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Low nickel prices force First Quantum to shutter Ravensthorpe ops

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Low nickel prices force First Quantum to shutter Ravensthorpe ops

TOP NEWS

First Quantum to suspend Ravensthorpe nickel ops

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. intends to place the Ravensthorpe nickel project in Western Australia on care and maintenance beginning in September, due to low nickel prices. The company estimates US$10 million in initial costs to place the mine on care and maintenance, with subsequent annual costs of US$5 million. Restarting operations will also cost about US$10 million.

Hong Kong hedge fund seeks to block Yancoal's US$2.35B capital raising

Hong Kong-based Senrigan Capital Management Ltd. lodged an application with Australia's Takeovers Panel requesting to block Yancoal Australia Ltd.'s proposed US$2.35 billion renounceable entitlement offer. Earlier in August, Yancoal's 13.2% shareholder Noble Group Ltd. was also planning to challenge the equity raising, with plans to lodge an objection with the Takeovers Panel.

BHP moves into new energy market with plans to produce nickel sulfate

BHP Billiton Group approved a US$43.2 million investment in a nickel sulfate production facility in Western Australia, Eduard Haegel, Asset President Nickel West at BHP, revealed at the Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie, Australia. The facility will aim to start production of the product, which is needed for lithium-ion batteries, in April 2019. Meanwhile, Haegel told The Australian that demand from the battery market is expected to account for about 90% of the company's nickel output over the next five or six years, compared to about 10% now.

BASE METALS

* Vale SA unit PT Vale Indonesia Tbk. said the recent policy change in Indonesia to allow ore exports is helping to keep global nickel prices low and is complicating efforts to create or maintain partnerships for smelter investments, Reuters reported. Vale Indonesia CEO Nico Kanter said a few partners have told the company they are pulling the plug or delaying decisions amid pricing and regulatory uncertainties.

* Mitsubishi Materials Corp.'s net income attributable to owners of the parent rose by 8% year over year to ¥11.63 billion in the first quarter of its fiscal 2018. Operating profit for the metals sector decreased to ¥3.7 billion, from ¥4.5 billion in the year-ago period, while the aluminum sector remained unchanged at ¥2.3 billion.

* PT Merdeka Copper Gold Tbk., which spent last 18 months bringing the Tujuh Bukit copper project in Indonesia into production, would be interested in a secondary listing, most likely in Australia, when it moved to fund a second phase of the project within the next few years, The Australian Financial Review wrote, citing CEO Colin Moorhead.

PRECIOUS METALS

* IAMGOLD Corp. swung to net earnings of US$506.5 million in the second quarter from a US$12.2 million net loss posted a year ago, driven by impairment charge reversals at its Cote project in Ontario and Rosebel mine in Suriname. Attributable gold production was up 13% year over year to 223,000 ounces.

* Pan American Silver Corp. produced 6.30 million ounces of silver and 37,700 ounces of gold in the second quarter, compared to 6.33 million ounces of silver and 48,400 ounces of gold in the year-ago quarter. Net earnings in the period rose to US$36.0 million from US$34.2 million, while revenue was up 5% at US$201.3 million.

* Royal Gold Inc.'s fourth quarter attributable net income was nearly flat on yearly basis at US$20 million, while revenue in the period climbed to US$108.9 million from US$94.1 million a year ago.

* Newmont Mining Corp. is considering raising its dividend to attract a broader shareholder base, which will also make the miner stand out as the gold sector is still recovering and pursuing mine expansions to replace depleting reserves, Reuters reported.

* Utah is requesting the Environmental Protection Agency to pay US$1.9 billion in damages to account for the cleanup costs and long-term maintenance of the San Juan river, which was contaminated by the 2015 Gold King mine spill, and Lake Powell, where most of the sludge was deposited, among other areas affected by the accident, Mining.com reported

* Endeavour Mining Corp. agreed to sell its 90% stake in the Nzema gold mine in Ghana to BCM International Ltd. for total cash consideration of up to US$65 million, calling the operation a noncore property.

* Jubilee Platinum Plc shares rose by over 11% in early morning trade Aug. 9, after the company announced that it executed a US$50 million project funding agreement to support its metals recovery business.

* Semafo Inc. produced 47,600 ounces of gold in the second quarter of 2017, down 22% on a yearly basis. The decrease in gold ounces produced was due to lower head grade, partially offset by higher throughput. All-in sustaining costs during the quarter also increased 45% to US$1,074 per ounce sold.

* AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. has no plans to back out of Australia in the same fashion as other larger producers have done and is looking to strike more deals to encourage greenfields gold exploration in the country.

* Australian gold hopeful Riversgold Ltd. indicated that it may look to strike a deal with fellow Australian explorer Emerald Resources NL to advance its tenements in Cambodia. The company entered an agreement to acquire a company that has applied for exploration licenses in northeastern Cambodia that are next to Emerald's Okvau gold project.

* Conroy Gold & Natural Resources Plc received a request for a general meeting to remove Executive Chairman Richard Conroy and Managing Director Maureen Jones from the board, in favor of Patrick O’Sullivan, Paul Johnson and Gervaise Heddle.

* Altair Resources Inc. signed an asset purchase agreement with Atlas Precious Metals Inc for the acquisition of a solvent extraction plant, which was initially offered to the miner in April, when it acquired the Pan American zinc mine and Caselton mill in Nevada.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Glencore Plc received the mining leases for its A$7 billion Wandoan coal project in Queensland, years after the miner shelved the project due to low commodity prices at the time and a global movement to fight climate change.

* Agrium Inc.'s second-quarter net income dropped to US$558 million from US$565 million in the year-ago period due to weaker nitrogen and phosphate benchmark prices, which were partially offset by stronger retail earnings, strong potash results and lower fixed costs across its wholesale business.

* Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau SA's second-quarter net income fell 5.1% year over year to 75 million Brazilian reais. The company's crude steel production was down 5% on a yearly basis to 4.09 million tonnes, while shipments fell by 12.6% to approximately 3.71 million tonnes.

* Preliminary findings of a probe by the U.S. Department of Commerce indicated that Chinese aluminum foil producers received subsidies of between 16.56% to 80.97%, the Financial Times reported. The department will tell customs to collect cash deposits from importers of Chinese aluminum foil based on these rates.

* The recent sale of coal production quota by Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal Co. Ltd. to its state-owned parent company for 240 million Chinese yuan brought the spotlight on the often overlooked market for coal production quota in China, where mining companies buy and sell rights to produce the tightly controlled commodity. It is a market with demand estimated at about 1.5 billion tonnes, but with only between 300 million and 500 million tonnes of new supply, according to Zhao Dongchen, a coal analyst with ICBC International Research Ltd.

* Vale concluded the sale of two very large ore carriers of 400,000 tonnes to Bank of Communications Finance Leasing Co. Ltd. for approximately US$178 million. The mining major is also negotiating the sale of its remaining two vessels.

SPECIALTY

* Platina Resources Ltd. that the higher-grade scandium resource at its Owendale scandium-cobalt project in New South Wales increased by 127% in an updated estimate, while the lower-grade resource increased 21%.

* Latin Resources Ltd. signed a binding letter of intent to secure the Geminis lithium mine and Don Gregorio concessions in San Luis, Argentina.

* Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. sold 215,000 carats for a total of C$27.6 million in the three months that ended June 30. The company swung to net income of C$7.6 million in the second quarter, from a net loss of C$352,000 a year ago.

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