Wesfarmers Ltd. agreed to sell its Curragh coal mine in Queensland, Australia, to Coronado Coal Group for A$700 million, under a deal that includes a value share mechanism linked to future metallurgical coal prices. Wesfarmers expects to book a posttax profit on sale of about A$100 million. The company will also receive 25% of Curragh's export coal revenue generated above a realized metallurgical coal price of US$145 per tonne, paid quarterly over the next two years.
Alcoa to permanently close Rockdale ops, divest Italian smelter
Alcoa Corp. intends to permanently close its Rockdale operations site in Texas, including the primary aluminum smelter, aluminum powder plant and associated buildings and equipment. The site has been fully curtailed since 2008. The company also agreed to divest its Portovesme primary aluminum smelter, fully curtailed since 2012 and shuttered since 2014, to the Italian state-owned Invitalia. The company expects to record an estimated charge of US$55 million in connection with the closure of Rockdale, and an estimated US$22 million reserve reduction in connection with the sale of the Italian smelter in the fourth quarter. The net earnings impact of the two actions is estimated to be negative 18 cents per share.
ThyssenKrupp AG struck a deal with its workers to secure steel plants and jobs, removing a major obstacle to the planned merger of its European operations with Tata Steel Ltd.'s European unit, Reuters reported. The agreement foresees no forced layoffs or major site closures until Sept. 30, 2026, and will require approval from the members of IG Metall, Germany's most powerful union. Additionally, Thyssenkrupp said it was possible that the planned steel joint venture with Tata Steel could be listed within the next six years.
* Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. said that federal and state permitting for its Pebble copper property in Alaska will kick off Dec. 22, with the company's Pebble Limited Partnership subsidiary scheduled to file for a U.S. Clean Water Act 404 permit.
* Tri-Star Resources Plc's shares were down 36% in London at market close after the company announced that production of first metal from its Oman Antimony Roaster project has been delayed by one quarter to the second quarter of 2018, while overall CapEx forecast increased to US$110 million from US$96 million. Additionally, Tri-Star seeks to raise up to £4.4 million through a share issue.
* KAZ Minerals PLC approved a proposed US$1.2 billion expansion to its processing facilities at the Aktogay copper mine in Kazakhstan. The expansion, which involves constructing a second concentrator, will double the current sulfide ore processing capacity from 25 million tonnes per annum to 50 mtpa.
* The global copper supply deficit grew to 181,000 tonnes during the first three quarters of the year, Mining Weekly reported, citing the International Copper Study Group.
* About 1,800 workers at Pan African Resources Plc's flagship Barberton gold mine in South Africa embarked on a wildcat strike in a dispute over a living allowance, Reuters reported, citing an industry source. The labor action was also called to protest the dismissal of two of the union leaders.
* Pan American Silver Corp.'s board approved a US$37.8 million capital investment to construct and develop the La Morocha deposit at its Joaquin silver-gold project in Argentina up to commercial production, based on the results of a preliminary feasibility study.
* Blackham Resources Ltd. 's proposed A$60 million funding package with Pacific Road Capital will not proceed as agreed, casting doubt on the gold miner's ability to repay a A$14.8 million debt due by the end of the year, The West Australian reported.
* NewCastle Gold Ltd. and Anfield Gold Corp. were granted a final order by the Supreme Court of British Columbia approving the previously announced plan of arrangement whereby the businesses will be combined with Trek Mining Inc. to create Equinox Gold Corp.
* Marlin Gold Mining Ltd. expects to close the previously announced plan of arrangement to restructure its business, including the spin off of its wholly owned subsidiary, Sailfish Royalty Corp., on Dec. 22.
* Stratex International Plc is seeking joint-venture financing for the Dalafin gold project in Senegal to advance exploration work, as the company is not prepared to commit further funding after completing a review on the property.
* Red 5 Ltd. expects total production of 85,000 to 95,000 ounces in 2018 from the Darlot gold mine and the King of the Hills gold project. The company provided the forecast after estimating a maiden JORC 2012-compliant mineral resource of 895,000 ounces at Darlot.
* BHP Billiton Group will extend US$133 million to the Renova Foundation to undertake remediation and compensation programs identified under the March 2016 agreement between Samarco Mineração SA, Vale SA and the Brazilian authorities. An additional US$48 million will be made available to Samarco, which includes a short-term facility of up to US$42 million to carry out ongoing repair works, restart planning and maintain facilities, and US$6 million to cover fees payable to experts appointed in connection with the remediation and compensation programs.
* The EU's Competition Commission ordered the Italian government to recover about €84 million from troubled steelmaker Ilva International SpA, after deeming two loans provided to the company in 2015 as illegal state aid, Reuters reported.
* According to Kobe Steel Ltd., external investigators mandated to look into the company's data falsification scandal found that three senior officials in Kobe's copper and aluminum business were aware of the malpractice, Reuters reported. The executives were reassigned, but the Japanese company will decide on any punishment upon completion of the investigation.
* The Western Australian government decided not to allow Mineral Resources Ltd. to mine at the Jackson 5 and Bungalbin East iron ore deposits at its Yilgarn mine.
* Mount Gibson Iron Ltd. entered into a second iron ore off-take agreement with Shougang Group Co. Ltd. subsidiary SCIT Trading Ltd. regarding its Iron Hill mine in Western Australia, after terminating two of three previously entered off-take deals.
* Mechel PAO entered into a coke supply contract with HBIS Group Serbia Iron & Steel. Under the deal, Mechel's Moscow Coke & Gas Plant OAO will supply its Serbian partner with up to 120,000 tonnes of coke products or some 30,000 tonnes quarterly, with supplies to be made in January-December 2018.
* Noble Group Ltd. secured a third extension for the repayment of an unsecured revolving credit facility to May 18, 2018. The company previously said it was facing a potential default if it failed to reach a debt restructuring agreement or an extension for its US$1.1 billion facility by Dec. 20.
* PJSC Alrosa's diamond production for 2018 is expected to reach 36.6 million carats, on the back of higher production at the Udachny and Severalmaz mines in Russia. The company's CapEx for next year is set to be 32 billion Russian rubles, as approved by its supervisory board.
* Tango Mining Ltd. is acquiring a 75% interest in an alluvial diamond property in Botswana known as the Middlepits project from Metswedi Mining Pty. Ltd. The property consists of one prospecting license and was explored by De Beers SA in the 1970s.
* TNG Ltd. struck a deal with Carnegie Clean Energy's Energy Made Clean Ltd. unit to assess alternative power options for its preproduction-stage Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron ore project in Australia's Northern Territory.
* Bushveld Minerals Ltd. completed the acquisition of a 55% stake in Bushveld Vametco Ltd. from Yellow Dragon Holdings Ltd. in a cash-and-share deal to increase the company's indirect interest in Vametco Holdings from 26.6% to 59.1% and enabling it to fully consolidate Strategic Minerals Corp. NL in its financial statements.
* The roller-coaster ride of prices in the commodities market this year ended with a positive outlook as the majority of S&P Capital IQ's consensus price forecasts, as of Dec. 19, showed higher values compared with the 2016 price averages. A similar trend was present in the previous month's forecast.
* U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order aiming to reduce the country's dependence on imports of critical minerals and related vulnerability to supply disruptions. "The comprehensive order aims to identify new sources of critical minerals, ensure miners and producers have access to the best data, and streamline the leasing and permitting process to expedite production, reprocessing and recycling of minerals at all levels of the supply chain," the White House said.
* The ASX Mining & Metals index, comprising mining companies in Australia, rose to its highest level since February 2014 amid an improving near-term outlook for commodity prices, the Financial Times reported.
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.