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Guinea OKs Chinese firm's US$2.8B bauxite, aluminum investments

TOP NEWS

Guinea OKs Chinese firm's US$2.8B bauxite, aluminum investments

The Guinean government approved over US$2.8 billion in planned investments by Chinese firm TBEA Co. Ltd., which is looking to set up a new bauxite mine, an aluminum refinery and an aluminum smelter in the country, Reuters reported, citing an official from the mines ministry. According to Saadou Nimaga, secretary-general of the ministry, the new mine should start production by mid-2019 with an initial capacity of 10 million tonnes of bauxite per annum. A 1 Mtpa aluminum refinery is seen starting operations by June 2021.

Indonesia unlikely to cap coal output amid uncontrollable mining activities

Bambang Gatot Ariyono, mineral and coal director general of Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, said the Indonesian government is unlikely to cap coal output in the near future due to uncontrollable coal mining in the country, The Jakarta Post wrote. According to the official, coal production as of Dec. 27 reached 477 million tonnes, already surpassing the 406 million tonnes of coal that the government expected to produce in 2018.

Gold on track for biggest annual rise since 2010

Gold reached its highest on Dec. 29 in 2.5 months and remains on track to record its biggest annual increase since 2010 amid a weaker U.S. dollar, ongoing political tensions and receding concerns over the impact of U.S. interest rate hikes, Reuters wrote. Spot gold hit US$1,302.72/oz as of 1430 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for February delivery were up US$7.80 an ounce at US$1,305.00.

DIVERSIFIED

* Glencore Plc partially completed the sale of a 51% stake in HG Storage International Ltd., or HGSI, to HNA Innovation Finance Group Co. Ltd and the companies signed a second deal for the transfer of three additional assets in the U.S. to HGSI in 2018. Of the initial's deal's US$775 million purchase price, US$579 million will be attributed to the closing of the HGSI sale and the remainder will be payable upon closing of the second deal.

BASE METALS

* Chinese copper smelters comprising the China Smelters Purchase Team agreed to lower their minimum treatment fees to US$87 per tonne and refining charges to 8.7 cents per pound in the first quarter of 2018, a representative from the group told Reuters. This compares to US$95/t and 9.5 cents/lb in the fourth quarter of 2017.

* MMG Ltd. secured a seven-year extension to the 2014 term loan of up to US$2.26 billion from Top Create Resources Ltd., an MMG shareholder and a unit of China Minmetals Non-ferrous Metals Co. Ltd. The parties to the loan agreement signed an amended deal, covering the extended term, a further delay in interest payments and a revised interest rate from July 25, 2018.

* EMR Capital closed the US$97.1 million acquisition of an 80% stake in the Lubambe copper joint venture in Zambia from Vale SA and African Rainbow Minerals Ltd., The Australian Financial Review reported. The remaining 20% stake in the mine, which produces nearly 20,000 tonnes of copper concentrate per year, is held by state-owned ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc.

* Chilean state copper commission Cochilco projects the country's copper production to increase 13.9% over 2016 levels by 2028 to 6.32 million tons, Reuters reported.

PRECIOUS METALS

* WPG Resources Ltd. said that due to maintenance issues at the mill and some underperforming stopes at the Challenger gold mine in South Australia, production for the December 2017 quarter will be lower than previously guided. The combined production from the Challenger and Tarcoola mines for the December quarter is now expected to be approximately 11,000 ounces, with the fiscal 2018 output from the two mines now estimated at 60,000 ounces.

* A technical report on Monarques Gold Corp.'s Beaufor gold mine in Quebec estimated an after-tax net present value of C$4.4 million at a 5% discount rate, with a total production of 30,018 ounces over its 17-month mine life. Operating costs are expected to come in at C$41.5 million, while capital costs are pegged at C$1.5 million.

BULK COMMODITIES

* A committee looking into Mitsubishi Materials Corp.'s product data falsification scandal found that the company's Mitsubishi Shindoh unit had taken orders even though they could not meet customers' product specification demands leading the subsidiary to falsify product data in a bid to drive up market share, Reuters wrote.

* The Shanghai government issued a safety warning on metal products from Kobe Steel Ltd. and imposed stricter inspection measures, Reuters wrote, citing Xinhua News Agency. The warning comes after Kobe Steel revealed that about 500 of its customers received products with falsified specifications. The Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau will carry out regular inspections on metal products made in Japan and imported through the Shanghai port.

* Mesabi Metallics Co. LLC has emerged from bankruptcy after its reorganization plan, sponsored by Chippewa Capital Partners LLC, was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in June and became effective Dec. 22. Mesabi is working with experts to complete the 7.0 mtpa Metso pellet plant and the 2.0 mtpa HYL hot briquetted iron/pig iron plant.

* Ukraine has imposed anti-dumping duties of 15.21% on imports of steel rebar and wire rods from Russia, the country’s Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade announced. In a statement posted on Ukrainian news site Uryadovii Kur’er, the commission said that, following an investigation, the dumping of Russian steel products between 2014 and 2016 had had a significant impact on the steel manufacturing sector.

* Metinvest BV's re-rolling plant in the U.K., Spartan UK, secured a revolving commodity trade finance facility of £15 million. The 12-month facility, with an option for extension, was arranged with the Bank of London and The Middle East.

* Mechel PAO CFO Sergey Rezontov stepped down from his post due to personal reasons.

* IRC Ltd.'s K&S mine in Russia signed a long-term off-take contract with a Russian customer for a monthly supply of iron ore concentrate. The contract will provide a stable source of revenue for the company and may alleviate the impact of the Trans-Siberian Railway congestion issues.

* Noble Group Ltd. unit Noble Resources International Pte. Ltd. acquired an additional 10.0% stake in Northern Mongolian Railways Ltd., a subsidiary of Aspire Mining Ltd., for US$1.4 million.

* Chalco Shandong Co. Ltd., a unit of Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., or Chalco, conditionally agreed to acquire Chinalco Qingdao Light Metal Co. Ltd. from Aluminum Corp. of China for 300.4 million Chinese yuan. Upon completion of the transaction, Qingdao Light Metal will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Chalco.

* Chalco has been fined 100,000 Chinese yuan and five of its employees have been reprimanded or dismissed for improperly handling hazardous waste at its Lanzhou plant, Sixth Tone reported. Gansu Xinxin Furnace Co., the contractor hired by Chalco's Lanzhou operations to dispose of the waste, was fined the same amount as its employer for failing to "take relevant safety measures," according to Lanzhou's environmental protection bureau.

* Just a year after the U.S. coal sector celebrated the lowest workplace fatality count in modern history, the death toll increased 75% over the prior year.

* Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. completed the installation of a 3 mtpa basic oxygen furnace as the last piece of equipment in the expansion of its integrated steel mill in India's Odisha state, Metal Bulletin reported. The company furnace installation will allow the company to run its 4 mtpa blast furnace at full capacity.

* Turkey's crude steel output rose 12.7% year over year to 34.2 million tonnes in the January to November period, Metal Bulletin reported, citing the Turkish Steel Producers Association. The country's crude steel output is expected to exceed 37 million tonnes for the whole year.

SPECIALTY

* Corfo will assign two mediators to oversee activities at Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA until 2030, even if the parties settle the ongoing dispute over mining concession contracts in northern Chile, sources told daily El Mercurio. The first mediator would supervise the environmental impact of SQM's operations, while the second would make sure contract conditions are being met.

* Miguel Angel Persoglia, head of pilot operations at Lithium Americas Corp. and SQM's Minera Exar SA joint venture, noted the lack of technical personnel for lithium in Argentina, hampering the country's target to emerge as a major global lithium producer. According to Bloomberg News, Argentina is looking to supply up to 45% of the market from the current 16%.

* Bolivia, which boasts nearly a quarter of the globe's known lithium resources, hopes to sign a deal with at least one foreign partner to invest up to US$750 million in factories to meet growing demand from manufacturers, such as electric car maker Tesla, and countries, mainly China, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Almonty Industries Inc. awarded POSCO unit POSCO E&C a 40.3 billion South Korean won engineering, procurement and construction contract for development activities at the Sangdong tungsten-molybdenum mine in South Korea.

* PJSC Alrosa recovered the first diamonds from the Verkhne-Munskoe deposit in Russia. The next batch of ore from Verkhne-Munskoe will arrive at processing plant No. 12 in the fourth quarter of 2018 as part of the commercial development of the deposit.

* NextSource Materials Inc. completed the redomicile of the company into Canada from Minnesota, effective Dec. 27. The move will "result in considerable cost savings related to administrative, accounting and legal expenditure," the company said, adding that it hopes to attract international investors for its mine development plans.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Commodity Capital Global Mining Fund, said to be 2017's best-performing commodity-focused fund, expects more mining companies to engage in M&A activity in 2018 and is seeking junior companies with strong reserves in safe jurisdictions, primarily in the Americas and Australia, Bloomberg News wrote. "There will be a lot of mergers in the next 12 to 24 months," said Commodity Capital AG Managing Director Tobias Tretter, who oversees the mining fund. "The market is pretty desperate for new exploration. That will change the strategies of the majors. They are struggling because they have to buy in, do joint ventures and have a look at companies at a way earlier stage."

* Bolivian mining authorities have reversed 673 private concessions to the state between 2014 and 2017 due to lack of activity or investment, said the director of Administrative Jurisdictional Mining Authority AJAM, Erik Ariñez, daily La República reported.

* Brazilian President Michel Temer signed a decree instituting a formula to calculate reference values for new royalty rates on different minerals except for iron ore, which will be subject to a separate order. The decree, which regulates the royalty aspects of new mining legislation Law 13,540 passed in early December, will be implemented by the country's new National Mining Agency, daily Valor Econômico reported.

* Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly approved a constitutional law awarding the state total control over development and production of mineral reserves found in the Arco Minero del Orinoco mining belt in Bolívar state, daily El Universal reported.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. ET and scans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.