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Investor group sets sights on Rio Tinto's Queensland coal assets

TOP NEWS

Investor group sets sights on Rio Tinto's Queensland coal assets

Apollo Global Management and Canada Pension Plan have teamed up with Xcoal Energy & Resources and a former Glencore Plc executive to make a play for Rio Tinto's Hail Creek and Kestrel coal mines in Queensland, Australia, which could fetch the miner about US$2 billion, Reuters reported, citing sources. Anglo American Plc had expressed interest, but the waning outlook for metallurgical coal might discourage it from taking part in the sale. One of the sources added that Whitehaven Coal Ltd. is also likely to make an offer.

Barrick's gold production drops 10% YOY in Q3'17

Barrick Gold Corp.'s third-quarter gold output dropped 10% year over year to 1.24 million ounces. In a breakdown of its operations, Barrick reported yearly declines in gold production across the board for the quarter including its Nevada mines, its 60%-owned Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic and its 63.9%-owned Acacia Mining plc operations in Tanzania, where a ban on concentrate exports hit output. Quarterly copper production, meanwhile, inched up 15% year over year to 115 million pounds.

PotashCorp completes US$3B expansion of Rocanville ops

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. completed the US$3 billion expansion of its Rocanville operation in Saskatchewan. The company increased the mine's nameplate capacity to 6.5 million tonnes from 3 million tonnes previously, while the workforce was doubled to more than 750. According to PotashCorp, Rocanville is now the largest potash mine in the world.

DIVERSIFIED

* S&P Global Ratings upgraded its long-term corporate credit rating on Teck Resources Ltd. to BB+ from BB. The outlook for the company is stable. Teck's credit metrics are expected to materially exceed its previous forecast due to improving cash flow from stronger metallurgical coal and base metal prices as well as debt repayment.

* Cia. de Minas Buenaventura SAA's gold production from its mines in the third quarter climbed 44.1% to 399,997 ounces, while silver output was up 16.1% at around 6.7 million ounces compared to the same quarter of 2016. Zinc and copper production, meanwhile, slid 4.4% to 17,713 tonnes and 6.2% to 11,531 tonnes, respectively.

* The Peruvian government will promote the development of five mining projects that will account for US$10 billion in investments next year, América Economía reported, citing the president of the Council of Ministers, Mercedes Aráoz. The projects cited were Anglo American's Quellaveco and Michiquillay, Minsur SA's Mina Justa and Chinalco Mining Corp. International's Toromocho copper projects, and Bear Creek Mining Corp.'s Corani silver mine.

BASE METALS

* Shenzhen Zhongjin Lingnan Nonfemet Co. Ltd.'s net profit attributable to shareholders for the first three quarters may surge between 388.20% and 449.22% from the 163.9 million Chinese yuan recorded a year ago due to higher prices of lead and zinc products, and strengthened cost controls.

* Atalaya Mining plc adjusted its full-year copper production guidance to between 36,000 tonnes and 39,000 tonnes from the previous guidance of between 34,000 tonnes and 40,000 tonnes, as output from the company's Proyecto de Rio Tinto mine rose 18% to a record 10,679 tonnes of copper in concentrate in the September quarter.

* Workers at Codelco's Chuquicamata temporarily blocked access to the copper mine in northern Chile to protest unpaid bonuses pledged by the company among other claims, El Mercurio reported. The blockade had no impact on production, the company said.

* Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Técnicas de Desalinazación de Aguas SA's 50/50 joint venture Caitan SpA has been tapped to build a desalination plant for BHP Billiton Group's Spence copper mine in Chile as part of a US$2.5 billion mine expansion approved earlier this year, Mining.com reported.

* Chilean copper production totaled 3.4 million tonnes between January and August this year, down 5% compared with the same period in 2016, marking the commodity's lowest level in five years, Pulso reported, citing official government figures.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Armenia has great potential for exploration and the discovery of new deposits, but government reforms are needed before metals and mining companies would be able to exploit the country's mineral wealth, the head of the investment projects directorate at Polymetal International Plc, Tamara Golovina, told S&P Global Market Intelligence during an interview at the Moscow MINEX conference.

* Over the past 20 years, there has been very little gold exploration in Russia, and as a result, Russian companies are overly reliant on Soviet-era deposits, Polymetal CEO Vitaly Nesis said at the MINEX Russia conference in Moscow. Only 15% of the gold produced in Russia comes from deposits that were discovered in the last 20 years, he said, adding that the Soviet system for exploration was abandoned in 1996.

* Focus Minerals Ltd.'s pre-feasibility study confirmed the financial and technical viability for underground mining at the Bonnie Vale deposit and open pit mining at the Greenfields and Brilliant deposits, part of its Coolgardie gold property in Western Australia, estimating a pretax net present value, discounted at 7.5%, of A$37 million and a 28% internal rate of return, based on a gold price of A$1,580 per ounce.

* Third-quarter gold production from SSR Mining Inc.'s Seabee mine in Canada has been impacted by nearby forest fires, driving total gold output down about 25.6% compared to the prior quarter to 56,757 ounces. Meanwhile, a decline in grade and recoveries at the Puna operations in Argentina saw silver production drop 20.9% to 1.5 million ounces compared to the prior quarter.

* According to preliminary results, Hecla Mining Co.'s silver production fell 23% year over year to 3.3 million ounces in the third quarter, while gold output rose 21% to 63,046 ounces. Lead and zinc production tumbled 48% and 2% to 5,368 tonnes and 14,498 tonnes, respectively.

* Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd.'s platinum production in the third quarter rose 6.9% year over year to 57,700 ounces. The company delivered 793,000 tonnes to its concentrators, an increase of 7.2% from the year-ago quarter, while it milled 825,000 tonnes in the three-month period, up 8.1%.

* Eastern Goldfields Ltd. is in talks with a New York-based corporate adviser to manage capital raising initiatives in order to avoid insolvency and resume trading on the ASX, Mining News reported.

* Russian Platinum postponed the launch of its Jerooy deposit in Kyrgyzstan for two years due to problems with the infrastructure that did not allow the property to meet the terms of the license received in 2015, Vedomosti reported.

* Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. expects gold production from its underground South African operations to be 12% to 14% higher quarter over quarter and 6% to 8% higher year over year in the first quarter of its fiscal 2018, bolstered by increased volumes and recovery grades.

* Alamos Gold Inc. posted an 8% year-over-year increase in third-quarter production to 107,000 ounces, from 99,228 ounces gold in 2016, as the Young-Davidson gold mine in Ontario more than offset declines at its other operations.

* Pan African Resources Plc CEO Cobus Loots told Reuters that the construction of the company's Elikhulu tailings retreatment project in South Africa has been halted for the past two days due to protests and assaults on workers by a local group demanding jobs and business opportunities.

* Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. agreed to acquire a 1% net smelter royalty over Osisko Metals Inc.'s projects within Quebec and the Bathurst Mining Camp in New Brunswick for C$5 million.

* Transition Metals Corp. unit Canadian Gold Miner Corp. entered an agreement to secure interest in two exploration stage gold properties from Osisko Mining Inc. Osisko will own about a 19.9% stake in Canadian Gold following the transaction.

BULK COMMODITIES

* South32 Ltd. restarted production at the Longwall 707 of its Appin coal mine in New South Wales, Australia, after completing a review of its Illawarra metallurgical coal operations. The company plans to operate a single longwall at the Appin mine in line with prescribed ramp-up conditions throughout fiscal 2018, and return to a two-longwall operation in the December 2018 quarter.

* Kobe Steel Ltd.'s shares dropped by as much as 9.1%, to the lowest level since November 2016, in the wake of a quality inspection data falsification scandal that has extended to its steel wire products, the Financial Times reported.

* Hesteel Co. Ltd. expects its net profit attributable to shareholders for the third quarter to range between 899.2 million Chinese yuan and 1.18 billion yuan, compared to the net profit of 534.3 million yuan recorded a year ago, attributing the expected improved profitability to price hikes of steel products and strengthened cost controls.

* Prairie Mining Ltd. is in advanced talks with Chinese banks to secure funding for its Jan Karski coking coal mine in Poland, Reuters reported, citing company CEO Ben Stoikovich. Upfront capital costs for the mine development are pegged at US$630 million, with Chinese lenders expected to finance 85% of the total.

* The Western Australian Supreme Court ruled that Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd. must pay millions in legal costs to Peter Wright's heirs, after the failed fight to take control of half of the Rhodes Ridge iron ore deposit, The West Australian reported.

SPECIALTY

* RBC Capital Markets downgraded Stornoway Diamond Corp. to underperform from sector perform, citing Stornoway's breakage problem. The issue has affected the company's realized prices and RBC said it could also impact Stornoway's balance sheet. RBC also downgraded Firestone Diamonds Plc to sector perform from outperform on the back of uncertainty around the company's realized price and new mine plan.

* Prices of rare earth minerals — including praseodymium neodymium metal and neodymium praseodymium oxides — are set to decrease in the next few months as oversupply and lower prices for other commodities hurt offtake, China Daily reported, citing industry analysts.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* As Canada's Northwest Territories considers how to reshape its mining laws and regulations, the minister overseeing the process threw cold water on some pro-mining talk outlined in a discussion paper, "Unlocking our potential together," which the government issued in August. A key plank of the discussion paper was that the Northwest Territories had fallen behind in attracting investment for exploration, and to reverse course, new legislation might help attract business. Speaking with S&P Global Market Intelligence, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Wally Schumann pushed back strongly against the view that the Northwest Territories lagged in exploration owing to regulatory hurdles and dismissed a proposal to create special mining zones as a means to increase investment.

* MMG Ltd. CEO Jerry Jiao said at a mining industry event in Melbourne that the sector must repair its public image following years of reckless investment decisions during boom-bust cycles, Mining News reported.

* Macquarie Group is scaling back loans against physical metals inventories as the bank continues to shift its focus toward the energy sector, Reuters reported, citing three sources familiar with the matter.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

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