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Vale starts environmental recovery around Feijao; Resolute mulls Ravenswood sale


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Vale starts environmental recovery around Feijao; Resolute mulls Ravenswood sale


Vale launches pilot project for environmental recovery at Feijao dam breach area

Brazilian miner Vale SA launched a pilot project called Zero Milestone aimed at environmental recovery of an area affected by the Feijao iron ore mine's tailings dam breach in Brumadinho, Brazil. The project aims to reestablish the original conditions of the Ferro-Carvão stream, re-vegetate the riparian forest with native plants and recover the Paraopeba river. The investments in the program are part of the funds for emergency containment works in Brumadinho, which should amount to 1.8 billion Brazilian reais by 2023.

Resolute in advanced talks for up to A$300M sale of Australian gold mine

Australia's Resolute Mining Ltd. has entered into exclusive negotiations with private equity firm EMR Capital Management Ltd. to sell the Ravenswood gold mine in Queensland, Australia, for up to A$300 million. Resolute confirmed an article by The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk, which said that the company was close to selling the property. Resolute said the price comprises A$100 million of initial upfront value and up to A$200 million in additional deferred consideration, which would be contingent on future gold prices, future production thresholds and the investment outcomes from Ravenswood for EMR Capital.

Rhodium prices soar to highest since 2008

Rhodium's prices surged 31% this month to US$7,925 per ounce, reaching its highest since 2008, Bloomberg reported Jan. 13, citing price data from Johnson Matthey PLC. Rhodium, mainly used in autocatalysts, rallied 12-fold in the past four years and outperformed all major commodities, as demand from the auto sector rose due to stricter emission rules.


* BHP Group Director Lindsay Maxsted will not stand for re-election at the company's 2020 annual general meeting. Maxsted recently decided to bring forward his retirement as chairman of Westpac Banking Corp. to the first half of 2020 after the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre sued the bank alleging that it violated anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing laws on more than 23 million occasions.

* Private equity firm Appian Capital Advisory LLP is reviewing up to 12 base and precious metals projects in Brazil for acquisition and is looking to invest US$600 million to US$700 million, Valor International reported citing its Brazil CEO Paulo Castellari. The projects are prospective for gold, silver, nickel copper, zinc, phosphate and potash.


* Copper major Freeport-McMoRan Inc. CEO Richard Adkerson said the company has no plans of pursuing any major strategic deals during the next three years, The Wall Street Journal reported, thwarting any potential approaches after Barrick Gold Corp. CEO Mark Bristow said it made sense to start an "intellectual conversation" about a potential merger with Freeport. Adkerson said the company will focus on converting its Grasberg copper-gold project in Indonesia into an underground operation from open pit, after which point Freeport-McMoRan would be in a position to look at a number of alternatives that could be attractive to shareholders.

* Rambler Metals & Mining PLC unit Rambler Metals and Mining Canada Ltd. secured a US$2.0 million financing facility from its off-take partner Transamine Trading SA. The company will use the facility for working capital.

* Peru's environmental regulator authorized Glencore PLC's Antapaccay copper-gold mine in Peru to modify the environmental impact study of the US$590 million Tintaya Integración - Coroccohuayco expansion project, which was submitted in April 2018. The approval includes the reactivation of some components in the Tintaya mine and modifications in the Antapaccay project, daily Gestión reported.

* Indonesia approved environmental impact studies for at least five factories to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals in Morowali, Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp. said, citing coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan. Spending on new nickel processing plants in Indonesia is expected to total US$20 billion by 2024, the company noted.

* Copper prices might jump this year as capital spending for new production decreases amid easing U.S.-China trade tensions, Bloomberg reported. The newswire noted that inventories at warehouses tracked by three international exchanges plunged 37% since July to just shy of 300,000 tons, equivalent to only 1.2% of global consumption.

* New World Resources Ltd. secured the right to acquire the historical, high-grade Antler copper deposit in Arizona. The company plans to start its maiden drilling at Antler this quarter, to be followed immediately with initial mine designs and economic studies.

* Indian miner Vedanta Ltd. suspended production at the Deeps Shaft, part of its Black Mountain lead-zinc operation in South Africa, following the death of a mining operator in a fall-of-ground incident, Mining Weekly reported.

* London-listed NQ Minerals PLC achieved record production of 8,160 tonnes of lead concentrate and 4,904 tonnes of zinc concentrate at its Hellyer mine in Tasmania, Australia, in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to 6,656 tonnes of lead concentrate and 3,310 tonnes of zinc concentrate produced in the third quarter.

* Toronto-based explorer Adventus Mining Corp. granted Australia's South32 Ltd. an option to acquire 70% of the Rathkeale, Kingscourt and Fermoy exploration projects in Ireland.

* PolyMet Mining Corp. is exploring all options for the NorthMet copper project, which includes filing a petition for review to the Minnesota Supreme Court regarding the Minnesota Court of Appeals' decision to remand the company's permit to mine and dam safety permits back to the Department of Natural Resources for a contested case hearing.


* Serabi Gold PLC produced a record 40,101 ounces of gold in 2019, up from 37,108 ounces in the prior year, on the back of higher mining and plant throughput rates and grades. The company expects 2020 output of 45,000 to 46,000 ounces.

* Anglo Asian Mining PLC produced 82,795 gold equivalent ounces in 2019 at budgeted metal prices, compared to 83,736 gold equivalent ounces produced a year ago, as an increase in copper output was offset by lower gold and silver production.

* Hummingbird Resources PLC produced 115,649 ounces of gold in 2019, achieving the full-year guidance of 110,000 to 125,000 ounces. Output in 2018 totaled 91,620 ounces.

* The government of the Republic of Senegal approved IAMGOLD Corp.'s mining permit application for the Boto gold project for an initial period of 20 years.

* Black Tusk Resources Inc. entered into an agreement to acquire Chalice Gold Exploration Corp., owner of the South Rim project in British Columbia. Black Tusk will issue 10.0 million common shares to shareholders of Chalice, and the property is subject to a 2% net smelter royalty.

* Petratherm Ltd. was granted the Comet gold project tenement, or EL6443, in South Australia, allowing exploration activities to proceed.


* Dutch insurer Aegon NV will no longer invest in companies that own more than 10 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity generation capacity and plan to expand their capacity, or produce more than 20 million tonnes of thermal coal annually. Aegon said it already dropped companies that derive more than 30% of their revenues from the exploration, mining and refining of thermal coal. The firm has added 104 thermal coal companies to its exclusion list, including Whitehaven Coal Ltd., New Hope Corp. Ltd., Exxaro Resources Ltd., China Shenhua Energy Co. Ltd. and Peabody Energy Corp.

* China intends to make a breakthrough in the implementation process for its nationwide carbon emissions trading scheme in 2020, Reuters reported, citing Li Gao, head of the climate office at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The scheme will initially cover only the coal-fired power industry, which producer about 3 billion tonnes of China's total 12.3 billion tonnes of carbon emissions.

* Novelis Inc. subsidiary Novelis Corp. priced an offering of US$1.6 billion of 4.750% senior notes due 2030. Proceeds from the notes are earmarked for the refinancing of the company's 6.25% senior notes due 2024, and pay a portion of the consideration for the expected acquisition of Aleris Corp. Novelis Inc. is a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries Ltd.

* Fluor Corp. erected the first 1,500 tons of modules in the ore handling plant at BHP Group's US$3.6 billion South Flank iron ore project in Western Australia. Fluor noted that the construction milestone is in the critical sequence to first ore.

* Top Chinese potash producer Qinghai Salt Lake Potash Co. Ltd. expects a full-year 2019 net loss of 43.2 billion Chinese yuan to 47.2 billion yuan, from 3.45 billion yuan in 2018, Reuters reported, citing an exchange filing. The decline was blamed on the company's bankruptcy reorganization process. This would be Qinghai's third straight annual net loss, which may prompt the Shenzhen Stock Exchange to delist the company.

* Ridley Terminals Inc. in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, exported 772,986 tonnes of thermal and metallurgical coal in December 2019, up 184% from the previous month, Prince Rupert Port Authority data showed. The month-over-month jump was the highest since a 213% increase in March of the same year. In 2019, coal exports through the terminal totaled 8.6 million tonnes, up 10.7% from 2018 exports, and the most annual exports since 2013.


* Savannah Resources PLC unit Mutamba Mineral Sands SA was granted a mining license in Mozambique, completing the grant of the three core, contiguous concessions of the Mutamba heavy mineral sands project, held under a joint venture with Rio Tinto. The license covers 11,807 hectares and is valid to September 2044, with a potential 25-year extension.

* China exported 3,657 tonnes of rare earths in December 2019, up 39% from November, as purchases increased ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday starting Jan. 24, Reuters reported. Rare earth shipments in the full year, however, were at the lowest since 2015 at 46,330 tonnes in 2019 due to weak demand from global manufacturing.

* Russian diamond miner PJSC Alrosa's sales of rough stones grew for a fifth consecutive month in December 2019, to a nine-month high of US$352.1 million, after falling to just US$164.6 million in July 2019. The 25% swell in rough diamond sales from November 2019's US$282.1 million brought total takings for 2019 to US$3.27 billion, down 26% from US$4.41 billion in 2018.

* Australia's Takeovers Panel ordered a stay on the suspension of Energy Resources of Australia Ltd.'s A$476 million renounceable entitlement offer while it reviews Rio Tinto's appeal on the matter. The panel earlier flagged that the offering may hurt minority shareholders and result in a possible takeover by Rio Tinto.

* Athabasca Minerals Inc. will not exercise its buyout options for the remaining 50.8% and 50.4% stakes in the Montney and the Duvernay in-basin sand projects in Canada, respectively, due to current market conditions and "competitive pricing considerations."


* Global M&A activity is expected to continue at a slow pace in 2020, dragged down by a potential decline in deals in North America, where companies are in "wait-and-see mode" amid lingering trade, economic and political uncertainties, Willis Towers Watson PLC said. The U.S. will drive the M&A slowdown, with companies reluctant to take on big deals as they prepare for a possible recession, according to the advisory and broking firm.

* South Africa's mining industry body called on the government to ease the power crisis by bringing in new private-sector power sources, following power cuts by state-owned utility Eskom, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the Minerals Council South Africa.

* The constitutional court of Ecuador ruled that communities have the right to conduct public referendums on whether a mining project should be allowed or not, reported.

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