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Trump leans toward 24% global tariff on steel imports

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Essential Metals Mining Insights November 2021

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[Infographic]: 2021 World Exploration Trends

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Green energy revolution — Boost for industrial metals demand


Trump leans toward 24% global tariff on steel imports

TOP NEWS

Report: Trump leans toward 24% global tariff on steel imports

U.S. President Donald Trump favors a global tariff of 24% on steel imports, the harshest of the three actions recently recommended to him by the Department of Commerce, Bloomberg News reported. Trump is also considering a 10% duty on all aluminum imports, up from the 7.7% proposed by the department, according to the report, which cited three sources familiar with the matter. Trump has until April 11 to make a final decision on the tariff on steel imports and until April 19 with regard to aluminum.

Oyu Tolgoi considers power supply options amid uncertain Tavan Tolgoi timing

Management of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia plans to consider alternative power supply options for the operation, noting that the proposed power plant at the nearby Tavan Tolgoi coal mine is not likely to be completed in time, Reuters reported. Majority owner Rio Tinto is seeking a new power plan for Oyu Tolgoi after the Mongolian government canceled a power sector cooperation with the mining giant in the week of Feb. 12.

Rusal eyes using 'shoot out' clause to end Norilsk Nickel shareholder standoff

United Co. Rusal Plc is preparing to trigger a "shoot out" scenario to end a shareholder conflict over control of Russian metals and mining giant PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co. Rusal's billionaire owner, Oleg Deripaska, who holds a 28% stake in Norilsk Nickel, sought an injunction in a London court Feb. 16 to stop Roman Abramovich's Crispian Investment Ltd. from selling his minority share in the company to rival Vladimir Potanin's Whiteleave Holdings Ltd., triggering a stalemate. To break the deadlock, Rusal proposed to activate a "shootout" protocol, by which either party can buy out the other's stake.

DIVERSIFIED

* Some of the globe's largest private equity firms are assessing BHP Billiton Group's shale assets, The Australian Financial Review reported. Expectations are also firming that the mining major will return the proceeds from the sale, estimated at more than US$10 billion, to shareholders.

* Rio Tinto is continuing to invest in the U.S. after recently approving a further US$368 million investment to advance its Resolution copper joint venture in Arizona, owned on a 55/45 basis with BHP. Rio Tinto company will also be opening a sales and marketing office in Chicago, Illinois, later this year, in addition to its previously announced commercial and marketing hub in Singapore.

BASE METALS

* Osisko Metals Inc. completed the previously announced acquisition of Pine Point Mining Ltd. in an all-share deal. Newly formed company Generation Mining Ltd. will hold all of the assets and liabilities of Pine Point except the Pine Point zinc-lead project in Canada's Northwest Territories.

* New Century Resources Ltd. signed a binding term sheet with Nyrstar NV for a 5.5-year offtake agreement for the supply of 600,000 dry tonnes of zinc concentrate from the Century zinc project in Queensland, Australia.

* Altus Strategies Plc was granted six mining license permits covering 96 square kilometers, comprising the Zaer copper-tungsten-tin exploration license in Morocco. In addition, the company relinquished the early stage Oulmes, Ment, Tamatert and Ouarzazate licenses, also in Morocco.

* Chile's President-elect Sebastian Pinera seeks to create two new management units at Codelco to improve operations, his choice for mining minister Baldo Prokurica told local daily La Tercera. The state-owned copper producer required more investment, strong management and improved efficiency, Pinera said.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Lundin Gold Inc. plans to raise US$400 million in a private placement to fund the development of its Fruta del Norte gold project in Ecuador, which is expected to achieve first production by the end of 2019. Newcrest Mining Ltd. is taking part in the offering and will invest US$250 million to own 27.1% in Lundin Gold. Lundin and Newcrest also agreed to form a joint venture to explore eight concessions surrounding the property.

* Northam Platinum Ltd.'s 6E equivalent refined metal production in the six months ended Dec. 31, 2017, totaled 291,407 ounces, up 6.4% on a yearly basis, reflecting sound performance from the group's operations. The South African producer's loss in the half, however, widened to 283.8 million South African rand from 226.6 million rand a year earlier. Meanwhile, Northam, which is in the midst of spending 5.5 billion rand on growth projects, plans to create 6,500 new mining jobs in the next four to five years, Mining Weekly reported.

* A miner at Caledonia Mining Corp. Plc's Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe died in a mining-related accident Feb. 23. Production was suspended in the section pending an investigation.

* Ramelius Resources Ltd. produced a record 91,162 ounces of gold in the first half of fiscal 2018, a 35% increase from 67,546 ounces of gold in the year-ago period.

* Centerra Gold Inc.'s fourth-quarter 2017 gold production dropped 13% year over year to 216,752 ounces, while output for the full year jumped 31% to 785,316 ounces. The full-year result was in line with the company's revised guidance of between 785,000 and 845,000 ounces, an increase from between 715,000 and 795,000 ounces.

* Teranga Gold Corp. posted record gold production of 233,267 ounces in 2017 and booked a 38% rise in the year's attributable full-year net profit to US$31.9 million.

* Stratex International Plc's 7.84%-owned Aforo Resources Ltd. signed two option deals to acquire gold projects in Ivory Coast, including Nord Gold SE's Niare project. Aforo also allowed for the Sinoe gold project license to lapse and sold its Ivory Coast gold project for US$225,000.

* Condor Gold Plc submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in Nicaragua an amendment to an environmental and social impact assessment statement for the construction of a 2,800-tonnes-per-day processing plant at the La India gold project that does not require the resettlement of around 1,000 people.

* Rimfire Pacific Mining NL said that New Gold Inc. will no longer proceed with the earn-in agreement to acquire up to a 70% interest in the Fifield gold project in New South Wales, Australia.

* South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers said Pan African Resources Plc plans to lay off 1,722 workers at its Evander gold mine in the country due to deteriorating infrastructure at the site, high operating costs, labor costs and a weak gold price, Reuters reported. The mine has a total workforce of 1,812 people.

* Altyn Plc intends to raise approximately US$15 million through the issuance of five-year nonconvertible tenge-denominated bonds, bearing a 8% coupon rate, to fund the purchase of underground mining equipment for its Kazakhstan operations.

BULK COMMODITIES

* BlueScope Steel Ltd.'s posttax net profit jumped 23% year over year to A$441.2 million, or 78.6 cents per share, in the first half of fiscal 2018, from A$359.1 million, or 62.7 cents per share a year ago. Sales revenue increased 7% yearly to A$5.48 billion, from A$5.19 billion. Meanwhile, the company declared a fully-franked interim dividend of 6 cents per share, higher than the 4 cents per share declared a year ago.

* Anglo American Plc completed the sale of its 88.17% interest in the Drayton thermal coal mine and Drayton South project in New South Wales, Australia, to Malabar Coal Ltd.

* U.S. aluminum producer Century Aluminum Co. intends to begin restarting idled production lines at its Kentucky smelter and recall about 350 workers if President Donald Trump implements aluminum import curbs, Reuters reported. The company could probably bring the facility back to full output of around 265,000 tonnes to 270,000 tonnes annually by early 2019, co-CEO Michael Bless said.

* CITIC Resources Holdings Ltd.'s full-year 2017 group profit attributable to shareholders increased 42.8% year over year to HK$518.3 million, or HK$6.60 per share, from HK$363.0 million, or HK$4.62 per share, in 2016. Revenue for the company's aluminum smelting segment dropped from HK$948.2 million in the previous year to HK$709.5 million in 2017, while coal segment revenues increased to HK$828.7 million, from HK$520.6 million in the prior year. Meanwhile, the company's board proposed a final dividend of HK$2.50 per share, higher than the HK$1.50 per share dividend a year earlier.

* Investment bank Goldman Sachs placed the equity valuation of ASX hopeful Riversdale Resources Ltd. at between A$723 million and A$1 billion ahead of its planned IPO, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk reported. Riversdale Resources holds the Grassy Mountain coking coal project in Alberta as its flagship asset, part of the Crowsnest Pass complex.

* A source told Press Trust of India that JSW Steel Ltd. is close to buying Italian steel firm Aferpi for 6 billion Indian rupees, with the deal expected to be finalized by the end of March or the start of April.

* Tata Steel Ltd. is requesting taxpayer support for a £60 million project to upgrade a production line at its Port Talbot steelworks in the U.K., The Sunday Times reported. The project involves modernizing the facility's continuous annealing process line to make lighter and stronger galvanized steels.

* Norsk Hydro ASA formed a task force to investigate the alleged leakage of alumina residue from its Alunorte refinery in Brazil's Para state following heavy rainfall from Feb. 16 to 17.

* Blake Trading, which is majority-owned by a Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. subsidiary, plans to develop a second iron ore mining operation in Namibia, Reuters wrote. Mining at the new facility will start with the processing of 1 million tonnes of ore per year, increasing to 10 million tonnes thereafter.

SPECIALTY

* An updated resource estimate at Savannah Resources Plc's Mina do Barroso lithium project in Portugal marked a 200% increase in inferred resources to 94,100 tonnes of lithium carbonate, or Li2O, contained in 9.1 million tonnes grading 1.03% Li2O.

* Lucara Diamond Corp. agreed to purchase Clara Diamond Solutions Corp., whose primary asset is a secure, digital sales platform that will transform how rough diamonds are sold, in exchange for 13.1 million shares. Lucara plans to commercialize the Clara platform using a selection of diamond production from its Karowe mine in Botswana.

* Zimbabwe resumed diamond auctions following a yearlong break and expects to sell about 1.6 million carats of diamonds over the next two months, Mining.com reported, citing the country's mines minister Winston Chitando.

* The Indian government is considering whether to encourage state-owned mining and mineral processing companies to set up joint ventures to acquire strategic mineral assets overseas, Mining Weekly reported, citing senior government officials. These strategic metals include rare earths and battery minerals, such as lithium.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* China's Communist Party has proposed eliminating a two-term limit on the presidency, a move that could potentially pave the way for Chinese President Xi Jinping to maintain his authority years after his second term expires, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

* The market capitalization of listed mining companies is twice what it was two years ago, and 2017 saw the first annual increase in exploration budgets for nonferrous metals after four consecutive years of declining expenditure, according to the Metals & Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* According to a survey by Canada's Fraser Institute, Finland outranked Saskatchewan as the top jurisdiction for mining investment, Mining Weekly reported. Several Australian mining territories' rankings fell in the survey, with Association of Mining and Exploration Companies CEO Warren Pearce attributing the drop to increased red tape in Australia coupled with regulatory uncertainty and possible royalty hikes.

* Puls Biznesu reported that 850 million Polish zloty worth of subsidies from the Poland state budget were received from the state budget from 2015 to 2017 by the Company for Restructuring of Mines, or SRK, for social welfare for departing miners. Nearly 9,000 miners benefited from the social protection, consisting of mining holidays and severance pay, according to SRK data.

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