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Agrium, PotashCorp merger nets final regulatory approval

TOP NEWS

Agrium, PotashCorp net final regulatory approval for merger

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. secured final approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for their proposed merger to create Nutrien. With all regulatory approvals in place, the companies expect to close the transaction Jan. 1.

Kobe Steel hit with 3 class action lawsuits on data falsification allegations

Rosen Law Firm, Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman LLC and Block & Leviton LLP filed separate lawsuits against Kobe Steel Ltd. and certain of its officers and directors, alleging violations of the federal securities laws. The legal actions were initiated on behalf of the purchasers of the company's securities and seek to recover damages. The lawsuits allege that the defendants misrepresented the quality of the company's products, while Kobe withheld data on many of its aluminum, copper, iron and steel products, and knowingly sold products that failed quality control tests.

Jiangxi Copper still operating normally despite orders to stop

Operations at Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. are normal despite the company receiving a halt order from the government, Metal Bulletin wrote. Bloomberg News previously reported, citing a company official, that Jiangxi Copper will stop all production in its home province for at least a week following a government order to help fight pollution in the area.

BASE METALS

* Codelco awarded an approximately US$20 million contract to Spain's OHL to support the operation and maintenance of the canal for the transport of slurry, tailings and industrial wastewater at the El Teniente copper mine in Chile, International Mining reported.

* Nautilus Minerals Inc. is actively seeking to appoint a new independent director after Russell Debney stepped down as its chairman and as a company director. The company also noted that its funding talks are taking longer than expected, though it remains positive that discussions will conclude soon.

* RTG Mining Inc. expressed its support for the Autonomous Government of Bougainville's decision to impose a moratorium on mining and exploration activities over the Panguna copper project area in Papua New Guinea, saying the move prioritizes landowners, majority of whom opposed Bougainville Copper Ltd.'s development of the project.

* Osisko Metals Inc. entered into a definitive deal to acquire the base metals-prospective Key Anacon claims and surrounding area in New Brunswick's Bathurst Mining Camp from Hunter Brook Holdings Ltd.

* Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co. Ltd. set the 2018 benchmark to treat and refine Freeport-McMoRan Inc.'s ore at US$82.25 per tonne and 8.225 cents per pound, respectively, down 11% from 2017 benchmarks, a source in Tongling Nonferrous told Reuters.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's Renova Group sold its stake in gold producer Petropavlovsk Plc, a Renova spokesman Andrey Shtorkh told Reuters, without disclosing the details of the transaction. Meanwhile, Kommersant and Vedomosti reported that Renova is negotiating the sale of the Kamchatka gold project in Russia to OJSC GV Gold.

* Centerra Gold Inc. suspended milling operations at its Mount Milligan copper-gold mine in British Columbia due to insufficient water resources. As a longer-term response to the situation, Centerra is planning a change to the mine's environmental assessment, seeking permission to pump water from the nearby Phillips lake.

* Banro Corp. shares will be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange and the NYSE American. The TSX delisting will take effect from market close on Jan. 22, 2018, and the company does not plan to appeal the move. The shares have been suspended from Nov. 20 following a cease trade order by the Ontario Securities Commission.

* Trek Mining Inc., NewCastle Gold Ltd. and Anfield Gold Corp. completed their business combination to create Equinox Gold Corp., which started trading on the TSX Venture Exchange and on the OTC in the U.S. Equinox completed the sale of Mayaniquel SA to International Nickel Supply SA, receiving the remaining US$12.5 million in cash, while also closing the sale of Chapleau Resources Ltd. and its Coringa gold project to Serabi Gold Plc.

* Argentine authorities approved the environmental impact assessment for SSR Mining Inc.'s Chinchillas silver project in the country's Jujuy province. Development activities will now commence, with first ore feed to the Pirquitas mill expected in the second half of 2018.

* WPG Resources Ltd. entered a A$20 million secured debt facility with Byrnecut Group, the mining contractor at the Challenger gold mine. The loans will provide the necessary funding to continue operations at the South Australian mine.

BULK COMMODITIES

* China Hanking Holdings Ltd. expects to record a net profit for the year ending Dec. 31, compared to a year-ago loss, based on a preliminary assessment. The swing was attributed to gains of 760 million Chinese yuan from the sale of its unit Hanking Australia Pty. Ltd. A year-over-year surge in iron ore concentrate price and the start of nickel sales also helped drive the revenue increase.

* Tata Steel Ltd. is ramping up production at its Khondbond iron ore mine in Odisha, India, to fuel the recently announced expansion of the Kalinganagar steel plant, Press trust of India reported, citing a company official said.

* Indonesian coal miner PT Toba Bara Sejahtra Tbk plans to issue medium-term notes worth US$250 million to refinance its debt and further expand its businesses, The Jakarta Post reported. The notes, which will be listed in the Singapore Exchange, will mature in five years with a maximum interest rate of 10% per annum.

* Coal exports across the globe increased 1.9% in 2016 to 1.33 billion tonnes, including a 1.5% increase in steam coal exports to 1.01 billion tonnes and a 3.4% increase in coking coal exports to 314.1 million tonnes, according to a report from the International Energy Agency. Mining News wrote that coal demand is expected to remain stable during 2017 and 2022 and is estimated to reach 5.5 billion tonnes coal equivalent by 2022, the same average as the previous five years.

* Reward Minerals Ltd. submitted the environmental review document for the Lake Disappointment sulfate of potash project to Western Australia's Environmental Protection Authority. The complete assessment and consultation process for the project may continue throughout 2018 before arriving at a ministerial decision.

* American Pacific Borate & Lithium Ltd.'s initial boric acid scoping study for its wholly owned Fort Cady borate-lithium project in Southern California estimated a posttax, unlevered net present value, discounted at 10%, of US$687.9 million and a 39% internal rate of return. The scoping study targeted steady state production of 246,000 tonnes per annum of boric acid and 54,000 tonnes per annum of sulfate of potash.

* Ncondezi Energy Ltd. extended the date for finalizing the joint development agreement for the integrated 300-MW power and coal mine project in Mozambique to July 31, 2018, from April 30, 2018. Meanwhile, the submission date for binding engineering, procurement, and construction and operations and maintenance contracts was extended to Feb. 28, 2018, from Dec. 31, 2017.

SPECIALTY

* Kazakh state-owned National Atomic Co. Kazatomprom JSC recorded an US$85 million profit from the sale of a 10% stake in U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Co., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, Mining Weekly reported. Kazatomprom exercised its rights under a put option with Toshiba, pursuant to which it had the right to sell the shares back to Toshiba at a fixed price of US$522 million.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The total value of merger deals in Canada declined 11% to US$243.5 billion through Dec. 26, 2017, compared to US$272.3 billion of deals in 2016, mainly due to a 25% drop in energy deals, Bloomberg News reported. JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s senior country officer in Canada, David Rawlings, expects mergers to decline even further in 2018.

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.