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Alcoa swings to Q4'18 profit; Norsk Hydro's Alunorte nears restart


Alcoa swings to Q4'18 profit

Alcoa Corp. swung to a fourth-quarter 2018 net profit of US$43 million, from a year-ago loss of US$196 million, on the back of higher earnings in its bauxite and alumina segments. Full-year 2018 net income rose to US$227 million, from US$217 million in 2017, mainly driven by higher alumina and aluminum prices. Alcoa also reached a tentative deal with workers' representatives over the collective dismissal at its Avilés and La Coruña aluminum plants in Spain, which are both scheduled for closure in 2019. Following the shutdown, the company estimated annual savings of between US$70 million and US$80 million, based on 2018 market prices, in 2019.

Norsk Hydro's Alunorte refinery moves closer to restart

Norsk Hydro ASA's Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil was cleared by the environmental agency in the state of Pará, SEMAS, to resume normal operations. SEMAS also lifted the production embargo; however, it does not allow full operations to immediately resume as a Federal Court embargo remains in force.

South32's Q2'19 alumina output up 9.6% YOY

South32 Ltd. produced 1.4 million tonnes of alumina in the second quarter of fiscal 2019, up from 1.3 million tonnes in the year-ago period. Aluminum output slightly rose to 247,000 tonnes, while metallurgical coal production climbed to 1.6 million tonnes. First-half metallurgical coal output grew 140% to 3.1 million tonnes.


* Ford Motor Co., Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co. Ltd, IBM, LG Chem Ltd. and RCS Global plan to use blockchain technology to trace ethically sourced minerals. The companies launched a pilot that will trace the production, trading and processing of cobalt, a key component of lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars, laptops and mobile devices. They hope to ultimately create a cross-industry blockchain that could track a range of minerals — including tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold — used in consumer products and hold participants accountable to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's sourcing standards.

* Kazakhstan's 2018 refined copper production grew 2.8% to 438,233 tonnes while refined zinc output slipped 0.7% to 328,764 tonnes, Reuters reported, citing data from Statistics Committee. KAZ Minerals PLC and Glencore PLC's Kazzinc Ltd. unit account for majority of the country's metals production.

* Waterton Global Resource Management Inc. picked Peter Kukielski as its bet to become Hudbay Minerals Inc.'s new CEO as the dissident shareholder named its eight nominees for election to the Canadian miner's 10-member board at this year's annual meeting. Kukielski was the former CEO of Nevsun Resources Ltd.

* KGHM Polska Miedź SA expects average copper prices in 2019 to range from US$6,100 per tonne to US$6,300/t, which is at the lower end of analyst forecasts, Reuters reported, citing CEO Marcin Chludzinski.

* Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd. paused drilling at the Thackaringa cobalt project in New South Wales, Australia, as it was unable to secure an extension to a land access agreement. The company planned to drill at least 15,000 meters at Thackaringa by the first half and has completed 9,561 meters so far.

* NorZinc Ltd. entered into a traditional land use agreement with the Nah?a Dehé Dene Band, or NDDB, for construction and operation of an all-season road to connect its Prairie Creek zinc-lead-silver property to the Liard Highway in Canada's Northwest Territories.

* Six Sigma Metals Ltd. secured approval for a three-year prospecting license in Botswana. The license contains at least three historical prospects with potential for nickel sulfide and/or base metals mineralization.


* B2Gold Corp.'s consolidated gold production for 2018 reached a record 953,504 ounces, near the top end of its revised guidance and up 51% on a yearly basis.

* IAMGOLD Corp.'s attributable gold output in the fourth quarter of 2018 climbed 1.3% year on year to 231,000 ounces, according to preliminary figures. Full-year 2018 production remained steady at 882,000 ounces, near the high end of its guidance of 850,000 to 900,000 ounces.

* Hochschild Mining PLC achieved record full-year attributable production in 2018 of 39.0 million silver equivalent ounces, compared to 38.0 million ounces a year ago, on the back of record output at Inmaculada and strong performance at Pallancata.

* Premier Gold Mines Ltd. reported full-year 2018 production of 89,699 ounces of gold and 321,814 ounces of silver. Fourth-quarter 2018 production came in at 23,042 ounces of gold and 120,730 ounces of silver.

* Atlantic Gold Corp.'s fourth-quarter gold output of 22,509 ounces from the Moose River Consolidated mine brought its full-year production to 90,531 ounces, slightly above its full-year guidance of between 82,000 ounces and 90,000 ounces.

* A Canadian national was kidnapped by a dozen gunmen on a site owned by Progress Minerals Inc. in Burkina Faso. The victim was identified as Kirk Woodman, the company's vice president of exploration. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government is aware of the incident and is working with Burkina Faso authorities.

* Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd. extended the anticipated closing date of its acquisition of the Kapan gold mine in southern Armenia to Jan. 31 from Jan. 15 due to the extended winter holiday season in Armenia and Russia.

* Treasury Metals Inc. inked a memorandum of understanding with the Eagle Lake First Nation regarding the company's Goliath gold project in Ontario. The MOU serves as framework agreement between the parties to facilitate effective communication, engagement and negotiation with respect to the project.

* Riversgold Ltd.'s two discoveries at its Farr-Jones project in Western Australia's Eastern Goldfields gave Managing Director Allan Kelly confidence that more such finds are there, in a region that broker Argonaut said could well be a "dark horse."

* Birimian Ltd. reached an agreement with Mali's Société des Mines de Morila SA to allow ore from Birimian's N’tiola mine in the country to be blended with Morila mine tailings for processing through the Morila plant.

* Kingsrose Mining Ltd. secured the Indonesian equivalent of an environmental impact assessment for its Way Linggo gold project in the country.

* Xtract Resources PLC unit Explorator Ltda. inked a mining contractor deal with Huafei Gold Resources Co. Ltda. for the exploitation of alluvial gold deposits at the Manica gold project in Mozambique.

* Alto Metals Ltd. agreed to purchase the right to prospect and search for gold down to 2 meters of depth from surface at the Sandstone gold project in Western Australia for 3 million shares.


* Stanmore Coal Ltd. Managing Director Dan Clifford denied that the company is overvalued and stood by BDO's independent valuation of between A$1.48 and A$1.90 per share, The Australian Financial Review reported. A separate Grant Thornton valuation commissioned by suitor Golden Investments recently showed that Stanmore's value was only worth between 84 cents and A$1.10 a share.

* Aahana Global Resources & Investment Pte. Ltd. will acquire about 19.9% of Cokal Ltd. by purchasing the company's shares owned by the Platinum funds, which are in receivership and liquidation. Aahana plans to participate in developing Cokal's BBM coal project in Indonesia.

* Germany is likely to give its coal-mining states more compensation than expected for the country's planned exit from coal, Reuters wrote, citing participants in a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

* The European Union agreed to limit steel imports into the bloc until July 2021 to alleviate concerns that steel could flood the European market amid U.S. metal tariffs, Reuters reported.


* An independent survey will determine if mining will be allowed at Transworld Energy and Minerals Resources (SA) (Pty.) Ltd.'s Xolobeni mineral sands project in South Africa, Mining Weekly wrote, citing Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, who will also visit the local community to gain consent for mining in the region. The Pretoria High Court recently ruled that the minister could not award a mining right at Xolobeni without permission from the community.

* Activist investor Krupa Global Investments notified European Metals Holdings Ltd. of its intention to make a purchase offer for the latter's wholly owned Cinovec lithium-tin project in the Czech Republic. Company shares were up 28% in late-afternoon London trading. European Metals said it would not give it any consideration to the "purported indicative offer letter" due to a lack of any details about the price, terms or conditions.


* Bosasa, a South African facilities management firm, paid up to 6 million South African rand in bribes monthly to secure tenders at mining companies and state institutions, according to a state capture testimony by former COO Angelo Agrizzi, as reported by Business Day.

* MineHub Technologies Inc. and IBM are working with Goldcorp, ING Bank, Kutcho Copper Corp., Ocean Partners USA Inc. and Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. to use blockchain technology to boost efficiency in mining. The first use case will be built on the MineHub platform and will manage concentrate from Goldcorp's Penasquito mine in Mexico through its path to market.

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