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Barrick, Newmont forming Nevada JV; Newcrest open to more acquisitions


Barrick, Newmont forming Nevada JV to end bitter takeover bid

Bringing a bitter hostile takeover attempt to an end, Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp. struck an implementation agreement to form a joint venture comprising core gold mining assets in Nevada. The major gold miners outlined the combination of respective Nevada operations into a single unit producing around 4 million ounces gold per year, to be 61.5%-owned by Barrick and 38.5%-owned by Newmont.

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.

Polymetal's FY'18 net earnings flat; ore reserves up 15% YOY

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. The miner's board proposed a final dividend of 31 cents per share, equivalent to about US$146 million. CEO Vitaly Nesis anticipates an output decline this year after selling its Khakanja and Kapan mines, but improved efficiency is expected to keep the company's profit positive, Financial Times wrote.


* Monterey Minerals Inc. signed a letter of intent to acquire Perth, Australia-based CTTR Mining Tenements Pty. Ltd. in exchange for 7 million common shares, with a definitive deal targeted in the second quarter.


* Sandfire Resources America Inc. moved closer to securing a final environmental impact statement, or EIS, for its Black Butte copper project after Montana's Department of Environmental Quality released an EIS draft that triggered the start of a 60-day public comment period. A record of decision and mine operating permit could be released as early as the third quarter.

* MMG Ltd. flagged possible shipment delays if a road blockade by a community displaced in favor of the Las Bambas copper mine in Peru continues, Reuters reported.

* 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.

* Heron Resources Ltd. expects to ship first concentrates from its Woodlawn zinc-copper project in May following work delays by CIMIC Group Ltd. unit Sedgman Pty. Ltd.

* Metals X Ltd. flagged an expected production loss in the March quarter as a result of a now-resolved power outage at its Nifty copper operations in Western Australia.


* As part of the Nevada JV deal between Barrick and Newmont, the two companies agreed to hold off buying each other's shares and not enter into any hostilities for the next two years, Bloomberg News reported, citing Barrick CEO Mark Bristow. The only way a full merger could happen during that period would be if it were friendly, he added.

* Goldcorp Inc., an acquisition target of Newmont, threw its support behind the Barrick-Newmont Nevada joint venture and welcomed Barrick's decision to drop its hostile takeover bid for Newmont. Meanwhile, the company was criticized by gold research firm Shareholders' Gold Council over its decision to give Chairman Ian Telfer an additional payment following its proposed merger with Newmont.

* 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. The facility will provide flexibility to fund Sierra Metals' future capital projects in Mexico, as well as to finance corporate working capital requirements.

* Semafo Inc. struck a definitive deal to acquire Savary Gold Corp., which holds around a 75.2% stake in the Karankasso gold project joint venture in Burkina Faso. Semafo currently owns about a 15.5% interest in Savary.

* Desert Gold Ventures Inc. intends to acquire Ashanti Gold Corp. by exchanging 0.2857 Desert Gold shares for each Ashanti share in a deal valued at C$3.8 million, or 5.14 cents per Ashanti share.

* Lydian International Ltd. threatened to file an international arbitration case against the Armenian government over its Amulsar gold project.

* Berkut Minerals Ltd. agreed to acquire Diatreme Resources Ltd.'s stake in the Tick Hill gold project in Queensland, Australia, as well as Carnaby Resources Ltd., which owns an 82.5% stake in the Southern Hub tenement package that surrounds the project.

* Argent Minerals Ltd. secured ministerial consent for its 800-meter diamond drilling program for the historic Pine Ridge gold mine, part of its Kempfield project in New South Wales. The company just needs to secure one standard permit to commence drilling preparations.

* Encounter Resources Ltd. and Newcrest expanded their Aileron and Selby joint ventures in Western Australia by securing an additional 1,400 square kilometers of exploration tenure.


* The town of Mangaratiba in Brazil's Rio De Janeiro state slapped a 30 million Brazilian reais fine on Vale SA and closed the company's Ilha da Guaiba iron ore port terminal, citing pollution and licensing problems, Reuters reported. In a statement to the newswire, Vale said that it had all necessary licenses to operate the terminal, adding that it will work to resume the port's operations.

* Emirates Global Aluminium's Guinea Alumina Corp. SA unit is nearing a financing deal of between US$700 million and US$750 million for its US$1.4 billion bauxite project in Guinea, Reuters reported March 11, citing CFO Danny Dweik.

* Canada unveiled C$100 million in funding for small- and medium-sized steel and aluminum manufacturers, as the federal government looks to support local producers in the wake of U.S. tariffs, CBC News reported.

* Verdant Minerals Ltd.'s independent board recommended an offer by London-based private equity firm CD Capital Natural Resources Fund III L.P. to acquire a 67% stake in Verdant for about A$40.5 million, or 3.2 cents per share.

* Gindalbie Metals Ltd. intends to demerge its Coda Minerals Ltd. unit, which holds the rights to its South Australia assets, while 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.

* Universal Rolling WLL increased its rebar production capacity to 275,000 tonnes per year from 175,000 t/y after launching a new unit, Fastmarkets MB reported.

* Some Japanese aluminum buyers agreed to pay a premium of US$105/tonne of shipments in the June quarter, an increase of up to 27% compared to the first quarter, sources told Reuters.

* India canceled its recently launched auction of coal blocks for captive mining without any explanation, Mining Weekly wrote.


* 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.

* Archer Exploration Ltd. successfully processed graphite material from the Campoona deposit at the Eyre Peninsula project in South Australia into spherical graphite through a small-scale mechanical mill. The company will now test the suitability of the material in lithium-ion batteries to enable downstream screening and qualification of potential off-take partners and end users.


* The 201 projects reporting drill results in February was the lowest number in 22 months, according to the Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence. Gold projects had the most significant month-over-month drop at 47, followed by copper projects at 11. Nickel, cobalt and lithium projects increased during the month.

* President Donald Trump's fiscal-year 2020 budget request includes funds to further an effort to consolidate coal and metal/nonmetal divisions of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

* Brokers are opposing the London Metal Exchange's new trading system that will make "pre-trade" transactions transparent, fearing that the platform could pressure their revenues, Reuters reported.

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