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Iran eyes US$10B of mining exports; Vale closes new US$3B credit facility


Iran eyes US$10B of mineral exports

Iran expects to export US$9 billion to US$10 billion worth of minerals and other mining products by the end of the current Iranian calendar year that concludes on March 19, 2020, Tehran Times reported, citing the Islamic Republic News Agency, which quoted Jafar Sarqini, the country's deputy industry, mining and trade minister. For the first six months of the Iranian calendar year, steel ingot was the top export, followed by iron ore and iron ore concentrate, steel products, cathode copper and rolled steel products.

Vale closes new US$3B revolving credit line

Vale SA signed a US$3 billion, five-year revolving credit facility from a banking syndicate of 16 global lenders led by Citigroup, Crédit Agricole, MUFG and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. The Brazilian iron ore major said the new credit line replaces a US$3 billion facility of the same tenor signed in 2015, which will be canceled, and is in addition to a US$2 billion credit line available for drawdown until 2022. Vale said the new facility will act as a buffer and aligns with its focus on lowering borrowing costs.

China to spur investment in restoring land damaged by mining

China's Ministry of Natural Resources is looking to promote investment by both public and private organizations into the restoration of land damaged by mining activities as part of a five-year plan, Reuters reported. According to the ministry, mining-related activities damaged over 3.6 million hectares of land in the Asian country by the end of 2018. Restoration efforts were hindered due to a lack of policies to encourage investment.


* Independence Group NL said it will allow its takeover offer for Panoramic Resources Ltd. to lapse after deciding not to waive breaches of defeating conditions for the bid.

* Fraser Range Metals Group Ltd. successfully completed the acquisition of Wildcat Resources Ltd.

* The board of Dizon Copper-Silver Mines Inc. approved the sale of the company's 20,534-square-meter land in Subic, Zambales in the Philippines, which used to be the site of a copper concentrates storage facility and a loading out pier, to real estate company Sunplaza Development Corp., for a total consideration of 100.0 million Philippine pesos.

* Vancouver-based Zincore Metals Inc. agreed to a reserve takeover by Latin America-focused miner Mines & Metals Trading (Peru) PLC, or MMTP. Following the deal, the company will continue the reactivation of its Accha Zinc Oxide District project, and exploration and development of MMTP's Recuperada zinc-lead-silver project in Peru.

* European Cobalt Limited will no longer proceed with the acquisition of Maroon Gold Pty Ltd., in a mutual decision made by the parties.

* China's monthly nickel ore imports from Indonesia climbed to a near six-year high of 3.33 million tonnes in November, ahead of Indonesia's planned export ban in January 2020, Reuters reported.


* After rallying in 2019, gold is set for a solid performance in 2020 amid economic uncertainty and the emergence of monetary stimulus, analysts said.

* Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the country may consider investing part of its National Wealth Fund in gold, Reuters reported. Siluanov added that he sees gold investments as more sustainable in the long term, compared to investing in financial assets.

* Zambia Ministry of Mines Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga said that the country is missing out on revenues because copper miners do not declare the gold that they produce, Reuters reported. "What has been happening is that in some cases the gold has been hidden in the copper blisters or copper cathodes. A system will be put in place to ensure that we account for that gold," Mulenga said.

* Gold Road Resources Ltd.'s subsidiary Gold Road Projects Pty. Ltd. informed Cygnus Gold Ltd. of its decision to withdraw from the Wadderin agreement in Western Australia. Meanwhile, Gold Road and Cygnus Gold are finalizing the 2020 programs and budgets for the joint ventures on Lake Grace and Yandina.


* Falling ore grades have continued to pummel production at Escondida, the world's largest copper mine, the BHP-controlled operation said, S&P Global Platts reported. In its latest financial results filed with Chile's financial regulator, the mining company said it produced 870,970 tonnes of copper from January through September, down 8.4% from the same period of 2018. The company said the fall reflected the expected drop in ore grades at the open pit operation, which is located in northern Chile's Atacama Desert.

* China's Henan Shenhuo Group Co. Ltd. will kick off production at the first 150,000-tonne-per-annum line of its aluminum smelting project in the Wenshan prefecture of Yunnan province on Dec. 31, Reuters reported, citing company officials. The plant is expected to reach the full annual production rate by March 2020, the report said.

* Malaysia imposed antidumping duties on cold rolled iron or non-alloy steel coil imports from China, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam for five years after concluding an anti-dumping probe on behalf of its local industry, Reuters reported, citing Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

* Russian steel pipe producer PAO TMK aims to close the US$1.2 billion sale of its U.S. subsidiary IPSCO Tubulars Inc. to Tenaris SA in January, Reuters reported, citing Interfax.

* India's Coal Mines Provident Fund Organisation will impose a levy of 10 Indian rupees on every tonne of coal produced by its members, including Coal India Ltd. and Singareni Collieries Co (SCCL), to resolve an asset-liability imbalance that is seen to completely exhaust the pension fund by 2028, The Economic Times of India reported. The levy is projected to raise 6.5 billion rupees from Coal India this year if it achieves its annual production guidance, the report said.

* The Indian government is expected to auction off over 200 commercial coal mining blocks to privately owned miners in the next five years ahead of plans to stop thermal coal imports for its power plants by 2024, The Economic Times of India reported.

* The Department of Primary Industry and Resources of Australia's Northern Territory approved the resumption of operations of OM Holdings Ltd. subsidiary OM Manganese Ltd. at the Bootu Creek manganese mine, which was suspended in August 2019 due to a fatality.

* Miners based in Odisha, India, increased the price of iron ore by up to 10% even as supply from the state hit an all-time high, in anticipation of a supply disruption as multiple mine leases will expire at the end of the fiscal year, The Economic Times of India reported.

* Goa Mining People's Front, which represents the state's mining sector, appealed to the government to restart mining activities in the state by the end of the month, The Economic Times of India reported.


* Bolivia's former president Evo Morales claimed in an interview with AFP that he was forced out from his position by a coup supported by the United States, which aimed to gain access to the South American country's lithium resources.

* Russian diamond producer PJSC Alrosa and state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Co. finalized their joint venture agreement to explore for primary diamond deposits in the African country.


* Peru could have generated US$29 billion more in mining tax revenues for the past 13 years had the country adopted a better tax model, according to BNamericas.

* The Philippine government must introduce reforms to help small-scale miners legitimize their operations, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported, citing a study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies. The think tank noted that the People’s Small-scale Mining Act of 1991 was a "dismal failure," as it did not spread employment opportunities and allow equitable sharing of the country's resources.

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

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