S&P Global Ratings downgraded Mosaic Co.'s corporate credit rating and issue-level ratings to BBB- from BBB on the back of the planned acquisition of Vale SA's fertilizer business for US$2.5 billion. According to S&P, the deal comes at a time when fertilizer pricing has been depressed. The firm maintained a stable outlook for Mosaic in anticipation that the miner will prioritize free cash flow generation rather than shareholder rewards and additional acquisitions.
Court orders Vedanta unit to pay US$103M to ZCCM
The High Court of Justice in the U.K. ordered Vedanta Resources Plc unit Konkola Copper Mines Plc to pay about US$103 million to Zambian state-owned copper miner ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc over a copper price agreement, Bloomberg News reported. The payment is due within 30 days, and Konkola said it was in talks with ZCCM and other relevant stakeholders to resolve all outstanding issues within this period.
In a step toward resuming operations, Vale and BHP Billiton Group intend to use the former's Timbopeba pit to deposit the tailings from their Samarco iron ore joint venture in Brazil when it restarts operations, Reuters reported.
* Kasbah Resources Ltd. shareholders have asked the Australian Takeovers Panel to stop the company from undertaking a A$3.7 million placement to Pala Investments Ltd., which owns roughly 74% of Asian Mineral Resources Ltd. Kasbah revealed that it was undertaking the placement, which would give Pala a 19.9% stake, following an announcement that the planned takeover of the company by Asian Mineral Resources would not go ahead.
* Labor unions representing 2,550 workers at BHP Billiton Group's Minera Escondida Ltda., which operates the Escondida copper mine in Chile, have started the collective agreement negotiation process with the company's management, daily Diario Financiero reported.
* Glencore Plc will receive a A$15 million grant from the government of Queensland, Australia, to extend the life of its Mount Isa copper smelter till 2022, MiningNews reported. "We can only operate the Mount Isa copper smelter for as long as it remains economically viable," Glencore Copper Assets Australia COO Mike Westerman said.
* The general manager of Antofagasta Plc's Los Pelambres copper mine, Robert Mayne-Nicholls, appeared in a court hearing in San Juan province in Argentina as part of the legal dispute with Glencore Plc over Los Pelambres' Cerro Amarillo tailings deposit, located on the grounds of Glencore's El Pachon mine. Both Glencore and San Juan authorities claim alleged pollution and usurpation of private property. However, Mayne-Nicholls argued that the company built the dam at a time when the border between Argentina and Chile was not clear in the area, and that the deposit meets Chilean regulation.
* Alecto Minerals Plc intends to acquire the Mowana copper mine in northeastern Botswana through the acquisition of Cradle Arc Investments Pty. Ltd.
* Codelco is set to receive an environmental permit for a 10-year exploration campaign at its El Teniente copper project in Chile, Business News Americas wrote.
* Morumbi Resources Inc. completed the previously announced acquisition of the El Mochito zinc-lead-silver mine in Honduras from Nyrstar NV for US$500,000.
* Reuters wrote that Israeli police detained Asher Avidan, the former president of a company linked to similarly detained Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz's BSG Resources Ltd. in a widening inquiry into allegations of bribery and corruption in Guinea.
* Queensland Mining Corp. Ltd. and its subsidiaries signed an option and joint venture agreement with Teck Resources Ltd. unit Teck Australia Pty Ltd. on the White Range copper project in Queensland. Teck was granted an option to earn a 70% interest in the White Range #1, Kuridala South, White Range Consolidated and Copper Canyon East tenements.
* Horizon Gold Ltd. began its first day on the ASX trading at 12.5% less than its IPO price of 40 Australian cents. The company, which was spun out of Panoramic Resources Ltd., lit up the boards of the Australian exchange Dec. 21 at 35 cents following a fully underwritten IPO of A$15 million. However, just under 77,000 shares were traded.
* Ariana Resources Plc secured a 100% interest in the Salinbas gold project in Turkey from a subsidiary of Eldorado Gold Corp. for a nominal cash payment and a net smelter return royalty of up to 2% on future production, granted to the subsidiary.
* Azure Minerals Ltd. estimated an indicated and inferred mineral resource of 150,000 ounces of gold and 4.80 million ounces of silver for the Loma Bonita gold deposit at its Alacran gold-silver-copper project in Mexico, at a cutoff of 0.21 g/t of gold. About 85% of the total gold ounces are within the indicated mineral resource category.
* Hunt Mining Corp. signed an agreement to sell existing gold and silver tailings at the Martha project area for processing at Pan American Silver Corp.'s Manantial Espejo mill in Argentina.
* KalNorth Gold Mines Ltd. and Keras Resources Plc terminated their negotiations over the proposed development of the former's Lindsays gold project in Western Australia.
* Goldplat Plc said Ghana's government renewed the company's license to purchase and deal in gold for three years. Under the terms, the company's Gold Recovery Ghana Ltd. unit will pay a 5% royalty to the government on all minerals obtained from its operations.
* Triple Flag secured its first silver streaming agreement with Milpo UK, a subsidiary of Compañía Minera Milpo SAA, for most of the silver output from the Cerro Lindo polymetallic mine in Peru, Mining Weekly reported. Triple Flag will make an upfront payment of US$250 million to Milpo by Dec. 21 and will pay 10% of the spot silver price per ounce for deliveries starting January 2017.
* The 114 workers stuck at Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.'s Allan potash mine in Saskatchewan following a fire incident have all been safely evacuated, CBC News reported. The fire has been extinguished and employees are expected to return to work soon.
* Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. may repay debt by selling a significant portion of its stake in Oman unit Jindal Shadeed Iron and Steel Llc, Live Mint reported, citing "two people aware of the development." The company can even go for a full sale if it receives an appropriate offer, one of the sources said.
* Atlas Iron Ltd.'s definitive feasibility study at its Corunna Downs iron ore project pegged initial annual production of 4 million tonnes per annum of direct shipping ore over an initial mine life of 5 to 6 years. CapEx is expected to be between A$47 million and A$53 million, including contingency. The company will make a development decision for Corunna Downs in the March 2017 quarter, and first ore on ship from the project is targeted in the March 2018 quarter.
* Metallica Minerals Ltd.'s pre-feasibility study for the 50%-owned Urquhart bauxite project in Queensland estimated a pretax project net present value, discounted at 10%, of A$78.4 million on sales of 6.5 million tonnes of proved and probable reserves. The mine will target a production rate of 1.5 million tonnes per annum by 2019. Ozore Resources Pty. Ltd. owns the other half of the project.
* Brazilian state prosecutors filed a public civil lawsuit against ThyssenKrupp AG's Companhia Siderurgica do Atlântico slab mill in Brazil and local authorities over an "illegal operating authorisation" granted to the slab producer in 2010, Metal Bulletin wrote. The lawsuit could jeopardize the sale of the loss-making plant Ternium SA, which restarted talks to acquire the plant in October and pulled out on the deal recently considering the regulatory and tax risks involved, Reuters reported, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter.
* Unlike Mosaic, S&P Global Ratings said Vale's ratings are not immediately affected by the purchase deal that will see Mosaic acquiring Vale's fertilizer business.
* Global crude steel output for the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association totaled 132.4 million tonnes in November, representing a 5.0% year-over-year increase. China's crude steel output during the period came in at 66.3 million tonnes, up 5.0% on a yearly basis.
* De Beers SA CEO Bruce Cleaver believes U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's policies to increase jobs and lower taxes may result in a higher demand for diamonds, Live Mint reported. "Lower taxes, more jobs, translates into more disposable income and translates into more diamond purchases," Cleaver said.
* Lake Resources N.L. acquired an additional 3,900 hectares of lithium brine leases, increasing the total lease area either granted or under application in the Kachi lithium brine project in Argentina to almost 50,000 hectares.
* Sayona Mining Ltd. secured an option from Great Sandy Pty Ltd to acquire an 871-square-kilometer package of tenements in the Pilgangoora lithium district of Western Australia.
* Tawana Resources NL has decided to exercise the option to acquire Lithco No. 2 Pty. Ltd., which holds an earn-in right over the Bald Hill lithium-tantalum mine in Western Australia. This will result in the company becoming a joint venture partner of Alliance Mineral Assets Ltd. in the project.
* The number of mining-related deaths in Australian mines dropped to 6 this year, half of the 12 deaths reported in 2015 at the country's mining, and oil and gas operations, MiningNews reported.
* Research by S&P Global Market Intelligence showed continued momentum in the performance of mining shares. S&P Global Market Intelligence's Pipeline Activity Index rose from 80 to 84 month over month to reach a 44-month high in November, as increases in junior and intermediate company financings and announced initial resources at projects and mines were somewhat tempered by declines in the number of reported drill assays and project milestones.
S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.
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