Rusal's Q4'17 net profit slides 31.8% YOY to US$440M; Deripaska to step down as President
United Co. Rusal Plc's fourth-quarter 2017 profit slid 31.8% year over year to US$440 million, from US$645 million in 2016 when it recorded a US$299 million gain from the sale of its Alpart alumina refinery in Jamaica to China's Jiuquan Iron and Steel (Group) Co. Ltd., even as revenue increased 35.4% on a yearly basis to US$2.75 billion, from US$2.03 billion. Rusal added that Oleg Deripaska will be stepping down as president effective March 15. CEO Vladislav Soloviev will move to the president position, while the CEO role will then be taken up by current CFO Alexandra Bouriko, who will become the first woman to lead one of Russia's largest mining companies.
Barrick approves new projects to add more than 1 Moz of gold to annual output
Barrick Gold Corp. outlined a potential increase of 1 million ounces in its average annual gold production starting in 2021. Annual gold output between 2019 and 2022 is estimated at 4.2 million to 4.6 million ounces, with all-in sustaining costs of between US$750/oz and US$875/oz. The miner approved three feasibility-level projects at its Turquoise Ridge, Cortez Deep South and Goldrush mines in Nevada, while optimization on a fourth project to extend the life of the Lagunas Norte mine in Peru remains underway.
Newmont sinks deeper into red in Q4'17 on charges from US tax reforms
Newmont Mining Corp. posted a net loss attributable to shareholders of US$527 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, widening year over year from a loss of US$344 million. The quarterly loss included net tax adjustments of US$1.30 per share, including noncash charges of US$346 million related to a remeasurement of U.S. deferred tax assets and liabilities as well as US$395 million related to tax restructuring following the enactment of the U.S. tax reforms in December 2017. The company's attributable gold production rose 1% to 1.3 million ounces in the quarter.
* Anglo American Plc CEO Mark Cutifani agreed with the company's board to stay on with the company that he joined in April 2013, Miningmx reported, citing an interview with Cutifani. "I always said I would review my position after five to seven years, but the board agreed that I should keep on going. We've not put an end-date on it yet," Cutifani said. The comments came after Anglo American posted a 99% surge in net profit attributable to shareholders for 2017 and a 47% drop in net debt.
* Rio Tinto plans to move some of its London-based support staff as it forms three global hubs, as well as a commercial and marketing hub in Singapore, Reuters reported. The company has started consultations with the workers, as some roles are expected to be moved to one of the three hubs. The miner, however, said that it was not changing its operating model.
* Kazakh miner Eurasian Resources Group Sàrl is working with VTB Capital and Rothschild on a plan to spin off and list some of its assets to partially repay its debt, Reuters reported, citing sources. "The company needs to raise cash and is looking to spin off some of its assets, most likely the ferrochrome and power ones, and list them," one source said. The company is also said to be looking to tap Chinese or Japanese shareholders to invest in up to a 20% stake in the assets, another source said.
* BHP Billiton Group CEO Andrew Mackenzie said the company will not transfer its marketing hub in Singapore, where it pays lower taxes, even if the Australian government proceeds to reduce corporate taxes, Reuters reported.
* Nyrstar NV swung to a €47 million net profit in 2017, thanks to a €126 million impairment reversal, compared to a €414 million loss in 2016, which included a €266 million impairment loss. Underlying EBITDA rose 5% year on year to €205 million, underpinned by higher zinc prices and increased production, among others.
* Castle Silver Resources Inc. received shareholder and board approval to rename as Canada Cobalt Works Inc., effective immediately, and trade under the ticker CCW on the TSX Venture Exchange. The company is advancing the Castle, Beaver and Violet cobalt mines in Ontario.
* A group of concerned citizens in the town of Brooke's Point in Palawan, Philippines, led by Mayor Jean Feliciano, demolished the facilities of the Ipilan nickel project, saying that it does not have valid permits, Rappler reported.
* Sibanye Gold Ltd. CEO Neal Froneman warned Lonmin Plc that failing to deliver on the restructuring plans would see the withdrawal of Sibanye's all-share offer for the platinum miner, Miningmx reported.
* Barrick Gold executives said the company will not make acquisitions just to sate growth calls. Chairman John Thornton said the miner considered several deals over the past year that offered growth but passed on them all, Reuters wrote.
* Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the country plans to launch a cryptocurrency backed by precious metals called "petro gold," Reuters reported.
* Endeavour Silver Corp. is targeting a 25% increase in annual silver equivalent production at the El Compas gold-silver mine in Mexico, compared to the metrics outlined in the March 2017 preliminary economic assessment.
* GoldMining Inc.'s BRI Mineração Ltda. subsidiary agreed to acquire 66.66% of the existing 4% net production royalty at the Cachoeira gold project in Brazil.
* Orion Metals Ltd. entered an agreement with PVW Resources NL, allowing the latter to earn up to a 90% interest in the seven gold and rare earth elements exploration tenements in the Tanami West project area in Western Australia by sole-funding and carrying out exploration activity over the tenements.
* Goldplat Plc signed a final settlement agreement with Rand Refinery Pty. Ltd., ending a dispute between the two companies over a silver sulfide processing agreement. Goldplat did not disclose the settlement amount payable by Rand Refinery.
* Focus Minerals Ltd. estimated a maiden resource estimate for its Karridale deposit, part of the Laverton gold project in Western Australia, of 12.7 million tonnes at 1.3 g/t of gold for 538,000 contained gold ounces.
* B2Gold Corp. posted an initial resource estimate for the Toega deposit at its Kiaka gold project in Burkina Faso. At a cutoff of 0.6 g/t of gold, the deposit hosts inferred resources containing 1.13 million ounces of gold within 17.5 million tonnes of ore grading 2.01 g/t, indicating open pit potential.
* The U.S. Department of Defense backed the findings of the Department of Commerce that imports of steel and aluminum are a risk to the country's national security, CNBC reported, citing a department memorandum. "DoD believes that the systematic use of unfair trade practices to intentionally erode our innovation and manufacturing industrial base poses a risk to our national security," the memorandum said.
* En+ Group plc said Oleg Deripaska resigned as president and was redesignated as nonexecutive director, effective March 15. Vladislav Soloviev was named as CEO and redesignated as executive director, following his appointment as Rusal's president. Maxim Sokov was then named as En+ Group's president.
* Bangkok-based coal miner Banpu PCL posted a 55.4% year-over-year increase in net profit for the fourth quarter of 2017 to US$66.2 million, or 1.3 U.S. cents per share. The profit included a foreign exchange loss of US$21.4 million due to the strengthening of the Thai baht, compared to forex gains of US$7.8 million a year ago. Sales revenues in the three-month period jumped to US$891.3 million, from US$652.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, on the back of higher coal sales volumes and prices.
* Finland's Financial Supervisory Authority ordered Afarak Group Oyj and shareholder Danko Koncar to launch a takeover bid of at least €2.50 per share for the company's shares or pay a €40 million fine. The fine will increase by €10 million each month the takeover bid is not launched.
* Adani Enterprises Ltd. is again considering selling a minority stake in the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia, after it said it would be unable to meet a March deadline to secure up to A$3 billion in financing for the controversial project, Bloomberg News reported.
* South Africa's power producer Eskom said the Optimum coal mine started business rescue proceedings, without detailing what the proceedings entailed, Reuters reported. The Gupta family-owned mine supplies coal to one of the utility's power stations.
* U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island sent a letter to the assistant secretary for mine safety and health, David Zatezalo, for the latter to clarify his relationship with Murray Energy Corp. CEO Bob Murray, who is allegedly lobbying to relax the enforcement of a mine dust safety rule in coal mines that was meant to curb black lung disease cases for miners, CNN reported.
* The government of Burkina Faso is seeking a new partner for the development of the Tambao manganese mine after its partnership with Pan African Minerals Ltd. fell through, Bloomberg News reported, citing the country's mining minister. Tambao is said to be the world's biggest manganese deposit, with estimated reserves of 100 million tonnes valued at US$1 billion, the report added.
* Champion Iron Ltd. subsidiary Québec Iron Ore Inc. restarted operations at the Bloom Lake iron ore mine in Quebec on Feb. 16, ahead of schedule and within budget.
* Risks abound for technology metals investors being kept in the dark about pricing while some exploration executives are deluding themselves about graphite grade and flake size, market players say. Mike Rosenstreich, managing director of emerging specialty metals junior Hexagon Resources Ltd., said many people don't understand the immature, fragmented, segmented and "very opaque" nature of the graphite market. BDO corporate finance partner Adam Myers told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the pricing structure of technology metals was private as they are traded under contracts, so "what you see in the public domain versus how the companies negotiate is very hard to get a handle on."
* Orocobre Ltd.'s posttax net profit slightly rose to US$8.2 million in the first half of fiscal 2018, from US$7.4 million a year ago, reflecting its US$13.1 million profit from the Salar de Olaroz joint venture with Toyota Tsusho Corp. and a US$1.9 million impairment at Borax Argentina.
* Graphite One Resources Inc. said that the Alaskan Senate took up a bill that would allow the Alaska Industrial Development Export Authority to issue bonds to finance infrastructure and construction costs of the company's Graphite Creek project in the state.
* PAO NOVATEK completed the purchase of PJSC Alrosa's gas assets, including JSC Geotransgaz and Urengoy Gas Co. LLC. Novatek recently won the auction for the assets with a 30.3 billion Russian ruble bid, Vedomosti reported.
* PepinNini Lithium Ltd. secured an option from LSC Lithium Corp. unit LitheA Inc. to acquire the Mina Patilla lithium project in Argentina's Salar de Pular.
* A looming overhaul of Canada's environmental permitting regime has stoked fears of delays and a slump in investment in the natural resource sectors, while some in the industry expect companies will adapt to the proposed legislation without major consequences. The country plans to reshape the federal permitting process for major natural resource projects through a new bill which was first outlined Feb. 8. Among key changes are requirements for more consultation with Canada's First Nations, assessment of climate change impacts and analysis of gender balance.
* The success of China's environmental drive has surprised analysts who predicted it would take longer to flow through to commodity prices, but the broader economic climate remains "highly volatile" as China has clamped down on the housing market, according to ANZ senior commodities strategist Daniel Hynes. Hynes told attendees at the RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle, Western Australia this week that China's big environmental push has been "the biggest issue" that has changed to impact commodity markets over the past year.
* The business-friendly stance of new South African President Cyril Ramaphosa affected business for miners selling commodities in U.S. dollars and paying local costs in South African rand, as the local currency rose 6% over the dollar in 2018, the Financial Times reported.
* Macquarie Group Ltd.'s head of banking, Greg Ward, said the company has been threatened with a class action lawsuit over allegations that some of its brokers and advisers manipulated stock prices of Cleveland Mining Co. Ltd. or failed to act on clients' instructions over the stock's price movement.
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