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Aeris confirms interest in CSA mine; Norsk Hydro recovering from cyberattack


Aeris Resources confirms interest in Glencore's CSA copper mine

Aeris Resources Ltd. confirmed a report from The Australian Financial Review that it is in talks to buy Glencore PLC's CSA copper-silver mine in New South Wales, Australia, for about US$575 million. The proposed deal would involve up to US$300 million of debt, an equity capital raising of up to US$240 million and a silver stream of up to US$40 million.

Norsk Hydro working to recover normal operations after cyberattack

Norwegian aluminum major Norsk Hydro ASA reported an extensive cyberattack affecting several areas and said IT systems are compromised in most divisions. The company said it is working to restart its systems safely but is still not clear how long it might take to restore stable IT operations. Certain systems at the company's extruded solutions and rolled products operations are expected to restart soon, which would allow for continued deliveries to customers.

Brazilian court allows Vale to resume Brucutu operations

A Brazilian court allowed Vale SA to resume operations at its Brucutu iron ore mine and the Laranjeiras tailings dam in Minas Gerais state after production from the mine was suspended and the dam's licenses were canceled in February. The company said the mine remains halted pending compliance from Brazilian environmental regulators. Brucutu is Vale's largest mine in the state and has a yearly capacity of 30 million tonnes.


* PT Aneka Tambang Tbk is racing to finish its Haltim ferronickel and Mempawah alumina smelters in Indonesia before the relaxation of a ban on ore exports ends in January 2022, The Jakarta Post reported.


* Chile's Codelco and Ecuador's Enami EP will soon sign a deal to jointly develop the Llurimagua copper project in Ecuador, Reuters reported, citing Chilean Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica. Already in its advanced exploration stage, the Llurimagua project may be the first mine Codelco will operate outside Chile following years of attempts at international expansion. Meanwhile, Prokurica separately said Codelco may lose about US$40 million from the delay of a planned restart of a smelter in Chile due to issues related to construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., which is facing corruption charges in Canada.

* A contract worker died at Anglo American PLC's Los Bronces copper mine in Chile after being hit with electrical discharge during maintenance work on the mine's high-voltage system. Local authorities were informed, and the miner launched an internal investigation into the accident.

* Glencore suspended operations at the South Ore Body shaft, which forms part of its Nkana copper mine in Zambia after two workers died in an accident, Reuters reported.

* Hong Kong-listed copper and cobalt producer Jinchuan Group International Resources Co. Ltd. recorded a 60.8% year-over-year jump in profit attributable to shareholders for 2018 to US$66.9 million, or 51 U.S. cents per share. Revenue for the year surged 154.9% to US$1.40 billion on the back of strong cobalt prices.

* Nickel Mines Ltd. commissioned the second kiln at its 60%-owned Hengjaya nickel-cobalt mine in Indonesia and produced the first nickel pig iron. The first and second kilns are expected to reach at least 80% nameplate capacity by early April and early May, respectively.

* KGHM Polska Miedź SA averted a strike at its Sierra Gorda copper mine in Chile after it extended negotiations with the union of 520 workers, Reuters reported, citing a union representative.

* Polish lawmakers plan to cut copper taxes to allow KGHM to make more investments, Reuters wrote.

* Poseidon Nickel Ltd. kicked off initial refurbishment of the Silver Swan decline in Western Australia, which will enable safe access into underground diamond drilling platforms for exploration drilling of the Black Swan ore deposit, expected to start this week.

* Antofagasta PLC CEO Iván Arriagada expects the global copper market to have a deficit of between 100,000 and 300,000 tonnes in 2019, Reuters reported.

* Tri-Star Resources PLC's partners in Strategic & Precious Metals Processing LLC agreed to provide a US$35 million mezzanine loan to cover the joint venture's short-term working capital and capital expenditure requirements. Tri-Star will maintain its 40% shareholding and will not have to inject new funds into the unit, which owns the Oman Antimony Roaster antimony-gold processing facility in Oman.


* Franco-Nevada Corp. swung to a net loss of US$31.3 million, or 17 U.S. cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2018, from a net profit of US$43.5 million, or 23 cents per share, a year earlier. The loss reflects US$75.4 million in impairment charges associated with KGHM's Sudbury operations in Ontario, in which Franco-Nevada holds a 50% precious metals stream.

* IRC Ltd. finished refinancing an outstanding loan with Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. following the initial US$172 million drawdown by IRC unit Kimkano-Sutarsky Mining and Beneficiation Plant LLC from a US$240 million facility with JSC Gazprombank.

* Crusader Resources Ltd. entered into a binding term sheet to sell its Juruena gold project in Brazil to Meteoric Resources NL for A$1 million cash and A$2 million in shares.

* IAMGOLD Corp. will slash its workforce at the Westwood gold mine in Quebec by 32% following an assessment of production levels and costs amid a revision of a life-of-mine plan.

* The U.S. government sanctioned Venezuelan state-owned gold company Corporación Venezolana de Guayana Minerven CA and its president, Adrian Antonio Perdomo Mata, for allegedly being complicit in the illicit activities of disputed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

* The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union agreed, in principle, to accept a proposed settlement deal advanced by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration to end a monthslong strike at Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s gold operations in South Africa, Mining Weekly reported.

* Endeavour Mining Corp. poured first gold from the Ity gold-silver project in Cote d'Ivoire under its initial budget of US$412 million and four months ahead of schedule, yielding about 1,800 ounces of gold.

* Auramex Resource Corp. optioned a portion of the 1,720-hectare Silver Crown property in British Columbia to Mountain Boy Minerals Ltd.

* SSR Mining Inc. closed its previously announced US$230 million offering of unsecured convertible senior notes due 2039. Net proceeds are intended for repurchasing about US$150 million of its outstanding $265 million 2.875% convertible senior notes.

* A third-party environmental impact audit started on Lydian International Ltd.'s Amulsar gold project in southern Armenia. The country's government called activity to a halt on the site in 2018 over concerns for endangered plants and animals.

* Renforth Resources Inc. renegotiated the remaining work requirement under an option agreement granting Renforth the right to acquire Globex Mining Enterprises Inc.'s Parbec gold project in Quebec.


* Rio Tinto suspended operations at its Weipa bauxite mine in Queensland, Australia, as per standard procedures ahead of Cyclone Trevor, Reuters reported.

* Canadian fertilizer company Nutrien Ltd. priced US$750 million of 4.20% senior notes due April 1, 2029, and US$750 million of 5.00% senior notes due April 1, 2049. The net proceeds will mainly be used to repay US$500 million aggregate principal amount of 6.50% senior notes due 2019 upon maturity May 15.

* TerraCom Ltd. said over three years were added to the economic life of its Blair Athol coal mine in Queensland, Australia, following an increase in the JORC marketable reserves to 23.5 million tonnes. The mine life now stands at about eight more years based on a sales profile of 3 million tonnes per annum.

* New Hope Group Co. Ltd. warned that it could lay off workers at its New Acland coal mine if the company fails to secure mining leases and a water license for the project's stage-three expansion by the third quarter, The Australian reported.

* The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes rejected Churchill Mining PLC's request to annul an earlier decision that dismissed the company's claims against the Indonesian government over revoking its licenses at the East Kutai coal project.

* Delays at Chinese ports have forced Australian coal exporters to divert coal ships or offer the shipments to buyers from other countries, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The delays have occurred amid Australia's ban on Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and spying accusations against China.

* Several state Legislatures took up bills during their 2019 sessions aimed at boosting coal, but industry observers said the efforts will do little to turn the tide for the struggling sector. Robert Godby, director of the University of Wyoming's Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy, said much of the pro-coal legislation "has largely been symbolic" and is unlikely to do much more than slightly extend the life of some affected mines or plants.

* After the tax on coal, which helps pay for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, was cut Jan. 1, the fund is being drained of money because of the U.S. government's inaction, The Associated Press reported. Budget officials estimate that there will not be enough money to fully cover the fund's benefit payments by mid-2020.

* Paringa Resources Ltd. secured a US$56 million term loan facility to refinance existing debt, expand development of the Poplar Grove coal mine, part of the Buck Creek Complex in Kentucky, and for working capital.

* West Cumbria Mining Ltd. secured approval to develop its Woodhouse Colliery metallurgical coal project, which would become the first deep coal mine in the U.K. in more than 30 years.


* Kenmare Resources PLC said its Moma titanium mine in northeastern Mozambique has not been materially impacted by the Cyclone Idai. Product loading activities and shipping, which were suspended for seven days, have resumed.

* Bluejay Mining PLC denied market speculation that it is planning a fundraising and said it has sufficient funds to support its operations into spring 2020. It remains in talks with a Rio Tinto unit regarding a deal to assess the commercial potential of Bluejay's Dundas ilmenite-titanium project in Greenland.

* Bacanora Lithium PLC said its Deutsche Lithium GmbH unit received an additional exploration license covering 42 square kilometers within its Zinnwald lithium project in Saxony, Germany, which could significantly increase its mine life.

* Lepidico Ltd. said wet commissioning of its pilot plant for lithium processing is on schedule to start in April, with operation during the second half of May.

* First Vanadium Corp. more than doubled the size of its Carlin vanadium property to 3,177 acres from 1,331 acres after staking unpatented lode claims over federal lands near the site.


* Ecuador's plan for mining becoming 4% of its GDP by the end of President Lenin Moreno's term in 2021 is now in question due to red tape and local opposition by radical social and environmental groups, Bloomberg wrote, citing Deputy Mining Minister Fernando Benalcazar. However, he said the country still expects mining exports to rise to US$3.66 billion in 2021 from US$270 million in 2018.

* Unidentified gunmen shot dead five workers from an unidentified mining company in Ethiopia, Reuters reported.

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