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BHP Billiton, Glencore suspend Queensland coal production ahead of cyclone

TOP NEWS

BHP Billiton, Glencore suspend coal production in Queensland ahead of cyclone

BHP Billiton Group and Glencore Plc are suspending production at their coal mining operations in Queensland, Australia, amid expectations that a severe tropical cyclone will hit the state on the morning of March 28, Bloomberg News reported, citing company statements.

Rio Tinto's midyear dividend projected to almost quadruple YOY

Rio Tinto is projected to almost quadruple its midyear dividend compared to the 45 U.S. cents per share paid in August 2016, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing UBS resources analyst Glyn Lawcock. Lawcock believes the interim dividend could be higher than US$1.65 per share due to the miner's surging free cash flow, strong balance sheet and limited growth plans.

Dominion Diamond reviewing options after US$1.1B takeover offer

Dominion Diamond Corp. is reviewing its options, including the sale of the company or other strategic transactions, after recently receiving an unsolicited US$1.1 billion takeover offer from The Washington Companies.

BASE METALS

* Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. recorded net income attributable to owners of US$210.6 million, or 10 cents per share in 2016, down from net income of US$313.3 million, or 16 cents per share, reported in 2015.

* Argosy Minerals Ltd. withdrew from the farm-in joint venture agreement with Cape Lambert Resources Ltd. unit Mining International Pty. Ltd. to earn up to an 80% interest in the Wee Macgregor copper project in northwestern Queensland, Australia.

* Resolve Ventures Inc. acquired the Connell Mountain copper porphyry prospect in New Brunswick for 3.5 million shares, subject to TSX approval.

* KGL Resources Ltd. acquired the Unca Creek exploration project bordering its Jervois copper-silver-gold project in Australia's Northern Territory. The acquisition almost triples the Jervois project area from 37.9 square kilometers to 110.8 square kilometers.

* Altair Resources Inc. acquired an additional mining license that doubles the current land position on the Crepulje zinc-lead-silver property in Kosovo.

* The South Korean government granted Peninsula Mines Ltd. three key tenements covering the 828-hectare Chilbo high-grade zinc target on the Ubeong zinc project in the country.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Golden Share Mining Corp. acquired an additional 5% stake in the 15-unit mining claim that hosts the past-producing Berens River mine in Ontario, taking its total interest in the claim to 80%. The company also agreed to sell 1% of its royalties in the Malartic Lake Shore and Forsan properties in Quebec to Khalkos Exploration Inc. for 750,000 shares and C$5,000 in cash.

* Sunvest Minerals Corp. acquired the McKinnon Hemlo West property in Ontario from an undisclosed seller in exchange for C$150,000 in cash and 1,333,329 shares over a three-year period.

* Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. will raise around US$220 million through the issuance of 5,003,412 common Agnico shares to an institutional investor at US$43.97 apiece. Proceeds are earmarked for general corporate purposes. The offering is expected to close on or about March 31.

* GGX Gold Corp. entered an option agreement with private firm Munroe Materials Inc. to acquire the latter's assets, which include a processing plant.

* Barkerville Gold Mines Ltd. entered a deal with Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. to sell an additional 0.75% net smelter royalty on the Cariboo gold project in British Columbia for C$12.5 million. Upon completion of the transaction, Osisko's NSR on Cariboo will total 2.25%.

* Endeavour Silver Corp. said that a preliminary economic assessment on its El Compas silver-gold project in Mexico's Zacatecas state estimated initial CapEx of US$10 million, with payback in 2.1 years. Sustaining capital is estimated at US$1.8 million.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Rio Tinto reportedly chose Credit Suisse to sell its coking coal assets in Queensland, worth up to A$2 billion, sources told The Australian. The bank is not yet formally appointed.

* PJSC PhosAgro's net profit for full-year 2016 increased 64% to 59.89 billion Russian rubles, from 36.44 billion rubles in 2015, despite a 1% drop in revenue from 189.73 billion rubles to 187.74 billion rubles and a 12% decrease in EBITDA from 82.46 billion rubles to 72.37 billion rubles. The higher average exchange rate in 2016 between the U.S. dollar and the ruble had a net positive impact on the company's results.

* Aspire Mining Ltd. entered into a memorandum of understanding for MTGT LLC, owner of the Huren Chuulut iron ore project, to access the company's Erdenet-to-Ovoot railway in Mongolia.

* The South Australian Magnetite Consortium signed a conditional sale and purchasing letter of intent with Sha Steel, whereby Sha Steel will purchase 2 million tonnes per year of iron ore concentrate for addition to its sinter fines blend.The consortium comprises Magnetite Mines Ltd. and Lodestone Equities Ltd.

* According to Tian Hui, vice chairman of China's National Coal Association, the coal price will be acceptable for coal miners, power plants and governments if it stays in the range of 500 Chinese yuan to 600 yuan per tonne, Securities Times reported. China still faces excessive coal capacity and the challenge to phase out all excessive capacity before 2020.

SPECIALTY

* Western Australian uranium mines approved in the final months of the Barnett government will be allowed to proceed, Bill Johnston, the state's new mines and petroleum minister, was reported as saying by ABC. However, the new government will not grant further approvals. Mines covered by the decision include Toro Energy Ltd.'s Wiluna project, Vimy Resources Ltd.'s Mulga Rock project and Cameco Corp.'s Yeelirrie project.

* Uranium Resources Inc. said that its Lithium Holdings Nevada LLC subsidiary secured a one-year option to acquire a 100% undivided interest in a block of unpatented placer mining claims covering about 3,040 acres in Esmeralda County, Nev.

* Navigator Resources Ltd. intends to acquire an Australian-based, over-the-counter pharmaceutical business, First Pharma Pty. Ltd. The acquisition is expected to close in August.

* Savannah Resources Plc released an initial resource estimate for the Ravene deposit at its Mutamba mineral sands project in Mozambique, comprising inferred resources of 900 million tonnes grading 4.1% total heavy minerals, or THM. The addition of the Ravene deposit represents a 26% increase in Mutamba's total resources, with an 8% increase in the THM grade compared to the overall resource.

* Total carats at Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd.'s 40%-owned Lulo diamond mine in Angola dropped to 48,200 as of Jan. 31, down from the initial estimate of 51,000 carats as of Oct. 31, 2015.

* Mineral Deposits Ltd. said TiZir Titanium & Iron completed its first shipment of chloride titanium slag following the successful restart of the furnace in January. Shipments were previously expected to commence in early April.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The U.S. received exploration allocations totaling US$499.9 million in 2016, a 30% drop from US$717 million in 2015. While the decline was distributed across 20 states in varying magnitudes, Nevada increased its majority share of the total budget to 47% from 42% in 2015.

* The Australian government said that it successfully passed a new diverted profits tax, which will prevent multinationals shifting profits made in Australia offshore to avoid paying tax. The new legislation will take effect July 1.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time and scans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.