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In This List

Cracks found in Vale's B-5 tailings dam; Rio appeals ERA's A$476M offering halt

Mining Exploration Insights December

Mining Exploration Insights: Dip in gold drilling weighs on results

Mining Exploration Insights: Is the exploration sector back on recovery?

State of the Market: Mining Q2-2019


Cracks found in Vale's B-5 tailings dam; Rio appeals ERA's A$476M offering halt

TOP NEWS

Vale's B-5 tailings dam found with cracks by Brazilian prosecutors

State prosecutors in Minas Gerais, Brazil, have identified cracks in Vale SA's B-5 tailings dam, Reuters reported, citing information from television program Jornal da Band, which was able to obtain documents from prosecutors through a freedom of information request. The dam is located near Brumadinho, where the tailings dam of the company's Feijao iron ore mine burst in January. The prosecutors have asked Vale to hire an independent auditor to look into the matter. Vale, however, claimed that the cracks were superficial and presented no risk to the integrity of the dam.

Rio Tinto appeals suspension of Energy Resources of Australia's A$476M offering

Rio Tinto filed an appeal against the Australian Takeovers Panel's decision to suspend Energy Resources of Australia Ltd.'s A$476 million renounceable entitlement offer. In its decision, the panel said minority shareholders will be unlikely to participate as it requires shareholders to invest additional capital to avoid dilution.

Barrick Gold doesn't need external support for future deals, projects, CEO says

Barrick Gold Corp. CEO Mark Bristow said the company's finances were strong enough to support the start of a new mine or carry out a transaction without taking any outside help, Bloomberg News reported. "We're going to settle all the near-term debt, and we're left with debt that's only due from 2023 onwards," Bristow said.

DIVERSIFIED

* The internal shakeup at mining giant BHP Group continued, with the announcement that Chief Transformation Officer Jonathan Price will depart the company.

* Indonesian copper and gold miner and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. unit PT Freeport Indonesia said its underground pit will reach optimum operations by 2022, while the open pit will stop operations in mid-2020, Kontan reported, citing Freeport spokesman Riza Pratama.

* French diversified miner ERAMET SA slashed its second-half EBITDA forecast, saying it would be in line with its first-half EBITDA of €307 million after previously flagging a significant increase for the period. The company said low prices of manganese ore and nickel would weigh on its results. Eramet confirmed its annual output targets of 4.5 million tonnes of manganese ore, 720,000 tonnes of mineral sands and 1.5 Mt of nickel ore exports.

* Ora Banda Mining Ltd. served Horseshoe Metals Ltd. and subsidiary Murchison Copper Mines Pty Ltd. an originating process for winding up due to failure to comply with a statutory demand in respect of finances owing under judgment debts amounting to A$64,254.93 in the case of the parent company and A$67,574.65 in the case of the subsidiary.

BASE METALS

* First Quantum Minerals Ltd. started the arbitration proceedings against Zambia's ZCCM Investments Holdings PLC to resolve a dispute about a money transfer to parent company Kansanshi Holdings Ltd. Kansanshi Mining PLC, Reuters reported. The arbitration follows a criminal complaint made by ZCCM-IH with allegations of unauthorized money transfer by Kansanshi Ming to First Quantum's local subsidiary.

* Aus Tin Mining Ltd. agreed to nonbinding indicative terms for a A$1.5 million convertible loan to resume operations at the Granville tin project in Tasmania, Australia. Mine restart is eyed during the March 2020 quarter.

PRECIOUS METALS

* South Africa-based Northam Platinum Ltd. struck a five-year wage agreement with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union at the Booysendal platinum operation. The company also completed a private placement of senior and unsecured notes worth 500 million rand, with proceeds to be used for the recommissioning of the Eland platinum mine.

* Resolution Minerals Ltd. completed the due diligence on the 64North project adjacent to Northern Star Resources Ltd.'s Pogo gold mine in Alaska. Resolution executed an option to a joint venture deal and provided the required US$500,000 exploration advance to Millrock Resources Inc.

* Geopacific Resources Ltd. said that civil construction has started at its Woodlark gold project in Papua New Guinea, following the capital raising of A$40 million in October.

* African Gold Ltd. began its 5,000-meter maiden drilling program at its Sitikali and Boubou/Bourdala permits in Western Mali.

* Local authorities said that 24 people died in a landslide at the Ndiyo gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mining.com reported, citing information from Agence France-Presse.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Hebei Jingye Group Co. Ltd. is confident it will win approval for its bid to acquire British Steel Corp. Ltd., as it continues to make progress in completing the transaction, BBC reported. Jingye's statement came after The Telegraph reported that the bid is threatened with collapse and that talks with other potential suitors have been opened.

* thyssenkrupp AG is hoping to win contracts related to the construction of a new factory by Tesla Inc. close to Berlin, Klaus Keysberg, a board member in charge of steel and materials services at the conglomerate told, German business daily Handelsblatt, according to Reuters.

* U.S. Steel Corp. agreed to pay US$8.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed in 2017 that accused the steelmaker of negligence in allowing air pollution emissions from its Clairton Coke Works in Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reported.

* Thailand's Standard Long Steel Product Trade Association, EAF Long Product Steel Producer Association, Association of Thai Steel Industries and the Thai Steel Wire Rod Trade Association submitted a petition to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asking for help to promote the use of locally manufactured steel products in infrastructure development projects, the Bangkok Post reported.

* Steelmaker ArcelorMittal's unit ArcelorMittal Europe plans to cut its carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 as part of its previously announced plan to be carbon neutral in Europe by 2050. The CEO of ArcelorMittal Europe's Flat Products segment, Geert Van Poelvoorde, said the decarbonization plan is in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change and the European Union's target to reach net-zero emissions in 2050 as part of the "European Green Deal."

* India's coal ministry said that it will establish "Sustainable Development Cell" to promote sustainable coal mining in the country and address environmental concerns over mine closures, Business Insider reported.

* Pacific Bauxite Ltd. will dispose of its bauxite projects in the Solomon Islands, including the Nendo and South West New Georgia projects, in order to focus on its Australian assets.

SPECIALTY

* The oversupply of lithium chemical compounds that forced prices down in 2019 should persist in 2020 as the "electric vehicle revolution" will not accelerate in tandem with recent — and upcoming — increases in supply, according to a report of S&P Global Platts.

* Lynas Corp. Ltd. said it expects to submit a compliant tender amid reports that the U.S. Army plans to invest in a rare earths plant as part of the country's efforts to boost domestic supplies of the materials used in military weapons and technology. The Army will reportedly fund at least one project and up to two-thirds of a refiner's cost.

* Prospect Resources Ltd. signed a three-year secure power supply agreement with Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company for the Arcadia lithium project.

* Ferro-Alloy Resources Ltd. appointed SRK Consulting and Coffey International to deliver a bankable feasibility study for the Balasausqandiq vanadium project in Kazakhstan. The company said the extension of the building that houses the plant is now complete and the main equipment for the first-phase expansion is being commissioned.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Fitch analysts are maintaining a bearish metal prices outlook for 2020 due to trade tensions and expected weak demand which remain firmly in place, Mining.com reported. Fitch analysts are expecting more mergers and acquisitions in the gold mining industry in 2020, especially among mid-tier producers following on from major deals announced in 2018 and 2019. Demand for lithium and cobalt, meanwhile, is expected to improve due to low prices luring purchases from electric vehicle manufacturers, and that Chinese electric vehicle sales hold strong.

* Ghana Manganese Company terminated its equipment hire contract with Perenti Global Ltd.'s African Mining Services at the Nsuta manganese mine in Ghana after the government advised the mining company to cap its production. Perenti reduced its fiscal 2020 underlying net profit after tax guidance to about A$115 million to A$120 million, from the previous guidance of A$140 million.

* WestStar Industrial Ltd.'s engineering contractor business SIMPEC has been awarded an additional estimated A$6 million of scope extensions to its current contracts in Western Australia. This brings the total contracts awarded to the company to about A$30 million since July 1. The company is expecting to complete its acquisition of Alltype Engineering Pty LTD in early 2020.

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

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