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Gold majors climb in market cap; Tata in European JV talks; China orders coal exits

TOP NEWS

According to an SNL Metals & Mining exclusive, marketcaps for the top 25 mining companies, as of the June quarter-end, by an aggregate 13% on aquarterly basis. The most notable shifts in therankings can be attributed to gold-focused companies, which have benefitedgreatly from rising gold prices, declining mining costs and, most recently,global economic uncertainty as a result of the U.K.'s Brexit vote in June.

TataSteel halts UK asset sale, in talks for European JV

Due to uncertainty following the Brexit vote and pensionfund liabilities, Tata SteelLtd. has decided to temporarily halt the sale of its major U.K. assets, Reutersreported. According to Bloomberg News, the company is now in preliminarydiscussions with potential partners, including Germany's , to explore the possibility of a joint venture for the Europeanoperations.

Beijing is requiring companies that are owned by the centralgovernment and not specializing in the coal sector to the industry, as part of itsnationwide capacity reduction program, according to the State-owned AssetsSupervision and Administration Commission.

DIVERSIFIED

* ValeSA reduced investment in environmental projects from US$1.01billion in 2013 to US$864.8 million in 2014 and US$572 million in 2015,according to the company's Sustainability Report for 2015, O Globo reported.

* BHP BillitonGroup CFO Peter Beaven said the mining major is finding it hard toland opportunities to acquire tier-one copper and petroleum assets givenpricing issues, The Australian Financial Review wrote.

BASE METALS

* VotorantimMetais SA unit Compañía Minera Milpo SAA's Magistral copper-molybdenum-silver project inPeru's Ancash region has not received its environmental license yet becauseauthorities continue reviewing the observations made in 2015 to the project'senvironmental impact report, the Ministry of Energy and Mines saidin reply to an inquiry by daily BolognesiNoticias.

* Engold MinesLtd., formerly GWR Resources Inc., signed a 50/50 joint ventureagreement with Pacific EmpireMinerals Corp. to explore the former's Red Claim, and other surroundingclaims prospective for copper discovery held by Engold and Pacific Empire. Theclaims subject to the JV are on a southwest portion of Engold's copper-goldproperty in British Columbia.

* The value of Chile's copper exports fell 16.1% year overyear in the first half of the year to US$13.4 billion, at the same level as theexport value during the 2009 financial crisis, Mining.com reported.The dive is a result of lower copper prices, which fell to US$4,318 per tonnein January, from US$10,190 per tonne in 2011.

* YunnanChihong Zinc and Germanium Co. Ltd. is raising 4.70 billion Chineseyuan by issuing up to 556,557,121 shares at a price of 8.45 yuan per shareunder a private placement. Of the total proceeds, 3.70 billion yuan will beused to repay bank loans, while the remaining will fund exploration projects aswell as constructionof a lead recycling facility.

* According to The Sydney Morning Herald, BHPBilliton is stepping up efforts to expand the production capacity ofits Olympic Damcopper mine in South Australia and will start testing a cheaper mining methodat a specialized plant in Finland using Olympic Dam concentrate in September.

* ChinaMolybdenum Co. Ltd.'s international CEO Kalidas Madhavpeddi saidthe company remains interested in distressed mining assets following severalacquisitions including the Northparkes copper mine in New South Wales, withAustralia continuing to be on its radar, The Australian reported.

* VedantaResources Plc Chairman Anil Agarwal said the company will invest a total of US$1 billion in its Gamsberg zinc project in South Africa over thenext three years, Press Trust of India wrote.

* ImperialMetals Corp. filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of British Columbiaagainst engineering firms Knight Piesold and AMEC over damages related to the2014 breach of the tailings storage facility at its wholly owned copper-gold-silver mine, The Canadian Press reported. The company claimsnegligence and breach of contract.

* After failing to reach an agreement in contractdiscussions, workers have downed tools at Anglo American Plc's Chile-based copper mine, Reutersreported, citing union head Jaime Munoz.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Goldoutput from Independence Group NL's jointly owned gold mine in WesternAustralia fell to 448,485 ounces for the year ended June, down from the 496,413produced in 2015. Independence's 30% share of production amounted to 134,546ounces.

* The Colombian government will intervene in the domesticgold market to curb illegal mining in the country, El Tiempo wrote,citing Environment Minister Luis Gilberto Murillo. Colombia will also eliminatethe use of mercury in legal mining starting in 2018 in compliance with theMinamata Convention.

* CaledoniaMining Corp. Plc producedabout 12,509 ounces of gold in the second quarter this year, ended June 30,from its 49%-owned subsidiary, the Blanket Mine in Zimbabwe. The quarterly production wasup 20% year over year, and 16% compared to the first quarter. The company isaiming to produce about 50,000 ounces of gold in the full year.

* Barrick GoldCorp.'s President Kelvin Dushnisky said the gold major can trimdown its debt to US$5 billion in next three years and could eliminate totaldebt within a decade on gold-price gains, cost cuts and asset sales, BloombergNews reported.

* RandRefinery Pty. Ltd. has disputedan amount owed to GoldplatPlc 74%-owned subsidiary Goldplat Recovery (Pty.) Ltd. in relation to a bindingmemorandum of understanding for processing a batch of silver sulfide material.Goldplat Recovery has issued a demand letter to Rand Refinery for unpaidinvoices for about 13.5 million South African rand.

* Russia's Far East Development Fund and state-ownedChina National Gold GroupCorp. are in talks to establish a new joint investment fund focusedon funding gold projects in eastern Russia, Sputnik News reported.

* Silver LakeResources Ltd. is forecasting higher in the range of 135,000ounces to 145,000 ounces for the 2017 financial year, over the 132,400 ouncessold in the prior financial year.

* In the wake of the Brexit vote, investors have flockedtoward silver and gold due to their safe haven appeal. Silver, however, hasoutpaced gold since the June 23 vote, jumping 14.27% to US$19.70 per ounce on July 7, comparedto an 8.1% gain in gold to US$1,360.40 per ounce.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Wuhan Iron& Steel Co. Ltd. said production atthe city of Wuhan, Hubei province, was not affected by the floods along China'sYangtze River, noting that its production facilities are "under controland remain stable." The statement was made in response to media reportsstating that the company suspended production lines due to heavy rains.

* Russia's ONEXIM Group sold its 20% stake in potash producerPJSC Uralkali toBelarusian businessman Dmitri Lobyak, Reuters reported. The market value of the stake is said to be US$2billion.

* PJSC Uralkali's second-quarter potassium chloride outputfell to 2.5 milliontonnes from 3 million tonnes in the same period of 2015. For the first half,the company's potassium chloride output totaled 5.1 million tonnes, also lowerthan the 5.7 million tonnes produced in the first half of 2015.

* Essar Steel has placed its unit into chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after a state regulatormoved to cancel its leases to mine taconite iron, The Wall Street Journalreported.

* MongolianMining Corp. has gained the support of noteholders for its proposedrestructure ofUS$600.0 million worth of debt, but has not yet signed a binding agreement withcreditors.

* Gränges AB won the court-supervised auction of 'sdownstream aluminum rolling business in the U.S. According to Reuters, thefinal bid values the Noranda assets at US$324.2 million, on a cash anddebt-free basis. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.

* GT GroupHoldings Ltd. expects to book a consolidated for the six months ended June30, compared to a consolidated net profit of about HK$1.07 billion a year ago,due to the impairment on its unlisted available-for-sale financial assets, anda net realized loss and unrealized loss on financial assets at fair valuethrough a profit or loss of about HK$16 million and HK$500 million,respectively.

SPECIALTY

* Russian government has priced the shares for selling its 10.9% stake in diamondminer PJSC ALROSA at65 Russian rubles per share or US$1.02 apiece, which would raise about US$820million, Reuters reported, citing a source close to the placement.

* Unionized employees at Cameco Corp.'s Port Hope conversion facility havevoted to accept a newcollective bargaining agreement, agreeing to a 7% wage increase over athree-year term. Port Hope is the only uranium conversion facility in Canadathat is producing uranium hexafluoride and the only commercial supplier ofuranium dioxide conversion services.

* NemaskaLithium Inc. raised C$69.0 million through its previously announced publicoffering to fund engineering fees in relation to the lithium project andconcentrator and the Shawinigan hydromet plant, make down payments for longlead items, drilling, and for general working capital purposes.

* ArdidenLtd. has exercisedits option to purchase 100% of Landore Resources Ltd.'s Root Lake lithium property in northwesternOntario.

* Mineral sands producer Base Resources Ltd. expects to 88,000 tonnes to 95,000 tonnesof rutile in its fiscal 2017.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The number of trade union organizations in the mining sectorin Chile has increased, many of them by contractor workers who seek to matchtheir benefits and labor conditions with that of full-time employees, daily El Mercurio reported.

* Caterpillar Inc.'s consultancy branch, Caterpillar SafetyServices, has partnered with a tech company, Seeing Machines, to installfatigue-detection software in mining trucks, which will scan for"characteristics of microsleep in a driver," The Huffington Post wrote.

* Samsung C&T is cutting down its mining business afterit lost A$1 billion in its first mining project, Gina Rinehart's iron ore projectin Australia, the Financial Times reported. The South Korean company is also involved inlawsuits with contractors seeking payment for unpaid work.

* In a bid to help the sector sustain the commodities slump,the Democratic Republic of Congo agreed to resume value-added taxreimbursements owed to mining companies and suspend VAT on their imports, Reutersreported, citing Finance Minister Henri Yav Mulang.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. London time, andscans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay,Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links mayrequire a subscription.