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KGHM swings to Q4'18 profit; SQM nabs approval for US$400M plant expansion


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KGHM swings to Q4'18 profit; SQM nabs approval for US$400M plant expansion


KGHM swings YOY to Q4'18 profit; FY'18 earnings up 8.7%

KGHM Polska Miedź SA swung to a profit of 682 million Polish zloty in the fourth quarter of 2018, from a loss of 134 million zloty in the year-ago period. Full-year profit rose 8.7% to 1.66 billion zloty, from 1.53 billion zloty in 2017, on the lower impairment of non-current assets, improvement of joint ventures and more favorable exchange differences. Payable copper production during the fourth quarter increased 8% to 169,000 tonnes, while full-year 2018 output shrunk 3% to 634,000 tonnes, partly due to a maintenance shutdown at the Głogów II smelter in the third quarter and declining output from its Morrison mine in Ontario.

SQM nabs approval for US$400M plant expansion at Salar de Atacama

Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA secured environmental approval for its planned US$400 million expansion of its Salar del Carmen lithium carbonate production plant at its operations in Chile's Atacama desert, Reuters reported. The expansion will result in a planned lithium production capacity increase to 180,000 tonnes per year.

Turquoise Hill's Q4, FY'18 earnings surge on higher gold revenue

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.'s attributable net income in the fourth quarter of 2018 rose 97.7% year over year to US$101.0 million, from US$51.1 million in the year-ago period. Revenues for the quarter stood at US$346.2 million, up 37.5% from US$251.7 million in the prior-year period, due to higher gold revenue, driven by a substantial jump in gold production, partially offset by a decline in copper revenue. For the full year of 2018, the company's attributable net income surged 126.9% to US$411.2 million from US$181.2 million, reflecting the increase in gold revenue and lower unit costs of production.


* Anglo American PLC finished installing a floating island of solar panels in a tailings pond near its Los Bronces copper mine in Chile, in a bid to boost efficiency at the project, Reuters wrote. The 256 panels can produce up to 86 kilowatts, according to the newswire.

* Vedanta Resources PLC's Vedanta Zinc International unit will shut down its Skorpion zinc refinery in Namibia for five weeks after a strike depleted stocks, Reuters reported. During the shutdown, Vedanta Zinc International will carry out maintenance work, instead of later in the year.

* Ero Copper Corp. booked a full-year 2018 adjusted net profit attributable to owners of the company of US$10.9 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, swinging from a loss of US$2.2 million, or 3 cents per share. Revenue grew to US$233.1 million, from US$148.2 million.

* Heron Resources Ltd. said the contract superintendent has rejected the revised claim by CIMIC Group Ltd. unit Sedgman Pty. Ltd. for additional costs of A$53 million for the construction of the Woodlawn zinc-copper project in New South Wales, Australia.

* Workers from the Sindicato No. 2 union reached an agreement with KGHM over collective contracts at the miner's 55%-owned Sierra Gorda copper mine in northern Chile, El Mercurio reported. The deal includes a 14.2 million-Chilean-pesos-per-worker benefit, which includes end-of-negotiation bonus payments.

* Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov's Crispian Investments is not planning to further sell down its current stake in PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co., which was reduced to 6%, following its sale of a 1.7% interest in the miner earlier this week, Kommersant reported.

* Codelco may miss the deadline to restart the operations of furnaces at the Chuquicamata and Salvador copper mines in March, as works to comply with new emissions regulations are delayed, Diario Financiero reported, citing union officials. The miner reportedly said in an internal email that the machines would resume activities in early April. Union officials, however, estimate that works will extend until May.

* Russia, China and an unnamed Middle Eastern country struck a deal to acquire a 9.53% stake in The ONEXIM Group unit Intergeo MMC Ltd., which develops the Kingash nickel project and the Ak-Sug copper project in Russia. Total investments to develop and build infrastructure are expected to exceed 178 billion Russian rubles.

* An Australian tribunal court threw out an appeal by OZ Minerals Ltd. insurer ReturnToWorkSA over the compensation payout of an employee who was injured while playing cricket at the miner's Prominent Hill copper mine in South Australia, ABC reported. The worker, Benjamin Backhouse, was also awarded undisclosed damages.

* CST Group Ltd. agreed to sell its Lady Annie copper mine in Queensland, Australia, and a related loan for about A$23 million.


* Goldcorp Inc. Chairman Ian Telfer drew flak from investors over the US$12 million retirement package he is expected to receive once the company's proposed US$10 billion merger with Newmont Mining Corp. pushes through, Bloomberg News reported. "I don't see why he should be rewarded for poor performance," said Joe Foster, a portfolio manager at VanEck, Goldcorp's second-largest shareholder.

* A work stoppage at Goldcorp's Cerro Negro gold-silver mine in Argentina has come to an end after the gold miner agreed to a "conciliation process."

* Barrick Gold Corp. is reviewing its guidance for 2019 as well as its five-year outlook following the formation of a joint venture with Newmont in Nevada.

* Dundee Precious Metals Inc. produced the first gold concentrate from its Krumovgrad mine in Bulgaria.

* Laneway Resources Ltd. said it has made significant progress at the Agate Creek gold project in Queensland, Australia, prompting it to target the start of mining activities for early April, with ore processing at Maroon Gold Pty Ltd.'s processing plant to follow shortly.

* Russia is considering a temporary export ban on precious metals scrap and tailings in an effort to promote domestic refining of the materials, Reuters reported.


* Russia's largest iron ore producer, OAO Metalloinvest, posted a 17.1% rise in net profit to US$1.65 billion for 2018 as prices of its main products grew substantially, boosting revenue. Moody's also upgraded the company's corporate rating to Ba1 with a stable outlook, from Ba2 with a positive outlook, in light of progress with deleveraging, among other factors.

* K+S AG expects a significant increase in its 2019 EBITDA to between €700 million and €850 million, from €606 million in 2018, driven by higher fertilizer prices, a jump in potash output after a severe drought in Germany halted production at its Werra plant, and the continued ramp-up of its Bethune potash plant in Saskatchewan.

* Exxaro Resources Ltd. reported a rise in attributable EPS for 2018 to 28.01 South African rand from 19.23 rand a year earlier, at the upper end of the range expected by the company earlier in March. Core headline earnings jumped 14% to 7.17 billion rand from 6.3 billion rand.

* Exxaro will allow former workers of Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga Pty. Ltd. to join a joint venture that is expected to acquire the Arnot coal mine in South Africa, Mining Weekly reported, citing CEO Mxolisi Mgojo.

* A Paris court dismissed a US$2.2 billion claim filed by Pan African Minerals Ltd. against Burkina Faso over control of the Tambao manganese mine, Reuters reported, citing the West African country's government.

* BHP Group and Incitec Pivot Ltd. missed their targets in Australia's emissions reduction fund Safeguard Mechanism, forcing them to surrender Australian Carbon Credit Units to cover the shortfall, The Australian Financial Review wrote.

* BNP Paribas Asset Management, the fund management arm of French banking giant BNP Paribas SA, will stop investing in companies that make more than 10% of their revenues from coal mining.

* Ampco-Pittsburgh Corp. plans to sell Canadian subsidiary ASW Steel Inc. as part of a restructuring plan which kicked off in late 2018 with the sale of the company's Vertical Seal division.

* GCM Resources PLC entered a second joint venture agreement with Power Construction Corporation of China Ltd. for the development of an additional coal-fired power plant at the site of GCM's proposed Phulbari coal mine in northwest Bangladesh.


* Advantage Lithium Corp. President and CEO David Sidoo took a leave of absence after being implicated in a college admissions scam, Reuters reported. According to the newswire, Sidoo was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit fraud for allegedly paying US$200,000 to the scam's accused mastermind to hire people who can take the SAT admissions test for his two sons.

* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. recovered an 83.9-carat diamond from the Mothae kimberlite plant in Lesotho, the fourth diamond over 50 carats recovered from the operation.

* European Lithium Ltd., owner of the Wolfsberg lithium project in Austria, will participate in a €1 billion battery production funding program launched by Germany's Ministry of Economy.

* Titanium Corp. Inc. received C$50 million in funding from the Canadian government to develop its tailings recovery technology called Creating Value from Waste at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.'s Horizon oil sands project in Alberta.


* Private company DeepGreen Metals Inc. is set to announce in April two major oil and gas offshore service companies as investors as part of a US$100 million equity raising to use their offshore expertise to extract polymetallic nodules from the Pacific Ocean floor.

* Global Sea Mineral Resources, a unit of Belgian dredging firm DEME Group, will test a bus-sized machine that can vacuum up metal-rich nodules from the deep sea, Science Magazine wrote. The trial will be conducted in the international waters of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, a nodule-rich area between Mexico and Hawaii.

* The U.K. House of Commons voted in favor of postponing the March 29 Brexit date, avoiding, for now, the risk of crashing out of the EU without a deal. Lawmakers voted 412-202 backing a government motion to delay the departure from the bloc until June 30, as long as a Brexit deal could be passed by March 20.

* Western Australia's Environmental Protection Authority will undertake further consultation with companies that may be affected by its revised assessment guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions, amid backlash from the state's mining industry.

* The Mining Association of Canada expressed concerns about the "worrying trends" the country's mining sector is facing. In its annual Facts & Figures report, the group noted that mining investments in Canada have decreased while it continued to cede market share to other countries such as Australia. To prevent the decline, the group urged the government to boost its support for the industry.

* Barrick CEO Mark Bristow, in a roadshow presentation over its gold joint venture deal with Newmont, said other miners should follow suit in consolidating their operations in major mining jurisdictions, MiningNews reported. The industry veteran pointed out the failed BHP-Rio Tinto merger in 2010 as an example of a missed opportunity to have created synergies with their Pilbara iron ore operations.

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