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Court ruling may aid ArcelorMittal's Ilva buy; Codelco issues US$2B in bonds


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Court ruling may aid ArcelorMittal's Ilva buy; Codelco issues US$2B in bonds


Court removes possible hurdle in Ilva deal talks between Italy, ArcelorMittal

An Italian court ruled that one of three blast furnaces at the Ilva International SpA steel plant in the south of the country does not need to be shut down, Reuters reported. The decision may aid the acquisition of Ilva by ArcelorMittal, which recently agreed with state-appointed commissioners managing the plant to extend discussions about the deal until the end of January, according to the report. The new ruling overturns a magisterial order to shut down the plant following the death of a worker, and it sets a 12-month deadline for the commissioners to make the furnace at Ilva compliant with environmental and safety rules.

Codelco issues US$2B in bonds to upgrade projects, refinance debts

Chile's Codelco issued US$2 billion in dollar-dominated bonds to fund its upgrade projects and to refinance debt, reported, citing a company statement. “A favorable debt market, with rates at historically low levels, makes it attractive to prefinance our cash needs of 2021,” said Codelco’s vice president of administration and finance, Alejandro Rivera. Codelco aims to secure funds for its 10-year, US$40 billion mines overhaul as many of its operations have been affected by declining ore grades and increasing costs.

Independence Group's H1'20 output at Nova, Tropicana exceed guidance

Independence Group NL's preliminary production estimate for the first half of fiscal year 2020 of 15,236 tonnes of nickel, 6,779 tonnes of copper and 561 tonnes of cobalt from its Nova mine, and 257,252 ounces of gold from its Tropicana mine, both in Western Australia, exceeded pro-rata guidance.


* EMX Royalty Corp.'s subsidiary Eurasia Madencilik Ltd. Sti. is transferring the company’s Balya lead-zinc royalty property in Turkey to Esan Eczacibaşi Endüstriyel Hammaddeler San. ve Tic. A.Ş from Dedeman Madencilik San Ve Tic. EMX retains a 4% net smelter return royalty on the property that is uncapped and may not be repurchased.


* Amid heightened tensions in the Middle East after the U.S. killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a Jan. 2 airstrike in Iraq, analysts pointed to possible upside in the price of gold as a safe-haven asset while also advising caution in near-term trading. "Our view ... is to take profits and stand aside to see if things calm down and prices subside," CPM Group Managing Director Jeffrey Christian said in an email.

* Idaho-based Hecla Mining Co. booked a yearly increase in fourth-quarter 2019 silver and gold production and announced the ratification of a collective bargaining agreement at its Lucky Friday silver mine. The company reported a 25% rise in silver production to 3.4 million ounces and a 5% growth in gold production to 74,773 ounces, based on preliminary figures.

* West Africa-focused Teranga Gold Corp. achieved record full-year 2019 gold production of 288,768 ounces, increasing 18% and beating the annual guidance range of 245,000 ounces to 270,000 ounces. The improvement was credited to the newly commissioned Wahgnion mine in Burkina Faso and the Sabodala mine in Senegal, as both exceeded guidance.

* Resolute Mining Ltd. produced a total of 105,293 ounces of gold during the December 2019 quarter, improving by 2,092 ounces from the previous quarter despite the sulfide circuit at the Syama gold mine in Mali being offline for most of the period.

* Royal Gold Inc. RGLD Gold AG sold about 60,000 gold equivalent ounces comprised of about 47,000 gold ounces, 514,000 silver ounces and 2,000 tonnes of copper-related to its streaming agreements during the second quarter of its fiscal 2020.

* Toronto-based Rubicon Minerals Corp. has commenced a feasibility study for its Phoenix gold project in Ontario after reporting a 38% increase in the site's contained gold resources. The property now hosts 811,000 ounces of gold contained within 3.9 million tonnes of measured and indicated resources grading 6.45 g/t of gold, using a 3.0 g/t gold cutoff grade.

* Sable Resources Ltd. received drilling permits for six new targets at its Don Julio gold cluster project in Argentina. The company has also been granted a permit by the community of Huancasancos near its Scorpius project in Peru, and has received government approval for the environmental impact assessment for the project.

* Canarc Resource Corp. and its subsidiary American Innovate Minerals LLC granted Getchell Gold Corp. an option to acquire a 100% interest in the Fondaway Canyon and Dixie-Comstock properties in Nevada.

* NQ Minerals PLC will secure 100% of all the mining and exploration rights to the main 1,695-hectare Hellyer mining lease as Bass Metals Ltd. agreed to surrender its sublease agreement over underground base metals rights at the Hellyer gold mine in Tasmania, Australia. The company also acquired 100% rights to the 46-square-kilometer Mount Block permit, which surrounds the mining lease.

* Australian gold producer Horizon Minerals Ltd. completed an 18,000-meter drill program at the Boorara gold project in Western Australia. The company aims to start mining in the June quarter and achieve first gold production in the September quarter.

* Goldplay Exploration Ltd. entered into a nonbinding letter of intent to acquire the Plomosas silver project from First Majestic Silver Corp. near Goldplay's San Marcial silver-gold project in Mexico. Goldplay agreed to acquire First Majestic unit and project owner Minera La Rastra SA de CV by paying C$100,000, issuing shares equal to 19.9% of Goldplay, and granting a 2% net smelter royalty that can be halved for US$1 million.

* Decade Resources Ltd. secured an option to acquire up to 55% of Teuton Resources Corp.'s Del Norte gold property in the Stewart area of British Columbia.

* London- and Toronto-listed Altus Strategies PLC agreed to acquire a 2% net smelter royalty on its Lakanfla gold project in Mali by issuing 2 million shares to AGMEX SARL.


* China Baowu Steel Group Corporation Ltd. produced a total of 96 million tonnes of crude steel in 2019, higher than the 67.4 million tonnes produced in 2018, Argus Media reported. Baowu is expected to complete its takeover of Chongqing Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. in June.

* India's cabinet is likely to consider an ordinance to amend laws that will open up coal mining to firms other than those in the steel and power industry, The Economic Times reported, citing an unnamed government official. The move will pave the way for the first leg of commercial coal auctions within the current fiscal year.

* Tata Steel Ltd. unit T S Alloys Ltd. secured a 50-year mining lease for the Saruabil chromite mining block held by Misrilall Mines Pvt Ltd in India's Odisha state. The lease was granted after the company emerged as the winning bidder in an e-auction process conducted by the state government in 2019.

* The Federation of Thai Industries' Iron and Steel Industry Club is expecting domestic demand in the steel market to grow 3% to 4% this year to 18.9 million tonnes due to a boost from the construction and automotive sectors, the Bangkok Post reported.

* About 75 laid-off employees of Perry County Coal Corp. did not receive their final paychecks, while the remaining maintenance crew of 24 workers and security guards have not yet received their pay since mid-December, according to the company's former general manager David Mullins, the Associated Press reported, citing the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper.


* Mining giant Rio Tinto awarded French services provider Sodexo SA with a A$15.4 million contract extension for the rehabilitation of the Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia, which will close at the end of this year, Australian Mining wrote.

* A definitive feasibility study of Mineral Commodities Ltd. on the Munglinup graphite project in Western Australia outlined a posttax net present value of US$111 million at a discount rate of 7%, with an internal rate of return of 30% and a payback period of 2.7 years. The project is expected to produce an average of 52,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate per annum over a 14-year life of mine.

* Livent Corp. revised its full-year 2019 financial guidance to revenue from US$385 million to US$390 million, adjusted EBITDA from US$98 million to US$101 million, and adjusted earnings per share from 40 cents to 42 cents.

* Ioneer Ltd. signed a deal with an environmental group to stop new activities at its Rhyolite Ridge lithium project in Nevada in exchange for the withdrawal of a lawsuit that seeks to protect a rare desert wildflower, the Associated Press reported. After reaching an agreement with Ioneer USA Corp., the Center for Biological Diversity reportedly notified the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas that it was dropping a lawsuit against the Trump administration that had sought to ban all drilling and road-building on federal land at the site.


* Net increases in dividend payments for U.S. domestic common stocks jumped 44.2% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2019 as the amount of dividend cuts shrank by more than half, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

* Environmental activities called for abstention from the 2020 regional elections as a form of protest against the dependency of the regime of Indonesian President Joko Widodo on the mining industry, especially on coal mining, at the expense of local people, The Jakarta Post reported.

* The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries approached India's finance ministry to propose a number of indirect mining tax incentives to revive the country's mining sector, Mining Weekly reported. The group proposed the cancellation of a 30% export tax on iron ore exports applicable for all outward shipments with an iron content of 58% and above, the report said.

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