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KGHM swings to Q4'18 profit; SQM nabs approval for US$400M plant expansion


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KGHM swings to Q4'18 profit; SQM nabs approval for US$400M plant expansion


KGHM swings YOY to Q4'18 profit; FY'18 earnings up 8.7%

KGHM Polska Miedź SA swung to a profit of 682 million Polish zloty in the fourth quarter of 2018 from a loss of 134 million zloty in the year-ago period. Full-year profit rose 8.7% to 1.66 billion zloty, from 1.53 billion zloty in 2017, on the lower impairment of noncurrent assets, improved joint ventures and more favorable exchange differences. Payable copper production during the fourth quarter increased 8% to 169,000 tonnes, while full-year output shrunk 3% to 634,000 tonnes, partly due to a maintenance shutdown at the Głogów II smelter in the third quarter of 2018 and declining output from the Morrison mine in Ontario.

SQM nabs approval for US$400M plant expansion at Salar de Atacama

Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA secured environmental approval for its planned US$400 million expansion of its Salar del Carmen lithium carbonate production plant at its operations in Chile's Atacama desert, Reuters reported. The expansion will result in a planned lithium production capacity increase to 180,000 tonnes per year.

Turquoise Hill's Q4, FY'18 earnings surge on higher gold revenue

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.'s attributable net income in the fourth quarter of 2018 rose 97.7% year over year to US$101.0 million, from US$51.1 million in the year-ago period. Revenues for the quarter stood at US$346.2 million, up 37.5% from US$251.7 million in the prior-year period due to higher gold revenue driven by a substantial jump in gold production, partially offset by a decline in copper revenue. For full year 2018, the company's attributable net income surged 126.9% to US$411.2 million from US$181.2 million, reflecting the increase in gold revenue and lower unit costs of production.


* Anglo American PLC finished installing a floating island of solar panels in a tailings pond near its Los Bronces copper mine in Chile in a bid to boost efficiency at the project, Reuters wrote. The 256 panels can produce up to 86 kilowatts, according to the newswire.

* Vedanta Resources PLC's Vedanta Zinc International unit will shut down its Skorpion zinc refinery in Namibia for five weeks after a strike depleted stocks, Reuters reported. Vedanta Zinc International will bring forward maintenance work that was initially planned later in the year.

* Ero Copper Corp. swung to a full-year 2018 adjusted net profit attributable to owners of the company of US$10.9 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, from a loss of US$2.2 million, or 3 cents per share. Revenue grew to US$233.1 million from US$148.2 million.

* Alara Resources Ltd. unit Al Hadeetha Resources LLC entered into a €60 million loan with Qatar's SAMA Global Investment for developing the Washihi-Mazzaza copper project in Oman.

* Heron Resources Ltd. said the contract superintendent rejected the revised claim by CIMIC Group Ltd. unit Sedgman Pty. Ltd. for additional costs of A$53 million for building the Woodlawn zinc-copper project in New South Wales, Australia.

* Workers from the Sindicato No. 2 union reached an agreement with KGHM over collective contracts at the miner's 55%-owned Sierra Gorda copper mine in northern Chile, El Mercurio reported. The deal includes a benefit of 14.2 million Chilean pesos per worker, which includes end-of-negotiation bonus payments.

* Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov's Crispian Investments is not planning to further sell down its stake in PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co., which was reduced to 6%, following its sale of a 1.7% interest in the miner earlier this week, Kommersant reported.

* Chile's Codelco may miss the deadline to restart furnaces at the Chuquicamata and Salvador copper mines in March as work to comply with new emissions regulations is delayed, Diario Financiero reported, citing union officials. The miner reportedly said in an internal email that the equipment would resume activities in early April. Union officials, however, estimate that work will extend until May.

* An Australian tribunal court threw out an appeal by OZ Minerals Ltd. insurer ReturnToWorkSA over the compensation payout of an employee injured while playing cricket at the miner's Prominent Hill copper mine in South Australia, ABC reported. The worker, Benjamin Backhouse, was also awarded undisclosed damages.

* CST Group Ltd. agreed to sell its Lady Annie copper mine in Queensland, Australia, and a related loan for about A$23 million.


* Goldcorp Inc. Chairman Ian Telfer drew flak from investors over the US$12 million retirement package he is expected to receive once the company's proposed US$10 billion merger with Newmont Mining Corp. pushes through, Bloomberg News reported. "I don't see why he should be rewarded for poor performance," said Joe Foster, a portfolio manager at VanEck, Goldcorp's second-largest shareholder.

* A work stoppage at Goldcorp's Cerro Negro gold-silver mine in Argentina ended after the miner agreed to a "conciliation process."

* Barrick Gold Corp. is reviewing its guidance for 2019 and its five-year outlook after forming a joint venture with Newmont in Nevada.

* Anglo American platinum subsidiary Amplats almost doubled the area it has given to communities since 2014 by handing over 270 hectares to people living in Rustenburg, South Africa, amid the ruling party's plans to introduce laws for easier land expropriation without making payments, Bloomberg reported.

* South Africa's labor court turned down a request by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union to hold an industrywide strike, Reuters reported, citing a spokesperson for AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.

* Dundee Precious Metals Inc. produced the first gold concentrate from its Krumovgrad mine in Bulgaria.

* Laneway Resources Ltd. said it has made significant progress at the Agate Creek gold project in Queensland, Australia, prompting it to aim to start mining activities in early April and start ore processing at Maroon Gold Pty Ltd.'s processing plant shortly after.

* Russia is considering a temporary export ban on precious metals scrap and tailings in an effort to promote domestic refining of the materials, Reuters reported.


* Russia's largest iron ore producer, OAO Metalloinvest, posted a 17.1% rise in net profit to US$1.65 billion for 2018 as prices of its main products grew substantially, boosting revenue. Moody's Investors Service upgraded the company's corporate rating to Ba1 with a stable outlook, from Ba2 with a positive outlook, in light of progress with deleveraging, among other factors.

* Exxaro Resources Ltd. will allow former workers of Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga Pty. Ltd. to join a joint venture that is expected to acquire the Arnot coal mine in South Africa, Mining Weekly reported, citing CEO Mxolisi Mgojo.

* A Paris court dismissed a US$2.2 billion claim Pan African Minerals Ltd. filed against Burkina Faso over control of the Tambao manganese mine, Reuters reported, citing the West African country's government.

* BHP Group and Incitec Pivot Ltd. missed their targets in Australia's emissions-reduction fund Safeguard Mechanism, forcing them to surrender Australian Carbon Credit Units to cover the shortfall, The Australian Financial Review wrote.

* Allegheny Technologies Inc. said it commissioned its STAL 3 plant in Shanghai, an extension of its 20-year STAL joint venture with China Baowu Steel Group Corp. Ltd., increasing capacity by about 65% to produce precision stainless steel products for China and the Asian markets.

* Ampco-Pittsburgh Corp. plans to sell Canadian subsidiary ASW Steel Inc. as part of a restructuring plan that kicked off in late 2018 with the sale of the company's Vertical Seal division.

* GCM Resources PLC entered into a second joint venture agreement with Power Construction Corp. of China Ltd. to develop an additional coal-fired power plant at the site of GCM's proposed Phulbari coal mine in northwestern Bangladesh.


* PJSC Alrosa posted a 52% year-over-year drop in fourth-quarter 2018 net profit to US$7.9 billion mainly due to an insurance reimbursement resulting in a higher figure in the comparative period. The diamond miner posted a 15% increase in full-year earnings to 90.4 billion Russian rubles as revenue grew and profitability improved considerably over 2017.

* Advantage Lithium Corp. President and CEO David Sidoo took a leave of absence after being implicated in a college admissions scam, Reuters reported. Sidoo was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit fraud for allegedly paying US$200,000 to the scam's accused mastermind to hire people to the SAT admissions test for his two sons.

* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. recovered an 83.9-carat diamond from the Mothae kimberlite plant in Lesotho, the fourth diamond over 50 carats recovered from the operation.

* European Lithium Ltd., owner of the Wolfsberg lithium project in Austria, will participate in a €1 billion battery production funding program that Germany's Ministry of Economy launched.

* Titanium Corp. Inc. received C$50 million in funding from the Canadian government to develop its tailings recovery technology called Creating Value from Waste at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.'s Horizon oil sands project in Alberta.

* BlueRock Diamonds PLC received permits to allow continuous production at its Kareevlei diamond mine in South Africa.


* China reduced output quotas for rare earth minerals for the first half by 18.4% from the year-earlier period to 60,000 tonnes, Reuters reported, citing the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Natural Resources. The move raised concerns that lower supply may not be sufficient to meet domestic demand, the report added.

* Private company DeepGreen Metals Inc. is set to announce in April two major oil and gas offshore service companies as investors as part of a US$100 million equity raising to use their offshore expertise to extract polymetallic nodules from the Pacific Ocean floor.

* Global Sea Mineral Resources, a unit of Belgian dredging company DEME Group, will test a bus-sized machine that can vacuum metal-rich nodules from the deep sea, Science Magazine wrote. The trial will be conducted in the international waters of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, a nodule-rich area between Mexico and Hawaii.

* The U.K. House of Commons voted in favor of postponing the March 29 Brexit date, avoiding, for now, the risk of crashing out of the EU without a deal. Lawmakers voted 412-202 to back a government motion to delay the departure from the bloc until June 30, as long as a Brexit deal could be passed by March 20.

* Western Australia's Environmental Protection Authority will undertake further consultation with companies that may be affected by its revised assessment guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions, amid backlash from the state's mining industry.

* The Mining Association of Canada expressed concerns about the "worrying trends" the country's mining sector is facing. In its annual "Facts & Figures" report, the group noted that mining investments in Canada have decreased while it continued to cede market share to countries such as Australia. To prevent the decline, the group urged the government to boost its support for the industry.

* Barrick CEO Mark Bristow, in a roadshow presentation over its gold joint venture deal with Newmont, said other miners should follow suit in consolidating their operations in major mining jurisdictions, MiningNews reported. The industry veteran pointed out the failed BHP/Rio Tinto merger in 2010 as an example of a missed opportunity to create synergies with their Pilbara iron ore operations.

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