Moody's downgrades Tianqi Lithium, outlook remains negative
Moody's downgraded Tianqi Lithium Corp.'s corporate family rating and senior unsecured rating on its guaranteed bonds to B1 from Ba3, with the outlook remaining negative. The rating agency said the move reflected fewer-than-expected proceeds from its rights issue, which was previously estimated to raise 7 billion yuan, and Moody's expects this to lead to slower deleveraging and tighter liquidity. "The negative ratings outlook continues to reflect the uncertainty related to Tianqi Lithium's refinancing plans, weak liquidity position and weak operations," Gerwin Ho, Moody's vice president and senor credit officer, was quoted as saying in the release.
Anglo granted operating license for Minas Rio tailings facility in Brazil
Anglo American PLC received the next phase of its operating license for the tailings facility at its Minas Rio iron ore operation in Brazil. Bulk Commodities CEO Seamus French said Minas Rio is expected to produce 23 million tonnes in 2019, with a free on board unit cost of about US$24 per tonne.
AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and IAMGOLD Corp. agreed to sell their stakes in a Malian joint venture which holds the Sadiola Hill mine for a total of US$105 million in stages to Allied Gold Corp. The companies own a 41% stake each in the mine, with the government of Mali owning the remaining 18%. Conditions for the deal to close include Malian government approval and are expected to be met by the end of April 2020. Prior to closing, AngloGold and IAMGOLD will receive a cash dividend of US$6.15 million each from the mine's holding company, while the government will receive US$2.7 million.
* Andrew Mackenzie will retire from BHP Group on March 31, 2020, three months earlier than the previously announced June 30, 2020, as the CEO transition is said to be "proceeding well and ahead of schedule." Mike Henry will still assume the role of CEO beginning Jan. 1, 2020, after Mackenzie steps down on Dec. 31.
* Panoramic Resources Ltd.'s shares climbed over 5% in afternoon trading on the ASX as independent experts appointed by the company determined that the takeover offer from Independence Group NL was fair and reasonable in the absence of a superior proposal. The company recommended shareholders take no action until the board completes its review and comes up with a response, expected in January 2020. Previously, the target's board unanimously recommended its shareholders to reject the off-market offer. Panoramic said shareholders should take no action until the board completes its review.
* Three workers were reported missing at Doe Run Peru Srl's Cobriza copper project in Huancavelica, Peru, presumably as a result of a tailings spill inside the mine. Peruvian energy and mining regulator Osinergmin is investigating the incident, daily Gestión reported.
* New Century Resources Ltd. executed a binding term sheet to expand its existing working capital facilities with Värde Partners to a total of A$100 million, from A$60 million.
* A bill requiring a federal report to include the effects of sulfide-ore copper mining on international waters was signed into law in the U.S., under the 2020 federal package, Duluth News Tribune reported.
* Aeris Resources Ltd. said that construction of about 20 kilometers of water pipeline from the Nyngan-Cobar pipeline to the company's Tritton copper operations in New South Wales is 50% complete. The pipeline is on target to become operational in mid-to-late January 2020.
* Troy Resources Ltd.'s ASX stock fell over 12% by Dec. 23 trading close upon emerging from a lengthy voluntary suspension to announce the restart of operations at its Karouni gold mine in Guyana where authorities ordered a halt in October after a worker died, and securing about A$15 million in funding.
* Ramelius Resources Ltd. estimated a 226% increase in resource at its Eridanus deposit, within the Mount Magnet gold project in Western Australia, to 12 million tonnes grading 1.3 g/t gold containing 490,000 ounces of gold.
* China's Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. has used the advantage of cash purchases to help expand its global footprint, including a recent offer to buy what it said could be the largest independent gold mine in Colombia when it starts operating in 2020.
* First Au Ltd. decided to withdraw from the Emu Creek joint venture with Atlas Iron Pty Ltd., and will now prioritize funding and resources towards the Gimlet gold project in Western Australia.
* Several Muslim nations, namely Iran, Malaysia, Turkey and Qatar, are mulling trading among themselves using gold through a barter system, as protection against any economic sanctions in the future, Channel News Asia reported, quoting Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at an Islamic summit.
* Tribune Resources Ltd. started proceedings in the Supreme Court of Western Australia against EKJV Management Pty. Ltd., Northern Star Resources Ltd., and Gilt-Edged Mining Pty. Ltd. in relation to the East Kundana gold joint venture agreement, in which the company holds a 49% stake.
* Resolute Mining Ltd. said that the Stage 1 of the Ravenwood Expansion project at the Ravenswood gold mine in Queensland, Australia, has been completed. Stage 1 covers the recommissioning of the third grinding mill at the Nolans processing plant, which allows a return to a processing rate of 5 million tonnes per annum.
* Macarthur Minerals Ltd. agreed to pay A$250,000 in cash and A$250,000 in shares to access a small portion of Arrow Minerals Ltd.'s Strickland gold project in Western Australia, necessary for infrastructure of Macarthur's Moonshine magnetite project.
* Indonesian coal miner PT Bukit Asam Tbk expects to produce 30 million tonnes in 2020, compared to an estimated 28.5 Mt produced in 2019, Adib Ubaidillah, Bukit Asam's director of commerce said, according to Reuters. About 30% of output is slated for overseas shipments in 2020, primarily to India, while 60% of the planned output would be bought by Indonesian state power utility PLN. It canceled plans for a coal gassification project in Riau on Sumatra island and will instead focus on plants near its mine in South Sumatra, CEO Arviyan Arifin was quoted as saying by the newswire.
* Vale SA increased its shareholding in unit Minerações Brasileiras Reunidas SA to 98.3% by buying back 3.31 billion Brazilian reais worth of shares from Banco Bradesco BBI SA. The unit produced about 59 million tonnes of iron ore in 2018.
* Separately, ArcelorMittal agreed to sell a 50% stake in its wholly owned shipping business, Global Chartering Ltd., to DryLog Ltd. and form a 50/50 shipping joint venture. The transaction is expected to close before the end of 2019. The stake sale and joint venture will impact ArcelorMittal's net debt by US$530 million.
* African Energy Resources Ltd. entered a power sales term sheet with Sinosteel Corp. unit Zimasco (Pvt) Ltd. for the purchase of 150 MW of power for 15 years. Meanwhile, an agreement for purchase of 100 MW of power for First Quantum Minerals Ltd.'s Zambian copper operations for 15 years is in the final stages of approval.
* Danakali Ltd.'s 50%-owned Colluli Mining Share Co. executed definitive documentation for a US$200 million senior debt facility to fund development and construction of the Colluli potash project in Eritrea.
* Arafura Resources Ltd. agreed to send the heavy rare earth concentrate from its Nolans Bore neodymium-praseodymium project in Northern Territory, Australia, for processing to USA Rare Earth LLC's Colorado pilot plant. The companies will execute a definitive agreement in the first quarter next year.
* Regency Mines PLC executed a memorandum of understanding with ion Ventures Ltd. to identify and prioritize the former's most commercially attractive projects, secure funding and then move to first cash flow. Regency said it expects ion Ventures to become a long-term strategic partner and support the development of its energy storage business in the U.K.
* Gibb River Diamonds Ltd. acquired leases over the Ellendale diamond mine and project area in Western Australia.
* Speciality Metals International Ltd., through its joint venture with CRONIMET Australia Pty. Ltd., successfully completed the cold commissioning at the Mount Carbine plant in Queensland, Australia. The company started has started hot commissioning and concentrate production.
* Lithium Australia NL's subsidiary Envirostream Australia Pty. Ltd. made the first shipment of mixed metal dust containing cobalt, nickel, lithium and graphite, from its upgraded battery recycling plant in Campbellfield, Victoria.
* U.S. President Donald Trump will no longer impose tariffs on steel from Brazil, a reversal from his previous pronouncement of reinstating tariffs on steel products coming from Brazil and Argentina, Reuters reported. "I had a phone conversation a few moments ago with Donald Trump... He was convinced by my arguments and decided to tell all Brazilians that our steel and aluminum will not be hit by additional tariffs," Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said in a Facebook video session.
* Approval of an amendment to a law in Argentina that prohibits the use of mercury in mining operations but allows the use of cyanide and sulfuric acid prompted several protests in the country's central province of Mendoza, Mining.com reported. Environmental NGOs and citizens embarked on protests as the amended law still allows using cyanide and sulfuric acid in mining operations.
* Mining companies have been trying to come up with a new method to store waste after the deadly spills in Brazil. However, the techniques being investigated, including high-powered magnets to sort ore without water, adding material to thicken waste, or storing waste in dry mounds, have not proven to be successful at large scales, The Wall Street Journal reported.
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