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BHP nets court approval for 20B reais Samarco deal, settles US$50M suit

TOP NEWS

BHP nets court approval for 20B reais Samarco deal, settles US$50M suit

A federal court in Brazil's Minas Gerais state formally approved an agreement between BHP Billiton Group, Vale SA and other parties that settles a 20 billion Brazilian reais civil claim related to the Samarco dam failure. Separately, BHP reached a settlement over a class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. in connection with the incident. The mining major agreed to pay the plaintiffs US$50 million, with no admission of liability.

Glencore H1 net income up 13% YOY on higher commodity prices, revenue

Glencore PLC booked a 13% increase in attributable net income to US$2.78 billion, or 19 U.S. cents per share, in the first half due to strong performances from its metals and minerals and energy segments, partially offset by a weaker performance from its agricultural products segment. Revenue for the period increased to US$108.55 billion, from US$100.29 billion a year earlier. For the metals and minerals segment, adjusted EBITDA grew 28% to US$6.01 billion, and energy products flagged a 19% rise in adjusted EBITDA to US$2.59 billion.

Gerdau's net income rebounds in Q2

Gerdau SA's net income in the second quarter jumped 830.7% to 698 million Brazilian reais from 75 million reais the year before. Adjusted EBITDA was up 56.8% to 1.76 billion reais from 1.12 billion reais, and the steelmaker said it was the best quarterly EBITDA result since 2008.

DIVERSIFIED

* Glencore would prefer share buybacks over deal-making, as the market remains volatile, Reuters reported. "Right now, buybacks may be the best returns we can get," said CEO Ivan Glasenberg. "We just don't see anything out in the market. We look opportunistically at M&A," the executive added.

* Separately, Glasenberg said the company is reluctantly paying higher taxes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, under the country's new mining code, but the industry is looking at the option of a legal action against it, Reuters reported. The executive added that talks are ongoing with the government.

BASE METALS

* Barrick Gold Corp. said the company's copper operations in Saudi Arabia are not likely to be affected by the current diplomatic dispute between Canada and the Kingdom, The Globe and Mail reported. "Over the past four years we have developed a strong partnership with Ma'aden, working side by side at our Jabal Sayid joint venture, and we expect that partnership will continue to deepen over time," Barrick spokesperson Andy Lloyd said in an email.

* Glencore unit Katanga Mining Ltd. widened its attributable net loss to US$324.5 million in the second quarter from US$126.6 million a year ago. Sales from the Democratic Republic of the Congo-focused copper miner ballooned to US$345.5 million from US$11.7 million due to higher sales of copper cathode and cobalt contained in hydroxide. The company resumed production in late 2017 after completing phase one of the WOL project, part of the Kamoto copper operation in the DRC.

* Independence Group NL is seeking to replicate its success at the Nova nickel mine in Western Australia through exploration across 15,000 square kilometers of tenure within the Fraser Range area, The West Australian reported, citing Managing Director Peter Bradford.

* African Battery Metals PLC is fully acquiring Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd. and Regent Resources Interests Corp. in two separate all-share deals. The takeover targets hold cobalt-nickel prospective exploration assets in Cameroon and Cote D'Ivoire, respectively.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Global gold production grew for a ninth consecutive year in 2017, reaching an all-time high of 106.5 million ounces. With most companies meeting their guidance as of midyear and with a slate of new mine openings, a Metals and Mining Research Team at S&P Global Market Intelligence expects production to rise further this year to 108 Moz.

* Franco-Nevada Corp. booked net income of US$53.6 million in the second quarter, up from US$45.6 million in the year-ago period, driven in part by higher revenues from its oil and gas assets.

* IAMGOLD Corp.'s attributable gold production in the second quarter slipped to 214,000 ounces from 223,000 ounces in the year-ago period. The company swung a net loss of US$26.2 million in the period from net profit of US$506.5 million.

* Pan American Silver Corp. booked net profit of US$36.7 million in the second quarter, up slightly from US$36.0 million a year earlier. Revenue in the period rose to US$216.5 million from US$201.3 million last year.

* Royal Gold Inc.'s attributable net income rose to US$26.7 million in the fiscal fourth quarter, up from US$20.0 million a year earlier. Revenue increased year over year to US$116.2 million from US$108.9 million.

* St Barbara Ltd. CEO Bob Vassie said hunting a development acquisition or even a merger of equals will consume most of his time over the next 12 months, just as EY released new commentary saying it expects gold to continue to dominate global transactions this year along with coal and steel.

* Newcrest Mining Ltd. invited smaller explorers to pitch their development opportunities given the huge potential in Australia, The Australian Financial Review wrote. The company's general manager of exploration, Fraser MacCorquodale, expressed the miner's intent to work with partners to unlock new projects.

* Great Western Mining Corp. PLC shares tanked by more than 50% in afternoon London trades after the company said it recorded no significant gold, copper or trace element geochemistry in the first batch of core samples at the Sharktooth zone, part of its M2-Smith copper-gold project in Nevada. The company said it will terminate drilling at the current hole and move to a new location 600 feet due west.

* Australia's Takeovers Panel declined to conduct proceedings on the application from Bullseye Mining Ltd. to look into director Wu Qiyuan and Fountain Enterprises Int'l Co. Ltd., which are trying to replace board members that are resisting a takeover from Red 5 Ltd.

* Novo Resources Corp. President Quinton Hennigh sympathizes with Australia's skeptics who doubt his company's Pilbara conglomerate gold potential but urged patience and suggested those misgivings could be transformed within six months when he reveals the gold's geological source and the critical bulk sampling will hopefully be underway.

* Gold Fields Ltd. expects basic EPS for the first half to be at least 20% lower than the 7 U.S. cents reported for the same period a year earlier. Separately, Gold Field did not guarantee that another cost blowout will not happen for its Gruyere JV with Gold Road, with the budget already swelling by over A$100 million from its original estimate of A$507 million, The West Australian reported, citing Gold Fields' Australasia boss, Stuart Mathews.

* Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd. intends to launch a green bond offering to raise up to 1 billion Chinese yuan for operational capital related to a gold concentrate recycling project and a green mine project in eastern China.

* Makena Resources Inc. will acquire the Moosehead northeast claims, located near Sokoman Iron Corp.'s Moosehead gold project in Central Newfoundland. Meanwhile, R.J.K. Explorations Ltd. agreed to acquire the Moosehead Gold District project via a takeover of the private company that owns the ground.

* 55 North Mining Inc. agreed to sell its 50% interest in the Tully gold mining claims and mining lease in Ontario to Havilah Mining Corp. unit Havilah Mining Canada Ltd.

* Canadian Platinum Corp. signed a letter of intent to acquire a privately held natural gas company in an all-scrip deal, with the number of consideration shares to be determined.

* Bauba Platinum Ltd. signed an off-take agreement to supply 240,000 tonnes of run of mine chrome ore from its Moeijelijk mine in South Africa to Gerald Metals SA and Pelagic Resources, Mining Weekly reported.

* Galantas Gold Corp. said the processing plant at its Omagh gold mine in Northern Ireland began operating on feed from underground development of the Kearney gold vein.

* Gold Road Resources Ltd. Managing Director and CEO Ian Murray called for the gold royalty in Western Australia to remain capped at 2.5% to promote greenfields exploration for gold-focused companies in the state, the Kalgoorlie Miner reported.

* Underground operations at Doray Minerals Ltd.'s Deflector gold-copper mine in Western Australia were suspended following a fire involving an underground loader.

* Brixton Metals Corp. will acquire 29,608 hectares of mineral rights within the Atlin gold camp of British Columbia, which includes the purchase of the Spruce and Yellowjacket properties and the McKee and Otter properties.

* Spectrum Rare Earths Ltd. said the previously reported wildfires near Redding in northern California have damaged the surface infrastructure of the Washington gold property. It reiterated that all personnel are accounted for and safe.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Unionized workers at Alcoa Corp.'s operations in Western Australia walked off the job after the aluminum giant asked regulators to terminate an existing enterprise bargaining agreement, Reuters reported, citing the Australian Workers' Union. The company said the walkout has not impacted production as the sites have contingency plans in place.

* Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd.'s attributable profit rose 24.1% year over year to ¥28.91 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2018. The company's net sales, meanwhile, jumped 14.5% to around ¥241.98 billion.

* Cia. Siderúrgica Nacional swung to a profit in the second quarter of 1.19 billion Brazilian reais, compared to a year-ago loss of 640 million reais due to gains from the US$400 million sale of Indiana-based unit CSN LLC and a partial reversal of a provision for deferred income tax gains. Net revenue in the quarter jumped 32% year over year to 5.69 billion reais due to higher steel and iron ore sales.

* Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s consolidated profit after tax climbed 6% year over year to 1.69 billion Indian rupees in the first fiscal quarter of 2018-19, Press Trust of India reported.

* Exxaro Resources Ltd. expects its attributable earnings per share to jump between 41% and 54% year over year to between 12.05 South African rand and 13.15 rand for the six months ended June 30, Mining Weekly reported.

* Some of United Co. Rusal PLC's production could be halted as early as September if the U.S. sanctions are not removed, Reuters reported, citing sources. "If sanctions are not lifted in the near future, then contracts will expire and from Oct. 1, all of the company's production, intended for the external market, will once again go into the warehouses," a source said.

* Roy Hill Holdings Pty Ltd. soon intends to boost production capacity at its Roy Hill iron ore mine, railway and port to 60 million tonnes per annum, The Australian reported, citing CEO Barry Fitzgerald. Currently, Roy Hill is producing at a nameplate capacity of 55 million tonnes per year, and is awaiting approval to move to 60 million tonnes.

* Chinese coal producer Kailuan Energy Chemical Co. Ltd. plans to launch a bond repurchase program for the 1.5 billion Chinese yuan debt offering it issued in October 2014 on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

SPECIALTY

* MGX Minerals Inc. plans to acquire a 50% stake in three prospective lithium exploration projects in Chile.

* Technology Metals Australia Ltd. started work to complete a definitive feasibility study for the Gabanintha vanadium project in Western Australia with a stage-one drilling program of about 6,600 meters.

* E3 Metals Corp. entered into a joint venture with Comstock Metals Ltd. to acquire and develop battery metals deposits in North America.

* Pilbara Minerals Ltd. Managing Director Ken Brinsden attempted to address fears of lithium oversupply in the global market, which led to price drops in China, saying the recent slide was caused by subsidy regime changes in China favoring nickel-rich cathode batteries, The West Australian reported.

* Bass Metals Ltd. reached nameplate production at is Graphmada graphite mine in Madagascar.

* Altura Mining Ltd. began trucking lithium concentrate produced at its namesake Altura lithium mine in Western Australia to the port of Port Hedland ahead of the first concentrate shipment.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Leaders from Northern Star Resources Ltd., Gold Fields and Roy Hill Holdings said technology is the key to ensuring the industry's survival, but a Deloitte partner sounded caution amid fears highlighted at a major mining conference in Western Australia about automation potentially leading to "massive" job losses.

* Indonesia unveiled new tax regulations intended to provide legal certainty for mining companies that are shifting current contracts to special mining permits, Reuters reported. The new rules include a 25% corporate tax, in line with the country's current rate, a 4% levy on net profit going to central government and a 6% levy to local government. The move could help Freeport-McMoRan Inc. and the Indonesian government conclude a US$3.85 billion agreement related to the giant Grasberg copper-gold mine. Freeport had indicated it wanted some guarantee on fiscal terms before agreeing to the complex deal.

* Boosted spending by iron ore majors BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. brought a sense of optimism to Western Australia's mining sector, Reuters reported.

* China fired back in its growing trade dispute with the U.S., announcing 25% tariffs on US$16 billion worth of American exports, including coal, oil products and liquefied petroleum gas.

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