EuroChem withdraws from Ukraine amid restrictions on Russian fertilizer imports
Fertilizer producer EuroChem Mineral Chemical Co. OJSC is completely withdrawing from the Ukrainian market following moves by the government to restrict imports of fertilizers originating in Russia. EuroChem is a Switzerland-based, diversified fertilizers producer controlled by Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko and holds significant assets in Russia. As part of the withdrawal, EuroChem sold its stake in Ukrainian distribution subsidiary Agrocentre EuroChem-Ukraine to the business' former management, the spokesperson confirmed. EuroChem said it would not be disclosing the price or terms of the deal.
Australian law firm to file class action lawsuit against BHP on Samarco disaster
Australian law firm Phi Finney McDonald plans to file a class-action lawsuit against BHP Billiton Group, arguing the company misled investors over the 2015 dam burst at its Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil that killed 19 people, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The law firm said the shareholders believe the mining major was aware of the risk of an imminent collapse, as well as of the related consequences.
Tata Steel swings to Q4'18 profit on pensions gain; production, sales down YOY
Tata Steel Ltd. swung to a profit of 146.88 billion Indian rupees in its fiscal fourth quarter from a year-ago loss of 11.68 billion rupees, driven in part by a one-off pensions gain. The Indian steelmaker said the restructuring of its U.K. pension scheme is now complete and resulted in an exceptional gain during the quarter of 113.76 billion rupees, including a noncash gain of 140.77 billion rupees. The company produced 6.3 million tonnes of steel and delivered 6.4 million tonnes of steel during the three-month period, decreasing from 6.4 million tonnes of production and 6.8 million tonnes of deliveries recorded in the prior-year period. Meanwhile, Tata is targeting boosting its flat steel capacity by 5.6 million tonnes per annum following the acquisition of Bhushan Steel Ltd., Metal Bulletin reported.
* BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said the company is looking at incremental and large-scale growth options in a bid to add about US$31 billion of value, The Australian reported. The diversified miner outlined US$4 billion of low-cost latent capacity options across its operations, including debottlenecking, which can result in an additional US$16 billion of net present value.
* Hindalco Industries Ltd.'s after-tax net profit in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2018 rose 12.8% yearly to 6.16 billion Indian rupees on a stand-alone basis, with revenue down 1.2% to 116.81 billion rupees. For full year 2018, the company's profit also increased 36.3% to 19.34 billion rupees, with revenue also up 9.4% to 434.51 billion rupees. Meanwhile, Hindalco reported its highest aluminum and copper production in its fiscal 2018 ended March 31, at 1.3 million tonnes and 410,000 tonnes, respectively.
* Freeport-McMoRan Inc. CEO Richard Adkerson said negotiations between Rio Tinto and the Indonesian government over the mining major's 40% stake in the Grasberg copper mine has narrowed to price alone and that agreement would likely translate into prompt closure of a transaction, The Australian Financial Review reported.
* Nine workers' unions from Codelco signed a petition requesting the government of President Sebastián Piñera not to reappoint Nelson Pizarro as CEO of the Chilean state miner, Diario Financiero reported. The unions argued that the value of the company decreased and labor relations reached their worst level in 25 years under Pizarro. The government is set to choose a new CEO and chairman for the copper miner shortly.
* Latin Resources Ltd. was granted three exploration licenses, covering an area of 22,563 hectares, which make up the La Rioja cobalt project in Argentina and surrounding the historical King Tut cobalt-gold mine.
* Red River Resources Ltd. began development activities at the second underground mine in Thalanga's Far West zinc deposit in Queensland, Australia.
* It makes sense for Midas Gold Corp. to partner up with gold major Barrick Gold Corp. in a recent US$38.1 million financing to develop a large and complex gold project like Stibnite in Idaho. That's the view of Joe Mazumdar, an Exploration Insights analyst who has followed the project over the years. "Having a major — only they can do it," Mazumdar told S&P Global Market Intelligence, pointing to the capital costs of the project which were estimated at US$970.3 million in a 2014 study.
* A previous article by S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research recorded the trend toward lower major gold deposit discovery rates over the past decade. While this holds true for all regions, there have been some significant changes in where major new deposits are being found: notably, there have been fewer in the Asia-Pacific region and more in Africa. The most alarming declines are in Indonesia and Australia, where the amount of gold being discovered has decreased by a collective 97% over the past decade, although strong discovery rates of the past keep Asia-Pacific as one of the most historically prolific regions. The recent decline is even more concerning for Australia, where the pool of large deposits available for development is critically low.
* After achieving record production in the fourth quarter of 2017, most producers saw gold production falling in the first quarter of 2018, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research. Among 61 gold producers reporting in the March quarter, each producing at least 50,000 ounces in the period, production was down by more than 1.3 million ounces compared with the fourth quarter but up more than 200,000 ounces compared with the year-ago period. Nearly half of the decline from the fourth quarter of 2017 can be attributed to the top three producers.
* Santana Minerals Ltd. agreed to acquire the Becker gold project in Chile by acquiring the issued share capital of Collerina Cobalt Ltd. unit Carlin Resources Pty Ltd., which holds the right to earn up to an 85% interest in the project.
* Lumina Gold Corp. completed its first resource update for the Condor property in Ecuador since acquiring the project in 2016. The estimate covers the Santa Barbara, Soledad, Los Cuyes and Enma deposits. Condor hosts indicated resources containing 1.4 million ounces of gold, 9.2 million ounces of silver and 43 million pounds of copper within 63.8 million tonnes of ore grading 0.68 g/t of gold, 4.5 g/t of silver and 0.03% copper.
* Coronet Metals Inc. closed the acquisition of 1161097 B.C. Ltd., which owns the Cariboo, Lac La Hache and Pinto gold projects in British Columbia.
* LeaGold Mining Corp. will move toward the completion of its proposed C$314 million buy of Brio Gold Inc. after securing approval from Mexico's Comisión Federal de Competencia Económica, the last required government approval for the acquisition.
* JSW Steel Ltd. reported the highest operational and financial performance for its fourth fiscal quarter and the full fiscal year ended March 31. Consolidated net profit after tax soared 186% year over year to 28.79 billion Indian rupees for the quarter. Revenue from operations rose 16% to 208.17 billion rupees on an annual basis, while operating EBITDA soared 67% to 52.90 billion rupees. For the full fiscal year, the group's net profit grew 76% year over year to 61.13 billion rupees, revenue jumped 18% to 715.03 billion rupees and operating EBITDA increased 22% to 147.94 billion rupees.
* Trade unions called on Tata Steel to boost future payouts to U.K. pensioners after the Indian firm reported a significant surplus in its retirement scheme following changes that affected thousands of steelworkers, the Financial Times reported. The union said the surplus was higher than estimated and supports their case to restore pension benefits for scheme members.
* A feasibility study for Verdant Minerals Ltd's Ammaroo phosphate project in Australia's Northern Territory estimated a posttax net present value, discounted at 10%, of A$344 million and an internal rate of return of 18.1%. The two-stage project is estimated to produce 1 million tonnes per annum of phosphate rock concentrate from the first stage, covering year one to five of the initial 20-year life of mine.
* BlueScope Steel Ltd. priced a US$300 million issue of 4.625% guaranteed senior bonds, maturing May 25, 2023.
* About half of China's steelmaking capacity will have to comply with tougher emissions standards by 2020, Reuters reported. The plan will require 480 million tonnes of annual capacity to meet ultra-low emissions standards, with the target to rise to 900 million tonnes of annual capacity by 2025.
* China's coal-rich Shanxi province laid out plans to close 35 mines in 2018, slashing 22.4 million tonnes more of coal capacity on top of 16 million tonnes of backward mining capacity it announced to cut in March. The province aims to advance its coal industrial structure through safer and more efficient facilities and clean production.
* Eramet said the acquisition of ASX-listed Mineral Deposits Ltd. is not a "must have" and warned that it would be several years before the Senegal-based mineral sands asset delivers cash to its owners, The Australian Financial Review reported. Mineral Deposits recently urged its shareholders to reject the French company's A$287.5 million takeover offer.
* Six environmental groups filed a lawsuit against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt for abandoning a regulation that would have required hard-rock miners to prove that they have funds to clean up hazardous substances released at mine sites, Reuters reported.
* Argentina and Chile pledged to revitalize an existing mining treaty between the countries to facilitate developing cross-border mining projects, the Argentine Undersecretary for Mining Sustainability Juan Biset said at Paydirt's Latin America Downunder conference in Perth, Australia.
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