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Norsk cleared to restore Alunorte output; Titan accused of hiding Tulin tailings

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Norsk cleared to restore Alunorte output; Titan accused of hiding Tulin tailings

TOP NEWS

Court allows Norsk Hydro to resume normal production at Alunorte

The Federal Court in Belem, Brazil, lifted the remaining production embargo under a criminal lawsuit on Norsk Hydro ASA's Alunorte alumina refinery, allowing normal production to resume. Norsk Hydro expects Alunorte to run at 75% to 85% capacity within two months. Alunorte has been running at 50% capacity since March 2018 as ordered by authorities due to a suspected leak at the site. The embargoes on the DRS2 bauxite residue disposal area remain in place.

Former Core Gold CEO accuses Titan of concealing environmental damage at Tulin

Core Gold Inc.'s 7% shareholder and former CEO Keith Piggott urged the company's shareholders to vote against a merger with Titan Minerals Ltd., citing "disturbing details" about the latter's operations at its Tulin processing plant in Peru. "Titan has tried to conceal their environmental damage at the Tulin processing plant by surreptitiously burying cyanide tailings outside the plant area in the dead of night," Piggott said.

Vale suspends rail freight near Gongo Soco iron ore mine in Brazil

Vale SA suspended freight transport on the Belo Horizonte branch line between Sabará and Barão de Cocais as a precautionary measure after recently identifying movements on the northern slope of the structure at the Gongo Soco mine pit in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The suspension will remain in place until the company completes further risk analysis. Minas Gerais' environment secretary said the mine's tailings dam has a 15% chance of bursting, Reuters reported.

DIVERSIFIED

* Anglo American PLC will partner with the Pitta Pitta people to explore for mineral prospects in Queensland, Australian Mining wrote. The Pitta Pitta people will work with Anglo American's discovery team to conduct surveys and protect cultural heritage finds.

BASE METALS

* The Zambian High Court appointed law firm Lungu Simwanza & Co. as a provisional liquidator of Vedanta Resources PLC's Konkola Copper Mines PLC unit shortly after Zambian President Edgar Lungu revealed government plans to take over the unit's copper assets in the country and bring in a new investor, Reuters reported, citing a court document.

* Workers unions No. 1, 2 and 3 of Codelco's Chuquicamata operations rejected an offer from the Chilean state miner totaling 13.7 million Chilean pesos per worker, which included an end-of-negotiation bonus of 8.8 million pesos and a 1.2% wage increase for 36 months. The unions and the company agreed to seek a consensus deal before May 24, when Codelco is expected to submit a new offer to the unions, news radio Cooperativa reported.

* Law firm Baker McKenzie started a new probe into the US$5.3 billion expansion of Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia to focus on significant claims made by a former employee, described as a whistleblower, regarding challenges the company experienced with the expansion, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Kazakhstan's refined copper output rose 8.8% year over year to 149,499 tonnes in the first four months of 2019. Refined zinc production fell 1.5% to 108,184 tonnes, and crude steel output dipped 0.2% to about 1.5 million tonnes, Reuters reported, citing Statistics Committee data.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Lonmin PLC started a process to cut 4,100 workers from six of its mines being closed after running out of profitable ore, Bloomberg News reported.

* SolGold PLC CEO Nick Mather opened the door to the company's second-largest shareholder, BHP Group, to increase its stake in the company, Reuters reported. In October 2018, BHP raised its interest in SolGold to 11.2% from 6% after a £45 million share subscription agreement.

* Fresnillo PLC warned shareholders that it expects 2019 to be a more challenging year than 2018, with a number of industry variables potentially working against the miner.

* East Africa Metals Inc. received approval for mining licenses over the Mato Bula gold-copper and Da Tambuk gold deposits, part of the Adyabo project in Ethiopia.

* Amani Gold Ltd. is planning to acquire a majority interest in 10 gold exploration permits in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, collectively known as the Gada project.

* Shares of Canadian gold miner Pure Gold Mining Inc. will be admitted to the London Stock Exchange's main market May 21 under the ticker PUR.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Sirius Minerals PLC's open offer, part of a previously announced capital raising of about US$425 million, was oversubscribed.

* British Steel Corp. Ltd. may go under and about 5,000 jobs are on the line unless the U.K. government agrees to grant a £30 million emergency loan May 21, Reuters reported, citing a source close to the situation.

* U.S. Steel Corp., Nucor Corp. and AK Steel Holding Corp. lauded the Trump administration's decision to drop steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, Bloomberg News reported. The steelmakers also urged authorities to "stay vigilant" to prevent circumvention schemes.

* The government of Queensland, Australia, dropped a A$12,000 fine against Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s Abbot Point Operations Pty. Ltd. over a floodwater discharge during a cyclone in 2017, The Australian wrote. The state environment department agreed to the company's offer to build a A$100,000 water-quality monitoring system at the discharge point of its settlement ponds

* Adani Mining Pvt. Ltd. CEO Lucas Dow slammed the Queensland Labor government about its refusal to approve the long-delayed Carmichael coal project after the Labor Party's election defeat in the state.

* The London Metal Exchange dismissed Glencore PLC's complaint over its inability to take quick aluminum deliveries from warehouses owned by ISTIM UK in Port Klang, Malaysia, sources told Reuters.

* The United Mine Workers of America is seeking a wage increase for miners employed by subsidiaries of Murray Energy Corp. by reopening a collective bargaining agreement it signed with the companies. A senior union official said 2,000 active members employed by Murray have not had a pay raise in 3.5 years.

* Manganese sulfate hopeful Pilbara Metals Group found a shell to backdoor list on the ASX this year, after having held off its initial IPO planned for the first quarter, Managing Director Rob Mandanici said in an interview. This would allow the company to raise between A$4.5 million and A$6 million.

* Votorantim SA unit Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio is planning a 300 million Brazilian real investment to dry-process tailings from its Aluminio alumina plant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Valor International reported. Development will start this year, and the project is expected to be operational by 2020.

* The Western Australian Supreme Court ruled in favor of Clive Palmer, dismissing an appeal from Citic Ltd. against the validity of an iron ore royalty agreement over the Sino-Iron project, The Australian reported. The Chinese company pays about US$10 per tonne to Palmer's Mineralogy Pty. Ltd. for the ore shipped under the deal, which totals about A$1 million per day.

* Mining experts in New Zealand entered the shuttered Pike River coal mine to investigate a 2010 accident involving a series of explosions that killed 29 people, Reuters reported, citing Justice Minister Andrew Little, who is responsible for the reentry operation. The experts will also look to retrieve the remains of the victims from the Solid Energy New Zealand Ltd.-owned mine.

* Kommersant reported that the lobbying association of metallurgists, Russian Steel, asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Russia to simplify the issue of emissions permits for those expiring this year, including for Evraz PLC's Raspadskaya coal mine. Russian Steel believes that companies will not have time to obtain new permits due to a sudden change in legislation. The companies will have to pay fines or stop production if the permits expire.

SPECIALTY

* Anglo American unit De Beers SA's provisional sales for rough diamonds slid to US$415 million in the fourth sales cycle, compared to US$581 million in the third sales cycle and US$554 million in the fourth cycle of 2018. De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said the lower sales are due to macroeconomic uncertainty as the industry enters a seasonally slower period with Indian factories closing temporarily for the traditional holiday period.

* Lynas Corp. Ltd. plans to spend A$500 million through 2025 to boost production and build an initial processing plant in Western Australia. The company also aims to invest in its processing facility in Malaysia, where it is facing regulatory issues over removing radioactive residue from its Gebeng rare earths plant.

* A gauge of 38 Chinese rare earth companies' shares rose 6.7% after President Xi Jinping visited one of the country's major rare earths facilities, bringing the industry into the spotlight and highlighting its strategic importance to the U.S., the South China Morning Post wrote.

* First ore was fed to W Resources PLC's newly commissioned jig and mill Plant at its La Parrilla tungsten mine in Spain. Construction of a new large-scale concentrator plant is expected to be complete in June, with commissioning in July.

* Gemfields Group Ltd. raked in US$22.4 million from an auction of higher-quality rough emeralds in Singapore. The gemstones were extracted from its 75%-owned Kagem mine in Zambia.

* The China Tungsten Industry Association urged its members to cut tungsten concentrate output by 10% this year amid poor market conditions, Fastmarkets MB reported, citing an unnamed source.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* BHP revised its estimates for the low end of electric vehicles' penetration in the global light-vehicle fleet to a minimum of 7% from 5% for 2035 and to 27% from 21% for 2050.

* EcoMag Ltd. plans to build a A$130 million processing plant to recycle wastewater from the Karratha, Western Australia, operations of Rio Tinto unit Dampier Salt Ltd. and extract 80,000 tonnes per year of high-purity hydrated magnesium carbonate, which can be used in steelmaking, fertilizers, plastics and rubber, glass, water treatment, smartphones and as a flame retardant, The West Australian reported. The project could deliver annual revenue of up to A$1 billion.

* President Donald Trump is set to meet with Democratic leaders for a second round of talks on a potential infrastructure package that could involve the energy sector. CEOs and representatives from more than 75 companies will also gather on Capitol Hill this week to push for climate legislation, including to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions.

* Chile's GDP in the first quarter rose 1.6% year over year amid a 3.6% drop in mining activity driven by low prices, declining ore grades and heavy rains in the country's northern desert, Reuters reported.

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