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World

  • President Otto Perez Molina has officially withdrawn two proposed amendments to the Guatemalan Constitution pertaining to mining law reform, including a highly controversial trial balloon which would have permitted state ownership of up to 40% in new mining projects. If adopted, Article 125 would have allowed the Guatemalan government to acquire up to 40% ownership or equity in future new mining projects, which were not already operating in Guatemala. Officials had said the government would have had to purchase shares in a mining company in order to participate and that it would not nationalize mines.
  • The Philippine province where a joint venture of Xstrata Plc wants to develop a $5.9-billion copper and gold mine is unlikely to lift its ban on the project. South Cotabato Governor Arthur Pingoy has said that Sagittarius Mines, owned by the global miner and Australian mining firm Indophil Resources, may have to go to court to end the ban on open-pit mining, the method to be used at Southeast Asia’s biggest copper and gold prospect in Tampakan.
  • Mongolia is calling upon China and Russia to re-direct a planned natural-gas pipeline across its territory as the world’s fastest growing economy seeks to tap the cleaner-burning fuel. Altering the route to pass through Mongolia would save 1,000 km of pipeline, President Ts.Elbegdorj said in an interview. It would also allow Mongolia to switch to gas heating in Ulaanbaatar, which ranks among the world’s most polluted cities due to widespread use of coal-fired stoves. “This is economically beneficial,” Elbegdorj said. “We are trying to persuade our two neighbours not to exclude us from that project. The Chinese side has already agreed to discuss this and also the Russian side.”
  • In Mozambique’s port capital Maputo, glitzy offices, boutique hotels and fancy restaurants are popping up alongside crumbling colonial buildings, nourished by multi-billion dollar investment in coal and gas deposits to the north.Luxury cars jam crowded streets and smart-suited business executives strut the sidewalks.But their proximity to children begging for food and clusters of tin-roofed shacks offers testimony that the benefits of the southern African nation’s incipient economic boom are out of reach for the vast majority of its 23 million people.
  • Copper consumption is rising dramatically in China, Brazil and India. Copper imports are normally an indicator of economic activity. For the first five months of 2012, copper imports by China increased by 52% year on year as demand for the red metal continued to soar. China’s huge imports in the month of May further suggest firm demand from the world’s major commodity buyer.China’s copper imports surged 65% in May, as compared to the previous year, fuelling hopes of a pickup in growth. Copper imports climbed to 419,741 tonnes in May, 11.9% more than a month ago.
  • In the first white paper of its kind on the country’s rare earth industry, China has pledged to improve relevant laws and regulations, as well as cooperate internationally on rare earth exports and the development of new rare earth technologies.In the paper, “Situation and Policies of China’s Rare Earth Industry”, the government targets “a unified, standardised and highly efficient administration system” for the industry and a “healthy development pattern featuring rational mining, orderly production, efficient utilization, advanced technology and intensive development”.The paper is divided into five sections. A summary of their contents is given below.
  • Resource deals dominated China’s outbound investment of $21.4 billion in the first three months of 2012, with assets in South America the most sought after by mainly State-backed buyers, a study shows.A $4.8-billion deal struck in March by state-controlled Sinopec, China’s second-largest oil-and-gas producer, for 30% of Petrogal Brazil was the quarter’s single biggest deal and one underlining an emerging trend of China purchasing minority stakes.
  • Two year-old Ginny--a beautiful, brindled-coloured Dutch Shepherd living in Virginia--carries considerable weight on her slender shoulders as a four-legged pioneer in mine rescue.While friendly and sweet-natured during brief introductions at the 2012 National Search and Rescue Conference in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Ginny is all business when it comes to doing her job as the world’s first mine search and rescue dog, trained to perform search and rescue in both underground and surface mines.
  • Russia’s UC RUSAL Plc, the world’s biggest aluminium producer, posted an 84% drop in first-quarter net profit as prices fell, potentially fuelling a shareholder row over the company’s refusal to sell its stake in Norilsk Nickel.RUSAL’s management, led by its controlling shareholder Oleg Deripaska, has resisted pressure to dispose of its 25-percent share in the world’s largest nickel and palladium company to pay down debts at a time when aluminium markets are weak.
  • The Chinese government plans to encourage companies to explore for coal offshore, while at the same time capping domestic coal production below 3.9 billion metric tons by the end of 2015. China Daily says the nation’s coal industry is expected to be capable of producing 4.1 billion metric tons by the end of 2015. However, Wu Yin, deputy director of China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), told China Daily that plans call for keeping coal output within 3.9 billion metric tons to control energy use and reduce carbon emissions.
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