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Strike ends as ArcelorMittal promises pay raise, threatens legal action


Protestors end strike as ArcelorMittal promises pay raise, threatens legal action

The protestors at ArcelorMittal's Kazakh subsidiary ArcelorMittal Temirtau have ended their strike after the company agreed to a 30% pay raise and threatened legal action, Reuters reported. The company's press office told S&P Global Market Intelligence it planned to sue hundreds of striking workers staging the underground sit-in over a pay dispute. The company said that 400 people are still striking underground in the Kazakstanskaya, Tentekskaya and Lenina mines.

Sibanye sees 1.5B rand in annual synergies on Lonmin acquisition

Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s proposed acquisition of South African platinum group metals producer Lonmin Plc will be "earnings enhancing by 2021," CEO Neal Froneman said. Sibanye has agreed on terms of an all-share offer to wholly acquire Lonmin, valuing the company at about £285 million. In terms of earnings, he said pretax synergies would amount to about 1.5 billion South African rand per year by 2021. This will include overhead costs of 730 million rand per year, which is a conservative estimate, according to Froneman.

Chile election puts pressure on top lithium producer SQM

Chileans head to the polls Dec. 17 to cast their votes in a tightly contested runoff election for president that has implications for the mining sector and the world's top lithium producer, Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, S&P Global Market Intelligence reported. Analysts consider the election outcome as critical to the company in resolving its ongoing battle with the Chilean government's Production Development Corp. over ground leased by SQM in the Salar de Atacama for the production of lithium, among other things, and helping it secure a new contract over the ground.


* UBS lifted its target price for BHP Billiton Group stock to A$31.50 per share, increasing from A$30 per share, while maintaining a buy rating on the stock, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. "We believe another wave of cash returns to shareholders is likely in the February 2018 reporting period. The continuation of this theme is likely to continue to attract the marginal global investor, who we believe is underweight mining, back to the sector," the investment bank said.


* Northern Cobalt Ltd. acquired a 100% interest in nine tenements in Western Australia's Northern Territory and made applications for four adjoining tenements, mainly prospective for lithium. The acquisition will compliment the company's Wollogorang cobalt project, it noted.

* Strategic Minerals Plc renegotiated the acquisition terms for the Leigh Creek copper mine in South Australia. The company now has to pay A$3.0 million via cash and shares, instead of the previously agreed A$5.0 million payment through royalties, cash, shares, and assumption of debt.

* Moly Mines Ltd. plans to make a conditional off-market takeover bid for all Queensland Mining Corp. Ltd. shares at 17 Australian cents apiece, which represents a premium of 49.12% to the 30-day volume-weighted average price of 11.4 cents per share as of Dec. 14. Queensland Mining directors unanimously recommend its shareholders to accept the takeover bid in the absence of a superior proposal.

* PT Timah (Persero) Tbk. struck a joint-venture deal with Nigeria's Topwide Ventures Ltd. to develop a tin mining site in the West African country, The Jakarta Globe wrote. The Indonesian state-owned firm, meanwhile, said its revenue in the first nine months of the year soared 44.17% on a yearly basis to 6.6 trillion Indonesian rupiah, while its net profit jumped to 300.57 billion rupiah from 50.65 billion rupiah a year ago.

* South32 Ltd. has committed to fund the US$10 million 2018 program and budget for the Bornite property, which forms part of Trilogy Metals Inc.'s copper-prospective Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects in Alaska.

* Clive Palmer is blaming Malcolm Turnbull for the demise of his Queensland refinery business, arguing the Australian government allowed the country's businesses to flounder while China propped up its resources sector, The Australian wrote, citing a February 2016 letter from Palmer.

* An ongoing strike at Empresa Nacional de Minera's operations in Chile is also affecting five of its copper processing plants, which have run out of sulfuric acid, Metal Bulletin wrote. The company announced earlier in the week that it had suspended operations at its Paipote smelter due to the strike led by the Sindicato No. 2 de Trabajadores union.


* The Chilean Supreme Court dismissed a joint claim filed by environmental watchdog SMA and evaluation service SEA against Barrick Gold Corp.'s suspended Pascua Lama gold project over alleged environmental damages caused by snow avalanches recorded in May and June of 2016. The court dismissed the regulators' claim that the snow slide had affected the project's water treatment plant, leading to the spill of waste water into the El Estrecho river, daily Diario Financiero reported.

* Separately, Barrick Gold is looking into how to restructure Pascua Lama, although the project would remain binational, with one part in Argentina and the other in Chile, executive director René Muga told daily El Mercurio.

* Peruvian environmental regulator OEFA is monitoring the tailings spill recorded at Pan American Silver Corp.'s Huaron mine in Pasco region in the early hours of Dec. 14, news agency Andina reported.

* Hummingbird Resources Plc achieved ore commissioning at its Yanfolila gold mine in Mali. First gold is expected this month with commercial ramp up during the first quarter of 2018. Output in the first full year is expected at about 130,000 ounces of gold.

* Following the takeover bid for Lonmin, RBC Capital Markets upgraded Lonmin shares to sector perform from underperform with a target price of £1 per share from 50 British pence each. The analysts said they had expected Sibanye-Stillwater to eventually make a bid for Lonmin given that this was, in their view, its fourth and final step in the platinum group metals strategy, which started with the acquisition of the Rustenburg operations from Anglo American Platinum Ltd. in 2015.

* Sunvest Minerals Corp. signed a definitive deal with an arm's-length vendor to acquire the Parrott Lake silver property in British Columbia for 4 million shares and C$100,000 cash to be settled over a six-month period.

* Cornerstone Capital Resources Inc.'s security holders approved the previously announced spinoff of all its assets, except its interest in the Cascabel copper project in Ecuador and shares of SolGold Plc, into a new exploration company called Cornerstone Exploration Inc. The transaction remains subject to court approval as well approval by the TSX Venture Exchange.

* Gascoyne Resources Ltd. signed flat forward gold sales contracts with Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the National Bank of Australia covering 164,000 ounces of gold production from its Dalgaranga project in Western Australia, at a delivery price of A$1,712 per ounce. The banks are also providing a A$60 million loan facility for the project's development.

* A feasibility study on Alamos Gold Inc.'s Lynn Lake gold project in Manitoba defined an after-tax net present value of US$123.4 million, at a 5% discount rate, and an internal rate of return of 12.5%. Total production is pegged at 1.5 million ounces of gold and 1.3 million ounces of silver over a 10.4-year mine life.


* Indonesia's state-owned coal miner PT Bukit Asam (Persero) Tbk. intends to invest 6.5 trillion Indonesian Rupiah for capital expenditure in 2018 to expand its downstream coal business, The Jakarta Post reported, citing company president director Arviyan Arifin.

* Kommersant reported that VEB's supervisory board approved syndicated financing for the completion of the Taishet aluminum plant and a loan for the Krasnoyarsk metallurgical plant, part of En+ Group plc. VEB will invest 18.5 billion Russian rubles in Taishet and 7.7 billion rubles in the creation of the production of aluminum plates in Krasnoyarsk with the capacity of 60,000 tonnes per year.

* S&P Global Ratings assigned a BB- issue-level rating and 3 recovery rating to SunCoke Energy Inc.'s proposed US$45 million term loan A. Meanwhile, the company's issue-level rating on its existing US$100 million cash flow revolving credit facility was lowered to BB-, from BB+, and the recovery rating was revised to 3, from 1.

* Indian Captive Power Producers Association President Rahul Sharma said that the captive power producers are mulling increasing their coal imports as they are only getting half of their requirement from Coal India Ltd., reported.

* Mosaic Co. declared a quarterly cash dividend of 2.5 US cents per share. The dividend will be paid on March 15, 2018, to stockholders of record as of March 1, 2018.

* Labrador Iron Ore Royalty Corp. declared a regular cash dividend of 25 Canadian cents per share and a special dividend of 30 cents per share for the fourth quarter.

* Corsa Coal Corp. expects total metallurgical coal sales of between 2.1 million and 2.8 million short tons in 2018. Cash production cost per ton sold in 2018 is expected to be between US$70 to US$74 per ton from the Northern Appalachia division and US$58 to US$62 per ton from the CAPP division. General and administrative expenses that year are estimated at between US$14 million and US$18 million. Maintenance capital expenditures are expected at US$7 per ton sold, and the forecast average for 2018 to 2020 is expected between US$3 to US$4 per ton sold.

* Vedanta Ltd. plans to raise about 5 billion Indian rupees via the issuance of nonconvertible debentures and is holding a meeting of its committee of directors on Dec. 19.


* Triton Minerals Ltd.'s definitive feasibility study for its Ancuabe graphite project in Mozambique pegged a pretax net present value, discounted at 10%, of US$298 million, a 36.8% internal rate of return and a 3.8-year payback period. The company also estimated a maiden ore reserve of 24.9 million tonnes at 6.2% total graphitic carbon for 1.5 million tonnes of contained graphite.

* A Chinese institutional fund management group, NextView, agreed to acquire a 19.89% equity interest in Bacanora Minerals Ltd. and purchase up to 15,000 tonnes of lithium per annum from the company.

* Albemarle Corp. agreed to divest its polyolefin catalysts and components business to W. R. Grace & Co. in a US$416 million deal. As part of the transaction, Grace will assume the lease and operations at the Product Development Center in Louisiana, and operations at the South Korea site.

* Nemaska Lithium Inc. signed a definitive agreement to sell its Sirmac lithium project in Quebec to ABE Resources Inc. for C$250,000 in cash and 15 million common shares, along with an assumed pre-existing 1% net smelter royalty on certain Sirmac claims. Meanwhile, Nemaska received the mining lease for its Whabouchi lithium project in Quebec from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.


* The creation of an attractive policy, regulatory and governance environment in South Africa's mining industry could lead to substantial growth in annual investment, Mining Weekly reported, citing a recently conducted survey from the country's Chamber of Mines.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

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