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In This List

Rio to pay US$3.5B in dividends; US plans 10% tariff on US$300B of Chinese goods

Mining Exploration Insights December

Mining Exploration Insights: Dip in gold drilling weighs on results

Mining Exploration Insights: Is the exploration sector back on recovery?

State of the Market: Mining Q2-2019


Rio to pay US$3.5B in dividends; US plans 10% tariff on US$300B of Chinese goods

TOP NEWS

Rio Tinto paying US$3.5B in dividends as underlying H1'19 profit rises

Rio Tinto will distribute a dividend of US$3.5 billion, comprising an interim dividend of US$2.5 billion and a US$1.0 billion special dividend. Net profit in the first half slipped 6% yearly to US$4.13 billion, or US$2.51 per share, but underlying earnings — excluding impairment, one-off items and the effects of asset disposals — grew 12% yearly to US$4.93 billion, or US$3.02 per share. Consolidated sales revenue grew to US$20.72 billion from US$19.91 billion as higher iron ore prices offset lower sales volumes and weaker aluminum prices.

US to impose 10% tariff on US$300B of Chinese goods in September

President Donald Trump put consumers, companies and manufacturers on heightened alert, breaking the long-anticipated news that his controversial and largest batch of tariffs to date on imports from China will go into effect next month. Calling it a "small additional tariff," Trump tweeted that the proposed 10% tariff on US$300 billion of Chinese goods will go into effect Sept. 1 after accusing Beijing of reneging on prior commitments to quell the escalating trade spat between the two economic powerhouses. According to Chris Rogers, research analyst for Panjiva, a division of S&P Global, the largest product groups in the batch include smartphones, laptops, toys, video games and clothes.

ArcelorMittal swings to Q2'19 loss YOY; crude steel output up

ArcelorMittal swung to a second-quarter loss of US$447 million, or 44 U.S. cents per share, from a profit of US$1.87 billion, or US$1.83 per share. Crude steel production inched up to 23.8 million tonnes from 23.2 Mt, with commodity shipments increasing to 22.8 Mt from 21.8 Mt. ArcelorMittal also expressed confidence that it will reach a deal with the Italian government to save its Ilva International SpA plant from shutting down, which the company threatened to do after losing legal immunity over the site's pollution, Reuters reported, citing CFO Aditya Mittal.

BASE METALS

* Codelco will further delay the restart of its Chuquicamata smelter in Chile until the end of October, sources told Reuters. The company is also reportedly buying copper cathode on the spot market, a move indicating that the company is either lacking supply or building up its in-house trading unit, the sources said.

* Clive Palmer reached a settlement over a A$90 million debt to Aurizon, the biggest creditor in a A$200 million lawsuit filed against his collapsed Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd., ABC News reported.

* Hudbay Minerals Inc. will appeal a ruling by the U.S. District Court in Arizona that set aside the approval for its Rosemont copper project in Arizona.

* Freeport-McMoRan Inc. will offer senior notes in two tranches in an underwritten registered public offering to fund the redemption of notes and concurrent cash tender offers.

* In the third quarter of its fiscal 2019, high-performance alloy provider Haynes International Inc.'s net income soared 433% year on year to US$3.8 million, or 30 cents per share, from US$713,000, or 6 cents per share, due to higher sales and prices.

* Power Metal Resources Plc secured an option to acquire a 70% stake in a cobalt-copper prospective license near Lerexcom sprl's Tondo mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

PRECIOUS METALS

* On the back of a US$283 million agreement to acquire the Chulbatkan gold project in Russia, Kinross Gold Corp. management was optimistic about the project's chances of getting approved as a strategic resource if necessary.

* Endeavour Mining Corp.'s second-quarter gold output rose to 171,000 ounces, from 147,000 ounces a year earlier, thanks to 58,000 ounces from its Ity gold mine in Cote d'Ivoire following the commissioning of the carbon-in-leach operations.

* In the second quarter, Eldorado Gold Corp. swung to a net attributable profit of US$12.2 million, or 8 cents per share, from a year-ago loss of US$24.4 million, or 15 cents per share. Higher sales boosted revenue to US$173.7 million, compared to US$153.2 million last year.

* North American Palladium Ltd. declared a special dividend of 35 Canadian cents per share on top of its quarterly dividend of 10 Canadian cents per share, after the company posted record second-quarter revenue of C$135.6 million. Palladium output totaled 56,472 payable ounces, from 57,652 payable ounces in the year-ago period.

* Northern Star Resources Ltd.'s guidance for its fiscal 2020 was pegged at between 800,000 ounces and 900,000 ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of A$1,200 per ounce to A$1,300/oz. The Australian miner also budgeted A$76 million for exploration.

* Equinox Gold Corp. lowered its full-year gold production guidance to the range of 200,000 ounces to 235,000 ounces of gold, from 230,000 ounces to 265,000 ounces, due to a longer-than-expected leach cycle for nonoxide ore and stacking of lower-grade material at Mesquite, as well as construction delays at Aurizona.

* Ora Banda Mining Ltd. slashed the cost of remediation work at its Davyhurst gold processing plant in Western Australia by 43% to A$8.5 million following a detailed review.

* Tharisa PLC received board approval to build a process plant within its namesake platinum mine in South Africa, which will use a proprietary processing method. First chrome production from the plant is anticipated within 15 months.

* Metals Exploration PLC said senior lenders HSBC and BNP Paribas agreed to extend a standstill agreement over the repayment of its mezzanine debt facility after businesses in Hong Kong were shut down by the arrival of Typhoon Wipha.

* O3 Mining Inc. completed its previously announced acquisition of Alexandria Minerals Corp. and its Cadillac Break gold property in Quebec.

* Global gold demand in the second quarter improved 8% year on year to 1,123 tonnes due to record purchases from central banks, according to the World Gold Council.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Vale SA's iron ore production "bottomed" in the wake of the deadly tailings dam failure in January at the Feijao mine in Brumadinho, Brazil, CFO Luciano Pires said in an earnings call.

* JSW Steel Ltd.'s JSW Steel (USA) Inc. unit sued the U.S. after failing to secure an exemption from the Trump administration's metal tariffs, Bloomberg News reported, adding that the move came less than a year after CEO John Hritz lauded the levies for allowing the company to proceed with its US$1 billion expansion plan in the country.

* Nippon Steel Corp. reported a 61% year-over-year fall in net profit attributable to owners of the parent to ¥33.33 billion for the first quarter of its fiscal 2019. Revenue for the June quarter rose 4.3% on a yearly basis to ¥1.522 trillion, with operating profit falling 33.1% to ¥60.60 billion.

* U.S. Steel Corp. reported a 68% yearly decrease in second-quarter net earnings to US$68 million, or 39 cents per share, from US$214 million, or US$1.20 per share, amid logistical headwinds brought by severe weather during the period.

* NACCO Industries Inc.'s coal mining segment's second-quarter operating profit decreased, and the company expects to see a drop in coal deliveries in the second half and full-year 2019 from the year-ago periods.

* Century Aluminum Co. swung to a second-quarter net loss of US$20.7 million, or 23 cents per share, from a year-ago profit of US$17.9 million, or 20 cents per share, driven by an inventory adjustment and a loss on the sale of its 40% stake in the BHH anode plant in China.

* Outokumpu Oyj's stainless steel deliveries in the second quarter totaled 584,000 tonnes, down from 668,000 tonnes in the year-ago quarter. Net earnings plummeted to €6 million from €25 million.

* PJSC Novolipetsk Steel decided to use merchant steel slab supplies at its U.S. assets instead of importing its own slab due to market volatility, Fastmarkets MB wrote.

* Mastermyne Group Ltd. secured the development and outbye services contract for Anglo American PLC's Aquila project, part of the Capcoal operation in Queensland, Australia.

SPECIALTY

* Albemarle Corp. revised a joint venture deal with Mineral Resources Ltd. to acquire a 60% stake in the latter's Wodgina lithium mine in Western Australia for US$820 million in cash, rather than a 50% stake for US$1.15 billion agreed in 2018. Albemarle will also transfer a 40% stake in the first two 25,000-tonne-per-year lithium hydroxide conversion units under construction near Kemerton in Western Australia.

* Kazakhstan state-owned uranium producer JSC National Atomic Co. Kazatomprom's attributable uranium production in the second quarter increased 11% year over year to 3,163 tonnes. Sales volumes for the quarter climbed 15% year over year to 3,780 tonnes of uranium as an expected delivery from the first quarter was deferred into the second quarter.

* Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad confirmed that Lynas Corp. Ltd. will no longer have to export low-level radioactive waste stored near its Gebeng rare earths plant in the country ahead of a license renewal, The Australian Financial Review reported. Lynas welcomed the news and said that while it awaits a formal notification, preliminary work is ongoing to identify the site of a permanent disposal facility.

* Turkish ferrochrome producer Eti Krom AS tapped JPMorgan Chase & Co. to raise US$250 million from its first sale of five-year, dollar-denominated sukuk, or Islamic bonds, later this year, Bloomberg News reported, citing CFO Evren Ozturk.

* Lithium Power International Ltd.'s 51%-owned joint venture company Minera Salar Blanco SA entered into a nonbinding memorandum of understanding with Chilean state-owned miner Codelco to develop the Maricunga Salar lithium project in Chile.

* PJSC Alrosa President Sergey Ivanov told Vedomosti that he expects the diamond market to lose about 15 million carats within seven years.

* Unlisted company Sepfluor opened its Nokeng fluorspar mine in South Africa, Mining Weekly reported. The 630,000 tonne-per-year operation, worth 1.7 billion South African rand, is expected to ramp up to commercial production by the end of August.

* Progressive Planet Solutions Inc. completed the previously announced sale of its early-stage intellectual property on sulfur lithium battery research to SuperCap Technologies Corp.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Australian police charged a Victoria-based man and an Ausdrill Ltd. employee who allegedly connived with him to steal A$11 million over eight years from the mining services firm, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

* Mining services provider Fluor Corp. swung to a second-quarter loss of US$554.8 million, or US$3.96 per share, from a year-ago profit of US$114.8 million, or 81 cents per share, driven by US$714 million in pretax charges resulting from the company's strategic review.

* Foreign investors in Zimbabwe will be allowed to take majority stakes in platinum and diamond mines as the government plans to repeal its black ownership law, Reuters reported, citing Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube. The sectors had been exempted from a ruling last year that removed the ownership requirement.

* Indian firms National Aluminium Co. Ltd., Hindustan Copper Ltd. and Mineral Exploration Corp. Ltd agreed to form the Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. joint venture that will hunt for lithium and cobalt reserves abroad.

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