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In This List

Fire disrupts production at BHP Billiton's Mt Whaleback iron ore mine

Essential Metals & Mining Insights - August 2020

State of the Market: Mining Q2-2020

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Essential Metals & Mining Insights July 2020


Fire disrupts production at BHP Billiton's Mt Whaleback iron ore mine

TOP NEWS

Fire at BHP's Australian iron ore mine disrupts production

A major fire broke out and disrupted production at the processing plant of BHP Billiton Group's Mt Whaleback iron ore mine, which is part of its Newman mining hub in Western Australia's Pilbara region. Personnel were accounted for, and the company was working to ensure the site is safe. Meanwhile, commodity traders believe that the miner's lost output due to the fire will be easily absorbed by a well-supplied iron ore market, Reuters reported.

BHP ends force majeure at Escondida copper mine

BHP Billiton Group ended force majeure at its Escondida copper mine in Chile over a month after the strike at the mine ended, which is estimated to have cost the mining giant about US$1 billion, Reuters reported.

Russian miners to see 'upside jump' in investment despite ruble rally

A rally in the value of the Russian ruble impacted the results of Russian mining companies in the first quarter of 2017, pushing up cash costs and leading to losses. Despite the negative impacts on the cost line of Russian metals producers, they still remain attractive to investment, Dmitry Glushakov, CFA metals and mining equities analyst at Russia's VTB Capital, told S&P Global Market Intelligence.

DIVERSIFIED

* BHP Billiton may choose a replacement for Jac Nasser as chairman in its June board meeting, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

* BHP chief commercial officer Arnoud Balhuizen said the company's Singapore marketing hub is critical, as the miner needed to be embedded in Asia given that nearly 70% of its sales went to the region, The Australian Financial Review reported.

BASE METALS

* Chilean President Michelle Bachelet asked state miners, including Codelco, to study the prospects of developing a new copper smelter in the Atacama region to add value to copper exports, Reuters reported.

* Global production of mined nickel fell 7.4% year over year in 2016, totaling less than 1.99 million tonnes of nickel contained in ore, driven by declining output in the majority of nickel-producing countries across the world. In contrast, the largest 20 operations increased production, lifting their share of the global total to almost 50%.

* Riverside Resources Inc. regained a 100% interest in the drill-ready Thor copper project in Sonora, Mexico, after its joint venture partner, an Antofagasta Plc unit, opted not to move forward with its option to earn a 65% interest in the property.

* Bowmore Exploration Ltd. will change its name to Osisko Metals Inc. to create a new base metals exploration and development company focused on zinc in Canada, forming part of the Osisko group, with Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. as a significant shareholder owning a 20.5% stake.

* First Cobalt Corp. secured a 50% joint venture option from ASX-listed Cobalt One Ltd. for the latter's Yukon cobalt extraction refinery in Ontario.

* Freeport-McMoRan Inc. unit PT Freeport Indonesia agreed to build a smelter facility, which is expected to start operations in 2022, Kontan reported, citing Teguh Pamudji, secretary-general of the Indonesian Energy Ministry.

* An updated resource estimate for Libero Mining Corp.'s Tomichi copper-molybdenum deposit in Colorado pegged inferred resources of 711 million tonnes at 0.21% copper, 0.035% molybdenum, 0.017 g/t of gold, 2.0 g/t of silver and 0.216 g/t of rhenium, using a 0.25% copper equivalent cutoff.

* Zinc of Ireland NL estimated a maiden JORC 2012-compliant mineral resource of about 5.2 million tonnes at 8.6% combined zinc and lead for 374,400 tonnes of contained zinc and 72,800 tonnes of contained lead at its flagship Kildare MVT zinc project in Central Ireland.

PRECIOUS METALS

* A judge in Montana blocked the development of Hecla Mining Co.'s contested Montanore silver mine, which is located next to a wilderness area in the northwestern part of the state, Reuters reported. Responding to the ruling, the company said it is still working on its next steps and has not ruled out either appealing the ruling or applying for a new permit.

* Gold production rose for a second consecutive year in 2016, by 1% to 96.3 million ounces as new mines contributed to the increase, and most of the world's largest mines increased their production as well. The 20 largest operations increased their production by a weighted average of 6% over 2015, greatly outpacing the industry average.

* Torex Gold Resources Inc.'s Minera Media Luna SA de CV subsidiary signed a binding commitment letter for a secured US$400 million debt facility with joint book runners BNP Paribas Securities Corp., Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ING Capital LLC and Societe Generale.

* WPG Resources Ltd. increased the contained gold resource at its Challenger mine in South Australia by 27%. The resource now stands at 1.4 million tonnes at 7.62 g/t for 343,299 contained gold ounces.

* Patagonia Gold Plc completed the disposal of its Cap-Oeste Sur Este gold-silver project in Argentina to a subsidiary of Pan American Silver Corp. for US$15 million.

* Polymetal International Plc acquired another 25% stake in the Dolinnoye gold property for US$1.6 million, taking its interest to 50%.

* Eastern Goldfields Ltd. signed an exploration farm-in joint venture agreement for certain tenements at the Menzies and Goongarrie projects in Western Australia with Intermin Resources Ltd. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Black Mountain Gold Ltd.

* Lundin Law PC launched a class action lawsuit against Asanko Gold Inc. for possible violations of federal securities laws. This latest lawsuit follows a string of other law firms announcing that they are investigating potential securities claims on behalf of Asanko Gold shareholders, alleging that the company may have issued materially misleading business information to investors.

* Minco Plc agreed to sell a 2% net smelter return royalty on the Curraghinalt gold-silver property in Northern Ireland to Dalradian Resources Inc. The sale will take effect with Dalradian acquiring Minco in an all-share transaction.

* Great Panther Silver Ltd. completed the commissioning of the refurbished processing plant at its Topia silver mine in Mexico and is now operating at planned capacity.

* St Barbara Ltd. entered forward gold contracts on an additional 50,000 ounces of anticipated gold production from its Simberi mine in Papua New Guinea.

* Otis Gold Corp. staked 52 federal lode mining claims adjacent and interior to its current landholdings, comprising the Kilgore gold project in Idaho, expanding the project area to 9,080 acres.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Price talks between Australian miners and Japanese steelmakers were put on ice as the Japanese companies are pushing to transition to more flexible arrangements from the current quarterly fixed-price terms, Reuters reported.

* Coal India Ltd.'s output declined by 4.3% year over year to 40.74 million tonnes in May, down for the second straight month, Bloomberg News reported.

* China's Belt and Road Initiative is expected to boost global steel demand by about 150 million tonnes, Bloomberg News reported, citing BHP COO Arnoud Balhuizen.

* South32 Ltd. agreed to add AusQuest Ltd.'s Cerro De Fierro iron oxide-copper-gold project in Peru to their strategic alliance, bringing the total number under the joint venture to six.

* Haranga Resources Ltd. signed a deal to off-load its Selenge iron ore project in Mongolia to Ambaatar Bilguun.

* Gulf Manganese Corp. Ltd.'s wholly owned subsidiary, PT Gulf Mangan Grup, signed a binding land lease agreement with the government of the East Nusa Tenggara province in Indonesia for the construction of the company's Kupang manganese smelting hub.

* India's Hindalco Industries Ltd. intends to install an alloy plate manufacturing plant with an investment of 20.00 billion Indian rupees, which will cater to the country's defense sector, Mint reported.

* Arrium Ltd. administrator Mark Mentha said the company received two offers from shortlisted bidders for the company's operations, but both offers had "many" conditions attached, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Brazil's iron ore export volumes increased by 3.26% year over year to 35.11 million tonnes in May, Metal Bulletin reported, citing the country's foreign trade ministry, MDIC.

* Slab producer Companhia Siderúrgica do Pecém's plant in Ceará, Brazil, has yet to resume operations after a fire broke out at its steel mill May 28, Metal Bulletin reported.

SPECIALTY

* Kimberley Diamonds Ltd. closed down its Lerala diamond mine in Botswana due to weak market conditions, leaving 130 workers unemployed, Reuters reported, citing a local newspaper.

* Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev purchased 50% of the Grizzly emerald mine in Zambia, one of Africa's biggest emerald mines, Bloomberg News reported.

* Russia will increase its tungsten production over the next few years with the development of the Tyrnyauz field, the country's largest tungsten and molybdenum reserve, Metal Bulletin wrote. The tender for the development of the field will be launched in the third quarter of 2017.

* An updated feasibility study for phase one of NextSource Materials Inc.'s Molo graphite project in southern Madagascar generated a posttax net present value of US$25.5 million, at an 8% discount rate, and internal rate of return of 21.6%.

* Black Rock Mining Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding with Yingkou Botian Material Technology Ltd. Co. for the potential off-take of 50,000 tonnes per year of graphite concentrates produced at its Mahenge property in Tanzania.

* Medallion Resources Ltd.'s shares jumped by 50% in Toronto on June 1 after it announced a nonexclusive commercial agreement with Rare Earth Salts Separations and Refining LLC to produce, market and share revenue from the sale of finished rare earth products.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* President Donald Trump vowed to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change but said he is willing to renegotiate the country's commitments to the agreement or seek a "new deal."

* Now that Trump has announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate change pact, the markets are left to assess whether eschewing a leadership role on the issue will help or harm the country's economic growth and which industries will be affected most.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time and scans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.