Kola Nuts and Gold and the Garden of Eden

We land with Air France in Bamako, the capital of Mali on the Niger River.  Bamako means “crocodile river” in Bambara.  The French under general Gallieni built a railroad at the end of the 19th century all the way from Dakar on the Atlantic to reach the Niger at Bamako.  This was an extraordinary engineering … Read more

Mandingo Gold

There are very few places left in the world where a prospecting geologist can come across a gold mining camp with over nine thousand hand-dug pits.  A gold mineralising system which has never been drilled!  That is the singular experience I had on the 16th of April 2010 and one I  never expect to forget.  As usual … Read more

The Herd

I am due to go to Guinea next week but my colleagues in Conakry have told me that the Ebola virus which has killed about 150 people so far and half of that number since the end of April is still not yet under control.  I have been advised not to travel.  It is a … Read more

Is the Present the Key to the Future?

“If the present tries to sit in judgement of the past, it will lose the future.” – Winston Churchill Several western zinc mines have recently closed or are running out of ore quickly. Glencore recently announced that its zinc production fell 18 per cent to 306,000 tonnes as two of its mines have reached the … Read more

Revisiting the biggest gold swindle in history

Epithermal or Ephemeral? In March 1997 rumours that Bre-X had apparently not discovered gold at Busang in Indonesia staggered the markets.  The downward spiral began on March 18th as reports swept the world that Bre-X geologist Michael de Guzman was missing in the Borneo jungle and presumed dead after falling 240 metres from a helicopter … Read more

We love zinc

According to the prospectus for its $10bn initial public offering in May 2011, Glencore supplied 60 per cent of the international third-party market in zinc metal and 50 per cent of the international third-party zinc concentrates market.  This was before Glencore’s takeover of Xstrata was completed in May 2013.  To meet antitrust approval for the … Read more

Zinc mine supply – have we run out of time?

In 1974, some forty years ago now, Marc Rich and co-worker Pincus Green set up their own company in Switzerland as Marc Rich & Co. AG.  In his book King of Oil, Daniel Amman describes how Marc Rich’s attempt in the early 1990’s to corner the zinc market was the worst deal of his career.  This … Read more

What has the gold price got to do with the zinc price?

Zinc now accounts for only 30 percent of revenue from “Zinc” mines, that is zinc mines in the broadest sense, as polymetallic deposits become proportionally a more important source of zinc and contributor to zinc production.  In some of many of these precious metal dominant polymetallic mines zinc is often not much more than a by-product and will be produced … Read more