Glencore Plc reached labor agreements with workers at 13 of its coal mines in Australia, including the Hunter Valley collieries in New South Wales, ending months of talks over wages and benefits, Reuters reported. However, the company remains in dispute with a number of workers at its Oaky North operations in Queensland, with 190 miners still locked out of the mine amid talks over a new enterprise work agreement.
Environmental approval granted for BHP's South Flank iron ore project
The Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia gave conditional approval to BHP Billiton Group for the development of its open cut, US$3.2 billion South Flank iron ore project in the Pilbara region. Western Australia Environment Minister Stephen Dawson will make the final decision, The West Australian reported.
Vedanta's Zambian unit to set up base metals processing plants
Vedanta Resources Plc's Zambian subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines Plc, is aiming to set up a copper smelter in Zambia as part of a US$1 billion investment program it announced in March, Reuters reported. The company plans to construct a copper refinery at Nchanga, in Chingola, and a cobalt processing plant and a training academy at Konkola. The program will also see the dewatering of the Konkola copper-cobalt mine in the country.
* The No. 2 workers union at Chilean state miner Empresa Nacional de Minera's Paipote copper smelter began an indefinite strike after workers rejected the company's proposal of a 1.2% readjustment on wages beginning 2019, Diario de Atacama reported. The workers demanded a salary increase of 0.6% beginning this month, followed by another hike of 0.6% in December 2018.
* The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority, or TAZARA, resumed copper transportation it had halted earlier this week due to a labor strike, Reuters reported. TAZARA spokesman Conrad Simuchile said the strike continues but management staff took over running freight trains in the Zambian region.
* PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co. will use crystalline quartzite as a substitute for sand rock in processing operations at its Nadezhda smelter in Russia, potentially saving hundreds of millions of Russian rubles.
* Independence Group NL completed the A$47.2 million divestment of its Stockman copper project in Victoria, Australia, to CopperChem Ltd.
* Alphamin Resources Corp. plans to raise up to C$71.4 million for the development of its 80.75%-owned Bisie tin project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and for general corporate purposes.
* Pasinex Resources Ltd. secured an option to earn up to an 80% stake in the Gunman high-grade zinc project in Nevada from Cypress Development Corp. and Silcom Systems Inc.
* Minsur SA's board approved a US$150 million budget to finance subsidiaries Marcobre SAC, Minera Sillustani SAC and Compañía Minera Barbastro SAC in Peru, and Mineração Taboca SA in Brazil, Gestión reported, citing the company's filing with Peruvian regulator SMV.
* First Cobalt Corp. bought four contiguous mining claims in Ontario near the past-producing Caswell mine for 224,000 company shares.
* According to Bloomberg News, gold could suffer its biggest weekly price drop since May amid expectations of higher U.S. interest rates and as tax reform talks continue to buoy the dollar.
* Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. said a Dec. 5 incident related to a ground fall at its Tshepong gold mine in South Africa killed one of its employees. An investigation into the incident is underway, but challenging conditions continue to hamper efforts to recover the miner's body.
* Brio Gold Inc.'s preliminary economic assessment for an underground operation at the Santa Luz gold project in Brazil estimated a post-tax net present value, discounted at 5%, of US$103 million, a 27% internal rate of return and additional production of 500,000 gold ounces.
* Citigold Corp. Ltd. sold its Black Jack gold processing plant in Queensland, Australia, to Maroon Gold Pty. Ltd. for A$12 million.
* Maximus Resources Ltd. placed its Burbanks gold treatment plant on stand-down due to a lack of ore supply. Meanwhile, Empire Resources Ltd. gave a 30-day notice to terminate the toll treatment agreement.
* Monarques Gold Corp. secured another custom milling contract for its Camflo gold mill in Quebec. Ressources Nottaway Inc. will process at least 15,000 tonnes of ore per month in 2018 from its Vezza gold mine for a minimum of 180,000 tonnes in the whole year at Camflo.
* Kin Mining NL's board decided to proceed with developing the Leonora gold project in Western Australia. This follows the completion of a definitive feasibility study and the execution of a binding senior secured credit facility for US$27 million with Sprott Private Resource Lending to fully fund the preproduction capital cost of Leonora.
* Goldcliff Resource Corp. is examining regulatory compliance requirements for an initial coin offering as part of an effort to introduce a digital currency based on gold.
* BHP Billiton Group tapped BGC Contracting for a major refurbishment of the Coondewanna airport, serving the Area C project, and expanding maintenance facilities at the Jimblebar site.
* Vale SA completed the sale of its two remaining vessels, both with 400,000-tonne capacities, for about US$178 million to the nominees of Bank of Communications Finance Leasing Co. Ltd. The company has sold all 19 of its very large ore carriers as it looks to focus on core assets.
* Kobe Steel Ltd.'s Japanese Industrial Standards certifications were suspended at its Moka aluminum and aluminum alloy plant, and at its aluminum extrusion plant in Chofu, in the wake of a widespread data falsification scandal. The certifications were revoked for unit Shinko Metal Products, which ships copper and copper alloy seamless pipes, and for the company's Hatano plant. Meanwhile, four people in Canada, who were indirect customers of Kobe's products, filed lawsuits against Kobe Steel and its units in the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
* According to a Reuters poll, close to 50% of Japanese companies are concerned over the effects of recent data falsification and compliance issues involving fellow local companies, including Kobe Steel and Mitsubishi Materials Corp., and have either taken steps to improve internal controls or are planning to do so.
* Climate think-tank Carbon Tracker estimates that the European Union could avoid €22 billion of losses by phasing out the use of coal in power plants by the end of the decade, the Financial Times reported. According to Carbon Tracker, about 54% of the bloc's coal plants are already running at a loss, and loss-making plants will rise to 97% by 2030 if EU countries try to meet climate targets under the Paris agreement on climate change.
* Mayur Resources Ltd. signed a memorandum of agreement with the government of Papua New Guinea's Gulf Province for the development of its natural resources, including coal and industrial minerals, under an exclusive license.
* The Securities and Exchange Board of India fined Tata Steel Ltd. 1 million Indian rupees for delays in making necessary disclosures on increased shareholding in Tinplate Co. of India Ltd., Mint reported. Tata Steel holds nearly 75% in Tinplate.
* Authorities of a northern Indiana city threatened to take legal action against U.S. Steel Corp., condemning the company's silence over an October spill of a potentially carcinogenic chemical into a Lake Michigan tributary, the Associated Press reported.
* Moody's revised the outlook on ArcelorMittal's ratings to positive from stable while affirming the steel giant's Ba1 credit rating.
* ArcelorMittal plans to invest US$60 million into its Tubarão steelworks in Brazil to increase steel production capacity to 7.70 million tonnes per year, Metal Bulletin reported.
* Chinese steel producers' preference for higher-grade iron ore is taking its toll on producers of lower-grade ore from India, which are struggling to sell a fraction of their production in the previous year, Bloomberg News reported.
* Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. CEO Jochen Tilk met with Corfo Executive Vice President Eduardo Bitrán to discuss the ongoing legal conflict between the Chilean development agency and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, or SQM, concerning lithium mining concessions in northern Chile, Reuters reported. PotashCorp holds a 32% stake in SQM, which it is considering selling to secure regulatory approval for its merger with Agrium Inc.
* Paladin Energy Ltd. directors Phil Bailey, Don Shumka, Peter Donkin and Wendong Zhang stepped down from the company's board after creditors voted in favor of a recapitalization plan and executed an agreement with the company's administrators. The recapitalization deal is expected to be completed before the end of January 2018 and will see existing shareholders giving up 98% of their shares as part of a debt-for-equity swap with creditors.
* Meanwhile, France's Electricité de France SA rejected a debt restructuring proposal from the administrators of Paladin Energy Ltd., saying the deal is not in the interest of creditors.
* Lithium Australia NL's graphite spinoff, BlackEarth Minerals NL, reached the minimum subscription of A$4.5 million for its IPO. The company can raise a maximum of A$6.0 million in the offer, which is scheduled to close Dec. 14.
* Mineral Resources Ltd. said it will take appropriate action to protect its legal interests from the allegations of Michael Langford, who made damaging social media posts on Twitter on the quality of direct shipping ore from the Wodgina lithium project in Western Australia.
* Savannah Resources Plc said the Mutamba Consortium completed the commissioning of a pilot processing plant at the mineral sands project in Mozambique. The 20-tonne-per-hour plant will be used to produce concentrates as part of the pre-feasibility study for Mutamba, which began earlier this year.
* The year 2017 marks the reversal of an almost half-decade trend of falling annual exploration budgets, thanks to buoyant metal prices and improved sentiment in the industry. However, even though budgets, in general, have increased, S&P Global Market Intelligence's recently published "Trends in Exploration Budgets by Location 2017," part of the Corporate Exploration Strategies series, shows the movement is not consistent across the world's regions. Pacific/Southeast Asia is the only region to have missed out on the resurgence, with its exploration budget plunging 18% year over year.
* China's commodity imports surged in November amid supply concerns as the government pushes for production cuts during the winter months. According to Reuters, customs data showed that China's unwrought copper imports rose 42.3% month on month to 470,000 tonnes, while coal imports reached 22.05 million tonnes, up 3.6% from October.
* Zimbabwe's finance ministry proposed to confine laws that require the transfer of a 51% interest in companies to its black citizens to just the platinum and diamond mining industries, Bloomberg News reported.
* Mining fatalities in South Africa rose for the first time in nine years, with 81 fatalities reported from January through November, compared to 73 fatalities in 2016, Bloomberg News reported, citing the Chamber of Mines.
The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. ET and scans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.