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BHP slashes FY'19 copper output forecast on lower volumes at Olympic Dam, Spence


BHP slashes FY'19 copper output forecast on lower volumes at Olympic Dam, Spence

BHP Billiton Group slashed its fiscal 2019 copper production guidance to between 1.62 million and 1.71 million tonnes, from between 1.68 million and 1.77 million tonnes, due to lower output volumes at the Olympic Dam mine in Australia and Spence mine in Chile following unplanned outages. Iron ore output for the first quarter of the fiscal year grew 10% year on year to 61.39 million tonnes, as its Western Australian operations saw higher volumes supported by record production from the Jimblebar mine and improved reliability across the company's rail network and port operations.

Vale CEO: Samarco could resume operations by early 2020

The Samarco iron ore mine, a joint venture between Vale SA and BHP, could begin partial production at a third of its capacity by early 2020, Reuters reported, citing Vale CEO Fabio Schvartsman. The pronouncement comes after a BHP spokesman said in August that a restart was unlikely in 2019 even after securing all the required licenses.

New Barrick likely to divest US$2.6B of gold assets

Barrick Gold Corp. is likely to divest gold assets with a total net present value of US$2.6 billion after its merger with Randgold Resources Ltd., according to the Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence. The new group may also hold onto its copper business, which has an NPV of US$2.3 billion.


* BHP is on track to meet its goal of a 50% female workforce by 2025, the Financial Times reported. The company recorded a 40% increase in the number of female staff over the past two years.


* OZ Minerals Ltd.'s copper production in the third quarter increased to 31,919 tonnes from 27,131 tonnes in the prior quarter. Copper output at its Prominent Hill copper-gold mine is expected to reach the top end of the full-year guidance of between 100,000 and 110,000 tonnes, after third quarter production reached 28,915 tonnes for a year-to-date total of 83,512 tonnes.

* Vale ruled out major acquisitions and will instead bank on the potential of its nickel business, especially if the price of the metal improves, the Financial Times reported, citing CEO Fabio Schvartsman.

* Poland plans to amend its copper taxes, allowing KGHM Polska Miedź SA to cut up to 5% of a mining levy if the state-owned miner donates it to local authorities, Reuters reported.

* Average annual zinc ore grade at producing mines slumped from 6.8% zinc in 2000 to 4.3% zinc in 2017, primarily due to falling grades at larger mines and increased output from China, according to an estimate by the Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Excelsior Mining Corp.'s Gunnison copper project in Arizona is "fully permitted" after regulators gave it the all-clear after an appeals process was resolved. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency lifted a stay on the operating permit that was in place during an appeals process Excelsior Mining settled in early October.

* Kalamazoo Resources Ltd. consolidated the ownership of the Cork Tree copper project in Western Australia after acquiring Atlas Iron Ltd.'s 49% share of the two joint venture tenements for a 2.5% gross smelter royalty.

* Aura Minerals Inc. completed its first shipment of copper concentrate from the Aranzazu mine in Mexico on schedule.

* Coro Mining Corp. and its major shareholder Greenstone Resources LP decided to place the Berta copper-molybdenum mine in Chile on care and maintenance. The decision comes after Coro decided in April to shift its focus on its flagship Marimaca copper project, also in Chile, and reduce its interest in its SCM Berta unit, which operates the Berta mine.

* Intrepid Mines Ltd. moved the record date of the proposed 75-Australian-cent-per-share return of capital to Nov. 23 to align with aspects of the company's off-market takeover offer for AIC Resources Ltd.

* African Battery Metals PLC started geological work on its recently acquired 380-square-kilometer Lizetta II cobalt-chrome-nickel exploration property in Cote d'Ivoire.


* PJSC Polyus reported an 8% year-over-year increase in total gold output to 691,000 ounces in the third quarter, driven by higher seasonal production volumes at its alluvial deposits and supported by solid performance at its hard rock deposits. The company's gold sales for the quarter increased 12% year over year to US$821 million. Total gold sales included 92,000 ounces of gold contained in concentrate from the Olimpiada mine in Russia.

* Coeur Mining Inc. agreed to acquire projects from Alio Gold Inc. to feed operations at Coeur's Rochester silver-gold mine in Nevada for US$19 million of shares.

* U.S. hedge fund Livermore Partners joined activist shareholder Paulson & Co. Inc. in calling for a board overhaul and strategic review at Detour Gold Corp., Reuters reported.

* Gran Colombia Gold Corp. produced 57,163 ounces of gold in the third quarter, up 54% year over year, Mining Weekly reported. Output in the first nine months of the year totaled 162,741 ounces.

* Alliance Resources Ltd.'s stake in the Wilcherry Hill gold project in Western Australia increased to 79.01% after it sole funded expenditure over the project area in the September quarter, resulting in Tyranna Resources Ltd. diluting its interest to 20.99%.

* 3D Resources Ltd. signed a revised deal to secure full ownership of the Grand Bois and Morne Bossa gold projects in Haiti from former joint venture partners Sono Global Holdings Inc. and Resource Generale Corp., respectively, for 25 million shares and a 25% net profit interest.


* The World Steel Association doubled its global steel growth forecast, and demand is projected to rise 1.4% in 2019 to 1.68 billion tonnes, Reuters reported. Saeed Al Remeithi, chairman of the Worldsteel economics committee, said developing countries in Asia will continue to drive global steel demand in 2019, particularly Southeast Asia and India, as demand in developed countries slows down, Metal Bulletin wrote.

* PJSC Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works third-quarter crude steel production rose 11.5% over the previous quarter to about 3.4 million tonnes due to higher pig iron output and the company completing scheduled repairs to the oxygen converter. Group finished products sales went up 7.2% over the previous quarter to 3.1 Mt in the third quarter.

* Alcoa Corp. is forecast to post its weakest quarterly earnings since 2016, as the largest aluminum producer in the U.S. takes the hit of the Trump administration's tariffs, Bloomberg News wrote. The levies raised the costs of shipping raw material into the U.S. from the company's smelters in Canada, the report said.

* Western Australia's Nationals party will rehash a proposed increase to an iron ore export levy to entice miners and political rivals to approve the measure, The West Australian reported. The previous measure proposed to raise about A$2 billion per year by increasing the 25-cent-per-tonne levy to A$5 per tonne. Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston cast doubt that the state government would approve such an idea despite revisions.

* U.S. Steel Corp. workers may get a 14% wage increase over four years under a new labor deal, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. The company recently announced that it struck a tentative four-year agreement with the United Steelworkers, covering approximately 14,000 union-represented workers.

* Thirteen people were injured after a toxic leak at alutec Metal Innoavtions GmbH & Co. KG's office in Germany, local newspaper Pforzheimer Zeitung reported.

* Whitehaven Coal Ltd. CEO Paul Flynn reiterated the company's focus on bringing two new coal mines, Vickery and Winchester in northern New South Wales, into production under the Australian government's new, shorter approvals process, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

* Altech Chemicals Ltd. secured a patent for its process of producing high-purity alumina from kaolin, originally filed in October 2014, from the Australian Patent Office.

* Four contamination incidents occurred since July at Outokumpu Oyj's Tornio steel facility in Finland, Reuters reported, citing the country's nuclear watchdog, STUK. All four involved americium, a radioactive element that can be dangerous and potentially deadly if inhaled or swallowed, the regulator said, although noting that it could be hard to detect.

* Anglo American PLC plans to restart the suspended Minas Rio iron ore mine in November or December, but delayed a planned ramp-up to 26.5 million tonnes per year to 2021 from 2020, Reuters reported, citing Ruben Fernandes, the company's Brazil chief.

* Centrex Metals Ltd. signed its first contract with a major regional fertilizer manufacturer for a 5,000-wet-tonne trial shipment of phosphate rock concentrate from its Ardmore project in Queensland, Australia.

* Mayur Resources Ltd. signed a cooperation deal with Square Resources for marketing seaborne exported coal from the Depot Creek coal project in Papua New Guinea.

* Prophecy Development Corp. executed a lease agreement with a private Mongolian company over the Ulaan Ovoo coal mine in Mongolia, which was put on standby in 2014. The private company will undertake mining operations at Ulaan Ovoo and will pay Prophecy Development a production royalty of US$2 per tonne of coal shipped from the site.

* Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo raised concerns over Canada's imposition of new quotas and tariffs on steel imports to Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, Reuters reported, citing a Canadian government source. A separate report by the newswire said the U.S. is seeking to impose quotas on Mexican steel exports as part of a negotiation to remove metals tariffs.

* Bowen Coking Coal Ltd. terminated its binding deal to sell its Comet Ridge coal project in Queensland, Australia, to Springsure Creek Coal Pty. Ltd. The parties could not reach an agreement on certain key commercial issues.


* Spain will not grant key permits Berkeley Energia Ltd. needs to open its Salamanca uranium mine, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. The company only needed a local building license and an authorization to handle radioactive waste to start operations. A source said the government will only wait for the ongoing proceedings to go through before officially denying the permits.

* Rwanda will host the world's first blockchain project to track tantalum from the pit-face to the refinery in an effort to attract investors seeking a conflict-free source of minerals, Reuters reported, citing Francis Gatare, chief executive of Rwanda's Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board.

* Kenmare Resources PLC reported an 8% growth year over year to 8.41 million tonnes of ilmenite ore mined in the third quarter, mainly due to increased supplementary dry mining. The company also unveiled its new dividend policy, a minimum of 20% profit after tax, beginning with an interim dividend for the first half of 2019.

* NextSource Materials Inc.'s stock surged about 67% Oct. 16 after it announced the signing of a graphite off-take agreement with a Japanese trading company. The agreement will see the Japanese partner purchase 20,000 tonnes per year of SuperFlake graphite from NextSource's Molo project in Madagascar for the first 10 years of production, with an automatic five-year renewal.

* Lynas Corp. Ltd.'s ASX stock was on the way up again in early morning trading after Malaysian media released the names of the committee reviewing its Gebeng rare earths processing plant, void of environmental activists, which analysts said is another positive sign the process will be scientific, independent and transparent.

* De Beers SA's provisional revenue from rough diamond sales in the eighth sales cycle this year improved to US$475 million, from US$376 million in the year-ago sales cycle.


* The Association of Zambian Mineral Exploration Companies said that Zambia's proposed mining tax hikes will not help the growth of the country's mining industry, Reuters reported.

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