Category Archives: miscellaneous
BHP presents united front against activist Elliott
OCTOBER 19, 2017 / 11:23 AM / UPDATED AN HOUR AGO
By Barbara Lewis and Zandi Shabalala
LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) – The new chairman of BHP , the world’s biggest miner, threw his weight behind his CEO on Thursday after attacks from activist investor Elliott Advisers prompted speculation that the end of Andrew Mackenzie’s tenure was imminent.
Pressure has mounted on BHP and its chief executive since Elliott went public in April with its criticisms of the miner’s strategy.
“Any suggestion there is a set timeline around Andrew’s tenure is simply false and without merit,” Chairman Ken MacKenzie told reporters after his first AGM since taking office at the start of September.
Asked by a shareholder whether it was Elliott or the BHP board that was running the company, the chairman replied that “MacKenzie and Mackenzie” were running BHP, though he did not specify the order of the pair who share the same names but with slightly different spelling.
At least five representatives from Elliott Advisors, which holds 5 percent of BHP, attended the London meeting but did not ask questions from the floor.
Elliott declined to comment on Thursday, though it has welcomed the new chairman’s appointment.
Chairman MacKenzie said he had met more than 100 shareholders across eight countries, which he said gave him confidence, though he added that there are areas where the company needs to sharpen its focus.
He reiterated that work is in progress to sell shale assets, which is one of Elliott’s main demands, and that further action would take place to refresh the board of directors.
“We recognise that the board needs to continue to evolve to take into account the rapidly changing environment in which we operate. So we will undertake a review of the board’s skills and experience requirements during this financial year,” he said.
BHP’s London share price has risen nearly 7 percent since the start of the year, about half as much as that of its main rival Rio Tinto.
Both the chairman and the CEO said they were striving to maximise shareholder value and that meant that shale assets would be sold only at the right price.
“We will be both urgent and patient as we examine all the options,” CEO Mackenzie said. “We have to get the timing right to maximise shareholder value.”
BHP’s big rival Rio Tinto suffered a setback this week when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged the company and two of its former executives with inflating the value of coal assets in Mozambique and concealing critical information. The company said it would defend itself vigorously against the allegations.
Chris LaFemina, a mining specialist at Jefferies bank, said he had preferred Rio over BHP for the past two years.
“While our preference has not changed, BHP’s competitive position has modestly improved,” he said in a note.
“New chairman Ken MacKenzie seems willing to push for significant strategic changes at BHP … after years of unacceptable underperformance of its share price versus Rio‘s.” (Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and David Goodman)
Offshore wind 6 times more expensive than nuclear power when wind’s required battery storage is factored-in
The key item is, “The headline “Offshore wind now cheaper than nuclear power” is very much in the UK news following the latest offshore wind auction in the UK where the lowest bids came in at £57.50 / MWh, well below the Hinkley C strike price of £92.50. But baseload nuclear, which delivers all the time, can’t be compared directly with intermittent wind, which delivers only when the wind blows. To make an apples-to-apples comparison we have to convert wind generation into baseload generation by storing the surpluses for re-use during deficit periods. Doing the math, offshore wind works out to be 6 times more expensive than nuclear power.”
The real strike price of offshore wind
September 20, 2017 by Roger Andrews
Hinkley still scores on reliability and low carbon ….. but the extent to which its costs are obscene is now plainer than ever. In Monday’s capacity auction, two big offshore wind farms came in at £57.50 per megawatt hour and a third at £74.75. These “strike prices” ….. are expressed in 2012 figures, as is Hinkley’s £92.50 so the comparison is fair. As for the argument that we must pay up for reliable baseload supplies, there ought to be limits to how far it can be pushed. A nuclear premium of some level might be justified, but Hinkley lives in a financial world of its own, even before battery technology (possibly) shifts the economics further in favour of renewables …..
Thus spake the Guardian in a recent article entitled Hinkley nuclear power is being priced out by renewables.
What the Guardian says is, of course, nonsense. Comparing non-dispatchable wind directly with dispatchable baseload nuclear is not in the least “fair”. Barring Acts of God baseload nuclear is there all the time; wind is there only when the wind blows. We can level the playing field only by comparing baseload nuclear generation with baseload wind generation, and the only way of converting wind into baseload is to store the surpluses generated when the wind is blowing for re-use when it isn’t. To compare offshore wind strike prices directly with nuclear strike prices we therefore have to factor in the storage costs necessary to convert the wind into baseload, and this post shows what happens to wind strike prices when we do this using the “battery technology” favored by the Guardian. It finds that battery technology does not “(shift) the economics further in favor of renewables”. It prices wind totally out of the market instead.
The two offshore wind farms in question are Hornsea Project 2 (1,386MW) and Moray East (950MW). The project cost for Moray is given as £1.8 billion, or £1,895/kW installed. The project cost of Hornsea Project 1 is given as £3.36 billion, which relative to the 1,218 MW capacity gives £2,759/kW installed. N0 project cost is given for Hornsea Project 2. Moray is 77% owned by EDP Renewables (EDPR) and 23% by Engie. Hornsea is 100% owned by DONG. The locations of Moray and Hornsea are shown below:
To conduct an analysis we have to estimate how much storage will be needed to convert the wind generation from Hornsea and Moray into baseload generation, and to do this we need to know what wind output from these wind farms will be. There are no readily-accessible data for operating UK offshore wind farms, but on the other side of the North Sea are Denmark’s offshore wind farms, and the P-F Bach data base provides hourly generation data for them. So I used Bach’s Denmark data to simulate generation from Hornsea, the larger of the two wind farms, assuming that the results would be reasonably representative. I picked January 2015 as an example month and factored the generation from Danish wind farms in that month up to Hornsea levels relative to installed capacities, which in this case aren’t very different (1,271MW total in Denmark at the beginning of 2015 and 1,386MW at Hornsea). The results are shown in Figure 1:
Figure 1: Hourly generation from Denmark’s wind farms in January 2015 factored up to match Hornsea 2
Strong winds during the first half of the month were largely responsible for the overall 60% capacity factor during the month – respectable for a wind farm. However, the wind blew less strongly in the second half and died away almost to nothing on the 21st and 22nd.
The next step was to convert the spiky wind output into baseload, which requires that surplus generation during windy periods be stored for re-use during deficit periods so that the generation curve comes out flat. Surpluses and deficits were quantified relative to an 825 MW threshold, which is the amount of continuous baseline power Hornsea generates when generation is flat-lined. Figure 2 shows wind generation surpluses and deficits relative to this threshold:
Figure 2: Hourly wind generation surpluses and deficits relative to 825MW of constant baseload output, January 2015
How much storage, which according to the Guardian will be supplied by batteries, will be needed to flatten out these surpluses and deficits? I estimated this in two ways. First I simply accumulated the surpluses and deficits, starting with the batteries discharged, and came up with the battery charge status plot shown in Figure 3. Driven by the generation surpluses in the first half of the month the batteries charge up, reaching a maximum capacity of 95,800 MWh on January 18. Thereafter the deficits set in and the discharges begin, and by the end of the month the batteries are back to being 100% discharged:
Figure 3: Hornsea hourly battery charge status based on accumulation of hourly surpluses and deficits, January 2015
Next I ran the hourly wind generation data through Dave Rutledge’s more sophisticated storage balance algorithm, which starts with the batteries fully charged. The resulting battery charge status plot is shown in Figure 4. 95,800 MWh of battery charge – the same amount as before – is needed at the beginning of the month to keep the batteries charged up until the end of the month, although by the time the end of the month arrives they again have no charge left:
Figure 4: Hornsea hourly battery charge status based on Rutledge storage balance algorithm, January 2015
Beginning with the batteries fully charged, however, creates a complication. During the first half of the month the batteries remain fully-charged for most of the time, and any surplus generation when they are fully-charged has to be curtailed because there’s nowhere to put it. Figure 5 shows the impacts. The curtailment that occurs during the first half of the month amounts to 16% of total monthly generation, and as a result Hornsea delivers an average of only 693MW to the grid instead of the 825MW it would have delivered if the batteries had been discharged rather than charged at the beginning of the month:
Figure 5: Hourly wind generation sent to grid and curtailed based on Rutledge algorithm, Hornsea, January 2015
How to handle this complication? Strictly I should go back and tweak the algorithm until I get an optimum combination of baseload output and battery storage, but in this case it isn’t worth the effort. Why not? Because as we shall shortly see the impacts of the added cost of battery storage on the strike price are so large that even crude approximations are meaningful. So I will run with the 95,800 MWh storage estimate (although it’s almost certainly an underestimate. It assumes 100% charge-discharge efficiency and no battery degradation with time and there is also a high probability that it would increase if time-frames longer than a month were considered.)
Now to economics, and another approximation.
A wind farm gets its fuel for free and maintenance costs are comparatively low; the lion’s share of downstream costs comes from servicing the debt on the initial investment. Here I assume that effectively all of these costs come from debt service, meaning that there will be a direct relationship between the strike price and the initial investment. With this assumption all we have to do to estimate a “batteries included” strike price is add the cost of the batteries to the initial investment and factor the strike price up in proportion. When we do this for Hornsea this is what we get:
Initial wind farm investment = £3.9 billion: I factored the Hornsea Project 1 cost (2,759/kW installed) up in proportion to the increase in installed capacity (1,396 MW for Hornsea 2 vs. 1,218 for Hornsea 1). This gave a total project cost for Hornsea 2 of £3.85 billion, which I rounded up to £3.9 billion.
Cost of battery storage = £35.4 billion: 95,800 MWh of lithium-ion batteries at current prices of around US$500/kWh – £370 at current exchange rates – gives a total cost of 95,800,000 kW * £370/kWh = £35.4 billion.
Cost of wind + battery storage = £3.9 + £35.4 = £39.3 billion
Strike price with batteries included = £579.42/MWh: The strike price increases in proportion to the increase in total investment, i.e. from £57.50/MWh to 39.3/3.9 * £57.50 = £579.42/MWh.
Since as noted earlier the 95,800 MWh storage requirement is almost certainly an underestimate – and quite possibly a large one – we can reasonably conclude that Hornsea’s strike price will be at least six times higher than Hinkley’s £92.50/MWh when the two are compared on an apples-to-apples basis using the Guardian’s battery storage option.
What does this factor-of-six difference tell us? Actually not much, because the comparison is academic. No one is ever going to outlay £35.4 billion to install battery storage at a £3.9 billion wind farm. Backup gas, not battery storage, is presently the only option for smoothing out erratic wind generation, and estimating how much this might add to the Hornsea strike price would be a complex undertaking, although I might give it a shot in a later post.
What it does tell us is that adding even a comparatively small amount of battery storage to a wind (or solar) project could kill it economically, which is probably what motivated the Guardian to make the comment about putting limits on how much “we” have to pay for “reliable baseload supplies”. And in the clean, green, environmentally-conscious, demand-managed, smart-meter-monitored, grid-interconnected, one-hundred-percent renewable world of the future the Guardian envisions we won’t need reliable baseload supplies anyway.
Hurricane rebuilding in U.S. drives push to ease softwood tariffs
Stacks of lumber are pictured at NMV Lumber in Merritt, B.C., Tuesday, May 2, 2017.
JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS
SHAWN MCCARTHY AND ADRIAN MORROW
9 HOURS AGOSEPTEMBER 14, 2017
The U.S. government is facing increasing pressure to reach a deal with Canada on softwood lumber, as demand for construction materials is expected to spike higher in Texas and Florida in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
While the U.S. lumber industry is dug in on its demand for tariffs, its customers argue that domestic supplies cannot meet their needs, which will drive up the cost of reconstruction in the states that sustained many billions of dollars in storm damage in recent weeks.
The Canadian government is hoping the added domestic pressure resulting from the hurricanes will help pave the way for a deal, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said on Thursday.
“We know that [the looming reconstruction] has an influence on markets and on demand,” Mr. Carr said after speaking at the Council of Forestry Ministers meeting in Ottawa.
“And we also know that Canadian producers offer a very good supply of softwood lumber in the United States. That’s an economic reality. Market forces are important, so we think that will almost certainly have some impact on thinking.”
However, during a visit to Washington on Thursday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said that a resolution to the softwood stand-off currently looks unlikely.
Ms. Wynne met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at his office in Washington.
“He didn’t hold out, I would say, a clear hope that there is an easy resolution on the horizon,” the Premier said in an interview at the Canadian embassy.
The two sides were close to a deal over the summer, in which Canada would have agreed to a cap on the amount of softwood it would export to the United States. That quota, one source said at the time, would have been a little more than 30 per cent of U.S. market share to start, falling to slightly less than 30 per cent over five years, then holding steady for another five.
But talks deadlocked over whether Canada would able to exceed its cap in the event that U.S. industry couldn’t produce enough to meet the rest of the demand.
Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, said this is still the sticking point in a deal. He pointed out that, as it stands, the United States is importing more lumber from Germany and Russia because it cannot produce enough to fill the market gap left by its punitive duties on Canadian wood.
“We’re right down to the last issue that needs to be resolved, which is what we call a ‘hot-market provision,'” he said in a panel discussion at a Washington event hosted by online news source Politico. “Rather than taking lumber from Russia, why wouldn’t you take it from Canada?”
Mr. MacNaughton accused the U.S. industry of deliberately stonewalling a deal “because they’re making a lot of money right now.
“It’s unfortunate that we’re in a situation where the price of lumber right now is sky-high. It is to the benefit of a few lumber barons. We are ending up in the United States with people not being able to afford to buy new homes or to construct new homes,” he said.
The National Association of Home Builders – which has long opposed tariffs – testified at hearings in Washington this week that the proposed trade action would undermine the reconstruction efforts and drive up the cost of housing.
In a hearing this week, Texas home builder Eddie Martin – an executive of the builders’ association – said that the U.S. industry cannot even meet current demand for some key softwood products. Based on strong demand, average prices for softwood lumber have risen 22 per cent since the beginning of 2016 and some prices are at historic highs, the association notes.
“Moving forward, there is going to be a lot of rebuilding,” Mr. Martin, the chief executive at Tilson Home Corp., said in his testimony. “Tens of thousands of people, like my employees, are going to be in a bad place financially and increases in material costs will have a real and lasting effect on their ability to have homes.”
The chief executive of the U.S. lumber coalition accused Ottawa of using the hurricanes as a “political ploy.”
“American towns, cities and, communities should be rebuilt using American products, American workers, and the American spirit of coming out stronger in the face of adversity,” coalition CEO Zoltan van Heyningen said in an e-mail. “To the extent that softwood lumber is needed to rebuild, there is ample capacity in the United States to supply American wood to rebuild American homes affected by these storms.”
SHORE GOLD INC. ANNOUNCES THE RESULTS OF THE 2017 ANNUAL AND SPECIAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS
Shore Gold Inc. (“Shore” or the “Corporation”) (TSX – SGF) is pleased to announce that all of the nominees listed in the management proxy circular dated July 28, 2017 were elected as directors of the Corporation at its annual and special meeting of shareholders held on September 6, 2017 (the “Meeting”).
In addition, shareholders also approved at the Meeting:
- -a resolution to re-appoint KPMP LLP as the Corporation’s independent auditors;
- a resolution to amend the Corporation’s articles of incorporation to change the name of the Corporation;
- a resolution to restate the Corporation’s articles of incorporation; and
- a resolution regarding the continuation of the Corporation’s amended and restated Shareholder Rights Plan.
Detailed results of the vote for the election of directors held at the Meeting are set out below:
Nominee Votes For Votes Withheld Number % Number %
- Kenneth MacNeill 139,806,623 83.96% 26,699,657 16.04%
- Harvey Bay 138,143,576 82.97% 28,362,704 17.03%
- Arnie Hillier 136,337,120 81.88% 30,169,160 18.12%
- Ewan Mason 163,984,692 98.49% 2,521,588 1.51%
- Neil McMillan 141,002,254 84.68% 25,504,026 15.32%
- Brian Menell 165,021,250 99.11% 1,485,030 0.89%
- Peter Ravenscroft 165,579,587 99.44% 926,693 0.56%
- Michael Ryer 164,287,935 98.67% 2,218,345 1.33%
The Company was advised that certain individuals had been appointed as proxyholders by a significant number of shareholders. Based on legal advice, the Chairman assessed that the solicitation of these proxies was not done in accordance with applicable laws in Canada regulating public companies. It was the Chairman’s view that, in soliciting proxies in this fashion, it was unfair to the shareholders of the Company as a whole in that only those shareholders who were solicited in this fashion were aware that a proxy contest was underway, which is the type of conduct the proxy solicitation rules preclude, in that they require that all shareholders have the same information in making their voting decision. It was clearly communicated at last year’s Meeting that to maintain the integrity of the Corporation’s voting procedures, all parties must comply with the law and any failure to comply with the law in the future will result in those votes being struck. Although these votes were inconsequential to the results, these individuals were warned last year. As a result, the Chairman disallowed these votes, resulting in 11,824,531 votes not being allowed to stand.
The name and trading symbol change will not come in to effect until certain regulatory step occur, as well as other
preparations required by the Corporation; a further press release will be issued when the name change becomes effective.
Voting results for all matters will be posted on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Shore is a Canadian based corporation engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties. Shares of the Company trade on the TSX Exchange under the trading symbol “SGF”.
– END –
Concerned Shore Gold shareholders fail to oust directors at annual meeting
ALEX MACPHERSON, SASKATOON STARPHOENIX
Published on: September 6, 2017 | Last Updated: September 6, 2017 5:39 PM CST
The chairman of a Saskatoon-based diamond exploration and development company says he hopes a decisive voting result at its annual meeting signals that the “frustration and dissatisfaction” expressed by some dissident shareholders is a thing of the past.
Brian Menell spoke moments after Shore Gold Inc. shareholders voted to change the firm’s name to Shore Diamond Corp. and elect to its board eight directors — including five incumbents — recommended by management.
“I think the source of frustration for many of our shareholders in the past has been the slow pace of finding a solution to move the project forward,” Menell said after the meeting. “We’ve now found a solution to move the project forward.”
That solution is an option agreement worth up to $75 million over seven years, which could result in a Rio Tinto Group subsidiary earning a 60 per cent stake in Shore Gold’s Star-Orion South diamond project east of Prince Albert.
The meeting was expected to mirror the company’s 2016 event, in which the SGF Shareholders Association Inc. — a group concerned about the company’s direction — came within a few percentage points of unseating three Shore Gold directors.
That did not happen. Although the company deemed some of the proxy votes present at the meeting illegitimate and did not allow them to stand, Menell said that “wouldn’t have made any difference anyway” to the final tally electing the eight directors.
SGF Shareholders Association chairman David Wright said after the meeting that with around 90 per cent of voting shares at the meeting out of the association’s hands, the concerned shareholders had little expectation of a positive result.
“This was pretty much largely what we thought was going to happen today — no surprises here,” Wright said, noting that the association will ask its members what its next steps should be at a meeting sometime this fall.
The nearly two-hour event ended with a question-and-answer session during which Shore Gold CEO Ken MacNeill and senior vice president of exploration and development George Read struck an upbeat tone about the company’s prospects.
They said Shore Gold, which has been trying to build a diamond mine in the Fort à la Corne forest since 1995, remains committed to working with Rio Tinto and significantly reducing the mine’s capital cost — estimated in 2011 at $2.5 billion.
Shore Gold is also waiting for environmental approval from the Government of Saskatchewan, and it is not clear when that will come. The federal government granted environmental approval for the massive open-pit mine project in 2014.
“My enthusiasm is increased as a result of the fact that we have got a big partner with the will, the appetite and the capacity to, in partnership with us, develop a producing mine in Saskatchewan,” Menell said of the recent deal with Rio Tinto.
Shore Golf is expected to publish the voting results, including those proxies that were deemed illegitimate, today.
Hurricane Harvey Makes The Case For Nuclear Power
SEP 1, 2017 @ 06:00 AM
James Conca, CONTRIBUTOR
NASA satellite images show NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite image of Tropical Storm Harvey sitting over Texas and the two nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company near Houston.
Hurricane Harvey made land fall in Texas this week and the flooding was historic. What is shaping up to be the most costly natural disaster in American history, the storm has left refineries shut down, interrupted wind and solar generation, caused a constant worry about gas explosions, and caused a chain of events that led to explosions and fires at the Arkema chemical plant that is only the beginning.
Over a fifth of the country’s oil production has been shuttered. Natural gas futures hit a 2-year high as did gasoline prices at the pump.
But the Texas nuclear power plants have been running smoothly.
The two nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project plant near Houston were operating at full capacity despite wind gusts that peaked at 130 mph as the Hurricane made landfall. The plant implemented its severe weather protocols as planned and completed hurricane preparations ahead of Category 4 Hurricane Harvey striking the Texas Gulf Coast on August 25th.
Anyone who knows anything about nuclear was not surprised. Nuclear is the only energy source immune to all extreme weather events – by design.
This nuclear plant has steel-reinforced concrete containment with 4-foot (1.2 meter) thick walls. The buildings housing the two reactors, vital equipment and used fuel have steel-reinforced concrete walls up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) thick, which are built to withstand any category hurricane or tornado. It can even withstand a plane flying directly into it.
The two nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company near Houston, Texas has been operating at full capacity on Tuesday throughout the historic flooding and winds caused by Hurricane, then Tropical Storm, Harvey. Despite wind gusts that peaked at 130 mph as Harvey made landfall.
The plant is located 10 miles (16 kilometers) inland and at an elevation of 29 feet (8.8 meters) above sea-level. The facility is designed with watertight buildings and doors, with all buildings housing safety-related equipment being flood-proof to an elevation of at least 41 feet (12.5 meters).
‘We’ve got significant rain but flooding has not been an issue here,’ plant spokesman Buddy Eller said in a phone call about the reactors.
That the nuclear plant is just fine seemed to irk anti-nuclear groups who don’t want to see nuclear ever performing well, even if it helps the storm-wracked people of south Texas when other power sources are failing.
Three watchdog groups, the Sustainable Energy & Economic Development coalition (SEED), the South Texas Association for Responsible Energy and Beyond Nuclear recklessly urged politicians, the owners, and regulators to shut down the plant because of Harvey, even if it hurt residents, emergency workers and hospitals who desperately need that power.
But the regulators and the State would have none of that nonsense, understanding that these groups just peddle fear. The reactors provide 2,700 MW of power to 2,000,000 customers in the area.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff are at the plant, constantly assessing the situation and safety aspects. ‘The South Texas Project reactors have been operating safely throughout Harvey and continue to do so,’ NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said. The reactors can be shut down quickly if something develops, but that’s not expected to be necessary.
Two-hundred and fifty storm crew workers, along with regulators, were running the plant and were set up with sleeping arrangements, food and water to weather the storm no matter how long it took. None of them were afraid, knowing how safe the reactors are.
No other industry was as prepared.
According to the online news source North American Wind Power, one large wind installation in the path of the storm sent all 39 workers home as the hurricane closed in, but operated remotely until the wind hit 55 mph. It then shut down automatically like all farms when wind speeds exceed their design limits. Most wind farms have not sustained much damage, but getting them back to capacity will be difficult.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission also said Harvey does not pose a threat to the Waterford Nuclear Power Plant in New Orleans and the River Bend Plant near Baton Rouge.
We’ve seen this before. Last summer, a heat wave cooked Americawith extreme temperatures, affecting most energy production as well as causing fires and water shortages, sucking electricity like crazy to power the cooling necessary to avoid discomfort and even death. According to the National Weather Service, 122 million Americans were under heat alerts.
Fortunately, nuclear power didn’t mind, scoring record capacity factors of 96% and up, with no increase in price. Other energy sources did not fare so well and some gas plants gouged consumers just because they could.
In 2014, a Polar Vortex shut down natural gas and coal plants, and stopped wind turbines and solar generation. But nuclear performed wonderfully and provided more power to the hard-hit northeast than any other source.
Whether it’s hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, heat waves or severe cold, nuclear performs more reliably than anything else. There’s no better reason to retain our nuclear fleet, and even expand it, to give us a diverse energy mix that can handle any natural disaster that can occur.
Sept 6 to be “Kenny Shields Day” – of Streetheart fame – in Saskatchewan
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 will be “Kenny Shields Day” – of Streetheart fame – in Saskatchewan.
Kenny Shields was born in Nokomis, Saskatchewan on October 24th, 1947. Through his passionate work as the frontman of ‘Witness Inc.’ and then ‘Streetheart,’ Shields became one of the, if not the, biggest selling recording artists to ever come from Saskatchewan.
Streetheart topped the Canadian charts with non-stop hits that would eventually earn the band six gold albums, four platinum albums, a double platinum album, a gold single, two Ampex Golden Reel awards, a Music Express People’s Choice Award as the most popular Canadian Act, and a Juno award. In 2003, Kenny Shields and Streetheart were inducted into the Western Canadian Music Association Hall of Fame.
‘Kenny Shields Day’ was proclaimed on August 29th, 2017 by Christine Tell (Acting Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport in the Province of Saskatchewan) – see attached. As part of the Proclamation, Tell wrote, “I request the citizens of the Province of Saskatchewan to recognize this day.”
September 6th was chosen as Shields will have been interned in his home province of Saskatchewan by that date; thus Kenny can be here for his special day.
A gala concert was dedicated to Shields on August 29th in Winnipeg, MB. The event saw over 8,000 people attend and featured performances by, his friends and former bandmates in, groups such as; Loverboy, Harlequin, Honeymoon Suite, The Pumps, Orphan, and Streetheart. A Celebration of Life for Shields was held on Wednesday, August 30th at the Club Regent Casino in Winnipeg.
Shields passed away peacefully, and surrounded by the love of his family, the morning of July 21, 2017 in Winnipeg, MB. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Elena; daughter Julia (Josiah); sister Sharlene and her son Jeff; stepchildren Lida (Mike) their children Anthony and Isabella, Daniela, David; and extended family and friends. He was predeceased by his father Thomas, mother Alice, brother-in-law Lorne, and nephew David.
Despite his notoriety, Shields lived his life with the utmost humbleness. His kindness, generosity, and ability to make everyone feel special were only a few of the traits that attributed to Kenny lighting up every room that he entered. We will remember “Kenny” for his kind heart, gentle soul, warm smile, big hugs, firm handshakes, and contagious laugh.
Infographic: China vs. the U.S. vs. Canada on energy
Aug 24, 2017
China and the United States are the world’s two biggest energy markets.
They’re also the two biggest carbon dioxide producing regions on the globe.
Understanding international energy systems means understanding what’s going on in these two key nations. And Canada too, for good measure.
Funds to Go for BHP’s Jugular If Miner Doesn’t Deliver Goods
By David Stringer
August 20, 2017, 1:00 PM CST August 20, 2017, 9:46 PM CST
- Market to weigh returns, strategy as company reports Tuesday
- Challenges remain on board renewal, potash spending: Tribeca
BHP Billiton Ltd.’s truce with activist investors led by billionaire Paul Singer won’t last long if the world’s biggest mining company doesn’t pump up returns and deliver on strategic reform in the wake of its expected bumper profit report this week.
The naming in June of BHP’s youngest director Ken MacKenzie, 53, as chairman from next month has helped soothe disgruntled shareholders including Singer’s Elliott Management Corp., while continued demand growth in China for iron ore to coal is boosting prices, swelling earnings’ forecasts and raising expectations for higher payouts.
“They’ve got the most breathing space they’ve had in a long time,” Peter O’Connor, a Sydney-based analyst with Shaw and Partners Ltd., said by phone. “But if they mess up, the activists are going to be back on their jugular.”
After raising its stake in BHP’s London-traded shares to 5 percent, Elliott on Wednesday expressed confidence MacKenzie will heed investors’ calls to exit U.S. shale and tighten the producer’s approach on capital allocation. The increased holding, which under U.K. law allows the fund to call a company meeting, means it can “monitor BHP’s progress and hold it accountable for delivering results,” the fund said.
BHP is forecast to almost triple dividend payments as it reports an expected profit rebound Tuesday, following Rio Tinto Group and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. in boosting returns. Perth-based Fortescue on Monday boosted dividend payments and said it may raise returns further this year amid higher prices.
Elliott, which manages more than $33 billion of assets, is regarded as one of the world’s most prolific activist investors, and is currently tussling with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. over the firm’s offer for Texas’s largest power distributor. The fund has also shown it can be an enduring critic — battling Argentina for 15 years over its debt default.
MacKenzie met investors globally in recent weeks to listen to concerns over the company’s performance that gathered pace after Elliott launched its campaign in April. Elliott and BHP declined to confirm whether he held talks with Singer’s New York-based fund.
Elliott argues BHP’s leadership has destroyed about $40 billion in value and wants it to enhance returns, refresh the board, simplify its corporate structure and overhaul its oil and gas unit. The company on Thursday approved a $2.5 billion copper mine expansion in Chile and the new chairman will lead deliberations on pending investments in growth projects from potash to oil.
“He’s taken views on board on his listening tour and he’s been well received,” said Andy Forster, senior investment officer at Argo Investments Ltd., which manages more than A$5 billion ($4 billion) and holds BHP’s Sydney-listed shares. “It’s amazing how quickly things can turn around. With a higher iron ore price, the mining company balance sheets are in a much better position.” Argo was represented in a meeting with MacKenzie, he said.
BHP’s underlying earnings in fiscal 2017 are forecast to jump sixfold to $7.3 billion, according to the average of 18 analysts’ forecasts surveyed by Bloomberg, after plunging last year to a 15-year low. The full-year dividend will rise to 88 cents a share, from 30 cents, according to the forecasts. BHP’s consensus estimated payout of about 60 percent of earnings, above its 50 percent minimum threshold, compares with Rio Tinto’s first-half, total returns of 75 percent, according to Macquarie Group Ltd.
The producer could use the profit bonanza to announce a modest buy-back alongside a higher dividend and additional debt repayments, according to UBS Group AG. While BHP may be tempted to follow Rio in boosting returns, it’s unlikely to do so before MacKenzie’s arrival in his post next month, Credit Suisse Group AG said in a note Wednesday.
BHP advanced 1 percent to A$25.63 at 1:43 p.m. in Sydney trading Monday.
Shareholders are looking to MacKenzie to begin to outline plans for improvements when he makes a first scheduled public address at an annual meeting in London in October, according to Tribeca Investments Partners Pty. BHP continues to need to carry out a wider overhaul of its board and should defer plans to enter the potash market, according to the fund, which also met with the incoming chairman.
“We’re pretty bullish on the company, but bullish because of the prospect of change,” said Craig Evans, a Sydney-based portfolio manager at Tribeca, which in May called on BHP to sell the shale assets and overhaul its leadership. “One of the things that worries us is what their intentions are with potash — we are not of the belief that they should be throwing money at it right now.”
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The $12.8 billion Jansen potash project in Canada should be mothballed, according to a Deutsche Bank AG note Thursday. The company also should think twice about approving a $5 billion expansion of its Olympic Dam mine in Australia, Deutsche analysts including Sydney-based Paul Young wrote. The bank endorses BHP’s strategy on conventional oil — though not shale — and the longer-dated Resolution and Antamina copper projects in the U.S. and Peru.
“We want to see where the company is headed under the new leadership,” Tribeca’s Evans said. “They have an opportunity now to do a bit of self-help.”
Technology set to unleash mining innovation – Anglo’s O’Neill
16th August 2017 BY: MARTIN CREAMER
CREAMER MEDIA EDITOR
JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – In the next ten years, technology is set to unleash a wave of mining innovation, with the sweet spot centred on changing the thinking around orebodies and processing plants rather than much-spoken-about automation.
“Our focus has changed from hunting technologies to hunting value,” Anglo American technical director Tony O’Neill told Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online in an exclusive interview.
Three-dimensional metal printing, nonexplosive breakage of rock and microwave preconditioning of rock, as well as medical imaging equipment, are finding rapid application in mineral mining and processing.
The word in the industry is that mining companies that embrace the new era will be successful and the ones that do not will ultimately not survive. Anticipated are mines with footprints that can more readily coexist alongside a community in much the same way as farming.
The good news is that pathways are already starting to develop that change the current mining and processing paradigm.
Technologies are being reconfigured to make mining and processing far more precise, which offers massive potential reward.
Currently, much larger volumes of waste are brought to surface, compared with the scenario more than a century ago. This is because, outside of safety improvements, old methods are still being used today. For instance, in 1900, to obtain 40 kg of copper, 2 t of material had to be mined using 3 m3 of water and 10 kWh of energy, compared with currently having to mine 16 times more material, using 16 times more energy and drawing on double the volume of water.
“It’s risen at such a rate that it’s becoming unsustainable,” O’Neill commented to Mining Weekly Online.
While mining was, in the past, content to be a research and development laggard, other industries were not – and they shot ahead on the technological front, proving up technology that is now available off the shelf for mining to implement.
A successful pilot plant is already pointing the way for the more widespread introduction of coarse-particle recovery, which brings considerably larger-sized particles to surface and slashes water use.
Moreover, with the maturing of robotics technology, research is also being conducted into the introduction of swarm robotic mining, involving the use of small robots that will bring ultra-precision to a hugely wasteful industry.
As more precise mining methods gather momentum, those 40 kg of copper used to illustrate mining’s deteriorating position may one day be mined without any waste at all.
Coarse-particle recovery and advanced fragmentation (using smart blasting technologies) are good examples of putting existing technologies into new configurations to deliver value right now.
None of the technologies used is unproven, but what Anglo has managed to do is configure them in a way that adds immense value, with minimal additional capital investment.
While technology will have to be honed specifically for mining at some stage, a surfeit of technologies is ready for instant application.
“It’s more about a mindset change than having to make massive investments,” Anglo American technology development head Donovan Waller added to Mining Weekly Online.
Much of the improvement is being driven by data science and the modern world’s ability to analyse increasing volumes of data to a very high degree.
Virtually all the technologies needed have come of age; one of the biggest being the stabilisation of information technology, in which other industries have tended to advance much faster than the mining industry. These other industries include consumer electronics, manufacturing, automotive engineering and the pharmaceutical sector.
The coarse-particle recovery process captures coarse particles that are not recoverable using conventional flotation.
By needing to grind to only 500 micron instead of 170 micron, capacity is increased. Less energy is required in the crushing and grinding and water is more easily extracted from the larger particles and then recycled, significantly reducing the need for fresh water. The extraction of interstitial water results in a dry product, which can be dry-stacked, ultimately eliminating the need for tailings dams.
In copper, coarse-particle flotation has the potential to change the cost curve of the industry by allowing for 30% to 40% more throughput at a recovery loss of 2% to 3%, a 20% energy saving and 30% to 40% less water.
This is already a significant achievement for Anglo American in copper, and the company is hopeful of migrating it to other commodities, including platinum in South Africa, where testwork is still at an early stage.
If, for example, platinum ore can be pre-sorted in advance and be presented at a grade of 10 g/t instead of 4 g/t, output can be increased by two-and-a-half times from the exact same capital invested.
SWARM ROBOTIC MINING
Swarm robotic mining descales mining to make it much more precise, mimicking the actions of a swarm of locusts devouring a field or an army of ants working independently to execute tasks.
The technology envisages highly selective mining of ore types linked to real-time algorithms across a broad spectrum that includes constraints in energy, prices and associated issues.
As many people as possible are taken out of harm’s way in a remotely controlled environment.
Small operational teams will communicate with each other, without the need for a big-brother view from the surface that controls each of those small operational elements independently in self-learning operations.
Currently, the industry spends a lot of time adding water to its processes and even more time trying to get the water out afterwards.
A pathway has been developed to end up with a waterless mine through the adoption of a closed loop, using only a fixed amount of water that is then recycled time and again. Anglo already recycles or re-uses more than 60% of its water requirements.
Ultimately, the aim is to arrive at potentially chemical means that allow for the liberation of particles without having to add water to them, to arrive at a waterless process.
SUN, WIND, GRAVITY AND SMALL, GREEN NUCLEAR
In terms of energy, the focus is on using renewables for energy self-sufficiency.
The solutions will be a combination of sun and wind. As the sun does not shine at night and the wind does not always blow, other energy forms, including gravity, will take advantage of the mining sector having depth as one of those solutions.
Ultimately, nuclear may be incorporated should it become “greener”, smaller and more modular, as is expected.
Instead of spending billions to build one big plant, small modular plants will be built and scaled up quickly, with the lifespan of the modules being influenced by the next step up in technology.
Mines will move away from using the same technology for long periods of time and outlaying large capital expenditure on plants that last for 50 years and more.
Smaller, modular, cheaper units will allow for technology upgrades every five years, providing scalability as well as the opportunity to ramp up on new technology that has arisen.
Although mining is not an industry that has been used to technological change, there is no reason why it should not, from now on, accelerate advancing technology quickly, as other industries do.
“Our FutureSmart Mining programme is about far more than technologies alone. It is end-to-end innovation, in its broadest sense, addressing all aspects of sustainability for the business – safety, health, the environment, the needs of our communities and host governments, and the reliable delivery of our products to customers. Those that innovate and are agile will thrive in this industry. That is mining’s new future.” O’Neill concluded.