US exempts South Korea from steel tariffs, slaps import quota
The U.S. agreed to exempt South Korea from its 25% tariff on steel but imposed a quota on steel imports, Reuters reported, citing South Korea's trade ministry. The third-largest steel exporter to the U.S. will have a quota of about 2.68 million tonnes of steel exports or 70% of the annual average Korean steel exports to the U.S. between 2015 to 2017, the ministry said. This comes after the U.S. and South Korea have reached an agreement to renegotiate a six-year-old bilateral trade deal and U.S. tariffs on imported steel.
Barrick cuts top execs' 2017 pay over Acacia, Veladero 'setbacks'
Barrick Gold Corp. cut the compensation of Executive Chairman John Thornton and President Kelvin Dushnisky in 2017. Thornton received an incentive of about US$4.3 million in 2017, down 18% from a year earlier. The chairman's total compensation dropped 9.4% year over year to US$7.7 million. Barrick's compensation committee reduced Dushnisky's total compensation by 19% to US$4.2 million. The pay cuts were due in part to "setbacks" experienced by its Acacia Mining plc unit in Tanzania under an export ban, as well as a cyanide spill at its Veladero mine in Argentina.
Glencore scores Australian High Court win over Newcastle port
Australia's High Court has rejected the Port of Newcastle's bid for it to review successive decisions that have supported Glencore Plc's push to have the world's largest coal port regulated amid shipping price hikes. Glencore hailed the decision upholding previous ones that supported its argument that the port needed a regulator.
* Mitsui & Co. Ltd. will not extend the deadline for its A$602 million bid for AWE Ltd., set to expire April 6, which was recommended by the company's board following lower bids by Mineral Resources Ltd. and China Energy Reserve and Chemical Group Australia, The West Australian reported.
* Rio Tinto's US$5.3 billion expansion plans for the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia remains on track, despite an ongoing bribery investigation by Switzerland and the country's Anti-Corruption Authority over the project, Bloomberg News reported.
* Glencore hit back against claims of "slavery-like" working conditions at its cobalt-producing mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Switzerland-based IndustriALL Global Union recently released a report claiming workers described such conditions at some Glencore mines in the DRC, according to a Bloomberg News report. Glencore denied the claims.
* Swiss mining giant Glencore is set to be best-positioned relative to peers to defy the impact of a looming trade war between the U.S. and China, according to a note by RBC Capital Markets.
* MMG Ltd. CEO Jerry Jiao felt that both the company and New Century Resources Ltd. were in a "win win" situation over its decision to offload the Century zinc mine in 2017, despite the latter company having increased the project's value to almost A$600 million, The Australian Financial Review reported.
* Auris Minerals Ltd. clarified its position over Sandfire Resources NL's rejected proposal for a A$15-million farm-in deal for its Doolgunna, Morck's Well and Cashmans copper projects, saying that the original deal would have encumbered all of its current and potential projects and left it with no independence or corporate appeal, The West Australian reported, citing nonexecutive chairman Bronwyn Barnes.
* China Minmetals Rare Earth Co., Ltd. is considering participating in the Malmyzh copper project in Russia's Khabarovsk territory, currently held by a joint venture between IG Copper LLC and Freeport-McMoRan Inc., Kommersant reported. The development of Malmyzh is estimated to be worth US$1.5 billion.
* Vast Resources Plc's updated indicated and inferred resource estimate at the Manaila copper-lead-zinc-silver-gold mine in Romania recorded 78% and 249% increases in open pit and underground resources, respectively.
* MinRex Resources Ltd. agreed to acquire three cobalt-scandium-copper-nickel prospective project areas in New South Wales and Western Australia by acquiring the issued share capital of Clean Power Resources Pty Ltd.
* Hundreds gathered in India's Tamil Nadu state to protest the planned expansion of Vedanta Ltd.'s Sterlite copper plant, Mining.com wrote, citing a local media report. The protesters claimed that gas emissions and effluents from the facility have been polluting groundwater in the area.
* A workers' union at BHP Billiton Group's Escondida copper mine in Chile agreed to explore early contract talks with the site's management, Reuters reported, citing the union's president, Patricio Tapia.
* Centerra Gold Inc. restarted the second ball mill circuit at the Mount Milligan copper-gold mine in British Columbia. Operations were suspended in December 2017 due to insufficient water resources and were partially restarted in February.
* Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd.'s attributable net profit for 2017 soared nearly 91% to 3.51 billion Chinese yuan on the back of higher production volumes and product prices, as well as an improvement in operational efficiency. The group produced a total of 213,765 kilograms of gold for the year, down 0.39%, while copper output rose 13.3% to 636,008 tonnes.
* Titan Minerals Ltd. agreed to acquire gold miner Andina Resources Ltd. in an off-market takeover bid. Andina shareholders will receive 1 fully paid Titan share for every 1.18 Andina shares held.
* Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. completed the expansion of milling capacity at its Veta Grande silver project in Mexico to 750 tonnes per day. The mill is expected to start operating at full capacity by early in the second quarter.
* Gran Colombia Gold Corp. reined in the size of a planned gold-linked debt offering, revising it to US$95 million instead of US$152 million while dangling holders of near term debt a new pay-back deal.
* Red 5 Ltd. said full processing operations at its Darlot gold mine in Western Australia have resumed, following a period of reduced production rates while issues with the project's first mill were being fixed.
* Westgold Resources Ltd. began the wet commissioning of the Tuckabianna process plant, part of its Murchison gold project in Western Australia. Commercial production is slated to take place from April 1.
* An updated mineral resource at Patagonia Gold Plc's Calcatreu gold project increased contained gold equivalent to 1.17 million ounces.
* Stratex International Plc will fast track exploration at the Dalafin gold project after receiving approval from the Senegal government to option a 70% interest to IAMGOLD Corp. unit AGEM Senegal Exploration Suarl.
* Aben Resources Ltd. and Eagle Plains Resources Ltd. suspended a planned drill program at the Chico gold property in Saskatchewan following a request by a local community and members of a First Nation group.
* Personnel from Mexico's Federal Attorney’s Office for Environmental Protection visited Primero Mining Corp.'s San Dimas gold mine in the country's Durango state to evaluate the damage caused by a cyanide spill that reached the Piaxtla river, Mining.com reported.
* China's plan to impose reciprocal tariffs on 128 U.S. products is subject to change and the items to be taxed will depend on the results of trade talks, said Li Xie, director of Export Division One, which is in charge of exports at China's Ministry of Commerce. "It is a temporary list. It is possible that the ministry will change items listed next week," Li told S&P Global Market Intelligence.
* Tata Steel Ltd. forwarded an all-cash bid of 350 billion Indian rupees to take over insolvent Indian steelmaker Bhushan Steel Ltd. from its creditors, Bloomberg News wrote, citing a person with knowledge of the matter. Tata said the same day that its bid was declared successful. If it completes the acquisition by March 2019, Tata will become the country's largest steelmaker.
* Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. raised 12 billion Indian rupees in a qualified institutional placement. The company sold 51,502,145 equity shares at 233 Indian rupees apiece to qualified institutional buyers.
* China Shenhua Energy Co. Ltd.'s attributable profit in 2017 soared nearly 92% to around 47.80 billion Chinese yuan, while revenue jumped 35.8% to 248.75 billion yuan.
* China Hongqiao Group Ltd.'s 2017 attributable net profit slipped 25.3% to 5.12 billion Chinese yuan, even with a 52% revenue surge to 93.31 billion yuan. The company attributed the year's lower profits to capacity cuts as a result of the Chinese government's efforts to curb aluminum supply, as well as impairments of about 5.68 billion yuan.
* China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd. said that profit attributable to equity holders for 2017 rose to 3.53 billion Chinese yuan from 2.87 billion yuan. The Liaoyang, China-based aluminum producer recorded revenue of 19.46 billion yuan in 2017, a 16.6% increase.
* European Union leaders criticized the tariffs imposed by the U.S. on global imports of steel and aluminum and demanded that the bloc be permanently exempted from President Donald Trump's trade action.
* Russia's Ministry of Industry and Trade intends to propose a list of restrictions on U.S. goods in response to the American steel and aluminum tariffs, according to Viktor Evtukhov, deputy minister of industry and trade. Russia was not included in the list of countries exempted from the steel and aluminum tariffs that came into force March 23 in the U.S.
* Indonesian coal miner PT Atlas Resources Tbk sued Noble Group Ltd. and is seeking over US$260 million in compensation, adding to the company's deepening problems, Bloomberg News wrote. According to the report, the case was registered March 19 and is against Noble Group, its Noble Resources International Pte. Ltd. unit and CEO William Randall. It relates to share sales of Atlas units PT Alhasanie and PT Borneo Minerals and former subsidiary PT Sumber Daya Kumala.
* An investigation was launched to determine the cause of a fire that broke out at Exxaro Resources Ltd.'s Grootegeluk coal plant in South Africa, Mining Weekly reported.
* South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers said that its member workers at the Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines are still awaiting their March salaries, despite the business rescue practitioner's promise to make payments by March 22, Mining Weekly reported.
* ArcelorMittal plans to invest 75 million Bosnian mark, or about US$47 million, to overhaul a blast furnace at its Bosnian steel plant, aimed at extending the plant's life by another 15 to 20 years and improving environmental standards, Reuters reported.
* Thai manufacturers are seeking an exemption from U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, Thai Rath reported.
* Arctic Mining Co. proposed to Russia's Environment Inspection, or Rosprirodnadzor, to settle an infraction by reducing the fine from 954 million Russian rubles to 429.1 million rubles, RBC Daily reported.
* The Association of Indonesian Coal Producers expects that small-scale coal mining companies in the country will go bankrupt due to a regulation that sets the price of coal sold to power plants below their production cost, Indonesia's Antara News Agency reported.
* Gerdau SA will halt the No. 2 blast furnace at its Brazil-based Ouro Branco works for about 60 days for a planned maintenance activity, Metal Bulletin reported. The activity is expected to start in late March or early April.
* Battery Minerals Ltd.'s Montepuez graphite project is on track for commissioning in November after securing the project's mining license from the Mozambique government.
* S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research outlook for commodities markets remains strong, with consensus forecasts for a majority of the commodities continuing to show higher prices as of March 19, compared with the actual 2017 averages. This trend was highlighted in February and January forecasts.
* Chinese Vice Premier Liu He told U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that China will defend its trade interests, as U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled plans to impose tariffs on up to US$60 billion of Chinese imports, Reuters reported, citing Chinese press reports.
* World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo called on the body's members to practice restraint and dialogue to prevent any trade tensions.
* The Democratic Republic of the Congo rejected a proposal by mining firms to relax some provisions in a new mining code in return for higher royalties, Reuters reported.
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