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US$4.4B Philippine steel project planned; Kidman values Mount Holland at US$2.2B


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US$4.4B Philippine steel project planned; Kidman values Mount Holland at US$2.2B


China's HBIS Group signs MOU for US$4.4B Philippine steel project

China's HBIS Group Co. Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding for a US$4.4 billion integrated steel project in the Philippines, which is expected to eventually produce 8 million tonnes of steel per year, Reuters reported. The project will be the country's first integrated steel complex and represents the biggest ever industrial investment from China in the Philippines. Amid Beijing's crackdown on pollution, HBIS and other producers have had to look for higher production abroad.

Kidman values integrated Mount Holland joint venture with SQM at US$2.2B

An integrated pre-feasibility study for Kidman Resources Ltd.'s Mount Holland lithium joint venture in Western Australia with Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, outlined a posttax net present value, discounted at 10%, of US$2.2 billion, a 26.6% internal rate of return, and a three-year payback period. Capex, including contingencies, is now pegged at US$737 million, down from US$755 million. Annual production is projected at 45,254 tonnes of lithium hydroxide with Kidman's share at 22,627 tonnes.

Explaurum board green-lights Ramelius's improved takeover offer

Explaurum Ltd.'s board unanimously recommended its shareholders to accept the improved takeover offer by Ramelius Resources Ltd. Meanwhile, the companies no longer plan to proceed with the strategic investment by Alkane Resources Ltd. and that Ramelius will provide short term funding to Explaurum to meet its financial commitments and for ongoing working capital requirements during the offer period.


* Cape Lambert Resources Ltd. appointed Kobu Capital to source an engineering, procurement, construction and financing provider to fund and develop the Kipushi Tailings cobalt-copper tailings project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

* Peru's Ministry of Energy and Mines is working together with the newly elected authorities of Arequipa region to review the 14 observations made by the public body in the application process for a construction permit for Southern Copper Corp.'s Tia Maria copper project, Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra said. The approval of the license could be postponed, according to daily Gestion. Recently, Southern Copper CFO Raul Jacob said production at Tía María would not start before 2023 if the government delays the permit grant.

* Cradle Arc PLC made an application to the Botswana High Court for its 60%-owned subsidiary, Leboam Holdings (Pty) Ltd., which holds the recently suspended Mowana copper mine, to be placed into provisional liquidation as it conducts discussions to secure alternative funding.

* Thor Mining PLC established the proof of concept for in situ-recovery of copper at its farm-in target, the Kapunda project in South Australia. The company has now started second stage work, which includes relevant approval processes, pump and environmental testing, and a field recovery trial to generate solution and test a variety of metal recovery options.

* Orosur Mining Inc. unit Loryser SA reached a payment plan agreement with creditors in Uruguay, and 68% of the unit's creditors by value have executed the plan. The agreement expects net proceeds from the sale of Loryser's assets in Uruguay and an issue of 10 million common Orosur shares to fully satisfy all amounts owed to Loryser's creditors and provide funds to close operations. The process is expected to complete within two years. Loryser applied to begin reorganization proceedings in June 15, citing operational challenges at the San Gregorio gold mine.

* The Ontario Securities Commission and Glencore PLC-controlled Katanga Mining Ltd. confirmed the miner agreed to settle a probe into its accounting practices, Bloomberg News reported. The settlement agreement with the regulator will be considered at a public hearing on Dec. 18.

* China's annual recycled copper output is expected to reach 3.5 million tonnes by 2020, Fastmarkets MB reported, citing Zhang Xizhong, vice president of the recycling branch of the country's nonferrous metals association CNMIA.

* Ero Copper Corp. secured a new US$130 million debt financing with The Bank of Nova Scotia and Bank of Montreal to refinance the company's current U.S. dollar-denominated senior secured debt worth approximately US$119 million.

* Shareholders of Mason Resources Corp., owner of the Ann Mason copper project in Nevada, approved the proposed takeover from Hudbay Minerals Inc. The deal is expected to close Dec. 19.


* Barrick Gold Corp. will distribute a fourth quarter dividend of 7 U.S. cents per share, bringing its annual dividend to 16 cents per share. The dividend will be paid out on Jan. 14, 2019.

* Randgold Resources Ltd. recommended an interim dividend of US$2.69 per share, and said it will be the last dividend paid by the company.

* Meanwhile, Barrick and Randgold completed the last major step toward their proposed blockbuster merger, securing approval from the Royal Court of Jersey. Shares of the combined company will start trading Jan. 2 on the NYSE and TSX under the Barrick name.

* Endeavour Silver Corp. will cut the production rate by half at its El Cubo silver-gold mine in Guanajuato, Mexico, due to its short mine life. Production in 2019 will be at a capacity of 1,500 tonnes per day, with higher operating costs compared to this year.

* The government of Ecuador received a third and final installment of US$20 million, which was part of a US$65 million advanced royalties payment deal agreed with Lundin Gold Inc. to grant permits for development of the Fruta del Norte gold project. Lundin paid US$25 million in 2016 and US$20 million in 2017, daily El Comercio reported.

* Dome Gold Mines Ltd. contracted IHC Robbins to undertake a definitive feasibility study at its Sigatoka ironsand project in Fiji.

* Newcrest Mining Ltd. increased its stake in SolGold PLC to 15.33% after its Newcrest Holdings (Investments) Pty Ltd unit agreed to acquire 27,870,000 SolGold shares for £11.1 million.

* Kopy Goldfields AB sold the Kopylovskoye gold project for US$6 million in cash to a new group of Russian investors after the original buyer failed to agree to a price on time.

* Zambian Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo said the country will "send back some of the foreign workers" at mines that have announced job cuts due to the government's proposed tax increases, Bloomberg News wrote. Mining companies in Zambia have warned that an increase in royalties set for Jan. 1 will lead to more than 21,000 job cuts.

* Premier Gold Mines Ltd. secured approval from the federal government for the environmental assessment on its Hardrock gold joint venture in northern Ontario. The study confirms the Hardrock development is not likely to significantly harm the environment, subject to planned mitigation measures and a follow-up program.

* Magellan Gold Corp. reached a preliminary agreement to toll treat mineralized material at its SDA mill in Mexico with the goal of securing a long-term processing deal.

* Mexico's economy minister, Graciela Márquez, ordered a probe into mining safety protocols after two workers died due to an unexpected pit slope movement at Alamos Gold Inc.'s Mulatos gold mine in Mexico, BNamericas wrote.

* Silver Viper Minerals Corp. consolidated the land holdings of its La Virginia gold-silver project in Mexico after acquiring three mineral concessions totaling 35,598 hectares from a subsidiary of Pan American Silver Corp.


* The Federal Court of Australia cut the number of class-action lawsuits against BHP to one, from three, over the November 2015 Fundao tailings dam disaster at the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil, Reuters reported. BHP holds the project under a joint venture with Vale SA. The court allowed only the lawsuit led by shareholder Vince Impiombato, filed in the state of Victoria, to go ahead, which claims losses arising from failure of the company to meet disclosure requirements.

* WestStar Industrial Ltd.'s SIMPEC Pty. Ltd. unit secured a A$4.5 million contract to design and construct a remote draft survey at Rio Tinto's Cape Lambert port facility in Western Australia. The remote draft survey system for the Rio Tinto Iron Ore facility aims to increase ship turnaround and safety. Completion for the system is scheduled for the second quarter of 2019, with works due to begin this month.

* The global demand for coal is expected to remain stable over the next five years through 2023, as the drop in European and North American demand will be offset by higher consumption in India and South East Asia, according to a report by the International Energy Agency. The contribution of coal in the global energy mix is expected to decline from 27% in 2017 to 25% by 2023.

* Agrimin Ltd. lodged exploration license applications covering an area of 2,792 square kilometers in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which is highly prospective for sulfate of potash.

* PAO Severstal will supply Zagorsk Pipe Plant with 300,000 tonnes of rolled steel in 2019, providing enough sheet for the next six months, Interfax reported. Under the terms, Severstal will supply Zagorsk, also known as ZTZ, with hot-rolled, thick-sheet steel for the production of large-diameter pipes.

* Thyssenkrupp AG and Tata Steel Ltd. named Andreas Goss, currently CEO of thyssenkrupp's steel division, as the future CEO of the companies' planned European joint venture.

* National Mineral Development Corp. Ltd. filed a legal action against the southern Indian state of Karnataka to stop it from demanding a higher share of revenue from the sale of iron ore at a local mine, Reuters reported, citing Rajender Kataria, the state's mining secretary. The state plans to auction the Donimalai mine after majority state-owned NMDC refused to pay additional charges on ore sales from the project.

* Mechel PAO expanded its long-term coal supply deal with Itochu Corp., agreeing to supply up to 800,000 tonnes of coking and thermal coal between this December and March 2020.


* Anglo American PLC-unit De Beers SA's tenth cycle of rough diamond sales generated revenues of US$540 million, compared to US$455 million in the tenth cycle of 2017, and US$442 million in the ninth cycle of this year.

* Eastern Platinum Ltd. kicked off commissioning at its newly constructed chrome plant and the chrome circuit produced its first chrome concentrate at its Barplats Zandfontein UG2 tailings facility, part of the Crocodile River mine in South Africa. The company targets commercial production in early 2019 with the expectation to ramp-up to full commercial production during the second quarter.

* Savannah Resources PLC signed a cooperation agreement with the University of Porto as well as the Laboratorio Nacional de Energia e Geologia in Portugal to study the treatment, recovery and concentration of spodumene from samples of Grandao and NOA deposits at the Mina do Barroso lithium project.

* Tando Resources Ltd. estimated a maiden JORC-compliant inferred resource at its SPD vanadium project in South Africa of 588 million tonnes at 0.78% vanadium pentoxide. The resource will form the basis of a scoping study on the project.

* Kibaran Resources Ltd. successfully completed the pilot program for its optimized purification process flowsheet, named EcoGraf, and lodged an international patent. On-going customer trials confirmed the suitability of products for lithium-ion battery and advanced carbon product applications in Asia and Europe. The company plans to commence operations in 2019.

* Aura Energy Ltd. was granted an exploitation license for its Tiris uranium project in Mauritania.

* Lithium Werks BV is considering Poland and other European countries as the site of its storage battery plant, in addition to the €1.6 billion plant it wants to build in China, Reuters reported, citing founder Kees Koolen.

* The Japanese government is prepared to support Lynas Corp. Ltd. in the company's ongoing feud with Malaysia over the Gebeng rare earths plant, The Australian Financial Review reported. Lynas supplies about one-third of Japan's rare earths needs.

* Athabasca Minerals Inc. acquired a 49.2% interest in the Montney In-Basin frac sand project in Alberta.

* Lepidico Ltd. has ordered all major mechanical equipment needed for its L-Max pilot plant in Western Australia. The project, currently under construction, is slated for commissioning in April 2019.


* Exploration budget allocations to the U.S. rose 34% year on year to total US$851.8 million, driven by copper and gold, according to the Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Outgoing Democratic Republic of the Congo President Joseph Kabila, whose government passed a contentious mining code, hinted at a possible re-election bid in 2023, Reuters reported.

* Industry leaders urged the Western Australian government to loosen restrictions on overseas workers amid a growing skills shortage in the region's mining and resources projects, The West Australian wrote.

* Mexico's mining output fell by more than 6% in October, the third consecutive month of decline, BNamericas reported, citing official data. Overall output was down 6.7% from the same month in 2017, following the 6.6% drop in September and August's 7.7% decline.

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