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Vale to defend new Samarco lawsuit; Rio Tinto caps iron ore output; Hecla swings to Q1 loss


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Vale to defend new Samarco lawsuit; Rio Tinto caps iron ore output; Hecla swings to Q1 loss


Valevows to defend against 155 billion reais lawsuit

In areply to the latest 155 billion Brazilian reais lawsuit related to theSamarcodisaster, Vale SAsaid that the lawsuit amount filed by federal prosecutors was based upon an"unsubstantiated"comparison with the costs of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf ofMexico in 2010. The miner said it will adopt all necessary measures to defenditself through legal means.

has to exceed the360-million-tonnes mark for annual iron ore production, BusinessDay reported,citing Chairman Jan du Plessis. The company also defended its plan to build theResolutioncopper mine in Arizona, saying that the project will be economically beneficialto both the company and the local community.

to a net loss ofUS$618,000 in the first quarter of 2016, from a year-ago profit of US$12.6million despite a 10% rise in sales to US$131.0 million due to increased silverproduction, which were partially offset by lower metals prices. The companysuffered a net foreign exchange loss of US$8.2 million in the three-monthperiod compared to a gain of US$12.3 million a year earlier. In addition, thecompany has raised its 2016 silver production forecast to 15.0 million ouncesfrom previousguidance of 13.5 million ounces to 14.0 million ounces.


* Ina reply to the latest 155 billion Brazilian reais lawsuit related to theSamarcodisaster, Vale SAsaid that the lawsuit amount filed by federal prosecutors was based upon an"unsubstantiated"comparison with the costs of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf ofMexico in 2010. The miner said it will adopt all necessary measures to defenditself through legal means.

*BHP Billiton Groupand Vale joint venture SamarcoMineração SA could pay a lot less than the 155 billion reaisrequested in the lawsuit by federal prosecutors against the company over theMariana dams collapse on Nov. 25, according to Notícias de Mineração. A precedent is the outcome of another largeenvironmental accident in Brazil, Chevron, in which the U.S. oil company wasfined 40 billion reais for the oil spill in Campos, Rio de Janeiro state, in2011, but ended up paying only 95 million reais.

* RioTinto's new CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques plans to focus onproductivity improvements across the company amid "challenging times forthe sector" and for the mining giant, MiningWeekly reported."We cannot be complacent just because we have Tier 1 assets. We mustalways challenge ourselves to be more productive, more performance-driven andmore proactive in our engagement with stakeholders and society," Jacquessaid.

* Meanwhile, The WallStreet Journal quotedcurrent CEO Sam Walsh as saying the company plans to complete work on theOyu Tolgoiunderground copper mine expansion project, as well as the development of thenew Silvergrass iron ore project, part of Hamersley Consolidated operations, in"the relative near-term."

* Separately, after facing criticism from suppliers andpoliticians, Rio Tinto has reversed its decision to move payment terms for suppliersand contractors to 90 days from 45 days earlier with CEO Walsh saying theextended term was "based on information that turned out to beincorrect," wrote."Under new contract negotiations, we will ask our larger and multinationalsuppliers to consider 60 or 90-day terms, but this will not be imposed on anybusiness," a company representative noted.

* Congo state-owned miner Gecamines SARL has not published details of agreementssigned in 2015 with ChinaNonferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co. Ltd. and Glencore Plc, violating the country's transparencyrules, Bloomberg News wroteciting advocacy group Global Witness. The advocacy group has urged thegovernment to disclose the details due to a potential risk of illegal diversionof revenues. "To help prevent this happening, Congo must publish the fulldetails of all natural resource sales, including information on the realbeneficiaries of the companies involved," said Nat Dyer, Congo team leaderat Global Witness.


* ThompsonCreek Metals Co. Inc.'s net income for quarter ended March 31,reached US$35.1 million, swinging from a loss of US$87.2 million a year earlier.In the first quarter of this year, the company booked unrealized noncashforeign exchange gains of US$59.4 million, compared to year-ago losses ofUS$88.2 million, primarily on intercompany notes. Revenues fell to US$97.4million, from US$123 million year over year. During the quarter, sales volumesfor copper and gold were 15.0 million pounds and 44,391 ounces, respectively,up from sales of 14.8 million pounds of copper and 36,750 ounces of gold a yearago.

* LorraineCopper Corp. and TeckResources Ltd. have agreed to terminate the deal involving the sale of Teck's 51%joint venture interest in the Lorraine/Jan Tam Misty copper project in BritishColumbia. The sale would have seen Lorraine securing full ownership of theproject upon closing.

*Union workers of BHP Billiton's Spence copper mine in Chile suspended a strike the sameday after receiving a proposal for dialogue from the company. According toReuters, the workers did not rule out resuming the strike if a solution totheir social and labor demands is not achieved, daily La Tercera reported.

*Codelco rejectedcriticism from the Calama Farmers Association against the environmental permitgranted by regulator SEA to its US$5.3 billion RT Sulfuros expansion project ofRadomiro Tomicmine in Chile. Farmers filed an appeal claiming that the project may compromisethe health of the community in Calama, daily Pulso reported.


*Hecla Mining Co.swung to a net lossof US$618,000 in the first quarter of 2016, from a year-ago profit of US$12.6million despite a 10% rise in sales to US$131.0 million due to increased silverproduction, which were partially offset by lower metals prices. The companysuffered a net foreign exchange loss of US$8.2 million in the three-month periodcompared to a gain of US$12.3 million a year earlier. In addition, the companyhas raised its 2016 silver production forecast to 15.0 million ounces fromprevious guidance of13.5 million ounces to 14.0 million ounces.

*McEwen Mining Inc.reported consolidated net income of US$13.0 million for the quarter ended March31, up from US$6.0 millionbooked a year earlier. The company sold 40,578 gold equivalent ounces, comparedto sales of 37,682 gold equivalent ounces in the same period of 2015.

*Newcrest Mining Ltd.has extended the termof its unsecured bilateral bank lending facilities totaling US$2.4 billion. Therenewed facility agreements are with 12 bank lenders who will each commitUS$200 million. The facilities will have tenors of between three and five yearsincluding US$1.20 billion in fiscal 2019, US$300 million in fiscal 2020, andUS$900 million in fiscal 2021.

* Separately, Newcrest Mining hedged afurther 200,000 ounces of gold expected over the 2018 and 2019 financialyears from the Telfer gold project in Western Australia, at an averagegold price of A$1,773 per ounce. Total hedging for Telfer is now 730,749 ouncesat an average price of A$1,747 per ounce.

* GreatPanther Silver Ltd. swung to a net loss of C$4.5 million in thefirst quarter from a year-ago profit of C$3.6 million as revenue fell by 9% toC$18.5 million. The netloss was primarily attributable to a C$6.1 million net foreignexchange loss while the reduction in revenue was due to 16% lower metal sales.

* EndeavourSilver Corp.'s first-quarter net income on a yearly basis to C$1.8million while EBITDA fell 47% to C$8.6 million. Revenue also fell by 19% toC$41.5 million due to lower silver production and lower silver prices but earningsimproved due to lower operating costs.

* MDNInc. has terminated the heads of agreement signed with SichuanXinye Investment Corp. of Mining and Exploration, or Xinye, over a jointventure in Tanzania after the companies failed to conclude a definitiveagreement over the deal. The agreement was signed in September 2015,contemplating the establishment of a joint venture over MDN's Ikungu and IkunguEast properties within the Ikungu gold project in Tanzania.

*Metals X Ltd.'s moveto acquire copper producer AdityaBirla Minerals Ltd. and spin off its gold and base metals assetsmay improve the value of the company's gold assets, The Australian Financial Review wrote,citing analysts. "A spin-out of the purely gold assets to a pure goldvehicle would likely attract this gold premium and realize value forshareholders," Somers and Partners analyst Duncan Hughes said.

*Franco-Nevada Corp.posted first-quarter net income of US$30.0 million, up from net income ofUS$19.2 million reported a year ago. Revenue, meanwhile, year over year to a recordUS$132.0 million. The company's mineral assets also yielded a record 106,621gold equivalent ounces during the period, representing a 25% increase on ayearly basis. The board declared a quarterly dividend of 22 cents per share, upfrom the previous 21 cents per share, marking the ninth consecutive annualdividend increase.

*Yamana Gold Inc.posted first-quarter net earnings from continuing operations of US$38.4million, swingingfrom a net loss of US$135.2 million booked a year ago. Revenue, however, wasdown at US$430.3 million from US$458.1 million booked a year ago. Goldproduction totaled 308,061 ounces during the period, up 3% year over year.

*The West Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum development of 's 60% ownedPenny's Find goldproject. The company intends to mine initially by open-pit, which will belikely followed by underground development. Empire expects open-pit mining tostart from mid-year and first gold production in the second half of this year.

*Orvana Minerals Corp.revised itsproduction guidance for fiscal 2016, narrowing gold output forecast at theEl Valle minefrom 43,000 ounces to 48,000 ounces, to 43,000 ounces to 46,000 ounces, anddecreasing guidance at DonMario from 24,000 ounces to 27,000 ounces of gold, to 20,000 ouncesto 21,000 ounces of gold.

*The tender offers to resume operations in the Andacollo gold mine in Neuquen province,Argentina, will be opened on May 9, said regional mining company Cormine SEP PresidentMartín Irigoyen. Potential investors allegedly interested in the projectinclude Latin American MineralsInc., Trident GoldCorp. Ltd. and GoldenStar Resources Ltd., daily OnceDiario reported.

*Kapuskasing GoldCorp. entered into a memorandum of understanding with the FlyingPost and Mattagami First Nations with respect to its recently acquired WestKeefer property in northern Ontario. The MOU envisages long-term cooperation between the parties, andalso signals a commitment from Kapuskasing to identify business, employment andtraining opportunities for the citizens of the First Nations communities totake part in the company's exploration activities.

*Alecto Minerals Plcwas awardeda further three-year term for its Gassel-Manere and Arae mineral explorationpermits, which form the Kerboule project, in Burkina Faso. In total, thepermits have an initial independent in-situ gold resource assessment of 6.2million tonnes grading at 1.16 g/t of gold for 230,758 ounces of gold, at acut-off grade of 0.5 g/t.

*Red Rock ResourcesPlc completed the acquisition of 9.6%, or 6,006,587 shares, ofGoldStone Resources Ltd. and issued 21,315,971 of its own shares to UnityMining Ltd. In addition, Red Rock will issue 21,315,971 options to Unity,giving it the right within two years to exercise each option into a new shareat a price of 66 British pence per share.

*Osisko Gold RoyaltiesLtd. swung to a net loss attributable to shareholders ofC$60,000 in the three months ended March from earnings of C$10.3 millionreported a year earlier. Revenue, meanwhile, rose to C$15.6 million from C$10.6million in 2015 as a result of higher in-kind royalties earned.Despite the net loss, the board declared the seventh quarterly dividend of 4cents per common share, payable July 15.

*Zijin Mining Group Co.Ltd.'s board proposed that no profit distribution will be carriedout for 2015 and there will be no conversion of the capital reserve into sharecapital in a bid to accelerate the progress of the nonpublic issuance of Ashares, Infocast reported.In addition, an interim profit distribution will be proposed for 2016.

*The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania A1 Specialised Servicesand Supplies Ltd. to pay a total of US$201 million to ,confirming the award issued by the London Court of International Arbitration.The court ruling follows a dispute between the companies, whereby Implatsclaimed that A1 defaulted on certain amounts due.

*Arizona Mining Inc.completed the acquisition of Arizona Minerals Inc. and now owns 100% of theHermosa silverproject in Arizona, which includes the Taylor deposit.


*Rio Tinto hasno plans to exceedthe 360-million-tonnes mark for annual iron ore production, BusinessDay reported, citing ChairmanJan du Plessi. The company also defended its plan to build the copper mine inArizona, saying that the project will be economically beneficial to both thecompany and the local community.

*Brazilian steelmaker GerdauSA's first-quarter net profit plunged 94.8% year over year to 14 million Brazilianreais due to lower operating income. Likewise, net sales fell 3.5% year overyear to 10.09 billion reais mainly due to lower shipments by the Braziliansteel division in the domestic market, which were partially offset by highernet sales by the North American division when translated into Braziliancurrency.

* Stuart Wilkie, a Tata Steel Ltd. executive leading the buyout bid for itsU.K. operations, ruled out acquiring the £15 billion workers' pension scheme,London's Financial Times reported.The pension scheme is in deficit by £485 million with Wilkie saying Excaliburwill not be able to afford to take on the liability but would look to set up adefined-contribution fund instead.

* In order to focus on Britain's Jun 23 referendum onwhether to exit the EU, the sale of Tata Steel's U. K. operations is said tohave been moved to around the weekend of June 25 when the company's board meetsin Mumbai, the Financial Times reported.However, industry sources told the news outlet the company is being pressuredfrom the government to extend the sale timeline as Tata was looking to closethe sale deal by May end or by mid-June at the least. A senior governmentofficial said the government does not have the power to order Tata to do so.

* AK SteelHolding Corp. plans to increase current spot market base prices for allcarbon flat-rolled steel products by at least US$60 per tonne, effectiveimmediately.

*Slovakia may consideracquiring a stake in U.S. Steel Corp.'s steel plant in the country to save itfrom closing, Reuters reported, citing Slovak Economy Minister Peter Ziga. Thegovernment is seeking a 34% interest in U.S. Steel Kosice, which "wouldensure a blocking mechanism so that the state can have a say," the officialsaid.

*Jindal Steel & PowerLtd.'s board approvedthe sale of its 1,000 MW power plant in India's Chhattisgarh stateto JSW Energy Ltd.The plant has an enterprise value of 65.00 billion Indian rupees. It may sellfor as low as 40.00 billion rupees, with a rise in valuation dependent onJindal securing power purchase agreements.

*The U.S. Commerce Department plans to impose preliminary duties on weldedstainless pressure pipe imports from India after determining that the productswere being dumped at below market prices, Reuters reported.

* BritishPrime Minister David Cameron said Britain's exit from the EU posessevere challenges for the country's steel industry, Reuters wrote.British-made steel, which is commonly sold within the EU's single market, maybe subject to tariffs if the country falls outside that market, Cameron noted.

*Fertoz Ltd. entered amemorandum of understanding to finalize an agreement for the sale of 2,000tonnes of phosphate rock per year on or before July 1. The initial adds to theprevious 2,000-tonne sale announced in February and places the company on trackto reach its sales target of 10,000 tonnes by end of this year.

* Kommersantand Vedomostireported that Moscow's refusal to keep customs privileges for Ukrainian goodshurt the Russian nuclear sector. After the abolition of the free trade areawith Ukraine, the import duties on steel of 9% to 13% led to a price increasefor products of the Kramatorsk-based Rosatom's plant Energomashspetsstal. As aresult, the state-owned corporation Rosatom offered to keep the free trade arearegime for its plant in Ukraine.


* RenascorResources Ltd. intends to take its ownership in Eyre PeninsulaMinerals Pty. Ltd., which holds the Arno graphite project in South Australia, in the next month byissuing 38.67 million ordinary shares.

*The world's largest diamond discovered in over a century is expected to fetchabout US$70 million in an auction scheduled to take place next month in  London, Reuters reported, citinginternational auction house Sotheby's. The 1,190-carat diamond was discoveredby Lucara Diamond Botswana in November 2015.

*Nevada Sunrise GoldCorp. and ResolveVentures Inc. have entered into a definitive and option agreementallowing Resolve to earn up to a 50% working interest in the lithium property inNevada.


*Saudi Arabia and Sudan will kick off exploringfor resources in the Red Sea by 2020. The program, which will include gold,copper and silver, is expected to fetch about US$20 billion in revenues,Reuters reported.

The Daily Dose is updated asof 7 a.m. New York time, and scans news sources published in Chinese, English,Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Someexternal links may require a subscription.