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Norsk cleared to restore Alunorte output; Zambia plans to seize Konkola's assets

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Norsk cleared to restore Alunorte output; Zambia plans to seize Konkola's assets

TOP NEWS

Court allows Norsk Hydro to resume normal production at Alunorte

The Federal Court in Belem, Brazil, lifted the remaining production embargo under a criminal lawsuit on Norsk Hydro ASA's Alunorte alumina refinery, allowing normal production to resume. Norsk Hydro expects Alunorte to run at 75% to 85% capacity within two months. Alunorte has been running at 50% capacity since March 2018 as ordered by authorities due to a suspected leak at the site.

Zambia plans to seize Konkola's copper assets

Zambian President Edgar Lungu said the government filed a notification of plans to take over Konkola Copper Mines PLC's copper assets in the country amid tensions between the state and the mining sector over increased taxes, Bloomberg News reported. In a press statement, the Vedanta Resources PLC unit said it is seeking an urgent meeting with Lungu to discuss the company's future.

Amplats suspends half of workforce at Mototolo following unprotected strike

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. dismissed about 50% of its underground workforce at the Mototolo platinum mine in South Africa following an unprotected strike that began May 12. The company laid off 643 people, according to Reuters. Amplats said the impact on production is minimal so far, and it is exploring options to ensure that Mototolo restarts full production as soon as possible.

DIVERSIFIED

* Anglo American PLC will partner with the Pitta Pitta people to explore for mineral prospects in Queensland, Australian Mining wrote. The Pitta Pitta people will work together with Anglo American’s discovery team to conduct surveys and protect cultural heritage finds.

BASE METALS

* Bezant Resources PLC received environmental impact assessment approvals allowing 2 years of exploration work at its Eureka copper-gold project in Argentina.

* Sabre Resources Ltd. received two-year renewals of exploration prospecting licenses 3540 and 3542 in Namibia. The company plans to restart exploration on the licenses with a focus on base metals and vanadium.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Sibanye Gold Ltd. ended media speculation by confirming that the increased all-share deal it reached with Lonmin PLC late April, which entitled Lonmin shareholders to 1 Sibanye-Stillwater share for every share they owned, is final and will not be increased.

* SolGold PLC's preliminary economic assessment for the Alpala copper-gold-silver deposit, part of its 85%-owned Cascabel property in Ecuador, outlined a net present value of US$4.1 billion to US$4.5 billion, discounted at 8%, and an internal rate of return of 24.8% to 26.5%.

* SolGold PLC CEO Nick Mather opened the door to the company's second largest shareholder, BHP Group, to increase its stake in the company, Reuters reported. In October 2018, BHP raised its interest in SolGold to 11.2% from 6% after a £45 million share subscription agreement. As part of the deal, the mining giant agreed on a two-year moratorium on buying additional shares, subject to certain exceptions.

* Matsa Resources Ltd. entered an agreement for AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.'s AngloGold Ashanti AU Ltd. unit to purchase ore from its Red October gold mine in Western Australia for up to 5 years. The ore will be processed in a 3.8-million-tonne mill at AngloGold's Sunrise Dam gold mine in Western Australia.

* Syndicated Metals Ltd. exercised its option to purchase the right to farm-in to 85% of the Newfield gold project in Western Australia from Newfield Resources Ltd.

* Polymetal International PLC plans to use dry stacking at all new projects, depending on viability, including the under-construction Nezhda and POX-2 projects. The dry-stacking technology reduces the probability of dam failure, minimizes potential damages in case of an accident, and eliminates tailings runoff.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Incitec Pivot Ltd. expects EBIT in the second half of between A$370 million and A$415 million, including a A$209 million impact from nonrecurring events. In the first half, the company recorded EBIT of A$119 million, including a loss of A$141 million from nonrecurring events, compared to year-ago EBIT of A$240 million. EPS in the half totaled 2.6 Australian cents, compared to 8.8 cents in the first half of 2018.

* U.S. Steel Corp., Nucor Corp. and AK Steel Holding Corp. lauded the Trump administration's decision to drop steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, Bloomberg News reported. The steelmakers also urged authorities to "stay vigilant" to prevent circumvention schemes.

* The London Metal Exchange dismissed Glencore PLC's complaint over its failure to make quick aluminum deliveries from warehouses owned by ISTIM UK in Port Klang, Malaysia, sources told Reuters.

* The United Mine Workers of America is seeking a wage increase for miners employed by subsidiaries of Murray Energy Corp. by reopening a collective bargaining agreement it signed with the companies. The United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil Roberts said 2,000 active members employed by Murray have not had a pay raise in 3.5 years. He sent a letter to Murray Energy asking to begin bargaining as soon as possible.

* Adani Mining Pvt. Ltd. CEO Lucas Dow slammed the Queensland Labor government about its refusal to approve the long-delayed Carmichael coal project after the Labor Party's election defeat in the state. Dow said state government should listen to residents who, as evidenced by the election results, want the project to proceed.

* Gulf Manganese Corp. Ltd.'s Indonesian unit, PT Gulf Mangan Grup, secured a direct-shipping-ore license allowing it to export 103,162 tonnes of high-grade manganese ore per year. Mining operations will kick off in June. The subsidiary expects to initially export 1,000 tonnes per month, ramping up to 10,000 tonnes per month within six months.

* Kommersant reported that Amurstal, the only plant in the Far East of Russia that uses electric steel-smelting technologies, is considering an investment of 7.5 billion Russian rubles to enable the use of new primary raw materials including hot briquetted iron, according to CEO Sergey Kuznetsov. The plant is looking for an alternative to scrap metal, which is lacking in the Far East.

SPECIALTY

* Lynas Corp. Ltd. plans to spend A$500 million through 2025 to boost production and build an initial processing plant in Western Australia. Lynas also aims to invest in increased processing facility in Malaysia, where the company is facing regulatory issues over the removal of radioactive residue from its Gebeng rare earths plant.

* Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd. agreed to a strategic investment in Bacanora Lithium PLC and its 70%-owned Sonora lithium project in Mexico. The company will secure a 29.99% interest in Bacanora and an initial 22.5% direct interest in the Sonora project, with an option to increase it to 50%. The investment funds will be used to build an initial 17,500-tonne-per-annum lithium carbonate operation at Sonora.

* Gemfields Group Ltd. raked in US$22.4 million from an auction of higher-quality rough emeralds in Singapore. The gemstones were extracted from its 75%-owned Kagem mine in Zambia.

* JSC National Atomic Co. Kazatomprom agreed to sell 75% of its KazPV project, which includes Astana Solar LLP, LLP Kazakhstan Solar Silicon and KazSilicon MC LLP, to a consortium of investors. The sale is part of the second phase of Kazakhstan's ongoing privatization program for 2016 to 2020.

* The China Tungsten Industry Association urged its members to cut tungsten concentrate output by 10% this year amid poor market conditions, Fastmarkets MB reported, citing an unnamed source.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* EcoMag Ltd. plans to build a A$130 million processing plant to recycle wastewater from the Karratha, Western Australia operations of Rio Tinto unit Dampier Salt Ltd. and extract 80,000 tonnes a year of high-purity hydrated magnesium carbonate, which can be used in steelmaking, fertilizers, plastics and rubber, glass, water treatment, smartphones and as a flame retardant, The West Australian reported. The project could deliver an annual revenue of up to A$1 billion.

* President Donald Trump is set to meet with Democratic leaders for a second round of talks on a potential infrastructure package that could involve the energy sector. CEOs and representatives from more than 75 companies will also gather on Capitol Hill this week to push for climate legislation, including to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions.

* Chile's gross domestic product in the first quarter rose 1.6% year on year amid a 3.6% drop in mining activity driven by low prices, declining ore grades and heavy rains in the country's northern desert, Reuters reported.

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