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US moves to cut reliance on Chinese rare earths; Wesfarmers' bid for Lynas bleak

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US moves to cut reliance on Chinese rare earths; Wesfarmers' bid for Lynas bleak

TOP NEWS

Report: US Defense Department aims to cut reliance on China's rare earths

The U.S. Defense Department is requesting new funding from the federal government in order to increase the production of rare earth minerals in the country and reduce reliance on China, Reuters reported. The funding request, which is part of a rare earth minerals report that has been sent to the White House, comes amid a reported threat from China that it could use its dominance in the said minerals as leverage in its trade dispute with the U.S.

Wesfarmers' Lynas takeover bleak amid Chinese threat to stop rare earths exports

Wesfarmers Ltd.'s bid to acquire Lynas Corp. Ltd. is looking bleak, as the rare earths producer's share price grew 15% in May 29 trading, with China intending to restrict exports of rare earth minerals amid mounting trade tensions with the U.S., The West Australian reported. In May 30 trading, Lynas share prices hit A$2.77, which is above Wesfarmers' rejected cash acquisition proposal of A$2.25 per share.

Vedanta Resources chairman pledges more Konkola investment amid Zambia row

Vedanta Resources Ltd. will increase Konkola Copper Mines PLC's annual copper production to 400,000 tonnes from about 90,000 tonnes if a "right framework" is in place, Reuters reported, citing a statement by Chairman Anil Agarwal published on Zambian newspapers. Meanwhile, Eurasian Resources Group SARL, China Nonferrous Metals Co. Ltd., commodities trader Export Trading Co. Ltd. and an unnamed Turkish firm are said to be interested in acquiring the Vedanta unit, if the government succeeds in its bid to seize Konkola, sources told separate Bloomberg News and Reuters reports.

DIVERSIFIED

* Following a complaint from nongovernmental organization Public Eye against Glencore PLC in 2017, Switzerland's top prosecutor opened a criminal investigation of unidentified people suspected of bribing foreign officials for raw materials, Bloomberg wrote, citing the Office of the Attorney General. The probe is not focused on Glencore or a specific person.

BASE METALS

* Unionized workers at Codelco's Chuquicamata operation voted to go on strike, after earlier rebuffing the miner's final contract offer, Emol reported.

* Fincraft Resources JSC invested about US$200 million to US$300 million to launch mines at Gornostaevsky — one of the largest cobalt-nickel deposits in Kazakhstan — within three years, Kommersant reported.

* Peako Ltd. expanded its landholding in the East Kimberly copper province to about 1,200 square kilometers after it applied for additional ground.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Sibanye Gold Ltd. reported the resignation of board chairman Sello Moloko, who will be replaced by Vincent Maphai, a former chairman of BHP Billiton Ltd. South Africa. The announcement comes a day after Lonmin shareholders agreed to the mining company's takeover by Sibanye-Stillwater.

* GT Gold Corp. closed Newmont Goldcorp Corp.'s previously announced C$17.6 million acquisition of a 9.9% stake in the company. Proceeds will be used to accelerate the development of the Tatogga gold-copper property in British Columbia.

* Using Kensho, S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team determined that gold companies on average had larger price movements than gold prices, though the results varied with the size of the company.

* Ore commissioning at the Gruyere gold joint venture of Gold Road Resources Ltd. and Gold Fields Ltd. in Western Australia is now underway, with first production expected shortly, The West Australian reported, citing Gold Road CEO Duncan Gibbs. The A$621 million project is expected to produce up to 120,000 ounces of gold this year and about 300,000 ounces in 2020 over an initial 12-year mine life.

* Conquest Resources Ltd. secured an option to acquire the Macbeth claims from Vision Exploration located near its Golden Rose gold property in Ontario. Consideration comprises a 1.5% net smelter royalty, 225,000 shares and C$30,000 in work commitments within three years.

* Argentum Silver Corp. signed a definitive agreement to acquire Norsemont II Resources Corp. in exchange for around C$500,000 in shares. Norsemont holds the 3,479-hectare Cochavara silver-lead-zinc project in northern Peru.

* Panthera Resources PLC exercised an option to acquire the Labola gold project in Burkina Faso.

* Dynacor Gold Mines Inc. signed deals to purchase minerals mined by artisanal miners at its Tumipampa gold property in Peru.

* Xtract Resources Plc inked a deal granting Mutapa Mining and Processing LDA the exclusive right to mine and process hard rock gold deposits from its Manica project in Mozambique over 10 years, with an option to extend.

* Barkerville Gold Mines Ltd.'s underground resources for the Cow, Island and Barkerville Mountain deposits at its Cariboo gold project in British Columbia swelled 50% in the measured and indicated category over the 2018 estimate.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s net profit for its fiscal 2019 slid to 7.17 billion Indian rupees, from 7.57 billion rupees a year ago. Revenue, meanwhile, grew to 403.79 billion rupees, from year-ago 359.24 billion rupees.

* Australia resources minister Matthew Canavan said banks are caving to anti-coal sentiment, as they refuse to fund Adani's controversial Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Mexico unfroze the bank accounts of Altos Hornos de México SAB de CV, with the steelmaker's operations returning to normal, El Financiero reported, citing a company statement. Previously, Mexico froze the bank accounts of Altos Hornos on allegations it operated its businesses using money sourced from illegal activities.

* The Queensland, Australia, government asked coal mining companies in the state to contribute to a planned A$100 million regional infrastructure fund in exchange for ruling out a royalty hike in June, ABC News reported.

* U.S. coal producers are leaning into the potential of overseas demand even as shifting energy economics and concerns about climate change begin to call into question whether global economic growth will continue to be coupled with increased coal demand.

* Synalloy Corp. rejected for the second time Privet Fund Management LLC's unsolicited offer to acquire Synalloy shares it does not already own for US$20 per share. Privet owns 14.46% of Synalloy, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

* The Northern Cheyenne tribe in Montana criticized the Trump administration's plans to restart federal coal leasing without consulting Native American tribes, Reuters reported, citing a letter from Northern Cheyenne President Rynalea Whiteman Pena.

* Element 25 Ltd. reached a native title agreement with Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corp. RNTBC over the land underlying the eastern portion of the Butcherbird manganese project in Western Australia. This is the second and final native title agreement required for the grant of license M52/1074, and for the development of the Butcherbird project.

* SRG Global Ltd. won a contract to provide refractory services throughout the Whyalla steelworks site in South Australia owned by GFG Alliance Ltd.'s Liberty OneSteel unit. Total revenue under the contract is estimated at A$30 million over the initial four-year term or A$45 million if a two-year renewal option is exercised.

* Australian Bauxite Ltd. executed a memorandum of understanding with the Port Authority for the Port of Bundaberg to investigate the possibility of shipping bauxite produced from the Binjour project in Queensland, Australia, through the port.

SPECIALTY

* In response to a report by The Australian Financial Review, Galaxy Resources Ltd. confirmed it held informal talks for the possible cooperation in the development of a chemical processing plant in China, but said there was no agreement signed. In the report, the lithium producer is seeking a Chinese partner that can help build a 25,000-tonne-per-year lithium processing plant in China, which would process spodumene concentrate from Galaxy's Mount Cattlin mine in Western Australia into either lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide.

* Chile is losing ground to rival countries — including Australia and Argentina — in the global leadership of lithium production, as the country is slow to open up to new players in the market, Reuters reported.

* PJSC Alrosa may be able to resume production at its Mir diamond mine in Russia by 2028 to 2031, Vedomosti reported, citing Aisen Nikolayev, governor of the Yakutia region where the mine is located. The mine was shut down in 2017 due to heavy flooding. An Alrosa representative confirmed the timeline.

* Stans Energy Corp. received a letter from the Permanent Court of Arbitration, stating that an award over the expropriation of the Kutessay II rare earths mine by Kyrgyzstan will be made no later than July.

* Graphite explorer IM Exploration Inc.'s shares will begin trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on May 30, under the ticker IM, after successfully completing its initial public offering.

* VanadiumCorp Resource Inc. entered a letter of intent to sell its Iron-T vanadium-titanium-iron project in Quebec.

* Almonty Industries Inc. signed a deal with Korea Electric Power Corp. to build a 10-MW power line exclusive to the company's Sangdong tungsten mine in Korea.

* Namibian Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo said he has no objection to Rio Tinto's sale of its 69% stake in the Rossing uranium project to China National Uranium Corp. Ltd. as long as it is in line with the country's laws, Reuters wrote.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* An environmental bill overhauling Canada's federal permitting process is a step closer to its final reading in the Senate amid uncertainty over what changes to the centerpiece legislation may be considered acceptable by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government.

* The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has released a report outlining what it believes are three plausible pathways for the U.S. to curb its emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.

* Newly elected Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape is targeting tighter legislation for the resources sector so as to benefit the country, Reuters reported.

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