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Norsk Hydro to buy Rio Tinto aluminum assets for US$345M

TOP NEWS

Norsk Hydro to buy Rio Tinto aluminum assets for US$345M

Norsk Hydro ASA signed a binding agreement to acquire Rio Tinto's Icelandic aluminum plant, Rio Tinto Iceland Ltd.; its 53.3% stake in Dutch anode facility Aluminium & Chemie Rotterdam BV; and its 50% stake in Swedish aluminum fluoride plant Alufluor AB for US$345 million. The deal is expected to be finalized in the second quarter.

Clive Palmer seeks A$2.7B from CITIC over royalty payment delays

Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer's Mineralogy Pty. Ltd. is seeking A$2.7 billion in damages from CITIC Ltd. in a suit filed in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, The Australian Financial Review reported. The suit contends that the liquidation of Palmer's petroleum business may have been averted if CITIC had paid royalties from the Sino-Iron project earlier.

Steel, iron ore prices rise after top Chinese steelmaking city extends cuts

Steel mills in China's Tangshan city were ordered to extend the winter production cuts that were set to expire when the heating season ends in March, the Financial Times reported, citing a statement from the local government in Tangshan. The announcement sent Singapore-traded futures for March delivery of 62% iron ore to its highest level since April 2017, marking up to a 1.5% increase to US$79.15 per tonne. Shanghai-traded steel reinforcement bar for May delivery was up by as much as 3.8% to 4,047 Chinese yuan per tonne, the highest since early December 2017.

BASE METALS

* Freeport-McMoRan Inc. has no plans to sell its cobalt projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo even though several parties are interested, Reuters reported, citing Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson. The prices offered were not enough to prompt a sale, but the miner plans to explore other options, including a joint venture, to develop the project.

* Amid negotiations with smelters, Teck Resources Ltd. President and CEO Donald Lindsay sees zinc treatment charges falling further. "I couldn't say by how much," Lindsay said, speaking Feb. 26 at the BMO Global Metals & Mining conference.

* Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. CEO Sean Boyd told Bloomberg TV that the miner is reviewing its cobalt assets in Canada after receiving five or six inquiries amid surging demand for the rechargeable-battery ingredient.

* Mitsubishi Corp. is in talks with Anglo American Plc on potentially increasing its stake in the Quellaveco copper project in Peru to about 30% from the current 18.1%, Kanji Nishiura, the Japanese group's head of metals and coal, told Bloomberg News. Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani said the company is willing to sell about a 30% interest in the project to prospective partners.

* Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. unveiled a 50% surge in indicated resources at the Kakula deposit, part of the larger Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The company said the update results in the project ranking the world's fourth-largest copper discovery, with copper grades beating those of the world's top 10 copper deposits.

* Titan Mining Corp. concluded an off-take agreement to supply 100% of the zinc concentrate from its Empire State project in New York to Glencore Plc.

* Northisle Copper & Gold Inc. entered into a joint venture agreement, granting Freeport-McMoRan unit Freeport-McMoRan Mineral Properties Canada Inc. a right to acquire up to 65% interest in the Pemberton Hills copper property in British Columbia.

* Globex Mining Enterprises Inc. sold its Certac copper-zinc-gold-silver property in Quebec to Osisko Mining Inc.

* New Century Resources Ltd. signed a binding term sheet with Nyrstar NV for a new 5.5-year off-take agreement for the supply of 600,000 dry tonnes of zinc concentrate from the Century zinc project in Queensland, Australia, but did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

PRECIOUS METALS

* AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said the company reached out to the Tanzanian government for negotiations over changes to the country's mining laws that the company intends to challenge through arbitration, Bloomberg News reported. Venkatakrishnan added that the company may off-load more assets at the right price, and is open to partnerships at its Obuasi mine in Ghana.

* A preliminary economic assessment and revamped plan for Coeur Mining Inc.'s Rochester silver-gold project in Nevada more than doubled the project's net present value, at a 5% discount, to US$609 million from US$280 million and extended the mine life to 2038 from 2031.

* Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd. posted a 21% increase in proven and probable mineral reserves at its Eagle River gold mine in Ontario to 416,000 ounces at 12.2 g/t gold of gold compared to the December 2016 estimate.

* Sibanye Gold Ltd. claims to have mostly ended the illegal mining activity at its mines in South Africa after arresting nearly 1,400 illegal miners at its gold shafts in 2017, Reuters reported, citing CEO Neal Froneman. The company spent 300 million South African rand to curb illegal activity in 2017 and plans to spend the same in 2018 on tougher controls at its mines' entry points.

* Premier Gold Mines Ltd. reported a 333% increase in mineral reserves at the Nevada-based South Arturo gold joint venture with Barrick Gold Corp., outlining proven and probable reserves of 1.1 million ounces of gold at 13.60 g/t of gold.

* Torex Gold Resources Inc. denied reports that suggested the company's land access agreement with the Real Del Limon Ejido was terminated. It said it is working in compliance with the terms of the lease and a small group of families in the Ejido with the apparent support of the Los Mineros Union is trying to extort the company by camping near the El Limon crusher facility to interrupt mining at the pit.

* Algold Resources Ltd. updated the mineral resource estimate at its Tijirit gold property in Mauritania to indicated resources of 94,250 ounces of gold at an average grade of 4.08 g/t of gold and inferred resources of 394,690 ounces of gold at an average grade of 4.07 g/t of gold. In comparison, the property previously hosted inferred resources of 357,920 ounces of gold at an average grade of 4.18 g/t of gold.

* A miner at Caledonia Mining Corp. Plc's Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe died in a mining-related accident Feb. 23. Production was suspended in the section pending an investigation.

* S2 Resources Ltd. completed the sale of its Polar Metals Pty. Ltd. unit, which holds 100% of the Polar Bear and Norcott gold projects and an 80% joint venture interest in the Eundynie gold project in Western Australia, to Westgold Resources Ltd. for A$9 million.

* Stratex International Plc's 7.84%-owned Aforo Resources Ltd. signed two option deals to acquire gold projects in Ivory Coast, including Nord Gold SE's Niare project. Aforo also allowed the Sinoe gold project license to lapse and sold its Ivory Coast gold project for US$225,000.

* Condor Gold Plc submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in Nicaragua an amendment to an environmental and social impact assessment statement for the construction of a 2,800-tonne-per-day processing plant at the La India gold project that does not require resettling about 1,000 people.

BULK COMMODITIES

* BlueScope Steel Ltd.'s net profit jumped 23% year over year to A$441.2 million in the first half of its fiscal 2018, which ended Dec. 31, 2017. Revenue in the period rose to A$5.49 billion from A$5.20 billion a year ago, while EBITDA dropped to A$697 million from A$737 million.

* Warrior Met Coal Inc. is offering US$125 million of 8.00% senior secured notes due 2024 in a private offering. The net proceeds, together with cash on hand, will be used to pay a special cash dividend of up to US$350 million.

* Anglo American completed the sale of its 88.17% interest in the Drayton thermal coal mine and Drayton South project in New South Wales, Australia, to Malabar Coal Ltd.

* Mexican banking and securities regulator CNBV imposed a fine of about 3.0 million Mexican pesos on Industrias CH, SAB de CV, a steel firm owned by billionaire Rufino Vigil Gonzalez, for market manipulation, Reuters reported.

* Ferroglobe PLC posted a net profit of US$32.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, swinging from a year-ago net loss of US$242 million. The results included a benefit of US$30.9 million resulting from U.S. tax reform.

* U.S. President Donald Trump said he wants to revive the American steel industry even if that requires applying tariffs to imports from other countries, Reuters reported. The White House, however, said he has not made a final decision on the issue.

SPECIALTY

* Iluka Resources Ltd. posted a net loss of A$171.6 million for the full year 2017, narrowing from a year-ago net loss of A$224 million. The company's mineral sands revenue soared 40% year over year to about A$1.02 billion.

* FMC Corp. is planning a US$500 million initial public offering of about 15% of its lithium business on the NYSE late in the third quarter or early fourth quarter, Reuters reported, citing CFO Paul Graves.

* Gupta family-owned Shiva uranium mine, part of Oakbay Resources and Energy Ltd.'s Dominion operations in South Africa, failed to pay salaries for the week to Feb. 23, an employee told Business Day Live.

* Rare earths has been a "school of hard knocks" for juniors struggling with a market that has no Elon Musk to light the way as he has done for lithium stocks, but analysts believe that the stage is set for a genuine revival they are branding "Rare Earths 2.0."

* An updated resource estimate at Savannah Resources Plc's Mina do Barroso lithium project in Portugal marked a 200% increase in inferred resources to 94,100 tonnes of lithium carbonate contained in 9.1 million tonnes grading 1.03% lithium carbonate.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Gwede Mantashe, a former general-secretary of South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers, was appointed as the country's mines minister, Miningmx reported.

* The ease of doing business in the U.S., given decreasing regulations as well as flexible labor and more abundant energy, is "a major change in our business," Freeport-McMoRan President and CEO Richard Adkerson said at the BMO Global Metals & Mining conference. He also pointed to "the improved regulatory environment in the U.S." as decreasing the burden from environmental issues and boosting the ease of opening or expanding mines in the U.S.

* There is a strong policy to promote and stimulate the Indian mining industry, but even as the sector develops, government bureaucracy remains a significant barrier to foreign companies seeking to invest, Panthera Resources Plc CEO Geoff Stanley said. "India is a highly regulated environment and incredibly bureaucratic," he said in an interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence, adding that unless one knows the system inside and out, there are a lot of pitfalls.

* Latin America continues to be the favorite exploration location, with a total budget of US$2.38 billion for 2017, representing a 20% year-over-year increase, which lifted the region's share of the global budget to 30.0%, from 28.5% in 2016. The top three countries in the region — Chile, Peru and Mexico — constitute 68% of the total budget of the region, according to the Metals & Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

S&P Global Market Intelligence is owned by S&P Global Inc.

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.