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South32's Q1'19 metallurgical coal output surges 207% YOY


South32's Q1'19 metallurgical coal output surges 207% YOY

South32 Ltd.'s metallurgical coal production in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 increased 207% to 1.5 million tonnes, from 494,000 tonnes in the prior year, resulting from increased productivity at the Appin and Dendrobium longwalls of its Illawarra operation in New South Wales, Australia. Alumina production in the three-month period, on the other hand, fell 9% to 1.2 million tonnes, partly due to unplanned maintenance and power outages at its Brazil alumina operations and additional repairs at its Worsley alumina plant. Annual production guidance for the full year across all operations have been retained.

Alcoa swings to Q3 loss on pension charges, flags closure of 2 Spanish plants

Alcoa Corp. swung to a net loss of US$41.0 million for the third quarter, from a net profit of US$113.0 million recorded a year earlier, with results including a negative impact of US$160 million for special items mainly due to a US$174 million settlement charge from further actions on U.S. pension and other post-employment benefit obligations. Meanwhile, the company plans to launch collective dismissal consultations for workers at its Aviles and La Coruna aluminum plants in Spain, which were deemed the least productive within its system due to their inherent structural issues.

Barrick, Newmont JV to further slash headcount at Kalgoorlie Super Pit

Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp.'s Kalgoorlie Super Pit gold mine in Western Australia will cut 45 jobs and reposition another 140 roles as it looks to reduce costs after rock falls in May, The West Australian wrote. Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd., the mine operator, revealed in a letter obtained by the news organization that the two rock fall incidents in May that led to 36 redundancies at the site significantly impacted business plans, and it was assessing further efficiencies and cost-cutting measures.


* BHP Billiton Group Chairman Ken MacKenzie said the company has not suffered a material impact from current global trade tensions on its business, but it remains cautious in the near term, Reuters reported.


* Waterton Global Resource, an investor in Hudbay Minerals Inc., expressed its concerns to company Chairman Alan Hibben, saying it would reserve the right to do anything it deemed necessary to improve the company's performance, Bloomberg News reported, citing a source. The shareholder, which holds around a 7% stake in the miner, plans to discuss replacing members of its board and seek assurances that the company will not pursue acquisitions or joint venture without consulting shareholders.

* Providing further details on the arrests of its current and former employees in Tanzania, Acacia Mining PLC said a former employee together with three of its current employees have been charged by country's authorities for violating money laundering rules. The other charges include tax evasion, conspiracy, a charge under organized crime legislation, forgery and corruption.

* Indonesian state-owned PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Persero), or Inalum, is targeting closing the US$3.85 billion deal for a 51% stake in Freeport-McMoRan Inc.'s local unit PT Freeport Indonesia in December, Reuters reported, citing Inalum CEO Budi Gunadi Sadikin.

* Ruben Fernandes, CEO of Anglo American PLC's Brazilian operations, said results of ongoing drilling on the edge of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil were "very promising," hinting at a potential major copper discovery in the area, reported.

* M2 Cobalt Corp. agreed to acquire four copper-cobalt prospective exploration licenses in Uganda from Olympic Minerals Ltd., an arm's length party, in a cash and stock deal.

* Sphinx Resources Ltd. finalized a definitive joint venture agreement with Osisko Metals Inc. to explore for zinc in prospective areas of southern Quebec's Grenville geological province.

* Strongbow Exploration Inc. entered a conditional 10-year offtake deal with Orion Mine Finance affiliate OMF Fund II H Ltd. for tin produced from the South Crofty mine in the U.K.


* Barrick and Randgold Resources Ltd. are forecast to have lower all-in sustaining costs in 2019, compared to its senior gold peers Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., Newmont, Newcrest Mining Ltd. and Goldcorp Inc., according to the Metals and Mining Research team of S&P Global Market Intelligence. Should the New Barrick Group successfully divest its non-core assets, the resulting company would most likely have lower production than previously and compared with Newmont, but would have higher profitability than its peers.

* Highland Gold Mining Ltd.'s third-quarter gold production at its Mnogovershinnoye, Novoshirokinskoye and Belaya Gora mines in Russia inched up 4.4% yearly to 74,826 ounces, at an average realized gold price of US$1,206 per ounce.

* The Competition Tribunal in South Africa postponed a hearing into the proposed merger between Sibanye Gold Ltd. and Lonmin PLC to November, Mining Weekly reported.

* A group of Kin Mining NL shareholders are supporting an attempt by former director David Sproule to regain control of the company. Sproule and his allies claim that they have amassed a more than 5% stake in Kin Mining.

* The Schall Law Firm filed a class-action lawsuit against Pretium Resources Inc. on behalf of the investors who purchased or acquired the company's securities between July 21, 2016, and Sept. 6, 2018. The legal action alleges that the company made false and materially misleading stamens regarding its Brucejack gold mine in British Columbia, which in turn caused damages to investors.

* Endeavour Mining Corp. expects the first gold pour at the Ity carbon-in-leach project in Côte d'Ivoire about two months ahead of schedule in the second quarter of 2019, compared to the previously targeted mid-2019.

* Wallbridge Mining Co. Ltd. secured an option to acquire the Beschefer gold project in Quebec from Excellon Resources Inc.'s Lateegra Gold Corp. unit.

* BTU Metals Corp. agreed to purchase two gold prospective properties, called Dixie Halo South and Dixie Halo Southeast, in Ontario from arm's-length sellers for 12 million shares and C$2.5 million exploration spend on the properties over a two-year period.

* Vital Metals Ltd. pulled out from a deal to acquire a 50% stake in the Bouli gold project in Niger from Summa Turizm Yatirimciliği A.Ş., citing various reasons, including the prevailing geopolitical situation.


* Steel Dynamics Inc.'s third-quarter attributable net income jumped year over year to US$398.4 million, or US$1.69 per diluted share, from US$153.3 million, or 64 cents per share. President and CEO Mark Millett attributed the improved performance to record steel shipments, average steel selling price improvement, and metal spread expansion across its steel operations, noting that steel consumption will continue to be strong based on firm domestic steel demand.

* Yara International ASA's net income after non-controlling interests in the third quarter improved to US$98 million, or 36 cents per share, from US$90 million, or 33 cents per share, in the same period of 2017. Total fertilizer deliveries were 9% higher year over year, driven by the Babrala acquisition in India and the Cubatão acquisition in Brazil.

* Canada will implement provisional safeguards for a 200-day period, through quotas and tariffs on imports of seven steel products, according to Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Meanwhile, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal has been directed to investigate whether safeguards for up to four years are necessary.

* The Mexican government is targeting to end disputes with the U.S. and Canada over steel tariffs before the new administration assumes office in December, Reuters reported.

* Kaiser Aluminum Corp.'s third-quarter net profit inched up to US$22 million, or US$1.29 per diluted share, from US$20 million, or US$1.16 per diluted share, a year ago. Net sales for the period also improved year over year, to $393 million from $333 million.

* India's Jindal Stainless Ltd. is working with banks to exit a central bank-mandated restructuring by the end of its fiscal year after it settles most of its dues, Bloomberg News reported, citing Managing Director Abhyuday Jindal. Once it exits restructuring, it plans to increase capacity to 2.4 million tonnes by 2021 from the current 1.6 million tonnes.

* To make its offer for Essar Steel India Ltd. eligible, ArcelorMittal approved a payment of 74.69 billion Indian rupees to creditors of Uttam Galva Steels Ltd. and KSS Petron Pvt. Ltd. to clear overdue debts. The steelmaker said that the payment was the appropriate course of action under the circumstances.

* JSW Steel Ltd. may not pursue the acquisition of Essar Steel should it win a bid for Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd., Mint reported, citing sources.

* The Indian Coal Ministry directed state-owned Coal India Ltd. to immediately start liquidating coal stockpiles in a bid to mitigate shortages at power plants across the country, after the miner failed to effectively review production and supplies, Mining Weekly reported.

* SRG Global Ltd. secured an approximately A$20 million contract for drilling works with Downer EDI Ltd. at the Blackwater coal project, a joint venture between BHP and Mitsubishi Corp., in Queensland, Australia.

* The government of Wales is finalizing a policy that would approve coal mining applications only under "wholly exceptional circumstances," BBC News reported. The government is analyzing consultation responses for the proposed rules that are set to be completed by the end of the year.

* China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment accused officials in Jiangsu province for improper enforcement of anti-pollution measures in three cities, including regional steelmaking center Xuzhou and the provincial capital of Nanjing, Reuters reported.

* As Beijing's flexibility on its industrial production curbs drove up demand, Chinese coking fuel futures reached their highest pricing in more than a year Oct. 17, Reuters reported.


* The Chilean government plans to seek international arbitration over Albemarle Corp.'s alleged non-compliance with a 2016 contract, Reuters reported. State development authority Corfo said the lithium miner failed to make a "serious" offer for as much as 25% of its yearly output to be provided at a discounted rate to companies looking to produce battery materials within Chile.

* The processing plant at Bass Metals Ltd.'s Graphmada graphite mine in Madagascar has consistently processed ore above its nameplate capacity of over 25 tonnes per hour, since its recommissioning in April.

* Volt Resources Ltd. secured from the Mining Commission of the Ministry of Minerals of Tanzania the mining licenses for the Bunyu graphite project.

* A maiden resource estimate for Tando Resources Ltd.'s SPD vanadium project in South Africa is due to be released this quarter, following the completion of 16 holes under a phase one drilling program.


* The exploration sector rebounded strongly in September as an increase in all four metrics — significant drill results, significant gold and base metals financings, project milestones and initial resources — caused S&P Global Market Intelligence's Pipeline Activity Index, or PAI, to jump to 95 in September from 80 in August. By target, the gold PAI surged to 141 from 110, while the base metals PAI increased to 59 from 55.

* Zambian Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said mining companies operating in the country will still be able to meet their operational costs even after the government imposes higher taxes, giving an impression that the country did not plan to reverse the proposed taxes, Reuters reported.

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