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In This List

Sibanye suspends South African ops; Lundin reviewing FY'20 guidance

Mining Exploration Insights December

Mining Exploration Insights: Dip in gold drilling weighs on results

Mining Exploration Insights: Is the exploration sector back on recovery?

State of the Market: Mining Q2-2019


Sibanye suspends South African ops; Lundin reviewing FY'20 guidance

TOP NEWS

Sibanye-Stillwater suspends operations in South Africa as lockdown begins

Sibanye-Stillwater Ltd. has placed its gold mining and platinum group metals operations in South Africa under temporary care and maintenance in line with a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus. The miner cautioned its shareholders that its production for the year may differ from previous guidance, as the suspension will adversely affect the production at its South African mines.

Lundin Mining places FY'20 guidance under review amid coronavirus pandemic

Lundin Mining Corp. placed its full-year 2020 guidance for production, C1 cash cost, exploration spending and capital cost across all operations under review, and is identifying and reviewing measures in a bid to reduce operating costs. The measures are being undertaken by the Toronto-listed miner due to a possible sustained period of depressed prices for zinc and copper, as the market is struggling with the developments related to the new coronavirus outbreak.

Polymetal sells Sopka gold assets in Russia

Russia's second-largest gold producer, Polymetal International PLC sold its Sopka gold assets in Russia to a private Russian mining company for a total of 800 million Russian rubles payable in cash and a 1% net smelter return. The assets have been ring-fenced into Irbychan Gold LLC, a separate legal entity established to warehouse noncore assets of the Omolon hub.

BASE METALS

* Trevali Mining Corp. suspended its operations at the Caribou zinc project in New Brunswick amid poor global zinc market conditions due to the coronavirus outbreak. The company said it is withdrawing its 2020 guidance due to the suspension.

* Chile's Codelco will suspend its remaining work to turn the Chuquicamata copper project into an underground mine, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reported, citing a company statement. The 15-day suspension of construction activities also covers early-stage projects at Rajo Inca and Traspaso Andina.

* Codelco said that a contractor at its Traspaso Andina project was diagnosed with COVID-19. The worker was on a break between shifts when the first symptoms appeared, and the diagnosis was confirmed by local health authorities. The company said that all workers who came in contact with the affected worker have not returned to the mine and were under quarantine, news radio ADN reported.

* Panjiva data shows that copper exports have been declining due to the coronavirus outbreak, with companies including Codelco, Glencore PLC, MMG Ltd. and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. experiencing lower shipments during February.

* Prices of copper increased on the back of supply-related concerns caused by the lockdowns in mining countries and in anticipation of U.S. lawmakers passing a US$2 trillion stimulus package, Reuters reported.

* The Minnesota Supreme Court granted a review of the state's Court of Appeals' ruling on PolyMet Mining Corp.'s NorthMet copper-nickel project.

* Peel Mining Ltd.'s resource tonnage estimate for its Southern Nights-Wagga Tank project in New South Wales increased 30% to 5.0 million tonnes at A$160 per tonne net smelter return, grading 5% zinc, 2% lead, 0.3% copper, 78 g/t silver, and 0.4 g/t gold.

* Hot Chili Ltd. accepted an offer from the Chilean government agency Empresa Nacional de Mineria, or ENAMI, for the lease mining and processing of about 120,000 tonnes of ore per year from the Hot Chili's Productora copper-gold project through ENAMI's Vallenar plant.

* Tinka Resources Ltd. said one of its workers in Peru tested positive for the coronavirus. The company said the worker was part of the maintenance crew at its Ayawilca zinc mine in Peru, which has been in lockdown since the Peruvian government's declaration of a state of national emergency to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

* Helix Resources Ltd. is cutting the salaries of its workforce by 20% while its directors will waive their fees from April 1 until the end of June.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Centerra Gold Inc. swung to a net loss of US$12.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 from a net profit of US$49 million a year ago. Revenue dropped to US$312.5 million from US$391.5 million due to a 37% drop in gold sales volumes, partially offset by higher gold prices and copper sales volumes. The company expects gold production between 740,000 and 820,000 ounces in 2020. Centerra reduced operations at the Oksut gold property in Turkey due to the Turkish government's restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

* McEwen Mining Inc. is scaling down operations at its Gold Bar gold mine in Nevada and Black Fox gold project in Ontario for 14 days amid the coronavirus pandemic.

* Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. updated its combined proven and probable mineral reserve estimate for its Caylloma silver-gold mine in Peru and San Jose silver-gold mine in Mexico to 6.4 million tonnes of ore containing 37.2 million ounces of silver and 220,000 ounces of gold, down 18% and 19%, respectively.

* Fortuna Silver Mines said that mining and processing activities at its San Jose silver mine in Mexico resumed after the lifting of an illegal blockade that affected the operation.

* Serabi Gold PLC suspended its 2020 production guidance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

* Caledonia Mining Corp. PLC flagged a possible hit to its supply chain amid the South African government's announcement of a 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

* Polymetal might form a joint venture with a company linked to former energy minister Igor Yusufov to develop a project in the country's Far East, according to state-run news agency Interfax. A deal between Polymetal and New Mining Company, known as NRK, to develop a site in Magadan oblast could be announced in the second quarter of 2020.

* SSR Mining Inc. will voluntarily suspend operations at Seabee in Saskatchewan, and will place the gold mine under temporary care and maintenance until April 30, due to the threat of COVID-19. The company is also withdrawing its guidance for full-year 2020.

* Northern Star Resources Ltd. will withdraw its production and cost guidance for the fiscal year to June 30, and defer payment of its interim dividend due on March 30. The interim dividend of 7.5 Australian cents per share, for a total of A$55 million, will be paid out on Oct. 27. The company is also requesting the deferral of its gold hedges for calendar year 2020 until 2021 to minimize financial risk.

* OceanaGold Corp. temporarily suspended development of the Martha Underground project and regional exploration activities at its Waihi operation in New Zealand after the company moved to its highest alert level due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it does not expect the current Waihi suspension to impact the timing of planned first production from Martha Underground.

* Anglo Asian Mining PLC is continuing production of gold doré in Azerbaijan but is unable to ship it to its refiners in Switzerland due to a halt in flight operations. The refiners have also temporarily suspended operations on the instruction of the Swiss government.

* Red 5 Ltd. is moving ahead with a A$125 million capital raising in a two-tranche placement priced at 18 Australian cents per share, The Australian Financial Review reported. The funds will mainly be used to develop its King of the Hills gold mine in Western Australia.

* Nova Minerals Ltd. will invest A$413,325 in Torian Resources Ltd. as a convertible note, which would on conversion represent a 19.9% interest in Torian.

* MAS Gold Corp. estimated a maiden mineral resource of 417,000 ounces of gold within 14.1 million tonnes, grading 0.92 g/t gold for the North Lake deposit in Saskatchewan.

* Galane Gold Ltd. will temporarily cease operations at its Galaxy gold mine in South Africa, adding that the country's lockdown will affect its Mupane operations in Botswana, which sources its critical supplies from South Africa.

* Radisson Mining Resources Inc. suspended exploration activities at its O'Brien gold project in Quebec.

* Aurelia Metals Ltd. is withdrawing all its forward-looking statements, outlook statements and guidance on metal production and operating costs for fiscal 2020 due to the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

* Cardinal Resources Ltd. received approval for the expansion of its current mining license to 63 square kilometers from 19 square kilometers for its Namdini gold project in Ghana.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Rio Tinto found several cases where the Minerals Council of Australia advocated for thermal coal, in contravention of the 2015 Paris climate goals, Reuters reported.

* Macquarie Group analysts said Australian iron ore miners may benefit from mine closures in Canada and South Africa due to the coronavirus pandemic, as Australian mines are producing at normal levels, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* The U.S. coal industry is concerned that the federal government has not explicitly included the supply chain backing coal-fired power plants to be critical infrastructure as the country combats the COVID-19 pandemic.

* PJSC Novolipetsk Steel suspended operations at its plant in Italy for an initial two-week period in response to the coronavirus outbreak. However, its other plants in Europe are still operational, Reuters reported, citing a company spokeswoman. "We are stopping today temporarily the bulk of our Verona operations for at least two weeks," the spokeswoman said.

* Fertilizer producer Mosaic Co. flagged the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on certain operations in Brazil, India and Peru, although it did not specify the extent of the impact. The coronavirus has affected the company's Miski Mayo phosphate mine in Peru, the Patrocinio phosphate mine in Brazil and its distribution operations in India, it said.

* Israel Chemicals Ltd.'s mining operations and ramp project in Spain are on hold due to health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The suspension, however, has no significant impact on its business, the company said.

* Bathurst Resources Ltd. is withdrawing its full-year 2020 EBITDA guidance of NZ$70 million due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. The company said its 65%-owned Stockton coal export mine in New Zealand has been put on care and maintenance as the government moved to alert level 4, the highest COVID-19 alert level.

* Freehill Mining Ltd. signed a heads of agreement to acquire about 750 hectares of highly prospective exploration acreage adjoining the northern boundary of its existing Yerbas Buenas iron ore project area in Chile.

* TerraCom Ltd.'s acquisition offer for Universal Coal PLC has closed. The company said it will finalize all acceptances received and advise the market as soon as practicable.

* Imports of thermal coal for South Korea in the first quarter are expected to drop 19.2% year over year to a 10-year low of 19.85 million tonnes amid strict measures against air pollution and a decline in electricity demand due to the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported.

* Marubeni Corp. forecast a record net loss of ¥190 billion, or ¥111.74 basic earnings per share, for the fiscal year ending March 31 due to the slowdown of the global business environment, which includes a sharp decline in crude oil prices, caused by the coronavirus pandemic and other factors. For its copper mining business in Chile, the company estimated a one-time impairment loss of ¥60.0 billion.

SPECIALTY

* Russian diamond giant PJSC Alrosa's supervisory board approved the sale of its 99.75% interest in Almaznaya Osen Non-State Pension Fund to the sole bidder, Non-State Pension Fund Gazfond after the closed auction announced earlier was abandoned.

* Mineral Commodities Ltd. will place its Tormin mineral sands mining operations on care and maintenance from March 26 to April 16 after the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a 21-day nationwide lockdown. The company will also withdraw its 2020 guidance until the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have subsided.

* The efforts by the U.S. to start local production of lithium as well as rare earths, which are used in electric vehicles and high-tech equipment, are being impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, with several junior miners in the U.S. facing engineering or regulatory setbacks, Reuters reported.

* Gem Diamonds Ltd. will temporarily place its Letseng mine in Lesotho on care and maintenance during a three-week lockdown period enforced by the government.

* PJSC Alrosa launched a digital tender for rough diamonds over 10.8 carats, allowing customers to buy the stones amid current traveling restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Lotus Resources Ltd. estimated a 31% increase in the total mineral resource at Kayelekera in Malawi to 37.5 million pounds of U3O8 within 27.1 million tonnes grading 630 parts per million of U3O8.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* South Africa's Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, said the processing of platinum group metals and coal mine operations will continue during the country's 21-day national shutdown, which starts on March 27, to try to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. The minister said that production in the gold, chrome, manganese, and other sectors will be scaled down, while the processing of surface material in the PGM sector will continue. This will allow smelters, which cannot be abruptly turned on and off, to remain operational, he said.

* Mine closures in Canada accelerated in recent days as mining companies responded to a patchwork of provincial emergency measures and growing risks to workers and local communities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

* In February, most of the charts describing the likely economic hit from the coronavirus emanating from China were V-shaped. Since then, the consensus has shifted more towards variations on a U, with some proposing L or even a W. With the trajectory of the outbreak still a matter of conjecture for even among virologists, there is very little in terms of hard numbers for economists to plug into their models.

* Moody's flipped its 2020 growth forecast for the global economy, citing the rising costs of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact of government actions around the world to contain its spread. The rating agency now expects real global GDP to contract by 0.5% in 2020 before rebounding with a 3.2% expansion in 2021.

* U.S. equity markets closed in positive territory for the second straight day, with aviation companies among those leading the rally as Senate neared a vote on a massive rescue package for workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 ended the trading day 1.15% higher, at 2,475.56.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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