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Fortescue's iron ore shipments up; Weak demand dents NLMK's Q3'19 profit


Fortescue's fiscal Q1'20 iron ore shipments rise 5% YOY

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s iron ore shipments in the first quarter of its fiscal 2020 totaled 42.2 million tonnes, a 5% rise from the year-ago quarter, while C1 costs inched down 2% to US$12.95 per wet tonne. By the quarter's end, the autonomous truck fleet at the company's Chichester Hub had grown to 142 following the conversion of an additional 73 trucks. The full conversion into autonomous hauling operations is on track for completion in mid-2020.

Weakening demand hits top Russian steelmaker NLMK's Q3'19 profit amid slowdown

Furnace renovations hurt Russian steelmaker PJSC Novolipetsk Steel's profit for the third quarter as demand and prices weakened amid a global economic slowdown. Profit for the period plunged 47% year over year to US$343 million as revenue fell 18% to US$2.58 billion amid a 9% fall in steel product sales.

Newcrest ups FY'20 gold output guidance on Red Chris acquisition

Newcrest Mining Ltd. raised its fiscal 2020 gold production guidance to between 2.38 million ounces and 2.54 Moz, from 2.35 Moz to 2.50 Moz, following the acquisition of the Red Chris mine. Gold production in the September quarter dropped 23% from the June quarter to 511,636 ounces of gold due to a series of planned shutdowns, lower grades at the Cadia and Lihir mines, and the change in the processing strategy at the Telfer mine.


* Teck Resources Ltd.'s third-quarter attributable net income plummeted to C$369 million, or 66 Canadian cents per share, from the year-ago net income of C$1.28 billion, or C$2.20 per share. The company attributed the drop to weakening product prices and an C$812 million year-ago after-tax gain on the sale of its interest in the Waneta Dam to BC Hydro and Power Authority.


* Freeport-McMoRan Inc. President and CEO Richard Adkerson said the copper price is "not sustainable" amid strong demand. The Phoenix-based miner reported a net loss of US$131 million, or 9 U.S. cents per share, for the third quarter, swinging year over year from a net profit of US$556 million, or 38 cents per share. Quarterly revenue dropped year over year to US$3.31 billion from US$4.91 billion, and operating cash flows decreased to US$224 million from US$1.25 billion.

* By January 2020, Indonesia aims to change a rule regulating domestic nickel ore prices to make sure smelters follow the state's benchmark prices, Reuters reported. The amendment is expected to be effective by the time an export ban on nickel ore is implemented, the report said.

* KAZ Minerals PLC achieved record copper output of 82,900 tonnes in the third quarter thanks to a robust performance from its Aktogay and Bozshakol operations in Kazakhstan. Gold output is expected to surpass the top end of its guidance of between 170,000 and 185,000 ounces by about 5%, following output of 58,500 ounces in the three-month period.

* Swedish base metals producer Boliden AB's third-quarter net profit rose to 1.41 billion Swedish kronor, or 5.14 kronor per share, from 1.29 billion kronor, or 4.69 kronor per share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Planned maintenance shutdowns, compounded by a breakdown at its Harjavalta smelter in Finland, affected revenue during the period, which dropped to 11.17 billion kronor from 12.51 billion kronor.

* Lundin Mining Corp.'s attributable net earnings in the third quarter totaled US$26.4 million, up 277% from the US$7.0 million posted in the same quarter of 2018. The miner produced 74,560 tonnes of copper, growing from 52,770 tonnes in the third quarter of 2018.

* Codelco will resume normal operations at its copper mines after workers' unions agreed to stop a strike following negotiations with the Chilean government, Reuters reported. The state miner had shuttered its Andina copper mine and reduced operations at its other divisions as the Chilean state miner felt the impact of a general strike launched by unionized workers amid ongoing protests in the country.

* ERAMET SA's Weda Bay nickel plant in Indonesia will start operations ahead of schedule as soon as the first half of 2020. Eramet booked third-quarter sales of €895 million, down 6% year over year, while posting new quarterly production records for manganese ore and nickel ore.

* Access to MMG Ltd.'s Las Bambas copper mine in Peru has been fully restored following the removal of roadblocks that had disrupted deliveries. Production has also returned to normal levels.

* Papua New Guinea ordered the indefinite closure of Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd.'s majority-owned Ramu nickel-cobalt project, which spewed potentially toxic red slurry into the sea, Agence France-Presse reported.


* Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. hiked its dividend for the third quarter to 17.5 cents per share, from 11 cents apiece a year ago, as quarterly net income surged more than fourfold to US$76.7 million, or 32 U.S. cents per share, on the back of higher gold sales volumes and realized prices. The Canadian gold miner booked record payable gold production in the quarter of 476,937 ounces at an all-in sustaining cost of US$903 per ounce.

* Polymetal International PLC expects to surpass its full-year gold production guidance of 1.55 million ounces by up to 50,000 ounces on the back of a continued strong performance at the Kyzyl gold mine in Kazakhstan. Third-quarter gold equivalent output increased 7% yearly to 476,000 ounces, while gold sales increased 21% to 388,000 ounces.

* Majestic Gold Corp. subsidiary Majestic China Holdings Corp. entered into three nonbinding memorandums of understanding with three groups to carry out a due diligence review for a possible joint venture, merger or acquisition with each of the parties and/or their assets. The MOUs involve four gold projects in the Muping-Rushan gold belt in China's Shandong province.

* Thor Explorations Ltd. is developing a project in southwestern Nigeria capable of producing 80,000 ounces of gold per year and is aiming to start operations in early 2021 amid the country's effort to persuade investors that it could become a mining destination for metals, Bloomberg News reported. Africa Finance Corp. is investing in the project through a US$78 million debt-equity financing package.

* Eurasia Mining PLC shares were up more than 80% in early afternoon London trade after the company said CITIC and VTB Capital had started helping the company explore options for its Kola and Urals platinum group metals projects, including a possible sale.

* Engineer Gold Mines Ltd. successfully dewatered its namesake mine in British Columbia for the first time since commercial production stopped in 1927.


* South Korean conglomerate POSCO's third-quarter net profit was 497 billion Korean won, down 53% from 1.058 trillion won in the same quarter of 2018. Revenue declined year over year to 15.988 trillion won from 16.411 trillion won.

* Cia. Siderúrgica Nacional swung to a loss of 871 million Brazilian reais from a year-ago profit of 752.2 million reais as net revenue dropped 3% to 6.01 billion reais due to lower steel sales and prices. The company achieved record iron ore production of 8.7 million tons, a 14% increase from the same period of 2018.

* Jiangsu Shagang Group Co. Ltd.'s net profit attributable to shareholders for the third quarter dropped 75.4% year over year to 85.4 million Chinese yuan, or 3.87 fen per share. The company attributed the loss to falling steel prices, increased prices of raw materials including iron ore, and lower production due to maintenance of facilities.

* Kaiser Aluminum Corp.'s adjusted net income for the third quarter totaled US$29 million, or US$1.82 per diluted share, higher than the US$24 million, or US$1.43 per diluted share, posted in the same quarter of 2018. EBITDA increased year over year to US$57 million from US$47 million. Net sales for the quarter were US$375 million, lower than the US$393 million in the previous year, reflecting a decrease in shipments and average selling price.

* A Czech court validated Citibank's debt claim of over 10 billion Czech koruny owed by coal miner OKD a.s., Reuters reported, citing the CTK news agency. OKD's former insolvency administrator and the representative of the state, which now owns OKD's assets, plan to appeal the ruling, the report said.

* Afarak Group PLC filed an appeal with the Helsinki Administrative Court on a roughly €1.5 million fine imposed by the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority over the company's failure to comply with disclosure rules and maintenance of insider lists.

* CAP SA reduced some of its operations in Chile amid ongoing protests in the country, Fastmarkets MB reported. Operations at the iron ore pellet plants of 75%-owned unit Compañía Minera del Pacífico SA and a nearby port were partially halted, the report said.

* Activists against Adani Enterprises Ltd. are targeting contractors, which may make it hard for the company to complete its Carmichael coal project in Queensland, Australia, ABC News reported.


* In the third quarter, Base Resources Ltd. achieved mining rates equivalent to 19.6 million tonnes per annum at the Kwale mineral sands operation in Kenya, surpassing its 18-mtpa plan. However, ilmenite production for the three months fell to 73,808 tonnes from 118,265 tonnes.

* Galaxy Resources Ltd. expects to cut mining rates at its Mount Cattlin lithium mine in Western Australia by 40% in 2020 as it looks to reduce costs amid low lithium prices. The company is reviewing the Mount Cattlin operations to determine the optimal scale of operations.

* Orano SA will close its 34%-owned Cominak uranium mine in Niger in March 2021 due to the depletion of reserves, Reuters reported.

* China may gain access to a rare earths mine in North Korea in exchange for a US$2.5 billion investment for a North Korean solar plant, Reuters reported, citing the website of the Association of China Rare Earth Industry. North Korea is believed to have largely untapped rare earth resources, though any possible investment would have to contend with UN sanctions against the country. A source from the Chinese rare earth sector told Reuters that such a deal would be "wishful thinking" on behalf of North Korea.

* MGX Minerals Inc. and joint venture partner Eureka Resources LLC commissioned and operated their first commercial rapid lithium recovery system at Eureka's Standing Stone advanced wastewater treatment facility in Towanda, Pa.

* Bushveld Minerals Ltd. slashed the acquisition cost for the Vanchem vanadium plant and related assets in South Africa to US$53.5 million from US$68 million. Bushveld said the improved terms take into account current market conditions while affirming the company's medium- to long-term outlook.

* Lepidico Ltd. received patent protection for its proprietary lithium chemicals recovery method, L-Max, in the U.S.


* Chinese nonferrous scrap imports will come to a standstill in the next four months as major buyers have used up their import quotas for this year, and new quotas are unlikely to be granted before the lunar new year in late January, Fastmarkets MB reported, citing industry sources.

* U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota's 4th Congressional district has led the charge for a new environmental review on how mining for copper, nickel and other precious metals could affect the Rainy River watershed, which drains into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Minnpost reported.

* Zimbabwe's state-owned electricity distributor will cut supply to mines, farms and other users due to US$77 million in unpaid bills, Reuters reported. The country's Chamber of Mines said its members are paying bills and are not impacted by the disconnections, the report said.

* U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Lanny Erdos as the director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. Erdos most recently served as chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Mineral Resources Management, where he managed and regulated the Buckeye State's coal and aggregate resources.

* The White House will reportedly soon take the first procedural step toward pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, potentially placing the nation on course to exit the deal a day after the 2020 presidential election.

* More than 40 scientists, climate experts, economists and academics signed an open letter urging the government of New South Wales, Australia, to rethink its plan to stop considering greenhouse emissions in mining project approvals, The Sydney Morning Herald wrote.

* Rwanda plans to rake in US$800 million per year from mineral exports by 2020 and US$1.5 billion by 2024. But the country's efforts to attract more foreign investment have threatened the jobs of artisanal miners, who make up the majority of the country's workforce, Mining Technology wrote.

* President Donald Trump said the U.S. will lift all sanctions it imposed against Turkey, which has vowed to stop its military offensive in northeastern Syria and achieve a "permanent" ceasefire.

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