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First Quantum may invest US$1B in Zambia; BHP sees India to offset China plateau


Report: First Quantum eyeing US$1B investment in Africa's largest copper mine

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. is considering investing about US$1 billion to add another decade of production to the largest copper mine in Africa, Reuters reported, citing company documents. The Canadian mining company would reportedly increase annual production from the Kansanshi mine in Zambia from a projected 235,000 tonnes in 2019 to 300,000 tonnes over time with the investment. The company's board would need to sign off on the proposal over the coming year, which could be complicated by issues stemming from taxes and assets between mining companies and the Zambian government.

BHP expects India's steel production to offset China's 'plateau'

BHP Group expects India's steel production to grow 7% per year over the 2020s, which will fill the looming demand gap for metallurgical coal, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. According to BHP vice president for market analysis Huw McKay, China is now in a "plateau" phase, while demand in other top steel markets such as Japan and South Korea was also subdued. India's government is predicting that its metallurgical coal demand will more than double in 10 years with its planned increase in crude steel production to 300 million tonnes by 2030.

Report: Glencore considered Fortescue takeover in 2016

Glencore PLC considered a potential acquisition of Australian miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. during a period of depressed prices for iron ore in 2016 to gain exposure to the commodity, The Australian reported, citing unnamed sources close to both companies. However, the Swiss commodities trader opted not to pursue a potential deal as controlling shareholder Andrew Forrest was not inclined to divest his 35% stake in Fortescue, sources cited by the news outlet said.


* Panoramic Resources Ltd. produced 1,042 tonnes of nickel, 695 tonnes of copper and 55 tonnes of cobalt in concentrate during the December 2019 quarter, down by 22% for nickel and by 19% for copper from the previous quarter.

* Metminco Ltd. said the sale of its noncore Mollacas copper project in Chile is expected to close in the next few weeks, including requirements for the repatriation of the US$1 million in sale proceeds.


* Gold prices rose to nearly a seven-year high after a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Reuters reported. Spot gold rallied as much as 1.8% to US$1,579.72 per ounce, the highest since April 10, 2013, while spot palladium climbed to an all-time high of US$2,020.18 per ounce.

* Panoramic Resources entered a definitive agreement to sell its Thunder Bay North platinum group metals project in Ontario to Regency Gold Corp. The company will terminate its previously agreed letter agreement for the sale of Thunder Bay North to Benton Resources Inc.

* Avesoro Jersey Ltd. completed the compulsory acquisition of all remaining common shares of Avesoro Resources Inc. following its previously announced successful takeover bid. Avesoro Resources has applied to delist its common shares from the TSX and the LSE's AIM.

* In a bid to expand its landholding at the Pickle Lake gold project in Ontario, Ardiden Ltd. entered an earn-in agreement for Exiro Minerals Corp.'s New Patricia gold prospect, which extends over 30 kilometers of prospective geological setting directly along strike from the Golden Patricia mine and adjoins Ardiden's Dorothy Dobie gold prospect at Pickle Lake. The acquisition will more than double Ardiden's prospective ground position in the area to 257 square kilometers, from 123 square kilometers.

* ANS Mining Share Co. executed the subscription agreement into Tulu Kapi Gold Mines Share Co., the project company for the Tulu Kapi gold project in Ethiopia, and will transfer the first funding tranche of US$9.5 million in January. The existing shareholders, KEFI Minerals PLC and the Ethiopian government, approved the issue of Tulu Kapi Gold Mines shares to ANS Mining.

* India's 2019 gold imports dropped 12% year over year to 831 tonnes, the lowest in three years, amid weak demand from retail buyers following record-high prices in the second half, Reuters reported, citing a government source. Gold imports in December 2019 fell 18% to 60 tonnes, the report added. In value terms, imports were down almost 2% to US$31.22 billion.

* Resolute Mining Ltd. forward sold an additional 22,800 ounces of gold at an average price of US$1,553 per ounce in scheduled monthly deliveries of 3,800 ounces between July and December. The company said that it took advantage of market volatility and current gold price strength to extend its U.S. dollar-denominated gold hedge position.

* Metalla Royalty & Streaming Ltd. common shares have been approved for listing on the NYSE American, and are expected to begin trading when the market opens on Jan. 8 under the ticker symbol MTA.


* Protesters against Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia, are targeting their protests on Siemens Mobility Australia, the company which will manufacture a signalling system for the railway that will transport coal from the mine to the coast, The Australian reported.

* Anglo American PLC is facing pressure from certain investors to keep its thermal coal mining business amid growing concerns on climate change, The Sunday Times reported. The company's CEO Mark Cutifani has said that Anglo American will quit thermal coal mining, but he did not specify when.

* The proposed green deal by the European Commission on reducing emissions to net zero by 2050 could transform demand for metals used in technology and green applications, Argus Media reported, noting that some will be benefiting while some will be losing out.

* Floods in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, may cause logistical issues for steelmakers in the country, Fastmarkets MB wrote, citing an unnamed trader source. The floods have killed at least 43 people and displaced about 400,000 others, the report said.

* Tata Sons Private Ltd. chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran said in an interview with The Sunday Times that the company "can't have a situation where India keeps funding the losses." The company owns the steelworks in Port Talbot, which according to the chairman, needs to be self-sustaining.

* Nucor Steel Memphis Inc. bought heat-treating equipment from Energy Alloys LLC and plans to build a new, 23,000-square-foot facility to house it, the Daily Memphian reported. The new facility will be constructed at the company's existing plant in Pidgeon Industrial Park, and is expected to produce value added products for customers. The report noted that the total investment is about US$10 million.


* Texas-based Rio Grande Resources Corp. informed the Mining and Minerals Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department of its plan to cease mining at the Mount Taylor uranium mine and begin closure plan activity. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center said that Rio Grande is "finally facing the reality" that the mine is neither economically feasible nor environmentally sustainable.

* Lithium Australia NL's subsidiary VSPC Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding with Beijing Saideli Technology Inc. Co. Ltd. to commercialize production of its lithium-ferro-phosphate, or LFP, cathode product. The companies plan to establish a supply chain for VSPC customers in China and a joint feasibility study for LFP production and supply outside China using VSPC proprietary process technology.

* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. recovered 9,837 carats from its Mothae mine in Lesotho and 4,170 carats from its Lulo mine in Angola during the fourth quarter of 2019, for a total of 14,007 carats. The record results for the quarter contributed to record annual group production of 49,120 carats and combined sales of US$55.0 million for full-year 2019.

* Pathfinder Minerals PLC is exploring commercial options for mining concession 4623C, part of its Moebase ilmenite property in Mozambique, as talks to resolve a dispute over the license continue. The company said it is assessing two independent opportunities, with due diligence on their suitability for Pathfinder now at an advanced stage.


* Australian Industrial Transformation Institute Professor Goran Roos said that industries will shift to a metal-based economy to a higher extent in the future from a coal-and-petroleum based economy, on the back for the global push for decarbonization, ABC reported.

* Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took pride that his administration has not approved new mining concessions, and criticized the five administrations preceding him for issuing approvals that ceded 90 million hectares of land to mining companies, reported.

* Imdex Ltd. completed the acquisition of Flexidrill and its patent protected technologies, COREVIBE and MAGHAMMER, following payment of NZ$3 million in cash.

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