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Newmont cuts 120 workers at Carlin; BHP autonomous train driver sues over firing

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


Newmont cuts 120 workers at Carlin; BHP autonomous train driver sues over firing

TOP NEWS

Newmont cuts 120 workers from Carlin gold operations

Newmont Mining Corp. is reducing the life span of the Emigrant mine from the original 14 years and is suspending part of operations at the Gold Quarry open pit mine due to a wall slide; both are part of the Carlin gold mining operation in Nevada, Reuters reported. The move will result in Newmont slashing 120 jobs at Carlin, company spokesperson Omar Jabara said.

BHP driver files unfair-dismissal claim over autonomous train derailment

BHP Group Ltd. is facing an unfair-dismissal claim from the driver involved in 2018's iron ore train derailment in Western Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. BHP declined to comment on the claim but confirmed that the driver is no longer a BHP employee. The driver's lawyer, Tim Kucera, said the company should also take responsibility as there were issues with the systems over which the driver had no control.

Barrick to continue investments along Chile-Argentina border

Barrick Gold Corp. CEO Mark Bristow told Bloomberg News that the company is still keen to invest in mineral-rich deposits along the Chile-Argentina border despite the permanent shutdown of the Chilean side of the Pascua-Lama gold-silver mine.

DIVERSIFIED

* Vale SA will develop and monitor artificial intelligence initiatives across its units through its newly launched Artificial Intelligence Center in Brazil. For its iron ore business, Vale expects cost reduction by 50 U.S. cents per tonne until 2023 through its digital transformation program.

* Glencore PLC lost its exclusive marketing rights for two of Libya's main crude oil export grades, sources told Reuters. The company had gained the rights to the Sarir and Messla grades in 2015 when it was one of the few foreign companies willing to deal with the war-torn country.

BASE METALS

* Murchison Minerals Ltd. tripled its mineral rights holdings at its Brabant zinc-copper-silver VMS project in central Saskatchewan by staking 14,807 hectares of mineral claims contiguous to its current landholdings.

* Rockfire Resources PLC CEO David Price revealed that he rejected a number of battery metals projects to stay true to the company's copper-gold focus, and traces of high grades at his new Queensland, Australia, projects give him confidence that it is the right move.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s revolving credit facility lenders, comprising 13 South African and international banks, agreed to retain the upper limit of the company's net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA ratio at 3.5x for another 12 months until the end of 2019 on the same terms as the previous agreement. The ratio was due to fall to 2.5x from the end of 2018.

* Trans-Siberian Gold PLC expects to slightly exceed the upper end of it 2018 gold production guidance of 36,000 to 40,000 ounces on the back of improving gold grades in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the construction of permanent underground de-watering pumping facilities at its Asacha gold mine in Russia is expected to be complete by May 2019.

* Tharisa PLC produced 33,600 ounces of 6E platinum group metals and 305,400 tonnes of chrome concentrates in the first quarter of its fiscal 2019, down from year-ago output of 38,800 ounces and 365,800 tonnes, respectively. Production guidance for this year was revised to 150,000 to 160,000 ounces of 6E PGMs and 1.4 million to 1.5 million tonnes of chrome concentrates.

* Vector Resources Ltd. completed the purchase of a 60% joint venture interest in the Adidi-Kanga gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The joint venture with Mongbwalu Goldfields Investment Ltd. has all approvals to start site development and conduct a definitive feasibility study for the project.

* Armadale Capital PLC entered into a formal agreement to sell its noncore Mpokoto gold project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to African Royalty Co. Pty. Ltd., a company related to Arrow Mining Pty. Ltd.

* Georgian Mining Corp. expects the Georgian government to approve its exploration permit. The company owns 50% of the Bolnisi copper-gold project in Georgia, and Caucasian Mining Group Ltd. holds the remaining stake.

* Capricorn Metals Ltd. shareholders with an at least 5% collective stake in the company requisitioned a general meeting to remove directors Debra Bakker, Geoffrey Rogers and Peter Benjamin and appoint Timothy Kestell, Peter Pynes and Douglas Jendry instead.

* Matsa Resources Ltd. started work at its wider Lake Carey gold project in Western Australia after completing mining at the Red Dog project.

* Tanzanian Royalty Exploration Corp. is starting a 30,000-meter, three-phase drilling program at its Buckreef gold project in Tanzania.

* The World Gold Council expects gold to be increasingly attractive as a hedge this year due to increased market uncertainty and expanding protectionist economic policies. Structural economic reforms are also expected to spark demand for gold in jewelry, technology and as means of savings in the year.

* Sandy Lake Gold Inc. executed a definitive agreement to acquire Bartica Investments Ltd. for 100 million shares, following a letter of intent signed in November 2018.

BULK COMMODITIES

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the department will be "vigilant" in ensuring that United Co. Rusal PLC, En+ Group PLC and JSC EuroSibEnergo, all majority-owned or controlled by Oleg Deripaska, comply with the commitments agreed as part of the deal to lift sanctions.

* Wollongong Coal Ltd. is facing a protected industrial action from workers at its Wongawilli colliery in New South Wales, Australia, from Jan. 14-20. The industrial action is related to a proposed enterprise agreement between the labor-hire contractor and its employees.

* Puls Biznesu reported that almost 200 trade unionists from Polish coal miner Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa SA gathered in front of the company's headquarters in Jastrzębie-Zdrój, awaiting the meeting of the company's supervisory board. Unions are protesting the possible dismissal of their president, Daniel Ozon.

* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is working to put pressure on U.S. President Donald Trump to drop the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed in May 2017, Reuters reported.

* BHP hired Southern Innovation, a Melbourne, Australia-based tech firm that developed a device called Drillscan, which can detect the quality of iron ore in real time, The Australian Financial Review reported. Trials of the device, which can be attached to BHP's drill rigs, are expected to start in July.

* Some investors are unconvinced by thyssenkrupp AG's restructuring plan, which faces risks this year ranging from economic uncertainty to cartel fines, Reuters reported.

* Premiums for Japanese aluminum imports for the first quarter of 2019 fell to their lowest in over two years due to a dip in spot premiums and plentiful supply, Reuters wrote, citing multiple sources directly involved in the pricing talks. Most of the deals were locked at premiums of US$85 per tonne, while some went as low as US$83/t and US$84/t, compared to fourth-quarter 2018 premiums of US$103/t.

* Tellus Holdings plans to start construction in February at its Tellus kaolin project in Coolgardie, Western Australia, after securing both major environmental approvals it needed to operate the mine, The West Australian reported. Construction is expected to take 14 months, and production should start in 2020.

* U.K. Minister for Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire was urged by several groups to reject The Banks Group Ltd.'s proposed Highthorn coal project at Druridge Bay, The Guardian reported. If approved, the project will outlast the government's 2025 deadline for phasing out coal.

* China will ban the expansion of new iron and steel projects this year, Reuters reported, citing Xinhua's interview with Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology. The ban will also apply to the cement and flat-glass industries, while the country will continue its strict control of additional primary aluminum capacity.

* Despite warnings from the automotive industry about the impact of tougher import rules, India's steel ministry continued to push carmakers to partner with steel companies to use locally made steel, sources told Reuters.

SPECIALTY

* China Northern Rare Earth (Group) High-Tech Co. Ltd. expects to record year-over-year growth of between 37% and 60%, or 150 million Chinese yuan to 240 million yuan, for its net profit attributable to shareholders in 2018. The company reported a net profit of 401.3 million yuan a year earlier.

* The Spanish Nuclear Safety Council endorsed Berkeley Energia Ltd.'s safety studies for the Salamanca uranium mine, a source told Reuters. Berkeley still needs a broader approval from the nuclear watchdog and government stakeholders to start work. Berkeley said it has not received any formal notice regarding the matter.

* Lucara Diamond Corp. unearthed a 127-carat white diamond from its Karowe diamond mine in Botswana.

* An updated resource estimate for Sigma Lithium Resources Corp.'s Grota do Cirilo lithium project in Brazil defined measured and indicated resources of 45.7 million tonnes grading 1.38% lithium oxide, a 254% increase in tonnage over a March 2018 technical report.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Barrick CFO Graham Shuttleworth said it is too early to tell how the victory of opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo presidential elections will affect the country's contentious mining code, Bloomberg News reported. Although Tshisekedi had called the new tax and royalty rates "anti-investment," his powers to relax rules are likely to be constrained initially, consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft said.

* Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are expected to sign an agreement this month for an investment of more than US$10 billion in Pakistan's oil refining, petrochemicals, renewable energy and mining sectors, Dawn reported.

* As the partial federal government shutdown over President Donald Trump's proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall stretches on, the rulemaking process at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ground to a halt. That could imperil some of the Trump administration's signature energy-related rulemakings, according to former top EPA officials with expertise on the policy process.

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