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In This List

Barrick's Q4 gold output rises QOQ; Tesla, Glencore discuss cobalt supply deal

Mining Exploration Insights December

Mining Exploration Insights: Dip in gold drilling weighs on results

Mining Exploration Insights: Is the exploration sector back on recovery?

State of the Market: Mining Q2-2019


Barrick's Q4 gold output rises QOQ; Tesla, Glencore discuss cobalt supply deal

TOP NEWS

Barrick's Q4'19 gold output rises QOQ

Barrick Gold Corp. reported preliminary gold production of 1.43 million ounces for the fourth quarter of 2019, rising from 1.31 Moz in the third quarter. Full-year 2019 output reached 5.47 Moz, near the upper end of the annual guidance range of 5.1 Moz to 5.6 Moz. Copper output in the quarter rose to 117 million pounds from 111 million pounds in the previous quarter, bringing the full-year figure to 432 million pounds, beating guidance of 375 million to 430 million pounds. The company reported gold sales of 1.41 Moz in the quarter and copper sales of 91 million pounds.

Tesla, Glencore in talks over cobalt supply deal

Tesla Inc. is in talks with Glencore PLC over a long-term contract that would see the electric-car maker procuring cobalt from the Swiss commodities trader, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The news outlet said executives from the two companies mapped out the deal before an event to mark Tesla's first sales of its Model 3 sedan from its Shanghai plant. Bloomberg said a deal with Glencore would help Tesla prevent a shortage of cobalt as it boosts its production of electric cars at its Gigafactory in Shanghai.

South32's coal, manganese output fall YOY in fiscal Q2'20

South32 Ltd.'s metallurgical coal output for the second quarter of fiscal 2020 slumped 22.9% yearly to 1.21 million tonnes. Total energy coal output fell 7.4% in the December 2019 quarter to 5.90 Mt. Aluminum production remained largely unchanged at 248,000 tonnes, while alumina output inched down 4.0% to 1.33 Mt. Manganese ore production at the company's Australian and South African mines slipped 2.8% to 1.40 million wet tonnes, while manganese alloy production fell 17.5% to 47,000 tonnes.

BASE METALS

* Teck Resources Ltd. purchased the SunMine solar energy facility in British Columbia from the City of Kimberley for about C$2 million. President and CEO Don Lindsay said the facility will help the company gain experience as it targets using solar power at other operations.

* Ecuador exported the first 22,000 tonnes of copper concentrate from the Mirador copper mine owned by Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co. Ltd. and China Railway Construction Corp. Ltd. to the Chinese city of Tongling, Reuters reported. The shipment was valued at about US$25 million by Ecuador's energy ministry, the report said.

* Atalaya Mining PLC forecast copper production of between 55,000 and 58,000 tonnes in 2020. Copper output in 2019 climbed 6.7% to 44,950 tonnes.

* Nexa Resources SA produced 361,000 tonnes of zinc in full year 2019, within guidance of 360,000 to 380,000 tonnes. The company expects its zinc equivalent production to increase 6.4% per year on average from 2020 to 2022, mostly due to commissioning the Aripuana project in Brazil.

* Chinese cobalt and copper miner Nanjing Hanrui Cobalt Co. Ltd. expects its net profit attributable to shareholders for 2019 to decrease between 97.9% and 98.6% as cobalt prices dropped during the period.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Barrick Gold plans to upgrade its Porgera gold joint venture with Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. in Papua New Guinea to tier-one status as the gold major aims to boost production by at least 18% if it can renew the mining lease "on a reasonable basis," Reuters reported, citing CEO Mark Bristow. Barrick defines tier-one assets as capable of producing 500,000 ounces of gold per annum at a low cost for at least 10 years, according to Reuters. Barrick and Zijin's combined 2018 output at Porgera was 421,500 ounces.

* Toronto-listed First Majestic Silver Corp.'s 2019 production increased 15% to 25.6 million silver equivalent ounces, meeting the top end of its guidance of 24.4 Moz to 26.0 Moz. Silver production climbed 13% to 13.2 Moz, and gold production jumped 21% to 134,580 ounces.

* B2Gold Corp.'s production in the fourth quarter of 2019 totaled 245,140 ounces of gold, including its attributable share of ounces from Calibre Mining Corp. and output from discontinued operations. In the full year, the company produced 980,219 ounces, beating guidance of 935,000 to 975,000 ounces for 2019. The company forecast 2020 production of 1.0 million to 1.06 million ounces of gold.

* Canadian precious metals producer SSR Mining Inc. achieved record gold equivalent production of 421,906 ounces in 2019, including 106,208 ounces in the fourth quarter. The company expects to produce about 425,000 gold equivalent ounces in 2020 and anticipates annual production records at the Marigold mine in Nevada and the Seabee mine in Saskatchewan.

* Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. produced 2.3 million ounces of silver from its San Jose mine in Mexico and Caylloma mine in Peru in the fourth quarter of 2019. Full-year output was 8.8 million ounces, slipping 1% year over year and in line with annual guidance of 8.2 Moz to 9 Moz.

* Scotgold Resources Ltd. CEO Richard Gray believes that the company's Cononish gold project, the first commercial gold mine in Scotland, could potentially spark a "mini gold rush" in the country, London's Financial Times wrote. "It sounds a bit presumptuous and grandiose, but we do see this as being the start of a gold mining industry in Scotland," Gray said in the report.

* Cora Gold Ltd.'s initial scoping study for its Sanankoro gold project in Mali outlined a posttax net present value of US$24.2 million, a 73% internal rate of return and payback in less than 18 months at a gold price of US$1,400 per ounce. Preproduction capital expenditure was estimated at US$20.6 million for a 1.5-million-tonne-per-annum heap leach operation.

* The World Gold Council anticipates an increase in gold investment demand in 2020 due to financial and geopolitical uncertainty as well as low interest rates, Mining Review Africa reported. Meanwhile, the council launched its Qaurum analytics tool that would help understand how gold reacts under diverse macroeconomic and geopolitical conditions. Qaurum "provides investors with a framework for evaluating gold's performance consistent with approaches used for other asset classes," said John Reade, chief market strategist at the council.

* Industrial gold production in Mali increased 7% to a record 65.1 tonnes in full year 2019, Reuters reported, citing data from the country's mines ministry. The increase was partly due to Resolute Mining Ltd.'s launch of production at its Syama mine.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Alcoa Corp. swung to a US$303 million net loss, or a loss of US$1.63 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2019 from a year-ago net profit of US$51 million, or 27 U.S. cents per share. Revenues fell to US$2.44 billion, from US$3.34 billion in the prior-year period. The results included US$246 million in special items that were largely driven by pension and post-employment benefits.

* Alcoa committed to maintaining operations at the Portland aluminum smelter in Victoria, Australia, for at least another 18 months, The Australian reported, citing CEO Roy Harvey. Alcoa has yet to decide on the future of the smelter after a government-backed power supply deal expires in 2021, the report said.

* China Coal Energy Co. Ltd.'s December 2019 commercial coal output increased 5% year over year to 7.5 million tonnes, while sales surged 60.9% to 23.1 Mt. Full-year 2019 output rose 32% to 101.8 Mt as sales climbed 38.6% to 231.1 Mt.

* Whitehaven Coal Ltd.'s total managed salable coal production in its second quarter of its fiscal 2020 dropped 44% year over year to 3.1 million tonnes, while total managed coal sales fell 17% to 4.5 Mt. The company said production was impacted by labor shortages and dust events at its Maules Creek mine in New South Wales, Australia, and the scheduled longwall move at the Narrabri mine. Whitehaven expects coal demand to pick up following the signing of a new U.S.-China trade deal, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

* Chinese steelmaker Hbis Co. Ltd. expects its net profit attributable to shareholders for 2019 to drop between 25.5% and 36.6% as steel prices slumped and prices for raw materials including iron ore increased over the period.

* RAG-Stiftung, a public sector foundation and the controlling shareholder of German chemicals group Evonik Industries AG, joined a consortium led by private equity firms Advent International Corp. and Cinven in a bid for thyssenkrupp AG's €15 billion elevator business, Reuters reported, citing two unidentified sources.

* Norwegian state-owned Statkraft AS, Europe's largest renewable energy producer, signed a long-term agreement to supply 20% of steel producer CMC Poland Sp. z o.o.'s electricity needs at a fixed price. The contract is part of a growing wave in Europe of so-called virtual, or financial, power purchase agreements. It will start in 2021 and will co-exist with a physical supply contract. CMC Poland is a unit of Irving, Texas-headquartered Commercial Metals Co.

* Black Mountain Resources LLC, the new owner of a Kentucky mine purchased in the bankruptcy reorganization of Blackjewel LLC, is struggling to reopen due to disputes with state regulators, according to a letter posted in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

* Germany agreed to give €40 billion in aid to communities impacted by the government's plan to phase out brown coal, or lignite, at its power plants as the country looks to close down all of its coal-fired power plants by 2038, Reuters reported. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government also plans to cut carbon emissions to 55% of 1990 levels by 2030. Germany plans to pay about €2.6 billion to utility RWE AG and about €1.75 billion to mining company Mibrag, Reuters wrote separately, citing government sources and people familiar with the matter.

* American Resources Corp. agreed to sell certain of its Perry County Resources subsidiary's assets for about U$1 million in cash and equipment; the deal is expected to close within 30 days.

* Iluka Resources Ltd. awarded a A$1.9 million goods and services contract to Vysarn Ltd. subsidiary Pentium Hydro Pty. Ltd. to drill dewatering and injection wells at the Cataby mine in Western Australia.

* Coronado Global Resources Inc. said return-to-work safety sessions are taking place with all workers on-site ahead of unaffected areas of the Curragh coal mine complex in Queensland, Australia, gradually resuming operations.

SPECIALTY

* The chief of Bolivia's state-owned Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos, Juan Carlos Zuleta, told Reuters that the lithium company is planning to impose strict limits on foreign investment in extraction and processing of the metal. "It is important for the international community to know that Bolivian law says lithium should be extracted and processed by Bolivians," Zuleta said.

* Lucara Diamond Corp. agreed to work with luxury retailer Louis Vuitton and HB Co. to polish its 1,758-carat Sewelô diamond, unearthed at its Karowe mine in Botswana in 2019, into a collection of jewelry. Lucara said 5% of the retail sales generated from a collection of diamonds from Sewelô will be invested directly into Botswana for community-based initiatives. The company believes that the diamond is the largest ever recovered in Botswana.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The U.S. and China paused their nearly two-year trade conflict with the signing of a "phase one" agreement that includes Beijing's pledge to purchase more than US$200 billion of additional U.S. products and services over the next two years. Issues including subsidies and state-owned enterprises will likely be left for phase two. They will be much more challenging because they threaten the heart of the Chinese economic system. As part of the trade deal, China agreed to increase its purchases of scandium and yttrium from the U.S. The two rare earth metals are used in lighting and computers, Reuters reported.

* With its significant mineral endowment across a wide landscape, Canada's minerals production is the world's fifth-largest for gold, third-largest for nickel and diamonds, second-largest for uranium and fourth-largest for platinum group metals, S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team reported. While price struggles have put pressure on Canadian mines for some of these commodities in the past, there is no immediate sign of Canada yielding its position in those rankings while its gold production continues to grow, far outpacing the growth in any other commodity.

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