Trump to impose US$50B in tariffs on Chinese imports; China hits back with tariffs
President Donald Trump will impose US$50 billion in tariffs on U.S. imports from China, two senior White House officials told reporters, as fears of a protectionist wave sent share markets tumbling. The U.S. would temporarily exempt the European Union, as well as Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Korea. Canada and Mexico had already been granted temporary exemptions. China's commerce ministry, meanwhile, announced plans to impose tariffs on up to US$3 billion of U.S. imports in response to U.S. tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum products from China.
Zambian president wants quick resolution to tax dispute with First Quantum
Zambian President Edgar Lungu would like a quick resolution for a dispute between the country's tax authority and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. over almost US$8 billion, Bloomberg News reported, citing Lungu's spokesman, Amos Chanda. "We are very confident in the professionalism in Zambia Revenue Authority that it will deal with investors within the agreed parameters of tax administration," Chanda said.
Noble Group says debt restructuring 'only realistic remedy' for creditors
The trustee for Noble Group Ltd.'s US$379 million 3.625% senior notes due 2018 filed a notice of default against the company due to its failure to pay the principal amount on March 20. The Hong Kong-based commodities trader said that the 2018 noteholders who have not signed the restructuring agreement can take action, but "it would be very difficult to successfully wind up the company, which is the only realistic remedy available to such a holder."
* Codelco reached a 36-month labor deal, which was met by a 75% approval from the union members, with the professionals' union at the Ministro Hales copper mine, Reuters reported.
* About 40 union workers blocked access to the Mantos Blancos copper mine, operated by joint venture Mantos Copper SA, protesting against alleged illegal layoffs and other anti-union practices by the company, union leader Giovanni Pérez said. The company declined to comment on the incident, news radio Cooperativa reported.
* Southern Copper Corp. brought forward the date of the beginning of operations of its Los Chancas copper-molybdenum project in Peru's Apurimac region to 2022 from 2025, Gestión reported, citing a 10-K annual report filed by the company before the Securities and Exchange Commission. Southern Copper plans to conduct the project's environmental impact assessment in the first months of this year.
* The eerie stillness at the Pilbara Conglomerate Gold Conference spoke volumes of the early-stage and therefore perceived uncertainty around the investment story since "watermelon seed" gold nuggets were found in August 2017, but juniors struggling to gain traction locally can take heart in renewed investment interest from Canada.
* Amid a favorable gold price environment, S&P Global Ratings upgraded its long-term corporate credit rating on Canadian gold miners Barrick Gold Corp. and Kinross Gold Corp., and revised its outlook on Goldcorp Inc. to stable. The long-term corporate credit rating for Barrick was upgraded to BBB from BBB-, with a stable outlook. Kinross was upgraded to BBB-, from BB+, with a stable rating.
* Wesizwe Platinum Ltd. expects to book an attributable headline earnings per share of between 18.88 South African cents and 23.91 cents, lower than the 25.15 cents per share a year earlier.
* Private equity group Greenstone Resources II LP acquired a 29.82% interest in Serabi Gold Plc via a US$15.0 million strategic investment of 297,759,419 shares at 0.5 pence each.
* Carbine Resources Ltd. will cease project expenditures and stop all work at the Mount Morgan gold-copper project in Queensland, Australia, effective immediately. The decision to stop work is a result of the company not being able to improve the terms of agreements to increase returns to an acceptable level.
* Zimbabwean Mines Minister Winston Chitando said the government signed a US$4.2 billion mining investment deal that will see Karo Resources Ltd. developing a platinum mine and refinery, Reuters reported. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the agreement indicates the country is "open for business."
* Crystal Exploration Inc. signed a letter of intent with PPM Phoenix Precious Metals Corp. for an option to earn up to a 75% interest in the Lawyers gold-silver property in British Columbia.
* RNC Minerals engaged PCF Capital Group and Haywood Securities to run a strategic-alternatives process for its Beta Hunt gold project in Western Australia while it moves to focus on its Dumont nickel-cobalt project in Quebec. The Beta Hunt mine has been tentatively valued at between A$15 million and A$20 million, The Australian reported.
* Metminco Ltd. amended and upsized a proposed 7-for-2 rights issue to raise A$5.6 million, from A$5.3 million, to fund exploration work at its Quinchia gold-silver-copper property in Colombia.
* S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis presented at a major iron ore conference revealed that China faces increased competition for liquidity, so closing its credit gap needs to be a priority amid mid-grade ore price concerns, S&P's senior commodity analyst, Max Court, told the Global Iron Ore & Steel Forecast Conference in Perth, Australia.
* Brazilian steel institute Aço Brasil said the country's exemption from U.S. tariffs will last for 30 days, Reuters reported. Separately, the steel institute said the government will monitor steel imports to detect if there is any diversion of volumes previously exported to the U.S. following the steel tariffs, Metal Bulletin reported.
* The European Union is optimistic that it will be excluded from the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, after European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom recently concluded two days of negotiations in Washington, D.C. Separately, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU is still awaiting a U.S. decision on the bloc's exemption from the tariffs.
* Japan will be in talks with the U.S. over trade issues stemming from steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration, adding that retaliation may destroy the system of free trade, Reuters reported, citing trade minister Hiroshige Seko.
* Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. booked attributable net income of 1.38 billion yuan for 2017, higher than the approximately 960 million yuan profit it flagged in late January, and up significantly from its 368.4 million yuan net profit in 2016. The company's board did not propose any final dividend for 2017.
* The judicial reorganization of MMX Mineração e Metálicos SA is experiencing difficulties 15 months after the company requested legal protection against creditors. Through an injunction claim, a group of creditors managed to suspend a general shareholders meeting scheduled for March 21, which would have reviewed a judicial recovery plan proposal, Valor Econômico reported.
* Shougang Fushan Resources Group Ltd.'s revenue in 2017 jumped 92% to about HK$3.47 billion, while attributable net profit soared 865% to HK$1.08 billion.
* Saudi Arabian Mining Co., or Ma'aden, tapped BNP Paribas and National Commercial Bank as advisers as it seeks to refinance around US$1 billion of bank debt raised for the company's Ma'aden Bauxite and Alumina Co. unit, Reuters reported, citing banking sources.
* JSW Steel Ltd. could be interested in bidding for debt-laden Essar Steel India Ltd after creditors rejected offers from ArcelorMittal and VTB Capital-lead Numetal, Metal Bulletin reported, citing sources.
* Atrum Coal Ltd. and Elan Coal Ltd. received a two-year coal exploration permit for its Elan South coal joint venture in Alberta.
* Puls Biznesu reported that one of the oldest British hedge funds has increased its involvement in Prairie Mining Ltd. Prairie Mining reported that Lansdowne Partners International already owns a 5.4% stake.
* RBC Daily reported that Gaz-Alliance, owned by Ukrainian businessman Sergey Kurchenko, received its status as the only supplier of coal from Donbass. Its competitors have filed a complaint to the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia and the Federal Security Service.
* Vedomosti reported that Russia's Interior Ministry detained former member of parliament and ex-owner of the Estar metallurgical company, Vadim Varshavsky. The authorities suspect Varshavsky of plundering over 2.5 billion Russian rubles from the Petrocommerce bank. Zlatoustovsky Metallurgical Plant had signed a loan agreement for the amount with the bank in 2012.
* In preparation for a tropical cyclone, Metro Mining Ltd. has flown nonessential staff and contractors out of its Bauxite Hills mine in Queensland, Australia, as a precautionary measure. The mine was slated to start mining operations in the week of April 2, but the weather condition may delay it by up to one week.
* Transnet inked a 7.5-year deal with South32 Ltd. paving the way for the transportation of 2.6 million tonnes per annum of manganese and realizing nearly 10.4 billion South African rand in total value for the rail company, Mining Weekly reported. The contract, to be backdated from September 2015, will be valid until March 2023.
* Altius Minerals Corp. agreed to buy 18,797,454 shares of Alderon Iron Ore Corp. from Liberty Metals and Mining Holdings LLC, raising its stake in the miner to about 39%. Separately, Altius teamed up with a private third party to buy an additional 44.9% interest in Potash Royalty Ltd. Partnership from Liberty Metals & Mining Holdings LLC for C$75 million in cash plus nominal price adjustments.
* Gensource Potash Corp. entered into a nonbinding memorandum of understanding with a North American agricultural industry player for a potential off-take agreement, covering the purchase of 100% of the 250,000 tonnes per year of potash expected to be produced from the former's Vanguard operations in central Saskatchewan.
* Pilbara Minerals Ltd. managing director and CEO Ken Brinsden projects the prices of electric vehicles to fall to A$10,000 as China's lithium battery technology development is rapidly improving against competing nations, including Australia, The West Australian reported.
* Neometals Ltd. is working towards the recovery of raw battery materials, including lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper, from expired batteries at its Montreal facility to supplement its existing mining output, Bloomberg News reported.
* Two independent advisory firms recommended that shareholders approve Mountain Province Diamonds Inc.'s C$176 million all-share acquisition of the issued share capital of Kennady Diamonds Inc.
* China's Zhejiang provincial government plans to turn 180 mines under its administration to green mines — defined by the central government as mines which require lower energy consumption and produces less environmental damage, China Land and Resources reported. The local authorities have launched a three-year program that aims to upgrade mines in its administration to qualify.
* Private equity will be nimble in tweaking investment strategy in the mining sector should funding options expand for mine developers in an improving market. A veteran of the space, who preferred not to be named, recently shared this view as he discussed broader private equity themes with S&P Global Market Intelligence.
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