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China's East Hope mulls US$10B investment in UAE; Vedanta taking Zambia to court

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China's East Hope mulls US$10B investment in UAE; Vedanta taking Zambia to court

TOP NEWS

China's East Hope studying US$10B investment in UAE

Chinese conglomerate East Hope Group Co. Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding to explore a possible US$10 billion investment to develop an alumina facility, a red mud research center and recycling project, and large-scale upstream and downstream non-ferrous metal processing facilities at the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The three-phase development plan would take 15 years. East Hope produces aluminum and related products, as well as animal feed.

Vedanta eyes legal challenge to Zambian copper unit liquidation

Vedanta Resources PLC plans to oppose an application by ZCCM Investments Holdings PLC to liquidate Konkola Copper Mines PLC, asking the Zambian high court to allow it to join as an interested party. Vedanta has questioned the motives for state-owned ZCCM's application saying it was not a major creditor of KCM and that the petition for winding-up KCM under the Corporate Insolvency Act deals with a broad range of issues relating to KCM, not all of which related to the solvency of the business.

Strike looms at Codelco's Chuquicamata copper mine

A strike looms at Codelco's Chuquicamata copper mine in Peru after unionized workers rejected the company's final contract offer, which included a US$14,150 bonus per worker and a 1.2% salary raise, Reuters reported. A walkoff would require the approval of more than half of the mine's 3,200 unionized workers during a vote slated this week, the report said.

BASE METALS

* The Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates that global mined nickel production rose by 6.6% to 539,000 tonnes in the March quarter of 2019 compared with the 505,000 tonnes produced during the same period in 2018. Mined zinc production increased globally by 3.9% to 3.1 million tonnes in the March quarter of 2019, from 3.0 Mt in the same period of 2018.

* After striking a recapitalization deal with Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd., Nyrstar NV reported a full-year 2018 loss of €614 million from a profit of €47 million in 2017. The decline was attributed to the large income tax expense related to the partial de-recognition of deferred tax assets, impairment of the carrying value of the Langlois and Myra Falls zinc mines, restructuring costs and operating loss incurred during the year.

* Africa's zinc production is expected to rise to 5% of global output from the current 3.4% thanks to Vedanta's US$400 million investment in the Gamsberg zinc project, Mining Weekly reported, citing CNN.

* Jervois Mining Ltd. said a preliminary economic assessment for its Young nickel-cobalt project in New South Wales, Australia, outlined an attractive opportunity for development when commodity prices improve. The project will be funded by third parties up to construction and Jervois will sell down its current 100% equity ownership.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa's biggest bank, advised Lonmin PLC investors to reject the takeover bid by Sibanye Gold Ltd. at an upcoming shareholder meeting in London as the deal undervalues the platinum miner's assets by about 6.64 billion South African rand, Bloomberg News reported, citing a note to clients from Standard Bank Group subsidiary SBG Securities (Pty) Ltd.

* B2Gold Corp. CEO Clive Johnson denied that the company was considering buying Metallon Corp. Ltd.'s inactive Shamva gold mine in Zimbabwe, saying that the Canadian miner is not pursuing "material development or production mergers or acquisitions" as it focuses on developing its existing projects and exploring for global opportunities, Miningmx.com reported.

* Barrick Gold Corp. CEO Mark Bristow told Reuters that the mining giant's buyout offer for Acacia Mining PLC was fair considering the risks associated with Acacia, which is embroiled in a tax dispute with the Tanzanian government. Bristow also cleared that the offer was genuine and not used to exploit Acacia's situation.

* Following completion of its acquisition of Randgold Resources, Barrick was once again the largest gold producer in the first quarter of 2019 — a position it yielded in 2017 facing declining production, the Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence said. The company increased its first-quarter production by 318,000 ounces over the prior-year period.

* Millennium Minerals Ltd. re-optimized the mine plan for its Nullagine gold mine in Western Australia after a review identified two key factors for a production shortfall in the March quarter compared to guidance. The company said that it addressed the issues; however, full-year production guidance is now revised to 80,000 ounces to 90,000 ounces at an all-in sustaining cost of A$1,370 per ounce to A$1,450/oz.

* Angkor Gold Corp. retained full ownership of the Oyadao South gold property in Cambodia after JOGMEC abandoned its 51% earn-in option on the project. JOGMEC was primarily interested in copper, and the copper system at the Halo copper porphyry system was not large enough for JOGMEC to proceed with more exploration.

* Titan Minerals Ltd. received a permit allowing its Vista gold plant in Peru to operate at up to 350 tonnes per day. The company will kick off operations at 80 tpd and anticipates to produce 700 ounces of gold during initial trials and commissioning.

* Artemis Resources Ltd. is amending a A$5.4 million funding package it secured in November 2018, which will allow the company to advance its plans to list on the London Stock Exchange's AIM Market.

* Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. raised its stake in Royal Road Minerals Ltd. to 19.9% from 9.43% after acquiring additional 26,133,158 shares through a private placement for about C$5.2 million or 20 cents apiece.

* Mali's 2018 gold exports climbed 15.4% year on year to 61.63 tonnes from 53.4 tonnes in 2017 on stronger production from industrial-scale mining, Reuters reported.

* Turkey will not impose tariffs on Brazilian steel imports after concluding a probe into a dispute between the two countries, Reuters reported, citing Brazil’s Economy Ministry and Foreign Ministry.

BULK COMMODITIES

* JSW Steel Ltd. posted a 48% slump in fiscal fourth-quarter earnings year over year as costs widened, steel prices decreased and production ticked down 3%. Consolidated net profit for the March quarter tumbled year over year to 14.95 billion Indian rupees as expenses jumped 12.7% to 200.58 billion rupees — largely owing to a charge from inventory changes — and revenue increased by 4.9% to 224.21 billion rupees.

* Queensland's Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who declared she was "fed up" with the delays in making a decision on Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s highly-controversial Carmichael coal mine in the region, set deadlines to fast track the project, The Australian reported. Palaszczuk declared May 31 as the deadline for the decision on the mine's black-throated finch protection management plan and June 13 for a decision on the company's groundwater strategy.

* ArcelorMittal intends to keep its pledge of investing US$1 billion in its Mittal Steel Lazaro Cardenas S.A. de C.V. unit in Mexico over three years amid Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's threat to scrap a 10-year extension of special economic zone tax breaks, Reuters reported, citing Victor Cairo, CEO of ArcelorMittal's Mexican operations.

* Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, revealed that it has a 3.3% stake in Sirius Minerals PLC after the London-listed firm issued US$425 million worth of new shares in April, Financial Times wrote. Sirius is aiming to raise US$3.8 billion to finish the second-stage development of its Woodsmith potash project in the U.K.

* Iron ore prices, recently topping US$100/t for the first time in five years, look set to remain strong in 2019, analysts say, though some see a pullback on the horizon.

* Peabody Energy Corp. will begin its ventilation of the first segment of North Goonyella coal mine in Queensland, Australia, in consultation with the Queensland Mine Inspectorate, as part of the mine's expected longwall production in 2020.

* Strategic Minerals PLC unit Southern Minerals Group expects to receive US$4.1 million within two weeks after a major client agreed to pay arrears of US$375,000 and top up an existing deposit by US$3.7 million. The client asked the subsidiary to refrain from progressing legal action for two weeks, and said it will negotiate the balance of the contract during in June.

* Giyani Metals Corp. obtained environmental management plan approvals for its K.Hill and Otse manganese projects in Botswana. The plans will be subject to public review for four straight weeks starting June 7.

SPECIALTY

* Lynas Corp. Ltd. CEO Amanda Lacaze said that the Malaysian government is pleased with the company's plans to move initial ore processes out of the country by investing A$500 million by 2025 to increase production as well as build an initial processing plant in Western Australia, Reuters reported. The renewal of Lynas' Gebeng plant operating license by the Malaysian government is contingent on this strategic growth plan.

* Walkabout Resources Ltd. implemented an "early start" program to accelerate the procurement, manufacturing and site works for its Lindi Jumbo graphite project in Tanzania, Mining Weekly wrote, citing CEO Trevor Benson. Fast-tracking the project to production would allow the company to benefit from the high demand for premium flake concentrate, the report said.

* Rafaella Resources Ltd. signed a conditional binding heads of agreement to acquire Galicia Tin & Tungsten S.L. and its Santa Comba tungsten-tin project in Spain for 17.5 million shares at 20 Australian cents apiece.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Operations at Ecuador's oil and mining infrastructure were not disrupted by an 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the country, Reuters reported, citing Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner.

* The Minerals Council of Australia appointed Helen Coonan as its new chair, who will takeover when Vanessa Guthrie steps down following its June 18 board meeting.

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