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BHP, Rio Tinto said to sweeten Escondida wage deal to avert strike

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BHP, Rio Tinto said to sweeten Escondida wage deal to avert strike

TOP NEWS

BHP, Rio Tinto sweeten wage deal for Escondida copper mine workers

BHP Billiton Group and Rio Tinto reportedly made an improved wage increase offer during government-led mediation with the union at the Escondida copper mine in Chile to avoid a strike, The Australian Financial Review reported. If the union and the company do not reach a deal, the strike will begin Aug. 14 unless both sides agree to extend talks.

Deripaska agrees to cut En+ stake to below 45% under sanctions relief plan

Oleg Deripaska's En+ Group Ltd. submitted the final version of its proposal to the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control as it looks to be removed from the U.S. sanctions list, the Financial Times reported. The proposal will see Deripaska reducing his stake in the London-listed company to below 45% from around 70% currently mainly via a share transfer to Russian bank VTB. The bank will hold the shares briefly until the sanctions are lifted, following which they would be sold to cover Deripaska's loans.

Tata Steel Q1'19 profit soars on higher steel demand

Tata Steel Ltd. reported consolidated net profit of 19.34 billion Indian rupees, or 16.66 rupees per share, for the first quarter of its fiscal 2019, jumping from a profit of 9.21 billion rupees, or 8.38 rupees per share, posted a year earlier.

DIVERSIFIED

* Teck Resources Ltd. reported early tender results for the purchase of up to US$1.00 billion of four series of notes due 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024, noting that the offer has been fully subscribed.

* Following an extensive review, the Afghanistan High Economic Council approved major contracts for exploration of the Badakhshan gold mine and Balkhab copper mine in the country, local news portal Wadsam reported.

* The Reserve Bank of Australia said the Australian miners are set to boost exports of copper and lithium on the back of rising demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy generation, while iron ore producers face a mixed outlook on Chinese steel demand, The Australian reported.

BASE METALS

* PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co.'s net income attributable to shareholders surged 81% on a yearly basis to US$1.65 billion on the back of higher revenue. Total revenue in the half grew to US$5.83 billion from US$4.25 billion a year ago due to higher realized metal prices, an increase in copper and platinum group metals output and sales of palladium from previous stocks.

* The workers' union at JX Nippon Mining Metals Corp. and Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co. Ltd.'s Caserones copper mine in Chile said it will kick off a strike Aug. 14 after 98.5% of its workers voted to reject the final wage offer from the mine operator Minera Lumina Copper Chile SA, Mining Weekly reported. The union will first meet the mine's operator for a compulsory mediation Aug. 13.

* New Century Resources Ltd. started zinc concentrate production at its Century zinc mine in Queensland, Australia, amid renewed expectations of commodity price upside as Managing Director Patrick Walta said the perception of a looming "wall of supply" to which his project contributed is unlikely to eventuate.

* King River Copper Ltd. embarked on an internal corporate restructure, with its Mount Remarkable gold project and other copper-gold tenements in Western Australia to be held by newly formed subsidiary Kimberley Gold Pty. Ltd., while its vanadium-titanium-iron-fluorspar projects are to be held by its existing Speewah Mining Pty. Ltd. unit. It also proposed a name change to King River Resources Ltd., subject to shareholder approval.

* ExGen Resources Inc.'s shares surged by 50% on Aug. 13 after it announced a maiden National Instrument 43-101-compliant resource for the Empire copper project in Idaho. The project hosts measured resources of 3.3 million tonnes at 0.53% copper containing 17,472 tonnes of copper, and indicated resources of 7.1 million tonnes at 0.51% copper containing 36,327 tonnes of copper.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Lingbao Gold Group Co. Ltd. agreed to sell its Lingbao Wason Copper-Foil Co. Ltd. unit to Shenzhen Londian Electrics Co. Ltd. for 2.56 billion Chinese yuan.

* PJSC Polyus signed an agreement with Russian state-owned Sberbank for a new credit line worth 65 billion Russian rubles. The facility will replace a credit line maturing in 2019, of which the company used 33 billion rubles and swapped it into dollars in 2014.

* Semafo Inc. said that five gendarmes and one subcontractor employee died in an "armed incident" between the town of Fada and the Boungou gold-silver mine site in Burkina Faso.

* A gold mine in Indonesia's Papua province was closed down by authorities after locals protested against hiring of newcomers over local tribe members, The Jakarta Post reported. The mine employs about 3,000 workers.

* Equinox Gold Corp. said that AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. unit AngloGold Ashanti Holdings Plc terminated a 70% earn-in agreement on the former's greenfields concessions surrounding the past-producing Aurizona gold mine in Brazil.

* Magellan Gold Corp. struck a deal to acquire Ingenieros Mineros SA de CV's El Dorado gold-silver property located about 50 kilometers south of the former's SDA flotation plant in Mexico.

* Eastern Goldfields Ltd. signed a settlement deed with GR Engineering Services Ltd. related to arbitration proceedings over the refurbishment contract for its Davyhurst project in Western Australia.

* African Underground Mining Services, a joint venture between Ausdrill Ltd. and Barminco Holdings Pty. Ltd. secured a US$160 million contract to conduct underground mining at the Zone 55 and Bagassi South mines, part of Roxgold Inc.'s Yaramoko gold project in Burkina Faso.

* Avesoro Resources Inc. produced 60,231 ounces of gold, a 12% reduction quarter on quarter, at all-in sustaining costs of US$985 per ounce sold in the second quarter. Gold sold in the period dropped 16% to 57,285 ounces at an average realized price of US$1,302 per ounce.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Whitehaven Coal Ltd.'s net profit climbed to A$525.6 million in its fiscal 2018 from A$405.4 million a year earlier. The company attributed the improvement to a strong operating performance coupled with the continued strength of the coal price environment. The company's sales revenue jumped 27% to A$2.26 billion in the year that ended June 30.

* The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union called on Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan to pressure BHP into reconsidering the award of major steel work linked to its South Flank iron ore project in Pilbara to China's Tianjin BOMESC Offshore Engineering Co., The West Australian reported. The union said the miner's move would deprive the region of jobs.

* Coal India Ltd. will review domestic coal demand and the diversification of its business verticals to determine its CapEx beyond fiscal 2018/19, after formally ditching the 1-billion-ton-per-year production target by 2020, Mining Weekly reported. A company official said the move comes on the back of the Paris climate change accord and a change in India's energy mix, with a greater emphasis on renewable energy.

* The price of carbon in the EU's emissions trading scheme hit a 10-year high, reaching €18 per tonne on Aug. 13, up about 200% from the year-ago levels, The Guardian reported. "It will already be cutting into coal profits," said Phil MacDonald, the head of communications at Sandbag, a group that monitors the carbon market.

* Many U.S. coal companies reported that they benefited from a strong export market through the second quarter that helped tighten the domestic sector.

* Following the first delivery of bauxite to China from its Bauxite Hills mine in Queensland, Australia, Metro Mining Ltd. has executed two additional binding off-take agreements with Chinese customers. The company will ship a total of 780,000 tonnes of bauxite in 2018 and 2019.

* Meanwhile, BlueScope Steel Ltd. plans to undertake an up to US$700 million investment in the U.S. to expand the steelmaking capacity at its North Star business by up to 900,000 tonnes, The Wall Street Journal reported.

* Rail freight operator Aurizon Holdings Ltd.'s attributable net profit for its full fiscal 2018 inched up to A$228.0 million, from A$226.4 million. Revenue slipped to A$1.22 billion from A$1.26 billion.

* Aurizon was ordered by the Federal Court to continue its intermodal operations in Queensland, Australia, while the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's case against against the sale of a related business, the Acacia Ridge terminal, to Pacific National is heard and determined. Meanwhile, Aurizon terminated the Queensland intermodal business sale to Pacific National and Linfox, and said it will not seek to get the deal through the courts in the wake of the ACCC's decision against the company, The Australian reported.

* Shanxi Coking Co. Ltd.'s attributable net profit jumped by more than 4,000% year over year to 823 million Chinese yuan in the first half, while revenue rose by 31.3% to 3.51 billion yuan, China Securities Journal reported.

* A methane gas explosion in a coal mine in Pakistan's Balochistan province killed at least seven miners, while six remain missing, Reuters reported, citing a mining official. Authorities warned that the death toll could rise.

* T2 Resources Fund Pty. Ltd. will proceed with the compulsory acquisition of Realm Resources Ltd. after closing its offer to acquire Realm shares with a relevant interest of 96.3%.

* Champion Iron Ltd. plans to continue with operational improvements at its Bloom Lake iron ore mine in Quebec after the asset achieved commercial production ahead of schedule on June 30. Bloom Lake produced 1.5 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate during the company's fiscal first quarter that ended June 30, and 2.2 million tonnes since the mine's restart.

* The Singapore Exchange announced plans to put in place a contract for 65% iron ore, which will launch by year-end, in addition to a benchmark contract for 62% iron ore and low-grade 58% iron ore, The West Australian reported, citing head of commodities William Chin.

* China's Ningxia province eliminated nearly 4 million tonnes of steel capacity over the last five years, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing local authorities. The region ordered three companies to eliminate excessive capacity and eight companies to exit nine projects.

SPECIALTY

* Lithium Americas Corp. said Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA agreed to sell all of its interest in Minera Exar SA, the holding company for the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium brine project in Argentina, to a Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd. unit. As a result of the transaction, Lithium Americas' interest in the project will increase from 50% to 62.5%, with its new partner Jiangxi Ganfeng holding the remaining 37.5% stake.

* The Zimbabwean government confirmed that the restructuring of Premier African Minerals Ltd.'s 49%-owned RHA tungsten mine can move ahead without approval by the mines ministry, sending the company's share soaring in early afternoon London trading.

* Mozambique now accounts for as much as 80% of the world's ruby output, from nothing 10 years earlier, with miners such as Fura Gems Inc. and Gemfields Group Ltd. descending on the African nation, Bloomberg News reported.

* Beowulf Mining PLC estimated a maiden indicated and inferred resource for its Aitolampi graphite project in Finland of 19.3 million tonnes at 4.5% total graphitic carbon containing 878,000 tonnes of graphite, at a nominal 3% TGC cutoff grade.

* Separately, Diatreme Resources Ltd. estimated a maiden resource for the Nob Point prospect, part of its Cape Bedford silica-heavy minerals project in North Queensland, Australia, totaling 21.6 million tonnes at over 99% silica.

* Sheffield Resources Ltd. was granted environmental approval for its Thunderbird mineral sands project by the state government of Western Australia.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Resources companies are targeting students in primary and high school levels in a campaign to push for the benefits of mining and recruit future workers at its operations, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

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