BHP mulls exit from World Coal Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
BHP Billiton Group made a preliminary decision to leave the World Coal Association and is considering exiting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over differences in climate and energy policy. The company published a report that assessed 21 industry associations that hold an active position on climate and energy policy, with the review focused on 10 policies identified as being of key importance for BHP. The report identified seven material differences on climate and energy policy across three associations, namely the WCA, the Chamber and the Minerals Council of Australia.
South Africa's Chamber of Mines said Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president of the African National Congress and will succeed Jacob Zuma as the party's leader. Meanwhile, Sebastian Pinera was elected Chile's president with a promise to reduce corporate taxes and cut red tape. According to Bloomberg News, the political changes in both countries are good news for mining giants BHP Billiton Group, Rio Tinto, Glencore Plc and Anglo American Plc, which have projects in these mineral-rich countries.
Vale calls Moatize strike illegal, declines bonus increase
Vale SA will not pay the bonuses demanded by its striking workers at the Moatize coal mine in Mozambique, calling the labor action "illegal" and advised employees to return to work and resolve such issues within the competent forums, Reuters reported. The workers downed tools Dec. 15 demanding two bonuses, including a 14th salary and a retention bonus.
* Rambler Metals & Mining Plc processed a monthly record 33,870 tonnes of ore from the Ming copper mine in Newfoundland and Labrador through the neighboring Nugget Pond mill, averaging 1,221 tonnes per day in November.
* EMX Royalty Corp., through its unit Bronco Creek Exploration Inc., optioned its Greenwood Peak copper porphyry project in Arizona to Antofagasta Plc. Antofagasta can earn 100% of the project by paying US$630,000 and spending US$4.5 million on the property within five years.
* Cazaly Resources Ltd. acquired a four-month option to purchase an 85% equity interest in the copper-cobalt prospective Tsumkwe project in Namibia.
* The zinc market remained relatively quiet over the past month, typical at this time of the year when market participants are engrossed in following-year contract negotiations on sale volumes, contract treatment charges and premiums. Although spot treatment charges are expected to rise in the second half of 2018, and 2018 contract treatment charges should also reflect the anticipated increase in concentrate supply, the Metals and Mining Research team of S&P Global Market Intelligence expects smelters to benefit from persistently low treatment charges through to the end of this year amid increased competition for concentrates.
* Horizonte Minerals Plc struck a deal with Vale to acquire the Vermelho nickel-cobalt project in Brazil for US$8 million. Vale approved Vermelho in 2005 with nameplate annual production capacity of 46,000 tonnes of nickel and 2,500 tonnes of cobalt.
* Ecuador's government and Chilean state miner Codelco reportedly started negotiations for the latter to take full ownership of the Llurimaga copper project in Ecuador, from a 51/49 joint venture in favor of the former, El Mercurio reported, citing sources.
* Myanmar Metals Ltd.'s scoping study on developing an open pit mining operation at the Bawdwin zinc-lead-silver-copper project in Myanmar confirmed its potential to be redeveloped as a large-scale mining operation. The scoping study pegged a long-life, low-cost, low strip-ratio, 250 meter-deep open pit mine with a conventional milling and flotation circuit to produce zinc and lead-silver-copper concentrates.
* Union workers of Minsur SA's San Rafael tin mine in Peru threatened to go on strike Dec. 19 if the company does not meet pledges made in the collective bargaining agreement including labor safety and early retirement plans, Gestión reported, citing the trade union.
* China's refined copper production in November jumped nearly 10% year over year to 786,000 tonnes, the highest rate in at least three years, Mining.com reported, citing data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Meanwhile, zinc output for the month rose 7.5% to 603,000 tonnes.
* According to Business News Americas, Torex Gold Resources Inc. called on the Mexican government to step in and remove the 45-day blockade at its El Limon-Guajes gold mine. The move follows the company's announcement that it will suspend employment contracts in the country.
* Deep-South Resources Inc. signed a letter of agreement to acquire 90% of the gold-prospective St. John project in Liberia from Sparrowhawk Gold Ltd.
* Barrick Gold Corp. granted Skeena Resources Ltd. an option to acquire the past-producing Eskay Creek gold property in British Columbia's Golden Triangle. Barrick will also complete a strategic investment with Skeena for gross proceeds of C$1 million.
* Sandstorm Gold Ltd. agreed to purchase a 2% net smelter royalty held by Acacia Mining plc on the Hounde gold mine in Burkina Faso, operated by Endeavour Mining Corp., for US$45 million.
* Golden Dawn Minerals Inc. signed an option agreement with Huakan International Mining Inc. to acquire the J & L gold project in British Columbia in a cash-and-share deal.
* Avesoro Resources Inc. completed the acquisition of the Youga and Balogo gold mines in Burkina Faso from majority shareholder Avesoro Jersey Ltd.
* Aura Minerals Inc. and Rio Novo Gold Inc. signed a merger agreement under which Aura will acquire Rio Novo's outstanding share capital by issuing 0.053 of an Aura common share for each Rio Novo share held.
* Aztec Minerals Corp. entered into an option deal to acquire a 75% interest in a package of mineral properties in the Tombstone mining district of Arizona from Baroyeca Gold & Silver Inc. and its U.S. subsidiaries.
* Cash-strapped Avocet Mining Plc entered into an agreement to sell all of its assets in Burkina Faso, including the Inata gold mine, to Ghana-based Balaji Group for US$5 million. The rest of the company might be broken up further and eventually wound up, potentially without any returns to its shareholders.
* Alacer Gold Corp. posted initial reserves for the Çakmaktepe deposit at the Çöpler operations in Turkey as well as a 70% increase in indicated resources at the Çakmaktepe and Bayramdere deposits. The company's interest in the Çöpler property ranges from 50% to 80%.
* Nusantara Resources Ltd. began a process to engage with a strategic joint venture partner for the development of the Awak Mas gold project in Indonesia.
* The Mexican environmental authority granted Great Panther Silver Ltd. all permits for the construction and operation of the new tailings storage facility at its Topia silver mine in Durango, Mexico.
* Mitsubishi Materials Corp. uncovered more cases of data falsification in its product line as it continues to probe the scandal that has affected over 300 of its customers, Reuters reported. The company found that its Mitsubishi Cable Industries Ltd. unit shipped magnetic wires with possibly fabricated data to five customers.
* Tata Steel Ltd. is in the final stages of testing a proprietary steelmaking technology at its Netherlands plant that may potentially reduce carbon emissions and energy use by at least 20%, the Financial Times reported.
* Bauxite Resources Ltd.'s board recommended that shareholders reject Mercantile OFM Pty. Ltd.'s takeover offer to buy 1 of every 2 fully paid shares in Bauxite Resources that it does not already own for 9 Australian cents apiece. The miner said an independent expert found that the offer is neither fair nor reasonable.
* Reuters cited Liberty House Group Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta as saying the group is in talks to purchase and build more U.S.-based steel and industrial assets in 2018, after buying ArcelorMittal's Georgetown Steelworks. The Georgetown Steelworks, which includes a 540,000-tonne-per-annum electric arc furnace and a 680,000-tpa rod mill, is expected to restart in the spring.
* S&P Global Platts reported that Blackhawk Mining LLC expects to mine and sell more than 14.5 million short tons of Central Appalachian metallurgical and thermal coal in 2018 after reaching an agreement with lenders to strengthen its balance sheet and provide nearly US$100 million of incremental liquidity in 2018.
* Gateway Mining Ltd. will no longer proceed with its proposed acquisition of Queensland Coal Investment Holdings Ltd after failing to meet the prerequisites to fulfill the sale agreement.
* Brazil's crude steel output rose by 15.3% year over year to 3.03 million tonnes in November, Metal Bulletin reported, citing figures released by national steel institute Aço Brasil.
* Lawyers for Lehram Capital Investments claim the Gramoteinskaya coal mine in Russia was illegally seized in collusion with local government officials and demanded US$500 million in damages from the government, the Financial Times reported.
* Tokyo Electric Power, or Tepco, confirmed that uranium major Cameco Corp. is seeking US$681.9 million in damages relating to a contract dispute that started early this year when Tepco terminated a supply deal with Cameco due to force majeure, Mining Weekly reported, citing a Reuters report.
* Battery Minerals Ltd. signed a three-year binding agreement to sell up to 11,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate per year to Urbix Resources LLC. The off-take, starting in 2019, covers over 20% of the initial forecast annual output from the company's Montepuez project in Mozambique.
* Chilean development agency Corfo and lithium miner Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA agreed to suspend the ongoing arbitration proceedings for 30 days in a renewed push to resolve a dispute over mining claims, Reuters reported, citing Corfo.
* A preliminary economic assessment for Lithium Power International Ltd.'s Maricunga lithium brine project in northern Chile pegged a posttax net present value, discounted at 8%, of US$731 million, a 20.4% internal rate of return and a 3.25-year payback period.
* Technology Metals Australia Ltd. announced an initial resource estimate for the Southern Tenement area of its Gabanintha property in Western Australia, which hosts inferred resources of 21.5 million tonnes at 0.9% vanadium oxide, or V2O5, and 10.1% titanium dioxide, or TiO2. The resource includes a high-grade area of 10.4 million tonnes at 1.1% V2O5 and 12.6% TiO2.
* Global Geoscience Ltd. said the initial mining study at its Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron deposit in Nevada confirmed the potential for low-cost open pit mining at rates of 2 million to 4 million tonnes per annum, with 1 million tonnes of mineralization containing about 8,700 tonnes of lithium carbonate and 77,200 tonnes of boric acid.
* Base Resources Ltd. reached a binding agreement to acquire up to a 100% interest in the Toliara heavy mineral sands project in Madagascar from World Titanium Resources Ltd. for US$92 million.
* Alchemist Mining Inc. terminated an option agreement with Great Thunder Gold Corp. to acquire a 70% interest in the Nemaska Lake lithium property in Quebec.
* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. plans to schedule the next sale of alluvial diamonds from the Lulo project in Angola for early 2018. The sale parcel will include 2,160 carats of Lulo production and includes the exceptional 129-carat and 78-carat Type IIa D-color diamonds recovered from mining Block 6 in November.
* The Trump administration dropped climate change from the list of national security threats contained in a new report, reversing what had been a key component of its predecessor's argument for reducing carbon emissions, promoting clean energy and other environmental regulations.
* Ecuador's Ministry of Mining expects the mining sector to potentially contribute over US$1 billion in revenues to the country in 2018, primarily through exploration and development of projects, Mining.com reported, citing a ministry statement.
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