Chile's environmental regulators approved a proposed expansion of Antofagasta Plc's Centinela copper mine in northern Chile, opening the door for a US$4.35 billion investment, Reuters reported. The expansion will extend the life of the mine to 2056 and will double its copper output to more than 400,000 tonnes a year.
Rio Tinto to fight BSG Resources over Simandou mining rights
Rio Tinto plans to challenge any legal action initiated by BSG Resources Ltd. regarding the mining rights for the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, Reuters wrote. BSG has accused Rio Tinto of contributing to the loss of its mining rights for the Simandou project and is demanding compensation from the company.
Vale sells Carborough Downs stake and adjacent Queensland coal tenements
Vale SA agreed to sell its stake in the Carborough Downs coal mine as well as several undeveloped adjacent tenements including the Red Hill and Ellensfield coal deposits in Queensland, Australia, to Hans Mende's coal vehicle, Fitzroy Australia Resources, for an undisclosed amount, The Australian Financial Review reported. The deal also includes the Broadlea coal mine, which is under care and maintenance.
* Analysts at Morgan Stanley increased their price target for BHP Billiton Group by 9%, to A$30, and for Rio Tinto by 19%, to A$71 per share, The Australian reported. "Better than expected cashflow leading to debt reduction and increased returns should drive momentum," analyst Brendan Fitzpatrick said.
* In the event that tariffs on mining exports are reinstated in Argentina, the Alumbrera copper mine in the Catamarca province would close operations by mid-2017 instead of the end of 2018 as originally planned, causing the loss of 1,700 direct jobs, daily Elancasti reported. The mine is owned by Glencore Plc, Goldcorp Inc. and Yamana Gold Inc.
* The Australian Supreme Court ordered CITIC Ltd. to pay US$21.4 million to Clive Palmer in their case regarding the royalty payments at the Sino-Iron magnetite project in the Pilbara, The West Australian reported. The court will retain half of the money, while the rest will go to Palmer's privately owned resource company, Mineralogy Pty. Ltd.
* KAZ Minerals PLC secured a new US$300 million credit facility with the Development Bank of Kazakhstan JSC, which will fund the completion of the Aktogay copper project. The company also secured an increased commitment for an additional US$50 million from ING Bank NV in a pre-export finance facility.
* Bushveld Minerals Ltd. unit Greenhills Resources Ltd. agreed to terms to acquire a 49% interest in Dawnmin Africa Investments Ltd., which is the 85% owner of the Uis tin project in Namibia.
* Shares in Arizona Mining Inc. tanked as much as 15% in Dec. 12 trading after the Global Mining Observer published claims that the company's zinc is mixed with too much manganese, which clogs up smelters, to make their minerals viable for sale, the Financial Post reported. Arizona Mining said the claims made in the report about the company's Hermosa project in Arizona are misleading.
* HudBay Minerals Inc. closed its previously announced note offer of US$1.0 billion aggregate principal amount of senior notes, at US$400 million worth of 7.25% senior notes due 2023 and US$600 million worth of 7.625% senior notes due 2025.
* Indonesia will regulate the price of mineral ores that cannot be exported, especially low-calorie nickel, so they can be absorbed by local smelters, Kontan reported, citing I Gusti Putu Suryawirawan, the director general of metal, machineries, transports and electronics at the Industry Ministry.
* Morgan Stanley has chosen base over bulk metals as its preferred pick for next year amid the U.S. president-elect's plan to bolster infrastructure spending, which may support demand from China, Bloomberg News reported.
* Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. will cease underground mining at its Stawell gold mine in Victoria, Australia, and put the operations under care and maintenance due to declining profitability. According to ABC, the move will leave up to 150 mine employees jobless, as only 15 to 20 people will be retained to maintain the site.
* An independent feasibility study for Dalradian Resources Inc.'s Curraghinalt gold project in Northern Ireland pegged the project with a net present value of US$301 million, using a 5% discount rate, with a 24.4% internal rate of return after tax at an assumed gold price of US$1,250 per ounce.
* The results of a scoping study on Egan Street Resources Ltd.'s Rothsay gold project in Western Australia indicate that it will be a technically and financially viable operation and is expected to produce 101,000 ounces of gold over an initial 3.75 years for a capital outlay of about A$20.4 million. The board gave its approval to go ahead with a feasibility study, which is due for completion in the second half of 2017.
* Eureka Resources Inc. entered into an agreement to acquire a 100% interest in three noncontiguous claim blocks dubbed the Luxor project in the heart of the Klondike gold fields in Canada's Yukon Territory.
* The top 20 gold-producing companies hold more than 766 million ounces of gold reserves, sufficient for 16 years of production at 2015 rates, according to SNL Metals & Mining data. The companies accomplished this while increasing their aggregate production by 7% over the previous 10 years, from 39.7 million ounces in 2006 to 42.5 million ounces in 2015, and producing 403 million ounces of gold.
* After South African President Jacob Zuma threatened to revoke its mining permit, Lonmin Plc said it is confident of submitting a housing plan that meets criteria set by the government, Reuters reported. The miner had been instructed in September to revise its social and labor plan to improve the living and housing conditions of its employees.
* After striking a US$2.2 billion takeover deal for Stillwater Mining Co., Sibanye Gold Ltd. CEO Neal Froneman said the company would like to grow its gold business more, adding that Sibanye needs to take another step in South Africa, but it will only do it if it can create value for the company, Bloomberg News reported.
* BHP Billiton Group and Vale SA Brazilian iron ore joint venture Samarco Mineração SA would lose 4.4 billion Brazilian reais next year, or 368 million reais per month, if it does not resume operations soon, according to calculations made by consulting firm Tendências Consultoria at the request of BHP Billiton. Also, 19,100 jobs would be lost, Notícias de Mineração reported.
* Chinese coal miners ramped up output in November, but production still fell 5.1% year over year, to 308.1 million tonnes, while power consumption rose 9% in the same month, its fastest pace since February 2014. According to Reuters, mining executives said increasing coal production capacity or reopening idled mines has been slow, as firms need to rehire workers and refurbish equipment.
* Meanwhile, China's steel output in November increased 5% year over year, to 66.29 million tonnes, the fastest since June 2014, Reuters reported, citing data from the country's National Bureau of Statistics.
* Rio Tinto awarded a A$40 million contract to NRW Holdings for bulk earthworks and civil works at its Yandicoogina iron ore mine in Western Australia, Mining Weekly wrote.
* Teck Resources Ltd. settled a benchmark price of US$285 per tonne with major customers for the first quarter of 2017 for its highest quality coals. Meanwhile, unionized employees at the company's Fording River and Elkview steelmaking coal mines in British Columbia ratified new five-year collective agreements expiring April 30, 2021, and Oct. 31, 2020, respectively. Teck now expects to incur a one-time, after-tax charge to profit in the fourth quarter of C$35 million.
* The Queensland Greens have asked Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to reject a A$1 billion taxpayer-funded loan to Adani Enterprises Ltd. for the rail line at its Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, The Sydney Morning Herald wrote.
* MHM Metals Ltd. abandoned merger plans with Alliance Mining Commodities Ltd., which owns a 90% interest in the Koumbia bauxite project in Guinea, Mining Weekly reported. The companies did not provide reasons behind the decision.
* Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and Glencore have settled the January-through-March premium hard coking coal price at US$285 per tonne FOB Australia, the highest in more than five years, several parties familiar with the negotiations said. The first quarter 2017 price is US$85 per tonne higher than the fourth quarter price of US$200 per tonne FOB Australia.
* According to a report by Minerals Council of Australia, the Western Australian Nationals party's proposed A$5-per-tonne tax on iron ore production will not only risk future mining investment and threaten jobs across Western Australia but will also yield next-to-no benefits for the state, Mining Weekly wrote.
* Public Joint Stock Co. Acron, Russia's largest producer of nitrogen fertilizer, may delay the start of active investment in its Talitsky potash project, Kommersant and Vedomosti reported, citing Chairman Alexander Popov.
* The value of rough diamond sales for De Beers SA's 10th sales cycle for the year fell to US$418 million, from US$476 million in the preceding cycle, as a result of the demonetization program in India.
* Lithium Consolidated Mineral Exploration Pty. Ltd., or LCME, has extended the closing date of its IPO to list on the ASX, pushing its anticipated listing date to Feb. 10, 2017.
* Emerging strategic metals company TNG Ltd. signed a key memorandum of understanding with Sumitomo Electric Industries and Energy Made Clean, a subsidiary of Carnegie Clean Energy, to collaborate on the promotion, development and growth of Australia's Vanadium Redox Flow Battery market.
* South African President Jacob Zuma outlined the progress of the implementation of recommendations made in response to the August 2012 incident at Lonmin Plc's Marikana operations, which left 44 people dead. Zuma said the government is ready to pay compensation for the victims of the incident and charged a number police officers for the violent turn of events at the mine.
* However, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union blasted Zuma for not consulting affected families and Lonmin workers, noting that the government failed to hold Lonmin accountable for the incident and find the real perpetrators of the Marikana killings.
* Donald Trump chose Rex Tillerson to be the next secretary of state.
* Top Federal Reserve officials will meet this week amid widespread expectations in financial markets that they plan to lift the U.S. central bank's key interest rate for the first time this year.
* Goldman Sachs Group Inc. President and COO Gary Cohn will be appointed to direct the National Economic Council, President-elect Donald Trump's transition team confirmed Dec. 12.
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