Anglo American PLC resumed operations at its Minas Rio iron ore operation in Brazil. The company expects the operation to ramp up to 1.2 million wet tonnes per month and produce about 16 to 19 million wet tonnes of iron ore in 2019. Minas Rio is expected to report an underlying EBITDA loss of US$320 million this year, compared to guidance of a loss of US$300 million to US$400 million.
Derailed coal train blocks route to South African export terminal
A rail link connecting mines to the Richards Bay export terminal in South Africa was blocked after 51 wagons of a 200-wagon coal train derailed, Reuters reported, citing operator Transnet. Transnet's freight rail unit said the closure will impact exports of all commodities transported through the rail line, including coal and chrome. Engineers and maintenance crew will re-rail the wagons and start repair work, however, it is unknown at this point when operations are expected to resume.
Neometals to offload Mount Marion stake to Ganfeng, Mineral Resources for A$103.8M
Neometals Ltd. agreed to divest its 13.8% equity interest in the Mount Marion lithium project in Western Australia to its co-shareholders, Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd. and Mineral Resources Ltd. for A$103.8 million in cash. The transaction includes a binding life-of-mine off-take deal for 57,000 tonnes per annum of 6% spodumene concentrate production from Mount Marion. The transaction is expected to complete in February 2019.
* Teck Resources Ltd. acquired an about 13.8% stake in Sun Metals Corp. at 28 Canadian cents per share for C$3.5 million. The acquisition was made for investment purposes.
* Codelco agreed to sell 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes of copper each to Nexans SA, China Minmetals Corp. and Southwire Co. in rolling deals known as "evergreens" from 2019 to 2021, Reuters reported, citing sources close to the matter. Additionally, sources told the newswire that Codelco is negotiating a three-year deal with China Ordins Group Co. Ltd. and has signed a one-year deal with a unit of Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. Codelco is shifting its focus to customers requiring higher volumes, and its new strategy involves selling less to commodity traders.
* Symbol Mining Ltd. booked its first profit from the Macy zinc mine in Nigeria after executing a sales contract for the first shipment of direct shipping ore from the site. The ore was loaded Nov. 27 for transport to customers in China, and the deal will provide the company its first cash flow about 12 months from listing on the ASX.
* TNT Mines Ltd. entered an exclusive four‐month binding deal to acquire the Pelley Ridge zinc project in Montana, via the purchase of 100% of Metals of Americas LLC.
* Nexa Resources SA was granted the installation license for its Aripuana zinc project in Brazil and will immediately begin construction.
* PolyMet Mining Corp.'s Poly Met Mining Inc. unit secured the final state approvals to build and operate the NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals project in Minnesota. The company now awaits the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision on a wetlands permit, the only remaining federal permit yet to be obtained.
* Over 58% of copper producers in Zambia are expected to lose money if the government proceeds with its plan to increase mining taxes in 2019, Reuters reported, citing Zambia Chamber of Mines President Goodwell Mateyo.
* A-Cap Energy Ltd. entered into a definitive farm-in and joint venture agreement with Blackham Resources Ltd. to earn a 75% interest in the nickel, cobalt and associated metals of the latter's Wiluna project in Western Australia.
* Hillgrove Resources Ltd. temporarily suspended operations at its Kanmantoo copper mine in South Australia after a rockfall occurred in the site's Giant open pit. No one was injured in the incident, and mining has since recommenced.
* MMG Ltd. entered into a US$10 million agreement with Minmetals North-Europe AB for the sale of about 10,000 dry metric tonnes of zinc concentrate from the company's Dugald River project in Queensland, Australia.
* Rogue Resources Inc. canceled its acquisition of the Golden Arrow gold mine in Ontario due to not being able to secure an adequate toll mill agreement. The company is in cash preservation mode and will continue to minimize all cash expenses into the foreseeable future.
* Patagonia Gold PLC closed the sale of the 1.5% net smelter returns royalty on the Cap-Oeste Sur Este gold project in Argentina to Metalla Royalty & Streaming Ltd. for US$1.5 million.
* Aldridge Minerals Inc. closed its plan of arrangement, under which it agreed in mid-September to be acquired by Virtus Mining Ltd. Metallurgium Investment Ltd. and Trafigura Ventures V BV are shareholders of Virtus.
* Thundelarra Ltd. completed the acquisition of Abbotts gold project in Western Australia from Doray Minerals Ltd., which expands the scope of the former's Garden Gully project.
* Aquila Resources Inc. said the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin dismissed the federal lawsuit brought by the Menominee Indian Tribe in Wisconsin challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' failure to exercise jurisdiction over the company's wetlands permit for its Back Forty gold project in Michigan.
* Panthera Resources PLC signed a definitive term sheet with Galactic Gold Mines Pvt. Ltd. to form a partnership to advance the Bhukia gold-copper project in India. Galactic will buy a 10% stake in Panthera unit Indo Gold Pty. Ltd. for US$1.3 million, earning an additional stake in the unit by providing support and services to advance the Bhukia project.
* Centerra Gold Inc. secured an option to acquire up to a 70% interest in Mammoth Resources Corp.'s Tenoriba gold property in Mexico. Centerra is required to spend US$9 million in project expenditures over seven years.
* Tasca Resources Ltd. granted Canarc Resource Corp. an option to acquire up to an 80% stake in the Princeton gold property in British Columbia. Canarc is required to spend up to C$900,000 on exploration over two years.
* BCI Minerals Ltd. completed the sale of the Kumina iron ore project to Mineral Resources and received the first cash payment of A$27 million. Another two payments of A$4 million each are due upon first export of iron ore from Kumina and 12 months after first export.
* China's state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission approved the transfer of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Yunnan Province's 51% equity interest in Yunnan Metallurgical Group Co. Ltd. to Aluminum Corp. of China subsidiary China Copper Co. Ltd.
* En+ Group PLC will form a new majority independent board at United Co. Rusal PLC under the terms of an agreement to lift sanctions on companies controlled by Kremlin-associate Oleg Deripaska, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
* Citing sources, Bloomberg News reported that Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska will transfer a small portion of his En+ stake to Volnoe Delo, a charity he founded. Glencore PLC and VTB Bank PJSC are also said to be owning a significant interest in En+. Meanwhile, En+ shareholders approved the company's planned transfer from Jersey to Russia.
* ArcelorMittal signed a new US$5.5 billion revolving credit facility that will mature in five years. The facility, subject to two one-year extensions, will be used for general corporate purposes.
* Coal India Ltd.'s Northern Coalfields Ltd. unit plans to invest an additional US$612 million over the next three months to meet its annual production target of 100 million tonnes, Mining Weekly reported.
* Responding to backlash from top insurance companies, Adani Mining Pty. Ltd. said it is "continuing to get on with creating jobs and the economic benefits" associated with the Carmichael coal mine and rail project in Queensland, Australia. Separately, the first heavy earth-breaking equipment reached the site of Carmichael to kick off the project's construction, The Australian reported.
* Yancoal Australia Ltd. raised over HK$13.2 million from the retail component of its 0.05387-for-1 prorata accelerated renounceable entitlement offer.
* Marubeni Corp. expects aluminum premiums from Japanese buyers to increase to between US$100 per tonne and US$130/t in late 2019 due to a fall in global supplies, even though supplies from Rusal are expected to return to the market following the lifting of sanctions, Reuters wrote.
* One miner died and 10 are missing after a methane explosion at New World Resources Plc's CSM hard coal mine in the Czech Republic. The blast also injured 10 others and caused damage at some of the underground work areas.
* Incitec Pivot Ltd. may be forced to close its Gibson Island fertilizer plant in Queensland if it fails to find an affordable gas source, The Australian reported.
* CIMIC Group Ltd. companies Sedgman Ltd. and CPB Contractors Pty. Ltd. won a A$184 million contract to design, procure, construct and commission the coal handling and preparation plant at Pembroke Resources Pty. Ltd.'s Olive Downs coking coal project in Queensland.
* Mineral Resources made its first cargo shipment of 105,517 tonnes of iron ore fines from the Koolyanobbing mine in Western Australia, The West Australian reported.
* Lincoln Minerals Ltd. agreed to acquire 100% of four graphite- and base metals-prospective exploration licenses from Centrex Metals Ltd., South Australian Iron Ore Group Pty. Ltd., Wugang Australian Resources Investment Pty. Ltd. and WISCO Resource Group Corp. Ltd. The licenses in South Australia's Eyre Peninsula will increase the company's holding covering all mineral rights to 1,876 square kilometers.
* Laramide Resources Ltd. estimated a maiden inferred resource at its Crownpoint project in New Mexico of 2.5 million tonnes at 0.102% U3O8 equivalent containing 5.1 million pounds of uranium. The company plans to undertake a preliminary economic assessment of the combined Church Rock and Crownpoint deposits.
* Orocobre Ltd. shares slumped Dec. 20 after CEO Richard Seville said lithium prices are unlikely to recover in early 2019 following a sharp price drop in the fourth quarter, Reuters reported.
* Global Atomic Corp. secured a two-year extension for all of its exploration permits in the Tim Mersoi basin in Niger.
* Mexico's undersecretary for mining Francisco Quiroga said the new government does not plan to enforce major changes to the mining sector, and only new permits will be required to secure approval from the indigenous communities, Reuters reported. Quiroga said the government will not look for anomalies in the about 26,000 concessions already granted. Mexican Senator Angelica Garcia proposed a bill in November that would require mining companies to seek approval from indigenous communities before grant of concessions.
* The government of Ghana lifted a ban on small-scale mining across the country, and compliant miners can restart work "within the regularized and reformed framework" and "in [an] environmentally sustainable way," according to a statement by Soon Mining Ltd.
* South Africa's Department of Mineral Resources published detailed guidelines, including formulas and tables, that mineral rights holders must follow under the country's new mining charter, Business Day reported.
* New Jersey lawmaker Frank Pallone pledged to push forward with his aggressive agenda and said he would "conduct robust oversight of the Trump Administration's ongoing actions to sabotage our healthcare system, exacerbate climate change and weaken consumer protections."
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