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Brazil court ratifies Samarco settlement; Sibanye eyes more platinum assets; Rio Tinto trims debt by US$1.5B

Greenhouse gas and gold mines Nearly 1 ton of CO2 emitted per ounce of gold produced in 2019

Essential Metals & Mining Insights - September 2020

Essential Metals & Mining Insights - August 2020

State of the Market: Mining Q2-2020


Brazil court ratifies Samarco settlement; Sibanye eyes more platinum assets; Rio Tinto trims debt by US$1.5B

TOP NEWS

Braziliancourt ratifies Samarco settlement

A Brazilian Federal Regional Court ratifiedthe settlement between Samarco MineraçãoSA, its owners BHP BillitonGroup and Vale SAand federal and state authorities from the Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo states.Samarco agreed to payapproximately 20 billion Brazilian reais over 15 years to settle the legal falloutfrom the breach of the tailings dam at the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil in November 2015.

SibanyeGold on the hunt for more platinum assets

SibanyeGold Ltd. is looking to purchase more platinum assets following itsacquisition of such properties from AngloAmerican Platinum Ltd. and AquariusPlatinum Ltd. in 2015, Reuters reported.The company is also seeking gold companies abroad and could invest in coal.

Rio Tinto trims debt by US$1.5 billion via buyback

Rio Tintowill see its near-term debt trimmedby US$1.5 billion after purchasing US$141 million of debt under its Dutch auctionoffer, and US$1.36 billion under the any and all offer, which ended late April.The Dutch auction offer was oversubscribed May 4 and the company will not acceptmore of these securities beyond US$141 million.

DIVERSIFIED

* A Brazilian Federal Regional Court ratifiedthe settlement between Samarco MineraçãoSA, its owners BHP BillitonGroup and Vale SAand federal and state authorities from the Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo states.Samarco agreed to payapproximately 20 billion Brazilian reais over 15 years to settle the legal falloutfrom the breach of the tailings dam at the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil in November 2015.

* Responding to the latest 155 billion Brazilian reais lawsuitrelated to the Samarco disaster, Vale said the lawsuit amount filed by federal prosecutorswas based upon an "unsubstantiated"comparison with the costs of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexicoin 2010. The miner said it will adopt all necessary measures to defend itself throughlegal means.

* Rio Tintowill see its near-term debt trimmedby US$1.5 billion after purchasing US$141 million of debt under its Dutch auctionoffer, and US$1.36 billion under the any and all offer, which ended late April.The Dutch auction offer was oversubscribed May 4 and the company will not acceptmore of these securities beyond US$141 million.

* Rio Tinto's incoming CEO, Jean-Sébastien Jacques, plans tofocus on productivity improvements across the company amid "challenging timesfor the sector" and for the mining giant, Mining Weekly reported."We cannot be complacent just because we have Tier 1 assets. We must alwayschallenge ourselves to be more productive, more performance-driven and more proactivein our engagement with stakeholders and society," Jacques said.

* Meanwhile, The Wall StreetJournal quoted current CEO Sam Walsh as saying the company plansto complete work on the OyuTolgoi underground copper mine expansion project, as well as the developmentof the new Silvergrass iron ore project, part of Hamersley Consolidated operations,in "the relative near-term."

* Separately, Walsh commented on Rio Tinto's reversalon its decision to move payment terms for suppliers and contractors to 90 days from45 days after facing criticism from suppliers and politicians. The proposed extendedterm was "based on information that turned out to be incorrect," MiningNews.netwrote. "Under new contract negotiations, we will ask our larger and multinationalsuppliers to consider 60 or 90-day terms, but this will not be imposed on any business,"a company representative noted.

BASE METALS

* Turquoise HillResources Ltd. recorded first-quarter net income attributable to ownersof US$118.9 million, up from net income of US$96.2 million posted a year ago. Revenue,meanwhile, increased 18.9% on a quarterly basis to US$422.7 million, which higher gold prices partiallyoffset by lower volumes of copper-gold concentrate sales.

* Thompson CreekMetals Co. Inc.'s net income for quarter ended March 31 reached US$35.1million, swinging froma loss of US$87.2 million a year earlier. In the first quarter of this year, thecompany booked unrealized noncash foreign exchange gains of US$59.4 million, comparedto year-ago losses of US$88.2 million, primarily on intercompany notes. Revenuesfell to US$97.4 million, from US$123 million a year earlier. During the quarter,sales volumes for copper and gold were 15.0 million pounds and 44,391 ounces, respectively,up from sales of 14.8 million pounds of copper and 36,750 ounces of gold a yearago.

* OZ Minerals Ltd.is expected to announce today the expansion of its South Australia-based copper project,which could increasethe cost of the project to about A$1 billion, The Australian reported.

* Lorraine CopperCorp. and Teck ResourcesLtd. have agreed to terminatethe deal involving the sale of Teck's 51% joint venture interest in the copper project inBritish Columbia. The sale would have seen Lorraine securing full ownership of theproject upon closing.

* Solitario Exploration& Royalty Corp. made a strategic 9.97% equity investment in Vendetta Mining Corp. through purchasing 7,240,000 unitsfor a total consideration of C$362,000.

* Codelcorejected criticism from the Calama Farmers Association against the environmentalpermit granted by regulator SEA to its US$5.3 billion RT Sulfuros expansion projectof the Radomiro Tomicmine in Chile. Farmers filed an appeal claiming that the project may compromisethe health of the community in Calama, daily Pulso reported.

PRECIOUS METALS

* SibanyeGold Ltd. is looking to purchase more platinum assets following itsacquisition of such properties from AngloAmerican Platinum Ltd. and AquariusPlatinum Ltd. in 2015, Reuters reported.The company is also seeking gold companies abroad and could invest in coal.

* AngloGoldAshanti Ltd.'s Ghanaian unit has fileda request for arbitration with the International Centre for Settlement of InvestmentDisputes against Ghana, arguing that the country has failed to protect its gold operation fromillegal miners.

* Hecla MiningCo. swung to a lossattributable to shareholders of US$756,000 in the first quarter of 2016, from aprofit of US$12.4 million a year earlier, due to foreign exchange effects. Salesfor the quarter increased 10% year over year to US$131.0 million on record silverequivalent production of 12.0 million ounces, partially offset by lower prices.Hecla revised its 2016silver output forecast and now expects production of 15.0 million ounces, from 13.5million ounces to 14.0 million ounces previously.

* McEwen MiningInc. reported consolidated net income of US$13.0 million for the quarterended March 31, up fromUS$6.0 million booked a year earlier. The company sold 40,578 gold equivalent ounces,compared to sales of 37,682 gold equivalent ounces in the same period of 2015.

* Great PantherSilver Ltd. swungto a net loss of C$4.5 million in the first quarter from year-ago profit of C$3.6million as revenue fell by 9% to C$18.5 million. The net loss was primarily attributableto a C$6.1 million net foreign exchange loss while the reduction in revenue wasdue to 16% lower metal sales.

* Endeavour SilverCorp.'s first-quarter net income increased 35% on a yearly basis to C$1.8 million while EBITDAfell 47% to C$8.6 million. Revenue also fell by 19% to C$41.5 million due to lowersilver production and lower silver prices but earnings improved due to lower operatingcosts.

* Newcrest MiningLtd. hedgeda further 200,000 ounces of gold expected over the 2018 and 2019 financial yearsfrom its Telfergold project in Western Australia, at an average gold price of A$1,773 per ounce.

* Separately, Newcrest extendedthe term of its unsecured bilateral bank lending facilities totaling US$2.4 billion.The renewed facility agreements are with 12 bank lenders which will each commitUS$200 million. The facilities will have tenors of between three and five yearsincluding US$1.20 billion in fiscal 2019, US$300 million in fiscal 2020 and US$900million in fiscal 2021.

* Alkane ResourcesLtd. subsidiary TomingleyGold Operations Pty. Ltd. secured a A$14 million credit approved and entered a hedging facility,which will be applied to working capital and repaying an existing A$4 million facility.

* Metals X Ltd.'smove to acquire copper producer AdityaBirla Minerals Ltd. and spin off its gold and base metals assets mayimprove the value of the company's gold assets, The Australian Financial Review wrote,citing analysts. "A spin-out of the purely gold assets to a pure gold vehiclewould likely attract this gold premium and realize value for shareholders,"Somers and Partners analyst Duncan Hughes said.

* The Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum development of 's 60%-ownedPenny's Find gold project. The company intends to mine initially by open pit, whichwill be likely followed by underground development. Empire expects open-pit miningto start from midyear and first gold production in the second half of this year.

* Platinum GroupMetals Ltd. said its South Africa-based Maseve mine produced approximately 1,700 "4E ounces" of platinum,palladium, rhodium and gold during April. The mill continues to perform well withrecoveries and tonnage throughput capacity meeting or exceeding targets.

* Alecto MineralsPlc was awarded afurther three-year term for its Gassel-Manere and Arae mineral exploration permits,which form the Kerboule project, in Burkina Faso. In total, the permits have aninitial independent in situ gold resource assessment of 6.2 million tonnes gradingat 1.16 g/t of gold for 230,758 ounces of gold, at a cutoff grade of 0.5 g/t.

* Sudbury PlatinumCorp. acquiredthe Lockerby andWest Graham nickel-copper-PGMproperties in Ontario from majority shareholder Transition Metals Corp.

* Para ResourcesInc. entered into a letter of intent with Otu Gold Ltd. to acquiremineral concessions comprising approximately 17,000 hectares surrounding the gold mine in Colombiafor US$1.0 million.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Rio Tinto has noplans to exceed the 360 million-tonne mark for annual iron ore production,according to Chairman Jan du Plessis. The company also defended its plan to buildthe Resolution coppermine in Arizona, saying that the project will be economically beneficial to boththe company and the local community.

* Jindal Steel& Power Ltd. Managing Director Ravi Uppal said the company is indiscussions to off-loadcertain noncore assets to raise about 30 billion Indian rupees. Jindal Steel's debtpile has reached 460 billion rupees, and the company hopes that such a move wouldhelp it trim its liabilities by over 35% to under 300 billion rupees in the nextfour years, the official said.

* AK Steel HoldingCorp. plans to increasecurrent spot market base prices for all carbon flat-rolled steel products by atleast US$60 per tonne, effective immediately.

* Mechel OAOis seeking to restructureits 17, 18 and 19 series of ruble bonds with a nominal value of 15 billion Russianrubles, equivalent to US$228 million. The Russian coal and steel group is proposingchanges to the current payment schedule and the order of determining the couponrate for future periods for all three series of bonds.

* The Czech government would take over payment of wages and severanceto workers of New World ResourcesPlc unit OKD asif the company is unable to do so in accordance with the law, Puls Biznesu reported,citing Industry Minister Jan Mladek.

* Fertoz Ltd.entered a memorandum ofunderstanding to finalize an agreement for the sale of 2,000 tonnes of phosphaterock per year on or before July 1. The initial three-year contract adds to the previous2,000-tonne sale announced in February and places the company on track to reachits sales target of 10,000 tonnes by end of this year.

* Churchill MiningPlc was advised by the tribunal secretary of the International Centrefor the Settlement of Investment Disputes that a wire transfer totaling US$200,000has been receivedfrom Indonesia, which the ICSID understands to be the payment of the country's shareof the fifth advance of related fees and expenses.

* Kommersant and Vedomostireported that Moscow's refusal to keep customs privileges for Ukrainian goods hurtthe Russian nuclear sector. After the abolition of the free trade area with Ukraine,the import duties on steel of 9% to 13% led to a price increase for products ofthe Kramatorsk-based Rosatom plant Energomashspetsstal. As a result, state-ownedcorporation Rosatom offered to keep the free trade area regime for its plant inUkraine.

SPECIALTY

* Total costs required to develop the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium joint venture in Argentinabetween Sociedad Quimica y Minerade Chile SA Lithium AmericasCorp. are expected to rangebetween US$500 million to US$600 million, depending on final design criteria andproject staging.

* De Beers SAis in the process of finalizing a new diamond sales deal with the Namibian government,which will govern the disposal of diamonds from the Namdeb mine, African News Agency reported.

* The supervisory board of PJSC ALROSA recommended that shareholders approve paymentof dividends for 2015 at the rate of 2.09 Russian rubles per ordinary share, Vedomosti reported.Payments will total 15.39 billion rubles.

* Largo ResourcesLtd.'s Maracás Menchenmine in Brazil produced730 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide during April, surpassing its previous record formonthly production of approximately 681 tonnes set in October 2015 by 7%.

INDUSTRY NEWS

*Luxembourg, which announced in February that it was planning to become a globalcenter for asteroid mining, has been approached by several space agencies and companiesabout a potential collaboration, Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider said. Thecountry is working on a joint mission with U.S. firm Deep Space Industries to developtechnologies that might be used to deploy robotic explorers to probe asteroids after2020, London's Financial Times reported.

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