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Rio Tinto told to delay Jadar project; POSCO may invest in cleaner steelmaking

TOP NEWS

Rio Tinto told to delay development of Jadar lithium project

Rio Tinto must delay the development of its Jadar lithium project in Serbia as it may exacerbate a slump in prices due to a projected oversupply in 2025, a year after the project is scheduled for first production, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing investment advisory firm Ord Minnett. The project could also threaten Rio Tinto's cashflows from boric acids, a byproduct of Jadar, as the company is already a big player in that market, according to the report.

POSCO mulls investing up to 200B won for cleaner steelmaking

POSCO may invest 100 billion to 200 billion South Korean won to make its steelmaking process cleaner in compliance with the country's tighter environmental rules, Reuters reported, citing Ahn Yoon-gih, senior vice president of the company's steel unit. POSCO is also planning to use more steel scrap in its production to decrease its reliance on imported iron ore and prolong the life cycle of steel.

Glencore posts largest copper reserves growth over 10 years

Glencore PLC had the largest reserves growth of all the companies in the copper reserves replacement study by S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team, adding 45.2 million tonnes of copper to reserves through a skillful mixture of acquisitions and exploration over the past 10 years. It accomplished this while rising to become the world's second-largest copper producer behind Codelco in 2018.

DIVERSIFIED

* Glencore's Head of Oil Alex Beard will retire in June 30. Bloomberg News noted that Beard, 51, had been tipped as a potential successor to CEO Ivan Glasenberg before the latter said the company's next leader should come from a younger generation.

BASE METALS

* Codelco partially halted work at its El Teniente copper mine in northern Chile following the death of a worker, who died after getting hit by a rock while working in the mine's Pilar Norte sector, Reuters reported.

* Aurubis AG secured a contract for the 10-year supply of copper concentrates from the second phase of Teck Resources Ltd.'s Quebrada Blanca project in Chile.

* Copper Lake Resources Ltd. expanded its landholdings in northwest Ontario by staking the Summit Lake property, located west of its 75%-owned Marshall Lake copper project.

* Altus Strategies PLC's Altau Resources Ltd. unit secured a three-year exploration license for the copper-gold prospective Zager property in Ethiopia.

* Broadway Gold Mining Ltd. agreed to acquire an 85% interest in four exploration prospecting licenses covering copper occurrences in Namibia for US$50,000 and 3 million shares.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Barrick Gold Corp. President and CEO Mark Bristow and Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. Senior Vice President George Fang met with new Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape to discuss the proposed 20-year extension of the special mining lease for the Porgera gold mine.

* Gold-miner Semafo Inc. boosted planned exploration spending on a prospect in Burkina Faso from US$3 million to US$11 million after reporting a gold discovery on its Bantou property, part of the broader Kongolokoro concessions. The discovery, called Bantou Nord, "looks pretty good," Haywood Securities analyst Kerry Smith said in an interview.

* Sierra Metals Inc. agreed to repurchase Minera Cusi SA de CV's 3% royalty on its Cusi silver mine in Mexico for US$4 million.

* Citing tough financing markets, NuLegacy Gold Corp. suspended exploration plans in Nevada as it looks to preserve cash and find a partner or merger opportunity.

* Mineral Mountain Resources Ltd. received the drill permits for its Standby gold project in South Dakota. A drill campaign in excess of 4,000 meters, for which the company intends to use "low impact" environmentally friendly practices, is planned for summer.

* Metals Exploration PLC lenders HSBC and BNP Paribas and major shareholders MTL Luxembourg SARL and Runruno Holdings Ltd., which hold the company's mezzanine debt, renewed a standstill agreement for another month until June 28.

* Gold Fields Ltd. said a female leader of a trackless crew died at its South Deep mine in South Africa after she was hit by a rock that came loose following a series of four seismic events in quick succession. All operations at the mine were suspended for a day following the accident. The underground corridor where the accident occurred will remain closed pending a safety check.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s proposed Carmichael coal mine in Australia may hire as low as 800 workers once it is operational, raising questions if the environmental cost of its approval is worth the employment benefits, The Australian reported.

* The proposed merger of China Baowu Steel Group Corporation Ltd. and Magang (Group) Holding Co. Ltd. would create a group whose combined output topped that of the entire U.S. steel industry last year, the Financial Times reported. The two firms had a total crude steel output of 87 million tonnes in 2018, higher than the U.S. output of 86.6 Mt in the same year, the report said, citing data from the World Steel Association.

* GFG Alliance Ltd.'s SIMEC Energy Australia partnered with Shanghai Electric Group Co. Ltd. to build the Cultana solar farm that would power the Whyalla steelworks site in South Australia. The project is part of GFG's plan to spend US$1 billion in renewables in the state.

* Russian potash producer PJSC Uralkali signed a five-year pre-export facility with 13 international banks for two tranches of US$725 million and €650 million. The company will use the funds to refinance existing debt and for general corporate purposes.

* Brazil's iron ore export volumes in May dropped 20% year on year to 29.02 million tonnes from 34.62 Mt in the year-ago period as Vale SA was forced to close some operations this year in the wake of the fatal Feijao dam disaster, Fastmarkets MB reported, citing the country’s economic ministry.

* Ferroglobe PLC reached a definitive agreement with TPG Sixth Street Partners for the €170 million sale of its FerroAtlantica SAU subsidiary, owner of 10 hydroelectric power plants and the Cee-Dumbría ferroalloys plant in Spain.

* A joint venture between Nucor Corp. and Duferco Participations Holding SA plans to build a €150 million steel beam rolling mill in Italy that will have an annual capacity of 1 million tonnes, Fastmarkets MB reported.

* ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd. may be fined by up to 15 million South African rand over alleged breaches of its emissions license at its Vanderbijlpark steelworks site. The company is facing two charges for conducting unlicensed activities and one charge for exceeding certain minimum emission standards.

* Allegheny Technologies Inc. agreed to sell two noncore forging facilites in Indiana and Kentucky to Wynnchurch Capital LLC for US$37 million.

* The U.S. coal sector should remain stable for the next 12 to 18 months, Moody's said.

* ArcelorMittal sold its ArcelorMittal TrefilUnion SAS unit, which produces steel wire and ropes in France, to German turnaround investor mutares AG.

* Resource Generation Ltd. secured funding for construction of its Boikarabelo coal mine in South Africa, with the second member of a proposed lending syndicate confirming its participation. However, achieving financial close still requires the company to secure approval from the third member, finalize the rail link funding, secure directors' approval and finalize remaining key project-related contracts.

* Shougang Concord International Enterprises Co. Ltd. will pass its off-take rights on Mount Gibson Iron Ltd.'s Koolan Island iron ore mine in Western Australia to Hong Kong-listed Newton Resources Ltd.

* Amid tighter supply, top aluminum producers offered premiums of US$115 to US$120 a tonne for metal shipments in the September quarter, up 10% to 14% from the current quarter, Reuters reported, citing three sources involved in pricing talks.

* Centrex Metals Ltd. settled the previously announced sale of its noncore Port Spencer landholding in South Australia for A$1.4 million to FREE Eyre Ltd.

SPECIALTY

* Tungsten Mining NL secured an initial 20% interest in the Hatches Creek tungsten project in Australia's Northern Territory by reimbursing GWR Group Ltd. for A$1.7 million of past exploration expenditures. The company can increase its interest to 51% by spending a further A$3.0 million within five years and can acquire the remaining interest for about A$7 million if a decision to mine is made during the sole-funding stage.

* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. raked in US$10.0 million in revenue from the sale of 5,573 carats of run-of-mine diamonds from its 40%-owned Lulo mine in Angola, representing an average price of US$1,800 per carat.

* King Island Scheelite Ltd.'s feasibility study for its Dolphin open-cut tungsten project in Tasmania, Australia, outlined a pretax net present value, discounted at 8%, of A$146 million, a 47% internal rate of return and a 2.75-year payback period. The feasibility study estimated mining and processing of about 400,000 tonnes per annum of ore for eight years to produce about 3,500 tonnes of tungsten trioxide concentrate per year.

* Anson Resources Ltd.'s share price surged 47% after the company announced that it produced about 1 kilogram of battery-quality lithium carbonate from brine sourced from its Paradox project in Utah.

* Nova Minerals Ltd. mandated KPG Capital & Co. to act as adviser for the potential sale or joint venture of its Windy Fork rare earth elements project in Alaska. Meanwhile, Nova expects its Snow Lake Resources Ltd. unit to start trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange in late July or August.

* Yellow Cake PLC purchased an additional 1.2 million pounds of uranium from JSC National Atomic Co. Kazatomprom for US$30.4 million. The company now holds about 9.6 million pounds of uranium.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Minerals exploration expenditure in Australia for the March quarter increased 13% year on year to A$497.5 million, Mining Weekly reported.

* Zimbabwe's mineral-backed loans may complicate the country's future negotiations with foreign creditors to restructure its US$8.8 billion debt, Reuters reported, citing Gene Leon, International Monetary Fund's mission chief to Zimbabwe.

* U.S. Department of Labor auditors called on Congress to review the Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 to ensure the federal agency that oversees mine safety has clear authority to take actions to protect miners' lives.

* India's Multi Commodity Exchange Clearing Corp. approved C.Steinweg unit Steinweg Sharaf (India) to store and effect delivery of aluminum, copper, zinc and nickel, Reuters reported.

* Zambia started rationing electricity to businesses except for miners, which signed separate agreements with state power utility Zesco, Reuters reported.

* Confirming market speculation, ASX-listed mining services provider Macmahon Holdings Ltd. said it is in discussions for a potential acquisition of GBF Underground Mining Group; however, no definitive agreement has been reached.

* The total value of global announced M&A deals increased sequentially 21.9% in the first quarter to $859.63 billion, after falling during the two previous quarters, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's latest M&A and Equity Offerings Market Report.

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