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Adani nabs key Carmichael approval; Teck secures funding for Quebrada Blanca


Gold - Geopolitical tensions and inflation remain key drivers


Lithium and Cobalt - Softer demand weighs on prices


Insight Weekly: Ukraine war impact on mining; US bank growth slowdown; cloud computing headwinds


Insight Weekly: Cryptocurrency's growth; green bond market outlook; coal investors' windfall

Adani nabs key Carmichael approval; Teck secures funding for Quebrada Blanca


Adani nabs key approval for Carmichael coal mine

Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s plan to protect the endangered black-throated finch at its Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia, was approved by the state's Department of the Environment and Science. The company is still awaiting a decision on the mine's water management plan, expected on June 13.

Teck secures US$2.5B funding for Quebrada Blanca; ups share buyback to US$1B

Teck Resources Ltd. signed a 12-year, US$2.5 billion limited recourse project financing facility from a consortium of banks, which will be used to develop phase two of the Quebrada Blanca copper mine in Chile. The financing is targeted to close before the end of the third quarter, with first borrowing under the facility not expected to be required until late this year. Separately, Teck said that it would repurchase a further C$600 million of class B subordinate voting shares, bringing up its total share buyback to C$1 billion since November 2018. The miner will also redeem all of its US$600 million in 8.5% notes due in June 2024.

Trade war propping up Chinese rare earth shares, commodity prices

Shares of Chinese rare earth companies have surged after the country signaled it may use its dominance in rare earths — a strategic mineral used in goods from phones to guided missiles — as leverage in the ongoing trade war with the U.S., with analysts predicting that tensions are expected to continue to prop up both the price of such stocks as well as the underlying commodity.


* Codelco's pretax profit for the three months dropped 31% on a yearly basis to US$372 million, Reuters reported. The Chilean state-owned miner's copper production totaled 342,000 tonnes in the first quarter, down 18% year over year. Meanwhile, unions at its Chuquicamata operation said they are willing to initiate government-mediated talks on May 31 in a bid to avert a strike.

* SolGold PLC and Cornerstone Capital Resources Inc. expect Ecuador's Constitutional Court to reject a petition to hold a mining referendum that could impact their Cascabel copper-gold joint venture.

* Zambia's attempt to seize Vedanta Resources Ltd.'s Konkola Copper Mines PLC over alleged environmental breaches should serve as a warning for other mining firms to follow the law, Reuters reported, citing a statement by Mines Minister Richard Musukwa.

* Peako Ltd. believes that Western Australia's Halls Creek Province is the last of the country's copper provinces that is neither tightly held nor too mature, after it announced an application to expand its tenement package in the region to 1,200 square kilometer, according to an exclusive S&P Global Market Intelligence report.

* Benchmark copper prices on the London Metal Exchange fell almost 9% this month due to rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China. However, supply is expected to tighten in the second half amid disruptions that copper producer Codelco is facing in Chile, political and power problems in Zambia and restrictions on scrap imports in China, Reuters reported.

* An updated feasibility study for RNC Minerals' Dumont nickel-cobalt project in Quebec delivered a posttax net present value, discounted at 8%, of US$920 million, with a 15.4% internal rate of return over a 30-year mine life.

* Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd. entered into an agreement with Mitsubishi Corp. to conduct market trials for the sale of elemental sulfur produced from the Thackaringa cobalt project in New South Wales, Australia, with a view to negotiate an off-take deal, should the trial prove successful.


* An illegal strike that led to more than 600 employees being dismissed at the Mototolo mine run by Anglo American Platinum Ltd. has been resolved, and the workers will be reinstated, the company said.

* Endeavour Silver Corp. slashed the workforce at its Mexican silver-gold operations by 18% as part of an effort to improve the company's financial performance for the remainder of the year.

* St Barbara Ltd.'s consolidated gold production guidance for its fiscal 2019 was slashed to approximately 355,000 ounces, from between 365,000 ounces and 375,000 ounces, due to lower production volumes at the Gwalia gold mine in Western Australia. Production at Gwalia is now expected at approximately 220,000 ounces, from between 235,000 ounces and 240,000 ounces.

* Hunt Mining Corp. agreed to acquire the issued share capital of London-listed junior Patagonia Gold PLC, in a deal where Patagonia shareholders will receive 10.76 shares of the merged company for each share held.

* Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. achieved commercial production at its Meliadine gold mine in Nunavut, Canada, ahead of schedule and below budget.

* NV Gold Corp. signed a binding letter of intent to lease the Slumber gold property in Nevada. A preliminary exploration program will commence shortly.

* Discovery Metals Corp. agreed to acquire Levon Resources Ltd. through a share exchange of 0.55 of a Discovery share for each Levon share to create a silver-focused exploration company in Mexico. Upon closing, former shareholders of Discovery and Levon will hold 50.4% and 49.6%, respectively, of the combined entity.

* Meteoric Resources NL closed its previously announced acquisition of the Juruena and Novo Astro gold projects from Crusader Resources Ltd.

* Sky Gold Corp. received a drill permit for its flagship Clone gold project in British Columbia's Golden Triangle. The company's maiden drill campaign is expected in July.

* Pure Gold Mining Inc. launched an up to 12,000-meter diamond drilling program at the Madsen Red Lake gold mine in Ontario, which will focus on converting and growing the resource estimates at the Wedge, Fork and Russet South discoveries. The program is targeted for completion in December.


* En+ Group PLC's first-quarter revenue for its metals segment fell 20.9% yearly to US$2.17 billion, as primary aluminum and alloy sales slipped 21.8% to US$1.72 billion and alumina sales dropped 27.4% to US$172 million. The metals segment's net profit tanked 49.8% to US$273 million.

* Vale SA did not acknowledge several workers' concerns about the unstable dam structure at the Feijao mine in Brazil before it collapsed and killed nearly 300 people in January, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company denied ignoring warning signs.

* Vale CEO Eduardo Bartolomeo, who succeeded Fabio Schvartsman, will keep his post until 2021 following a vote by the board, Fastmarkets MB wrote.

* Coal India Ltd.'s attributable net profit in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 jumped to 60.24 billion Indian rupees, from 13.03 billion rupees a year ago. Production in the three-month period totaled 194.5 million tonnes of raw coal, up from 183.5 Mt produced in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2018.

* S&P Ratings revised the outlook for U.S. Steel Corp. to stable from positive, due to its plans to increase capital expenditure and a US$300 million share buyback. The rating agency affirmed its rating on the steelmaker at B.

* The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a preliminary antidumping duty on aluminum wire and cable imported from China.

* Russian steelmaker PJSC Novolipetsk Steel said its US$500 million placement of seven-year eurobonds was more than three times oversubscribed.

* A Eurasian Resources Group SARL unit signed a memorandum of intentions with China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. and China Railway Group Ltd. for the US$2.6 billion construction of the mine and related infrastructure for the Pedra de Ferro iron ore mine in Brazil's Bahia state, Valor International reported.

* Japan and South Korea supplied about 57% of India's 630,000 tonnes of steel imports in April, compared to about 45% in the year-ago period, Reuters reported, citing government data. The two countries have free trade agreements with India, giving them an advantage over other steel producing nations.

* Atlantic metallurgical coal and metallurgical coke markets are facing potentially lower spot activity from a further weakening in European steel demand, according to S&P Global Platts.

* National Mineral Development Corp. Ltd. plans to acquire the 21.44% shareholding it does not already own in Legacy Iron Ore Ltd., The New Indian Express reported.


* Amid fears that China may tighten rare earths supply as part of its ongoing trade war with the U.S., Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he plans to allow Lynas Corp. Ltd.'s US$800 million Gebeng rare earths processing plant to keep operating in the country, Reuters reported.

* Wesfarmers Ltd. is refusing to give up on its bid to acquire Lynas, despite the latter's share prices soaring to A$3.07 apiece on the news of Malaysia's plans to renew the permits for the Gebeng plant, The Australian Financial Review reported. Shares in Lynas rose 11% in late afternoon trading on the ASX on May 31.

* Aiming to capitalize on the recent tensions between the U.S. and China over rare earths, Canada-based Hudson Resources Inc. said it is in discussions with several parties about a possible partnership for the development of its Sarfartoq Carbonatite rare earths project in Greenland. Shares in Hudson rose as much as 9%.

* De Beers SA ended production at its Victor mine in Ontario, the first and only diamond mine in the Canadian province, Canadian Mining Journal wrote. The last economic ore was processed May 25, while the mineral processing plant will be permanently shut down by the end of June.

* MP Materials is seeking the U.S. government's help as it faces short-term refining challenges amid the country's plan to lessen its reliance on China over rare earths minerals, CNBC reported, citing MC Minerals Co-Chairman James Litinsky, who also noted that the company's Mountain Pass mine in California should be self-sufficient by 2020.

* Australian Vanadium Ltd. outlined an JORC 2012-compliant inferred uranium and vanadium resource for the Nowthanna Hill project in Western Australia. At a cut-off grade of 250 parts per million vanadium pentoxide and 200 ppm uranium, the project hosts 3.60 million tonnes grading 337 ppm vanadium pentoxide and 4.73 Mt grading 404 ppm uranium.

* An updated total resource estimate at Savannah Resources PLC's Mina do Barroso lithium project in Portugal grew 15% to 285,900 tonnes of lithium contained in 27 million tonnes grading 1.06% lithium.


* Defaults are on the rise in the metals and mining sector this year, and many of the companies are based in the U.S., according to S&P Global Ratings.

* Encounter Resources Ltd. Managing Director Will Robinson said junior miners are benefitting from the recent rush by majors into greenfield exploration to search for new discoveries to top up their depleting resource pipelines, The West Australian reported.

* Of the top 25 mining companies by market value as of May 24, 14 bested their S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus EPS estimates for the first quarter, while three met estimates and seven underperformed.

* Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan warned that individual states may take their own steps on climate policies, unless the national government comes up with workable plans in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, The West Australian reported.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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