Barrick still willing to sell Super Pit, other noncore mines
Barrick Gold Corp. Chairman John Thornton said the company is still open to a sale of its 50% stake in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit joint venture as the Western Australian gold project does not meet its criteria of a tier-one asset, The West Australian reported. The Hemlo mine in Canada and the Lagunas Norte project in Peru are also assets Barrick does not classify as tier-one. "The likelihood of us continuing to own those over time is zero," Thornton said.
The union at the Escondida copper mine in Chile decided to postpone its strike to present to its members a new wage offer from BHP Billiton Group, Reuters reported. Union spokesman Carlos Allendes said earlier that the parties are close to a deal, although some key issues remain unsettled, such as worker health benefits.
Canada starts talks on steel import safeguards
Canada launched consultations with steelmakers and users as it considers import safeguards amid a trade dispute with the U.S. Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau, speaking at an ArcelorMittal steel plant in Hamilton, Ontario, said Canada would seek industry input on seven steel product categories as it considers further trade actions to mute the impact of steel tariffs.
* PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co. recommended an interim dividend of 776.02 Russian rubles per ordinary share, more than a threefold increase from the 224.20 rubles per share declared for the previous first half. The company's first-half net income attributable to shareholders surged 81% on a yearly basis to US$1.65 billion, or US$10.6 per share, on the back of higher revenue.
* Atlas Consolidated Mining & Development Corp.'s net loss in the first half narrowed 61% year over year to 221 million Philippine pesos. Revenue jumped 47% on a yearly basis to 7.61 billion pesos on the back of higher shipments of copper concentrate and metal and gold amid higher metal prices received for its products.
* The key to the copper market at the moment is understanding the future of the Chinese yuan in relation to the U.S. dollar, the Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence wrote. The renminbi depreciated sharply from 6.26 yuan per U.S. dollar on Feb. 7 to 6.88 yuan per U.S. dollar on Aug. 13. It has not traded at such a low level for 15 months. The falls in the yuan have been almost perfectly mirrored in the copper three-month price, which fell 14% to US$5,982/t on July 19 from a high of US$7,263/t on June 8 before regaining ground to close at US$6,247/t on Aug. 9.
* Chile joined the hunt for new cobalt discoveries, with drilling programs targeting past-producing mining projects formerly run by Germans during World War II in La Cobaltera, Bloomberg News reported. Cobalt prices are double 2016 levels due to the electric vehicle revolution, with demand set to remain strong for the next five to 10 years, according to CRU Group senior cobalt analyst George Heppel.
* Myanmar Metals Ltd. outlined an accelerated redevelopment program for its polymetallic Bawdwin joint venture in Myanmar, leading to the completion of a pre-feasibility study in the first quarter of 2019 and the delivery of a feasibility study in the fourth quarter of 2019.
* Hochschild Mining PLC's first-half profit attributable to shareholders declined to US$12.9 million from continuing operations, from US$23.4 million a year ago, as finance costs rose to US$22.8 million from US$13.3 million. Revenue increased to US$372.3 million, from US$340.8 million a year ago.
* ECR Minerals PLC restarted work at its Sierra de las Minas gold-prospective licenses in Argentina after a review of the area identified additional licenses that could complement the existing gold-prospective ground. The company said it also identified some new opportunities, including a lithium and polymetallic exploration opportunity.
* Spearmint Resources Inc. acquired a 100% interest in two gold-copper prospects totaling 1,989 acres, known as the Henry prospects, in the Golden Triangle gold district in British Columbia.
* Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. declared a third-quarter dividend of 9 U.S. cents per share, representing a 29% increase on a yearly basis, after a nearly fivefold jump in its second-quarter earnings. Net earnings came in at US$318.1 million, or 72 cents per share, soaring 370.5% from US$67.6 million, or 15 cents per share, in the prior-year period.
* South African Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe condemned Gold Fields Ltd.'s move to slash jobs. "We are beginning to notice a worrying trend where some mining companies do not meaningfully engage with the Department [of Mineral Resources] on their restructuring plans, and only brief us as a mere formality or tick-box exercise, ignoring processes outlined in the law which are binding to every mining right-holder," Mantashe said.
* Recent success in Western Australia's historically strong Laverton-Leonora gold region is helping the next generation of explorers who want to get more aggressive with more substantive risk capital, such as NTM Gold Ltd.'s new managing director, Andrew Muir, who is on a mission to get the junior "out of the rut" of frequent small raisings. In an exclusive interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence, Muir conceded that he will have to ask shareholders at some point in the not-too-distant future to suffer some dilution for at least two more substantive equity raisings of more than A$2 million.
* China Gold International Resources Corp. Ltd.'s second-quarter net profit plummeted to US$400,000, from US$20.6 million a year ago. The company produced 54,377 ounces of gold and 13,738 tonnes of copper in the period.
* Gold prices dropped to as low as US$1,191.35 per ounce in Monday trading, its lowest since January 2017, and resulting in the commodity's year-to-date losses to around 8.4%, due to an ongoing financial crisis in Turkey, Reuters reported.
* Osisko Mining Inc. agreed to fully acquire Beaufield Resources Inc., which will help in exploring and developing the Windfall Lake gold project in Quebec. Under the agreement terms, Beaufield shareholders will receive 0.0482 Osisko share for each Beaufield share.
* Siyakhula Sonke Empowerment Corp.'s Vantage Goldfields Ltd. plans to reopen the Lily gold mine in South Africa in February 2019, three years after a pillar collapse killed three workers at the site, Mining Weekly reported.
* Sultan Resources Ltd.'s shares were admitted to the ASX following a A$4.8 million IPO. The company is focused on developing and acquiring tenements that are prospective for gold and other minerals in Western Australia.
* Columbus Gold Corp. entered into an agreement with IAMGOLD Corp. to acquire up to a 70% interest in the Maripa gold project in French Guiana.
* Samco Gold Ltd. intends to conduct a series of capital reorganization transactions, including capital raising and a debt-for-shares swap, to better position itself to take advantage of potential changes in business opportunities.
* JSW Steel Ltd.'s revised bid of 197.0 billion Indian rupees for Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd. came out on top, beating rivals Tata Steel Ltd. and Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House Group, The Hindu Business Line reported, citing sources close to the development. The proposal of the two highest bidders, JSW and Liberty House, will be submitted to the tribunal for approval Aug. 17.
* Yancoal Australia Ltd. swung to a profit in the first half of US$361 million, from a year-ago loss of US$14 million. Revenue surged 182% year over year to US$2.35 billion as the company achieved high production rates. The company's total salable coal produced in the half stood at 25.4 million tonnes on a 100% ownership basis, compared to 10.7 million tonnes a year ago.
* China's Jiangsu province plans to make steel producers move their operations in the next few years through mergers and capacity trading to two new steelmaking hubs on the coast, Reuters reported. The second-biggest steel-producing province in China intends to focus on high-quality production through electric-arc furnaces as it looks to cut down on air pollution.
* En+ Group PLC's net profit in the second quarter surged 30.7% year over year to US$370 million. Net profit for the metals segment swelled 44.2% year over year to US$408 million. Meanwhile, group revenue in the three months declined 7.3% on a yearly basis to US$2.70 billion due to lower sales volumes in the metals segment. Adjusted EBITDA was up 0.7% year on year to US$763 million in the quarter.
* Emmerson PLC defined a significant JORC-compliant exploration target at its wholly owned Khemisset potash project in Morocco of 264 million to 616 million tonnes at an average grade of 5.0% to 14.0% potassium oxide. The current JORC-2012-compliant inferred mineral resource at the project stands at 311.4 million tonnes at 10.2% potassium oxide.
* Mount Gibson Iron Ltd.'s net profit for fiscal 2017/18 swelled to A$99.1 million, from A$26.3 million a year ago. The results included insurance proceeds of A$64.3 million for the Koolan Island business interruption. Sales revenue on a cost and freight basis increased to A$254.1 million from A$182.7 million. Total iron ore sales increased to 3.6 million wet tonnes, from 3.2 million tonnes in the prior year.
* Mongolian Mining Corp.'s first-half profit shrunk to US$29.5 million in the first half from US$311.7 million in the prior-year half, which included a debt restructuring gain. Revenue increased 10.7% year over year to US$272.2 million on the back of a 14.4% increase in the average selling price for hard coking coal.
* Kibo Energy PLC, previously Kibo Mining PLC, signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase a 60% equity interest in Mast Energy Developments, a private U.K.-registered company targeting the development and operation of flexible power plants to service the reserve power generation market.
* LKAB resumed pellet deliveries after a fire on the railway line linking the miner's Kiruna iron ore mine in Sweden to the Norwegian port of Narvik led to the suspension of shipments, Metal Bulletin reported, citing a company spokesperson.
* Lithium Australia NL Managing Director Adrian Griffin warned that the A$4 million cap imposed by the Australian federal government on research and development tax funds for smaller players may destroy Australia's chance at becoming a major player in the growing battery supply chain, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
* Mineral Resources Ltd.'s net profit after tax for full fiscal 2018 improved 35% to A$272 million, with revenue up 16% to A$1.71 billion. Direct shipping lithium ore sold from its Wodgina project in Western Australia increased to 3.5 million tonnes, from 2.8 million tonnes in fiscal 2017.
* Indonesian businessman Anthoni Salim's Droxford International Ltd. is expected to approve the A$127 million refurbishment of Atlantic Ltd.'s Windimurra vanadium project in Western Australia, paving the way to begin front-end engineering and design to begin this year and construction to start in April 2019, The West Australian reported.
* Gem Diamonds Ltd. recovered a 138-carat, top white color, Type IIa diamond from its 70%-owned Letseng mine in Lesotho, the 12th diamond of over 100 carats recovered this year.
* Australian mining services company Ausdrill Ltd. agreed to purchase underground hard-rock mining contractor Barminco Holdings Pty. Ltd., its 50/50 partner in the West Africa- and Tanzania-focused African Underground Mining Services joint venture. Under the deal, Ausdrill will acquire all of the equity and equity-like instruments in Barminco and assume the company's debt in exchange for 150.7 million shares and A$25.4 million in cash. This values the transaction at A$271.5 million and Barminco at A$697.0 million.
* S&P Global Ratings placed Ausdrill's BB- long-term issuer rating, as well as its BB+ and BB- ratings on its senior secured and senior unsecured issues, respectively, on CreditWatch with positive implications after it announced its intent to acquire Barminco. The positive implications reflect the rating agency's view that it would improve Ausdrill's operating scale and service and commodity diversity. S&P also placed Barminco's B long-term issuer and senior secured debt credit ratings on CreditWatch with positive implications, with the rating agency expecting Barminco to be a core subsidiary of Ausdrill following the takeover's completion.
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