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BHP shuts down 2 flooded iron ore mines; Indonesia seeks lower FY'20 coal output

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BHP shuts down 2 flooded iron ore mines; Indonesia seeks lower FY'20 coal output


Report: Floods force BHP to halt 2 iron ore mines in Western Australia

Mining giant BHP Group is believed to have temporarily shut down operations at its Whaleback and Eastern Ridge mines, part of the Newman iron ore operation in Western Australia, due to floods caused by heavy rains brought by former tropical cyclone Blake, The Australian reported. The company's rail operations in the area were also disrupted due to water around the tracks, the report said.

Indonesia seeks lower FY'20 coal output to prevent price slide

The government of Indonesia ordered coal miners to cut their output while setting a production target of 550 million tonnes this year, down by 9.8% from 610 million tonnes in 2019, Bloomberg reported, citing the country's Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif. According to Tasrif, the state "doesn't want coal production to be too massive and drive prices lower and cause government revenue to drop."

Trump seen turning sights on EU in 2020 as next big trade fight looms

The relative calm settling over the global trade landscape may be shortlived. With Chinese Vice Premier Liu He due to arrive in Washington next week to sign a trade accord with the U.S., a replacement for NAFTA making its way to President Donald Trump's desk and an agreement with Japan in the bag, some might be tempted to sit back and admire their work. Others, emboldened by their successes, might look for a new target. Many observers see Trump falling into the second category and say that he has Europe in his sights.


* Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd. reported preliminary copper production of 204,000 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2019, with full-year 2019 output hitting a record 702,000 tonnes. The company provided a 2020 production guidance range of 830,000 tonnes to 880,000 tonnes of copper, 280,000 ounces to 300,000 ounces of gold and 15,000 tonnes to 20,000 tonnes of nickel.

* Central Asia Metals PLC's Kounrad copper recovery plant in central Kazakhstan produced 13,771 tonnes of copper in 2019, falling from the previous year's output of 14,049 tonnes but surpassing guidance. Production from the SASA lead-zinc mine in Macedonia hit the upper end of the guidance range at 23,369 tonnes of zinc and 29,201 tonnes of lead.

* Taseko Mines Ltd. achieved its 2019 full-year copper production guidance at its Gibraltar copper mine in British Columbia, despite a strike by Canadian National Railway Co. in November that impacted shipments for 11 days. Annual production was 126 million pounds of copper, within the full-year guidance range of about 130 million pounds.


* Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader, wants the European Union to label informally mined gold in the country's southern jungles as "blood gold" to increase pressure on President Nicolas Maduro’s government, Reuters reported.

* Evolution Mining Ltd. produced a total of 170,890 ounces of gold at all-in sustaining cost of A$1,069 per ounce during the December 2019 quarter, lower than the 181,996 ounces at AISC of A$973 per ounce in the same period of the previous year.

* Detour Gold Corp.’s total gold production from the Detour Lake mine in Ontario decreased to 601,566 ounces in full-year 2019 from 621,128 ounces in 2018, but within guidance of between 590,000 ounces and 605,000 ounces. The company sold a total of 604,699 ounces of gold, lower than the 610,672 ounces sold in the previous year.

* Lundin Gold Inc. updated the life of mine all-in sustaining cost of its Fruta del Norte gold project in Ecuador to US$621 per ounce from US$583 per ounce, representing a 6.5% increase. The company said that the ramp-up to commercial production at Fruta del Norte is on schedule and on budget, with 28,678 ounces of gold produced in 2019.

* Centamin PLC produced 148,387 ounces of gold at the Sukari gold mine in Egypt in the fourth quarter of 2019, rising from 137,600 ounces year over year, according to preliminary figures.

* Dundee Precious Metals Inc. produced 69,500 ounces of gold and 10.0 million pounds of copper in the fourth quarter of 2019. For full-year 2019, the company produced a total of 230,600 ounces of gold, within the updated guidance of 200,000 to 247,000 ounces, while total copper produced was 37.2 million pounds, within the guidance of 33 million pounds to 39 million pounds.

* Ramelius Resources Ltd. produced a total of 47,902 ounces of gold during the December 2019 quarter, within the company's guidance of 45,000 ounces to 50,000 ounces.

* Toronto-headquartered Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. reported record production in the fourth quarter of 2019 and full-year 2019 thanks to the strong performance of the Fosterville gold mine in Victoria, Australia. Output in the December 2019 quarter climbed 21% year over year to 279,742 ounces while annual production surged 35% to 974,615 ounces, near the midpoint of the 950,000 ounces to 1 million ounces guided.

* Torex Gold Resources Inc.'s gold production for the fourth quarter of 2019 grew 29.9% year over year to 125,150 ounces at its El Limon-Guajes gold mine in Mexico. For the full year, Torex produced a record 454,810 ounces of gold, within guidance of 400,000 ounces to 460,000 ounces.

* Sudan has started allowing private traders to export gold in a bid to stop smuggling and attract foreign currency into the country's cash-strapped treasury, Reuters reported.

* Eloro Resources Ltd. signed a definitive option agreement to acquire a 99% stake in the Iska Iska polymetallic epithermal project in Bolivia.

* Rio Silver Inc. agreed to acquire 50% of the Palta Dorada gold-silver-copper property in northern Peru and entered into a memorandum of understanding with Peruvian Metals Corp. for joint exploration and development of the project.

* Palladium One Mining Inc. entered into a binding letter of intent to buy back an existing 2% net smelter return royalty on the Haukiko deposit of the LK PGE-nickel-copper project in Finland. The terms of the buyback include a cash payment of C$50,000 and 375,000 common shares.

* Magna Gold Corp. entered into an exploration and option to purchase agreement to acquire two mining claims known as the San Judas project in Mexico for a five-year period. Under the deal, the company has to pay an aggregate US$1.7 million plus 16% value-added tax, and issue a 1.5% net smelter royalty capped at US$1.5 million to the vendors. The company has the right to acquire the royalty for US$500,000 per 0.5%.

* Palamina Corp. applied for authorization to initiate exploration activities at its Coasa gold project to the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines.

* EnviroLeach Technologies Inc. received confirmation that it has been awarded a patent on its proprietary chemical process that extracts precious metals from ores, concentrates, and e-waste using only FDA-approved additives and ambient temperature water.


* London-based Anglo American PLC allocated US$126 million for exploration in 2019, up 20% from US$105 million budgeted in 2018 and topping a high of US$120 million in 2012, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team. Minesite allocations were up by two-thirds, while planned grassroots spending hit a 15-year low.

* With the world moving away from burning coal to generate power, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said he is looking forward to alternative uses for a natural resource that has long been economically important to the state.


* U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette set aside a ban on licenses for exporting weapons-grade uranium for making medical isotopes for two years. The ban was supposed to begin Jan. 3, Reuters reported.

* Chilean lithium miner Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA intends to launch an offering of senior unsecured notes to repay its US$250 million of 5.50% notes due April 21, 2020. Net proceeds will also be used for general corporate purposes, including funding for the company's capital expenditure program.

* Sigma Lithium Resources Corp. Chief Strategy Officer Ana Cabral-Gardner said that complying with environmental, social and governance standards may help slash costs in projects related to lithium, Bloomberg reported.

* A unit of Chinese state-owned CNNC International Ltd. sued the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia for its alleged inaction on the company's mining license application for a uranium project in Mongolia.

* Kenmare Resources PLC's fourth-quarter heavy mineral concentrate production from the Moma titanium mine in northern Mozambique dropped 34% yearly to 264,700 tonnes, with ilmenite and primary zircon output totaling 203,900 tonnes and 10,900 tonnes, respectively, representing declines of 26% and 28%. Shipments increased 23% to a record high 352,900 tonnes.

* London-based W Resources PLC sold the first shipment of tungsten concentrate from the new concentrator plant at its La Parrilla tungsten operation in Spain.

* Galaxy Resources Ltd. shares closed with an 8% gain on the ASX after the company said December-quarter lithium concentrate production at the Mount Cattlin mine in Western Australia totaled 43,222 dry tonnes, near the upper end of its guidance of 45,000 dry tonnes.


* In the name of speeding up infrastructure siting and other federal decisions, the Trump administration released a proposed rule to revamp the National Environmental Policy Act's requirements for when federal agencies are required to study the environmental impacts of major federal actions. Meanwhile, senior policy counsel Aaron Mintzes of nonprofit organization Earthworks said that Trump's proposal to hamstring the NEPA harms both the environment and democracy, and mining companies too may suffer because of it.

* BlackRock Inc. joined the Climate Action 100+ investor initiative, adding its influence to a group pushing global corporate greenhouse gas emitters to take action on climate change.

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