live. In addition to strengthening economic growth, the project will, through collaboration with various other projects being carried out in Mongolia, lead to improvements in social welfare and health care systems and address urban environment issues, especially air pollution in Ulaanbaatar. All these comprehensive areas of support cover the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, environmental and social) that will be put into practice in the project....
A newly discovered duck-like dinosaur had a neck like a goose's and claws like velociraptors' www.businessinsider.com
Birds are the modern incarnation of dinosaurs.
But some birds live in ways we haven't observed in the dinosaur kingdom. Ducks, for example, alternate between water and land habitats, able to take advantage of both.
Until now, that hadn't been seen in dinosaurs, but the discovery of a duck-like dinosaur from Mongolia may change that.
The new dinosaur, Halszkaraptor escuilliei, was announced on Wednesday in the journal Nature. The remarkably complete fossil skeleton that paleontologists analyzed indicates it was likely a semiaquatic dinosaur, able to both swim and move about on land.
"This is the first dinosaur with a lifestyle similar to aquatic birds — this indicates that these dinosaurs were able to exploit an environment that was not considered in our previous interpretation of dinosaur history," Andrea Cau, a paleontologist at the Giovanni Capellini Geological Museum of the University of Bologna, said in an email.
This finding helps establish a new subfamily of similar dinosaurs, according to the paper. Several other fossil specimens from the same region fit into this family, indicating they're part of the same small branch on the evolutionary tree.
The discovery "illustrates how much of the diversity of Dinosauria remains undiscovered, even in intensely studied regions such as Mongolia," the authors wrote.
Researchers used a scanning method that Cau, the lead author of the study, described as "the most advanced scanning technology ever done on a fossil" to collect about 6,000 GB of data on the fossil while it was still partially embedded in rock. The dinosaur lived between 71 million and 75 million years ago.
It's hard to prove that this was, in fact, a semiaquatic creature, but the specimen has several features that match those of semiaquatic and fully aquatic reptiles and birds. Its arms had structures similar to those that birds like penguins use to swim. And it had a neck like a goose's, with rows of teeth in its mouth.
But instead of webbed feet, it had claws and toes like those of theropod family, which includes velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus rex.
The dinosaur most likely fed on fish, crustaceans, and small reptiles and mammals, Cau said. The other members of this subfamily would have been a similar size.
The finding shows that there's still plenty of new history to be revealed as paleontologists scour the Earth for remains of the past.
On December 06, 2017, 974,411 shares of 22 firms listed as Tier I, II, and III were traded. 2 firms’ shares increased in price, 16 decreased and 4 remained unchanged. Gutal JSC /GTL/ was the top performer, increasing 2.05 percent, whereas Ulaansan JSC /UNS/ was the worst performer, decreasing 13.33 percent.
On the secondary market for government bonds, 676 bonds with a value of MNT67.0 million were traded.
The MSE ALL Index decreased by 1.39 percent to stand at 1,262.57 points. The MSE market cap stands at MNT2,752,582,107,080.
LONDON (Reuters) - Nestle is buying Canadian vitamin maker Atrium Innovations for $2.3 billion, expanding its presence in consumer healthcare as it seeks to offset weakness in packaged foods.
The world’s largest packaged food company said on Tuesday it will buy the maker of vitamins, probiotics and meal replacements from a group of investors led by Permira Funds.
About 80 percent of Atrium’s sales come from the United States, meaning there is still room to buy businesses elsewhere, such as the vitamins unit being sold by Germany’s Merck, which has a large presence in emerging markets and is also being looked at by Nestle.
“We continue to look for opportunities in things that make sense in very disciplined fashion,” said Greg Behar, head of Nestle Health Science, the division that will house Atrium Innovations.
Nestle Health Science already sells nutritional products for people with specific medical conditions and has been at the forefront of Nestle’s ambition to become a “nutrition, health and wellness” company as packaged food sales slow, amid changing tastes.
Nestle, the maker of Gerber baby food, Purina pet food and Nescafe coffee came under pressure this year to improve returns from activist shareholder Third Point. It has since announced a share buyback, a margin target and three other small acquisitions.
The purchase of Atrium, which will have $700 million in sales this year, will add to earnings immediately, Behar said. The deal reflects comments made earlier this year by Nestle’s new chief executive, Mark Schneider, who identified consumer health as a strategic priority.
“They’ve been trying to articulate a message around Nestle Health Science and health and wellness for some time,” Liberum analyst Robert Waldschmidt said. “In terms of nutrition, this makes sense.”
Atrium has seven factories in the United States, Canada, Europe and Argentina. Its biggest brand is Garden of Life supplements.
This is Nestle’s fourth purchase in recent months. It announced deals for Sweet Earth vegetarian foods and Blue Bottle coffee in September and Chameleon Cold-Brew coffee in November.
The purchase of Atrium is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.
Atrium was advised by Morgan Stanley, RBC Capital Markets and William Hood & Co, a division of AXIA Capital Markets.
Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs D.Tsogtbaatar is making an official visit to China from 3 to 5 December at the invitation of of his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. It is the Mongolian minister's first visit to China since the new government in Mongolia was established in October.
During the visit, Mr. D.Tsogtbaatar negotiated with his China counterpart and exchanged views on the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries as well as on international issues. The two ministers agreed to organise the first meeting of the humanitarian committee in the near future and to prepare for the visit of the Mongolian Prime Minister to China next year.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted that Beijing is working to solve the problem of the daily coal truck delay at the Ganshuun Sukhait-Gants Mod crossing as well as increasing exports of mining and meat products.
The world’s most valuable digital currency set another record on Tuesday, hitting $12,000 as of 13:40 GMT. Bitcoin has been smashing symbolic price barriers every few days, slightly retreating at times, and then accelerating to reach new heights.
Last week, the virtual currency broke through both the $10,000 and $11,000 levels for the first time, blasting past $11,700 on Sunday.
Bitcoin’s rise in value in 2017 is unprecedented. It started from below $1,000 on January 1 and is now up more than 12-fold for the year.
The cryptocurrency has been growing at a dizzying pace over the past month, having almost doubled in price since November 1. Analysts’ warnings of bitcoin being a “dangerous bubble” have not stopped the rally.
Many are warning about the meteoric rise of the virtual currency, claiming it could end like the Dutch tulip mania of the 17th century or the millennium dot-com bubble.
Cryptocurrencies are reminiscent of those bubbles, according to legendary investor Jim Rogers. “It (bitcoin) looks and smells like all the bubbles I have seen throughout history.”
Bitcoin also has its defenders like entrepreneur William Mook, who told RT the cryptocurrency is a breakthrough transformation for our future. It’s a store of value which will replace fiat currencies as “each of these fail.” He also said the bitcoin bubble is not fatal because the digital currency’s value could “not be permanently lost.”
Financial adviser and Chief Investment Officer at Integral Capital Management, George Cotsikis also told RT that “the philosophy behind digital assets will transform our future,” adding, however, “it is questionable whether bitcoin will be the one asset to dominate this wave.”
Bitcoin's market capitalization has now surpassed $200 billion, making it worth more than major US companies like Boeing and General Electric. Its market cap is also bigger than the gross domestic products (GDP) of Greece and New Zealand.
If bitcoin were a country, it would be the 50th wealthiest nation in the world.