The moving pictures were captured by diver Tony Wu, who wanted to highlight the blue whale’s desperate plight in a bid to reduce devastating ship strikes.He said: ‘The whale was collateral damage. It made me incredibly sad to see it in such a state. The animal looked like it had been struck by a ship during the night as it rested at the ocean surface. According to the Daily Mail report marine experts believe the blue whale – an endangered species with as few as 5,000 left in the wild – had been struck by a container vessel. Tony added: ‘When a big ship hits a whale, the impact wouldn’t register. It’s like a tractor-trailer hitting a butterfly – you would feel nothing. ‘To us, whales are huge. But even then, compared to a fully loaded ship, it would stand practically no chance of surviving a direct hit. It is a big, big problem, especially when endangered species like the blue whale are caught in their path and killed.’Unofficial figures show thousands of whales – many critically endangered species – have been killed by container ships.And experts believe many more cases go unrecorded simply because ships don’t even notice they have hit anything. The body of a majestic blue whale has been found near Sri Lanka after it was fatally injured as it slept in a busy shipping lane, the Daily Mail reported.The whale was spotted floating near the surface of the Indian Ocean off the southern tip of Sri Lanka. A gaping wound shows the horrific point of impact with the bow of the ship – leaving the gentle giant’s tail fin in tatters. ‘There are very active shipping lanes just south of Sri Lanka. Here huge ships travel at high speeds day and night. It is constant.‘They are ferrying consumer goods and supplies between major ports and could be hitting many more whales than we know about.‘It’s not clear how big the problem is because there could be so many unrecorded cases. ‘The only statement that can be made is that ship strikes are a serious problem, and the number of whales killed by ships is far higher than most people probably understand.’Tony, who runs snorkelling tours to see marine life, added: ‘A few days after I got back to Japan, there was a humpback whale that was killed by a boat there.‘One of the toughest issues is that In the case of ship strikes there’s no immediate villain, which makes it more difficult to get people worked up about it.‘But in truth, when you look to the bottom line, it is consumers that are responsible.‘Most of the goods being transported when whales are hit are either consumer goods such as appliances, cars, and electronic goods. The problem needs to be looked into most definitely.’ (Report and pics from the Daily Mail)
Barrick Gold has completed its acquisition of the additional 40% interest in the Cortez property in the USA from Kennecott Explorations (Australia), a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, for a total cash consideration of $1.695 billion. The transaction was previously announced on February 21, 2008 when the parties entered into a definitive purchase and sale agreement. Barrick has been entitled to the production and economic benefit of 100% of the property from March 1, 2008.The acquisition will increase Barrick’s share of Proven and Probable reserves by 4.6 Moz to 11.5 Moz (100% basis) and Measured and Indicated mineral resources by 1.4 Moz to 3.5 Moz (100% basis). The Cortez mine is already a significant contributor to Barrick’s quality Nevada production base. When the Cortez Hills project is commissioned, production from the Cortez property is expected to increase to 950,000 – 1,000,000 oz/y of gold (100% basis) at total cash costs of $280-$290/oz in the first full five years of production.Rio Tinto notes that this sale is parft of its planned program to divest at least $15 billion of assets. “Rio Tinto has also announced the sale of Greens Creek silver, gold, zinc and lead mine in Alaska for $750 million, meaning the Group is on track to achieve almost one quarter of its target of realising asset sales of $10 billion in 2008.”In November 2007, Rio announced the results of its overall strategic review of the asset portfolio following its acquisition of Alcan. Options are also being explored to divest Rio Tinto Energy America (coal), Rio Tinto Minerals’ talc business and borates business, Rio Tinto Alcan Packaging, Rio Tinto Alcan Engineered Products, Rio Tinto’s interest in the Northparkes copper mine in Australia and Rio Tinto’s Sweetwater (USA) and Kintyre (Australia) uranium assets.