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Gold Fields' tax deal may save 2,000 jobs in Ghana; Rio Tinto colliery suspended amid arson attacks; Polymetal returns to profit in FY'15

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Gold Fields' tax deal may save 2,000 jobs in Ghana; Rio Tinto colliery suspended amid arson attacks; Polymetal returns to profit in FY'15

TOP NEWS

Ghanaian taxdeal may save 2,000 jobs at Gold Fields' Damang mine

Gold FieldsLtd. concluded a tax and royalties deal with Ghana for both theTarkwa andDamang mines,reducing thecompany's corporate tax rate from 35% to 32.5%, effective March 17, andrevising the mines' royalty rate from a flat 5% of revenues to a sliding scaleroyalty based on gold prices, effective Jan. 1, 2017. According to Reuters, thedeal maysave about 2,000 jobs at the Damang mine but company spokesman Sven Lunschesaid Gold Fields had not yet decided whether to inject more cash into Damang orsuspend the mine's operations.

Arsonattacks force Rio Tinto's Zululand Anthracite Colliery into closure

RioTinto's majority-owned Zululand Anthracite Colliery in Kwazulu-Natal, SouthAfrica, said its operations have been "plaguedby criminal activities," the last of which occurred March 23,resulting in one employee sustaining serious burn wounds to his left hand andan office block being burnt to the ground. According to Reuters, the arsonattacks have forced the closure of the colliery and Zululand Anthracitemanaging director Niels Kristensen could not confirm for how long theoperations would be suspended.

PolymetalInternational Plc returned to profit in 2015, booking net earnings ofUS$221 million compared with the US$210 million net loss the previous year. Theboard is proposing a final dividend for the second half of 2015 of 13 cents pershare, or around US$55 million, representing 30% of the group's underlying netearnings for the six-month period. CapEx was US$205 million, below the originalguidance of US$240 million, due to currency devaluation.

DIVERSIFIED

* Global mining companies, including , , , andFortescue Metals GroupLtd., have recently repurchasedbillions of dollars of debt in a bid to ease investor concerns over theirleverage, London's Financial Timesreported.

BASE METALS

* U.S. Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders is opposingBHP Billiton Groupand Rio Tinto'splanned A$8 billion copper mine in Arizona, which is located in 980 hectares offederal land that a Native American tribe claims to be sacred and home toancient burial sites, The AustralianFinancial Review wrote.

* The Solomon Islands government recantedits statement issued last week implying "disreputable conduct" on theconduct of Axiom MiningLtd., following a ruling by the Court of Appeal revoking theminer's current license to the Isabel nickel deposit, Australian Mining reported. Thenew statement from the Prime Minister's office apologized to Axiom because it"misrepresented the Prime Minister and the entire Solomon Islandsgovernment on the case and … did not reflect the appeal court ruling."

* IndependenceGroup NL awardedto Swick Mining ServicesLtd underground diamond drilling contracts for its nickel-copperand Jaguarzinc-copper-silver mines, Australian Mining reported.

* Pulso wrote thatCodelco decided to cutinvestment for the Rajo Inca copper project in Chile, designed to extendoperations at the Salvador unit, to US$600 million, 80% lower thanoriginal projections. The project is currently in a pre-feasibility study stageand will be implemented only if Salvador reverses four years of losses andpresents blue numbers in 2016.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Gold FieldsLtd. concluded a tax androyalties deal with Ghana for both the Tarkwa and Damang mines, the company's corporate taxrate from 35% to 32.5%, effective March 17, and revising the mines' royaltyrate from a flat 5% of revenues to a sliding scale royalty based on goldprices, effective Jan. 1, 2017. According to Reuters, the deal may save about 2,000jobs at the Damang mine but company spokesman Sven Lunsche said Gold Fields hadnot yet decided whether to inject more cash into Damang or suspend the mine'soperations.

* Gold Fields won an appeal in native title proceedings after the FullCourt of the Federal Court of Australia overturned a July 2014 Federal Courtdecision that the re-grant of certain tenements to Gold Fields Australia'sSt. Ives minein 2004 was not compliant with regulations. Gold Fields will continue to openlyengage with the Ngadju People but it remains unclear whether the local groupwill seek to appeal the latest court decision.

* PolymetalInternational Plc returned to profit in 2015, booking net earnings ofUS$221 million compared with the US$210 million net loss the previous year. Theboard is proposing a final dividend for the second half of 2015 of 13 cents pershare, or around US$55 million, representing 30% of the group's underlying netearnings for the six-month period. CapEx was US$205 million, below the originalguidance of US$240 million, due to currency devaluation.

* ZhaojinMining Industry Co. Ltd. booked a in profit attributable toowners of the parent to 308.1 million Chinese yuan in 2015, down from 455.4million yuan the previous year. EPS for the year stood at 10 fen, down from 15fen. The Chinese gold mining major cut its final dividend to 4 fen per share,down from 5 fen in 2014, as it blamed the fall in gold prices for the slump inprofits.

* ClancyExploration Ltd. said Kaizen Discovery Inc. is from the gold joint venture inNew South Wales, Australia, effective April 22 and that it will seek a newpartner for the project.

* BCGoldCorp. said the definitive deal to acquire 's gold property inCanada's Yukon Territory will notproceed as Gorilla Minerals will not agree to an extension of theMarch 31 deadline to close the agreement, even though the extension wasintended to accommodate the April 12 schedule of Gorilla's shareholder meetingto approve the transaction.

* AuraMinerals Inc. expects to closeits acquisition of the Ernesto/Pau-a-Pique gold project in Brazil's Mato Grossostate soon, and to restart the mine and generate positive operating cash flowin the second half, Notícias de Mineraçãoreported.

* Residents of the communities of Nuevo Balsas and Atzaclain Mexico's Guerrero state blockedaccess to Torex GoldResources Inc.'s Media Luna gold-copper mine, claiming pollution of thelocal water supply and air. Villagers said they would maintain the blockadeindefinitely until they are compensated, ElFinanciero reported.

* A scoping study for White Rock Minerals Ltd.'s gold-silverproject in New South Wales indicated a pre-tax net present value of A$60.6 million,using a 10% discount rate, and an internal rate of return of 103%.

* AurasianMinerals Plc extendedits takeover offer to acquire Moroccan Minerals Ltd. until April 15. Aurasian hasreceived acceptances representing 89.99% of the outstanding shares of Moroccan.

* BanroCorp.'s 2015 gold production rose to 183,369 ounces of gold from 98,184 ounces in2014. Despite higher revenue and EBITDA, the company swung to a net loss ofUS$73.5 million in 2015, from a year-ago profit of US$320,000, as it bookedimpairment charges of US$84.3 million.

* PredictiveDiscovery Ltd. signed a joint venture agreement with local Ivoirian company GoldIvoire Minerals (GIV) SARL, doubling the area of ground within the Toro jointventure in Ivory Coast to 3,137 square kilometers from 1,537 square kilometers.

* ColumbusGold Corp. notified Eastmain Resources Inc. that it will five new directors toEastmain's board as it is dissatisfied with Eastmain's progress in advancingits projects, particularly the Clearwater gold property in Quebec. Meanwhile, Eastmainsaid it considers the nominations "an opportunistic and self-servingattempt by a rival company to orchestrate a zero-premium, cashless takeover ofEastmain."

* CardinalResources Ltd. said Bank of Nova Scotia, with its associatedentities 1832 Asset Management LP and The Dynamic Fund, became a of theASX-listed miner, with an equity position of 5.16%.

* ScotgoldResources Ltd. Managing Director and CEO Richard Gray said it is a"significantmilestone" in a long-running battle to mine gold at the company'sCononishproject in Scotland, which could host 200,000 ounces of the precious metal, theFinancial Times reported.

BULK COMMODITIES

* RioTinto's majority-owned Zululand Anthracite Colliery in Kwazulu-Natal, SouthAfrica said its operations have been "plaguedby criminal activities," the last of which occurred March 23,resulting in one employee sustaining serious burn wounds to his left hand andan office block being burnt to the ground. According to Reuters, the arsonattacks have forced the closure of the colliery and Zululand Anthracitemanaging director Niels Kristensen could not confirm for how long theoperations would be suspended.

* According to Bloomberg News, China's Shanxi province is proposingto ship excess coal production overseas to keep mining projects operationalwhile the central government presses state-owned industries for capacity cuts.Such a move could have serious implications for miners in the U.S. AppalachianMountains to Australia's Hunter Basin as the global coal mining sector contendswith the weakest market prices seen in a decade. "Everyone else is doingtheir job of cutting supply. It would just ding whatever kind of light therewas at the end of the coal supply-demand tunnel," said Andrew Cosgrove, ananalyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. Shanxi on its own produced 944 milliontonnes in 2015, more than all of the U.S., which is the world's second-largestproducer.

* Glencore and adviser RBC Capital Markets are said to haveproposed an initial 15-year contract — with exclusive rights for a 15-yearextension — for its Hunter Valley coal haulage business in a bid to draw infrastructurefunds into the upcoming auction for the business, The Australian Financial Review wrote. The contract would ensurethat the mining giant would use the haulage business — currently up for sale —to get coal from its Hunter Valley mines to the Port of Newcastle, securingrevenue for the new owner.

* Piyush Goyal, India's power and coal minister, told Reutersthat the country will meet its target of doubling coal output to 1.5 billiontonnes without the help of private miners but through the increased productionof state-owned Coal IndiaLtd., with other state-owned firms such as ,NTPC Ltd. andNational Aluminium Co.Ltd. to pick up the slack.

* ChinaShenhua Energy Co. Ltd. may boost its coalexports by up to 8x amid weaker domestic demand and tougher environmentalregulations by upping exports to Japan and South Korea, Bloomberg News wroteciting the company's vice Chairman Ling Wen. Exports to the two countries mayrise to between 5 million and 10 million tonnes in 2016, compared to 1.2million tonnes in 2015.

* Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority approved an IPOof 15.245 million shares of Al Yamamah Steel Industries Co., equivalent to a30% stake, which will be offered from April 27 to May 3. A portion of theoffered shares will be allocated to institutional investors.

* The Brazilian steel industry is expected to layoff 11,332 workers in the first half of this year, Notícias de Mineração reported, citing the country's steelinstitute IABr. Steel production this year is expected to reach 32.9 milliontonnes, down 1% compared with 2015.

* PJSCUralkali's net profit for 2015, based on Russian accounting principles,increased8.7x year over year to 30.28 billion Russian rubles, Vedomosti reported. Revenues jumped by 43.5% to 172.13 billionrubles.

* Despite securing a road haulagedeal with logistics group Qube, Brockman Mining Ltd. CEO Colin Paterson told The Australian Financial Review that thecompany will continue to pursue access to Fortescue Metals' rail networks as itis still "the bigger picture" for Brockman. Meanwhile, Brockman'sdeal with Qube will see the logistics group's trucks moving up to 2.5 milliontonnes of iron ore from Brockman's Marillana Pilbara mine in Western Australia to PortHedland annually, starting 2017. The haulage deal is subject to a new heads ofagreement between the miner and Qube.

* Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional for the fourth quarterof 2015 and full-year 2015, posting a net profit of 2.37 billion Brazilianreais and 1.62 billion reais, respectively.

* According to TheGuardian, officials of the U.K.-based Community union met with seniorrepresentatives of Tata SteelLtd. in Mumbai ahead of a March 29 board meeting in a bid to securethe jobs of thousands of U.K. steelworkers, especially at the Port Talbotplant in South Wales. More than 35,000 people have signed an open letter toTata Steel Chairman Cyrus Mistry in support of the U.K. steelworkers and aspokesman for Community said the meeting was open and constructive but did not disclosewhether a resolution was reached with the company officials.

* POSCO plans to expand itsglobal business and maximize profits through its premium automotive steel sheetproducts, which have a 10% higher profitability than standard products, The Korea Herald wrote.

* ChongqingIron and Steel Co. Ltd. expected to book a attributable toshareholders in 2015, to 5.98 billion Chinese yuan from the previous projectednet loss of 3.90 billion yuan, amid a downturn in the iron and steel industry.In 2014, the company recorded a net profit of 51.4 million yuan.

* Analysts are questioningwhether Rio Tinto, which is on track to beat its global full-year iron oreoutput target, wants to produce as much of the commodity this year, The Australian wrote. The market isexpected to feel added pressure on iron ore prices as ramps upRoy Hill andVale SA plans tostart the S11Dproject.

* SamarcoMineração SA CEO Roberto Carvalho expects operations to resumein the fourth quarter, provided it receives the necessary environmental permitsand the green light from the National Mineral Production Department, Valor Econômico reported. Samarco wouldresume at 60% production capacity, however.

* Controlling stakeholders of — Nippon Steel & SumitomoMetal Corp. and Techint Group — are not discussing the possibility ofsplitting Usiminas, but rather the saleof some assets of its Cubatão plant, Financistareported.

* CauldronEnergy Ltd. recovered over A$2.5 million in satisfaction of thejudgment debt owed by Beijing Joseph Investment Co. Ltd. and Joseph InvestmentInternational Ltd.

* Steve Smyth, district president at the Construction,Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, warned of industrial action if BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance proceeds with changesto rosters and slashes accommodation entitlements of some 2,000 employeesacross its coal mining workforce in Queensland, Australia. BMA is a jointventure between BHP Billiton Group and Mitsubishi Corp.

* EssarGroup's debt-laden unit Essar Steel India Ltd. is reportedlyoffering an equityinjection of about 45 billion Indian rupees to secure a favorable debtrestructuring deal from lenders, according to sources. The company is offeringto pay about 20% of the loan amount after 15 years. Meanwhile, and are among interestedparties planning to bid for Essar Steel.

* PrairieMining Ltd. said the Administrative Court in Warsaw has 'sadministrative complaints against Poland's Ministry of Environment regardingthe Lublin coalproject in Poland, confirming Prairie's legal position as the only entity withthe exclusive right to conclude a mining usufruct agreement and to apply for amining concession at the project.

* Brazil's production of raw steel in 2016 willfall 1% year over year to 32.9 million tonnes as the sector battles arecord downfall in demand amid a historic recession, Reuters reported, citingthe Brazil Steel Institute.

* Greek company Dana Shipping & Trading has fileda writ in the Supreme Court of Australia against seeking torevive a A$3 million deal for Dana to take excess kaolin from the miner'sMeckeringproject in Western Australia, The WestAustralian reported.

* Chinese state-owned Dongbei Special Steel Group Co. failedto repay 852 million Chinese yuan in bond payments due March 28 and might notbe able to repay 1 billion yuan due April 3 on a 90-day bill, Bloomberg Newsreported.

SPECIALTY

* Codelco wouldenter the lithium business after 2022 and only if the company identifiestechnical and economically viable projects, the executive vice president ofChilean development agency Corfo, Eduardo Bitran, said in a hearing before theCommission on Mining and Energy in Congress, Pulso reported. Codelco also plans to start the tender process forthe lithium concessions it holds in the Maricunga and Pedernales salt flats innorthern Chile in the third quarter this year, once the state miner makes acomplete assessment of the deposits found in the area.

* MiningProjects Group Ltd. reached an agreement to the Wodgina Eastlithium-tantalum project located near Global Advanced Metals' Wodgina tantalum mine in Western Australia.

* LithiumAmericas Corp. signed a definitive agreement with to enter into a 50/50 jointventure over the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project in Argentina.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* According to TheWest Australian, HughesDrilling's JSW unit wona contract to continue providing blast hole drilling services to 's bauxite mine inWestern Australia for 18 months and a separate contract for grade controldrilling services at RameliusResources Ltd.'s Mount Magnet gold mine in the same state.

* Sean L'Estrange will replaceBill Marmion as Western Australia's minister for mines and petroleum, withMarmion now set to be the minister for state development, amid a reshuffle ofthe Western Australian Cabinet, MiningWeekly wrote.

* The Minerals Council of Australia welcomed the findings ofthe paper "Growing the Australian Economy with a Competitive CompanyTax," which suggesteda reduction in the country's company tax rate to stimulate new foreigninvestment as Australia currently has the fourth highest effective tax rateamong the 34 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countriesthat were studied in the report, MiningWeekly said in a news brief.

* With some commodity prices hitting bottom, U.K.-based fundLanstead Investors said that it is the perfecttime to buy junior miners and explorers, The Australian Financial Review wrote. "There are a lot ofgood projects out there that are mothballed today because they just can'tattract the capital on commercial terms," Lanstead's Sydney-based directorAndrew Sparke said. "Funding is probably still the key issue for a lot ofthe junior companies … and obviously the other one is undoubtedly pricing."

* The Association of Mining and Exploration Cos. criticizedthe proposal to privatize the Port Hedland Utah Point bulk handling facility,saying that it would create "considerable uncertainty" for juniorminers currently using the port such as Atlas Iron Ltd., Mineral Resources Ltd. and , AustralianMining reported.

* A civil society group in Thailand is requesting thecountry's National Legislative Assembly to revise a draft mineralbill draft as it allegedly opens a loophole for corruption during the biddingprocess for concessions, Thailand's PostToday reported.

The Daily Dose isupdated as of 7 a.m. New York time, and scans news sources published inChinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai andUkrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.