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Grasberg copper exports to drop; India eyes JV with South Korean steel firms


Indonesia expects copper exports from Grasberg to fall in 2019

Copper concentrate exports from Freeport-McMoRan Inc.'s 48.8%-controlled Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia are expected to fall to 200,000 tonnes this year from about 1.2 million tonnes in 2018, Reuters wrote, citing Yunus Saefulhak, the director of minerals at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry. Output from the mine is forecast to decline due to a change from open pit to underground mining, according to the official.

Report: India eyeing JV with South Korea's POSCO, Hyundai Steel

India is eyeing POSCO and Hyundai Steel Co. as potential joint venture partners of state-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd., or SAIL, and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd., Bloomberg News reported, citing sources. The Indian government is looking to boost local production of high-grade steel, which the country heavily imports despite local availability of high-grade iron ore.

Chilean miner Collahuasi, Teck in talks about resource sharing

Chilean miner Compañía Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi SCM is in discussions with Teck Resources Ltd. about resource sharing, Reuters reported, citing Executive President Jorge Gomez. The talks are part of Collahuasi's efforts to seek "synergies" with companies operating near its Collahuasi copper mine. These cover sharing pipe and power lines and maritime facilities, as well as possibly sharing desalinated water.


* BHP Group Ltd. will consider increasing investment in its U.S. petroleum business after joint venture partner BP PLC approved a US$1.3 billion expansion project at the Atlantis field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, The Australian reported. BHP is expected to make its final investment decision in early this year.

* K2 Gold Corp. secured an option to acquire the silver-lead-zinc-prospective GDR property located north of the British Columbia-Yukon Territory border in Canada.


* Larco SA, Europe's largest nickel producer, will reduce its production by 20% as part of an agreement with the Greek government to settle its debt, Fastmarkets reported. Larco will pay €4 million per month to Greek state-controlled electricity provider Public Power Corp. SA for electricity consumption.

* Surge Exploration Inc.'s board approved a proposed spinoff of the company's interests in the Hedge Hog and Mineral Mountain copper-gold exploration projects in British Columbia into a newly incorporated subsidiary named CuGold Corp.

* Sierra Metals Inc. reported that refurbishing of the Piedras Verdes mill at the Bolivar copper-silver-gold mine in Mexico's Chihuahua state was completed early. The work to increase mine production and mill throughput from 3,000 tonnes per day to 5,000 tonnes per day by mid-2020 remains on track.

* Terramin Australia Ltd. agreed to acquire Private Mine No. 53 in South Australia, which covers the historical Kitticoola copper-gold mine, from Kitticooler Holdings Pty. Ltd.

* Central Asia Metals PLC expects its full-year production at 12,500 to 13,500 tonnes of copper, 22,000 to 24,000 tonnes of zinc in concentrate, and 28,000 to 30,000 tonnes of lead.

* Chile's overall copper output through November 2018 reached 5.33 million tonnes, reflecting a 6% yearly increase, Reuters reported, citing Cochilco. The Escondida copper mine produced 1.15 million tonnes in the 11-month period, up 40.7%, while output from Chilean state-run miner Codelco's deposits slipped 2.4% to 1.62 million tonnes.


* Cia. de Minas Buenaventura SAA budgeted an estimated US$130.7 million for exploration in 2018, down slightly from the US$135 million allocated in 2017. Dedicated entirely to Peru, it was by far the country's largest exploration budget. About 61% of the 2018 budget was devoted to gold, followed by 31% for silver, and small amounts for copper and zinc.

* Pretium Resources Inc. produced 96,342 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to 92,641 ounces in the third quarter. The company produced 376,012 ounces of gold in 2018, achieving 97% of its full-year guidance of 387,000 ounces.

* Royal Gold Inc.'s gold sales dropped 15.4% to about 44,000 ounces in its second fiscal quarter from about 52,000 ounces a year ago. The decline came on the back of operational issues at the Mount Milligan mine in British Columbia and a change in payment scheduling at the Pueblo Viejo operation in the Dominican Republic.

* Maya Gold & Silver Inc. achieved commercial production Jan. 1 at its Zgounder silver mine in Morocco.

* Beadell Resources Ltd. missed 2018's reduced gold production guidance of 125,000 to 135,000 ounces by 1.3%. The company produced 123,336 ounces in 2018, compared to 127,764 ounces in 2017.

* Centamin PLC's fourth-quarter 2018 gold production dropped 11% year over year to 137,600 ounces from its Sukari gold mine in Egypt. Full-year 2018 production slipped 13% year over year to 472,418 ounces, missing the 480,000-ounce guidance.

* The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union President Joseph Mathunjwa said the group plans to continue its labor action at Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s gold operations in South Africa, and could extend the strike to the company's platinum mines in the country until the miner accepts its demand for a 1,000 South African rand increment for the next three-year period, Mining Weekly reported.

* Titan Minerals Ltd. received environmental approval for its Vista gold plant and mill in Peru. The company will be allowed to start commercial production once it secures an operator's permit, which it expects to receive shortly.

* Vista Gold Corp. plans to complete fine grinding and leaching tests for the Mount Todd gold project in Australia's Northern Territory in the first quarter, and follow these results with an updated preliminary feasibility study in the second quarter.

* Cora Gold Ltd. appointed Wardell Armstrong International for preliminary metallurgical test work at its Sanankoro gold discovery in southern Mali to assess the amenability for cyanide leach extraction of gold from oxide mineralization. Results are expected in the second quarter.


* The board of Tata Steel BSL Ltd., previously known as Bhushan Steel Ltd., approved a proposal to raise up to 240 billion Indian rupees through a private placement of preference shares to Tata Steel Ltd.

* Yara International ASA intends to focus on its improvement program amid uncertainty over prices for its products and input factors, Reuters reported, citing CEO Svein Tore Holsether. "We are going into a year with less capacity growth after a rapid expansion period. Demand increased during last summer and autumn but the market is characterized by a lot of volatility," Holsether said.

* European Union members next week are expected to approve a plan to limit steel imports into the bloc, in a move against President Donald Trump's imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Reuters reported.

* CIMIC Group Ltd.'s Sedgman Pty. Ltd. secured a A$155 million engineering, procurement and construction contract at QCoal Pty. Ltd.'s Byerwen coal mine in Queensland, Australia. Early work has started, and the project will conclude in early 2020.

* Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. are asking to postpone the lifting of sanctions on United Co. Rusal PLC, En+ Group PLC and JSC EuroSibEnergo to allow time for further scrutiny. The chairs of seven U.S. House committees asked for a 30-day period to counter the recommendation from the U.S. Treasury Department to lift the sanctions placed in April 2018. United Co. Rusal shares and En+ Group global depositary receipts fell sharply as trading opened in Moscow on Jan. 9.

* Japan's Foreign Ministry summoned South Korea's ambassador for discussions, after a South Korean court granted a request to seize the Korean assets of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. in a dispute over Japan's wartime forced labor, Reuters reported.

* Alderon Iron Ore Corp. may partner with Schneider Electric Canada Inc., a unit of Schneider Electric SE, to source equipment and project financing for the Kami iron ore project in Newfoundland and Labrador.

* White Energy Co. Ltd. said the Singapore International Commercial Court ruled in favor of the company in a dispute with PT Bayan Resources Tbk. over the KSC coal joint venture in Indonesia. The court determined that White Energy's BCBC Singapore Pte. Ltd. subsidiary had the financial ability to fund the KSC coal joint venture until the completion of commissioning and testing at the Tabang plant, or until June 2012.

* A federal judge in the U.S. will reopen Alpha Natural Resources Inc.'s bankruptcy case after allegations that its management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. had a conflict of interest during the case, a McKinsey spokesperson confirmed.

* Trade unions at Polish coal miner Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa SA are planning to protest against expected management changes at company, Puls Biznesu reported. The move came after board member Robert Ostrowski stepped down.

* China's Yunnan province achieved its target of eliminating crude steel capacity by 270,000 tonnes in 2018, according to a statement posted on the provincial government website.


* Largo Resources Ltd. produced a record 2,595 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide from its Maracas Menchen mine in Brazil in the fourth quarter of 2018, reflecting a 2% year-over-year increase. The company also agreed to buy back and retire an additional US$8.1 million of its 9.25% senior secured notes due in 2021.

* Peninsula Mines Ltd. wholly owned subsidiary Korea Graphite Co. Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding with Tera Technos Co. Ltd., a South Korean carbon composite anode material producer, for a potential off-take deal.

* Advantage Lithium Corp. expects to release an updated resource estimate for its Cauchari lithium joint venture in Argentina with Orocobre Ltd. in the first quarter that is expected to bring resources into the measured and indicated categories.


* President Donald Trump tapped U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to officially lead the organization.

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