iron ore mining and mineral processing china company list list

ride the iron ore price with these three metals & mining stocks

ride the iron ore price with these three metals & mining stocks

Iron ore is one of the main ingredients used to produce steel. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), almost all iron ore (98%) is used in steelmaking. Iron ore is mined in nearly 50 countries, with the seven largest of these producing countries accounting for three-quarters of world production. Australia and Brazil are the two largest iron ore exporters (mostly to China), each with about one-third of total exports.

China is the largest importer and consumer of iron ore, so it is important to keep an eye on what is happening in this market. Weekly iron ore shipments from Australia have trended downward and there have been operational and safety issues limiting Brazils production and exports to China. These events have created a tight global supply-demand balance. As a result, iron ore prices have surged over the past few weeks in China as portside stockpiles have dropped to an eight-month low. Strong iron ore prices have carried over into global markets.

Iron ore is essential for the worlds iron and steel industries. Steel producers were negatively impacted by a freeze in consumption, economic shutdowns and disrupted supply chains during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the recovery in U.S. steel demand from pandemic lows exhibited a V-shaped recovery and steel prices entered 2021 at multi-year highs.

In addition, President Biden wants to spend billions on roads, bridges, airports, railways, sources of renewable energy, power grids and other major infrastructure projects and gained preliminary bipartisan support last week for his plans. If a large infrastructure spending bill passes, it would likely boost the sales and earnings for a variety of leading companies in the basic materials and industrials sectors.

When analyzing a company, it is useful to have an objective framework that allows you to compare companies in the same way. This is one reason why AAII created the A+ Stock Grades, which evaluate companies across five factors that have been shown to identify market-beating stocks in the long run: value, growth, momentum, earnings estimate revisions (and surprises) and quality.

Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF) is a vertically integrated producer of iron ore and steel products. The company has upstream and downstream operations. It supplies both customized iron ore pellets and steel solutions. Cleveland-Cliffs is the largest flat-rolled steel company and the largest iron ore pellet producer in North America.

Its segments include steel and manufacturing and mining and pelletizing. Its steel and manufacturing segment is a producer of flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products, primarily for the automotive, infrastructure and manufacturing and distributors and converters markets. The companys steel and manufacturing segment includes subsidiaries that provide customer solutions with carbon and stainless-steel tubing products, engineered solutions, tool design and build, hot- and cold-stamped steel components and complex assemblies. Its mining and pelletizing segment is a supplier of iron ore pellets to the North American steel industry from its mines and pellet plants located in Michigan and Minnesota.

The company has significant exposure to harder-to-make steels and limited exposure to commodity steel products, such as hot-rolled coil. Since President Biden announced a tentative infrastructure deal, hot-rolled steel coil prices have more than tripled over the past year to reach an all-time high of over $1,800 per short ton this week.

Cleveland-Cliffs has a Value Grade of D, based on its score of 61, which is considered expensive. The companys Value Score ranking is high across several traditional valuation metrics, with a score of 91 for shareholder yield, 69 for the price-to-book-value ratio and 61 for the enterprise-value-to-Ebitda (EV/Ebitda) ratio (remember, the lower the score the better for value). Successful stock investing involves buying low and selling high, so stock valuation is an important consideration for stock selection.

The Value Grade is the percentile rank of the average of the percentile ranks of the valuation metrics mentioned above along with the price-earnings ratio, price-to-sales ratio and price-to-free-cash-flow ratio.

Cleveland-Cliffs has a Momentum Grade of A, based on its Momentum Score of 83. This means it ranks in the top tier of all stocks in terms of its weighted relative strength over the last four quarters. The weighted four-quarter relative strength rank is the relative price change for each of the past four quarters.

Earnings estimate revisions offer an indication of what analysts are thinking about the short-term prospects of a firm. Cleveland-Cliffs Earnings Estimate Revisions Grade is C, which is considered neutral. The grade is based on the statistical significance of its last two quarterly earnings surprises and the percentage change in its consensus estimate for the current fiscal year over the past month and past three months.

Cleveland-Cliffs has posted a positive and negative earnings surprise for its last two fiscal quarters, mainly due to higher realized iron ore and steel prices and higher integration costs due to its recent acquisitions of AK Steel and ArcelorMittal USA. These two acquisitions improved Cleveland-Cliffs competitive position in several markets, especially automotive. Over the last month, the consensus earnings estimate for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2021, has increased 17.1% from $4.09 per share to $4.79 per share; there have been six upward revisions to the fiscal-2021 estimate and one downward revision.

Rio Tinto (RIO) is a mining and metals company. The companys business is finding, mining and processing mineral resources. The companys segments include iron ore, aluminum, copper & diamonds, energy & minerals and other operations. The company operates an iron ore business, supplying the global seaborne iron ore trade. Its iron ore product operations are located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and operations include approximately five iron ore products and approximately four port terminals.

The aluminum business includes bauxite mines, alumina refineries and aluminum smelters. Its bauxite mines are located in Australia, Brazil and Guinea. The copper & diamonds segment has managed operations in Australia, Canada, Mongolia and the U.S., and non-managed operations in Chile and Indonesia. The energy & minerals segment consists of mining, refining and marketing operations across sectors including borates, iron ore concentrate and pellets, titanium dioxide and uranium.

The company has exhibited strong sales growth over the past year. Sales increased 22.5% year over year for the six-month period ending December 31, 2020, to $25.2 billion, while operating cash grew over 55%. Rio Tinto currently has a 5.5% dividend yield.

Vale (VALE) is a global producer of iron ore and iron ore pellets, key raw materials for steelmaking, and producer of nickel. The company also produces copper, metallurgical and thermal coal, potash, phosphates and other fertilizer nutrients, manganese ore, ferroalloys, platinum group metals, gold, silver and cobalt. The companys segments include ferrous minerals, comprising the production and extraction of ferrous minerals such as iron ore fines and iron ore pellets and their logistic services, and manganese and ferroalloys and others ferrous products and services; coal, comprising the extraction of metallurgical and thermal coal and its logistic services; base metals, which include the production and extraction of non-ferrous minerals and are presented as nickel and its byproducts; and copper (copper concentrated); and others, comprising sales and expenses of other products, services and investments in joint ventures and associated in other business.

A higher-quality stock possesses traits associated with upside potential and reduced downside risk. Backtesting of the quality grade shows that stocks with higher quality grades, on average, outperformed stocks with lower grades over the period from 1998 through 2019.

The A+ Quality Grade is the percentile rank of the average of the percentile ranks of return on assets (ROA), return on invested capital (ROIC), gross profit to assets, buyback yield, change in total liabilities to assets, accruals, Z double prime bankruptcy risk (Z) score and F-Score. The score is variable, meaning it can consider all eight measures or, should any of the eight measures not be valid, the valid remaining measures. To be assigned a quality score, though, stocks must have a valid (non-null) measure and corresponding ranking for at least four of the eight quality measures.

Vale has a Quality Grade of A, putting it in the top tier among all U.S.-listed stocks. The company ranks highly in terms of its return on assets and F-Score, ranking respectively in the 91st and 95th percentile of all U.S.-listed stocks. However, it ranks poorly in terms of its change in total liabilities to assets, in the 40th percentile.

I am the VP for American Association of Individual Investors & AAII Journal Editor. I am also the author of Better Good than Lucky: How Savvy Investors Create Fortune with the Risk-Reward Ratio (published by W&A Publishing/Trader's Press). I write about stocks, ETFs, investing and provides insight about individual investor sentiment as well as market and economic analysis.

I am the VP for American Association of Individual Investors & AAII Journal Editor. I am also the author of Better Good than Lucky: How Savvy Investors Create Fortune with the Risk-Reward Ratio (published by W&A Publishing/Trader's Press). I write about stocks, ETFs, investing and provides insight about individual investor sentiment as well as market and economic analysis.

iron ore,production process of iron ore,iron ore beneficiation flow-beijing hot mining tech co ltd

iron ore,production process of iron ore,iron ore beneficiation flow-beijing hot mining tech co ltd

Ore, which contains an economical use of iron, is called an iron ore. There are many types of iron ore, magnetite (Fe3O4), hematite (Fe2O3) and (FeCO3), etc, which are mainly used for iron making. Iron ore is an important raw material for iron and steel production enterprises. After crushing, grinding, magnetic separation, gravity concentration etc, gradually we can get iron from natural minerals (iron ore). It is the mineral aggregates that contain iron or iron compounds which can be used economically.

Generally, the processing of iron ore needs several processing stages, including crushing, grinding, ore beneficiation, concentrating, drying, etc. The equipments for iron ore beneficiation is consisted of Jaw Crusher, Ball MillClassifier, Magnetic Separator, Flotation Machine, Concentrator Machine and Dryer. And Equipped with Feeder, Elevator and Conveyor, a full set of Beneficiation Production Line can be made. It has advantages such as High efficiency, Low Consumption, High Output and economical and reasonable, etc.

We can not only provide single equipment,such as jaw crusher, cone crusher, ball mill, but also can provide full production line,such as iron ore production line, ore beneficiation production line, etc.

According to different extent form, classification of iron ore have hematite, limonite, magnetite, siderite, etc. According to different iron ore types, iron ore beneficiation processes mainly refer to magnetic separation, flotation separation, gravity separation and magnetization-magnetic separation.

Magnetic separation is using magnetic field to separate materials with different magnetic intensity. Magnetic separation is the most popular method used to beneficiate black metal ore. There are two kind of magnetic separation, normal and high density. Normal magnetic separation is adopted to separate magnetite. High density magnetic separation is used to separate hematite and other ore which is weak magnetic.

Flotation process is also commonly seen in nowadays iron ore beneficiation. It has become a very important way to recover weak magnetic ore. It is also used to treat iron ore fine to reduce the content of silica and impurities.

Flotation beneficiation separate ore at three physical statuses: gas-liquid-solid. The ore slurry enters the mixing bucket first. After the slurry is mixed thoroughly with chemicals, it is sent into the flotation machine. With water and gas fed into the flotation machine, along with the slurry, there will be bubbles generated. The bubbles take the parts which is valuable to us out of the slurry. And the rest is tailing.

The gravity separation separates ore parts with different density. Gravity separation is also one of the most popular ore beneficiation methods. It is widely used in weight metal ore beneficiation, especially weak magnetic iron ore.

Hematite, limonite, siderite and iron pyrites is very weak magnetic. We cannot use normal magnetic separation to beneficiate. We have to magnetize them first. And then, we can use normal magnetic separation.

top five iron ore mining companies of australia profiled

top five iron ore mining companies of australia profiled

Holding the richest and largest estimated iron ore reserves in the world at 52 billion tonnes, with Russia (25 billion tonnes), Brazil (23 billion tonnes) and China (21 billion tonnes) way behind, it follows that Australia is home to some of the world's top mining companies

Most of the countrys iron ore is located in Western Australia, which stood second in terms of global iron ore production, with three of the top five iron ore mining companies hailing from this state. The top two hail from Melbourne.

Only China outstrips Australia it in terms of total volume, but its iron ore is predominantly used domestically and typically of a low grade. This has made Western Australia the worlds largest supplier of global seaborne iron ore, along with being the main exporter to China.

Topping our list of iron ore mining companies in Australia, is Melbourne-based diversified mining giant Rio Tinto. The mining and metals pioneer not only produces iron ore for steel but also other minerals and ores, such as aluminium for cars and smartphones, titanium for paint, copper for wind turbines, water pipes and electric cars, and diamonds.

Established in Spain in 1873, the worlds second-biggest miner has business interests spanning 36 countries and a workforce of about 47,000 on its payroll. In 2018, Rio Tinto was the only miner to stop producing coal and other fossil fuels.

Rio Tinto shipped 327.4 million tonnes of iron ore in 2019, while boasting a gigantic market cap of nearly AU$150bn on the ASE. It also generated an annual revenue of more than $43bn in the same year, as per a Bloomberg study.

Second in this list of Australian iron ore producers, is the Anglo-Australian mining behemoth BHP Group, which also happens to be the worlds largest mining company. Based in Melbourne, like its rival Rio Tinto, BHP focuses on oil and gas, copper, iron ore mining, metallurgical coal and mineral processing.

Although having businesses in six continents, similar to global competitor Rio Tinto, BHP primarily operates in Australia and the Americas. With a workforce of more than 62,000 employees, this diversified mining company has a colossal market cap of about AU$180bn on the ASE, as per data generated by Bloomberg, and produced an annual revenue of more than $44bn in 2019.

Established in 2003, Fortescue Metals Groups current infrastructure comprises two mine hubs (the Chichester Hub and the Solomon Hub, both of which it owns and operates) with a third facility in the pipeline. The Chichester Hub, located in the Chichester Ranges of Pilbara, Western Australia, includes the Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek mines. The Solomon Hub, also located in Western Australias Pilbara, but in the Hamersley Ranges, consists of the Firetail and Kings Valley mines.

Headquartered in Perth, Western Australia, ITOCHU Minerals and Energy of Australia (IMEA) Pty Ltd. is a 100%-owned subsidiary of Japans ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Tokyo), a top global general trading company.

Founded in 1967, IMEA generates its revenue through investment in and production of iron ore, coal and alumina. ITOCHU Australia has joint ventures with Mitsui ITOCHU Iron and Japan Alumina Associates. It also manufactures mining machinery.

According to the ITOCHU Australia website, IMEAs annual production capacity is about 280 million tonnes withestimating its 2019 annual revenue to be $1.06bn (US$1=AU$1.41). Forbes puts parent company ITOCHUs market cap at $29.6bn.

One of the most successful, privately-owned companies in Australia, Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd. (HPPL) and Western Australias Pilbara region go way back in their association with the iron ore and agriculture sectors.

Hancock Prospecting is a progression of 10 major iron ore mines beginning with the first in 1966. All were developed from original discoveries by Hancock, who was popularly known as the flying prospector due to his penchant for using a light fixed-wing aircraft in the exploration of minerals.

Australias single largest iron ore mine, Roy Hill, is HPPLs majority-owned (70%) $10bn mega operation. Successful development has seen Roy Hill producing 55 million tonnes of ore in 2019. Hancocks Hope Downs joint venture with Rio Tinto produced about 47 million tonnes in the same year.

Hancock acquired Perth-based iron ore specialising company Atlas Iron Limited for $418mn in an off-market takeover bid in late 2018, which reflected positive results with Atlas Iron contributing $144mn to HPPLs net profit post-tax in the first year of acquisition.

Atlas Irons mining portfolio includes exploration, acquisition and development with operations in Western Australias Northern Pilbara region. Atlas Iron generated an annual revenue of $703mn in 2019.

9 biggest chinese mining companies

9 biggest chinese mining companies

The growth of China's mining industry shows no sign of slowing down. Despite a slowing economy and the continuing trade war with the United States, the Chinese steel industry shows signs of being resilient. In 2020, China produced about half of the world's steel and imported more than 70% of the worlds seaborne iron ore.

The country also produced around 90% of the worlds rare earth metals in 2019. Minerals from the mining industry in China are used to make everything from iPhones to missiles, in addition to numerous other goods that the American consumer and the U.S. economy rely on.

Eight of these nine Chinese mining companies are included in PwC's 2020 list of the 40 largest mining companies in the world. The stocks of these companies trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange or the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

China Shenhua is an integrated energy company that operates primarily through its coal division. The company operates several coal mines and is involved in the production and transportation of coal and coal products.

Its revenue for fiscal year 2020, was233.263 billion RMB a3.6% decrease from the previous year. Its annual revenue for 2019 was241.871 billion RMBan8.4% increasefrom 2018. The company's net income for 2020 was43.984 billion RMB, an11.6% declinefrom 2019.

China Coal Energy Company Limited mines and processes coal products. It produces thermal coal and coking coal products and also conducts coal chemical production, coal mining equipment manufacturing, pit mouth power generation, and coal mine design businesses.

Zijin Mining Group is principally involved in gold mining and smelting, though the company also mines for copper, lead, zinc, silver, and iron products in smaller quantities. For FY 2020, the company's revenue was was 171.501 billion RMB, and its net income was 8.458 billion RMB.

China Northern Rare Earth Group, formerly known as the Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare Group, is engaged in producing rare earth metals, oxides, and salts. China Northern Rare Earth Group has a market capitalization of $70.409 billion USD in May 2021.

Jiangxi Copper is one of China's largest copper producers. It manufactures, distributes copper products, and produces copper cathode and other copper products. Jiangxi Copper also operates minerals development, finance, investment, trade, logistics, and other businesses.

Shaanxi Coal and Chemical mines, processes, and sells coal products. It also produces long flame coal, caking coal, noncaking coal, gas coal, lump coal, washed coal, coal chemicals, and other products.

China Molybdenum is a mineral mining and exploration company. It mines for molybdenum, tungsten, niobium, cobalt, copper, and more. For the first quarter of 2020, the company's revenue was 22.38 billion RMB. Its revenue for 2019 was 68.68 billion RMB, and its net income was 1.766 billion RMB.

Shandong Gold Mining operates gold mining and production businesses. It provides gold exploration, processing, and outsourcing of gold smelting services. It also operates gold jewelry purification and non-ferrous metal production businesses.

Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited operates coal businesses. The company produces fine coal, blown coal, power coal, and coal chemical products. Yanzhou Coal Mining also operates power generation, railway transport, machinery manufacturing, and heating businesses.

abb in mining

abb in mining

We start with the best people, engineering expertise and over a century of know-how in mine automation and electrification. Our customers' vision, tasks and needs define our integrated digital solutions and services, creating value and visibility - from mine to port and from plant to enterprise.

Canada is one of the largest mining nations providing a variety of jobs at all levels, but in an industry dominated by men, mining and mineral processing has the least amount of women employed worldwide. Women in Mining Canada (WiM) is looking to change the mining community and promote women in the industry.

the mining sector of liberia: current practices and environmental challenges | springerlink

the mining sector of liberia: current practices and environmental challenges | springerlink

Liberia is endowed with an impressive stock of mineral reserves and has traditionally relied on mining, namely iron ore, gold, and diamonds, as a major source of income. The recent growth in the mining sector has the potential to contribute significantly to employment, income generation, and infrastructure development. However, the development of these mineral resources has significant environmental impacts that often go unnoticed. This paper presents an overview of the Liberian mining sector from historical, current development, and economic perspectives. The efforts made by government to address issues of environmental management and sustainable development expressed in national and international frameworks, as well as some of the environmental challenges in the mining sector are analyzed. A case study was conducted on one of the iron ore mines (China Union Bong Mines Investment) to analyze the effects of the water quality on the local water environment. The results show that the analyzed water sample concentrations were all above the WHO and Liberia water standard Class I guidelines for drinking water. Finally the paper examines the application of water footprint from a life cycle perspective in the Liberian mining sector and suggests some policy options for water resources management.

After the discovery of high-grade iron ore in Bomi Hills, Bong, and Nimba, natural resources have been the basis of Liberian economy and its people livelihood. Iron ore mining was the mainstay of the Liberian economy between 1960 and 1980, contributing more than 60% of export earnings and about 25% of GDP (Boakye et al. 2012), which then ranked Liberia as the largest exporter of iron in Africa and third largest in the world. Gold and diamond mining in Liberia was carried out largely by alluvial mining of small-scale operations, with estimates of over 100,000 artisanal miners in Liberia. But nearly 14years of war (19892003) destroyed much of the countrys productive infrastructure and brought mining to a virtual halt. Liberia is estimated to hold reserves ranging from between two to five billion metric tons of iron ore and three million ounces of gold (Boakye et al. 2012). The major mineral commodities produced in Liberia are iron ore, gold, and diamond. Mining concessions cover an operational area of 113,256ha (Ministry of Finance 2013). Besides the production of iron ore, gold, and diamond, Liberia remains largely unexplored and has shown other minerals such as beryl, tin, columbite-tantalite, phosphates, zinc, copper, lead, rare earth minerals, nickel, molybdenum, beach sand (zircon, rutile, ilmenite, and monazite), bauxite, kyanite, chromite, uranium, and silica sands. All are characteristically associated with Precambrian/Proterozoic rocks which underlie most of the country.

Since the cessation of hostilities, revival of the mining industry has been an explicit government objective in its efforts to reconstruct the country and to underpin growth by leveraging Liberias rich natural resources to the extent of attracting massive foreign investment of USD 7.6 billion and creating about 10,000 jobs (LEITI 2016; Ministry of Finance 2013). Investments comprise, among others, rehabilitation of old and installation of new mining plants, construction of railways, roads, and bridges. As a result, the Government of Liberia has enacted (20032006) a legal framework providing for the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources. However, the adoption of the environmental management tools such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and the harnessing of best practices valorizing local knowledge are still lacking. Thus, the pressure on the environment is still heavy.

Industrial mining in Liberia includes gold and iron ore. The mining of these minerals is associated with huge environmental impacts ranging from land form degradation, pollution of air quality, loss of biodiversity, and watercourse contamination. The latter is of serious challenge in the mining sector because of the climatic condition of Liberia. For instance, the rehabilitated Nimba mine is estimated to generate 150 million tonnes of waste rocks (60Mm3 of waste rocks) over its first 20years mines life (AcerlorMittal Liberia Limited 2013). In addition, the New Liberty Gold mining operations require 1.2Mm3 of water annually and its tailings storage facility (TSF) is expected to discharge 9.4Mm3 (received from rainfall and runoff during the wet season) of water annually into surface water streams (Aureus Mining 2014). Therefore, there are greatest potential impacts on water quality, human health, and ecosystem from these activities coupled with increased sediment load due to the high erosion potential of soil when disturbed and effluents discharged of toxic substances, such as cyanides and heavy metals including acid mine drainage (AMD) that can cause long-term impairment to watercourses and biodiversity (Akcil and Koldas 2006). Additionally, the data collection for environmental information has been decentralized among various line ministries and agencies, as well as international organizations and institutions which have a stake in the Liberian environment.

Based on the current development trend, the objective of this paper is to carry out a systematic review of the current water use-related challenges in the Liberian mining sector particularly the water management issues and mining regulatory frameworks. Results from the review will be used to recommend policy strategies that promote sustainable water resources management in the mining sector. Accordingly, Historic and economic perspectives of the Liberian mining sector of this paper discusses the historical and economic contribution to the economy. Mineral legislation, regulatory framework, and environmental challenges in the Liberian mining sector describes the current mining methods, legislative frameworks, and environmental challenges while Policy suggestions presents a case study and water resource management challenges. Conclusion presents policy suggestions and concludes with some recommendations.

Liberia is a leading country in mineral resources with substantial iron ore, gold, and diamond deposits. Iron ore mining was previously undertaken by American and European companies in the areas of Bomi Hills, Bong Mines, Mano River, and Nimba. Those concessions resulted in widespread clearance of tropical rainforest for mines (open-cast pits), processing plants, housing and roads, railways, and unmanaged deposit sites. The Nimba mine for instance produced some 300 million tons of mining wastes (unwanted materials) that were deposited in the surrounding forest. Environmental impact assessments had not been conducted at the sites and potential risks were unknown.

Statistics of government revenues by sector contribution indicates that the mining sector contributed to 53% (USD 53.38 million) of the total revenues during the FY14/15 (Fig. 1) and generating about 10,000 jobs. In the same year, the sector faced a drop in demand, production level, investment, and loss of employment as a result of the twin shockEbola virus disease and the price of iron ore. The value of the sector production in 2014 was USD 78.85 million (58.3%). Figures 2 to 3 shows the production of gold and diamond and iron ore from 2012 to 2015 (LEITI 2016).

There are different categories of mining activities in the Liberian mining sector, including artisanal/small-scale miners (ASM), medium size domestic enterprises, large-scale mining, and exploration companies. Currently, there are 1293 mining operations in the country (MLME 2010), of which 1142 (88.3%) are ASM, 65 (5%) are medium size, 78 (6%) are exploration companies, and 8 (0.6%) are large-scale enterprises. Among the large scale companies, the main producers are Arcelor Mittal (iron ore), China Union Investment (iron ore), MNG Gold Inc. (gold), and Aureus Mining Inc. (gold). The ASM are also involved in the extraction of gold and diamond. However, the development of these ASM operations is limited because of lack of resources and infrastructure. Consequently, there are inadequate information available on the ASMs and medium size enterprises in detailing their processes and economic activities. Nevertheless, the compilation and research of this information is a necessary activity. Table 1 shows the total productions of the large-scale mining companies operating in the Liberia.

The Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy (MLME) is the Government Agency responsible for the administration of the mineral and mining sector, including granting mining licenses, and it has statutory oversight of the energy, land, minerals, and water sectors. The minerals and mining sector is regulated by the Mining and Minerals Law of 2000 and Exploration Regulations (MLME 2010). The Minerals Policy of Liberia was created in March 2010 to complement the Mining and Minerals Law. These documents outline the Governments expectations with regard to the contributions of all stakeholders in the sustainable development of Liberias mineral resources. These laws are under review, but outline five types of mining licenses (Table 2). In addition to the mining licenses, there is a Mineral Development Agreement (MDA), which sets out the basis to acquire a class A mining license. The MDA sets out in detail the operational and fiscal terms for both exploration and mining and to ensure a straightforward transition from exploration to the mining phase of the operation provided that the operator has complied with the general provisions of the law. In negotiating an MDA, the Minerals Technical Committee has discretionary authority regarding those matters which are subject to the regulations, which together with the law specify principal terms and conditions.

Table 2 and Fig. 4 outline the various types of mining licenses and the procedures required to obtain the licenses, respectively. The duration, land size, and applicants eligibility are also indicated.

Currently there are four large-scale industrial mines (two in gold production and two producing iron ore) operating in Liberia with several others into exploration and mine development for both gold, but mainly iron ore (Table 1). Open cut mining method is generally employed by the operators. The ore is extracted from the mine and processed through the plant to produce a concentrate. Tailings, or waste material, are then deposited in a tailing storage facility (TSF). The gold operation employs the conventional carbon-in-leach (CIL) method, which comprises of the following:

These mining and mineral processing technologies require sufficient energy, water, and chemical reagents as sources for operations; thus polluting groundwater, watercourses, and habitats from spills and leakages of toxic or hazardous substances significantly.

The principal agency for the management of the environment in Liberia is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Environmental Protection Agency Act of Liberia (EPA 2003) mandates the EPA to coordinate, monitor, and supervise all activities in the field of the environment. The EPA makes mandatory to file an Environmental Impacts Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Impacts Statement (EIS) to obtain government approval prior to initiating activities. In the case of the mining sector, an EIA declaration format has been specifically designed for mining activities. The EIA has five component phases: namely, project screening; scoping; description of the project/action, alternatives, and environmental baseline; identification of environmental impacts; environmental management plan/design of corrective measures; and monitoring and control. This EIA process is similar to other EIA processes worldwide in that the EIA is a process that analyzes and evaluates the impacts that human activities can have on the environment. Also, its purpose is to guarantee a sustainable development that is in harmony with human welfare and the conservation of ecosystems; thus, proven itself to be an effective tool in environmental planning and management (Jay et al. 2007; Ortolano and Shepherd 1995; Toro et al. 2010; Wathern 1994; Wood 1993).

The laws in place for mining operations in Liberia, therefore, tend to be broad and ineffective. Additionally, there are overlaps and conflicts between different pieces of legislation (e.g., Public Procurement and Concession Act and the Minerals and Mining Law of 2000) that govern the sector. Furthermore, data collection is mainly carried out by various governmental bodies concerned with environment protection and policy (Forestry Development Authority, Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy). Besides, basic environment statistics such as water resources (surface and ground water abstraction, water used by sectors, freshwater availability, precipitation, evapotranspiration, water quality, river inflow/outflow) and land degradation information are mostly not available. Some available data are of limited time and geographical coverage. Those data often result from case studies or projects of limited duration. After the study or project ended, data collection usually stopped. Other available data are not up-to-date; consequently, hindering data collection and reporting processes. The lack of adequate logistics, personnel, and funding also constrain proper governance, particularly in relation to field monitoring and technical audit functions.

Water use in the mining sector and its associated environmental impacts have not been properly investigated. Although, the large-scale mines are in their early stages of operations and are located in and around major river courses and its tributaries. Presently, the gold mines in Liberia use cyanide in the recovery process, cyanide leaching is the standard method used for recovering approximately 83% of most gold throughout the world today (Karahan et al. 2006). Also, the uncontrolled management of cyanide when comes in contact with waterways has serious environmental and health consequences. In recent time there have been public outcry by local mining communities of contaminated drinking water sources (streams, creeks) from mining concessions in the country.

Water resource management is one of the greatest global challenges of the twenty-first century (Boccaletti et al. 2010). The mining industry and water resources are critically linked; mining needs substantive amounts of water to proceed but can also have major impacts on surface and ground water resources. Given waters primary role in sustaining ecosystem, communities, and economies, the mining industry is recognizing the challenges posed by sustainable water resources management and is embracing the opportunities it presents (Mudd 2008). In contrast to the abundance of mineral wealth in Liberia, water resources are vulnerable to environmental impacts from mining activities. Unless appropriate corrective actions are taken, the mining sector is expected to place further degradation on the countrys undeveloped water resources.

It is also expected that ore grade will steadily decline as high grade ores are preferentially mines (Mudd 2010; Mudd and Weng 2012); and the decline in ore grade has large ramifications regarding the potential environmental impacts of mining wastes (Northey et al. 2013). However, different mining methods and mineral processing techniques have unique water requirements. Therefore, reduction in ore grade will require more improved technologies and energy consumptions. These activities will in turn affect water quality through erosion and sedimentation, contamination with heavy metals, acid rock drainage, chemical contamination, and sewage and microbial contamination. The average grade of iron ore in Liberia currently is relatively high (up to 60% Fe see Table 1), but will gradually decline as mining progresses, therefore, requiring sinter/concentrator plant for beneficiation of saleable concentrates.

China Union (Liberia) Bong Mines InvestmentBong Minesis a subsidiary of China-Union Hong Kong Mining Company, Ltd. (Wuhan Iron and Steel Corporation) located in Bong County, Central Liberia. The mine is situated 10 13 38 N and 6 48 0 E and located 78km northeast of Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia (Fig. 5). The total area of the mining concession is 610km2 surrounded by over 20 towns including cultural sites, some of which were relocated due to impacts of the mining operations. The mean annual rainfall of the concession area is approximately 2700mm. The company started production in early 2014 to June 2015, but later suspended operations in late 2015 as a result of the twin shockEbola virus disease in Liberia and the price of iron ore.

The mine site is located in an area that has many small surface water bodies that are used by communities for drinking and fishing and support aquatic life; thus, predicted to have the potential to alter the flow properties and degrade the water quality of the surface water bodies. The affected water bodies include Wadea Creek, Yia Creek, Wea Creek, and the St. Paul River Basin. Runoff (4.5m3/s) from the waste rock dump (WRD) discharges into the Wadea Creek while overflows (10.6m3/s) from the tailings dam discharges into the Wea Creek. The Yia Creek is located north of the tailings dam. These creeks flowing downstream of the mine drain into the St. Paul River, which is the primary water source for the mine and is located approximately 10km northwest of the mine.

On the 18th of November 2016, a total of six 1.5L grab water samples, four (4) from surface water (SP1-SP4) and two (2) from ground water (SP5-SP6). Samples SP1 and SP2 were collected from the pump station and tailings dam respectively, which overflows discharge into the Yia and Wea creeks. Samples SP3 and SP4 were taken respectively from upstream and downstream of Wadea Creek while SP5 and SP6 were taken from the Botota and Gorzue communities located near the mine. These samples were taken to the laboratory of the College of Environmental Science and Engineering in Tongji University as shown in Table 3. Figure 6 shows the water sample points of collection.

Photographs of the water sample point collection of China Union; S surface water sample; G ground water sample; S1: Pump Station; S2: Tailing Dam; S3: Upstream Waydea; S4: Downstream Waydea; G1: Well, Botota Town; G2: Borehole, Gorsue Town

Laboratory analyses were carried out to assess the concentrations of physical and chemical water quality parameters of each sample gathered. Some parameters that were analyzed for determining pollution loads from point and non-point sources were limited to total dissolved solid (TDS), turbidity, electrical conductivity (EC), total organic carbon (TOC), Fe, Al, As, Zn, P, V, B, Ba, Ca, and Cr, mainly because of their relevance as water quality indicators.

Despite the prolong suspension until now, heavy metals (e.g., iron, aluminum, calcium, and zinc) are present in high concentrations, but with some variations due to the sample points location relative to the mine. Also, the inception of groundwater aquifer with abandon mine pits may have minimum contribution. The measurement results of these samples were compared to drinking standards instead of surface water quality standard for two main reasons as follows: firstly, the water bodies are used directly as drinking and domestic water by communities located in and around the mine, which is evident by some of the sample points; secondly, there is no surface water quality standard for Liberia. Also, with respect to some of the sample point locations, technically, it is not appropriate to compare the measurement results of sample points (SP1, SP2, and SP3) with a drinking water standard because at this location, the water is not directly consumed by the communities in and around the mine, but it is the source of their drinking water at sample points (SP4, SP5, and SP6). Therefore, the results should be view from the perspective of those sample points collected from drinking water sources.

The Fe and TDS concentrations in all of the water sample exceed the WHO and Liberia Water Standard Class I (drinking water) guidelines (Fig. 7a, b) respectively. Aluminum, boron, and calcium were also present in high concentrations in some of the water samples (Fig. 7d) as well as phosphorus and zinc which were found in all of the water samples. The concentration of chromium in sample 6 exceeds the Liberia Water Standard Class I (drinking water) guidelines (Fig. 7e). Accumulation of these heavy metals, which formed in association trace elements lead to carcinogen, diarrhea, etc. and acid rock drainage (ARD). The concentrations of turbidity, TOC, and EC are shown in (Fig. 7c). Despite the short term of operations, the arsenic concentration in some of the samples is at the level of WHO and LSW Class I standards for drinking water. Arsenic is known for its toxicity in both human and the environment when it accumulates. The TOC concentration is extremely high in sample points (SP4, SP5, and SP6) because of shifting cultivation farming done by the communities while as the high concentration turbidity in sample points (SP1, SP2, and SP3) is due to the fact that those points are located near the mines likewise the concentration of EC (Fig. 7f).

Water quality monitoring. a. Compare the concentration of iron with LWS Class I. b Compare the concentration of TDS with LWS Class I. c Concentration of EC and TDS in the water samples. d, e Concentrations of the various metals in the water samples. f Concentration of turbidity and TOC

It can be suggested that the mining operations, when stringent water management is not taken, will significantly impact the local water environment and have health consequences. Aquatic habitat and water users from villages located within and around the mine concession are the main receptors for the project. Aquatic habitat can be affected by changes in water quality, changes in channel morphology induced by changes in stream hydrology (driven by sediment transport) as well as changes to the flow regime itself. Human receptors are potentially affected by changes in surface water quality and water availability. Secondary effects can result from any aquatic habitat impacts that affect fishing.

A number of environmental assessment tools and methodologies have been developed by the scientific community in recent years to assess water use and related impacts of the mining industry. One of the methods for assessing water use on a life cycle basis that is probably most widely used is the water footprint approach developed by (Hoekstra et al. 2009). This alignment was reflected in the development of the international standard, ISO 14046 water footprintprinciples, requirements, and guidelines, which defines a water footprint as a metric that quantifies the potential environmental impacts related to water (ISO 2014).

Despite the large environmental impacts associated with the mining industry, there have been relatively few attempts to quantify water-related impacts from the industry using these methods. For instance, CSIRO Mineral (Norgate and Jahanshahi 2004; Norgate et al. 2004a; Norgate et al. 2004b; Norgate and Rankin 2000; Norgate and Rankin 2001; Norgate and Rankin 2002) and others (Giurco et al. 2000; Giurco et al. 2006; Lunt et al. 2002; Van Berkel 2000) used LCA methodology to assess the environmental impacts of various metal production processes practiced either currently or potentially in Australia. (Northey et al. 2016) identified a range of opportunities and few limitations on the use of water footprint assessments in mining industry. Among the opportunities are water footprint and LCA can be used to provide a more holistic assessment of the benefits and drawbacks of technologies being developed and deployed in the mining industry through the consideration of indirect (supply chain) impacts; improve the usefulness and relevance of water related data disclosures that are presented by corporate sustainability reports. Particularly for companies that have facilities in multiple regions with differing water contexts.

The development of water footprints of mined products is heavily dependent upon rigorously quantified estimates of the flows of water into and out of production processes, and the quality of water associated with these flows (Northey et al. 2015). The Minerals Council of Australia and the University of Queensland recently developed the Water Accounting Framework for the Minerals Industry that provides a method for individual mining companies to consistently record and report water flow, quality, and storage data for their individual operations (Mineral Council of Australia (MCA) 2012). Overtime, the increased adoption of this framework should lead to improvements in the quality and availability of data that can be used in water footprint assessments. Measuring water use and assessing its environmental impacts in the Liberian mining sector, particularly on a life cycle basis, are therefore important first steps towards sustainable mining in the sector. These statistical information could be used in the preparation of the National State of the Environment reports.

The mining sector is vital to Liberias economic and social development, owed largely to the endowment of its natural resources. The sector contribution to the GDP will continue to grow as new discoveries are made and the development of new mines. The Mineral and Mining Law needs to be updated to address contemporary technical, legal, and regulatory issues; thus requires empowering the EPA, other line ministries and agencies to adequately monitor and regulate the mineral and mining sectors. It is recommended that the ASM should be organized into a cooperative for proper management and accountability.

Adopting the Water Accounting Framework for the Minerals Industry and water footprint from a life cycle assessment perspective will ensure all mining companies consistently record and report water outflow, intake, quality, and storage data; quantity and quality of water discharged in water courses; and recycle and reuse water in process plants in the Liberian mining sector with respect to water resources management.

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Norgate T, Rankin W (2001) Greenhouse gas emissions from aluminium productiona life cycle approach Greenhouse gases in the metallurgical industries: policies, abatement and treatment,(Met Soc CIM), Toronto 89

Norgate T, Rankin W (2002) An environmental assessment of lead and zinc production processes. In: Proceedings, green processing: international conference on the sustainable processing of minerals. Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy, Cairns, pp 177184

Northey S, Mudd G, Haque N The challenges of estimating the water footprint of mined commodities. In: Dynamic ecolibrium: sustainable engineering society conference SENG (2015),Engineers Australia, p 62

Wilson, S.T.K., Wang, H., Kabenge, M. et al. The mining sector of Liberia: current practices and environmental challenges. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 1871118720 (2017).

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