198 (04.07.18)



Good Week for Stern Hu, Rio Tinto's former head of iron ore trading, who has been released after nine years in a Chinese prison. Hu was arrested during talks between Rio and Chinese steel groups and was accused of accepting $14m in bribes in a closed-door trial

Bad Week for Sibanye-Stillwater, after chief executive Neal Froneman was forced to deny reports that the company has been mining-out safety pillars. The company has reported 21 deaths at its mines in Johannesburg already this year

Mexico Swings to the Left

Mexico has elected a new president, turning to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, an anti-establishment leftist who has promised to sell the presidential jet and turn the palace into an arts centre. “I will not fail you, I will not disappoint you, and I will not betray the people,” he said during celebrations in Mexico City.
    López Obrador, 64, who won by a huge landslide and will take office in December, said he had a “respectful” half-hour phone call with Mexico's errant neighbour to the north, discussing trade and development with US President Donald Trump.
    López Obrador has stood for the presidency twice before, but Trump's election, which has crushed the Peso, swung the result in his favour, as Mexico grapples with low morale and record murder levels. 145 politicians were assassinated during the election. “I don’t want bodyguards,” López Obrador said. “The citizens will take care of me.”
    For Mexico's mining industry, the jump points to “challenges ahead”, Canada's Scotiabank told clients. “The miners take everything, destroy, pollute, and pay starvation wages to Mexican workers,” López Obrador is quoted as saying. “They do not even pay taxes. It’s looting.”
    Mexico's new president-elect, however, who has published six books on history, is also a pragmatist (and a baseball fan). As mayor of Mexico City until 2005 he worked to revive the city centre alongside telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim, who separately announced this week an exploration joint-venture with Canada's Goldcorp, one of the largest mining investors in the country.

Canada Hits Back

Donald Trump's trade tariffs are having a ripple effect. In response to American duties of 10 to 25 per cent on steel and aluminium, Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau has introduced counter-tariffs on three of America's great exports: ketchup, Italian-style pizza and dishwater detergent. Mr. Trudeau called on Canadian citizens in the shopping aisle to “make their choices accordingly.” Trade advisers described it as a “new low” in the relationship.

America's Long Arm

The telescopic legal arm of the US easily reaches to Switzerland. Under its bribery and money-laundering laws, America's Department of Justice is investigating commodities trader Glencore, based in the tax-light Swiss canton of Zug, hitting it with a request for papers this week for its dealings in Africa and Venezuela.
    Glencore recently halted royalties to one of its partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Israeli businessman Dan Gertler, after he was sanctioned by the US Treasury, but Glencore resumed the payments in “non-US dollars” in June, saying it had “carefully considered” its options.
    Glencore was founded by commodity trader Marc Rich, who left the US during an investigation into his company's sanction-skirting oil deals with Iran in the 1980s. But the group has since grown into a mining giant, with dozens of assets in the US, from warehouses in Kentucky to a copper plant in California.
    Glencore shares dropped 13 per cent on the news, clipping $8.8bn off its value.



Welcome to the Beer Institute in Washington

How big beer bashes in the price of aluminium via a group of lobbyists in the US. “All this hysteria. People are crying that the sky has fallen.”

Big Data: Learning
from Boeing

From Barrick's gold mines in Nevada to Rio Tinto's iron ore operations in Australia, mining groups are lifting ideas from aircraft giant Boeing

Wall Street's Escape Hatch

Was it just another blundering mining deal? Or did Morgan Stanley devise the most cynical corporate manoeuvre the industry's ever seen

20 Critical Trade Routes

Block a convoy of lorries carrying drums on a road in Niger and lights, fridges and kettles would start to go off across France