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Suitors vie for Molycorp's sole US rare earths mine


Suitors vie for Molycorp's Mountain Pass rare earths mine

A group led by Switzerland-based private equity fund Pala Investments Ltd. will compete against a consortium of U.S. hedge funds and a Chinese rare earths firm in a June 14 auction for the bankrupt Molycorp Inc.-owned Mountain Pass mine in California, the Financial Times reported. The Swiss fund, along with Australia's Peak Resources Ltd., will offer US$1.2 million for the mine, while the winner is expected to be scrutinized by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. and take on an estimated US$80 million in environmental liabilities.

Lundin expects Fruta Del Norte output months earlier, secures US$450M funding

Lundin Gold Inc. now expects first gold from its wholly owned Fruta del Norte gold project in Ecuador in the fourth quarter of 2019, from the previously scheduled first quarter of 2020. The company also entered into a US$400 million to US$450 million funding deal with Orion Mine Finance Group and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities.

Mechel reports 10% YOY drop in coal output in Q1'17

Mechel PAO's coal output fell by 10% to 5.1 million tonnes in the first quarter, from 5.7 million tonnes in the same period in 2016. Pig iron production grew by 4% to 1.05 million tonnes from 1.00 million tonnes, and steel production increased by 8% to 1.1 million tonnes from 1.0 million tonnes.


* Australian copper-gold junior explorer Gryphon Melanesia is conducting a US$6.0 million seed capital raising as it works toward a US$25.0 million IPO planned for late this year.

* Zambia's Ministry of Mines has started an investigation into an alleged illegal transaction involving the acquisition of copper mining licenses on the country's copper belt, Lusaka Times reported.

* An internal investigation by Codelco revealed that four executives of molybdenum subsidiary Sociedad de Procesamiento de Molibdeno Ltda. received almost 400 million Chilean pesos in bonus payments, which had not been approved by the board and did not comply with regulation, news radio Bio Bio reported.

* Anglo American Plc would submit its Quellaveco copper-molybdenum project in Peru for board approval as early as June 2018, said the company's country manager in Peru, Luis Marchese, daily Gestión reported.

* Bezant Resources Plc acquired its first fully equipped, purpose-built modern alluvial processing plant, located in Colombia.

* Antofagasta Plc off-loaded its 40% minority stake in the Javiera solar park in northern Chile and plans to launch a power auction for its Zaldivar copper mine starting 2020, Reuters reported.

* Taseko Mines Ltd. launched an offering of US$250 million aggregate principal amount of senior secured notes due 2022.

* Metals X Ltd. increased the reserves for its recently acquired Nifty copper mine in Western Australia to 9.75 million tonnes at 1.58% for 153,500 contained tonnes of copper, marking a 59% increase in contained copper.

* Indonesian state-owned PT Antam (Persero) Tbk. exported 165,000 wet tonnes of low-grade nickel, with content below 1.7%, to China following the government's decision to relax its mineral export ban earlier this year.


* Manuka Resources Ltd. decided not to go ahead with its Australian IPO of up to A$13.0 million and will instead rely on debt funding to advance its Manuka silver project in New South Wales, Australia.

* Avocet Mining Plc unit subsidiary Société des Mines de Bélahouro SA, which operates the Inata gold mine in Burkina Faso, entered into a standstill agreement with its major trade and financial creditors. The company has been experiencing a shortage of critical supplies including reagents and explosives, which is causing production interruptions.

* Northern Empire Resources Corp. said Coeur Mining Inc. became a strategic investor after taking part in a private placement of C$20 million to close the purchase of Imperial Metals Corp. unit Sterling Gold Mining Corp.

* Katoro Gold PLC officially commenced development work on the Imweru gold project in Tanzania.

* Acacia Mining plc may face curtailment or closure of up to two-thirds of its annual gold output due to an ongoing dispute with the Tanzanian government, with analysts fearing that a near-term resolution to the dispute is not in sight, Miningmx reported.

* Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. took a 19.9% stake in Minera Alamos Inc. through a C$3.3 million private placement, which gives the former access to near-term gold production at the La Fortuna gold project and future opportunities in Mexico.

* Eurasia Mining Plc's Monchetundra palladium-platinum project in Russia holds 55.9 tonnes of palladium equivalent maiden reserves and resources, with major additional gold and base metal credits, at two open pittable locations. The Russian state agency for subsoil use, Rosnedra, approved the company's reserves report and feasibility study for the project.


* State-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd. posted a loss after tax of 28.33 billion Indian rupees in fiscal 2017, narrowing from a loss after tax of 40.21 billion rupees a year ago as sales improved 14% on a yearly basis to 491.80 billion rupees.

* Queensland, Australia's land court turned down the proposal for the third-stage expansion of New Hope Corp. Ltd.'s New Acland coal mine. The company is reviewing the decision to determine options available to secure approval of the project.

* Kommersant reported that the development of the Elegest coal project will require 346.6 billion Russian rubles. The Elegest-Kyzyl-Kuragino railway will need 192.4 billion rubles, of which 57.8 billion rubles will be invested by TEPC, with the remaining funds to be raised through infrastructure bonds. Russian Railways will invest a symbolic 10 million rubles.

* TerraCom Ltd.'s wholly owned and operated subsidiary, Orion Mining Pty Ltd., successfully completed the acquisition of Blair Athol coal mine for A$1.

* IC Potash Corp. subsidiary Intercontinental Potash Corp. initiated a civil lawsuit in a Colorado court against Intercontinental Potash Corp. (USA) and two of its investors. The company wants the Denver County District Court to overturn a capital contribution call in the amount of US$800,000, which the company alleges was not properly authorized and did not comply with Colorado law.

* Western Australia Treasurer Ben Wyatt said he will not back off from efforts to push Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton Group to cash out an iron ore production levy despite the miners telling him in meetings that they disagree with the plan, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Ukraine-based steel major Metinvest BV's net profit totaled US$118 million in 2016, reversing a year-ago net loss of about US$1 billion recorded in 2015 on early signs of economic improvement and rising domestic steel demand.

* Ten Chinese steel mills have signed debt-to-equity agreements with commercial banks worth about 200 billion Chinese yuan since late 2016, but most of these deals have yet to be implemented, Caixin reported.


* Gemfields Plc said its shareholders should take no action on the offer from Pallinghurst Resources Ltd. as it "has the potential to dilute Gemfields shareholders with inferior assets that offer exposure to more volatile commodities and with less attractive prospects."

* Boss Resources Ltd. is committing to the next stage of exploration of the Honeymoon uranium project in South Australia after a pre-feasibility study confirmed its positive economics. The PFS estimated CapEx of US$146 million.

* Perth, Australia-based American Pacific Borate & Lithium Ltd. revealed plans to list on the ASX and is targeting up to A$15.0 million under its IPO.

* Hexagon Resources Ltd. said a pre-feasibility study on the first-stage development of the company's McIntosh flake graphite project in Western Australia estimated a posttax net present value of A$183 million and internal rate of return of 39%.


* South Africa's mining companies have been frozen out of an ongoing discussion about changes to the country's mining charter, Bloomberg News reported. The Chamber of Mines, which represents the country's miners, allegedly has not been consulted on the proposed draft, which focuses on black economic empowerment stakes and could dilute shareholders and raise costs.

* The first quarter was strong for many top miners as commodity market fundamentals continued to improve, creating a supportive earnings environment. Thirteen of the top 25 companies ranked by market cap were able to beat their estimates. Three met and six failed to beat their S&P Capital IQ estimates.

* The government of Guyana has discovered 20 illegal mining camps in the Kaieteur National Park and arrested several people during an operation by security forces, Jamaica Observer reported.

* The Indonesian Energy Ministry is drafting a national mining policy to provide guidance and planning for the country's mining sector in the long run, Bisnis Indonesia reported, citing the secretary of the mineral and coal directorate general, Iwan Adhi Prasetya.

* According to a report by African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, Zimbabwe needs to develop a proper mining taxation regime to establish an appropriate royalty system, NewsDay wrote.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. ET and scans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.