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BHP slashes FY'19 copper output forecast on lower volumes at Olympic Dam, Spence

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BHP slashes FY'19 copper output forecast on lower volumes at Olympic Dam, Spence

TOP NEWS

BHP slashes FY'19 copper output forecast on lower volumes at Olympic Dam, Spence

BHP Billiton Group slashed its fiscal 2019 copper production guidance to between 1.62 million and 1.71 million tonnes, from between 1.68 million and 1.77 million tonnes, due to lower output volumes at the Olympic Dam mine in Australia and Spence mine in Chile following unplanned outages. Iron ore output for the first quarter of the fiscal year grew 10% year on year to 61.39 million tonnes, as its Western Australian operations saw higher volumes supported by record production from the Jimblebar mine and improved reliability across the company's rail network and port operations.

Vale CEO says no big acquisition on agenda, sees partial Samarco restart by 2020

Vale SA CEO Fabio Schvartsman said the company does not plan to chase big acquisitions, given its opportunity to grow organically in nickel, the Financial Times reported. Schvartsman said big dealmaking "adventures" were not part of his agenda, and any acquisitions would be small bolt-on deals, possibly in iron ore. Meanwhile, in a separate same-day report by Reuters, Schvartsman said the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil could restart production at a third of its capacity by early 2020, noting that there is indication that "all issues will be overcome" by then.

Greenfields Exploration IPO off the cards with change of funding strategy

Greenfields Exploration Ltd. has abandoned both its plans both to undertake Australia’s first retail equity crowdfunding for a miner and to list on the ASX in early 2019 after Independence Group NL agreed to fund initial regional exploration work in Greenland. Independence Group's project generation and evaluation team "rapidly identified" two new belt-scale opportunities — Greenfields' Frontier project and its own 100%-owned Raptor project in the Northern Territory. Greenfields Managing Director Jon Bell told S&P Global Market Intelligence that while his company was currently working with Independence Group to plan the regional-scale exploration work, he had not yet discussed the crowd-sourced drill target competition with Independence Group.

BASE METALS

* OZ Minerals Ltd.'s third-quarter production totaled 31,919 tonnes of copper and 36,601 ounces of gold, improving from the year-ago output of 28,880 tonnes of copper and 29,264 ounces of gold. The company's Prominent Hill mine in South Australia produced 28,915 tonnes of copper and 34,143 ounces of gold, with the mine on track to meet the top-end of its full-year copper production forecast of between 100,000 and 110,000 tonnes.

* Codelco submitted an environmental impact assessment for its plan to increase production at the Salvador copper mine to 90,000 tonnes of copper and extend its life by 40 years, Reuters reported.

* Poland plans to amend its copper taxes, allowing KGHM Polska Miedź SA to cut up to 5% of a mining levy if the state-owned miner donates it to local authorities, Reuters reported.

* Average annual zinc ore grade at producing mines slumped from 6.8% zinc in 2000 to 4.3% zinc in 2017, primarily due to falling grades at larger mines and increased output from China, according to an estimate by the Metals and Mining Research team of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Excelsior Mining Corp.'s Gunnison copper project in Arizona is "fully permitted" after regulators gave it the all-clear after an appeals process was resolved. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency lifted a stay on the operating permit that was in place during an appeals process Excelsior Mining settled in early October.

* Aura Minerals Inc. completed its first shipment of copper concentrate from the Aranzazu mine in Mexico on schedule.

* Coro Mining Corp. and its major shareholder Greenstone Resources LP decided to place the Berta copper-molybdenum mine in Chile on care and maintenance. The decision comes after Coro decided in April to shift its focus on its flagship Marimaca copper project, also in Chile, and reduce its interest in its SCM Berta unit, which operates the Berta mine.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Barrick Gold Corp. is likely to divest gold assets with a total net present value of US$2.6 billion after its merger with Randgold Resources Ltd., according to the Metals and Mining Research team of S&P Global Market Intelligence. The new group may also hold on to its copper business, which has an NPV of US$2.3 billion.

* Hochschild Mining PLC's third-quarter attributable silver equivalent production slipped to 9.7 million ounces, from 10.3 Moz a year ago, as silver and gold production declined to 5.1 million ounces and 62,430 ounces, from 5.3 million ounces and 67,230 ounces, respectively.

* Alkane Resources Ltd. took up an approximately 8.8% stake in Calidus Resources Ltd. on an undiluted basis, through a A$3.7 million share subscription. Keras Resources PLC's Calidus stake will be reduced from 35% to 32.3%.

* Thundelarra Ltd. signed a binding deal to acquire the Abbotts gold exploration project in Western Australia from Doray Minerals Ltd. for 11 million shares.

* Coeur Mining Inc. agreed to acquire projects from Alio Gold Inc. to feed operations at Coeur's Rochester silver-gold mine in Nevada for US$19 million of shares.

* U.S. hedge fund Livermore Partners joined activist shareholder Paulson & Co. Inc. in calling for a board overhaul and strategic review at Detour Gold Corp.

* Troy Resources Ltd. suspended and deferred mining at the Smarts 3 pit of the Karouni mine in Guyana after the operation sustained a geotechnical event, which resulted in failure of the pit's northern wall.

* Open pit mining started at Blackham Resources Ltd.'s Wiluna gold mine in Western Australia with free milling ore from the surface. Meanwhile, total indicated and inferred resources for the mine increased to 1.5 million ounces of gold contained in 18.6 million tonnes grading 2.52 g/t.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Alcoa Corp. is forecast to post its weakest quarterly earnings since 2016, as the largest aluminum producer in the U.S. feels the impact of the Trump administration's tariffs, Bloomberg News wrote. The levies raised the costs of shipping raw material into the U.S. from the company's smelters in Canada, the report said.

* Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd.'s creditors are set to pick JSW Steel Ltd.'s 196 billion Indian rupees bid for the insolvent steelmaker, besting the likes of Tata Steel Ltd. and Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House Ltd., Bloomberg News reported.

* U.S. Steel Corp. workers may get a 14% wage increase over four years under a new labor deal, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. The company recently announced that it struck a tentative four-year agreement with the United Steelworkers, covering approximately 14,000 union-represented workers.

* BlueScope Steel Ltd.'s New Zealand Steel Ltd. unit acquired an around 15.8% stake in Steel & Tube Holdings Ltd. for A$42.3 million.

* Gulf Manganese Corp. Ltd. said a proposed A$10.8 million cornerstone investment by businessman Low Tuck Kwong will not proceed, resulting from the uncertainty caused by plans outlined by the governor of Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province to suspend mining activities.

* Thirteen people were injured after a toxic leak at alutec Metal Innoavtions GmbH & Co. KG's office in Germany, local newspaper Pforzheimer Zeitung reported.

* Four contamination incidents occurred since July at Outokumpu Oyj's Tornio steel facility in Finland, Reuters reported, citing the country's nuclear watchdog, STUK. All four involved americium, a radioactive element that can be dangerous and potentially deadly if inhaled or swallowed, the regulator said, although noting that it could be hard to detect.

* Anglo American PLC plans to restart the suspended Minas Rio iron ore mine in Brazil in November or December, but delayed a planned ramp-up to 26.5 million tonnes per year to 2021 from 2020, Reuters reported, citing Ruben Fernandes, the company's Brazil chief.

* Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service filed an antitrust case against railcar wheel manufacturer OMK-Steel Ltd. for allegedly setting monopolistically high prices, Kommersant reported.

* Prophecy Development Corp. executed a lease agreement with a private Mongolian company over the Ulaan Ovoo coal mine in Mongolia, which was put on standby in 2014. The private company will undertake mining operations at Ulaan Ovoo and will pay Prophecy Development a production royalty of US$2/t of coal shipped from the site.

SPECIALTY

* Spain is set to block the required permits for Berkeley Energia Ltd.'s Salamanca uranium mine, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. Berkeley secured preliminary approval for Salamanca in 2013 but has faced local opposition since then. "The government will wait for the ongoing proceedings to go through but it will say no," an anonymous government source said.

* Rwanda will host the world's first blockchain project to track tantalum from the pit-face to the refinery in an effort to attract investors seeking a conflict-free source of minerals, Reuters reported, citing Francis Gatare, chief executive of Rwanda's Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board.

* Drilling at Sheffield Resources Ltd.'s Dampier project in Western Australia identified three new mineral sands discoveries near the Thunderbird deposit.

* NextSource Materials Inc.'s stock surged by about 67% after it announced the signing of a graphite off-take agreement with a Japanese trading company. The agreement will see the Japanese partner purchase 20,000 tonnes per year of SuperFlake graphite from NextSource's Molo project in Madagascar for the first 10 years of production, with an automatic five-year renewal.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The Association of Zambian Mineral Exploration Companies said that Zambia's proposed mining tax hikes will not help the growth of the country's mining industry, Reuters reported.

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