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BHP shuts down 2 flooded iron ore mines; Indonesia sets FY'20 coal output cap


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BHP shuts down 2 flooded iron ore mines; Indonesia sets FY'20 coal output cap


Report: Floods force BHP to halt 2 iron ore mines in Western Australia

Mining giant BHP Group is believed to have temporarily shut down operations at its Whaleback and Eastern Ridge mines, part of the Newman iron ore operation in Western Australia, due to floods caused by heavy rains brought by former tropical cyclone Blake, The Australian reported. The company's rail operations in the area were also disrupted due to water around the tracks, the report said.

Indonesia seeks lower FY'20 coal output to prevent price slide

In a bid to prevent a plunge in prices, the government of Indonesia set a cap on miners' coal production in 2020, Bloomberg News reported, quoting Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif. According to Tasrif, the government has set the production target at 550 million tonnes for this year, down by 9.8% from 610 million tonnes in 2019. Tasrif said that the government "doesn't want coal production to be too massive and drive prices lower and cause government revenue to drop."

Trump seen turning sights on EU in 2020 as next big trade fight looms

The relative calm settling over the global trade landscape may be shortlived. With Chinese Vice Premier Liu He due to arrive in Washington next week to sign a trade accord with the U.S., a replacement for NAFTA making its way to President Donald Trump's desk and an agreement with Japan in the bag, some might be tempted to sit back and admire their work. Others, emboldened by their successes, might look for a new target. Many observers see Trump falling into the second category and say that he has Europe in his sights.


* Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd. reported preliminary copper production of 204,000 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2019, with full-year 2019 output hitting a record 702,000 tonnes. The company provided a 2020 production guidance range of 830,000 to 880,000 tonnes of copper, 280,000 to 300,000 ounces of gold and 15,000 to 20,000 tonnes of nickel.

* Mitsui & Co. Ltd. will reportedly cease copper concentrate blending in South Korea, which may indicate that grades and arsenic levels are improving at the Collahuasi and Los Bronces mines in Chile, in which it holds minority stakes, Fastmarkets MB reported.


* Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader, wants the European Union to label informally mined gold in the country's southern jungles as "blood gold" to increase pressure on President Nicolas Maduro's government, Reuters reported.

* Evolution Mining Ltd. gold output in the second quarter of fiscal 2020, based on preliminary results, dropped to 170,890 ounces, against 181,996 ounces of gold produced a year ago. All-in sustaining cost during the period amounted to A$1,069 per ounce, increasing from year-ago AISC of A$973/oz. Meanwhile, the company's production for the full fiscal 2020 is projected to hit the bottom end of its group output guidance of about 725,000 ounces, on the back of an unanticipated loss of ore tonnes that were planned to be mined out at its Mount Carlton operation in Queensland. Shares in the miner closed at a 6% loss on the ASX.

* Detour Gold Corp.'s gold production in the fourth quarter of 2019 from its Detour Lake mine in Ontario climbed to 159,109 ounces, from 158,200 ounces produced a year ago. Full-year output fell to 601,566 ounces from 621,128 ounces, but was at the top end of the year's guidance of 590,000 to 605,000 ounces.

* Lundin Gold Inc. produced 28,678 ounces of gold in 2019 from its Fruta del Norte gold project in Ecuador, including 3,411 ounces of gold dore and 25,267 ounces of concentrate. The company updated the life-of-mine plan for Fruta del Norte and expects all-in sustaining costs to increase 6.5% over the previous estimate to US$621 per ounce, mainly due to an expected rise in royalties and production taxes and decline in by-product credits as a result of revised price assumptions for gold and silver.

* Dundee Precious Metals Inc. produced 69,500 ounces of gold and 10.0 million pounds of copper in the fourth quarter of 2019. For full year 2019, the company produced a total of 230,600 ounces of gold, within the updated guidance of 200,000 to 247,000 ounces, while total copper produced was 37.2 million pounds, within the guidance of 33 million pounds to 39 million pounds.

* Ramelius Resources Ltd.'s December 2019 quarter production totaled 47,902 ounces of gold, meeting the company's guidance range of 45,000 ounces to 50,000 ounces.

* Toronto-headquartered Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. reported record production in the fourth quarter of 2019 and full year 2019 thanks to the strong performance of the Fosterville gold mine in Victoria, Australia. Output in the December 2019 quarter climbed 21% year over year to 279,742 ounces while annual production surged 35% to 974,615 ounces, near the midpoint of the 950,000 ounces to 1 million ounces guided.

* Torex Gold Resources Inc.'s gold production for the fourth quarter of 2019 grew 29.9% year over year to 125,150 ounces at its El Limon-Guajes gold mine in Mexico. For the full year, Torex produced a record 454,810 ounces of gold, within guidance of 400,000 to 460,000 ounces.

* Tharisa PLC's platinum group metals production on a 6E basis for its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2019, totaled 34,400 ounces, up from 33,600 ounces in the year-ago quarter, while chrome concentrates production also improved to 342,500 tonnes from 305,400 tonnes.

* China granted China Molybdenum Co. Ltd. a license to export tungsten concentrate, a few months after it won an auction for about 28,336 tonnes of ammonium paratungstate formerly held by the defunct Fanya Metal Exchange, Fastmarkets MB reported.

* Sudan has started allowing private traders to export gold in a bid to stop smuggling and attract foreign currency into the country's cash-strapped treasury, Reuters reported.

* Eloro Resources Ltd. signed a definitive option agreement to acquire a 99% stake in the Iska Iska polymetallic epithermal project in Bolivia.

* Palladium One Mining Inc. inked a binding letter of intent to buy back an existing 2% net smelter return royalty on the Haukiko deposit of the LK PGE-nickel-copper project in Finland. The terms of the buyback include a cash payment of C$50,000 and 375,000 common shares.

* An updated resource estimate for Osisko Mining Inc.'s Windfall gold project in Quebec is anticipated to be released in February, with the updated estimate to include results from the last batch of infill drilling in 2019.

* Goldplay Exploration Ltd. will be changing its name to GR Silver Mining Ltd., effective Jan. 13, as part of the company's aim to focus on more advanced stage silver mining projects in the Rosario Mining District in Mexico.

* Aldoro Resources Ltd. launched a maiden 5,000-meter aircore drilling program at its Penny South gold project in Western Australia.

* EnviroLeach Technologies Inc. received confirmation that it was awarded a patent on its proprietary chemical process that extracts precious metals from ores, concentrates, and e-waste using only FDA-approved additives and ambient temperature water.


* Havilah Resources Ltd.'s largest shareholder and technical director Chris Giles says he recently killed a proposed "lifeline" investment of up to A$100 million in the company by a subsidiary of privately held, Sanjeev Gupta-led GFG Alliance Ltd. because it would have caused "poisonous" division, among other things. Giles, who founded Havilah with geologist Bob Johnson, listed several reasons to S&P Global Market Intelligence why he had expressed reservations about the deal "right from the start," and had always advocated instead for a joint venture approach, targeting some up-front cash to cover costs.

* London-based Anglo American PLC allocated US$126 million for exploration in 2019, up 20% from US$105 million budgeted in 2018 and topping a high of US$120 million in 2012, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team. Minesite allocations were up by two-thirds, while planned grassroots spending hit a 15-year low.

* Tata Steel Ltd.'s provisional production volume in the third quarter of its fiscal 2020 totaled 4.46 million tons for its crude steel division in India and 2.50 million tons for its liquid steel production in Europe, improving from year-ago figures of 4.38 million tons and 2.34 million tons, respectively. Southeast Asia saleable steel production, however, slumped to 490,000 tons from 520,000 tons.

* Citing challenging market conditions, Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House Ltd. will slash 355 jobs across its U.K. steelmaking plants in Yorkshire and Wales, with majority of the layoffs coming from its Stockbridge specialty steels plant, the Financial Times reported.

* Share prices in metallurgical coal producers Mechel PAO and PJSC Raspadskaya rose on the Moscow Exchange, with Kommersant sources pointing to rising raw material costs amid bushfires in Australia as a potential cause of the increase.

* Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. raised 1.5 billion Chinese yuan through a short-term bond issuance. The interest rate of the notes was fixed at 2.85% and the maturity of the bonds was set at 90 days.

* With the world moving away from burning coal to generate power, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said he is looking forward to alternative uses for a natural resource that has long been economically important to the state.


* Chilean lithium miner Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA intends to launch an offering of senior unsecured notes to repay its US$250 million of 5.50% notes due April 21, 2020. Net proceeds will also be used for general corporate purposes, including funding for the company's capital expenditure program.

* Sigma Lithium Resources Corp. Chief Strategy Officer Ana Cabral-Gardner said that complying with environmental, social and governance standards may help slash costs in projects related to lithium, Bloomberg News reported.

* A unit of Chinese state-owned CNNC International Ltd. sued the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia for its alleged inaction on the company's mining license application for a uranium project in Mongolia.

* Mkango Resources Ltd.'s 75.5%-owned unit Maginito Ltd. took up an initial 25% stake in HyProMag Ltd. for £300,000, with an option to earn up to a 49% stake in the private rare earth magnet recycler for a further £1 million.


* In the name of speeding up infrastructure siting and other federal decisions, the Trump administration released a proposed rule to revamp the National Environmental Policy Act's requirements for when federal agencies are required to study the environmental impacts of major federal actions. Meanwhile, senior policy counsel Aaron Mintzes of nonprofit organization Earthworks said that Trump's proposal to hamstring the NEPA harms both the environment and democracy, and mining companies too may suffer because of it.

* BlackRock Inc. joined the Climate Action 100+ investor initiative, adding its influence to a group pushing global corporate greenhouse gas emitters to take action on climate change.

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