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Rio Tinto mulls NZ smelter closure; Antofagasta's Q3 copper, gold output up YOY


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Rio Tinto mulls NZ smelter closure; Antofagasta's Q3 copper, gold output up YOY


Rio Tinto mulls closure of New Zealand Aluminium Smelters

Rio Tinto, the majority shareholder of New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Ltd., intends to initiate a strategic review on the smelter, which will consider all options for its future, including the option to shut it down. The decision for a strategic review is due to the volatile international prices for aluminum, relatively high energy and transmission costs, and an upcoming refurbishment bill to keep one of the potlines operational.

Antofagasta's Q3 copper, gold output up YOY

Antofagasta PLC's third-quarter group copper production rose to 197,000 tonnes, against year-ago output of 188,300 tonnes, while copper sales slightly improved to 197,300 tonnes from 195,500 tonnes. Gold production also increased to 77,600 ounces, from 48,100 ounces in the same quarter last year.

Norsk Hydro swings to Q3'19 loss

Norsk Hydro ASA slumped to a loss of 1.39 billion Norwegian krone, or 62 øre per share, against a profit of 925 million krone, or 37 øre per share, a year ago. Underlying earnings in the quarter plummeted 64% to 606 million krone, or 33 øre per share, as revenue slipped 6% to 37.52 billion krone.


* Workers at Chilean state copper miner Codelco followed the lead of unionized workers at BHP Group's Escondida copper mine in joining country-wide protests against a hike in public transport costs, Reuters reported.

* First Quantum Minerals Ltd. achieved commercial production at its Cobre Panama copper mine in Panama on Sept. 1. The company said that it achieved this milestone one month earlier than expected as a result of a rapid ramp-up of production by the project construction and operations teams.

* Doe Run Peru Srl was authorized by Peru regulator Osinergmin to restart production at the Cobriza copper mine, 100 days since the collapse of a tailings dam at the operation, El Comercio reported.

* Western Areas Ltd.'s production at the Forrestania nickel mine in Western Australia in the first quarter of its fiscal 2020 totaled 5,259 tonnes of nickel, with sales of 5,051 tonnes.

* Methane poisoning may have been to blame for the death of three miners deep below the surface of PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co.'s Taimyr mine in the Arctic Circle, Interfax reported, citing an "informed source." A company representative told S&P Global Market Intelligence that it was unclear if the deaths were the result of methane poisoning, but emphasized that the operations of the mine were unaffected and continuing.

* Metminco Ltd. negotiated commercial terms and executed a non-binding term sheet for the sale of its noncore Mollacas copper project in Chile to an unlisted company for US$1.0 million.

* Taseko Mines Ltd. intends to list its shares on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, which is expected to occur before the end of the year.


* With a slew of North American gold miners on the cusp of releasing third-quarter earnings, analysts said they expect to see expanding margins on the back of a stronger gold price quarter over quarter. "Quarterly cash flow is going to be a lot better because gold was US$1,309 per ounce last quarter," Haywood Securities analyst Kerry Smith said in an interview. "It's around US$1,474/oz this quarter," added Smith, who with other analysts noted that North America-listed gold miners largely appear to have kept costs under control amid gold's climb.

* Newmont Goldcorp Corp. is safely starting up production at the Peñasquito mine in Mexico after the illegal blockade was lifted Oct. 8. The company has started an approximately 10-day process of bringing back the operation to full production, with the support of the state and federal governments, including an ongoing police presence.

* Fresnillo PLC's total silver output in the third quarter, including silverstream, dipped 14.5% yearly to 13.3 million ounces, mainly due to the expected lower ore grade at the Saucito mine, as well as at the Fresnillo and San Julian mines.

* Centamin PLC's third-quarter production at the Sukari gold mine in Egypt totaled 98,045 ounces, representing a 17% decrease on a yearly basis. Gold sold from the operation, meanwhile, inched up 2% to 108,826 ounces.

* In the third quarter, Hochschild Mining PLC's attributable silver equivalent output decreased to 9.83 million ounces, from 10.11 Moz in the year-ago period.

* Russian-Zimbabwean joint venture Great Dyke Investments (Pvt.) Ltd. is in advanced talks to secure about US$500 million in funds to build phase one of the Darwendale platinum group metals mining and smelting complex in Zimbabwe.

* TVI Pacific Inc.'s 30.66%-owned TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. subsidiary closed a US$28.5 million omnibus loan and surety agreement with China Banking Corp. for the Balabag gold-silver project in the Philippines.

* Westgold Resources Ltd. said processing at the Bluebird plant, part of the Meekatharra gold operations in Western Australia, has resumed and running at full capacity.

* African Gold Group Inc. has contracted Epoch Resources (Pty) Ltd. to undertake the company's feasibility study for its tailings storage facility at the Kobada gold project in Mali.

* IAMGOLD Corp. outlined an initial resource estimate for its Nelligan gold joint venture with Vanstar Mining Resources Inc. in Quebec. On a 100% basis, the maiden inferred resource totaled 3.19 million ounces of gold contained in 97.0 million tonnes grading 1.02 g/t gold, at a cut-off of 0.50 g/t gold.

* TNG Ltd. has started the process to seek a dual listing on the London Stock Exchange.

* Alt Resources Ltd. executed a nonbinding term sheet with Blue Cap Mining Pty. Ltd. for the development of mining operations at the Tim's Find gold project contained within the company's Mount Ida and Bottle Creek gold projects in Western Australia.

* Nord Gold SE signed an exclusive agreement with Total Eren SA and Africa Energy Management Platform to construct a 13-MW solar photovoltaic power plant that will provide 100% renewable energy to the company's Bissa and Bouly gold mines in Burkina Faso.


* Nucor Corp. reported third-quarter earnings of US$275 million, tumbling from US$676.7 million a year ago, with EPS falling to 90 cents from US$2.13 amid steel market weakness. The comparable period included a noncash impairment of US$110 million related to Nucor's natural gas well assets and a gain of US$24.8 million related to insurance recoveries.

* BHP Group and Vale SA joint venture Samarco Mineração SA agreed to pay 40 million Brazilian reais in damages, resulting from the 2015 collapse of the Fundão tailings dam, part of its namesake Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil, Notícias de Mineração reported.

* A proposed deal by Ataer Holdings, a subsidiary of Turkish military pension fund Oyak Yatirim Ortakligi AS, to save insolvent British Steel Corp. Ltd. is in danger of collapsing, as some of the steelmaker's biggest suppliers are refusing to take price cuts, the Financial Times reported, citing sources close to the matter.

* Arch Coal Inc. reported net income of US$106.8 million, or US$6.34 per share, in the 2019 third quarter, compared with US$123.2 million, or US$6.10 per share, in the prior-year period. The S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus GAAP earnings estimate for the third quarter was US$3.17 per share. Revenue came in at US$619.5 million, compared with US$633.2 million in the same quarter a year earlier. In an earnings call, the miner's executives said its metallurgical coal segment performed well despite the weaker market and challenging mining conditions related to the longwall mining machine at the company's Mountain Laurel complex.

* TerraCom Ltd. declared an unfranked maiden dividend of 1 cent per share, to be paid out Nov. 13.

* PJSC PhosAgro has joined the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform. The association includes international companies and organizations involved in fertilizer production, the search for innovative solutions and research in the field of fertilizers, phosphorus management and recycling, and mineral and organic fertilizer innovation.

* Bounty Mining Ltd.'s CM13 continuous miner was successfully extracted from under the roof fall that happened at the company's Cook coal project in Western Australia.


* Tianqi Lithium Corp. posted a 53.9 million Chinese yuan loss in the third quarter, swinging from a profit of 379.7 million yuan in the prior year. The Chinese lithium producer said it expects its full-year earnings to see a yearly drop of a range between 94.6% and 96.4%, to 80 million yuan to 120 million yuan, due to decreased lithium prices, increased financial expenses and losses caused by depreciated yuan as it had a large amount of liabilities in foreign currencies.

* Kibaran Resources Ltd. will seek to change its name to EcoGraf Ltd. to reflect its strategy to be a long-term supplier of natural flake and battery graphite products.

* Vision Lithium Inc. entered a binding letter of intent with two individual vendors and the Manto Sipi Cree Nation community in Manitoba to acquire the Godslith lithium property.


* Newmont Goldcorp executive vice president and chief technology officer Dean Gehring said in an interview that the mining industry as a whole is doing a much better job of working to earn the public's trust than it has in the past, and the trend is "absolutely in the right direction." But the sector could be doing more, Gehring said. Several industry experts at the Future of Mining Americas conference in Denver stressed the need for the mining sector to work to earn and maintain communities' and the greater public's trust.

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