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Fire at Rio Tinto's Cape Lambert port; Grasberg copper exports to fall in 2019


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Fire at Rio Tinto's Cape Lambert port; Grasberg copper exports to fall in 2019


Fire damages part of Rio Tinto's Cape Lambert port facility

A fire at Rio Tinto's Cape Lambert port facility, which broke out during a maintenance shutdown, damaged a section of the plant, however, no injuries were reported, according to The West Australian. Operations at the port are closed only in the area affected by the fire, and an investigation is underway.

Indonesia expects copper exports from Grasberg to fall in 2019

Copper concentrate exports from Freeport-McMoRan Inc.'s 48.8%-controlled Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia are expected to fall to 200,000 tonnes this year from about 1.2 million tonnes in 2018, Reuters wrote, citing Yunus Saefulhak, the director of minerals at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry. Output from the mine is forecast to decline due to a change from open pit to underground mining.

Report: India eyeing JV with South Korea's POSCO, Hyundai Steel

India is eyeing POSCO and Hyundai Steel Co. as potential joint venture partners of state-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd., or SAIL, and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd., Bloomberg News reported, citing sources. The Indian government is looking to boost local production of high-grade steel, which the country heavily imports despite local availability of high-grade iron ore.


* BHP Group Ltd. will consider increasing investment in its U.S. petroleum business after joint venture partner BP PLC approved a US$1.3 billion expansion project at the Atlantis field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, The Australian reported. BHP is expected to make its final investment decision in early this year.


* Workers at Chuquicamata mine's unions one, two and three and union one of Antofagasta, Chile, rejected Codelco's offer to bring forward contract negotiations to January, instead of waiting for April when the current collective contract expires. Meanwhile, the Sindicato Minero workers union voted in favor of Codelco's proposal, and union five is set to decide in the next days, daily Diario Financiero reported.

* Larco SA, Europe's largest nickel producer, will reduce production by 20% as part of an emergency agreement with the Greek government to settle its debt and continue operations, Fastmarkets reported. The debt-laden company will also pay €4 million per month to Greek state-controlled electric utility Public Power Corp. SA for electricity consumption.

* Chilean miner Compañía Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi SCM is in discussions with Teck Resources Ltd. about resource sharing, Reuters reported, citing Executive President Jorge Gomez. The talks are part of Collahuasi's efforts to seek "synergies" with companies operating near the copper mine. These cover sharing pipe and power lines and maritime facilities, as well as possibly sharing desalinated water.

* Surge Exploration Inc.'s board approved a proposed spinoff of the company's interests in the Hedge Hog and Mineral Mountain copper-gold exploration projects in British Columbia into a newly incorporated subsidiary named CuGold Corp.

* Sierra Metals Inc. reported that refurbishing of the Piedras Verdes mill at the Bolivar copper-silver-gold mine in Mexico's Chihuahua state was completed early.


* Valcambi SA put up a US$16 million stalking horse offer to acquire the assets of Republic Metals Corp., which filed for bankruptcy in 2018, Reuters reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.

* Alto Metals Ltd. is rebuilding momentum in what financial advisory Bell Potter says is a "crucial" year for the junior's Sandstone gold project in Western Australia, assisted by its strong research committee.

* Perseus Mining Ltd. awarded a US$95.1 million engineering and supply contract for the Yaoure gold project in Ivory Coast to Lycopodium Ltd.

* Dundee Precious Metals Inc. produced 201,100 ounces of gold in 2018 from its Chelopech mine in Bulgaria, beating the full year guidance of 190,000 to 200,000 ounces. Copper output of 36.7 million pounds was in line with the guidance of 35 to 38 million pounds.

* Cia. de Minas Buenaventura SAA budgeted an estimated US$130.7 million for exploration in 2018, down slightly from the US$135 million allocated in 2017. Dedicated entirely to Peru, it was by far the country's largest exploration budget. About 61% of the 2018 budget was devoted to gold, followed by 31% for silver, and small amounts for copper and zinc.

* Pretium Resources Inc. produced 96,342 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter of 2018 from its Brucejack mine in British Columbia, up 37.1% year over year. Full-year output stood at 376,012 ounces of gold, below the guidance of 387,000 ounces of gold.

* Royal Gold Inc.'s gold sales dropped 15.4% to about 44,000 ounces in its second fiscal quarter from about 52,000 ounces a year ago. The decline came on the back of operational issues at the Mount Milligan mine in British Columbia and a change in payment scheduling at the Pueblo Viejo operation in the Dominican Republic.

* K2 Gold Corp. secured an option to acquire the silver-lead-zinc-prospective GDR property located north of the British Columbia-Yukon Territory border in Canada.

* Maya Gold & Silver Inc. achieved commercial production Jan. 1 at its Zgounder silver mine in Morocco.

* The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union President Joseph Mathunjwa said the group plans to continue its labor action at Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s gold operations in South Africa, and could extend the strike to the company's platinum mines in the country until the miner accepts its demand for a 1,000 South African rand increment for the next three-year period, Mining Weekly reported.

* Vista Gold Corp. plans to complete fine grinding and leaching tests for the Mount Todd gold project in Australia's Northern Territory in the first quarter, and follow these results with an updated preliminary feasibility study in the second quarter.


* Vanadium One Energy Corp. fulfilled its commitments to acquire title to 37 claims at the Mont Sorcier iron-titanium-vanadium project in Quebec.

* Iron ore shipments to China from Port Hedland in Australia, which is used by BHP Group Ltd., Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. and Hancock Prospecting Pty. Ltd., jumped 14% in December to 37.4 million tonnes, compared to 32.9 million tonnes in November, Reuters reported.

* The board of Tata Steel BSL Ltd., previously known as Bhushan Steel Ltd., approved a proposal to raise up to 240 billion Indian rupees through a private placement of preference shares to Tata Steel Ltd.

* Yara International ASA intends to focus on its improvement program amid uncertainty over prices for its products and input factors, Reuters reported, citing CEO Svein Tore Holsether.

* European Union members in the week of Jan. 14 are expected to approve a plan to limit steel imports into the bloc, in a move against President Donald Trump's imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Reuters reported.

* Japan's Foreign Ministry summoned South Korea's ambassador for discussions, after a South Korean court granted a request to seize the Korean assets of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. in a dispute over Japan's wartime forced labor practices, Reuters reported.

* Alderon Iron Ore Corp. may partner with Schneider Electric Canada Inc., a unit of Schneider Electric SE, to source equipment and project financing for the Kami iron ore project in Newfoundland and Labrador.

* White Energy Co. Ltd. said the Singapore International Commercial Court ruled in favor of the company in a dispute with PT Bayan Resources Tbk. over the KSC coal joint venture in Indonesia. The court determined that White Energy unit BCBC Singapore Pte. Ltd. had the financial ability to fund the KSC coal joint venture until the completion of commissioning and testing at the Tabang plant, or until June 2012.

* A federal judge in the U.S. will reopen Alpha Natural Resources Inc.'s bankruptcy case after allegations that its management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. had a conflict of interest during the case, a McKinsey spokesperson confirmed.

* Trade unions at Polish coal miner Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa SA are planning to protest against expected management changes at company, Puls Biznesu reported. The move came after board member Robert Ostrowski stepped down.

* China's Yunnan province achieved its target of eliminating crude steel capacity by 270,000 tonnes in 2018, according to a statement posted on the provincial government website.


* Kenmare Resources PLC's ilmenite production in 2018 totaled 958,500 tonnes, down from 998,200 tonnes in 2017. Fourth quarter output jumped 17% year over year to 275,000 tonnes. The company expects ilmenite production to decline slightly in 2019 to between 900,000 and 960,000 tonnes due to an anticipated reduction in grade. Heavy mineral concentrate output in 2018 increased 4% year over year to 1.4 million tonnes.

* Montero Mining & Exploration Ltd. secured exploration licenses for the lithium-prospective Avispa project in Chile's Atacama desert. The licenses cover 13,800 hectares located between Salar de Atacama and northern Chile's coastal range.

* Mineral Commodities Ltd. entered into a term sheet to earn up to a 90% interest in lithium-tantalum prospective tenement package in Western Australia by paying A$45,000 and sole funding exploration work.

* Australian Vanadium Ltd. raised about A$7.4 million through the conversion of ASX-listed options, strengthening its cash position to accelerate development at the Gabanintha vanadium project in Western Australia.

* Gemfields Group Ltd. said it submitted a study to the Zambian government of how an increase in mineral royalty rates and new import duties, which are effective Jan. 1, will impact its earnings, Miningmx reported. However, Zambia's Permanent Secretary of Mines Paul Chanda previously said that none of the companies polled have made any submissions. Gemfields noted it had less than a day to comply with the request.

* Largo Resources Ltd. produced a record 2,595 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide from its Maracas Menchen mine in Brazil in the fourth quarter of 2018, reflecting a 2% year-over-year increase. The company also agreed to buy back and retire an additional US$8.1 million of its 9.25% senior secured notes due in 2021.


* Tanzanian President John Magufuli said the country's central bank should start purchasing locally produced gold to limit smuggling and increase the country's reserves in a bid to stabilize the currency, Reuters reported. Magufuli also asked the new mining minister Dotto Biteko to control the artisanal mining market by setting up mineral centers in the country's mineral rich regions.

* President Donald Trump tapped U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to officially lead the organization.

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