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Fraud claims vs. Rio dismissed; BSG's bankruptcy may derail Vale's US$2B award

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Fraud claims vs. Rio dismissed; BSG's bankruptcy may derail Vale's US$2B award

TOP NEWS

Investor's fraud claims against Rio Tinto in Mozambique coal case dismissed

A federal judge dismissed an investor's claims that Rio Tinto and two of its executives violated securities law by convincing investors to purchase stock in the company without disclosing severe adverse developments at its Mozambique coal mine that significantly dropped the value of the asset.

BSG's bankruptcy may derail Vale's US$2B award

BSG Resources Ltd. filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S., a move that could hamper Vale SA's efforts to collect a US$2 billion arbitration award over fraudulent misrepresentations BSG made related to Vale's purchase of a stake in the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, Bloomberg News reported.

Incoming Panama President to review First Quantum's contract for Cobre Panama copper mine

The incoming government of Panamanian President-elect Laurentino Cortizo will review First Quantum Minerals Ltd.'s mining contract for its Cobre Panama copper mine amid uncertainty over its validity, Reuters reported. The government said last year that the contract remained in force, although that could change when Cortizo assumes office on July 1.

BASE METALS

* Democratic Republic of the Congo's state-owned miner Gécamines SA reconfirmed Albert Yuma as its chairman in a potential setback for foreign investors such as Glencore PLC, which clashed with Yuma last year, Financial Times reported.

* A court hearing related to Zambia's decision to appoint a provisional liquidator on Vedanta Resources Ltd.'s Konkola Copper Mines PLC was adjourned without tackling Vedanta's demands to be involved, Reuters reported. The court reserved judgment until June 11, the report said.

* Aurelia Metals Ltd. suspended work on the pre-feasibility study at its Nymagee copper project in New South Wales, Australia, after receiving unsatisfactory results from recent metallurgical test work. Meanwhile, the cost estimate for circuit upgrade at the Peak lead-zinc plant in New South Wales grew to about A$53 million from A$35 million, including contingency, after a review of the capital schedule.

* Clean TeQ Holdings Ltd. tapped Macquarie Capital to launch a process to divest up to a 50% interest in its Sunrise nickel-cobalt-scandium project in New South Wales, Australia, in tandem with the signing of a long-term off-take deal.

* Lundin Mining Corp. agreed to acquire a 14.3% stake in PolarX Ltd. through a A$4.3 million investment, with an option to acquire a 51% stake in select porphyry copper-gold targets in the Stellar within its Alaska Range copper-gold project in Alaska.

PRECIOUS METALS

* St Barbara Ltd. gave investors the option to withdraw from a A$490 million equity raising after it recently slashed its gold production guidance due to lower production volumes at the Gwalia gold mine in Western Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Meanwhile, as a C$722 million takeover by St Barbara and preparations for a related spinout unfold, a company linked to Atlantic Gold Corp. called 1193490 B.C. Ltd. optioned the GK gold-copper property in British Columbia from Strategic Metals Ltd.

* Analysts told S&P Global Market Intelligence that Barrick Gold Corp.'s offer to buy the rest of Acacia Mining PLC's shares for US$285 million was not in the best interest of shareholders in the London-listed company and unnecessarily undervalued the shares. Meanwhile, Barrick's challenge to an environmental law banning mining in glacial areas in Argentina was blocked by the country's Supreme Court, Reuters reported. A source with knowledge of the matter told the newswire that the ruling will not affect Barrick's operations in the country.

* A preliminary economic assessment on Sandspring Resources Ltd.'s Toroparu gold project in Guyana outlined a posttax net present value, discounted at 5%, of C$495 million, with a 20.25% internal rate of return and 2.92-year payback period. A 2013 study pegged aftertax net present value at C$691 million, internal rate of return at 23.14% and payback in 2.63 years.

* Brazil Minerals Inc. obtained the final go-ahead to proceed with gold and diamond mining in one of its mineral rights in the Jequitinhonha river valley in Brazil.

* Gold Fields Ltd. unit Gold Fields Netherlands Services BV sold its 11.65% stake in Maverix Metals Inc. for C$52.8 million as part of a portfolio reorganization.

* Thor Explorations Ltd. signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract worth US$67.5 million with Norinco International Cooperation Ltd. for the Segilola gold project in Nigeria.

* NRW Holdings Ltd.'s shares dropped by about 14% as it anticipates a A$35 million hit from the collapse of gold miner Gascoyne Resources Ltd.

* The withdrawal of a security company assigned at a Mintails SA (Pty) Ltd.-owned gold treatment plant in South Africa opened the doors for artisanal miners and looters to steal from the facility, African News Agency reported.

* Peruvian Metals Corp.'s 80%-owned Aguila Norte gold processing plant in Peru achieved a monthly record throughput of 2,771 tonnes in May after bad weather during the first quarter impacted operations.

* Ximen Mining Corp. agreed to acquire the historical Cariboo-Armelia gold mine in British Columbia from Huakan International Mining Inc. for 212,888 shares.

* Paramount Gold Nevada Corp. secured a conditional use permit for its proposed Grassy Mountain underground gold-silver mine in Oregon.

* Indian gold imports in May rose 49% year on year to 116 tonnes from 78 tonnes last year on higher demand driven by the correction of local prices during an annual festival, Reuters reported.

* NTM Gold Ltd. expanded the Redcliffe gold project in Western Australia to over 300 square kilometers after securing a 116-square-kilometer tenement, dubbed exploration license E37/1356, which abuts existing tenements to the east.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Nippon Steel Corp. flagged a possible earnings hit from the planned U.S. tariffs on Japanese cars and auto parts, although it expects less impact from proposed tariffs on U.S. imports from Mexico, Reuters reported, citing Katsuhiro Miyamoto, the company's executive vice president.

* British Steel Corp. Ltd. owner Greybull Capital LLP is readying a bid for the collapsed group's operations in France and the Netherlands to forge a new continental steel business, London's Financial Times reported, citing people briefed on the plan.

* PJSC Raspadskaya's flagship Raspadskaya coal mine in southern Siberia suspended operations after a roof collapse killed one person, Interfax reported. The mine's tunnels are being assessed, and a commission is looking into the cause of the collapse, according to a representative of the Kemerovo regional government's coal industry department.

* S&P Global Ratings assigned a BBB- rating to iron ore transshipping terminal Mineral Logistics' proposed US$483 million in senior secured notes due August 2037, which incorporates a loan provided by Corporacion Navios SA. The rating agency put a negative outlook on the notes, reflecting a chance of a downgrade due to key customer Vale International SA's deteriorating credit quality in the next 24 months, which will depend on the credit quality of parent Vale SA.

* A coalition of advocacy groups intends to sue the parent companies of 15 coal facilities and a chloride plant in West Virginia over alleged violations of federal clean water and surface mining regulations. Operators being sued include Southeastern Land, LLC, Lexington Coal Co. LLC, Bluestone Coal Corp. and Consol Energy Inc.

* Arianne Phosphate Inc. signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Chinese state-owned enterprise SINOCONST to develop and provide financing for the Lac a Paul phosphate project in Quebec.

* Forty-five European steel firms urged the region's policymakers to strengthen import safeguard measures for the steel industry by July 1, Fastmarkets MB wrote.

* Zenith Minerals Ltd. is divesting its fully owned Mount Alexander magnetite iron project in Western Australia to private Australian company Mt Alexander Iron Ore Pty. Ltd. for about A$2.8 million.

* China's Iron and Steel Association expects steel demand in the second half to be weak, and said mills need to be rational when increasing production, Reuters reported.

* Incitec Pivot Ltd. reached agreements with multiple parties to allow manufacturing operations at its Gibson Island plant to continue through Dec. 31, 2022.

SPECIALTY

* Western Australian Minister for Mines Bill Johnston will meet Malaysian Energy Minister Hon Yeo Bee Yin on June 20, and they are expected to discuss the rare earths waste-storage plan for Lynas Corp. Ltd., Reuters reported, citing a state mining spokesperson. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad recently said he plans to allow the company's Gebeng processing plant to keep operating in the country.

* A scoping study for Neometals Ltd.'s lithium-ion battery recycling plant in Western Australia outlined a pretax net present value, discounted at 12% of US$220 million and a 72% internal rate of return over a 10-year plant life. Initial capital expenditure is pegged at US$66 million, with payback in under two years.

* Kenmare Resources PLC will need US$106 million to relocate a wet concentrator plant from the Namalope ore zone to the higher-grade Pilivili zone at its Moma titanium mine in Mozambique, according to the company's definitive feasibility study.

* Searchlight Resources Inc. staked a 592.8-hectare claim called the Kulyk Lake rare earth project in Saskatchewan as part of a plan to focus on the Canadian province.

* Allegheny Technologies Inc. reached a definitive agreement to sell its cast products unit, which produces titanium investment castings for the aerospace industry, to Cleveland-based Consolidated Precision Products Corp.

* Argex Titanium Inc. signed a long-term strategic cooperation agreement with East China Engineering Science and Technology Co. Ltd. to develop an eco-friendly and cheaper titanium oxide production process in China and abroad.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The U.S. Commerce Department outlined 61 recommendations to help the country secure a more reliable domestic supply of critical minerals and help reduce its reliance on foreign producers.

* The Government of South Australia allotted A$10 million in its 2019/2020 budget to explore the state's untapped mineral resources.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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