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Lonmin flags further asset sales to weather South African platinum slump

TOP NEWS

Lonmin flags further asset sales to weather South African platinum slump

Citing adverse economic conditions and inflationary pressures on the platinum sector in South Africa, Lonmin Plc announced further measures to generate additional cash flow by selling off selected assets. The company intends to sell excess processing capacity of up to 500,000 platinum ounces per annum. It is also considering selling or introducing partners to its Limpopo and Akanani platinum group metals, or PGM, projects following a review of major development capital requirements and to explore options to introduce funding partners for the MK2 PGM project in South Africa.

Vale denies interest in acquiring CSN's Casa de Pedra iron ore mine

Vale SA disputed a rumor that it was in talks with Cia. Siderúrgica Nacional, or CSN, to purchase its Casa de Pedra iron ore mine in Brazil, adding that there were never any discussions underway to acquire assets from the Brazilian company. Local newspaper O Globo cited unnamed sources as saying that Vale was studying a partnership that involved purchasing a stake or creating a joint venture with the CSN subsidiary that operates the Casa de Pedra and Engenho e Pires mines in the country, according to RTT News.

Union warns Sibanye Gold job losses could hit 10,200

South Africa's Solidarity trade union said job losses resulting from Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s retrenchment plan could climb to up to 10,200 as the miner's Beatrix West and Cooke operations also employ about 2,400 contractors, fin24 reported, citing Solidarity Secretary General Gideon du Plessis.

DIVERSIFIED

* Anglo American Plc has seen its productivity rise by 70% over the last four or five years, according to Technical Director Tony O'Neill. The executive said that while the company has always been good at technology development, it has not been so good at applying that technology to its own operations in the past.

* RBC Capital Markets reduced its target price for Glencore Plc stock to £410 per share from £430 per share with 104% in upside potential while maintaining its "outperform" recommendation.

* Top executives of Glencore are sitting on paper profits of over US$782 million from their investments in the group during the commodities downturn, The Australian reported.

BASE METALS

* Nickel Asia Corp.'s attributable net income rose significantly to 1.54 billion Philippine pesos in the first half, compared to 24.4 million pesos in the same period last year, driven by factors including the company's focus on more shipments of its higher-value saprolite ore, a stronger U.S. dollar and a turnaround in profits from its equity share in its investment in both the Coral Bay and Taganito processing plants.

* Colombia needs a flexible royalty legislation and sharper public policies on mining to develop the industry further and catch up to Chile or Peru in South America, La República reported, citing Ricardo Gaviria, president of South32 Ltd.'s Cerro Matoso nickel mine. The company expects to close the year with an annual production of 40,000 tonnes of ferronickel, mainly led by the output from the new La Esmeralda project in Cordoba, Colombia.

* Rio Tinto unit Rio Tinto Holdings Ltd. and Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. agreed to off-load a collective 17.56% interest in Mason Resources Corp. to Mantos Copper (Bermuda) Ltd. for a total of C$2.7 million.

* Vedanta Resources Plc unit Hindustan Zinc Ltd. will transition to a fully underground mining company beginning early next financial year, Press Trust of India reported, citing CEO Sunil Duggal. The company is looking to expand metal production capacity to 1.2 million tonnes per annum by 2019 to 2020, from about 1 million tonnes currently.

* Royal Sapphire Corp. signed a nonbinding agreement to merge with Blue Fin Holdings Co., which owns a 48,000-square-foot indoor cannabis growing facility in Longview, Wash. The company will then delist from the TSX Venture Exchange and intends to apply for listing on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

PRECIOUS METALS

* At least three parties are said to be interested in AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.'s Kopanang mine in South Africa, one of the operations that the company plans to shutter, fin24 reported. Kopanang Shaft 9, a company controlled by a 100% black-owned consortium, is reportedly preparing a bid of over 330 million South African rand.

* Nicaragua doubled its gold production and increased by sevenfold the extraction of silver between 2006 and 2016, to 267,300 troy ounces and 681,700 troy ounces, respectively, La Prensa reported, citing a study by Nicaraguan mining chamber Caminic.

* St Barbara Ltd. declared a reinstated fully franked dividend of 6 Australian cents per share for the full financial year.

* Gold Road Resources Ltd. Managing Director Ian Murray said the company's partnership with Gold Fields Ltd. over the Gruyere gold project in Western Australia has put the company's exploration plans for the broader Yamarna greenstone belt five years ahead, The West Australian reported.

* Millennium Minerals Ltd. reported a maiden mineral resource estimate for the Bartons Underground pit of its Nullagine gold project in Western Australia. At a cutoff of 2.0 g/t of gold, Bartons Underground is estimated to host indicated and inferred resources of 80,400 ounces of gold contained within 475,900 tonnes grading 5.3 g/t of gold.

* Colorado Resources signed an amending agreement with Seabridge Gold Inc.'s SnipGold Corp. subsidiary to acquire the remaining 49% stake in the KSP gold project in British Columbia by paying C$1 million in cash and issuing 2 million shares to Seabridge Gold.

BULK COMMODITIES

* PJSC Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works booked a net profit of US$297 million in the second quarter, a 23.2% improvement compared to US$241 million in the first quarter but a 9.7% decline compared to the second quarter of the previous year. The company's second-quarter profit was positively impacted by the US$149 million generated by restoring reserves created for the depreciation of construction work in progress.

* Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. will accept for repurchase about US$484.1 million worth of its 8.250% senior secured notes due 2020 under a cash tender offer. The company is paying US$1,123.75 per US$1,000 face value to redeem the 2020 debt.

* Merafe Resources Ltd. posted a surge in headline EPS for the six months that ended June 30 to 19.4 South African cents from 2.3 cents a year ago, while EBITDA jumped to 865.4 million rand from 257.6 million rand a year ago. The company's attributable ferrochrome production improved 10% to a record of 216,000 tonnes in the six-month period.

* Roy Hill Holdings Pty Ltd. believes that it is close to reaching its full capacity of 55 million tonnes per annum of iron ore after lifting its run rate in July. The Roy Hill mine was expected to be exporting 55 mtpa by the end of 2016, but issues with the port and processing plant delayed the ramp-up to full capacity until this year.

* Warrior Met Coal Inc. CEO Walter Scheller is expecting more volatility in metallurgical coal markets, and the company is poised to take advantage of a shift to an index-based pricing formula.

* Rio Tinto is earmarking about A$70 million to upgrade its bulk handling facilities at East Intercourse Island in the Port of Dampier, Western Australia.

* Swiss trader ARG International purchased the remainder of Noble Group Ltd.'s aluminum book in the U.S., sources told Metal Bulletin.

* Coalbank Ltd. shareholders approved a name change to AustChina Holdings Ltd. The company will trade under the ticker AUH on the ASX, effective Aug. 10.

SPECIALTY

* A total of 133 miners have been evacuated from PJSC Alrosa's Mir underground diamond mine in eastern Siberia after water flooded the site Aug. 4, Reuters reported. The search for nine missing miners is underway, and no casualties have been reported so far. Alrosa, meanwhile, will revise its production guidance for the full year due to the incident, Kommersant and Vedomosti reported, citing an Alrosa representative, while Interfax wrote that the production halt at the mine will not affect the company's long-term contracts.

* S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Petra Diamonds Ltd. to negative from stable and affirmed its B+ long-term corporate credit rating, after the miner posted lower-than-expected production for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

* Pilbara Minerals Ltd. Managing Director Ken Brinsden said the next catalyst for the lithium sector will be battery and car manufacturers investing in mining projects to secure a supply of raw materials, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Western Mining Co. Ltd. terminated its 1.78 billion Chinese yuan acquisition of Qinghai Lithium Co. Ltd., as it remains unclear if the latter would be able to secure mining licenses for its main operating projects. The company also decided to pay for its previously announced acquisition of lead and zinc producer Daliang Mining Co. Ltd. in cash, instead of issuing 727.74 million yuan in shares.

* W Resources Plc said Metso Corp. unit Metso Minerals Portugal Lda. was awarded the €1.2 million contract to build the crusher plant for the La Parrilla tungsten-tin project in Spain, part of an expansion that will produce up to 2,700 tonnes per year of tungsten concentrate.

* Lucara Diamond Corp. is considering forming a partnership to sell a tennis ball-sized, 1,109-carat rough diamond it unearthed from the Karowe mine in Botswana about two years ago if it fails to have a deal in the next six to eight weeks, Reuters reported.

* Force Commodities Ltd. signed a binding heads of agreement with Lithium Age Pty. Ltd. to acquire a 70% interest in the Kitotolo and Kiambi lithium projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The mining boom may have reached its peak a few years ago, but billion-dollar investments will still be needed to maintain production in Australia, according to Diggers & Dealers Forum Chairman Nick Giorgetta.

* The Trump administration took a formal step toward severing U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement on climate change, submitting its intent to withdraw from the deal to the United Nations on Aug. 4.

* The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution that would ban North Korean exports and restrict investment activities in the country. The resolution was passed unanimously Aug. 5.

* The value of mergers and acquisitions across the global mining sector rose 71% year over year in the second quarter to US$14.8 billion, driven by corporate activity in the precious metals sector, according to a new report by EY.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. ET and scans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.