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K+S boosts Q1 revenues, EBITDA YOY on Bethune deliveries, improved prices

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K+S boosts Q1 revenues, EBITDA YOY on Bethune deliveries, improved prices

TOP NEWS

K+S boosts Q1 revenues, EBITDA YOY on Bethune deliveries, improved prices

K+S AG reported a 3.9% year-on-year increase in revenues for the first quarter to €1.17 billion, while EBITDA improved 12.3% to €237 million. The company highlighted deliveries from its new Bethune potash mine in Saskatchewan and higher market prices for potassium chloride as key factors, which partly offset lost sales volumes in Europe related to a late start to the spring fertilizing season as well as decreased production at the Werra plant in Germany due to limited personnel and machinery availability.

After proposed bid for Nevsun, analysts wonder if Euro Sun can handle Eritrea

Analysts called into question Lundin Mining Corp.'s choice to work with Euro Sun Mining Inc. in a proposed C$1.5 billion joint bid for Euro Sun Mining Inc. Through the rejected proposal, Lundin would buy Nevsun's copper-gold development assets in Serbia, which it has long coveted, while Euro Sun would acquire Nevsun's operating Bisha zinc mine in Eritrea. At issue is Euro Sun's ability to run a mining company in Eritrea. The country is a thorny jurisdiction that is subject to United Nations sanctions and, as a totalitarian regime is often criticized for human rights abuses.

Guinean bauxite miner losing US$1M per day as strike prompts production halt

Bauxite production has been suspended at Societe Miniere de Boké's mine in Guinea in the last 10 days due to a staff walkout, Reuters reported. The company has already lost between 1 million and 1.2 million tonnes of scheduled bauxite output because of the strike, with losses running to US$1 million per day. Some of the employees decided to down tools following the arrest of a union leader, Frederic Bouzigues, Societe Miniere, the company's director general, said.

BASE METALS

* In proceedings to determine control of PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co., Oleg Deripaska told a court in London that he "would not accept" the sale of shares in the miner by Roman Abramovich to Vladimir Potanin, the Financial Times wrote. Deripaska-controlled United Co. Rusal PLC is seeking to block Abramovich from selling the interest to Potanin, arguing it violates an earlier shareholder agreement.

* Glencore PLC unit Katanga Mining Ltd. produced 27,019 tonnes of contained copper in the first quarter, up from 9,459 tonnes in the previous three-month period, after ore mining resumed in late 2017 following the completion of phase one of the WOL project, part of the Kamoto copper operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

* Nautilus Minerals Inc. amended its funding agreement with M. Horn & Co. Ltd., switching to a nonexclusive arrangement as the mining hopeful continues to seek project financing to complete the development of its Solwara 1 copper-gold project, part of its Solwara concessions off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The company engaged M. Horn & Co. as sole financial adviser in early January, targeting project financing of up to US$350 million. Nautilus added that the revised agreement, which expires Jan. 8, 2019, will allow for more options and flexibility.

* Sipa Resources Ltd. signed an earn-in and joint venture agreement enabling Rio Tinto subsidiary Rio Tinto Mining & Exploration Ltd. to earn up to a 75% interest in the early stage Kitgum-Pader nickel-copper project in Uganda.

* Strongbow Exploration Inc. is planning its London listing and expects to hit the board of the AIM in June as the company looks to raise £25 million over the next 18 months to progress the South Crofty tin project in England to a production decision.

* Cameo Resources Corp. signed a deal to acquire Labrador Cobalt Corp., which owns more than 4,000 hectares of mineral claims in Newfoundland and Labrador, as part of Cameo's plan to focus on cobalt assets.

* Analysts contacted by S&P Global Market Intelligence agreed that the heat has come out of the battery metals market somewhat but that would not stop what could well be the ASX's next commodities float, Galileo Mining Ltd., particularly with famed West Australian veteran prospector Mark Creasy involved. S&P Global Market Intelligence also confirmed the report by The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk that Independence Group NL has taken a just under 5% stake in Galileo.

* Savannah Resources PLC received letters of no objection from all eight ministries in Oman for the company's Mahab 4 and Maqail South mining license applications, part of its Block 5 copper project. Savannah is now in discussions with the country's Public Authority of Mining to secure mining licenses.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Shanta Gold Ltd. intends to undertake further exploration near its flagship New Luika mine in Tanzania after cutting costs in 2017 to cope with tougher mining laws, Reuters reported, citing CEO Eric Zurrin. "We will be doing more drilling at our flagship asset, it's our crown jewel," Zurrin said, adding that the company is targeting to boost its reserves and expand production.

* Barrick Gold Corp. said Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corp., operator of the Pueblo Viejo gold mine in the Dominican Republic, signed a 10-year natural gas supply contract with AES Andres DR SA that will enable the conversion of the Quisqueya I power generation facility from heavy fuel oil to natural gas. The move is expected to save about US$54/oz of gold over the life of mine. Pueblo Viejo Dominicana is a joint venture between Barrick and Goldcorp Inc.

* Lonmin PLC's net loss in the first half of its fiscal 2018, ended March 31, shrunk to US$67 million, compared to a net loss of US$214 million in the year-ago half. Revenue increased to US$561 million, from US$486 million a year ago, as the U.S. dollar platinum group metals basket price increased 27% year over year. The company also revised its full-year CapEx guidance to 1.2 billion South African rand to 1.3 billion rand, from 1.4 billion rand to 1.5 billion rand. The company's platinum production in the fiscal half climbed 3.9% year over year to 143,374 ounces, and platinum group metals output increased 3.5% on a yearly basis to 274,941 ounces.

* Lonmin CEO Ben Magara urged authorities to approve the company's merger with Sibanye Gold Ltd. as soon as possible, as the move will generate 1.5 billion South African rand in synergies and save 12,600 vitally needed jobs, Mining Weekly reported. Meanwhile, Lonmin CFO Barrie van der Merwe said the company's ability to remain a going concern over the next 12 to 18 months has "material uncertainties", as it continues to hold discussions alternative providers of finance, Reuters reported.

* Thor Explorations Ltd. is targeting bringing Nigeria's first large-scale gold mine online in early 2020, Reuters reported, citing CEO Segun Lawson. The company already holds an exploration license and is considering options for raising US$72 million to bring the mine into production, Lawson added.

* Egan Street Resources Ltd. posted an updated resource estimate for its Rothsay gold project in Western Australia, with contained gold increasing 31% to 401,000 ounces. The estimate includes the initial definition of resources for the Woodley's East hanging wall zone, comprising two separate lenses of mineralization totaling 22,000 ounces in inferred resources. Rothsay hosts indicated and inferred resources totaling 1.4 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 8.8 g/t.

* Altamira Gold Corp. claimed an additional 51,553 hectares within the Santa Helena and Colider gold projects in Brazil. Altamira boosted the size of its holding at Santa Helena from 18,506 hectares to 58,594 hectares and staked a further 11,465 hectares at Colider, bringing the total for the latter to 15,681 hectares.

* Victoria Gold Corp. agreed on a gold hedging program with Macquarie Bank for the Eagle Gold project, part of the Dublin Gulch property in Canada's Yukon Territory.

* Arrow Minerals Ltd. executed definitive agreements allowing Pacton Gold Inc. to earn up to an 80% joint venture interest in the Pilbara gold project in Western Australia.

BULK COMMODITIES

* BlueScope Steel Ltd. expects its underlying EBIT for the second half ending June 30 to be around A$680 million, compared to the previous guidance of A$606 million. The company attributed the improvement to the continued strong steel spreads in North America.

* National Aluminium Co. Ltd. is targeting revenues of about 93.50 billion Indian rupees in fiscal 2018-19, up 15% year over year, The Economic Times of India reported. Alumina and aluminum production are pegged at 2.1 million tonnes and 4.2 million tonnes, respectively.

* Steel Dynamics Inc. agreed to acquire Cia. Siderúrgica Nacional's Companhia Siderurgica Nacional LLC unit in Indiana for US$400 million. The operation produces various types of higher-margin, flat roll steel by further processing hot roll coils into pickle and oil, cold roll, and galvanized products.

* China approved a 2.2 billion Chinese yuan expansion of Shenhuo Group's coal mine in the country's Henan province, Reuters reported, citing the National Energy Administration. The expansion will boost the mine's coal production to 2.4 million tonnes from the current 900,000 tonnes.

* Sinosteel Corp. agreed to invest US$1 billion in Zimbabwe to build a power plant and increase ferrochrome output, Reuters reported, citing the country's President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

* Rio Tinto's autonomous Autohaul program could reduce the time required to carry iron ore from the miner's Western Australian mines to port by about 20%, The Australian Financial Review reported. Steve McIntosh, Rio's growth and innovation head, said the Autohaul project was expected to be "fully operational with full regulator sign-off" before the year ends.

* China Coal Energy Co. Ltd.'s production of commercial coal in April rose 6.5% year over year to 6.4 million tonnes, while coal sales volume grew 12.9% to about 11.0 million tonnes.

* The value of Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd.'s contracts signed between January and April amounted to 208.89 billion Chinese yuan, representing an increase of 19.6% on a yearly basis.

* Israel Chemicals Ltd. launched a cash tender offer for the US$800 million aggregate principal amount of its 4.5% senior notes due 2024, along with an offering of new long-dated 20- to 30-year unsecured senior notes. The scope and terms of the unsecured notes have yet to be determined.

* Alcoa Corp.'s Alcoa Nederland Holding BV subsidiary priced an offering of US$500 million aggregate principal amount of 6.125% senior notes due 2028. The offering is expected to close May 17.

* Sources told The New Indian Express that operations at the Hingula coal mine in Odisha, India, have been shut for the last five days due to protests by villagers from Gopal Prasad and Malibandh, who are demanding employment and other benefits for the land they ceded.

* The Russian government is considering supporting Rusal and GAZ as the companies continue to grapple with U.S. sanctions, though buying stakes in the Oleg Deripaska-held companies will not be an option, Reuters reported, citing Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. Siluanov said credit support for the companies is "being worked out" but did not disclose how much support might be available.

SPECIALTY

* Albemarle Corp. said more battery manufacturers are pushing for 10-year lithium supply contracts to secure stocks, with President John Mitchell noting that almost 100% of the company's 2018 sales are under long-term contracts, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Tianqi Lithium Corp. and Albemarle-owned Talison Lithium Ltd.'s planned A$600 million expansion of the Greenbushes mine in Western Australia, on top of an existing A$320 million upgrade, would double the project's lithium production capacity to 2.3 million tonnes per year starting 2021, The West Australian reported.

* Mining efforts resumed at BSG Resources Ltd.'s Koidu diamond operation in Sierra Leone after being halted for almost a year, though the company still faces challenges in running the mine. The Koidu operation has suffered setbacks since late 2014 when the Ebola virus started to hit mines in Sierra Leone.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Major mining firms operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo said that a commission formed to draft detailed regulations to implement a new mining code had completed its work, Reuters reported. However, the miners said that they were not given the opportunity to negotiate over key issues in the code as the talks were restricted to drafting the regulations within already set parameters, Reuters reported. Mining companies including Glencore, Randgold Resources Ltd., AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.,Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and China Molybdenum Co. Ltd. were represented on the drafting commission.

* Juan Biset, Argentina's deputy secretary for sustainable mining, is visiting Australia in a bid to strengthen bilateral relationships and attract investments in his country's mining sector, Mining.com reported. Biset is set to meet executives of major Australian mining companies and banks.

* Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd.'s purchase of Rio Tinto's Coal & Allied Industries Ltd. unit in a US$2.69 billion deal in 2017 failed to inspire other Chinese coal majors to follow suit with similar acquisitions outside the country. In China, any enthusiasm for M&A in coal assets abroad is being overshadowed by the August 2017 launch of a government campaign to consolidate the domestic coal industry, which is aiming to create several large mining companies by the end of 2020. Yanzhou Coal has already ruled out ruled out further M&A this year, saying it will instead focus on its domestic operations.

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