Craig Bradshaw, CEO of Masan High-Tech Materials Corp. (MHT), shared with the company’s vision to become a leading integrated supplier of advanced high-tech materials critical to global innovation, and his thoughts on being the operator of the firm with the biggest tungsten deposits at Núi Pháo Mining in Thái Nguyên, northern Viẹtnam.
“When we first came in 2011, Núi Pháo appeared to be paddy fields and buffalos,” he said. “Over three years, we brought in the construction director and built a team of people to take it from an idea or a concept to a commercial operation. At the time we did that, that was the first new tungsten mine to be brought into development outside the Western world in 15 years. And so, it’s a polymetallic deposit, tungsten, fluorspar, copper, bismuth and then a bit of gold. So, it had its complexities. When listed around 2014 as Masan Resources, we went into a joint venture with H.C Starck to build an APT plant in Viẹtnam. So, then we were able to process their tungsten concentrates into Ammonium ParaTungstate (APT). And then, in 2020, we ended up taking over the whole of H.C Starck’s global tungsten powder business and changed the company name to Masan High-Tech Materials. And that then took us further downstream into tungsten carbide, tungsten metal powders, and tungsten chemicals for various industries. So, at the time, we went from globally 30 customers to globally 350 plus customers.
“Our success in 2021 resulted not from what we did in 2021 but from what we have been doing over the past three or four years,” he said. “It’s an outcome of the hard work and efforts of the 2,000-plus staff members dedicated to delivering our vision of ensuring our focus on innovation and our customers’ happiness. I think as long as we continue to do that, we will be successful.”
VIETNAM MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY AND TRADE
The Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade wants coal-fired plants with a capacity of 14,120 megawatts scrapped from electricity production plans for Vietnam to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
The plants were included in Power Development Plan 7 (for 2011-20) and have not been built due to delays. Now, the ministry does not want them to be part of Power Development Plan 8 (for 2021-30), which is being drafted.
The ministry also wants to reduce the ratio of coal-fired power sources from 25% to 31% in 2030 to around 10% in 2045. No new coal-fired plant should be built after 2030, it said. It wants to increase output from LNG-fueled and renewable plants to offset the cut in coal use.
Vietnam wants to import around 5 million tonnes of coal from Australia amid a domestic shortage that has forced power plants to cut production. Apprising Australian ambassador Robyn Mudie about this, Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien sought his help to link up Vietnamese companies with their Austrian counterparts so that they could start buying the coal.
National utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN) said that several thermal power plants in the northern and central regions are cutting down production to 60% to 70% due to a coal shortage. It also warned of the risk of power shortages from this month.
OYU TOLGOI PROJECT
The Oyu Tolgoi Project lies 80 kilometres from the Chinese border within the Gobi desert in Mongolia. It is the largest known deposit of copper and gold in the world. This unique location is characterized by extreme weather conditions, including dust storms and rapid changes of temperatures from +39° to -31°C seasonally and even within a 24-hour timeframe.
The Oyu Tolgoi Project’s Hugo Dummett Mine was designed to extract the deep copper/gold porphyry deposit by block caving methods across an operating life exceeding 40 years. Stantec’s role in Mongolia was to help Ivanhoe mines realise their production targets by providing engineering, design, procurement, and quality assurance for Shafts No. 1 and No. 2 of the total five mine shafts planned for the site at the time.
Stantec’s team designed Shaft No. 1 for initial orebody access, definition drilling, and a future hoisting facility able to lift 2,500 t/d of ore from 1,285 metres below surface. Shaft No. 2 is currently being designed at a 10.0-m diameter, and will have one of the tallest shaft headframes in the world, measuring over 96 m high.
The largest economic undertaking in Mongolia’s history, Oyu Tolgoi will contribute to the lives of many Mongolians for years to come.
According to Mizzima, NGO Global Witness warns in a new report that “illegal” rare earth mining in Myanmar is having drastic effects on the environment and communities living in the vicinity. The report “Heavy rare earths supply chain risks” was released on 9 August.
As Global Witness points out, rare earth minerals are an increasingly integral part of the modern economy, yet the supply chain for rare earths is poorly understood and riven with environmental abuse and human exploitation.
Companies and governments around the world must urgently address these issues and seek ways to reduce demand in order to ensure sustainable use into the future.
The report or policy briefing points to the dangers posed by China’s actions in Myanmar, including rights abuse.
For decades, China was the world’s largest producer and processor of heavy rare earth minerals – the class used to produce the permanent magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines, and thus crucial for the green energy transition. As the toxic and environmentally devastating processes used to mine rare earths cheaply became increasingly clear to the Chinese government, it took action. In 2016 the Chinese government introduced a raft of rules to clean up the industry and closed many domestic mines, leading to illegal mining.
• Mounting fuel and coal costs have been added to cement producers’ bills, leaving them no choice but to increase prices, according to Viet Nam News. Price adjustments can be observed in almost all producers, with none willing to hold down prices to see profits eroded. Prices have been adjusted from VNĐ50,000 to VNĐ140,000 per tonne across the sector. Trung Sơn Cement increased p30 Cement and PCB 40 Cement by VNĐ90,000 per tonne on 10 June. Nortern Cement Trading followed suit with price rises of VNĐ70,000 per tonne. Southern Region Công Thanh Cement Trading and the Tân Quang Cement got in on the act with price rises of between VNĐ50,000 and VNĐ140,000 per tonne on 15 June.
• The geotech team at Xanadu Mines is busy as the company recommences exploration at its Red Mountain project in the South Gobi. The copper-gold project occupies the same region of the Gobi desert region as its flagship Kharmagtai development, another copper-gold play. The recommencement of work is due in part to Canberra’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approving Chinese mining giant Zijin to boost its stake in Xanadu Mines to 19.99%.
• Thai oil and gas conglomerate PTT Group has sold off its coal mining business in Indonesia as part of a plan to diversify away from fossil fuels and into green energy as the country aims to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 and net-zero emissions by 2065. PTT’s board of directors approved the sale by PTT International Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary, of its entire stake in PTT Mining to PT Astrindo Nusantara Infrastruktur, a company listed in Indonesia, said PTT’s CEO Auttapol Rekpiboon. The deal is worth $471 million. The transaction is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of this year, marking the end of PTT’s coal mining operations, which the company has been trying to sell for years.
• The Thai government opened a rock quarrying concession on Khao Toh Krang. Poothonganda Company Limited, a mining firm with multiple operations in southern Thailand, applied for quarrying rights. As part of the process of getting permission to begin operations, the company submitted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) in 2017 to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment. Due to local opposition, the office sent the EIA back to the company to revise. The company has still not formally submitted the revised EIA to the government, and resistance to the project remains.