Vale may deploy spare iron ore capacity amid plans to hike pellet output in 2018
Vale SA CEO Fabio Schvartsman told Bloomberg News that the company is ready to deploy up to 50 million tonnes of spare iron ore capacity if prices get too high to help maintain market balance, as a way to discourage expensive producers from reentering the market. The statement comes as the company announced plans to lift iron ore pellet output but reduce its nickel production in 2018. Metal Bulletin reported that the company will boost iron ore pellet production by 10% to about 55 million tonnes in 2018. Meanwhile, the company reduced its nickel production forecast by 15% to 263,000 tonnes in 2018, Reuters reported.
Noble Group Ltd. continues to struggle with restructuring US$3.5 billion in debt amid looming defaults as a Dec. 20 deadline approaches, Bloomberg News reported. Certain lenders agreed to waive a number of rights under a US$1.1 billion revolving credit facility until Dec. 20, meaning Noble Group would need to reach a new deal with the lenders to avoid a default, or secure an extension.
ICL to sell fire safety, oil additives units for US$1B
Israel Chemicals Ltd. agreed to sell its fire safety and oil additives business units to private investment firm SK Capital for a total of about US$1 billion. The sale of the divisions, which have low synergies with the company's core mineral chains, is expected to close in the first half of 2018.
* Vale CEO Fabio Schvartsman, in an interview with Valor International, said the company's compliance to transition into the Novo Mercado segment of the B3 made it a true corporation after 20 years of privatization. Schvartsman said the company faced a difficult process of adapting to the bourse's stringent requirements, which included a voluntary conversion of shares.
* Glencore Plc appointed Gill Marcus, former governor of the South African Reserve Bank, as an independent nonexecutive director, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
* Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co. Ltd., said to be China's second-largest copper smelter, has started idling up to 30% of its 800,000-tonne annual smelting capacity in accordance with a government order to curb pollution over the winter months. Wang Guojian, vice commercial director for the company, told Bloomberg News that it remains unknown how long the suspension may last.
* Taurus Funds Management Pty. Ltd., which owns an 11.31% stake in Finders Resources Ltd., will not accept the takeover offer of 23 Australian cents per share from Eastern Field Developments Ltd.
* The Peruvian government secured the support of the Michiquillay and La Encañada communities in the country's Cajamarca region for the stalled US$2 billion Michiquillay copper-gold-silver-molybdenum project to avoid a repeat of the previous social conflicts over the project's development, Business News Americas reported.
* Shares of St. George Mining Ltd. plummeted by 29.7% to close at 26 Australian cents per share on the ASX following subpar drilling results from the Mount Alexander nickel project in Western Australia, The West Australian reported.
* Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. released an initial resource estimate for the Seal zinc deposit, which forms part of its namesake property in Nunavut, Canada, along with the Storm copper deposit 30 kilometers to the east. Seal hosts inferred resources of 1 million tonnes grading 10.24% zinc and 46.5 g/t of silver, or 11.44% zinc equivalent, for 103,061 tonnes of zinc and 1.5 million ounces of silver.
* Rockcliff Metals Corp. released an updated resource estimate for its Talbot copper deposit in central Manitoba, for inferred resources of 4.2 million tonnes at 3.4% copper equivalent.
* Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. intends to raise about US$100 million via a private share placement or a rights issue to refinance part of the bridging finance for the acquisition of the Moab Khotsong gold-uranium mine in South Africa from AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. The other half of the US$200 million bridging finance facility will be refinanced from internal cash resources, the company said.
* AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. unit AngloGold Ashanti AU Ltd. and Independence Group NL, partners in the Tropicana gold joint venture, have approved phase one of the Long Island mining strategy, which comprises mining of the Havana South pit and a cutback of the Boston Shaker pit for increased production in the medium term. The full strategy adds 2.1 million ounces to Tropicana's business plan and extends mine life by about seven years to 2027.
* Wishbone Gold Plc resumed construction work on its processing plant in Honduras following the end of the Caribbean hurricane season. Equipment at the plant was previously installed, but commissioning was halted due to the inability to finish the buildings on time prior to inclement weather conditions.
* Belo Sun Mining Corp. said a Brazilian Federal Court of Appeals in the federal capital of Brasilia upheld the suspension of the construction license for the company's Volta Grande gold property, with the publication of written details pending.
* Lundin Gold Inc. drew an additional US$40 million from the gold prepay credit facility with the Orion Mine Finance Group and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities to fund the development of the Fruta del Norte gold project in Ecuador.
* OJSC GV Gold may buy the Kamchatka gold mine in Russia from Renova Group for an estimated US$500 million, Vedomosti reported.
* Xtract Resources Plc unit Explorator Ltda. negotiated significantly enhanced terms for the western portion of the alluvial concession under the existing mining contractor agreement for the exploitation of alluvial gold deposits at its Manica mining concession in Mozambique.
* Squire Mining Ltd. said the owner of the early stage Star gold-prospective property in central British Columbia agreed to extend an option to acquire a 51% interest in the property for one year. The company failed to carry out exploration work this year due to forest fire closures and wildfires near the site.
* Canadian Platinum Corp. terminated an agreement to sell its Peter Lake gold property in northern Saskatchewan to American Energy Metals Corp. The company said American Energy was unable to complete its corporate structuring and failed to meet its initial obligations within the agreed time frame.
* Vector Resources Ltd. signed agreements with Société Minière de Kilo-Moto SARL to form joint ventures for the development of the Kibali South and Nizi gold projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
* Noble Metals Ltd. said US$2.5 million was misappropriated from the accounts of its GPS Metals Lab subsidiary by former Managing Director Miguel Palomino, who resigned in October due to health and personal reasons.
* Indian environmental authorities could cancel Steel Authority of India Ltd.'s plan to mine a reserve within the Saranda forest as the government is considering shutting down all mining activities in the area, which is home to endangered species of flying lizards and is also an integral part of an elephant corridor, Reuters reported, citing two government sources with direct knowledge of the matter. The Indian steelmaker is set to approve a US$1 billion joint venture to make automotive-grade steel with ArcelorMittal. Three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that a decision will be made during a SAIL board meeting next week.
* A number of Japanese aluminum buyers agreed to a higher premium of US$103 per tonne for shipments in the first quarter of 2018, compared to premiums of US$94 per tonne to US$95 per tonne in the current quarter, Reuters reported.
* ArcelorMittal restarted operations at blast furnace No. 2 at its steelmaking plant in Bremen, Germany, after two months of modernization, Metal Bulletin reported.
* Data from Statistics South Africa showed that mining production rose 5.2% year on year in October, led by iron ore, Mining Weekly reported.
* Constellium NV strengthened its long-term partnership with Audi as the primary supplier of aluminum automotive body sheet and structural components for the Audi A7 Sportback.
* Brazilian steelmaker Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA, which has suspended its Cubatão plant since January 2016 due to a financial crisis, is rethinking its laminated sheets production as market demand starts to pick up, Estadão reported. According to sources, there is criticism within the company on the decision to suspend the facility, as it would take at least five years for Cubatão to reach full capacity again.
* Kobe Steel Ltd.'s data falsification scandal may lead to its sale or merger with a rival company due to the potentially higher cost of compensation to affected customers, Bloomberg News reported.
* National Mineral Development Corp. Ltd. is planning to increase its iron ore mining capacity by 19% to 67 million tonnes by 2022, The Hindu reported, citing Managing Director N. Baijendra Kumar. He added that the company was likely to sign a memorandum of understanding with Masan Resources in January 2018 to acquire a minority stake in a tungsten mine in Vietnam.
* Ferrexpo Plc declared a special dividend of 3.3 U.S. cents per share as the company continued to trade strongly after it announced positive first-half results and its cash flows further reduced net debt and funded CapEx.
* Griffin Coal and the union representing the maintenance staff of the company's Collie coal mine in Western Australia supported a recommendation from the Fair Work Commission to cut the workers' salaries but retained certain work-hour related stipulations, The West Australian reported.
* The U.S. Commerce Department announced plans to impose import duties on certain steel products from Vietnam that originate from China in order to curb evasion of existing antidumping and countervailing duty orders on corrosion-resistant and certain cold-rolled steel products.
* Additionally, the department increased antidumping duties on South Korean steel imports to 40.8%, from the 10.09% announced in October, after adjusting the South Korean won to U.S. dollar exchange rate, The Korea Times reported.
* PJSC Alrosa's rough and polished diamond sales in November totaled US$334.2 million, with polished diamond sales accounting for US$8.4 million of the total.
* India's trade ministry is proposing to reduce taxes for overseas diamond miners and instead impose a 0.25% presumptive tax to attract the companies to sell diamonds in special notified zones in the country, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. According to the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, miners currently pay up to 33% in tax for selling diamonds in India.
* Lithium Australia NL estimated a JORC 2012-compliant maiden inferred lithium resource at its Sadisdorf tin-lithium project in Germany of 25 million tonnes at 0.45% lithium oxide.
* Boss Resources Ltd. agreed to acquire all the shares in Wattle Mining Pty. Ltd. to take its stake in the Honeymoon uranium project in South Australia to 100%. Wattle holds the remaining 20% of the shares in Boss Energy Pty. Ltd., the holding company for Boss Uranium Pty. Ltd. and the Honeymoon project, which is on care and maintenance. The completion of the transaction is expected in February 2018.
* Market sources told Reuters that the London Metal Exchange is unlikely to provide clearing services for NFEx — a proposed new trading platform set to go live in 2018 — after the LME cut its own trading fees. According to one of the sources, the new platform was "hatched" as a protest to the LME's rising fees. "This has now been addressed by the LME. People don't want a further fragmented market," the source added.
* The Australian Tax Office said its corporate tax take fell A$3.6 billion in 2015-16 amid the mining and energy sector's reduced profitability during the period, though an ATO official said the tax office expects increased collections in 2016-17 thanks to higher commodity prices, The Australian Financial Review reported.
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