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Sibanye nearly halves South African layoffs; Norsk Hydro swings to Q1'19 loss

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Sibanye nearly halves South African layoffs; Norsk Hydro swings to Q1'19 loss

TOP NEWS

Sibanye slashes job cuts at South African operations

Sibanye Gold Ltd. slashed planned job cuts at its unprofitable South African operations to 3,450 employees, from the 5,870 employees and 800 contractors previously estimated, after completing a consultation process with stakeholders. The Driefontein 8 shaft will stay operational as long as it can turn a profit, while the Beatrix 1 and Driefontein 2 shafts will be placed on care and maintenance. Driefontein 6 and 7 shafts and the Beatrix 2 plant will be closed.

Norsk Hydro swings to Q1'19 loss on lower aluminum prices, Alunorte shutdown

Lower realized aluminum prices, higher raw material costs and a production curtailment at the Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil caused Norsk Hydro ASA to swing to a first-quarter net loss of 124 million Norwegian kroner from a year-ago profit of 2.08 billion kroner. Revenue slipped 6% to 37.58 billion kroner. Meanwhile, Norsk Hydro flagged a financial impact of between 300 million and 350 million kroner over a cyberattack that affected operations in the quarter.

Voestalpine reports FY profit down, slashes dividend

Austria-based steelmaker Voestalpine AG posted a profit attributable to shareholders of €408.5 million for its 2018/19 business year, down from €775.2 million a year ago, partially due to an operations stoppage amid a blast furnace overhaul and related one-off effects from provisions for a German cartel probe. It proposed a full-year dividend of €1.10 per share, tumbling from €1.40 per share a year ago. EBIT fell to €779.4 million from €1.18 billion.

BASE METALS

* A court hearing related to Zambia's decision to appoint a provisional liquidator for Vedanta Resources Ltd.'s Konkola Copper Mines PLC was adjourned without addressing Vedanta's demands to be involved, Reuters reported. The court reserved judgment until June 11, the report said.

* Nickel Mines Ltd. shareholder Shanghai Decent Investment (Group) Co. Ltd. raised its stake to about 18.1% after participating in the ASX-listed explorer's A$55 million share placement. Nickel Mines will use the proceeds to increase its stake in the Ranger nickel mine in Indonesia to 60% from 17%.

* Terramin Australia Ltd. reached a deal with Freeport-McMoRan Inc. unit Freeport-McMoRan Exploration Australia Pty. Ltd. where the latter may earn up to a 75% interest in the Wild Horse copper-gold prospect in South Australia.

PRECIOUS METALS

* The incoming government of Panamanian President-elect Laurentino Cortizo will review First Quantum Minerals Ltd.'s mining contract for its Cobre Panama copper mine amid uncertainty over its validity, Reuters reported. The government said in 2018 that the contract remained in force, although that could change when Cortizo assumes office July 1.

* Papua New Guinea's prime minister, James Marape, said major tax reforms to the gold-rich natural resources sector may take effect in 2025 as part of the new head of state's plans to boost the country's share of profits, Reuters reported.

* St Barbara Ltd. offered to allow retail shareholders to withdraw from a A$490 million rights offering following its recent move to slash its fiscal 2019 gold production guidance on lower volumes at the Gwalia gold mine in Western Australia. Meanwhile, 1193490 B.C. Ltd., a company linked to takeover target Atlantic Gold Corp., optioned the GK gold-copper property in British Columbia from Strategic Metals Ltd.

* St Barbara secured an option to acquire up to a 70% interest in the Horn Island gold project in Queensland, Australia, from Alice Queen Ltd. by solely funding expenditure of A$4 million within three years.

* Barrick Gold Corp.'s challenge to an environmental law banning mining in glacial areas in Argentina was shot down by the country's Supreme Court, Reuters reported. A source from within the company said Barrick's current operations in Argentina will not be affected.

* Dacian Gold Ltd. shares tanked about 68% at the close of June 5 trading on the ASX after the company slashed its June-quarter guidance for the Mount Morgans gold mine in Western Australia to between 36,000 and 38,000 ounces from between 50,000 and 55,000 ounces.

* A preliminary economic assessment on Sandspring Resources Ltd.'s Toroparu gold project in Guyana reduced preproduction capital expenditure by C$123 million, to C$378 million, compared to C$501 million estimated in a 2013 pre-feasibility study.

* Alkane Resources Ltd. increased gold production guidance for its Tomingley gold mine in Western Australia for its fiscal 2019 to about 48,000 to 49,000 ounces, from its previous outlook of between 42,000 and 47,000 ounces, as output in the first three quarters hit 46,319 ounces.

* Brazil Minerals Inc. obtained the final go-ahead to proceed with gold and diamond mining on one of its mineral rights in the Jequitinhonha river valley in Brazil.

* Great Southern Mining Ltd. agreed to acquire three mining leases covering the historical Cox's Find gold mine in Western Australia.

* Trans-Siberian Gold PLC posted a record full-year output of 42,128 ounces of gold in 2018, representing a 15% increase.

* Venezuela reportedly defaulted on a US$750 million gold swap with Deutsche Bank AG, which led to the lender taking control of 20 tonnes of bullion, Bloomberg News reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

BULK COMMODITIES

* BSG Resources Ltd. filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S., a move that may hinder Vale SA from collecting a US$2 billion arbitration award over fraudulent misrepresentations BSG made related to Vale's purchase of a stake in the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, Bloomberg News reported.

* A federal judge dismissed an investor's claims that Rio Tinto and two of its executives violated securities law by convincing investors to purchase stock in the company without disclosing severe adverse developments at its Mozambique coal mine that significantly dropped the value of the asset.

* Anglo American PLC will broaden the scope of its studies into an expansion of a coal preparation plant servicing the Moranbah North and Grosvenor coking coal mines in Queensland, Australia, to increase production by up to 40%, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing metallurgical coal division CEO Tyler Mitchelson.

* Nippon Steel Corp. flagged a possible earnings hit from the planned U.S. tariffs on Japanese cars and auto parts, although it expects less impact from proposed tariffs on U.S. imports from Mexico, Reuters reported, citing Katsuhiro Miyamoto, the company's executive vice president.

* Alexandra Heath, head of the Reserve Bank of Australia's Economic Analysis Department, told the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies Convention in Perth, Western Australia, that while China's steel intensity is already plateauing, India's population growth and related urbanization will drive steel demand for decades.

* PAO Severstal established a new unit that will develop digital businesses. The unit will focus on developing platform solutions and online products and services for end users of the Russian steelmaker's products.

* Oracle Power PLC said the coal mine and minemouth power plant joint venture project, Block VI in Pakistan's Thar desert, will be developed in a single phase of 8 million tonnes per year, from the previous plan of 4 Mt per year over two phases.

* Ironveld PLC said a potential off-take with a specialist subsidiary of an international steel group may not materialize, after completing a bulk sampling and testing program for product from its high-purity iron, vanadium and titanium project in South Africa.

* TerraCom Ltd. raised about A$35.3 million after completing a previously announced, fully underwritten, nonrenounceable, pro rata rights issue.

* A coalition of advocacy groups intends to sue the parent companies of 15 coal facilities and a chloride plant in West Virginia over alleged violations of federal clean water and surface mining regulations. Operators being sued include Southeastern Land LLC, Lexington Coal Co. LLC, Bluestone Coal Corp. and Consol Energy Inc.

* Arianne Phosphate Inc. signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding with Chinese state-owned enterprise SINOCONST to develop and provide financing for the Lac a Paul phosphate project in Quebec.

SPECIALTY

* China's Institute of Geochemistry discovered an estimated 5 million tonnes of lithium deposits in the country's Yunnan province, Reuters reported. The discovery may result in China cutting its dependence on imports of the metal, which is a key component in electric vehicle batteries and electronics.

* Bacanora Lithium PLC's feasibility study for the Zinnwald lithium project in Germany generated a posttax net present value, at an 8% discount, of €270 million and a 21.5% internal rate of return, with a 6.1-year payback period.

* China's National Development and Reform Commission said it is considering tightening exports of rare earths to protect and better use the strategic mineral amid rising trade tensions with the U.S., Reuters reported.

* Searchlight Minerals Corp. staked a 592.8-hectare claim called the Kulyk Lake rare earth project in Saskatchewan as part of a plan to focus on the Canadian province.

* Lithium Royalty Corp. invested A$8.1 million in Core Lithium Ltd. in exchange for a 2.5% royalty on production at the Finniss lithium project in Australia's Northern Territory.

* Altura Mining Ltd.'s monthly production in May at its namesake lithium mine in Pilgangoora, Western Australia, hit a record high of 15,737 wet tonnes, which is 86% of planned nameplate capacity.

* Northern Minerals Ltd. reached an agreement with the Australian Taxation Office over the repayment of A$13.4 million in R&D claims covering the periods 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.

* Allegheny Technologies Inc. reached a definitive agreement to sell its cast products unit, which produces titanium investment castings for the aerospace industry, to Cleveland-based Consolidated Precision Products Corp.

* Argex Titanium Inc. signed a long-term strategic cooperation agreement with East China Engineering Science and Technology Co. Ltd. to develop an eco-friendly and cheaper titanium oxide production process in China and abroad.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Australia's miners need to boost awareness of the industry to create a sustainable automation-focused workforce as new data revealed a dramatic fall in key vocational and university enrollments, which threatens to exacerbate an existing skills shortage.

* The U.S. Commerce Department outlined 61 recommendations to help the country secure a more reliable domestic supply of critical minerals and help reduce its reliance on foreign producers.

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