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Ongoing strike disrupts operations at Freeport-McMoRan's Grasberg mine


Essential IR Insights Newsletter - April 2023


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According to Market Intelligence, April 2023


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Ongoing strike disrupts operations at Freeport-McMoRan's Grasberg mine


Ongoing strike disrupts operations at Freeport-McMoRan's Grasberg mine

According to the Associated Press, operations at Freeport-McMoRan Inc.'s Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia have been disrupted by an ongoing strike of some 1,200 workers demanding bigger monthly bonus payments. A company spokesman was cited as saying that open-pit mining has stopped and ore processing has been reduced at the project. Strike action commenced Sept. 28.

Argentina court extends suspension of Barrick Gold's Veladero mine

Based on the report submitted by mining police in Argentina's San Juan province, Judge Pablo Oritja ruled that Barrick Gold Corp.'s Veladero mine would remain suspended as the repairs were insufficient to reopen the mine, Reuters reported. The court extended the temporary suspension until the company completes additional work at the mine. Operations were suspended at Veladero on Sept. 15 following a cyanide leak.

Apollo Global in final-stage, exclusive talks to buy Anglo American coal assets

A consortium backed by Apollo Global Management has secured exclusivity to buy Anglo American Plc's metallurgical coal assets in Queensland, Australia, The Australian Financial Review reported. The parties are said to be in the final stages of negotiations for the deal, which is expected to be worth over US$1 billion.


* According to a BHP Billiton Group spokesperson, operations at the company's Olympic Dam remain suspended with no timeline yet confirmed for production to be restarted, Bloomberg News reported. Meanwhile, Arrium Ltd. could face costs of as much as A$40 million following South Australia's statewide power outage caused by storms, which forced suspensions across several operations in the state. Arrium's Whyalla steelworks and the mining of iron ore to feed the mill have been halted since the power failure on Sept. 28.

* Anglo American Plc completed the sale of its niobium and phosphates businesses in Brazil for a total of US$1.7 billion in cash to China Molybdenum Co. Ltd. The consideration comprises a previously agreed upon US$1.5 billion in cash for the sale of Anglo's assets and an additional US$187 million of working capital and other adjustments.


* Japan's Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co. Ltd. plans to increase zinc output by 6.7% year over year in the second half of its 2016 financial year between October and March 2017. According to Reuters, the increase is expected to cover a shortfall that resulted from the closure of zinc production at Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd.'s Harima smelter in Japan.

* Pan Pacific Copper Co. Ltd. is looking to produce 283,700 tonnes of refined copper in the second half of its fiscal year, 17.5% more than in the year-ago period, according to Reuters. The company expects the combined production from its Saganoseki smelter and refinery and Hitachi refinery in Japan to rise by 18.2% in the six-month period.

* Global nickel prices are expected to jump 25% to about US$6 per pound by the end of next year following the recent bans on miners in the Philippines, Bloomberg News reported, citing USB Group AG.

* Vast Resources PLC has started full-scale commercial zinc production at its Manaila polymetallic mine in Romania, adding a second commodity and revenue stream for the company in addition to copper. The company is targeting production of 150 tonnes per month of zinc from this month onward.

* Horizonte Minerals Plc's new pre-feasibility study at its Araguaia nickel project in northern Brazil estimated a posttax net present value, discounted at 8%, of US$581 million, and a posttax internal rate of return of 26.4%, at a nickel price of US$14,000 per tonne. Production is estimated at about 14,500 tonnes per year with a 28-year life of mine.

* New World Resources Plc shareholder State Street Nominees Ltd. requested that the company's directors call a general meeting for shareholders to vote on placing New World into liquidation and to appoint liquidators.

* The Public Prosecutor's Office of Peru closed the investigation into the disappearance and death of three workers of Rio Blanco Copper S.A., a subsidiary partially owned by China's Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. The workers went missing in July 2015 while doing exploration work in Piura region, in northern Peru, and no explanation as to the cause of their deaths was found, daily Correo reported.

* Glencore Plc is reviewing the allegations by U.S. authorities of the decade-long involvement of its key business partner, Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, in bribing government officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Gertler's Fleurette Properties Ltd. holds a 31% interest in the Mutanda copper-cobalt mine in the DRC, while Glencore owns the majority 69% interest in the project.

* Codelco submitted a US$55 million plan to environmental regulators aimed at keeping the Salvador copper mine in Chile operating through 2021.

* Rescue operations are ongoing to recover three workers trapped inside the Dudder lead-zinc mine in Lasbela, in Pakistan's Balochistan province, with the rescuers managing to reach 600 meters into the mine to create ventilation, Dawn reported. A lift carrying five workers — four Chinese engineers and one Pakistani electrician — fell 1 kilometer inside the mine Sept. 24. Two Chinese engineers have managed to escape, but, according to Chief Inspector Mines in Balochistan Iftikhar Ahmed, there was a slim chance that the three remaining men have survived.


* Yamana Gold Inc. completed the sale of its Mercedes gold mine in Mexico to Premier Gold Inc. for US$122.5 million in cash, plus shares, equity securities and net smelter return royalties worth an additional US$22 million.

* Goldcorp Inc. has clarified that the blockade at the Penasquito mine complex in Mexico was not in response to a tailings leak but was initiated by a trucking contractor concerned about losing business with the company. In an emailed statement to S&P Global Market Intelligence, the company said it expects to resolve the issue shortly.

* St. Barbara Ltd. will repurchase US$55 million in aggregate principal of its U.S. 144A senior secured notes, effective Oct. 31. The notes will be repurchased at a 3.3% premium, with net payments for the buyback expected to total about US$57 million, including principal repayment, premium and accrued interest.

* Azimut Exploration Inc. has acquired four gold exploration properties in Quebec though its strategic alliance with SOQUEM Inc. The four properties — Munischiwan, Pikwa, Pontois and Desceliers — were acquired by map designation and comprise a total of 1,280 claims covering 658.3 square kilometers.

* OZ Minerals Ltd. may miss its gold production guidance of 125,000 ounces to 135,000 ounces in 2016 at its Prominent Hill mine due to the power outage in South Australia. Copper production is expected to remain within guidance of 115,000 ounces to 125,000 tonnes.

* White Rivers Exploration Pty. Ltd. is considering another gold partnership in South Africa. "We are talking to a number of other large South African producers," Executive Chairman Neil Warburton told SNL Metals & Mining.

* Brixton Metals Corp. has struck a deal with Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. to acquire its landholding of additional property adjoining the former’s Langis silver project in Ontario.

* Wesizwe Platinum Ltd. decided to reduce the scope of engineering and construction works for the Bakubung platinum project in South Africa’s North West province due to commercial imperatives.

* In its first-ever ratings action on the company, Moody's assigned Polyus Gold International Ltd., the holding company of Russian PJSC Polyus Gold, a corporate family rating of Ba1 and a probability of default rating of Ba1-PD, both with a negative outlook.


* According to Reuters, Saudi Arabian Mining Co., or Ma'aden, has started commercial production at a new bauxite mine and alumina refinery. The unit is expected to reach a maximum annual output capacity of 1.8 million tonnes of alumina by early next year and could begin exporting some of its production in the coming months. Ma'aden holds a 74.9% interest in the project, with Alcoa Inc. owning the remaining 25.1% stake.

* ARG International AG, the trading house established by Glencore Plc's former aluminum trader Matt Lucke, has acquired Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp.'s 263,000-tonne-per-year New Madrid primary aluminum smelter in Missouri for US$13.7 million through a court-approved auction, Reuters reported.

* Kommersant and Vedomosti reported that Sual Partners, owned by Viktor Vekselberg and his partners, intends to close a deal by the end of October to buy 17.02% of United Co. RUSAL Plc, owned by Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim, according to Vekselberg's interview with Bloomberg. If Sual Partners completes the transaction, it will own 32.8% of the aluminum company.

* RUSAL's board approved a payment of interim dividends for the first half in the amount of about 1.65 U.S. cents per common share, Kommersant reported. The payment of dividends is subject to approval by the creditor banks.

* New evidence suggests that, not only did Sundance Resources Ltd. bribe the family of the president of the Republic of Congo, it also bribed the country's mines and geology minister. Fairfax Media obtained leaked documents showing that Sundance gave millions of dollars worth of shares to a company, Cominvest, which was founded and directed by the brother of Republic of Congo mining minister, Pierre Oba.

* RBC Daily reported that the auction for the right to develop Sukhoi Log, with 28% of the gold reserves of Russia, could take place at the end of the year. Only companies with state participation of not less than 25% will be allowed to take part in the auction.

* Vedomosti reported that MMK will not sell its Turkish subsidiary, MMK Metalurji Sanayi Ticaret ve Liman Isletmeciligi A.S.. The main owner of MMK, Viktor Rashnikov, believes it can be profitable.

* In an effort to streamline its corporate governance, POSCO Engineering & Construction Co. unit is seeking to lay off about 600 workers under a voluntary retirement scheme, which accounts for more than half of its 1,000-man workforce, The Korea Times reported. The company will start accepting resignations from Oct. 4, according to insiders of the company.

* Fushun Special Steel, 35.22% owned by state-run, unlisted steelmaker Dongbei Special Steel Group Co Ltd., said a court is reviewing an application from creditors for a bankruptcy restructuring of its parent as part of its business revival plan, Reuters reported.

* Fitch Ratings has maintained the rating watch evolving on Tata Steel Ltd.'s BB long-term issuer default rating and the B long-term issuer default rating on Tata Steel UK Holdings Ltd.


* Caeneus Minerals Ltd. has received the required approvals to commence drilling at its Lida Valley lithium brine project and is presently mobilizing a team to start the drill program.

* Saint Jean Carbon Inc. entered into an agreement to acquire a large block comprising 27 mineral claims, covering 1,458 hectares in Quebec's James Bay region. The new claims are contiguous to the company's Whabouchi lithium project and increase its lithium holding to 109 claims in the area.

* Lobbyists from Russia met with Chilean government officials to discuss collaboration on lithium projects, Reuters reported.


* The Philippines' Department of Environment and Natural Resources is set to issue new policy guidelines for the remaining miners in the country, following the government's mining audit, BusinessWorld reported, citing the department's undersecretary Leo Jasareno.

* Colombia's bid to end more than five decades of armed conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, has failed, with Colombians voting against a peace deal. The voting was expected to end in favor of ending the conflict, but 50.25% of votes were cast against the agreement.

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