Fresh attempt by Western Australian government to hike gold royalty fails
The government of Western Australia took another crack at the gold royalty hike with Treasurer Ben Wyatt proposing a revised plan after the original proposal failed to pass. However, the opposition and the mining sector immediately rejected the plan, which would generate A$332 million over four years.
Glencore estimates 170,000-tonne global nickel market deficit in 2017
Glencore Plc estimates a 170,000-tonne global nickel supply deficit this year on the back of a 9% increase in demand from the steel sector, Bloomberg News reported, citing Owen Gibbs, a senior nickel trader at the commodities giant. Bloomberg said the forecast comes ahead of the expected demand boost from electric cars and the figures are among the biggest in years and are higher than most deficit forecasts.
Rio Tinto, Canada's Wealth Minerals Ltd. and Chinese private equity firm GSR Capital are considering bidding for a stake in Chilean lithium producer Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, Reuters reported, citing banking sources. Earlier this month, Rio declined to comment on a report by a Chilean publication that it was considering buying a 32% stake in SQM from Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.
* S&P Global Market Intelligence has upgraded its nickel price forecasts. Near-term market supply/demand has not altered significantly, but investor sentiment, momentum and a shift higher in the trading range prompted this revision. The average forecast three-month price for 2017 has been raised 2.5% to US$10,431/t. Projections for 2018 and 2019 are US$11,206/t and US$11,696/t, respectively, higher by 9.1% and 12.8%.
* OZ Minerals Ltd. said that an 18% growth in the underground ore reserves is expected to extend the life of its Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia by 10 years from the earlier estimate, to 2029. A rise in underground ore reserves to 39 million tonnes at 1.7% copper equivalent will enable an expected underground production rate between 3.5 million tonnes per annum and 4 mtpa.
* Titan Minerals Ltd. said that an independent review of the San Santiago copper-gold plant in Peru recommended expanding the tailings dam facility to enable higher copper and gold production. The company intends to submit a new dam design to the local Peruvian authorities early in the first quarter of 2018, with construction slated to begin in the second quarter.
* A British Columbia Appeals court dismissed Nevsun Resources Ltd. bid to have a lawsuit by Eritreans workers, who claim they were forced to work at its mine in East Africa, thrown out, Reuters reported.
* Rosen Law Firm is investigating potential securities claims on behalf of purchasers of the securities of Glencore unit Katanga Mining Ltd., resulting from allegations that Katanga may have issued materially misleading business information to investors.
* Haranga Resources Ltd. executed a conditional agreement to buy the Mount Windarra nickel-cobalt project tenements in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia from Peter Gianni.
* Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. started developing two declines at the high-grade Kakula discovery, part of its Kamoa-Kakula copper joint venture in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
* Nevada Sunrise Gold Corp. agreed to acquire the Lovelock cobalt mine in Nevada.
* An updated resource estimate for Finders Resources Ltd.'s Lerokis deposit increased contained copper by 34%, or 20,800 tonnes, to 81,800 tonnes of copper contained within 2.9 million tonnes of ore grading 2.80% copper in the measured, indicated and inferred categories. The company aims to develop the Lerokis deposit as the second open pit mine at its 74.1%-owned Wetar operation in Indonesia.
* Red River Resources Ltd. updated its mineral resource and stated a maiden ore reserve for the Far West deposit, part of the Thalanga zinc project in Queensland, Australia. Total measured, indicated and inferred resources increased to 1.7 million tonnes grading 15.5% zinc equivalent, while the combined proven and probable ore reserves totaled 1.5 million tonnes grading 12.0% zinc equivalent.
* Canada's National Contact Point dismissed a complaint about certain aspects of the environmental assessment review process for Seabridge Gold Inc.'s KSM gold project in British Columbia. The regulator concluded that the case does not merit further examination and the file has now been closed after only the initial assessment level of review.
* Champion Bear Resources Ltd. unveiled an initial resource estimate for its Plomp Farm gold deposit in Ontario. The deposit is estimated to host total inferred resources of 5.7 million tonnes grading 0.58 g/t of gold and 0.21 g/t of silver for 107,100 ounces of gold and 38,400 ounces of silver, using a cutoff grade of 0.30 g/t of gold.
* Altus Strategies Plc executed a definitive binding arrangement for the previously announced acquisition of Legend Gold Corp.
* Starcore International Mines Ltd. entered into a letter of intent to acquire a land package of about 21,000 hectares known as the Santa Fe silver-gold project in Sinaloa, Mexico.
* Newcrest Mining Ltd. signed an option and farm-in agreement to acquire up to an 80% stake in Mirasol Resources Ltd.'s Altazor gold project in Chile.
* Lupaka Gold Corp. completed the sale of its Crucero gold project in Peru to GoldMining Inc. for C$5.7 million in cash and shares.
* Gunmen shot dead two workers who were part of a protest against Torex Gold Resources Inc.'s operations in Guerrero, Mexico, Reuters reported, citing Mexico's National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers. Labor activists at the North American Free Trade Agreement talks, angered by the incident, said the killings were an example of poor labor conditions in Mexico.
* PJSC Polyus launched a two-year, 180,000-meter diamond drilling campaign at Sukhoi Log, Russia's largest undeveloped gold deposit, located in the Irkutsk region.
* Data gathered by S&P Global Market Intelligence showed that during the September quarter, the reported all-in sustaining costs of the largest gold-producing companies rose to a weighted average of US$890 per ounce. This represents a 3% increase compared with the previous quarter. Among the 21 companies with at least 500,000 ounces of attributable gold production in 2016, only nine had lower all-in sustaining costs during the third quarter, while the remaining 12 reported a quarterly increase.
* The World Platinum Investment Council forecast a global platinum supply deficit of 275,000 ounces in 2018 due to mine closures and an ongoing review of mining operations in South Africa and Zimbabwe, Mining Weekly reported.
* Aurelia Metals Ltd. agreed to acquire the Peak gold-copper-lead-zinc mine in New South Wales, Australia, from New Gold Inc. for US$58 million. Aurelia will need total funding of about A$140 million to complete the transaction, replace all current bonding requirements relating to Peak's operations and fund other costs.
* West Wits Mining Ltd. entered into a binding terms sheet to acquire all the issued capital of Tambina Gold Pty. Ltd., which holds the rights to acquire three gold mining leases, together known as the Tambina project, in Western Australia.
* Vale SA and BHP Billiton Group's Samarco Mineração SA joint venture secured a 150-day extension, until April 20, 2018, to negotiate the settlement of about US$47.6 billion and US$6.1 billion in public civil claims relating to the 2015 dam failure at the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil.
* India's union steel minister Birender Singh indicated that Steel Authority of India Ltd. and ArcelorMittal are expected to enter a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture to set up a 1.5 million tonne per annum auto-grade steel plant, in the next few days, Press Trust of India reported.
* PJSC PhosAgro plans to raise CapEx to 25 billion Russian rubles in 2018 and 2019 as it pushes ahead with expansion projects aimed at boosting overall capacity. At a board meeting, CEO Andrey Guryev outlined the company's priority investment projects, including constructing new sulfuric and nitric acid production facilities.
* Nucor Corp. plans to build a rebar micro mill in Missouri, which represents at least US$250 million in new investments and is expected to start up in 2019 pending the final approval and award of state and local incentives as well as required permits and regulatory approvals.
* Iron ore exploration budgets are down again in 2017 as volatile Fe 62% prices continue to unnerve mining investors and perpetuate a mood of caution among explorers. Using data compiled as part of the Corporate Exploration Strategies series, S&P Global Market Intelligence has identified 80 companies that have budgeted a total of US$433 million for iron ore exploration in 2017, compared with 131 companies budgeting about US$492 million in 2016, representing a year-over-year fall of 12%.
* China will likely meet its 2016 goal of reducing coal capacity by 500 million tonnes within five years ahead of schedule, Xinhua News reported, citing an official with the country's top state planner.
* Yara International ASA is set to spend tens of millions testing a new "renewable ammonia" pilot plant in Western Australia's Pilbara, The Australian reported. The plant aims to use solar energy to help convert nitrogen in the air into ammonia and would sit near the company's existing gas-fed Burrup fertilizer plants.
* Adani Enterprises Ltd. is close to securing financing from Chinese state-owned enterprises for the company's controversial Carmichael coal mine and railway project in Queensland, with an announcement expected in coming weeks, ABC reported.
* Labor representatives are increasing pressure on ThyssenKrupp AG in talks over the group's planned steel joint venture with Tata Steel Ltd.'s European operations, saying they remained concerned over jobs and plants, Reuters reported.
* An updated preliminary economic assessment for Black Iron Inc.'s Shymanivske iron ore project in Ukraine outlined a phased development plan to significantly reduce the up-front construction costs.
* JSW Steel Ltd. is looking to form partnerships with external investors to set up a platform focused on acquiring steel assets facing bankruptcy, Mint reported, citing CFO Seshagiri Rao.
* Oracle Power Plc signed a memorandum of understanding with Sichuan Provincial Investment Group Co. Ltd. and PowerChina International Group Ltd. to proceed toward a formal agreement to cooperate and collaborate in developing the Thar operations, part of the Block VI coal project in Pakistan.
* Namibia and De Beers SA joint venture Debmarine Namibia plans to construct the world's largest custom-built diamond mining vessel. The vessel, expected to cost around US$142 million, is anticipated to commence operations in 2021, International Mining reported.
* Canadian Metals Inc. acquired the Chesnaye and Chisholm Brook silica properties in New Brunswick by issuing 5 million shares to an arm's length vendor.
* Bushveld Minerals Ltd. subsidiary Bushveld Energy Ltd confirmed its first vanadium redox flow battery deployment in South Africa.
* Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to close any mine that supports Maoist rebels waging a guerrilla war to topple the government, Reuters reported. Duterte said some mines were paying "revolutionary taxes" to the rebels in exchange for allowing their operations in remote areas to continue.
* S&P Global Market Intelligence's underlying supply/demand balance for 2017 and beyond remains essentially unchanged. We continue to forecast demand outstripping refined production throughout our three-year forecast period, with average annual prices peaking at US$3,208/t in 2018, according to Metals and Mining team at S&P Global Market Intelligence.
* Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has stepped down amid military pressure and after the country's parliament started an impeachment process against him, the Associated Press reported.
* Australia's midtier miners swung to a profit of A$1.6 billion in the previous fiscal year, from a A$1 billion loss in fiscal 2015-2016, The West Australian reported, citing data from advisory and consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
* Ben Flatgard, a former cybersecurity adviser to former U.S. President Barack Obama, warned that Australia's mining and energy companies may be under threat to hacking attacks, with the sector becoming dependent on automation processes for natural resource extraction, The Australian Financial Review reported.
S&P Global Market Intelligence is owned by S&P Global Inc.
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