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First Quantum books record FY'18 output; BHP sacking Australian-crewed ships


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First Quantum books record FY'18 output; BHP sacking Australian-crewed ships


First Quantum books record copper output, sales in FY'18

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. booked record copper production and sales in 2018, according to preliminary figures. The company produced 605,853 tonnes of copper for the year, a 6% increase from 2017, while copper sales grew 3% to 596,513 tonnes. Fourth-quarter output climbed 3% year on year to 158,304 tonnes.

BHP ending contract with last Australian-crewed iron ore ships

BHP Group Ltd. will no longer renew its contract with the last two Australian-crewed ships that carry iron ore from Port Hedland in Western Australia, replacing them with foreign crews and vessels. The Maritime Union of Australia said nearly 80 Australian seafarers will be replaced by "highly exploited" foreign crews paid as low as A$2 per hour.

Audit finds errors in Chilean watchdog's accounting of Albemarle, SQM

An internal audit found "significant errors" in Chilean nuclear watchdog CCHEN's sales accounting of Albemarle Corp. and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA between 1984 and 2015, Reuters reported. The agency's executive committee members are considering a further probe into the errors to determine if they were deliberate and part of a fraudulent scheme.


* Vale SA signed a long-term contract with Casa dos Ventos Energias Renováveis Ltda. for energy supply to be produced by the Folha Larga Sul wind farm in Brazil. The deal also includes a future asset call option by Vale. With an installed capacity of 151.2 megawatts, the project is expected to begin commercial operations by the first half of 2020.


* Lundin Mining Corp. said it either achieved or beat its annual production guidance for all metals at all of its operations. In 2018, the company produced 199,630 tonnes of copper, 152,041 tonnes of zinc and 17,573 tonnes of nickel.

* Nexa Resources SA's zinc equivalent output in the fourth quarter of 2018 slipped 2.4% year on year to 150,000 tonnes, from 153,500 tonnes in 2017. However, the company still hit its 2018 production guidance for all metals, driven by a production recovery in the quarter.

* Atalaya Mining PLC posted a record fourth-quarter copper output of 11,172 tonnes, up 29.6% from 8,622 tonnes in 2017. The company reached the upper range of its revised 2018 guidance, with annual copper output rising 13% to 42,114 tonnes. The company attributed the increase to improvement measures applied to Proyecto Rio Tinto project in Spain.

* Lawyers for Vedanta Resources PLC asked England's Supreme Court for its pollution lawsuit related to the Nchanga copper mine in Zambia to be heard in the African country and not London, Reuters reported. The company's legal team argued that Zambia was the "natural forum" for the case, as the parent company did not control operations in Zambia.

* Jinduicheng Molybdenum Co. Ltd. expects to record a net profit attributable to shareholders of between 345 million Chinese yuan and 395 million yuan for 2018, a year-over-year growth of between 222% and 268%. It pegged EBITDA to increase from 50.7 million yuan in 2017 to between 313 million yuan and 363 million yuan.

* Panoramic Resources Ltd. said the shipment of first concentrate from the recommissioned Savannah nickel-copper-cobalt project in Western Australia is scheduled in early February.

* Fancamp Exploration Ltd. acquired an additional claim block adjoining the Cunningham volcanogenic massive sulfide property in Ontario. The claim block will expand Cunningham's total area to around 4,800 acres.


* Thanks to overall operational improvement, Detour Gold Corp. posted a record fourth-quarter 2018 gold output of 158,200 ounces, bringing the year's total production to 621,128 ounces, a 9% rise from 2017.

* SSR Mining Inc. achieved record production at its Seabee gold mine in Saskatchewan in 2018. The mine produced 95,602 ounces of gold, up 13.8% compared to 2017, while fourth-quarter production slid 26.4% year on year to 20,473 ounces of gold. Meanwhile, 2018 gold output at its Marigold mine in Nevada grew 1.4% to 205,160 ounces, with fourth-quarter production dropping 7.1% year on year to 54,306 ounces.

* Centerra Gold Inc.'s fourth-quarter 2018 gold output reached 288,367 ounces, allowing the company to exceed its full-year guidance with production of 729,556 ounces. Solid output from the Kumtor mine in the Kyrgyz Republic and the Mount Milligan mine in British Columbia was credited for the performance.

* Newmont Mining Corp. shares continued to slide Jan. 15 amid lukewarm response from analysts and investors over its US$10 billion takeover of Goldcorp Inc., Financial Times wrote. Newmont was down 2.6% at US$30.94, giving the company a market value of US$16.4 billion. Meanwhile, bankers and analysts cited by Reuters said Newcrest Mining Ltd., Kinross Gold Corp. and B2Gold Corp. may be next in line to merge with rivals following the announcement of the Newmont-Goldcorp merger.

* Hecla Mining Co. reported a 16% year-over-year increase in fourth-quarter 2018 gold production to 70,988 ounces, while silver production over the same period fell 9% to 2.7 million ounces.

* McEwen Mining Inc.'s fourth-quarter 2018 gold production reached 29,291 ounces, down from 48,609 ounces in 2017. Full-year 2018 gold production came in at 135,124 ounces, up from 109,947 ounces in 2017. Silver production came in at 819,473 ounces for the fourth quarter of 2018 and about 3.0 million ounces for the full year.

* Anglo Asian Mining PLC produced 83,736 gold equivalent ounces for the year ended Dec. 31, 2018, near the upper end of guidance. Gold output was up 17% on a yearly basis. However, fourth-quarter 2018 production at its Gedabek mine in Azerbaijan totaled 21,945 gold equivalent ounces, 5% lower than the fourth quarter of 2017.

* The longstop date of Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s proposed takeover of Lonmin PLC was extended to June 30 from Feb. 28. Meanwhile, Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman said the company has a contingency plan in place for an impending strike at its platinum group metals operations in South Africa, Mining Weekly reported.

* Gabriel Resources Ltd. closed a US$20 million financing to fund its arbitration battle over the Rosia Montana gold project in a bid for C$5.7 billion in compensation from Romania, which is accused of unfairly blocking the project's development.

* Margaux Resources Ltd. signed an option deal with a third party for the Old Timer gold property in southern British Columbia. Under the terms, Margaux is required to pay a total of C$50,000 and issue 500,000 shares in stages over a four-year period.

* IDM Mining Ltd. secured federal environmental assessment approval for its Red Mountain gold project in British Columbia. As part of the decision, the company must fulfill more than 120 conditions throughout the life of mine to mitigate the project's effects to the environment.

* TMAC Resources Inc. secured approvals for two Type A water licenses for the Madrid and Boston projects, part of its Hope Bay gold property in Canada's Nunavut Territory. The approvals conclude the environmental permitting process and allow the company to move forward with mine construction and operations.


* Anglo American PLC CEO Mark Cutifani is willing to stay beyond his 2020 mandate, sources told Reuters. Duncan Wanblad, group director of strategy and business development, effective from March, is seen as a potential successor of Cutifani, the report said.

* China Coal Energy Co. Ltd.'s coal production in 2018 rose 2.1% to 77.1 million tonnes from 75.5 million tonnes in 2017.

* South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers plans to launch a protest in Pretoria on Jan. 16 to demand the immediate payment of salaries for over 2,000 workers at the Optimum and Koornfontein collieries, Mining Weekly reported. The union said the workers have not received salaries for the past three months.

* The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments Jan. 15 in a case to determine whether the CEO of coal miner Murray Energy Corp. interfered with his employees' right to report unsafe working conditions to the federal government.

* Vedanta Ltd. will raise its primary foundry alloy and aluminium silicon t-ingot production to 300,000 tonnes from 30,000 tonnes by the end of 2019, Fastmarkets MB wrote.

* Compared to 2018 levels, coal production is expected to decline 9.9% to just 680 million tons by 2020, the first time annual production has been below 700 million tons since 1978, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

* An independent expert report by Grant Thornton, commissioned by Golden Investments (Australia) Pte. Ltd., found that Stanmore Coal Ltd. was valued at between 84 Australian cents and A$1.10 per share, a far cry from the assessment of A$1.48 to A$1.90 per share from Stanmore's independent expert, BDO Corporate Finance, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk wrote. The Australia-listed coal miner had rejected a 95-cent-per-share takeover offer by Golden Investments, which it said significantly undervalues the company. Golden Investments has said it will not increase or extend its bid.

* Serbia asked the European Commission for exemption from new steel import quotas to ensure continued operations of its sole steel mill Zelezara Smederevo, owned by Hesteel Group Finance Co., Ltd. unit HBIS GROUP Serbia, Reuters reported.


* Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. recovered 1.5 million carats of diamond in the fourth quarter of 2018, down 5% year on year, with an average grade of 2.06 carats per tonne. The company unearthed a total of 6.9 million carats in 2018, 17% higher compared to the prior year, with an average grade of 2.17 c/t.

* Tarku Resources Ltd. signed a nonbinding letter of intent for an option to acquire the Lac Fabien vanadium project, which comprises 35 mining titles in Quebec. As consideration, Tarku would issue mainly shares and incur exploration expenditures over four years.

* Vast Resources PLC plans to start production from the Heritage diamond concession area in Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields in the second half.

* Newfield Resources Ltd. subsidiary Sierra Diamonds Ltd. received a large-scale mining license, valid for 25 years, for its Tongo diamond project in Sierra Leone.


* Though Africa is the second-largest continent and a significant producer of almost every minable commodity, allocations to Africa increased only 14.1% to US$1.28 billion in 2018, according to the Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Veteran resources executive Norm Seckold, who co-founded one of the ASX's biggest 2018 metals and mining IPOs, Nickel Mines Ltd., joined a chorus of analysts saying resource stocks will continue to suffer throughout this year, even amid robust commodities demand, unless the U.S.-China trade war ends. However, Alto Capital Investment Manager Tony Locantro said in an interview that "there's no just no appetite for resource stocks at the moment" with China's weak manufacturing numbers and concern over its credit bubble weighing on stocks, along with the trade war.

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