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In This List

BHP eyes return to commodities trading; Vale's B-5 dam structurally sound

State of the Market: Mining Q1-2020

Mining Exploration Insights - April 2020

Mining Exploration Insights December

Mining Exploration Insights: Dip in gold drilling weighs on results


BHP eyes return to commodities trading; Vale's B-5 dam structurally sound

TOP NEWS

Report: BHP planning commodities trading comeback

Mining giant BHP Group plans to make a comeback in commodities trading as it seeks to increase returns and manage transaction risk, Reuters reported, citing two people with knowledge of the matter. The company reportedly hired Yuna Chang, formerly with midsized base metals trading house Concord Resources, to help it manage the London Metal Exchange base metals book in Singapore. Under the plan, BHP seeks to gradually add trading capacity across its copper, energy and iron ore divisions, and it will not set up a proprietary trading desk, the sources said, according to the newswire.

Vale's B-5 tailings dam structurally sound, says Brazil's mining regulator

Vale SA's B-5 tailings dam near Brumadinho is structurally sound and poses no reason for concern, according to Brazil's national mining regulator, Reuters reported. The mining regulator, known as ANM, said that it visited the dam and found minor superficial irregularities due to animals and a makeshift motocross course, but clarified that it is structurally sound. Television program Jornal da Band, based on documents it has obtained, previously reported that the dam needs to undergo an independent audit because of the cracks found in it.

Centamin 'disappointed' with Endeavour's demands in merger talks

London- and Toronto-listed Centamin PLC said that prospective buyer Endeavour Mining Corp. refused to share vital information that would help determine its value unless Centamin agreed to extend the deadline for lodging a firm offer. The companies had agreed to undertake reciprocal due diligence to assess the feasibility of a merger. But Centamin said Endeavour declined to provide the information the takeover target requested, including the bidder's financial model. Centamin's board said it is "disappointed" over Endeavour's refusal to engage while urging the latter to enter into reciprocal due diligence without delay.

DIVERSIFIED

* State-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp. is facing asset seizures after a failed appeal against a 2014 arbitration ruling over the cancellation of nickel and platinum joint ventures with British Virgin Islands-based Amari Holdings Ltd., Bloomberg News reported.

* Ørsted A/S is paying Swiss mining and commodities giant Glencore PLC to take over its LNG business, which it described as "loss-making" and said it was expected to remain so "for years to come."

* Godolphin Resources Ltd. successfully listed on the ASX, following a successful spinout of Ardea Resources Ltd.'s Lachlan Fold Belt gold and base metal tenements in New South Wales, Australia. Godolphin, which raised A$6.5 million in cash from its IPO after costs, will start drilling at its Mount Aubrey gold project in January 2020.

BASE METALS

* Antofagasta PLC started the environmental permitting process for its US$1.7 billion Twin Metals Minnesota LLC copper, nickel and platinum mining project in the U.S. after the Trump administration overturned the decision of the previous administration to protect the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Superior National Forest, Reuters reported. Star Tribune, meanwhile, reported that a group of Minnesota environmentalists, including former Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr, are urging Governor Tim Walz to stop the proposal as it would endanger one of the state's greatest assets.

* Zenith Energy Ltd. said that it began supplying power to Independence Group NL's Nova nickel-copper-cobalt mine in Western Australia's Fraser Range via a hybrid solar-diesel plant.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd. plans to launch a debt-for-equity swap program for replacement of debt worth 1.5 billion Chinese yuan to reduce its corporate leverage.

* Big River Gold Ltd.'s definitive feasibility study for its Borborema gold project in Brazil outlined a posttax net present value of US$203 million at an 8% discount, with an internal rate of return of 41.8%. Borborema is expected to have an initial mine life of 10.2 years producing approximately 729,000 ounces of gold.

* A pre-feasibility study for Argonaut Gold Inc.'s Cerro del Gallo gold project in Mexico generated a posttax net present value of US$175 million, at a 5% discount, with a 20% internal rate of return and a 4.5-year payback period.

* Osisko Metals Inc. said it closed the acquisition of Karst Investments LLC, owner of a 3% net smelter royalty on the Pine Point zinc project in Canada's Northwest Territories, for US$8.5 million in cash and 2 million shares. Osisko Metals recently signed a binding term sheet to sell a 1.5% NSR on Pine Point to Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd.

* Australian precious metals explorer Austral Gold Ltd. snapped up an initial 22.48% stake in the historical Rawhide gold-silver mine in Nevada from privately held Rawhide Acquisition Holding LLC for about US$4.0 million. The Rawhide mine is a fully permitted, open-pit heap leaching operation. A mine expansion permit was granted this year for the Regent open pit.

* Alamos Gold Inc. amended its existing undrawn revolving credit facility, increasing its size to US$500 million from US$400 million on more favorable terms, with maturity date extended to Dec. 17, 2023.

* Orla Mining Ltd. secured a US$125 million credit facility with Trinity Capital Partners Corporation and other lenders to develop the Camino Rojo oxide gold project in Mexico.

* Ely Gold Royalties Inc. and its subsidiary Nevada Select Royalty Inc. signed a binding term sheet for the purchase and assignment of a net profit interest from Pilot Gold USA Inc., a subsidiary of Liberty Gold Corp. Under the deal, Ely Gold will pay Liberty US$800,000 in cash and issue 2.0 million warrants at 43 Canadian cents apiece, for Ely Gold common shares.

* Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. said a worker died from injuries sustained in an accident related to rail-bound equipment at its Kusasalethu gold mine in South Africa. An investigation is underway.

* Capricorn Metals Ltd executed A$100 million in debt and guarantee facilities with Macquarie Bank Ltd., which will be used to develop the Karlawinda gold project in Western Australia. Meanwhile, the plant design for the operation is progressing based on a change to the three-stage crushing and single ball mill design, which will result in increased throughput of up to 4.0 million tonnes per annum from the previous forecast of 3.0 mtpa.

* O3 Mining Inc. completed the purchase of four mining claims in Quebec from Kinross Gold Corp. for C$100,000 in cash, 42,017 common shares, and a 2.0% net smelter royalty on any minerals produced from the acquired claims.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Vale is looking to increase the size of its Fazendao iron ore project in Brazil's Minas Gerais state by expanding the area around the São Luiz mine and joining the Almas and Tamandua mines. The miner plans to begin the licensing process in January 2020, Notícias de Mineração reported. Separately, Reuters reported that Vale signed a service agreement with China's Ningbo Zhoushan Port Co. Ltd. to jointly launch GF88, a new iron ore product, produced by grinding its flagship Carjas ICJ 65% iron fines in the first quarter of 2020.

* A majority of thyssenkrupp AG's management board is inclined to sell the company's elevators business as a planned IPO would not generate enough funds for the struggling German conglomerate, Reuters reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. The report noted that the company's weakening balance sheet included €12.4 billion in debt and pension liabilities as of September-end, compared to €10.2 billion a year ago. Thyssenkrupp may reportedly receive bids as high as €17 billion for the unit.

* Infrastructure spending in Western Australia significantly improved after better-than-expected iron ore prices helped protect the state from sluggishness in the broader economy, according to Treasurer Ben Wyatt, The Australian reported. The state increased its forecast for operating surplus to A$2.6 billion from A$1.5 billion on the back of stronger iron ore prices and weaker Australian dollar that boosted mining royalties.

* Nucor Corp.'s board of directors approved the adding of a coil paint line at the company's sheet mill in Mississippi County, Arkansas. The new coil paint line will have a capacity of 250,000 tons per year and is expected to start up in the first half of 2022.

* Russian steelmaker PAO Severstal's venture capital arm, Severstal Ventures, made a minority investment in Seattle, Wash.-based Modumetal, Inc., which is commercializing nano-laminated alloys that are said to be stronger and lighter than conventional steels and alloys.

* Following an accident that killed 16 people, authorities in China's Guizhou province ordered coal mines with a capacity of less than 300,000 tonnes per year to stop production immediately, Reuters reported.

* Poland is considering scrapping plans to develop an open pit lignite coal mine at Zloczew in central Poland, which was meant to extend the life of state-run PGE SA's Belchatow, Reuters reported, citing two unnamed sources. The consideration to scrap the plans is due to the rising costs of burning fossil fuel and stricter EU climate policies.

* PAO TMK received U.S. Department of Justice approval for its US$1.2 billion sale of Texas-based IPSCO Tubulars Inc. to Luxembourg's Tenaris SA.

* Ncondezi Energy Ltd. received a letter of interest from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to provide debt financing for its namesake Ncondezi coal mine to a power project in Mozambique. The company is targeting a minimum debt financing of 70% of the project's capital cost.

* Danakali Ltd. said that Colluli Mining Company confirmed Earth Moving Worldwide as its preferred contractor for the Colluli sulfate of potash project in Eritrea.

* Korea Electric Power Corp. approached the New South Wales Land and Environment Court in Australia in an attempt to secure development approval for its Bylong coal mine, which was blocked by the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission in September, Mining Weekly reported, citing The Newcastle Herald.

SPECIALTY

* After a recent C$30 million IPO on the TSX Venture Exchange, Uranium Royalty Corp. is on the hunt for assets as it looks to grow its streaming and royalty portfolio, President and CEO Scott Melbye told S&P Global Market Intelligence in an interview. "Eventually we'll have 50 to 100 royalties and streams and be diversified across the global uranium market," Melbye said, speaking by phone while on a business trip in Texas.

* Anglo American PLC unit De Beers SA's provisional sales in the 10th and final cycle of 2019 totaled US$425 million, a decline from year-ago actual sales of US$544 million. The figure represented an increase from actual sales of US$400 million in the ninth sales cycle.

* The government of Western Australia awarded lead agency status to Lynas Corp. Ltd.'s project to build a rare earths processing plant in Kalgoorlie. As lead agency, Western Australia’s Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation will provide Lynas with project advice and assistance with managing and coordinating approvals within the project’s time frames.

* Renascor Resources Ltd. entered into a nonbinding memorandum of understanding with Sicona Battery Technologies for the joint development of next-generation battery anodes. The consortium will seek to tap Renascor's expertise in producing purified spherical graphite and Sicona's expertise with silicon-based anodes.

* Bass Metals Ltd. will start work for detailed feasibility studies for the Graphmada operation as it tries to achieve large project status under the country's laws. The company will pause mining and processing activities at Graphmada due to the upcoming monsoon season, while drying, screening and packaging operations will continue.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The U.S. and Canada signed a memorandum of understanding to provide a framework addressing the growing global demand for energy mineral resources. The document encourages responsible and sustainable mining practices, supports mineral supply chains and creates strategies to meet demand for clean energy technology.

* The launch of the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive in fiscal year 2018, combined with improving market conditions for the sector at the time, appears to have encouraged additional grassroots exploration in Australia, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team.

* Russia's state geological company, JSC Rusgeology, signed a cooperation agreement with the Republic of Congo's Ministry of Mines and Geology covering exploration of a host of minerals including diamonds and gold. The two countries will work together to identify diamond deposits in northern Republic of Congo and carry out predictive mineral mapping in the northwest with a view to finding gold, tantalum, niobium, manganese, nickel and bauxite, according to a statement from the state geological company, known as Rosgeo.

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