Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.'s net profit in the fourth quarter of 2016 plummeted on a yearly basis as lower product prices weighed on profit margins. Net income fell to US$59 million from US$201 million in the period, while revenue dipped to US$1.06 billion from US$1.35 billion. For full-year 2016, PotashCorp's net income totaled US$336 million, or 40 cents per share, falling from US$1.27 billion, or US$1.52 per share, booked for 2015.
The trustee for Tata Steel UK Ltd.'s pension scheme warned members that the scheme's deficit is set to grow to between £1 billion and £2 billion and could drive the steelmaker into insolvency, Reuters wrote. Meanwhile, ThyssenKrupp AG CEO Heinrich Hiesinger said Tata Steel must find a way to first address the pension deficit at its British and Dutch operations before any merger of its steel operations with the German steelmaker.
MMK slightly boosts crude steel, steel products output for FY'16
OJSC Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works' crude steel output for full year 2016 rose 2.5% year over year to 12.5 million tonnes, while finished steel products shipments improved 3.4% to 11.6 million tonnes. Belon coal concentrate and iron ore output increased 1.7% and 1.4%, respectively, to 2.9 million tonnes and 3.3 million tonnes, on a yearly basis.
* BHP Billiton Group launched an auction-style online platform that shippers can use to offer the best price to haul cargoes of iron ore, copper and other commodities to the mining giant's customers, Reuters reported. The mining major allocated its first cargo using the platform this week and plans to gradually ramp up the platform.
* Doray Minerals Ltd. expects to produce 100,000 to 110,000 ounces of gold and 4,200 to 4,600 tonnes of copper this year from the Deflector and Andy Well operations in Western Australia.
* Antofagasta Plc said there would not be a significant effect on the price of copper if workers at BHP Billiton's Escondida copper mine in Chile go on strike, daily Diario Financiero reported, citing CEO Ivan Arriagada.
* Following shareholder approval, Orsu Metals Corp. is proceeding with the sale of its 94.75% interest in GRK MLD LLP, which owns the company's Karchiga copper-gold-zinc project in Kazakhstan, to Karasat Trading FZE for a total of US$7.8 million.
* First Quantum Minerals Ltd. produced 146,101 tonnes of copper in the fourth quarter of 2016, bringing its full-year total to 539,458 tonnes, increasing from the 2015 fourth-quarter output of 115,885 tonnes and full-year production of 411,025 tonnes.
* Freeport-McMoRan Inc. said its PT Freeport Indonesia unit will challenge the court decision that imposed US$469 million in surface water taxes and penalties on the company, Reuters reported.
* Separately, Freeport-McMoRan said it paid US$33 million to resolve claims brought against it by Democratic Republic of Congo state miner Gecamines SARL over the sale of its majority stake in the Tenke Fungurume copper mine to China Molybdenum Co. Ltd.
* Operations at Codelco's Andina District copper mine in Chile were suspended after a worker died in an accident, Reuters reported. Despite a stoppage in mining operations, "critical production processes are still operating," the company noted, adding that a probe into the incident is underway.
* Peru plans to award the rights to develop the Michiquillay copper deposit in a public tender in 2017, one of 16 public-private projects worth US$4 billion that the country intends to tender this year, Reuters wrote, citing Alvaro Quijandria, the head of the state bidding agency, Proinversion.
* A preliminary economic assessment at IAMGOLD Corp.'s Cote gold project in northern Ontario pegged a posttax net present value, discounted at 6%, of US$543 million and a 12.9% posttax internal rate of return. The project would have a 21-year mine life, producing on average of 302,000 ounces of gold per annum.
* Perseus Mining Ltd. forecast production of 166,000 to 186,000 ounces of gold in full fiscal 2017. Production in the first half of fiscal 2017 totaled 75,999 ounces. Full-year production costs are expected to be between US$1,050 and US$1,170 per ounce, and all-in site costs are expected to be between US$1,240 and US$1,390 per ounce.
* Para Resources Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding with Mining and Solutions Construction Group SA, or MISCON, under which Para agreed to acquire up to a 75% interest in the latter's Finaris gold-silver mine and concessions as well as the Las Lomas de Casma processing plant in Peru.
* GTI Resources Ltd. optioned the Windarra tailings dams and three gold mining exploration leases from Poseidon Nickel Ltd. in Western Australia. The company plans to build a gold tailings treatment plant to recover gold and other minerals located in the three dams.
* Keras Resources Plc is finalizing plans for a potential listing on the ASX, which will support the company's current listing on the LSE.
* PJSC Polyus said 51%-owned SL Gold LLC, a joint venture between the gold miner and state-run Rostec, won the Russian government auction for the rights to develop the greenfield Sukhoi Log gold deposit in the country. The joint venture submitted a bid of 9.4 billion rubles, which includes the initial 8.5 billion-ruble payment made in December 2016.
* Sibanye Gold Ltd. may let go of about 330 workers, as it looks to achieve cost cuts of 800 million rand at its Kroondal and Rustenburg platinum operations in South Africa. The company has started a consultation process at the operations for the proposed restructuring, with a final decision to be made after talks with unions and relevant employees.
* Avesoro Resources Inc. expects to produce between 90,000 and 100,000 ounces of gold in 2017 at all-in sustaining cost of US$925 to US$975 per ounce of gold produced from its New Liberty mine, part of its Bea Mountain property in Liberia.
* Highland Gold Mining Ltd. produced 261,159 ounces of gold and gold equivalents in 2016, hitting the upper end of its guidance of 255,000 to 265,000 ounces. The company expects production of gold and gold equivalents in 2017 to remain steady year over year, with a guidance range of 255,000 to 265,000 ounces.
* Refuting earlier reports that AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and unions have reached a deal to hold off on proposed layoffs, trade union Solidarity said it would "do everything in its power" to ensure that as few jobs as possible are affected by the company's restructuring plans, adding that negotiations in this regard are ongoing, Mining Weekly reported.
* Rescue operations are underway to recover at least 13 workers trapped underground after a Chinese-owned gold mine collapsed in Tanzania's northeast region, The Associated Press reported, citing a police official.
* The Court of Appeal for British Columbia said a lawsuit against Tahoe Resources Inc., which was filed by seven Guatemalan men alleging they were shot by the miner's private security guards during a 2013 protest outside the Escobal silver mine, can proceed in the Canadian province, Reuters reported. The court reversed a 2015 Supreme Court ruling, saying the company has not established that Guatemala was a more appropriate forum for the case.
* Eskay Mining Corp. signed a letter of intent to option up to a 60% undivided interest in part of the early stage SIB gold property in British Columbia to an unnamed "senior" mining company.
* Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. director of development and Cokal Ltd. co-founder and nonexecutive chairman Peter Lynch died in a plane crash. Lynch managed the development of Fortescue's core iron ore assets in Australia's Pilbara region and was a driving force in the formation of Cokal and the development of its projects in Indonesia.
* Given recent layoff announcements, the government of Argentina's Río Negro province warned the board of Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd.'s unit MCC Minera Sierra Grande that it could terminate its mining concession if the company does not continue operating the Sierra Grande iron ore mine.
* Brockman Mining Ltd. secured port access for Project Maverick for the initial mining operation at its Marillana iron ore deposit in Western Australia. The product is to be trucked on the road train to Utah Point at Port Hedland for further loading onto ocean-going vessels.
* Vedomosti reported that the book for United Co. RUSAL Plc's debut five-year eurobonds worth US$600 million with a yield of 5.125% per annum was oversubscribed twice, said Denis Shulakov, the first vice president of Gazprombank, one of the organizers of the placement. There was unprecedented investor demand from Asia, Shulakov said.
* As part of broader reform efforts, the Brazilian government plans to introduce a bill to set a flexible royalty rate for iron ore ranging from 2% to 4% depending on international prices for the commodity, Reuters reported, citing Mines and Energy Minister Fernando Coelho Filho's interview with a local broadcaster. The current iron ore royalty rate is 2%.
* Vietnam plans to penalize four environmental officials over an environmental disaster caused by Formosa Plastics unit Formosa Ha Tinh Steel when its US$11 billion steel plant polluted more than 200 kilometers of coastline in April 2016, Reuters reported. The officials will be transferred to other departments and face administrative action, warnings or rebukes.
* Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. sold 49,420 carats of diamonds at about US$127 per carat for US$6.3 million in proceeds, in its first diamond sale.
* According to a report by GlobalData, global uranium output is forecast to increase at a compound yearly growth rate of 4.3% to 76,493 tonnes in 2020, Mining Weekly reported. The output increase would be driven by the need to meet upcoming demand from new reactors.
* Violent demonstrations by workers in the mining sector during collective agreement negotiations have escalated to the point that mining companies are boosting legal actions against unions, daily Diario Financiero reported.
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