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Putin adviser's tax proposal on mining companies may raise additional US$7.5B

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Putin adviser's tax proposal on mining companies may raise additional US$7.5B

TOP NEWS

Putin adviser's tax proposal on mining companies may raise additional US$7.5B

Andrey Belousov, the top economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, proposed that the government should increase taxes on mining companies, including PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co. and PJSC Alrosa, Bloomberg News reported. The tax proposal could raise as much as 500 billion Russian rubles, or about US$7.5 billion, per year, with the additional budget revenues to be used to help pay for Putin's commitment to boost spending after his re-election this spring.

Nevsun rejects Lundin's hostile takeover bid, kicks off strategic review

Nevsun Resources Ltd.'s board rejected the hostile takeover offer from Lundin Mining Corp. and kicked off a strategic review to evaluate its options. The company said it is evaluating four proposals from major and midtier companies it received as part of its recent strategic investment process, which include their willingness to acquire up to a 19.9% stake in Nevsun and partner to develop the Timok copper project in Serbia.

Barrick may form copper company with tier-one assets; denies interest in Detour Gold

Barrick Gold Corp. is assessing its copper assets "very seriously" to see if it makes sense to form a copper company with one or two partners, most likely from China, Bloomberg News reported, citing statements from Executive Chairman John Thornton at an internal meeting. The Canadian miner is planning to increase its tier-one assets over time and subsequently divest assets that are not deemed strategic. Meanwhile, Thornton refuted Paulson & Co. Inc.'s claim it was interested in acquiring Detour Gold Corp., saying it did not meet certain criteria to be a tier-one mine.

BASE METALS

* Germany-based copper recycler Aurubis AG's consolidated net income fell 15% year over year to €60 million in the third quarter of its fiscal year 2017-2018, which was affected by a scheduled repair shutdown that cut concentrate processing at the company's Hamburg smelter in Germany. The company's revenues, however, rose 8% to €2.98 billion in the quarter.

* CITIC Metal Group Ltd. provided Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. with an interim loan of US$100 million in accordance with a term loan facility, which is an integral part of a long-term strategic cooperation and investment agreement between the parties. The interim funds have an annual interest rate of 6% and will be repaid from the proceeds of the C$723 million strategic investment by CITIC.

* Consolidated Zinc Ltd. refuted a claim by Pandion Minerals Pty Ltd., which said that it was conditionally entitled to a 10% interest in Consolidated Zinc's 51%-owned Minera Latin America Zinc joint venture, which owns the Plomosas zinc project in Mexico.

* Pima Zinc Corp., formerly Rae-Wallace Mining Co., agreed to buy the Pima zinc property in Arizona, through the acquisition of the issued share capital of 1139432 B.C. Ltd.

* Titan Minerals Ltd. will proceed with the compulsory acquisition of Andina Resources Ltd., after it issued 545,263,978 shares to shareholders representing 97.09% ownership of the Peru-focused explorer.

* Glencore PLC unit McArthur River Mining Pty Ltd. received approval from the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority for the overburden management project at the McArthur River lead-zinc mine.

* Vedanta Resources PLC's Zambian unit halted work at its Konkola copper mine after a worker was killed in an accident at underground shaft four, Reuters reported. An investigation into the incident will be conducted.

* Trevali Mining Corp. said a contract worker was fatally injured in an accident at the company's Perkoa zinc mine in Burkina Faso. The underground operations were suspended following the accident, and an investigation is underway.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Franco-Nevada Corp. is leaning away from gold, its main source of revenue, in terms of acquisition targets in the mining sector. "There are some good opportunities that we're looking at that are on the mining side but are nongold," said President and COO Paul Brink said during a second-quarter earnings call.

* Miners trading at steep discounts might consider going private, Royal Gold Inc. President and CEO Tony Jensen said in opening remarks during a fiscal year-end conference call. "Operators have limited access to equity markets, and few wish to issue equity today because of large market value discounts," Jensen said. "We would not be surprised to see precious metals miners going private in this market, something I certainly haven't seen before in this sector."

* Randgold Resources Ltd. expects to resume operations at the Tongon gold mine in Cote d'Ivoire by mid-August, the Financial Times reported, citing CEO Mark Bristow. The company was forced to halt Tongon earlier in July due to a workers' strike at the site, but Randgold recently said it was engaging with the government to resolve the situation. The company lowered Tongon's full-year 2018 gold production forecast to 250,000 ounces from 290,000 ounces. Additionally, Bristow told Reuters that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has not yet applied the new mining code to the miner as the two sides are still negotiating.

* Hecla Mining Co. swung to a net profit of US$11.9 million in the second quarter, from a year-ago loss of US$24.2 million, as sales climbed to US$147.3 million from US$134.3 million. The company recorded a gain on base metal derivative contracts of US$16.8 million in the quarter, compared to a year-ago gain of US$2.5 million.

* Pretium Resources Inc. swung to a second-quarter net profit of US$31.1 million from a year-ago net loss of US$2.5 million. Revenue in the period totaled US$146.5 million.

* SSR Mining Inc.'s income from mine operations declined to US$14.7 million in the second quarter from US$21.4 million a year earlier. Revenue in the period fell to US$60.8 million from US$72.5 million.

* Torex Gold Resources Inc. swung to a net loss of US$12.3 million, or 14 cents per share, in the second quarter, from a profit of US$5.1 million, or 6 cents per share, a year ago. The weakening of the Mexican peso negatively impacted its deferred tax expense calculated for the period.

* Dampier Gold Ltd. claimed that Vango Mining Ltd. is acting in breach of its joint venture deal for the development of the K2 gold mine in Western Australia. If the companies do not resolve the dispute within three weeks, the matter will be escalated to a mediator.

* An Antofagasta PLC unit agreed to acquire a 70% interest in San Marco Resources Inc.'s Chunibas gold-silver project in Mexico. As part of the terms, Antofagasta is required to spend US$8 million in exploration expenditures and make cash payments totaling US$200,000 over a four-year period.

* Marindi Metals Ltd. ended negotiations on the potential sale of its Bellary Dome gold project in Western Australia's Pilbara region to Pacton Gold Inc.

* Underground mining at Doray Minerals Ltd.'s Deflector gold-copper mine in Western Australia resumed, following safety checks that ensured there were no further hazards at the site. Operations at the mine were temporarily halted since Aug. 8 due to a fire involving an underground loader.

BULK COMMODITIES

* A total of 35,000 tons of North Korean coal and pig iron worth US$5.8 million illegally entered South Korean ports last year, in possible violations of U.N. sanctions, The Washington Post reported, citing preliminary results from an investigation by the Korea Customs Service.

* Rio Tinto is pondering a float of its stake in Iron Ore Co. of Canada Inc. on the Toronto Stock Exchange to focus on its flagship iron ore assets in Australia's Pilbara region, Reuters reported, citing banking and industry sources. While the mining giant owns 59% of the company, it is deemed noncore for Rio Tinto's iron ore business, and the company unsuccessfully sought to sell its stake for between US$3.5 billion and US$4 billion in 2012.

* National Mineral Development Corp. Ltd. said its net profit in the first quarter of its fiscal 2019 reached 9.75 billion Indian rupees, up 1% year over year. Iron ore production in the quarter reached 6.98 million tonnes, while sales totaled 6.78 million tonnes.

* Shaanxi Coal Industry Co. Ltd.'s net profit for the first half rose 8.6% year over year to 5.94 billion Chinese yuan.

* K+S AG expects EBITDA to grow to between €660 million and €740 million for the full year, compared to the 2017 EBITDA of €577 million.

* ThyssenKrupp AG posted a group attributable net loss of €131 million for its fiscal third quarter, compared to a year-ago profit of €120 million. Net sales inched up 2% to €11.12 million, with its European steel segment's net sales totaling €2.50 billion, up from €2.34 billion a year ago. Commenting on the results, Executive Chairman Guido Kerkhoff said, "The bottom line is that we are not satisfied with the current results ... There's no point in sugar-coating it. Notably, the cash flow is unsatisfactory, and that is not a situation which can be sustained long term. We have to improve significantly across all our businesses." Separately, Kerkhoff said he has the supervisory board's backing to continue the German group's current strategic path for now, "with all businesses under one roof", Reuters wrote.

* GrowMax Resources Corp. shareholders Kulwant Malhi and BullRun Capital Inc. said the company refused to recognize their requisition of a shareholders' meeting for the removal and replacement of the company's board. The shareholders claim that the shareholder interests have been severely undermined by the incumbent board, through their decisions to award excessive salaries over the past several years, failure to advance any existing projects, and inability to seek out new growth opportunities.

* India's Serious Fraud Investigation Office, or SFIO, said that businessman Neeraj Singal was arrested for allegedly siphoning off funds from Bhushan Steel Ltd., the Financial Times reported.

* ArcelorMittal restarted a 1.10 million tonne-per-annum blast furnace at its ArcelorMittal Zenica d.o.o. long steel mill in Bosnia and Herzegovina, following a comprehensive rebuild, Metal Bulletin reported, citing equipment provider Danieli Corus.

* Red Moon Resources Inc. will begin development of the Ace gypsum mine in western Newfoundland after it received government approval for its plan for the open pit operation.

SPECIALTY

* Australian miners are increasing lithium exploration amid a strong demand for the commodity, despite a decline in commodity prices, Reuters reported. According to the newswire's report, a flurry of new hard rock lithium projects beginning to ship was pinpointed as the cause of the 44% drop in lithium carbonate prices this year.

* Alrosa raised about US$1.5 million from the sale of polished diamonds in a U.S. tender. The company sold 111 stones of standard color weighing a total of 308.97 carats in its first tender after the reopening of its New York office. Meanwhile, Vedomosti reported that Jewelry House Mouawad Group confirmed that it purchased the 51.38-carat round stone Dynasty from Alrosa. The whole Dynasty collection was sold for US$10 million.

* Yellow Cake Plc purchased 350,000 pounds of uranium from National Atomic Co. Kazatomprom JSC for about US$8.2 million in cash.

* Diamcor Mining Inc. recovered six rough diamonds in the special category during initial processing at its updated facilities.

* Oakdale Resources Ltd. terminated a deal to acquire a 51% stake in Africa Mineral Sands Pte. Ltd.

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