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BHP redeveloping old mines; Barrick exploring sale of Acacia stake

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


BHP redeveloping old mines; Barrick exploring sale of Acacia stake

TOP NEWS

BHP redeveloping old mines to host new renewables

Advocacy group the Rocky Mountain Institute, or RMI, partnered with BHP Group Ltd. to redevelop 22 legacy mine sites in the U.S. to host renewable energy production, zeroing in on six locations in the Southwest as their first targets. In what is likely to be the most common scenario for installing renewables at mine sites, solar panels can be situated atop tailings dams, with gold and copper mines identified as well-suited for renewable energy development.

Barrick exploring sale of Acacia stake

The new Barrick Gold Corp. is exploring the possible sale of its 64% stake in Acacia Mining PLC as it looks to end a two-year long tax dispute in Tanzania that has crippled operations in the country, Reuters reported, citing CEO Mark Bristow. Barrick's options also include splitting Acacia or a possible buyout. Bristow said the company will provide an update by the second week of February.

Pilbara secures funding package for Pilgangoora mine expansion

Pilbara Minerals Ltd. secured a funding package to bankroll the A$231 million stage-two expansion of the Pilgangoora lithium project in Western Australia. The package comprises a US$25 million off-take pre-payment from Great Wall Motor Co. Ltd., a A$50 million equity placement to Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd., and a proposed US$50 million Nordic bond. The rest of the capital expenditures would be covered by Pilbara's existing cash reserves and future cash flow from stage-one operations. Commissioning is targeted by the March quarter of 2020.

BASE METALS

* India's Tamil Nadu state approached the Supreme Court to challenge an environmental court's decision that set aside the state government's ordered closure of Vedanta Ltd.'s Tuticorin copper smelter, Mint reported.

* Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. secured an option to acquire Benton Resources Inc.'s Baril Lake claims near the Bark Lake copper-nickel-platinum group metals project in Ontario. Under the terms, the Rio Tinto unit must pay C$200,000 over four years and another C$1 million once it achieves commercial production. Benton will retain a 2% net smelter royalty, which can be halved for C$1 million.

* Hong Kong-listed Timeless Software Ltd. reported two contractor staff casualties in an accident the company blamed on the "misconduct" of its contractor for the Baishiquan nickel-copper mine in Xinjiang, China. The accident occurred before mining and processing operations were suspended as usual due to the winter season. Operations are expected to resume in March.

* Taruga Minerals Ltd. said the licensing process for the Kamilombe and Mwilu cobalt projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was delayed by a week due to the country's presidential elections. The licenses are expected to be issued in January.

PRECIOUS METALS

* A group of Guyana Goldfields Inc. shareholders, including company founder Patrick Sheridan, is seeking to replace the seven-member board with its own nominees. Northfield Capital Corp., Robert Cudney, Donald Ross, Gretchen Ross and Sheridan requisitioned a special meeting by March 12 to replace the board with candidates that are "capable of fixing performance issues, leading a share price recovery, and executing a value maximizing transaction."

* ECR Minerals PLC submitted nine exploration license applications in the Yilgarn region of Western Australia covering 523 square kilometers and collectively dubbed the Windidda gold project.

* Infill drilling increased measured and indicated gold resources at Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd.'s Tulkubash project, part of its eponymous Chaarat property in the Kyrgyz Republic, by 15% to 1.6 million ounces, following a 46% increase in September 2018. The miner has now increased the measured and indicated Tulkubash resource by 67%, representing 653,000 ounces, since the April 2018 estimate of 971,000 ounces, which was the basis of a feasibility study.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.'s assets in South Korea are under threat of seizure after South Korean plaintiffs filed a court application, Reuters reported, citing local newspaper Chosun Ilbo. The Japanese steelmaker holds a 30% stake in the POSCO-Nippon Steel RHF Joint Venture with South Korea's POSCO. The move comes after an October 2018 ruling by the Supreme Court in the country, which ordered the Japanese steel producer to pay four South Koreans 100 million won each to compensate for wartime forced labor.

* Private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC is aiming to reach by mid-January a deal to acquire Arconic Inc., Bloomberg News wrote, citing unnamed sources. Apollo emerged as the leading bidder for the aluminum products maker with its offer of about US$22 per share, according to the report. The two companies are reportedly negotiating a deal that would protect Apollo from Arconic’s possible liability linked to a deadly apartment fire in London in 2017.

* Output from Coal India Ltd.'s eight coal-producing subsidiaries rose by 7.4% year on year in the first three quarters of fiscal 2019 to 412.5 million tonnes, The Hindu reported. Among the units, Eastern Coalfields Ltd. produced some of the best coal grades and posted the highest growth rate of 17.2%.

* Rescuers have pumped around 120,000 liters of water from an old shaft near a coal mine in India's Meghalaya state where 15 miners have been trapped since Dec. 13, 2018, The Economic Times reported. With the water level lowered by 16 inches, Coal India is now preparing to use a 100-horsepower submersible pump that can discharge 500 gallons per minute of water from the site.

* Tata Steel Europe Ltd. CEO Hans Fischer is optimistic about the long-term viability of producing strip steel at the Port Talbot steelworks in South Wales but warned that a turnaround was not yet complete, the Financial Times reported.

* A judge granted a federal prosecutor's motion to depose employees of Justice Energy Co Inc, a coal company owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, for information about the company's ability to pay a $1.2 million court-imposed sanction.

* Olympic Steel Inc. acquired McCullough Industries, Inc., a Ohio-based manufacturer of self-dumping hoppers, in an all-cash deal. The terms were not disclosed.

* Polish mines extracted about 5.5 million tons of hard coal in November 2018, while the monthly sales volume reached 5.2 million tons, Puls Biznesu reported, citing data from the Katowice branch of the Industrial Development Agency.

* Gulf Manganese Corp. Ltd. reached an agreement with cornerstone investor PT Jayatama Tekno Sejahtera and subsidiary PT Jayatama Global Investindo to restructure its existing A$6 million convertible note with Gulf Manganese into 25.1% of the explorer's issued share capital and an approximately A$5 million loan, which will be repayable from the profits from commercial production of the Kupang smelting hub.

SPECIALTY

* Albemarle Corp. got environmental approval and started earthworks for the construction of its Kemerton lithium hydroxide conversion site in Western Australia. The Kemerton plant will have an initial capacity of 60,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide with the ability to expand to 100,000 tonnes. Commissioning will start in stages in 2021.

* Strandline Resources Ltd. hired Nedbank Ltd. as lead arranger and underwriter of a US$26 million finance facility for its Fungoni mineral sands project in Tanzania. The facility will cover most of the project's estimated preproduction capex worth US$32 million.

* Scandium International Mining Corp. received a notification from the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment that it is reviewing the grant of a mine lease to the company's EMC Metals Australia Pty Ltd unit for the Nyngan scandium project in Australia.

* Azincourt Energy Corp. signed a letter of intent with an arm's-length third-party investor to provide at least C$750,000 in funds for the ongoing winter work program at the East Preston uranium project in Saskatchewan.

* Pure Energy Minerals Ltd. received a water right from the Nevada Division of Water Resources to extract lithium brine for a planned pilot plant at the company's flagship Clayton Valley project. The fixed-term water right was granted with the total withdrawal not to exceed 50 acre-feet over five years.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* U.S. Department of Justice lawyers representing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have started requesting stays for ongoing lawsuits as congressional Democrats continue to spar with President Donald Trump over funding for his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

* Election monitors from the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, said the Democratic Republic of the Congo's presidential election "went relatively well" amid allegations by opposition candidates that the Dec. 30, 2018, vote was marred by widespread irregularities, Reuters reported. Endorsement from SADC powers like South Africa and Angola will be crucial to the legitimacy of the DRC's next president, who will succeed the long-serving Joseph Kabila.

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