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Vale fertilizer asset sale plan on track despite hiccups

TOP NEWS

Vale fertilizer asset sale plan on track despite hiccups

Sources said the sale of Vale SA's fertilizer assets remains on track despite a request from the Brazilian state development bank, or BNDES, to study the deal more carefully, Reuters wrote. The transaction covers the sale of certain assets to Mosaic Co., and the terms are unlikely to change significantly. BNDES pushed back the vote on the fertilizer deal at the company's recent board meeting.

Vale's shift to northern Brazil deposits appeasing investors

Vale's shift toward new deposits in north Brazil, away from CEO Murilo Ferreira's home state of Minas Gerais, has been commended by investors amid prospects of higher earnings and lower costs. The move, however, was opposed by a group of local politicians conspiring to oust Ferreira when his term expires in the second quarter of 2017, Bloomberg News reported.

Codelco postpones US$2.25B investment amid copper price downturn

Driven by weak copper prices worldwide, Chilean copper miner Codelco said it would delay about US$2.25 billion worth of investment, reducing its planned spending for the five years to 2020 to US$18 billion, Reuters reported. Codelco also postponed phase two of its Radomiro Tomic project to 2024, and expects to complete the construction of a new level at its El Teniente mine in 2023 from an earlier target of 2020.

DIVERSIFIED

* An African-American employee at BHP Billiton Group's previously owned Pinto Mining Group alleged that he was harassed on the basis of his race and was greeted with Ku Klux Klan symbols and nooses while working at the operations since 2012. He is claiming general damages and punitive damages for the treatment, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. BHP Billiton sold Pinto Mining to Capstone Mining Corp. in October 2013.

BASE METALS

* Central Asia Metals Plc's Kounrad copper operation in Kazakhstan produced 4,102 tonnes of copper cathode in the third quarter, 38% higher than its output of 2,966 tonnes in the third quarter of 2015. Production for the first nine months of the year totaled 11,010 tonnes, up 31% year over year, while sales for the nine-month period went up 38% year over year to 10,646 tonnes.

* Independence Group NL launched a A$20.5 million cash bid for the Mark Creasy-backed and fellow ASX-listed Windward Resources Ltd. Creasy has already given his nod to the 19-cent-per-share, off-market offer for the 27.44% stake in Windward that he controls.

* According to unnamed sources quoted by FastMarkets and Metal Bulletin, the director of nickel marketing at Vale International S.A., Nick Williams, left the company after it announced plans to restructure its base metals division to reduce costs. Williams also stepped down from the nickel committee of the London Metal Exchange, the report added.

* Kosovo's government intends to make a renewed offer to assume control of a huge mining complex, RMHK Trepca Mines, despite strong objections from Serbia, which claims it owns the business, Reuters reported. Kosovo's Parliament is expected to pass a law, giving the government 80% control of the complex on Oct. 7, with the remaining 20% going to the miners.

* South Australia's power supplier, Electranet, said the repairs to the transmission lines damaged in a storm last week could be completed by early next week, Reuters reported. The restoration of power will bring BHP Billiton Group's Olympic Dam copper mine back to normal operations. The mining giant is losing an average of 567 tonnes of copper production at a cost of A$2.7 million per day, Reuters estimated.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Normal operations resumed at Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s Cooke gold mine in Gauteng, South Africa, a day after being suspended following clashes between rival unions. The company is investigating assault on four of its employees, which left two of them critically injured, by unknown assailants during the early hours of Oct. 4.

* Sibanye Gold CEO Neal Froneman blamed the apartheid-era past for present government regulations and labor problems confronting South Africa's mining sector, Bloomberg News reported. "We need to critically and honestly acknowledge the role of our industry where it acted against the interests of the vast majority of South Africans if we wish to secure full reconciliation with our broader society," Froneman was quoted as saying.

* A Mexican government mediator said that police have cleared three entrances to Goldcorp Inc.'s suspended Penasquito gold mine, while discussions are underway to resolve a blockade. An agreement with landowners and truckers is expected to be reached today, Reuters wrote.

* K92 Mining Inc. said gold production is underway from the Irumafimpa deposit at its Kainantu gold mine in Papua New Guinea, with concentrate shipment deliveries expected to start in November.

* Rockcliff Copper Corp. acquired an option to earn a 100% interest in the Snow Lake gold property, located in the Snow Lake mining camp in Manitoba and beside a former million-ounce gold producer.

* Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. finalized an earn-in agreement with Osisko Mining Inc., pursuant to which the latter can earn a 100% interest in Osisko Gold's portfolio of 28 exploration properties in Quebec's James Bay and Labrador Trough areas, in exchange for seven-year work commitments.

* Kiska Metals Corp. signed a definitive agreement to sell its early-stage Goodpaster gold project in Alaska to Millrock Resources Inc.

* Centaurus Metals Ltd. is expanding its gold portfolio with the acquisition of a gold-copper exploration project in northern Brazil through an existing strategic alliance with Terrativa Minerais SA .

* Double Crown Resources Inc. entered a binding participation agreement for controlling interest of a major gold, silver and minerals property in Mexico's Puebla region. The company will use the resources from Puebla mines for multiple high-value supply projects over the next several years.

* El Capitan Precious Metals Inc. executed an agreement with AuraSource Inc. to sell 600,000 tonnes of head ore over the next 12 months from the namesake El Capitan polymetallic project in New Mexico.

* Centamin Plc's preliminary total gold production for the third quarter from its Sukari gold mine in Egypt totaled 148,674 ounces, a 41% year-over-year jump from 105,413 ounces in the corresponding quarter last year and a 6% increase over the 140,306 ounces produced in the second quarter.

* On a 100% basis, Caledonia Mining Corp. Plc's third-quarter gold production increased 23% year over year to 13,430 ounces at its 49%-owned Blanket mine in Zimbabwe. The company remains on track to meet full-year 2016 production guidance of 50,000 ounces.

* Keras Resources Plc completed the acquisition of Arcadia Minerals Pty. Ltd. and its Klondyke gold project in Western Australia. The company has also completed an agreement with Haoma Mining NL that gives it the right to mine and option to purchase tenements contiguous to and near the Klondyke project.

* Havilah Resources Ltd.'s total gold production at its Portia gold mine recently exceeded 10,000 ounces, 5,000 ounces of which is attributable to the company. The company said it is on track to deliver about half of its 10,000-ounce hedge book at an average price of A$1,618 per ounce.

* The recent fall in the gold price, which seems to have been driven by speculation of a scaling back in the ECB's asset purchase program as well as an expected U.S. rate hike, is anticipated to increase demand for the metal from consumers, long-term investors and central banks, according to a report from the World Gold Council.

BULK COMMODITIES

* U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest dismissed a private antitrust lawsuit by certain aluminum buyers against Glencore Plc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which accused the defendants of artificially driving up the price of the metal, Reuters reported. Forrest noted in the judgement that "[p]rofit by defendants or losses by plaintiffs subsequently experienced in physical aluminum is irrelevant to antitrust standing."

* Brazil's Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional is seeking a valuation of between US$30 billion and US$35 billion for its Congonhas Minerios SA unit, Reuters reported, citing a source. CSN is in talks to sell a minority stake in the unit, and China Brazil Xinnenghuan International Investment Co. is interested in buying a 20% to 25% stake.

* Ferrexpo Plc produced 2.60 million tonnes of iron pellets from its own ore in the third quarter, down 7.8% compared to 2.82 million tonnes in the second quarter. Production for the first nine months of the year totaled 8.30 million tonnes, in line with the same year-ago period.

* The Chamber of Minerals and Energy and the Minerals Council of Australia have launched a new website in its bid to fight against the new iron ore tax proposed by Brendon Grylls, according to The West Australian. The website claims to make people aware of the effects of the new tax.

* ThyssenKrupp AG has assured about 8,000 Germany-based workers that current collective wage contracts and job guarantees would be upheld during its restructuring, Reuters reported, citing the head of the works council, Guenter Back. The company's works council and representatives from the IG Metall trade union will continue negotiations about potential restructuring measures at the division.

* Vedanta Ltd. intends to raise up to 12.50 billion Indian rupees by issuing non-convertible debentures, Press Trust of India reported.

* Brazilian copper processor Termomecanica has invested 27 million Brazilian reais to adapt part of its existing facilities to produce an initial 200 to 250 tonnes of aluminum products per month, which will target the domestic market and Mercosul area, Metal Bulletin reported.

* Turkey informed the World Trade Organization that it has launched dispute proceedings against Morocco over anti-dumping duties imposed by the North African country on imports of Turkish hot rolled coil, Metal Bulletin reported.

* Vietnam's Ministry of Industry & Trade launched an anti-dumping probe into Chinese imports of steel H-beam, Metal Bulletin wrote.

SPECIALTY

* Stellar Diamonds Plc said that an independent preliminary economic assessment for the combined Tongo and Tonguma diamond properties in Sierra Leone defined a pretax net present value of US$172 million, using a 10% discount rate, with a 49% internal rate of return. The project is estimated to generate US$1.52 billion in revenue over its 21-year mine life, with operating costs of US$847 million.

* Dakota Minerals Ltd. has estimated a maiden resource at the Lynas Find lithium project in Western Australia of 7.3 million tonnes at 1.25% lithium oxide, 85 parts per million tantalum pentoxide, and 0.99% iron(III) oxide in the indicated and inferred category.

* A review by Premier African Minerals Ltd. of immediately available tungsten-rich material at its RHA tungsten operations in Zimbabwe estimated sufficient tonnage in the open pit and underground operations to support an initial three-year operation at 39,000 tonnes per month, upon the installation of the proposed X-ray transmission system for ore sorting at the plant that is expected by the end of November.

* Syrah Resources Ltd. shares lost more than 20% of their value on Oct. 5 after it emerged that Tolga Kumova resigned as managing director of the graphite miner, The Australian Financial Review wrote. According to the report, Kumova will take on another role after deciding that he does not have the "skill base" to oversee the company's transition from junior explorer to an operating miner.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* In a bid to avoid court hearings following a deadlock, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma asked the Mines Ministry to negotiate an out-of-court settlement with mining companies over the 26% black equity ownership quotas proposed under a new law, Mineweb.com reported, citing Deputy Mines Minister Godfrey Oliphant. Separately, Oliphant was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying that the government wants to finalize the country's mining charter by the end of this month.

* The International Monetary Fund expects metal prices to decline by 2% in 2017, and by 8% in 2016, according to its latest World Economic Outlook. In April, the fund projected a 1% drop in 2017 and a 14% fall in 2016.

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.