Newmont changes name, boosts quarterly dividend
Major gold miner Newmont Goldcorp Corp. plans to boost its quarterly dividend by 79% from 14 U.S. cents per share to 25 cents per share. Newmont Goldcorp said it expects to declare the dividend, which is subject to final approval, in April, and is continuing a US$1 billion share buyback announced in early December 2019. The miner also outlined a corporate rebranding and name change to Newmont Corp.
First Quantum builds up takeover defenses with shareholder rights plan
Copper miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd. launched a shareholder rights plan that allows shareholders to buy more First Quantum shares at a "substantial" discount if any investor acquires 20% or more of the company. In adopting the shareholder rights plan, First Quantum said it wants to ensure shareholders "are treated fairly in connection with any takeover bid for the company." Under the plan, shareholders get one share-purchase right for each issued and outstanding share of First Quantum they own. The rights do not apply to the investor or group of related investors with a 20% or more stake, First Quantum said.
Chile leaves Codelco to fund US$20B investment program on its own
Codelco is left to fund a US$20 billion program to boost copper output on its own, or else see its production slump as copper grades decline, Bloomberg News reported. Chilean Finance Minister Ignacio Briones said that the government has no plan for capital injection into the state miner, which is already weighed down by US$19.4 billion of debt, as the country aims to spend US$3 billion this year to support the economy and help counteract the impact of more than two months of social unrest that began in October 2019.
* Surge Exploration Inc. sold its Trapper Lake copper-gold mineral claims in British Columbia to Brixton Metals Corp. for 350,000 shares of Brixton. The Trapper Lake property adjoins Brixton's Thorn gold project.
* Financially troubled Chinese copper smelter Dongying Fangyuan Nonferrous Metal Co. Ltd. secured letters of credit from domestic agents in order to purchase concentrates with its remaining balance to feed into its Shandong smelter up to at least Jan. 25, Fastmarkets MB reported.
* Toronto-based gold miner Barrick Gold Corp. had the world's fourth-largest exploration budget overall in 2019 and the second-largest budget for gold behind rival and partner Newmont Goldcorp, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team.
* An independent preliminary economic assessment study for Generation Mining Ltd.'s Marathon palladium-copper project in northern Ontario outlined a post-tax net present value, discounted at 5%, of C$871 million, a 30% internal rate of return, and a 2.5-year payback. Pre-production capital for Marathon was estimated at C$431 million, with sustaining capital of C$277 million. The project is expected to produce an average of 194,000 equivalent ounces of palladium per year over a 14-year mine life, including credits for copper, platinum, gold and silver.
* Great Panther Mining Ltd. entered into a US$11.3 million gold dore prepayment agreement with Samsung C&T Corp. subsidiary Samsung C&T U.K. Ltd. The deal involves the delivery and sale of about 3,000 ounces of gold contained in dore per month over a two-year period from Great Panther's Tucano gold mine in Brazil.
* PT Merdeka Copper Gold Tbk. and PT J Resources Asia Pasifik Tbk are looking to combine and jointly develop their assets in Gorontalo province in Sulawesi, Indonesia, which includes the former's Pani gold project.
* An updated resource estimate for Landore Resources Ltd.'s BAM gold deposit, part of its Junior Lake property in Ontario, increased total indicated and inferred resources at a 0.3 g/t cut-off grade to 31.1 million tonnes grading 1.02 g/t gold for 1.02 million ounces of contained gold.
* Tanzania's earnings from exporting gold increased 42% year on year to US$2.14 billion in the year 2019 to November, from US$1.51 billion in the comparative period in 2018, Reuters reported, citing the country's central bank.
* Golden Arrow Resources Corp. renegotiated the terms of its option agreement with Minería Activa SpA on the Indiana gold project in Chile. Golden Arrow now has the right to earn 100% of the project over a 74-month period, expiring in December 2024, with an unchanged total cost of US$15.1 million.
* Horizon Minerals Ltd. outlined its growth strategy, which focuses on near-term cash generation from gold production, reserve and resource growth and additional asset consolidation in Western Australia.
* Sunstone Metals Ltd. increased its stake in the Bramaderos gold-copper project in Ecuador to 87.5%, after an amendment to the earn-in joint venture.
* Dampier Gold Ltd. will proceed to earn a farm-in interest on Torian Resources Ltd.'s Credo Well gold project in Western Australia after completing due diligence proceedings.
* Vale SA and BHP Group joint venture Samarco Mineração SA declined a formal request from creditors to continue talks over the restructure of its US$2.9 billion in defaulted debt, which increased risks for its bond holders, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
* While the fires in Australia are reportedly not expected to die down anytime soon, Wood Mackenzie does not expect a significant impact on the massive coal-exporting nation's supply chain. Should Australian producers reduce or halt production, they could likely meet their export needs with stockpiles at the mine or port and refill output over time.
* China's steel purchasing managers' index fell by 2.3 basis points from November to 43.1 in December due to weaker steel market conditions, according to data from index compiler CFLP Steel Logistics Professional Committee, S&P Global Platts reported.
* Australia's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has marginally lifted its forecasts for iron ore prices for the next couple of years while cutting back the expected price of metallurgical coal, S&P Global Platts reported. In its December 2019 edition of the Resources and Energy Quarterly, the Canberra-based unit pegged the average iron ore price for 2020 at A$61.70 per tonne, which is 3% higher than the A$60-per-tonne forecast it gave in its September edition.
* Champion Iron Ltd.'s board of directors unanimously recommended plans to redomicile to Canada from Australia, in order to increase its attractiveness to more diverse financial markets and to Canadian institutional investors.
* The imposition of 25% duties on imported steel by the Trump administration has failed to save jobs in the steel sector in the U.S. and has made American companies and consumers pay almost the full cost of the tariffs, Bloomberg News reported, citing a paper circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
* Worthington Industries Inc. acquired a majority ownership of 63% in Samuel Steel Pickling Co., the company's joint venture with Samuel Son & Co. Ltd., which now holds 37% equity in the venture.
* Nutrien Ltd. entered a definitive agreement to acquire Agrosema Comercial Agricola Ltda., an agriculture retailer in southern Brazil. The Canada-based fertilizer producer said that the acquisition complements its current retail operations in Brazil and will create another market channel for products from its Agrichem business located in Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paulo.
* Creditors of Beijing-based Wintime Energy Co. Ltd. proposed that the coal conglomerate file for bankruptcy after it defaulted on about US$2 billion of bonds, Reuters reported, citing a relevant document. Under a proposed restructuring plan, Wintime Energy will pay back a portion of its unsecured debts amounting to US$4.20 billion through asset disposals and debt-to-equity swaps, according to the report.
* The concept study into Jupiter Mines Ltd.'s Tshipi Borwa manganese mine expansion has been completed. A comprehensive feasibility study based on a production profile of 4.5 million tonnes will commence shortly.
* Global Advanced Metals USA, Inc. said that it is ensuring a stable, uninterrupted supply of tantalum to the U.S. market, in advance compliance with the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2020 that prohibits the U.S. Department of Defense from acquiring tantalum from non-allied foreign nations, specifically Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.
* EcoGraf Ltd. formalized a partnership with Australia's Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Center, where it will provide FBI CRC with technology needed to identify opportunities for greater efficiencies in the extraction and refinement of battery minerals. The company said that its graphite purification technology at its planned Kwinana development in Western Australia will provide critical material for the center's research programs.
* Havilah Resources Ltd. said that elevated levels of rare earth elements were found in re-assaying the drill samples from the company's Kalkaroo copper-gold-cobalt deposit and the Croziers copper prospect in South Australia. Studies to investigate the potential for economic recovery of a rare-earth-elements concentrate as a byproduct at Kalkaroo have already started.
* Since 2010 more than 600 environmental, social and governance-related resolutions likely would have never advanced under a newly proposed rule by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to data the Sustainable Investments Institute, or Si2, shared with S&P Global Market Intelligence.
* Thailand's Department of Primary Industries and Mines said some 130 mining licenses were granted in 2019, covering 6,240 hectares of land plots, with a total mineral value of more than 200 billion Thai baht over the 25-year concession period, Matichon reported. The Thai authorities normally issued less than 100 licenses each year prior to the enforcement of the country’s new mineral law in 2017.
S&P Global Platts and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.
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