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Codelco seeks to raise up to US$1B in 2019 to fund overhaul of mines

TOP NEWS

Codelco seeks to raise up to US$1B in 2019 to fund overhaul of mines

Chilean state-miner Codelco plans to raise up to US$1 billion in 2019 to help finance the planned overhaul of its existing mines, Reuters reported, citing Chairman Juan Benavides. The company is also looking at exploration projects in Brazil, Ecuador and Kazakhstan, while it has shelved the plans to invest in Mongolia.

BHP targeting plant restart at Olympic Dam copper mine in October

BHP Billiton Group is aiming to restart a plant at its Olympic Dam copper mine in South Australia in October following repairs, Reuters reported. Mike Henry, BHP's president of operations for minerals Australia, said the company has identified "a very credible route to growing the asset," noting that it will seek a board approval for "bite-sized chunks of capital [expenditure] with healthy returns." Meanwhile, commenting on the company's Samarco iron ore joint venture in Brazil, Henry said the company is not on the "cusp" of the restart, with several steps needed to be taken first.

Majority of Voestalpine's US steel tariff exemption requests accepted

Voestalpine AG secured approvals for more than half of its applications to be exempted from U.S. steel import tariffs, Reuters reported. The company received 2,360 positive and 280 negative responses out of a total 4,300 product exemptions Voestalpine and its customers had applied for and expects to receive more positive responses to the remaining applications.

DIVERSIFIED

* Cia. de Minas Buenaventura SAA's third-quarter gold production fell to 290,159 ounces from just under 400,000 ounces a year ago, while silver production witnessed a small jump to about 6.8 million ounces from about 6.7 Moz in the third quarter of 2017. Zinc production rose to 19,248 tonnes from 17,713 tonnes, and copper production rose to 12,483 tonnes from 11,531 tonnes year over year.

* PIRC, a proxy voting adviser, recommended that BHP shareholders oppose the company's remuneration report at its upcoming Oct. 17 annual general meeting, Reuters reported.

* Zimbabwe-based RioZim Ltd. plans to sue the country's central bank to force it to pay the company in U.S. dollars for part of its output, Reuters reported. The miner operates three gold mines and a nickel refinery, as well as holds a minority stake in the Rio Tinto-run Murowa Diamonds Pty. Ltd. RioZim claimed that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has failed to pay U.S. dollars to the miner, breaching its own policy.

* Virginia Tech is one step closer to a US$25,000 grant to study using coal to create graphene. The GO Virginia Region One Council, a business development and job creation initiative serving several southwest Virginia counties and cities, approved the grant, The Coalfield Progress, a southwestern Virginia newspaper, reported.

* MaxTech Ventures Inc. signed a joint venture agreement to explore various mining claims in Brazil with Daniel Geyerhahn Garcia of Goldmen Resources Brazil and his partners. The partnership will help accelerate claims with trial mining licenses to enable development, with a focus on manganese, vanadium and other strategic minerals.

BASE METALS

* Eurasian Resources Group Sàrl is aiming to ramp up cobalt output with the launch of its Metalkol facility in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, anticipating increase in demand for the metal by the automotive industry, Reuters reported, citing CEO Benedikt Sobotka. The company plans to boost cobalt output by fivefold to 20,000 tonnes in 2019, with Metalkol eventually becoming one of the world's biggest cobalt producers with output capacity of 24,000 tonnes of cobalt and 120,000 tonnes of copper cathode.

* Russia's Urals Mining and Metals Co. has drawn a three-year €100 million loan from a consortium of banks, with the funds to be used to refinance loans and increase working capital, Reuters reported. The loan was structured as pre-export financing, secured against future supplies of copper and other export products.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Barrick Gold Corp. will seek shareholder approval for the proposed merger with Randgold Resources Ltd. at a special meeting on Nov. 5.

* Coeur Mining Inc.'s silver equivalent production in the third quarter dipped slightly to 8.5 million ounces from 8.6 million ounces a year earlier, as the temporary suspension of its Palmarejo silver mine in Mexico weighed down output in the period.

* Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. reported record-high gold production for the third quarter, increasing 30% year on year to 180,155 ounces.

* Avesoro Resources Inc.'s third-quarter gold production dropped 22% quarter on quarter to 47,177 ounces due to a change in the gold circuit inventory at the New Liberty gold mine in Liberia and lower mined grades the Youga gold mine in Burkina Faso due to a focus on the lower-grade oxide ore zone at the Gassore East pit.

* South Africa's competition tribunal scheduled a hearing for the proposed merger between Sibanye Gold Ltd. and Lonmin PLC on Oct. 18 and 19.

* Metals Exploration PLC said that processing operations at the Runruno gold-molybdenum mine in the Philippines will run at 80% of design capacity in October and November due to technical issues.

* Burundi has started operations of African Mining Burundi Ltd., a local gold miner in which the state holds a 15% stake, Bloomberg News reported. Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza said the company, which was established in 2017, was granted rights to nine mining sites. The government did not disclose the owner of the remaining 85% stake.

* Genesis Minerals Ltd. said resources at its Ulysses gold project in Western Australia grew 137% to 760,000 total contained ounces, with a 10% increase in average grade from the February resource estimate. Measured and indicated resource increased 162% to 471,000 ounces. The company expects to complete a feasibility study by mid-2019.

* Benchmark Metals Inc. discovered a new zone of mineralization at the Lawyers gold-silver project in British Columbia, with grab sampling returning assays of up to 3.61 g/t of gold and up to 138 g/t of silver. The new Phoenix East zone lies 300 meters southeast of the Phoenix zone at Lawyers, with both occurring along the same geological trend.

* American Pacific Mining Corp.'s share price soared in Canada as it released Screen Metallic samples from the previously announced 2018 drill program results for the Tuscarora property in Nevada, with the hole 009 returning the highest upgraded interval to 27.2 g/t gold over 1.5 meters from the previous 16.0 g/t gold over 1.5 meters.

* Australian Abrasive Minerals is targeting to restart its Harts Range garnet mine in Australia's Northern Territory by early 2019, ABC reported. The company, which went into administration in 2017, said it was now financed by Australian investors.

BULK COMMODITIES

* The Shanxi province, a key coal mining region in China, decided to cut annual coke capacity and output to reduce toxic emissions from heavy industry in the long term, Reuters reported, citing a government statement. The government gave producers a deadline of Oct. 1, 2019, to meet tougher environmental standards and may order closures for those that fail to meet the requirements.

* Nine employees were killed and 14 others injured when a fire broke out in a gas pipeline at Steel Authority of India Ltd.'s Bhilai steel plant in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. The company said the fire occurred during a scheduled maintenance job and has been controlled, and the 14 injured workers are being treated in the hospital.

* Peabody Energy Corp. declared force majeure on its North Goonyella coking coal Oct. 9 due to elevated gas levels at the mine site, market sources told S&P Global Platts. Peabody said earlier that the mine would likely be idled for the entire fourth quarter as the company works to extinguish a fire and contain its impacts.

* Westmoreland Coal Co. and its master limited partnership, Westmoreland Resource Partners LP, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after years of attempting to delever their balance sheets.

* Australia rejected a call by scientists to phase out the use of coal by 2050 to prevent the world overshooting targets outlined by the Paris Agreement on climate change, saying it would be "irresponsible" to comply with the recommendation by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to stop using coal to generate electricity, the Financial Times reported.

* Due to a recent court order delaying RWE AG's plans to expand its Hambach mine in Germany by clearing an ancient forest, the company expects to reduce lignite output by up to 15 million tonnes per year from its current level of 40 million tonnes, Reuters reported, citing a company spokeswoman.

* Ferrexpo PLC's total iron pellet production in the third quarter stood at 2.7 million tonnes, representing a 5.9% quarterly increase, due to the successful completion of the pellet line's refurbishment in the second quarter.

* Chinese aluminum exports are seen rising in the coming months and in 2019, as the country boosted tax rebates as part of a package to reduce the impact of a trade dispute with the U.S. Reuters reported, citing industry consultancy CRU.

* Hancock Prospecting Pty. Ltd. unit Redstone Corp. Pty. Ltd. acquired an over 90% interest in Atlas Iron Ltd., enabling Redstone to start compulsory acquisition of all remaining Atlas shares once the takeover offer closes.

* Kibo Energy PLC completed the acquisition of a 60% stake in Mast Energy Developments, a U.K.-based company that specializes in buying and developing small-scale power generation assets.

SPECIALTY

* Wolf Minerals Ltd. said it will run out of working capital within two days if it does not successfully conclude ongoing funding talks. It has been in talks with key financial stakeholders since agreeing to a standstill and increasing a bridge loan facility in July, which was subsequently increased once more.

* MGX Minerals Inc. secured a definitive option deal to acquire a 50% stake in Chilean Lithium Salars SpA, after signing a memorandum of understanding in early August. Chilean Lithium Salars holds a 100% interest in three lithium-prospective projects in Chile including Francisco Basin, Laguna Brava and Laguna Escondida.

* AVZ Minerals Ltd. will proceed with a feasibility study for the Manono lithium project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, due for completion in the second quarter of 2019, after a scoping study for a 2 million-tonne-per-annum operation outlined a pretax net present value, discounted at 10%, of US$1.6 billion and an internal rate of return of over 90%.

* Meetings between Citic Securities offshore arm CLSA and key Malaysian ministries, politicians and protest groups reinforced messaging from the highest levels of government that rare earths producer Lynas Corp. Ltd. has "no case to answer" amid a review of its plant's environmental impact.

* Oroplata Resources Inc. unit LithiumOre Corp., a lithium resource exploration and development company, has established a Battery Metals Extraction Division, located near the company's Railroad Valley lithium project in Nevada.

* An updated resource estimate for Bacanora Lithium PLC's Zinnwald project in Germany posted a 30% increase in measured and indicated resources of 124,974 tonnes of lithium contained in 35.5 million tonnes grading 3,519 parts per million.

* Altura Mining Ltd.'s first shipment of spodumene concentrate produced at its namesake lithium mine in Western Australia departed Port Hedland.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The U.S. relies on other countries for the supply of many mined commodities the U.S. Geological Survey classes as "critical" for the domestic economy. Part one of an S&P Global Market Intelligence series on critical minerals looks at how the country's reliance on these commodities has increased and what implications this might have on the recent trade spats between the U.S. and the countries it imports from.

* Fitch said that maintaining low cost positions is critical for small to midsized miners to continue long-term profitability and competitiveness and for sustaining reasonable levels of cash flow generation. According to a special report, Peak free cash flow generation for the current cycle is expected in 2018, while aggregate free cash flow is expected to remain positive into 2020.

S&P Global Platts and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

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