Rio Tinto completes US$1.5B buyback, launches US$1.93B on-market buyback
Rio Tinto completed a US$1.5 billion buyback of Rio Tinto plc shares, comprising the US$500 million and US$1 billion on-market share buyback programs launched Feb. 8 and Aug. 2 respectively. The mining major will also undertake a further US$1.93 billion on-market buyback of shares, to be finalized by Dec. 31, 2018.
Tata Steel looks to borrow US$5.1B to refinance debt
Tata Steel Ltd. is looking to secure funding equivalent to US$5.1 billion via a loan facility and a euro-denominated bond issue in a bid to refinance its debt, Bloomberg News reported, citing "people familiar with the matter." The company is planning a US$2.15 billion, six-year syndicated facility to refinance loans of its units, TS Global Holdings Pte. and NatSteel Asia Pte.
Operations at Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. are normal despite the company receiving a halt order from the government, Metal Bulletin wrote. Bloomberg News previously reported, citing a company official, that Jiangxi Copper will stop all production in its home province for at least a week following a government order to help fight pollution in the area.
* China's NCCL Natural Resources Investment Fund agreed to acquire Louis Dreyfus Co. BV's metals trading unit Dreyfus Co. Metals BV, with the deal expected to close in the first half of 2018. NCCL Natural Resources is owned by units of China Molybdenum Co. Ltd. and New China Capital International Management Ltd.
* RTG Mining Inc. noted that the Bougainville executive council denied an extension to Bougainville Copper Ltd.'s expired exploration licence EL 1, which covers the Panguna copper mine in Papua New Guinea. Bougainville Copper, meanwhile, said that it has not received a formal notification from the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
* WPG Resources Ltd. entered a A$20 million secured debt facility with Byrnecut Group, the mining contractor at the Challenger gold mine. The loans will provide the necessary funding to continue operations at the South Australian mine.
* Kin Mining NL finalized a US$27 million senior secured credit facility with Sprott Private Resource Lending LP for the construction of the company's Leonora gold project in Western Australia. The project is forecast to start production in the second half of 2018.
* Gascoyne Resources Ltd. closed a A$60 million loan facility with National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The company has drawn A$20 million from the facility to fund development costs as it advances its Dalgaranga gold project in Western Australia to production, with the first pour scheduled for late in the second quarter of 2018.
* Gold prices rose to more than a three-week high on Dec. 26, backed by a weaker dollar, while palladium hit its highest since February 2001, Reuters reported.
* Reward Minerals Ltd. submitted the environmental review document for the Lake Disappointment sulfate of potash project to Western Australia's Environmental Protection Authority. The complete assessment and consultation process for the project may continue throughout 2018 before arriving at a ministerial decision.
* American Pacific Borate & Lithium Ltd.'s initial boric acid scoping study for its wholly-owned Fort Cady borate-lithium project in Southern California estimated a posttax, unlevered net present value, discounted at 10%, of US$687.9 million and a 39% internal rate of return. The scoping study targeted steady state production of 246,000 tonnes per annum of boric acid and 54,000 tonnes per annum of sulfate of potash.
* Chinese officials in northern Shandong province used fabricated data to help aluminum and steel producers escape mandatory production cuts, Reuters reported, citing the state-run China Youth Daily. "Local official[s] have covered up for aluminum producers, leading them to build up their capacity," the publication wrote, citing a letter from a Ministry of Environmental Protection inspection team.
* Ncondezi Energy Ltd. extended the date for finalizing the joint development agreement for the integrated 300-MW power and coal mine project in Mozambique to July 31, 2018, from April 30, 2018. Meanwhile, the submission date for binding engineering, procurement, and construction and operations and maintenance contracts was extended to Feb. 28, 2018, from Dec. 31, 2017.
* Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. and its domestic subsidiaries entered into coal contracts for 2018 to supply an aggregate of 37.5 million tonnes of the material. The settlement price will be determined through negotiation between the parties in each transaction.
* Chinese imports of coal from Australia in November fell 0.3% year over year to 5.59 million tonnes due to heavy traffic congestion in Australian ports, Reuters reported, citing customs data.
* Meanwhile, China did not import iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea in November, amid the latest sanctions imposed by the UN against Pyongyang, Reuters wrote, citing customs data.
* China has pushed coal producers to boost their high-grade coal supply to lock in fuel for the winter, Reuters reported, citing a statement made by the country's National Development and Reform Commission.
* Five miners were killed after an 800-meter tunnel collapsed at a coal mine in Afghanistan's Samangan province, Mining.com reported. Four people were rescued after the accident but one worker remains missing, the Associated Press reported, citing local authorities.
* Tigers Realm Coal Ltd.'s Russian subsidiary entered into an agreement with Sberbank to secure a loan of 600 million Russian rubles. The company will use the proceeds for operational purposes and CapEx prior to next revenue from sales, expected in July 2018.
* Russia's Mechel PAO leased 18 BelAZ mining trucks as part of a 2.8 billion-ruble deal with State Transport Leasing Co. The new trucks are part of the company's technical revamping program for its mining division.
* Syrah Resources Ltd. achieved first production of bagged salable fines graphite from the Balama project in Mozambique, after completing commissioning of coarse flake and fine flake circuits. The company is now focusing on the optimization of the process plant and the ramp-up of production at Balama.
* PJSC Alrosa plans to hold 30 international auctions for the sale of special-sized natural rough diamonds, weighing 10.8 carats and above, in 2018. Five of the auctions will be held in the first quarter next year.
* Peru's Ministry of Energy and Mines issued a new decree that regulates the environmental impact of exploration activities in the country. The decree established that exploration activities from geological studies and rock sampling to drilling probes would not require special permits, provided they comply with environmental protection standards, mining magazine Latinominería reported.
* According to an ICRA report, global nonferrous metal prices will remain buoyant over the next three months on the back of widening supply gaps as a result of production delays across aluminum, copper and zinc, Press Trust of India wrote.
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