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Rough diamond prices set to rise in 2020; China's 2nd rare earth exchange opens


Rough diamond prices set to rise in 2020, analysts say

The diamond market may shine brighter in 2020 with higher prices for rough diamonds and more stable credit conditions in the midstream market, analysts said. "Mixed with the supply picture that's really starting to shape up, I think we will see higher prices in 2020," said Paul Zimnisky, principal analyst with research firm Diamond Analytics. Taking a similar view, BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward Sterck recently forecast a 5% rise in 2020 prices for rough diamonds, the raw material for cut and polished stones, amid a broader recovery in the industry.

Jiangxi province's Ganzhou opens China's 2nd rare earths exchange

The city of Ganzhou in China's Jiangxi province launched the country's second rare earths exchange, Reuters reported, citing a Jiangxi Daily report posted by the Association of China Rare Earth Industry. The Ganzhou Rare Metal Exchange is the country's second rare earths-focused bourse after the Baotou Rare Earth Products Exchange, which launched in Inner Mongolia in 2014.

Lower commodity prices weigh on Vedanta Resources' H1'20 EBITDA

Vedanta Resources Ltd.'s revenue for the six months ended Sept. 30, 2019, fell 5% year on year to US$6.13 billion due to lower prices for its products, with EBITDA falling 19% to US$1.40 billion. The company, however, swung to an attributable net profit of US$503 million for the first half of fiscal 2020, from a year-ago loss of US$327 million. Vedanta's profit improved mainly due to a US$331 million tax credit from new Indian tax amendments.


* Glencore PLC is investing into switching its CSA copper-silver mine in New South Wales, Australia, to groundwater from river water, as entitlements from the current source, the Burrendong dam, are expected to be cut to zero in May, The Australian Financial Review reported. The mine's general manager Peter Christen said that the company will drop its entitlement usage for CSA by up to 95%, with the goal of becoming completely self-sufficient.

* PolarX Ltd. started a process to secure a new farm-in partner for the Stellar copper-gold project in Alaska, after being informed that the option of Lundin Mining Corp. to acquire a stake in the project will expire unexercised.

* Rathdowney Resources Ltd.'s corporate focus in 2020 will be exclusively to advance toward securing a mining license for its fully-owned Olza zinc-lead-silver underground development project in Poland.


* Following a prolonged U.S.-China conflict which capped base metals' prices in 2019, a thawing in the dispute could fuel a rally for the sector in 2020, Reuters reported.

* Mining activity in Chile dropped 7.1% in November after the country was plagued with protests that affected the operations of its major mines, Reuters reported. Chile's copper production fell 6.7% year over year to 504,366 tonnes.

* The TSX Venture Exchange approved Stuhini Exploration Ltd.'s option to acquire the Ruby Creek molybdenum property in British Columbia from Global Drilling. Stuhini can acquire a 100% stake in the property by issuing up to 7,300,000 common shares and making cash payments of up to C$1.1 million.

* Sienna Resources Inc. extended the date for its option agreement with EMX Royalty Corp.'s subsidiary Eurasian Minerals Sweden AB on the Slattberg cobalt-nickel-copper project in Sweden, to June 30,2020. Under the new agreement, Sienna will spend at least C$250,000 in exploration expenditures within the new option period.


* Maiden drilling at Bardoc Gold Ltd.'s latest asset acquisition has intersected mineralization significantly wider than the existing resource model with high grades that could help reduce costs for cashed-up West Australian gold majors looking to top up their dwindling inventories. Bardoc said that drilling targeting several of the satellite deposits from the Mayday North project it acquired in September confirmed the potential of its Bardoc gold project to host significant mineralization within "what appears to be an emerging large-scale gold system" which has had virtually no exploration for the past 15 years.

* Independence Group NL decided to grant all Panoramic Resources Ltd. shareholders who accepted its takeover offer a right to withdraw their acceptance. The withdrawal will allow Panoramic shareholders to freely deal with their shares before the offer lapses Jan. 17.

* Pistol Bay Mining Inc. will not proceed with its 100% option on the gold-prospective Pakwash South property in Ontario, and will instead focus on its Pakwash North and Pakwash East properties.

* Prospero Silver Corp. sold its Mexican subsidiary Minera Fumarola SA de CV to an arm's length purchaser, Aquatio SA de CV, for US$5,000 and the assumption of liabilities of about US$95,000.

* Dixie Gold Inc. acquired a district-sale exploration project in the developing Dixie Gold District near Red Lake, Ontario. The company's shares closed at 4.5 Canadian cents apiece for an 80% gain.

* Tamino Minerals Inc. is proceeding with the exploration of its mining projects, and its plans to expand into Canada in 2020 remain intact, it said.


* Whitehaven Coal Ltd. completed the acquisition of EDF Trading Australia Pty. Ltd., which owns a 7.5% interest in the Narrabri underground coal mine in New South Wales, Australia, increasing its stake in the mine to 77.5%.

* JSW Steel Ltd. joint managing director and CFO Seshagiri Rao said that the steel industry will experience a moderate revival in terms of demand in 2020, The Telegraph of India reported. He noted that there will be a definite revival in 60% of the market in India, particularly in the infrastructure, construction and real estate sectors. However, the remaining 40%, covering the automotive, capital goods, machinery and packaging segments, may need some more time. Rao also said that JSW Steel is expected to commission its steel plant in Dolvi in 2020.

* India's National Mineral Development Corp. Ltd. achieved cumulative sales of 23.0 million tonnes of iron ore from April to December of 2019 from its Chattisgarh and Donimalai mines, a 3.8% hike from the 22.2 million tonnes of iron ore sales from the same period in the previous year, The Economic Times reported.

* Evraz PLC agreed to lower rates for excess volumes of transshipped coal for 2020 at US$15 per tonne, compared to US$19 per tonne for 2019, under a long-term transshipment agreement with Nakhodka Trade Sea Port. The deal will allow the company to transship additional volumes of coal, over the cap of about 2.7 million tonnes, to the Far East at a lower cost.

* Another environmental group, National Parks Conservation Association, asked a federal judge to reject a proposed settlement for U.S. Steel Corp. regarding the company's spill of the chemical hexavalent chromium into Burns Waterway, the Chicago Tribune reported.

* Newton Resources Ltd agreed to sell its subsidiary, an investment-holding company with a principal operating subsidiary that includes Xingye Mining, the owner and operator of the Yanjiazhuang iron ore mine in China, for HK$109 million.


* Fura Gems Inc. completed the acquisition of two mining permits and three mining licenses for a sapphire mining project in Queensland, Australia.


* Hebei province's Tangshan, China's top steelmaking city, issued an orange alert for pollution, which forces companies to slash emissions and in certain cases reduce output, Reuters reported, citing a local government notice. The orange alert is the second highest in the three-tier pollution warning system implemented by the province.

* China Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington on Jan. 4, 2020, to sign a phase one trade deal with the U.S., the South China Morning Post reported, citing a source familiar with the matter. Beijing has accepted the U.S. invitation for a deal-signing in Washington, and the Chinese delegation, under He's leadership, will stay in the U.S. "a few days" until the middle of the next week, according to the unnamed source.

* Residents in Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia blamed a mining project after buildings in Egon village were left submerged in floodwater following heavy rainfall, The Jakarta Post reported. They said that the mining activities blocked water from flowing in a river in the Waigete district.

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