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Vedanta swings to fiscal H1 profit; Rough diamond prices set to rise in 2020


Lower commodity prices weigh on Vedanta Resources' fiscal H1 EBITDA

Vedanta Resources Ltd.'s revenue for the six months ended Sept. 30, 2019, fell 5% year on year to US$6.13 billion due to lower prices for its products, with EBITDA falling 19% to US$1.40 billion. The company, however, swung to an attributable net profit of US$503 million for the first half of fiscal 2020, from a year-ago loss of US$327 million. Vedanta's profit improved mainly due to a US$331 million tax credit from new Indian tax amendments.

Rough diamond prices set to rise in 2020, analysts say

The diamond market may shine brighter in 2020 with higher prices for rough diamonds and more stable credit conditions in the midstream market, analysts said. "Mixed with the supply picture that's really starting to shape up, I think we will see higher prices in 2020," said Paul Zimnisky, principal analyst with research firm Diamond Analytics. Taking a similar view, BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward Sterck recently forecast a 5% rise in 2020 prices for rough diamonds, the raw material for cut and polished stones, amid a broader recovery in the industry.

Report: China's Vice Premier Liu He to sign 'phase one' deal this week in US

China Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington on Jan. 4 to sign a phase one trade deal with the U.S., the South China Morning Post reported, citing a source familiar with the matter. Beijing has accepted the U.S. invitation for a deal-signing in Washington, and the Chinese delegation, under He's leadership, will stay in the U.S. "a few days" until the middle of the next week, according to the unnamed source.


* An environmental tribunal in Chile admitted a claim by local Aymara indigenous communities against the compliance program submitted by the Collahuasi copper joint venture between Anglo American PLC and Glencore PLC to environmental regulator SMA to resolve a set of irregularities detected by the agency at the mine. Upon learning about the court ruling, Collahuasi is assessing the next legal steps, daily Diario Financiero reported.

* PolarX Ltd. seeks to secure a new farm-in partner for its Stellar copper-gold project in Alaska after being informed that the right of Lundin Mining Corp. to acquire a stake in the property will expire unexercised.

* Following a prolonged U.S.-China conflict which capped base metals' prices in 2019, a thawing in the dispute could fuel a rally for the sector in 2020, Reuters reported.

* Mining activity in Chile dropped 7.1% in November after the country was plagued with protests that affected the operations of its major mines, Reuters reported. Chile's copper production fell 6.7% year over year to 504,366 tonnes.

* Power Metal Resources PLC, formerly African Battery Metals PLC, elected to exercise its option to earn 40% interest in the Molopo Farms Complex from Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration Pty. Ltd. The company will spend US$500,000 for drilling of key nickel-copper-platinum group metal targets at the project in 2020.

* Rathdowney Resources Ltd. said that its corporate focus in 2020 will be exclusively to advance toward securing a mining license for its fully owned Olza zinc-lead-silver underground development project in Poland.

* The TSX Venture Exchange approved Stuhini Exploration Ltd.'s option to acquire the Ruby Creek molybdenum property in British Columbia from Global Drilling. Stuhini can acquire a 100% stake in the property by issuing up to 7,300,000 common shares and making cash payments of up to C$1.1 million.

* Sienna Resources Inc. extended the date for its option agreement with EMX Royalty Corp.'s subsidiary Eurasian Minerals Sweden AB on the Slattberg cobalt-nickel-copper project in Sweden, to June 30. Under the new agreement, Sienna will spend at least C$250,000 in exploration expenditures within the new option period.


* MetalsTech Ltd. is transitioning from lithium to gold as it exercised its option to acquire the advanced Šturec gold mine in central Slovakia, which it believes can be resurrected using Australian processing technology piloted by Barrick Gold Corp. in Nevada. "Although there is a 1.3 Moz resource now, there is potential for there to be multiples of this subject to exploration success, particularly in light of the significant 1.5 Moz historic production which was shallow and not to a modern standard," MetalsTech Chairman Russell Moran told S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Maiden drilling at Bardoc Gold Ltd.'s latest asset acquisition has intersected mineralization significantly wider than the existing resource model with high grades that could help reduce costs for cashed-up West Australian gold majors looking to top up their dwindling inventories. Bardoc said that drilling targeting several of the satellite deposits from the Mayday North project it acquired in September confirmed the potential of its Bardoc gold project to host significant mineralization within "what appears to be an emerging large-scale gold system" which has had virtually no exploration for the past 15 years.

* Kinross Gold Corp. unit KG Exploration (Canada) Inc. intends to terminate its option to earn 75% interest in the Greenwood gold property in British Columbia. As part of the deal, KG Exploration is required to conduct reclamation and file sufficient expenditures, or pay in lieu, to ensure that the option area mineral claims are in good standing for at least one year from the termination.

* Prospero Silver Corp. sold Mexican subsidiary Minera Fumarola SA de CV to an arm's length purchaser, Aquatio SA de CV, for US$5,000 and the assumption of liabilities and obligations amounting to about US$95,000.

* Pistol Bay Mining Inc. will not proceed with its 100% option on the Pakwash South property in Ontario.

* Dixie Gold Inc. acquired a district-sale exploration project in the developing Dixie Gold District near Red Lake, Ontario. The company's shares closed at 4.5 Canadian cents apiece for an 80% gain.

* Tamino Minerals Inc. said that it is proceeding with the exploration of its mining projects, and that its plans to expand into Canada in 2020 remain intact.


* JSW Steel Ltd. joint managing director and CFO Seshagiri Rao said that the steel industry will experience a moderate revival in terms of demand in 2020, The Telegraph of India reported. He noted that there will be a definite revival in 60% of the market in India, particularly in the infrastructure, construction and real estate sectors. However, the remaining 40%, covering the automotive, capital goods, machinery and packaging segments, may need some more time. Rao also said that JSW Steel is expected to commission its steel plant in Dolvi in 2020.

* Prairie Mining Ltd. noted Lubelski Wegiel BOGDANKA SA's announcement of being awarded a mining concession by the Polish government for the K6-7 deposit area, which Prairie said forms part of its planned Jan Karski coal mine. Prairie said that the grant to Bogdanka "continues to demonstrate evidence of the discriminatory treatment faced by Prairie as a foreign investor in Poland." The company has been locked in an investment dispute with the government over Jan Karski and said it is working with legal advisers to prepare submissions and finalize funding arrangements for international arbitration.

* India's National Mineral Development Corp. Ltd. achieved cumulative sales of 23.0 million tonnes of iron ore from April to December of 2019 from its Chattisgarh and Donimalai mines, a 3.8% hike from the 22.2 million tonnes of iron ore sales from the same period in the previous year, The Economic Times reported.

* Evraz PLC agreed to lower rates for excess volumes of transshipped coal for 2020 at US$15 per tonne, compared to US$19 per tonne for 2019, under a long-term transshipment agreement with Nakhodka Trade Sea Port. The deal will allow the company to transship additional volumes of coal, over the cap of about 2.7 million tonnes, to the Far East at a lower cost.

* Another environmental group, National Parks Conservation Association, asked a federal judge to reject a proposed settlement for U.S. Steel Corp. regarding the company's spill of the chemical hexavalent chromium into Burns Waterway, the Chicago Tribune reported.

* PJSC Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works shareholders approved a third-quarter dividend of 1.65 Russian rubles per share, down from 2.114 rubles per share a year ago.

* Newton Resources Ltd agreed to sell its subsidiary, an investment-holding company with a principal operating subsidiary that includes Xingye Mining, the owner and operator of the Yanjiazhuang iron ore mine in China, for HK$109 million.


* Fura Gems Inc. completed the acquisition of two mining permits and three mining licenses for a sapphire mining project in Queensland, Australia.


* Applying some kind of environmental, social or governance analysis to investment decisions grew 34% in two years after 2016 and are now a factor in US$31 trillion of assets under management, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, Reuters reported. However, the surge is expected to put certain players in the dock. The report noted that InfluenceMap discovered a state street fund marketed as "fossil fuel reserves free" still have stakes in energy and mining companies active in thermal coals, while Fidelity, on the other hand, has to review its investment platform filter after SCM Direct found out that funds flagged as socially responsible did not actually have such an investment focus.

* Residents in Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia blamed a mining project after buildings in Egon village were left submerged in floodwater following heavy rainfall, The Jakarta Post reported. They said that the mining activities blocked water from flowing in a river in the Waigete district.

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