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Barrick, Glencore executives still expect new license for Kabanga nickel JV

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Barrick, Glencore executives still expect new license for Kabanga nickel JV

TOP NEWS

Barrick, Glencore execs still expect new license for Kabanga nickel JV

Tanzania revoked a retention license for Barrick Gold Corp. and Glencore PLC's undeveloped Kabanga nickel joint venture in the country as part of a new mining regime, Reuters reported. The Kabanga license, which was originally set to expire in May 2019, was one of 11 the government canceled under 2018 mining regulations. However, a report from Bloomberg News cited executives from Barrick and Glencore as saying they expect a new license for Kabanga after "productive" talks with the government over the past several months. Barrick spokesman Andy Lloyd said a new license will extend the mine for four years after the current retention license expires in 2019.

K+S books higher Q1 revenue, EBITDA amid new mine's deliveries, improved prices

K+S AG's first-quarter revenues rose 4% year on year to €1.17 billion, and EBITDA increased 12% to €237 million, mainly driven by deliveries from a new potash mine and higher market prices for potassium chloride.

Glencore, Gertler working to reach settlement over DRC royalties dispute

Glencore PLC is working with Israeli businessman Dan Gertler to reach an out of court settlement associated with a royalties dispute in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bloomberg News reported, citing two sources. A hearing in a London court scheduled for May 11 was postponed as both sides work to come to an amicable solution. Gertler is seeking US$2.28 billion in damages and unpaid royalties from Glencore, which the company ceased paying after he was sanctioned by the U.S.

DIVERSIFIED

* BHP Billiton Group sold over a A$100 million exposure in Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group to an unidentified buyer, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk reported.

BASE METALS

* Strongbow Exploration Inc. is planning its London listing and expects to hit the board of the AIM in June as the company looks to raise £25 million over the next 18 months to progress the South Crofty tin project in England to a production decision.

* Cameo Resources Corp. signed a deal to acquire Labrador Cobalt Corp., which owns more than 4,000 hectares of mineral claims in Newfoundland and Labrador, as part of Cameo's plan to focus on cobalt assets.

* Analysts contacted by S&P Global Market Intelligence agreed that the heat has come out of the battery metals market somewhat but that would not stop what could well be the ASX's next commodities float, Galileo Mining Ltd., particularly with famed West Australian veteran prospector Mark Creasy involved. S&P Global Market Intelligence also confirmed the report by The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk that Independence Group NL has taken a just under 5% stake in Galileo.

* Union workers at BHP's Spence copper mine in Chile accepted to bring forward collective bargaining negotiations, according to union leader Ronald Salcedo. Negotiations will begin May 14, he said, daily La Tercera reported.

* Savannah Resources PLC received letters of no objection from all eight ministries in Oman for the company's Mahab 4 and Maqail South mining license applications, part of its Block 5 copper project. Savannah is now in discussions with the country's Public Authority of Mining to secure mining licenses.

* Northisle Copper & Gold Inc. and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. agreed to an initial work plan and budget for the former's Pemberton Hills copper project in British Columbia. Freeport will solely fund the program, which is estimated to cost C$700,000, and will complete certain payment and spending milestones to earn up to a 65% interest in the project.

* Sipa Resources Ltd. entered into a deal allowing Rio Tinto subsidiary Rio Tinto Mining & Exploration Ltd. to acquire an up to 75% interest in its Kitgum-Pader base metals project in Northern Uganda.

* Louis Dreyfus Co. BV closed the sale of its metals trading unit Louis Dreyfus Co. Metals BV to China's NCCL Natural Resources Investment Fund for US$466 million, Reuters reported. The Louis Dreyfus unit is one of the largest global traders of copper, zinc and lead concentrates.

* Dissident shareholders shook up Zenyatta Ventures Ltd.'s board of directors after voting at a special meeting of shareholders in a move that was flagged in mid-February. The shareholders and Zenyatta said four members of its board of directors were removed and replaced with other nominees.

* NuevaUnion, a US$3.5 billion Chilean joint venture between Goldcorp Inc. and Teck Resources Ltd., is set to deliver an environmental impact statement by the end of 2018 after completing feasibility studies, Reuters reported, citing a source at the mine. The copper-gold project is expected to start operations by 2022 to 2023.

* Norm Seckold's Nickel Mines is eyeing an IPO on the ASX, which could raise about A$125 million and would value the company at about A$400 million, The Australian wrote. A final decision on the proposed IPO has yet to be made.

* A trial over the legality of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's sale of a stake in PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co. is set to begin May 14 in London, Reuters reported. Rusal is seeking to block Abramovich from selling the interest to Vladimir Potanin, saying it violates a 2012 shareholder agreement.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Lonmin PLC's net loss in the first half of its fiscal 2018, ended March 31, shrunk to US$67 million, compared to a net loss of US$214 million in the year-ago half. Revenue increased to US$561 million, from US$486 million a year ago, as the U.S. dollar platinum group metals basket price increased 27% year over year. The company also revised its full-year CapEx guidance to 1.2 billion South African rand to 1.3 billion rand, from 1.4 billion rand to 1.5 billion rand. The company's platinum production in the fiscal half climbed 3.9% year over year to 143,374 ounces, and platinum group metals output increased 3.5% on a yearly basis to 274,941 ounces.

* A local judge blocked Aura Minerals Inc.'s Honduran unit, Minerales de Occidente SA de CV, from exhuming bodies from an over 200-year-old cemetery to make way for the unit's San Andres gold mine, Reuters reported. A lawyer for the citizens of the town of Azacualpa, Victor Fernandez, said a 2015 agreement between the local mayor's office and relatives of the deceased to protect the bodies was broken.

* Orvana Minerals Corp. unit OroValle Minerals SL intends to reopen the Carles gold mine in northern Spain's Principality of Asturias, Mining.com reported. The mine was put on care and maintenance in 2017.

* Victoria Gold Corp. agreed on a gold hedging program with Macquarie Bank for the Eagle Gold project, part of the Dublin Gulch property in Canada's Yukon Territory.

* Arrow Minerals Ltd. executed definitive agreements allowing Pacton Gold Inc. to earn up to an 80% joint venture interest in the Pilbara gold project in Western Australia.

* Efforts to replace gold ore reserves through mergers and acquisitions gained traction in 2017 as companies purchased more primary gold assets than the year before, according to a Metals and Mining Research report. With the major producers heavily represented among both the buyers and the sellers of mines and projects, the upswing is mainly a continuation of the portfolio rationalization of the previous four years of industry retrenchment. However, with the majors facing dwindling gold reserves, the increase in purchases by producers may also herald a return to reserves replacement through acquisitions, although likely not to historical levels of investment as spending restraint appears to have become embedded in corporate strategy.

* South African trade union Solidarity, which represents 2% of the unionized workforce in the country, is demanding a wage hike of 10% annually for the gold sector over the next three years, Reuters reported, citing a document submitted to the Chamber of Mines.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Israel Chemicals Ltd. launched a cash tender offer for the US$800 million aggregate principal amount of its 4.5% senior notes due 2024, along with an offering of new long-dated 20- to 30-year unsecured senior notes. The scope and terms of the unsecured notes have yet to be determined.

* Sources told The New Indian Express that operations at the Hingula coal mine in Odisha, India, have been shut for the last five days due to protests by villagers from Gopal Prasad and Malibandh, who are demanding employment and other benefits for the land they ceded.

* The London Metal Exchange said it did not have any plans to lift a suspension on metal made by United Co. Rusal PLC, despite a recent decision by the U.S. to extend a deadline for companies to wind down contracts with the Russian company, the Financial Times reported. Under the restriction, any metal produced or sold by Rusal after the U.S. sanctions, which were imposed against Russian entities and individuals for profiting from the country's "malign activity" around the globe, cannot be warranted or be placed in the LME's warehouses.

* Meanwhile, the Russian government is considering supporting Rusal and GAZ as the companies continue to grapple with U.S. sanctions, though buying stakes in the Oleg Deripaska-held companies will not be an option, Reuters reported, citing Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. Siluanov said credit support for the companies is "being worked out" but did not disclose how much support might be available.

* Rescuers recovered two more workers from Jastrzebska Spólka Weglowa SA's Borynia-Zofiowka-Jastrzebie coal mine in Poland, bringing the total number of fatalities to four, Reuters reported. Seven miners were trapped nearly a kilometer underground after an earthquake May 5. Two workers were rescued, and one remains missing.

* Banpu PCL swung to a net loss of US$40 million in the first quarter, from a year-ago net profit of US$40.9 million. The Thai company's profit was affected by a court-ordered one-off payment of US$86 million in connection with the Hongsa coal-fired power plant in Laos and by a foreign exchange loss of US$33 million due to strong appreciation of the Thai baht against the U.S. dollar.

* Votorantim SA swung to a net income of 150 million Brazilian reais from a year-ago net loss of 546 million reais, partially due to higher metal prices, Reuters reported.

* TMK IPSCO, a U.S.-based unit of Russian pipemaker TMK, is seeking exemption from the U.S. tariffs for some of its products, Reuters reported. The unit is one of the largest domestic producers and suppliers of seamless and welded steel pipe for the oil and gas industry and sources some of the materials from its Russian affiliates.

SPECIALTY

* Operations at the Koidu diamond mine in Sierra Leone, which is controlled by Beny Steinmetz' family trust, resumed after being halted for almost a year, Bloomberg News reported. According to the report, the mine can now produce about 400,000 carats per year, which would be further raised to 650,000 carats.

* Albemarle Corp. said more battery manufacturers are pushing for 10-year lithium supply contracts to secure stocks, with President John Mitchell noting that almost 100% of the company's 2018 sales are under long-term contracts, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Arafura Resources Ltd. received environmental approval from the Australian government for its Nolans neodymium-praseodymium project in Northern Territory, Australia.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd.'s purchase of Rio Tinto's Coal & Allied Industries Ltd. unit in a US$2.69 billion deal in 2017 failed to inspire other Chinese coal majors to follow suit with similar acquisitions outside the country. In China, any enthusiasm for M&A in coal assets abroad is being overshadowed by the August 2017 launch of a government campaign to consolidate the domestic coal industry, which is aiming to create several large mining companies by the end of 2020. Yanzhou Coal has already ruled out ruled out further M&A this year, saying it will instead focus on its domestic operations.

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