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In This List

Court validates Rio's Oyu Tolgoi deals; investors to sue Glencore over probes

Mining Exploration Insights - April 2020

Mining Exploration Insights December

Mining Exploration Insights: Dip in gold drilling weighs on results

State of the Market: Mining Q2-2019


Court validates Rio's Oyu Tolgoi deals; investors to sue Glencore over probes

TOP NEWS

Mongolian court validates Rio's Oyu Tolgoi deal

The Administrative Court of First Instance in Mongolia validated Rio Tinto's 2015 investment agreements over the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine expansion, contrary to what the mining giant flagged in November, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing a statement from the court's official website. The company had said earlier that reports indicated that the court favored a claim that the government did not follow due process in finalizing the deals. Rio Tinto's 51% owned Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. owns a 66% stake in the mine.

Investors to sue Glencore over share price fall after probes

Institutional investors in Glencore PLC will sue the commodities giant for billions in claims over share price drops caused by bribery and corruption investigations in the U.K., U.S. and Canada, Bloomberg News reported, citing New York-based law firm Boies Schiller Flexner. The U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office recent announcement of a probe into Glencore will only strengthen the claims, Natasha Harrison, Boies Schiller’s managing partner in London, said in a statement to the news agency.

Apple snaps up first carbon-free aluminum from Alcoa/Rio Tinto JV

Apple Inc. made its first purchase of carbon-free aluminum from Montreal-based Elysis LP, a joint venture of Rio Tinto and Alcoa Corp., Reuters reported. The aluminum will be shipped this month from the Alcoa Technical Center in Pittsburgh and used in Apple products. The size or cost of the purchase was not disclosed, the report said.

DIVERSIFIED

* Torrens Mining Ltd. is considering listing the highly prospective Laloki copper project in Papua New Guinea in 2020 with additional investment attraction from exploration potential close to the famed Fosterville gold mine in Victoria, Australia. Laloki's very high grade indicates potential for a successful small-scale mining and processing operation, but Torrens Managing Director Steve Shedden said much larger deposits could well be unearthed.

* Havilah Resources Ltd. is essentially debt free after making the final payment of A$1 million plus interest to Investec Australia Finance Pty Ltd., completing repayments for a A$2.5 million secured standby debt facility.

BASE METALS

* Indonesia expects that 29 nickel smelters with a total input capacity of nearly 70 million tonnes per annum will go online by 2022, Reuters reported, citing Yunus Saefulhak, minerals director at the country's energy and mineral resources ministry. The figures are lower than the previous forecast of 37 smelters with total capacity of 91 mtpa in 2021, the report said. Eleven of the 29 smelters are already operating, with input capacity of nearly 27 mtpa.

* Russia's PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co. began testing digital metal tokens in sales, with clients Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd., Traxys Group and Umicore SA participating in the trials, Bloomberg News wrote. The company is aiming for the tokens to eventually account for as much as 20% of its metals sales, the report said.

* Teck Resources Ltd. resumed operations at its Carmen de Andacollo copper mine in Chile after reaching a 36-month collective labor deal with the mine's workers' union, which represents 473 workers at the operation.

* Australian copper explorer Tiger Resources Ltd. plans to restructure US$246 million in debt owed by subsidiary Société d’Exploitation de Kipoi SA. The proposal may result in the senior lenders exchanging a significant portion of their debt for equity in Tiger Resources.

* Taseko Mines Ltd. and the Tsilhqot'in First Nation have entered negotiations to reach a long-term solution to the conflict regarding the company's proposed New Prosperity copper-gold project in British Columbia. The parties have agreed to a standstill on certain outstanding litigation and regulatory matters to facilitate the dialogue.

* Pelican Resources Ltd. completed the settlement of the sale of its subsidiary Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development Corp., owner of the Romblon nickel project in the Philippines.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Africa-focused gold producer Endeavour Mining Corp. is seeking support from shareholders of London-listed Centamin PLC for its C$2.52 billion takeover offer, which Centamin's board recently shunned, Reuters reported, citing Endeavour Mining CEO Sébastien de Montessus. The CEO declined to comment when asked if Endeavour Mining would sweeten its offer, according to the report.

* Ibaera Capital Fund LP's shareholding in Azumah Resources Ltd. increased to 83%, under an unconditional all-cash offer to acquire Azumah's outstanding shares for 3.3 Australian cents apiece.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Voters in Goose Creek, S.C., passed a referendum Dec. 3 allowing the city to create a municipal electric utility that will supply power to Century Aluminum Co.'s Mount Holly smelting plant in Berkeley County, S.C.

* Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau SA signed a fee-based agreement with Swedish bearings maker AB SKF to boost productivity and reduce unplanned downtime at the Charqueadas and Araçariguama steel mills in Brazil.

* Given expectations for the coal sector heading into 2020, analysts from Wood Mackenzie and Moody's said they do not expect to see a major catalyst to boost coal companies' shareholder return programs in the near term. While coal producers' ability to maintain current levels of share repurchases varies from company to company, analysts said they do not see anything on the horizon that might yield a significant increase in free cash flow generation.

* Nippon Steel Corp.'s Nippon Steel Coated Sheet Corp. and Nippon Steel Nisshin Co. Ltd.'s Nippon Steel Nisshin A&C Co. Ltd. agreed to merge in July 2020 in a bid to improve the competitiveness of the Nippon Steel group's exterior building material steel sheet business.

* The Colstrip power plant in Montana signed a six-year contract to buy coal from the Rosebud mine, which was assumed by creditors doing business as Westmoreland Mining LLC, the Billings Gazette reported.

SPECIALTY

* PJSC Alrosa's supervisory board plans to consider withdrawing from of non-state pension fund Almaznaya Osen, which is almost fully owned by the diamond producer and counts current and retired Alrosa employees among its customers. "In case the relevant decision is made, a disposal of the Fund shares will have a significant economic benefit for ALROSA and its shareholders, including the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)," the company said.

* Western Troy Capital Resources Inc. entered a binding letter of intent for a reverse takeover by private diamond miner Churchill Diamond Corp., which owns the White River diamond project in Ontario and the Pelly Bay diamond in Nunavut. The company's former shareholders will own about 6.1% of the merged company following the transaction.

* Lithium Australia NL agreed to increase its interest in the Australian lithium-ion battery recycler, Envirostream Australia Pty. Ltd., to 90% from 73.7% by paying A$250,000 in cash and repaying A$250,000 worth of Envirostream's loans over nine months.

* The Treasury department of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Finance and Economic Development approved a five-year export tax exemption for unbeneficiated lithium produced from Prospect Resources Ltd.'s Arcadia lithium project.

* The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia orally granted Ucore Rare Metals Inc. an injunction requiring IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc and its assets to be preserved for Ucore's possible acquisition, pending final judgment of a dispute over IBC's decision to terminate a March 2015 deal.

* Jadar Lithium Ltd. completed the process to change its name to Jadar Resources Ltd.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* General Motors Co. and South Korea's LG Chem Ltd. will build a US$2.3 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Ohio, Reuters reported. Construction will start in mid-2020, with the plant expected to have an annual capacity of more than 30 gigawatt hours.

* Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s founder and Chairman Andrew Forrest is believed to given in-principle agreement to invest in Sun Brilliance Pty Ltd.'s A$130 million 100-MW solar project in Cunderdin town in Western Australia, ABC News reported. Forrest's investment will reportedly be made through Squadron Energy, a unit of his private investment vehicle Minderoo. The terms were kept confidential, the report said.

* A report on transformation in the South African mining sector has been released by the Mineral Council, which plans to take the government to court in 2020 to challenge economic empowerment requirements in the new Mining Charter, saying it will discourage investment. Member companies have largely met the requirements of the 2010 Mining Charter, which was in effect until 2018, according to the report that was commissioned by the Minerals Council, with CEO Roger Baxter saying there had been "substantial compliance and significant progress" in the industry, and in its efforts to improve.

* The increasing intensity of climate-related regulations, including those under discussion in some places, are likely to cost industries about US$2.5 trillion worldwide over the next 10 years, insurance company Allianz SE and Euler Hermes Economic Research have found.

* Scientific models on global warming published since the 1970s have been largely accurate, according to a new peer-reviewed study published in Geophysical Research Letters. "This research should help resolve public confusion around the performance of past climate modeling efforts, and increases our confidence that models are accurately projecting global warming," said the paper published Dec. 4 and written by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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