Resolute in advanced talks for up to A$300M sale of Australian gold mine
Australia's Resolute Mining Ltd. has entered into exclusive negotiations with private equity firm EMR Capital Management Ltd. to sell the Ravenswood gold mine in Queensland, Australia, for up to A$300 million. Resolute confirmed an article by The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk, which said that the company was close to selling the property. Resolute said the price comprises A$100 million of initial upfront value and up to A$200 million in additional deferred consideration, which would be contingent on future gold prices, future production thresholds and the investment outcomes from Ravenswood for EMR Capital.
Rio Tinto awards A$400M contract for Western Turner Syncline phase two iron ore project
A unit of Australian engineering group Monadelphous Group Ltd. won a A$400 million contract to carry out work for Rio Tinto's Western Turner Syncline phase two iron ore project in Western Australia. Monadelphous' 60%-owned Mondium Pty. Ltd. will be responsible for all work related to engineering and design, procurement and site construction, including the process plant, overland conveyor and nonprocess infrastructure. The new phase of the Western Turner mine will allow Rio Tinto to sustain approved production of 30 million tonnes a year.
Rhodium's prices surged 31% this month to US$7,925 per ounce, reaching the highest since 2008, Bloomberg reported. Rhodium, mainly used in autocatalysts, rallied 12-fold in the past four years to outperform all major commodities, on rising demand from the auto sector due to stricter emission rules.
* Copper prices might jump this year as capital spending for new production decreases amid easing U.S.-China trade tensions, Bloomberg reported. The newswire noted that inventories at warehouses tracked by three international exchanges plunged 37% since July to just shy of 300,000 tons, equivalent to only 1.2% of global consumption.
* New World Resources Ltd. secured the right to acquire the historical, high-grade Antler copper deposit in Arizona. The company plans to start its maiden drilling at Antler this quarter, to be followed immediately with initial mine designs and economic studies.
* Toronto-based explorer Adventus Mining Corp. granted Australia's South32 Ltd. an option to acquire 70% of the Rathkeale, Kingscourt and Fermoy exploration projects in Ireland.
* Indian miner Vedanta Ltd. suspended production at the Deeps Shaft, part of its Black Mountain lead-zinc operation in South Africa, following the death of a mining operator in a fall-of-ground incident, Mining Weekly reported.
* Vancouver, Canada-based Copper Mountain Mining Corp. expects copper output in 2020 of 86 million pounds to 96 million pounds, an up to 33% increase over the 72.0 million pounds produced in 2019. C1 cash costs in 2020 are expected between US$1.30 per pound and US$1.45 per pound.
* London-listed NQ Minerals PLC achieved record production of 8,160 tonnes of lead concentrate and 4,904 tonnes of zinc concentrate at its Hellyer mine in Tasmania, Australia, in the fourth quarter of 2019. This compares to 6,656 tonnes of lead concentrate and 3,310 tonnes of zinc concentrate produced in the third quarter last year.
* PolyMet Mining Corp. said it is exploring all options for the NorthMet copper project, which includes filing a petition for review to the Minnesota Supreme Court regarding the Minnesota Court of Appeals' decision to remand the company's permit to mine and dam safety permits back to the Department of Natural Resources for a contested case hearing.
* The government of the Republic of Senegal approved IAMGOLD Corp.'s mining permit application for the Boto gold project for an initial period of 20 years. Based on the company's optimization study, the project is expected to produce 160,000 ounces of gold annually during the first six years of operation. The study on Boto outlined a posttax net present value of US$219 million at a 6% discount, with an internal rate of return of 22.6% and a payback period of 3.2 years.
* Caledonia Mining Corp. PLC achieved record quarterly gold production of 16,876 ounces during the fourth quarter of 2019 at its Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe, 13% higher than the 16,425 ounces of gold produced in the same quarter of 2018. The company produced a total of about 55,182 ounces in full-year 2019, above its production guidance of between 50,000 ounces and 53,000 ounces. Gold production for this year is expected to be between 53,000 ounces and 56,000 ounces.
* Black Tusk Resources Inc. entered into an agreement to acquire Chalice Gold Exploration Corp., owner of the South Rim project in British Columbia. Black Tusk will issue 10.0 million common shares to shareholders of Chalice, and the property is subject to a 2% net smelter royalty.
* Petratherm Ltd. was granted the Comet gold project tenement, or EL6443, in South Australia, allowing exploration activities to proceed.
* Novelis Inc. subsidiary Novelis Corp. priced an offering of US$1.6 billion of 4.750% senior notes due 2030. Proceeds from the notes are earmarked for the refinancing of the company's 6.25% senior notes due 2024, and pay a portion of the consideration for the expected acquisition of Aleris Corp. Novelis Inc. is a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries Ltd.
* Fluor Corp. erected the first 1,500 tons of modules in the ore handling plant at BHP Group's US$3.6 billion South Flank iron ore project in Western Australia. Fluor noted that the construction milestone is in the critical sequence to first ore.
* Australia-based White Energy Co. Ltd. is seeking about US$153 million from Indonesia's PT Bayan Resources Tbk. in a dispute over the KSC coal joint venture in Indonesia.
* Chinese coal producer Shandong Energy Group Co. Ltd. launched a bond offering of 2 billion Chinese yuan on Jan. 13 to repay its bank loans and for general working capital.
* Ferrexpo PLC's total pellet production in the fourth quarter of 2019 increased 3.5% over the third quarter to 2.6 million tonnes. Full-year production in 2019 slid 0.8% to 10.5 Mt, in line with the revised guidance of between 10.4 Mt and 10.6 Mt.
* Top Chinese potash producer Qinghai Salt Lake Potash Co. Ltd. expects a full-year 2019 net loss in the range of 43.2 billion Chinese yuan to 47.2 billion yuan, from 3.45 billion yuan in the previous year, Reuters reported, citing an exchange filing. The decline was blamed on the company's bankruptcy reorganization process. This would be Qinghai's third straight annual net loss, which may prompt the Shenzhen Stock Exchange to delist the company, Reuters added.
* Dutch insurer Aegon NV will no longer invest in companies that own more than 10 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity generation capacity or produce more than 20 million tonnes of thermal coal annually. Aegon said it already dropped companies that derive more than 30% of their revenues from the exploration, mining and refining of thermal coal.
* Ridley Terminals Inc. in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, exported 772,986 tonnes of thermal and metallurgical coal in December 2019, up 184% from the previous month, Prince Rupert Port Authority data showed. The month-on-month jump was the highest since a 213% increase in March of the same year. From the year-ago month, coal exports increased 6.2%. In 2019, coal exports through the terminal totaled 8.6 million tonnes, up 10.7% from 2018 exports, and the most annual exports since 2013.
* Russian diamond miner PJSC Alrosa's sales of rough stones grew for a fifth consecutive month in December 2019, to a nine-month high of US$352.1 million, after falling to just US$164.6 million in July 2019. The 25% swell in rough diamond sales from November 2019's US$282.1 million brought total takings for 2019 to US$3.27 billion, down 26% from US$4.41 billion in 2018.
* Australia's Takeovers Panel ordered a stay on the suspension of Energy Resources of Australia Ltd.'s A$476 million renounceable entitlement offer while it reviews Rio Tinto's appeal on the matter. The panel earlier flagged that the offering may hurt minority shareholders and result in a possible takeover by Rio Tinto.
* Athabasca Minerals Inc. will not exercise its buyout options for the remaining 50.8% and 50.4% stakes in the Montney and the Duvernay in-basin sand projects in Canada, respectively, due to current market conditions and "competitive pricing considerations."
* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd.'s first cutting & polishing partnership manufactured a 36-carat rough diamond from the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho into six polished D-color diamonds. The two largest polished diamonds produced were both graded as flawless by the Gemological Institute of America.
* Global M&A activity is expected to continue at a slow pace in 2020, dragged down by a potential decline in deals in North America, where companies are in "wait-and-see mode" amid lingering trade, economic and political uncertainties, Willis Towers Watson PLC said. The U.S. will drive the M&A slowdown, with companies reluctant to take on big deals as they prepare for a possible recession, according to the advisory and broking firm.
* Having disappeared for much of the decade, inflation could rear its head again in the near future as the global economy creeps towards full employment and central banks turn increasingly dovish, according to Pacific Investment Management Co, known as PIMCO. PIMCO says the likelihood is that the conditions are now in place for inflation to increase, although they only forecast a "benign" rise. "The important point is the risks are much more weighted to the upside than to the downside," said Joachim Fels, global economic advisor for PIMCO.
* South Africa's mining industry body called on the government to ease the power crisis by bringing in new private-sector power sources, following power cuts by state-owned utility Eskom, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the Minerals Council South Africa.
* The constitutional court of Ecuador ruled that communities have the right to conduct public referendums on whether a mining project should be allowed or not, Mining.com reported.
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