Tag Archives: Benedikt Sobotka

ERG’s BAMIN signs pact with Brazil Government to complete and operate FIOL railway

Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) says its wholly-owned Brazilian subsidiary, BAMIN, has signed a concession agreement with the Brazilian Federal Government to complete and operate a section of the FIOL (East-West Integration) railway in the country.

BAMIN will advance the construction works, which until recently were carried out by the state-owned railway engineering and construction company Valec.

The sub-concession has been granted for a 35-year period, which includes an allowance of five years for the construction of the railway and 30 years for its operation. BAMIN’s investment into the railroad and the rolling stock will amount to around BRL3.3 billion ($683 million).

In April 2021, BAMIN won the auction on the B3 (São Paulo Stock Exchange) to complete and operate the first 537 km stretch of the FIOL. The concession agreement has now granted BAMIN 120 days to evaluate the progress of the construction and other related works. This preliminary phase precedes the preparation of a plan to resume the construction, which is scheduled for the second half of 2022.

Tarcio Gomes de Freitas, Minister of Infrastructure of Brazil, said: “The importance of this infrastructure project in the state of Bahia cannot be overstated. The project is very well structured and includes an iron ore plant, a railway and a seaport. The railway, which is undergoing construction, will serve the mining industry, as well as the agricultural sector, which is growing at an unprecedented pace, particularly in the west.”

BAMIN has already hired professionals in the rail industry to oversee the management of the FIOL railway. BAMIN will also leverage ERG’s international expertise as the largest transport operator in Central Asia with extensive experience in rail transportation, ERG says. Each year, ERG transports over 50 Mt of freight using 10,000 vehicles, while also maintaining and repairing 2,500 wagons and over 1,000 locomotives.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, said: “All across the globe, railways play a crucial role in urban development, enabling people to gain access to new opportunities. In Brazil, we are confident that FIOL will act as an important connecting point between regions, cities and people, contributing to economic growth, and creating a strong link between the west and the east of the country. The logistics and exportation corridor that BAMIN will create will transport millions of tonnes of iron ore, agricultural products, as well as other goods.”

With the resumption of construction, the project is expected to boost the country’s economic growth at both the federal and the local level: FIOL will strengthen the rail network across 20 municipalities in Brazil, while also boosting foreign trade, ERG says.

BAMIN plans to install over 30 loading stations along the route, creating opportunities for regional producers, enhancing production chains, and helping establish new businesses.

Once completed, FIOL will be able to carry 60 Mt/y of freight, with BAMIN’s products accounting for a third of this capacity. More than 40 Mt of cargo will be made available for other businesses in both the mining and agricultural sector, as well as other industries in the Bahia region.

ERG said: “The importance of the FIOL railway cannot be overstated, as the railway will be part of an integrated logistics project that will connect the Pedra de Ferro mine in Caetité with the Porto Sul, currently under construction in Ilhéus, Bahia. Following the commencement of commercial operations in January 2021, the Pedra de Ferro Mine is expected to produce 1 Mt by the end of this year. Once the South Port and FIOL are completed (expected in 2026), the mine should produce 18 Mt of iron ore per year.”

Eduardo Ledsham, CEO of BAMIN, said: “The Pedra de Ferro mine, Porto Sul, and FIOL projects are an important milestone for the country’s economic development, and a source of pride for the Bahia State and all Brazilians. We are creating a new logistics corridor to integrate the west with the east of Brazil, creating a new, important exportation pathway.

“The state of Bahia will occupy a new and important place in the national economy, becoming the third largest iron ore producer in the country, generating wealth and prosperity, while also increasing the population’s income and improving the quality of life.”

Sber and Eurasian Resources Group to cooperate on metals and mining ESG standards

Sber and Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) have signed a Memorandum of Intent to cooperate on developing environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, including green financing instruments, for the metals and mining industry.

The document was signed by Andrey Shemetov, Senior Vice President and Head of SberCIB, and Benedikt Sobotka, Chief Executive Officer of Eurasian Resources Group.

The parties plan to develop ESG standards for the metals and mining industry, including relevant targets and metrics, and apply ESG-linked financial instruments to support mining and metals production. Sber and ERG will also collaborate on matters concerning investment and export opportunities, with ERG receiving advice and information support from Sber on ESG risk analysis.

Shemetov said: “We have been working with ERG, one of the world’s leading mineral mining and processing companies, for a long time, and this partnership has been fruitful. Mining and processing are vital to the economy, and we are aware they entail certain environmental risks. That is why it is most important that market players adhere to ESG principles.

“We welcome ERG’s willingness to evolve ESG-wise and, for our part, are ready to facilitate the development of the company’s sustainable practices while offering a variety of green products and joint projects. I am confident that this work will contribute heavily to the attainment of sustainable development goals by our companies.”

Sobotka added: “We are pleased to continue our partnership with Sber. ESG factors and sustainable development goals have been at the heart of the group’s activities for many years, while responsible ‘green’ investments for project financing are more relevant today than ever. The ethical production of the metals of the future, such as the cobalt needed to produce electric vehicles and gadgets, is essential for the transition to a green and lower-carbon economy. This is a major part of the group’s overarching mission.

“This agreement will facilitate the introduction of ESG principles into our decision-making processes as we implement innovative projects in our regions of presence. We are confident that the new collaboration with Sber will make a significant contribution to the group’s progress in this respect.”

Kazchrome achieves chrome tailings flotation breakthrough

Engineers at the Donskoy Ore Mining and Processing Plant of JSC TNC Kazchrome, in Kazakhstan, have successfully completed trials of a first-of-its-kind industrial flotation technology to increase the enrichment of chrome oxide-bearing tailings, Eurasian Resources Group reports.

Kazchrome, the world’s largest high-carbon ferrochrome producer by chrome content with a total resource base of over 200 Mt of chrome ore, is owned by ERG.

The novel technology is part of the group’s R&D efforts to maximise chromite concentrate output and reduce the site’s environmental footprint, the company reports, with the process yielding the recovery of over 55% of chrome oxide and conforming to the applicable requirements for concentrate used in ferrochrome smelting.

As a result of these trials, the flotation technology will be used to construct a new facility to process over 10 Mt of chrome oxide-bearing tailings with a planned annual capacity of 1.7 Mt for 450,000 t/y of chrome concentrate, ERG says.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, said: “This pioneering technology is a major milestone on our path towards ensuring sustainable and low-cost chromite concentrate supply for our operations in Kazakhstan, and is part of the group’s broader strategy to reinforce our leading position in the global ferrochrome market.”

Sergey Opanasenko, Chairman of the Management Board of ERG R&D Centre, added: “We are very pleased with the results of the flotation trials, particularly considering the complex mineralogy and physical characteristics of our ores. Building on this success, we look forward to working on incorporating this technology into the design of our new tailings processing facility.”

ERG’s BAMIN iron ore project kicks into gear

Eurasian Resources Group says it is continuing to advance its BAMIN integrated iron ore mining and logistics project in Brazil with the planned commercial start-up this month of its Pedra de Ferro mine in Bahia.

Pedra de Ferro has an initial capacity of 2 Mt/y of high-grade iron ore with 65% Fe content, but, in full production, will be able to produce 18 Mt/y of ore.

At the same time as this, plans for the implementation of Porto Sul, a deep-water port complex that is part of BAMIN, also continue to advance.

Carried out by the State of Bahia and BAMIN, the initial works at the port (pictured) focus on the construction of the requisite infrastructure and access to the site. This phase of the work will generate 400 direct jobs and another 1,200 indirect jobs, according to ERG.

Overall, the BAMIN project is expected to see Bahia become the country’s third largest iron ore producer.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of ERG, said: “The start of operations at Pedra de Ferro is a fundamental step towards the full implementation of the project. Porto Sul, in addition to its strategic importance, will strengthen the local economy and support the growth of other sectors. While implementing the BAMIN project, we also aim to positively contribute to the economic and social recovery and help mitigate the long-term impact of the pandemic.”

Metal and mining companies collaborate with WEF on blockchain solutions

Seven leading mining and metals companies have partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to experiment, design and deploy blockchain solutions that will accelerate responsible sourcing and sustainability practices, the WEF reports.

The Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative will pool resources and cost, increase speed-to-market and improve industry-wide trust that cannot be achieved by acting individually, according to the forum.

“It aims to be a neutral enabler for the industry, addressing the lack of standardisation and improving efficiency,” WEF said, adding that the intention was to send out a signal of inclusivity and collaboration across the industry.

Among the seven companies represented in this initiative are Antofagasta Minerals, Eurasian Resources Group, Glencore, Tata Steel Limited, De Beers and Anglo American.

The group will look to develop joint proof-of-concepts for an inclusive blockchain platform, which, over time, could help the industry collectively increase “transparency, efficiency or improve reporting of carbon emissions”, it said.

The WEF explained: “In many cases, blockchain projects to support responsible sourcing have been bilateral. The result has been a fractured system that leaves behind parts of the ecosystem and lacks interoperability.”

The new initiative is owned and driven by the industry, for the industry, according to the WEF, with members examining issues related to governance, developing case studies and establishing a working group. Key areas of collaboration and development could include carbon emissions tracking and supply chain transparency.

“They will work to use blockchain technology to increase trust between upstream and downstream partners, to address the lack of industry standardisation and to track provenance, chain of custody and production methods,” it said.

Jörgen Sandström, Head of the Mining and Metals Industry at the WEF, said material value chains are undergoing profound change and disruption. “The industry needs to respond to the increasing demands of minerals and materials while responding to increasing demands by consumers, shareholders and regulators for a higher degree of sustainability and traceability of the products.”

The WEF has offered its platform and expertise to help industry leaders better understand the impact and potential of blockchain technology, it said. “It will provide guidance on governance issues related to the delivery of a neutral industry platform and the expansion of members.”

The move was welcomed by industry partners, including Ivan Arriagada, CEO of Antofagasta Minerals: “We hope this collaboration and pilot will give us practical examples of how blockchain can increase efficiency of the supply chain management and improve interoperability; address certain supply chain management risks such as transparency and consumer trust; and unlock opportunities including integration of key data such on environmental impact such carbon emissions.”

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, meanwhile, said the collaboration around blockchain technology would help industry efforts to enhance responsible sourcing. “By working together, our goal is to develop solutions that can be adopted across the industry and value chain,” he added.

Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore, said the development of this technology can facilitate industry reporting to improve compliance across the supply chain.

TV Narendran, CEO of Tata Steel, said: “As a responsible player in the mining and metals industry, we are committed to build a sustainable future.”

Jim Duffy, CEO of Tracr (representing Anglo American/De Beers), said the company looked forward to collaborating with the consortium as Tracr begins to roll-out its connected supply chain platform for the diamond industry. “Lessons learned creating Tracr are highly relevant to the sustainable sourcing of all mining and metals,” he added.

ERG trials IBM Blockchain Platform to support Clean Cobalt Framework

Eurasian Resources Group says it will pilot a blockchain-based solution built on the IBM Blockchain Platform at its Metalkol RTR operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help enhance the provenance and traceability of cobalt in the metal’s supply chain.

Metalkol RTR is ERG’s hydrometallurgical plant in the DRC and has a target capacity of 24,000 t/y of cobalt.

ERG said: “While cobalt and other metals such as copper, nickel and lithium drive the global battery sector, their extraction may come at high cost for the surrounding ecosystem, including the use of child labour and pollution which is compounded by the current dearth of viable reuse and recycling systems. The blockchain-based solution helps to ensure that the material is traceable.”

The blockchain supports ERG’s Clean Cobalt Framework at Metalkol RTR, a reprocessing plant for historic copper and cobalt tailings from previous mining operations, which is nearing operation, according to ERG.

Niels de Jongh, Executive Partner IBM Global Business Services, said: “ERG’s initiative to implement a blockchain solution to bring together stakeholders across the cobalt supply chain can help transform entire business processes in the mining industry and help bring new levels of trust. Leveraging IBM’s digital capabilities enables parties to develop the solution through an interactive approach with clear business focus.”

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group and co-chair of the Global Battery Alliance, said: “This blockchain-based solution will aim to enable manufacturers to confirm that the cobalt was sourced at Metalkol RTR by aggregating the necessary data and information on the raw material.”

Leveraging IBM’s blockchain platform and expertise, the platform will aim to determine the provenance of cobalt throughout the supply chain, from extraction to production, a process that is currently complex and costly. Using blockchain will allow individuals to track the origins of cobalt across the supply chain, including once it’s been to a smelter and blended, and reduce costs through efficient information sharing, tracking and transparency according to the highest standards.

Sobotka added: “As a founding member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance, ERG aims to create new standards in the industry. We are therefore pleased to be piloting this innovative blockchain-based solution on the IBM platform. This way we can guarantee with certainty that the material that customers buy is not tainted by artisanally-produced material.”

Last week, MineHub Technologies and IBM announced a collaboration to use blockchain technology to help improve operational efficiencies, logistics and financing and reduce costs in the high-value mineral concentrates supply chain — from mine to end buyer. Goldcorp, ING Bank, Kutcho Copper, Ocean Partners and Wheaton Precious Metals are working with MineHub to build the new mining supply chain solution on top of the IBM Blockchain Platform.