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BHP mulls exit from World Coal Association, US Chamber of Commerce

TOP NEWS

BHP mulls exit from World Coal Association, US Chamber of Commerce

BHP Billiton Group made a preliminary decision to leave the World Coal Association and is considering exiting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over differences in climate and energy policy. The company published a report that assessed 21 industry associations that hold an active position on climate and energy policy, with the review focused on 10 policies identified as being of key importance for BHP. The report identified seven material differences on climate and energy policy across three associations, namely the World Coal Association, the Chamber and the Minerals Council of Australia.

Tata Steel board approves 128B rupee rights issue

Tata Steel Ltd.'s board approved a rights issue to raise up to 128 billion Indian rupees to fund the expansion of its Kalinganagar plant in India's Odisha state as well as to slash debt, Reuters reported. The plan involves boosting capacity by 5 million tonnes per annum to 8 million tpa, covering a total investment of 235 billion rupees.

Metinvest posts 36% YOY jump in 9-month revenue

Metinvest BV's consolidated net revenue for the first three quarters of the year rose by 36% year over year to US$6.22 billion, driven primarily by higher steel and iron ore selling prices. Adjusted EBITDA, meanwhile, grew 39% to US$1.37 billion.

BASE METALS

* Cazaly Resources Ltd. acquired a four-month option to purchase an 85% equity interest in the copper-cobalt prospective Tsumkwe project in Namibia.

* Horizonte Minerals Plc struck a deal with Vale SA to acquire the Vermelho nickel-cobalt project in Brazil for US$8 million. Vale approved Vermelho in 2005 with nameplate annual production capacity of 46,000 tonnes of nickel and 2,500 tonnes of cobalt.

* Myanmar Metals Ltd.'s scoping study on developing an open pit mining operation at the Bawdwin zinc-lead-silver-copper project in Myanmar confirmed its potential to be redeveloped as a large-scale mining operation. The scoping study pegged a long-life, low-cost, low strip-ratio, 250 meter-deep open pit mine with a conventional milling and flotation circuit to produce zinc and lead-silver-copper concentrates.

* LeadFX Inc. agreed to sell its mining data associated with the mineral claims owned by its North 67 Inc. subsidiary to Valhalla Mining LLC for C$2 million.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. said Zhaojin Mining Industry Co. Ltd. unit Zhaojin International Mining Co. Ltd. agreed to invest approximately C$66.1 million in the company, by subscribing to a private placement of 24,930,000 common Sabina shares at C$2.65 apiece.

* Sandstorm Gold Ltd. agreed to purchase a 2% net smelter royalty held by Acacia Mining plc on the Hounde gold mine in Burkina Faso, operated by Endeavour Mining Corp., for US$45 million.

* NewCastle Gold Ltd. and Anfield Gold Corp. shareholders approved the plan of arrangement whereby the two businesses will be acquired by Trek Mining Inc. to create Equinox Gold Corp.

* GBM Resources Ltd. signed a nonbinding term sheet to sell ore from the Koala and Glen Eva deposits at its Mount Coolon gold project in Queensland, Australia, to Minjar Gold Pty Ltd. for processing at its Pajingo gold operation. A binding agreement is expected to be executed by Feb. 28, 2018.

* St-Georges Platinum & Base Metals Ltd.'s Kings Of The North Corp. unit signed an option agreement to acquire the gold-prospective Winter House project in Quebec for 6 million Kings Of The North shares and by assuming C$140,000 in current exploration expenses at the property.

* Golden Dawn Minerals Inc. signed an option agreement with Huakan International Mining Inc. to acquire the J&L gold project in British Columbia, and if completed, to acquire Huakan as well.

* Orex Minerals Inc., Canasil Resources Inc. and Pan American Silver Corp.'s Plata Panamericana SA de CV signed a nonbinding letter of intent contemplating their cooperation in developing the Sandra-Escobar silver project in Mexico.

* Gold Fields Ltd. and Gold Road Resources Ltd.'s Gruyere joint venture entered a five-year, A$400 million mining services contract with Downer EDI Ltd. to mine the Gruyere gold project in Western Australia. Construction of mining infrastructure at the project is scheduled to commence in March next year.

* Beadell Resources Ltd. released updated JORC-compliant ore reserves and resource estimates for its Tucano gold mine in Brazil to help the company's year-end budgeting and life-of-mine scheduling. As of June 30, the project is estimated to host total ore reserves of 25.1 million tonnes at 1.83 g/t of gold for 1.5 million ounces and resources of 63.5 million tonnes at 1.82 g/t of gold for 3.7 million ounces.

* Avesoro Resources Inc. completed the acquisition of the Youga and Balogo gold mines in Burkina Faso from majority shareholder Avesoro Jersey Ltd.

* Nusantara Resources Ltd. began a process to engage with a strategic joint venture partner for the development of the Awak Mas gold project in Indonesia.

* Trade union Solidarity said Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s 5 billion South African rand acquisition of Lonmin Plc would make a positive contribution toward economic growth and stability in the mining sector in the longer term, which in turn would further sustainability, Mining Weekly reported.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Meanwhile, World Coal Association Chairman Mick Buffier said he was 'disappointed' with the way BHP had depicted his organization's agenda, adding that the company misrepresented the climate policies of the association, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Troubled French steelmaker Ascometal SA drew interest from four potential buyers, with commodity group Liberty House and Swiss steel firm Schmolz + Bickenbach confirming their interest, Reuters reported. According to a union official, Spain's Sidenor is also one of the bidders, while French daily Le Monde said that the fourth potential buyer for Ascometal was Italian steel firm Beltrame.

* Italy's Marcegaglia abandoned AM Investco, the ArcelorMittal-led joint venture that was vying to buy Italian steelmaker Ilva International SpA, to avoid potential problems with EU antitrust regulators, Metal Bulletin reported, citing market sources.

* Gateway Mining Ltd. said its planned acquisition of Queensland Coal Investment Holdings Ltd. and its Wilton and Fairhill coal projects will not proceed. The companies agreed to terminate the deal after Gateway Mining failed to secure clearance from the ASX, despite restructuring certain aspects of the agreement.

* Altech Chemicals Ltd. said German state-owned KfW IPEX-Bank approved a project finance debt package of US$190 million for the company's high-purity alumina project, higher than the US$185 million of project finance initially proposed.

* Poland boosted its coal imports as output from the country's top miner is expected to fall short by about 2 million tonnes from its original 2017 output target of 32 million tonnes, Reuters reported Dec. 19, citing Polska Grupa Górnicza CEO Tomasz Rogala.

* Mitsubishi Materials Corp. uncovered more cases of data falsification in its product line as it continues to probe the scandal that has affected over 300 of its customers, Reuters reported. The company found that its Mitsubishi Cable Industries Ltd. unit shipped magnetic wires with possibly fabricated data to five customers.

* Tata Steel is in the final stages of testing a proprietary steelmaking technology at its Netherlands plant that may potentially reduce carbon emissions and energy use by at least 20%, the Financial Times reported.

* Lawyers for Lehram Capital Investments claim the Gramoteinskaya coal mine in Russia was illegally seized in collusion with local government officials and demanded US$500 million in damages from the government, the Financial Times reported.

* Brazilian President Michel Temer approved a bill to raise iron ore royalties to 3.5% from 2% previously despite criticism from the mining sector, Metal Bulletin reported. According to a decree published by the federal government in the official gazette, the royalty increases will be applied retroactively from Nov. 1.

* Starting January 2018, Algeria will end its import licensing system for all products, including steel rebar, Metal Bulletin reported, citing local media reports.

* Indonesian miner PT. Alfa Energi Investama Tbk aims to boost revenue from coal sales next year to sell the whole company in 2018 for 735 billion Indonesian rupiah, Kontan reported, citing corporate secretary Lyna Elvira.

SPECIALTY

* Tokyo Electric Power, or Tepco, confirmed that uranium major Cameco Corp. is seeking US$681.9 million in damages relating to a contract dispute that started early this year when Tepco terminated a supply deal with Cameco due to force majeure, Mining Weekly reported, citing a Reuters report.

* Base Resources Ltd. agreed to acquire the wholly owned Mauritian subsidiaries of World Titane Holdings Ltd., which together hold a 100% interest in the Toliara heavy mineral sands project in Madagascar, for US$92 million.

* Battery Minerals Ltd. signed a three-year binding agreement to sell up to 11,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate per year to Urbix Resources LLC. The off-take, starting in 2019, covers over 20% of the initial forecast annual output from the company's Montepuez project in Mozambique.

* A preliminary economic assessment for Lithium Power International Ltd.'s Maricunga lithium brine project in northern Chile pegged a posttax net present value, discounted at 8%, of US$731 million, a 20.4% internal rate of return and a 3.25-year payback period.

* Global Geoscience Ltd. said the initial mining study at its Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron deposit in Nevada confirmed the potential for low-cost open pit mining at rates of 2 million to 4 million tonnes per annum, with 1 million tonnes of mineralization containing about 8,700 tonnes of lithium carbonate and 77,200 tonnes of boric acid.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The U.S. needs to encourage domestic production of critical minerals for the technology and defense industries, and reduce reliance on China, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said, as he unveiled a report by the U.S. Geological Survey detailing the extent to which the country is dependent upon foreign competitors for its supply of certain minerals, Reuters reported.

* S&P Global Market Intelligence's Pipeline Activity Index was up in November, rising from 91 to 103 as a surge in drilling activity and a healthy increase in significant gold/base metals financings were tempered by declines in the numbers of initial resources and project milestones.

* Ecuador's Ministry of Mining expects the mining sector to potentially contribute over US$1 billion in revenues to the country in 2018, primarily through exploration and development of projects, Mining.com reported, citing a ministry statement.

S&P Global Market Intelligence is owned by S&P Global Inc.

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.