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Newcrest open to more acquisitions after Red Chris; Vale axes more employees


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Newcrest open to more acquisitions after Red Chris; Vale axes more employees


Newcrest Mining flags openness to more asset acquisitions after Red Chris deal

Newcrest Mining Ltd. CEO Sandeep Biswas flagged an openness to further acquisitions after being drawn to the upside opportunity of Imperial Metals Corp.'s Red Chris copper-gold mine in British Columbia, of which it is acquiring 70% in a US$806.5 million deal. Biswas said in response to a question from S&P Global Market Intelligence during a media call that Newcrest would have loved to acquire 100% of Red Chris, but only 70% of it was available.

Vale axes more employees on request by Feijao dam task force

Vale SA dismissed certain employees following a request by a Brazilian task force investigating the fatal dam burst at the Feijao iron ore mine. Others were also ordered to cease performing activities related to risk management and safety monitoring of Vale's dams. The company did not name the affected employees, nor identified their specific roles in its Feijao operations.

Rio Tinto talking to Apple to move forward carbon-free aluminum venture

Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques said the miner is in discussion to move into the next phase of an agreement with Apple Inc., as the miner plans to transition its aluminum business to tap a low-carbon economy, Reuters reported. Jacques said the miner will retrofit its existing smelters with the environmentally-friendly process, should the new process prove to be commercially sustainable.


* Indonesia approved copper concentrate export quotas for PT Freeport Indonesia and PT Amman Mineral Nusa Tenggara, Reuters reported, citing officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. The Freeport-McMoRan Inc. unit will be allowed to ship 198,282 wet tonnes of copper concentrate, while Amman will get an allowance to export 336,100 wet tonnes.

* Glencore PLC agreed on the terms of zinc treatment charges with its Noranda Income Fund subsidiary for the coming year, but it did not disclose the terms, Reuters wrote.

* Europa Metals Ltd. said the selected development scenario from a scoping study for the Toral lead-zinc-silver project in northwest Spain outlined a net present value, discounted at 8%, of US$110 million and a 24.4% internal rate of return, with an estimated total capex of US$110 million.

* The Federal Court of Australia ruled Eastern Field Developments Ltd.'s takeover offer to acquire Finders Resources Ltd. will end April 5.

* Hudbay Minerals Inc. expects to receive the mine plan of operations from the U.S. Forest Service shortly and move towards the development of the Rosemont copper project in Arizona, after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a Section 404 water permit for the operation.

* Sunstone Metals Ltd. became the largest shareholder in Copperstone Resources AB with a 39.2% stake after closing the sale of its Viscaria copper project in northern Sweden to the latter.

* Deep-South Resources Inc. entered into an off-take agreement with Euro Alloys Ltd. for 20% of the expected annual production from the Haib copper project in Namibia.


* Polymetal International PLC's full-year 2018 underlying net earnings increased 19% to US$447 million, attributed to EBITDA growth and lower depreciation and income taxes. Revenue for the year inched up 4% to US$1.88 billion, resulting from 9% higher gold equivalent production. The miner's board proposed a final dividend of 31 cents per share, equivalent to about US$146 million. This increases the total dividend for the full year to 48 cents from 44 cents a year earlier.

* Responding to a recent report by The West Australian, Focus Minerals Ltd. clarified that it has not signed a binding agreement with Intermin Resources Ltd. for the sale of the Coolgardie gold project in Western Australia. In February, the parties entered into a five-month exclusivity deed to finalize formal documentation and secure all necessary approvals in connection with the transaction.

* Sierra Metals Inc. entered into a new six-year senior secured corporate credit facility with Banco de Credito del Peru for funding of up to US$100 million to provide the company with additional liquidity, financial flexibility to fund future capital projects in Mexico, to repay existing debt balances in the near term and for corporate working capital requirements.

* Nordic Gold Inc. will shut down its recently restarted Laiva gold mine in Finland for between three and four months, amid liquidity and operational issues.

* Shanta Gold Ltd. intersected first ore at the Ilunga underground project in Tanzania, three months ahead of schedule.

* Gold Reserve Inc.'s board decided to distribute a minimum of US$90 million to shareholders, with the final amount and method to be determined in the coming weeks.

* Centenera Mining Corp. withdrew from an option to acquire the El Penon gold project in Argentina's San Juan province.

* Aura Minerals Inc. received board approval to begin operations at the Ernesto gold project in Brazil.

* Nkwe Platinum Ltd. said that all regulatory approvals have been received for the planned merger with Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd.'s Gold Mountains (Bermuda) Investment Ltd. subsidiary, which is expected to become effective before the end of the month.


* India's National Company Law Tribunal approved a joint bid by ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. for bankrupt producer Essar Steel India Ltd., which is seen as opening the country's steel sector to foreign investors for the first time, Reuters reported.

* Gindalbie Metals Ltd. intends to demerge its Coda Minerals Ltd. unit, which holds the rights to its South Australia assets, and Angang Group Hong Kong (Holdings) Ltd., its joint venture partner over the Karara Magnetite iron ore project in Western Australia, has agreed to acquire Gindalbie for 2.6 Australian cents per share in cash, a 90% premium to the company's 30-day volume weighted average price.

* Aviva Investors and Principal Global Investors-run mutual funds were among the biggest sellers of Vale's shares in January, Reuters cited data from Morningstar, which gave an insight into the willingness of international investors to hold the stock after a deadly dam burst at the company's Feijao mine.

* Verdant Minerals Ltd. independent board committee recommended the proposed acquisition by CD Capital Natural Resources Fund III L.P. of all issued Verdant shares, aside from those owned by Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd., at 3.2 Australian cents per share, which valued the Northern Territory-focused explorer at A$40.5 million on a fully diluted basis.

* China's iron ore imports fell to 83.08 million tonnes in February from 91.26 million tonnes in January, while coal imports dropped to 17.64 million tonnes, versus 33.5 million tonnes in January, Reuters reported citing official data. Meanwhile, copper imports for the month fell to 311,000 tonnes from 479,000 tonnes in January.

* The London Metal Exchange is launching seven new futures contracts, including steel, alumina and cobalt, to attract more business following a fall in profits due to lost market share in recent years to the CME Group Inc. and China's Shanghai Futures Exchange, Reuters wrote.


* Rio Tinto is said to be nearing an investment decision over the feasibility-phase for the company's giant Jadar lithium-borate deposit in Serbia, The Australian reported.

* Hastings Technology Metals Ltd.'s board approved a revised development capital cost for the Yangibana rare earths project in Western Australia of about A$427 million, higher than the previously estimated A$335.3 million envisaged under the 2017 definitive feasibility study.

* Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd. and Lithium Americas Corp. will invest US$230 million in their Minera Exar SA joint venture, which operates the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project in Argentina.

* Hardey Resources Ltd. said its entire board will step down as part of a plan to reverse the ASX's decision to delist the company over its acquisition of the Nelly vanadium mine in Argentina and six assets held by Vanadium Mining Pty. Ltd.

* Tronox Ltd.'s shareholders approved the company's redomiciling to the U.K. from Australia. Each shareholder will receive 1 share in a new holding company incorporated under U.K. laws called Tronox Holdings PLC, for each share held in the Australian incorporated company.

* Nortec Minerals Corp. signed an agreement with privately held Utah Mineral Resources LLC to acquire the Cottonwood vanadium-uranium project in Utah.

* Leading Edge Materials Corp. said the county administration board of Jönköping in Sweden submitted its opinion to the country's mining inspectorate over the reapplication of the mining lease for the Norra Kärr project. Based on the documentation, the board does not presently support the regranting of the license.


* Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is planning an overhaul of mining sector regulations, to prevent mining disasters and to open indigenous reserves to mining, Reuters reported, citing Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque.

* A draft regulation by Russia's Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that the agency may impose a ban on exports of nonferrous metal ores and concentrates, as well as waste and scrap of precious metals, from May to October this year, Kommersant reported.

* The office of French President Emmanuel Macron will postpone the presentation of a draft energy and climate law in order to include more ambitious environment goals, Reuters reported.

* Mining companies hold high hopes that technology and automation will help the industry solve problems related to resource depletion, employee safety and environmental impacts. Existing technology and developments still on the horizon could address a litany of issues facing the industry, several speakers said at a recent event hosted by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration and the Colorado Mining Association.

* Top miners had a mixed performance in 2018 as increased sales and commodity prices supported higher earnings while asset impairment contributed to losses. Of the 25 largest mining companies by market capitalization as of Feb. 28, 16 exceeded the S&P Capital IQ consensus earnings estimates for the year, while eight underperformed.

* For International Women's Day, S&P Global Market Intelligence spoke to women working in the coal sector, examining the benefits of hiring more female employees as well as the experiences of women working in and around mines. Studies have shown that gender diversity correlates with productivity growth, with more diverse teams outperforming less diverse ones by 15%, said Hannah Ubl, an author and researcher focused on generational issues, at a recent industry event.

* The fourth quarter of 2018 was marked by sustained weakness in most areas of the market, as commodity prices and stocks both saw selloffs. According to the Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence, the GSCI fell to an 18-month low, with key industrial metal copper below US$6,000 per tonne and nickel losing 18% over the quarter, while the mining industry's aggregate market capitalization consequently fell 8% over the quarter to its lowest since the end of the second quarter of 2017.

* Chairman of China Aluminum Group Ltd., or Chinalco, Ge Honglin said "zombie" companies are impeding the country's economic transformation, adding that local governments, financial institutions, as well as stakeholders and suppliers that support such firms to protect their own interests, are the main hurdle in eliminating these companies, Reuters wrote.

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