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Mosaic to buy Vale's fertilizer business for US$2.5B

TOP NEWS

Mosaic to buy Vale's fertilizer business for US$2.5B

Mosaic Co. agreed to acquire Vale SA's Vale Fertilizantes SA business for US$2.5 billion. The company will fund the deal with US$1.25 billion in cash to be raised through debt issuance and by issuing 42.3 million shares of common stock, about 11% of its outstanding shares.

Alcoa's Portland smelter closure risks over 3,600 job losses, A$800M in GDP

The shutdown of Alcoa Corp.'s troubled Portland aluminum smelter in Victoria, Australia, would deduct A$800 million from the national gross domestic product and could result in the loss of over 3,600 jobs, The Australian reported, citing a report commissioned by the Australian Workers Union.

Fortescue-Vale blending unlikely to go ahead

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. confirmed reports that its planned partnership with Vale over order customization for Chinese steelmakers is unlikely to proceed after the companies failed to agree on the deal's commercial terms. According to The Australian Financial Review, Fortescue is looking for other companies it can partner with to blend its Pilbara ore.

BASE METALS

* The bill that will capitalize Chilean state miner Codelco with US$975 million this year will be submitted for Congress' approval Dec. 20. The Lower House's Finance commission should review the draft in the next six days, daily Diario Financiero reported.

* BSG Resources Ltd. said Israeli police detained Beny Steinmetz for questioning as part of an ongoing probe relating to the company's involvement in bribery and corruption in Guinea, Reuters reported. BSG said in a statement that the investigations are "obsolete" and the allegations are baseless.

* Meanwhile, Saadou Nimaga, secretary general of Guinea's ministry of mines, told Reuters that Steinmetz's detention is linked to a Guinean corruption investigation that began in 2011, adding that the government is not ready to make an extradition request, although its probe could implicate many people, Reuters reported.

* Asian Mineral Resources Ltd. and Kasbah Resources Ltd. mutually agreed to terminate a scheme implementation agreement pursuant to which Kasbah agreed to be acquired by Asian Mineral Resources.

* Riva Resources Ltd., formerly known as Dragon Energy Ltd., entered an exclusive nonbinding memorandum of understanding for an exploration farm-in and joint venture with a LeadFX Inc. subsidiary over the Paroo Station lead property in Western Australia.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Middle Island Resources Ltd. now estimates that the earliest it could begin recommissioning the Sandstone gold project in Western Australia is late 2017, after pit optimization results on a recently updated resource failed to meet expectations. Shares plunged 63% following the news.

* Avanco Resources Ltd. estimated a maiden resource for the Blanket Zone at the CentroGold project in northern Brazil of 12.2 million tonnes at 1.8 g/t of gold containing 694,000 ounces of gold.

* Fresnillo Plc clarified that it has resumed construction of a pyrite plant at its Zacatecas leaching facility, opposing a report by daily Opportimes suggesting that investment had been suspended. "The pyrite project remains on schedule with detailed engineering works, construction and the order placement for major equipment already underway," a spokesperson for the company wrote in an email to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* An accident at an illegal gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo killed at least 20 people, Mining.com reported. The death toll is expected to increase.

* Golden Queen Mining Co. Ltd. declared commercial production at its Soledad Mountain gold-silver mine in California.

* Strategic Metals Ltd. said its board unanimously approved a spinout of its Eureka, Triple Crown and Treble precious metals projects in Canada's Yukon Territory to Trifecta Gold Ltd.

* Richmont Mines Inc. received approvals from the Ontario government for the amendments to both air and wastewater environmental compliance approvals for the Island gold mine in Ontario. The amended permits support a potential ore mining and processing rate increase to an average of 1,100 tonnes per day, from the current 900 tonnes per day.

* Panoramic Resources Ltd.'s gold spinoff, Horizon Gold Ltd., will list on the ASX on Dec. 21 after the company successfully completed its fully underwritten A$15 million IPO.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Vale said recent heavy rains at the Quadrilátero Ferrífero area in Minas Gerais state, Brazil, caused the rupture of a pipe in the drainage system at its Fabrica Nova iron ore mine Dec. 17, daily Valor Econômico reported.

* Cyrus Mistry, who was expelled as the chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., resigned as the chairman of Tata Motors Ltd. and as a director of Tata Steel Ltd., Tata Chemicals Ltd., Tata Global Beverages Ltd. and Indian Hotels Co., Bloomberg News reported.

* Alcoa joint venture Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals secured its first major third-party contract to supply about 400,000 bone dry tonnes of bauxite from its Huntly mine in Western Australia. The Western Australian government also granted approval for Alcoa to export up to 2.5 million tonnes per annum of bauxite for five years to third-party customers.

* Techint Group is looking to file a lawsuit to the highest appeals court in Brazil to challenge a decision made in favor of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. by a state court in October in the companies' battle for control of Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA, Reuters reported, citing "a source close to the matter."

* Adani Enterprises Ltd. Chairman Gautam Adani said the company is not concerned about its debt levels, adding that its debt-to-EBITDA ratio is "at a comfortable level of 3.25:1," Live Mint reported. Adani added that the company is looking to invest in additional industries including coal conversion, defense and water.

* According to India's The Economic Times, the Indian government intends to review the status of 72 previously allocated coal blocks, which were either allotted or auctioned to companies including Steel Authority of India Ltd., Hindalco Industries Ltd., JSW Steel Ltd. and NTPC Ltd.

* Liberty House and SIMEC, owners of the U.K.'s only aluminum smelter, plan to invest £120 million in a project at the plant in Lochaber, Scotland, to make aluminum wheels for the car industry, Reuters reported. The groups acquired the 47,000-tonne smelter and two hydro-electric power stations in November from Rio Tinto.

* The Australian wrote in a separate report that Australia's green groups have warned that they will fight to stop the Portland smelter from gaining access to clean energy funding, after Federal Industry Minister Greg Hunt flew to owner Alcoa's headquarters in the U.S. to offer a lifeline of subsidized federal funding for its power supply.

* K+S AG acquired a 30% stake in Al-Biariq for Fertilizer Plant Co. Ltd., a fertilizer producer in Saudi Arabia. The German company will pay between US$7 million and US$9 million for the stake, Reuters reported.

* The New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission approved the extension of Centennial Coal Co. Ltd.'s Airly coal mine for 20 years, after more than a year of public hearings and an independent study, ABC reported. The project is expected to secure more than 70 existing jobs and up to 135 positions if operations ramp up.

* Steel Authority of India is in talks with Nippon Steel and Kobe Steel Ltd. over potential technical agreements that would help the Indian firm expand its global presence, Reuters reported, citing Chairman Prakash Kumar Singh. SAIL may also consider buying troubled domestic steel assets for a "cheaper price."

* PT Adaro Energy Tbk expects coal production in 2017 to fall to between 52 million tonnes and 54 million tonnes, in line with 2016 production, as it focuses more on stocking coal reserves, Kompas reported, citing a company official.

* Mexico imposed a 35.64% definitive anti-dumping duty on high-carbon ferromanganese volumes imported from South Korea, Metal Bulletin reported.

SPECIALTY

* Bacanora Minerals Ltd. said it is in advanced talks with a significant Asian off-take partner for the supply of battery-grade lithium carbonate. The company plans to start production from its Sonora project in Mexico in 2019, with a full capacity of 35,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate per year.

* Sociedad de Inversiones Oro Blanco SA justified the suspension of the sale of its stake in Sociedad de Inversiones Pampa Calichera SA, which holds a 23% stake in Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, arguing that the binding offers received did not meet the requirements. Chinese groups Tianqi Lithium, Shanshan Group, and Chinese investment firm GSR GO Scale Capital Advisors had been invited by Oro Blanco to submit their proposals, daily Pulso reported.

* Separately, the controlling companies of SQM are looking at ways to reduce debt by US$800 million after the failed sale of Pampa Calichera, daily Diario Financiero reported.

* Meanwhile, Chile's Council of State Defence filed a criminal claim against SQM after finding that the company is legally liable in the alleged bribery and campaign corruption scandal involving high-profile political leaders. If found guilty, the company risks fines and potential closure, daily La Tercera reported.

* Kairos Capital Corp. signed a binding letter of intent to acquire a 26,400-hectare lithium property portfolio covering exploration claims over six salars in regions I and II of northern Chile.

* South Africa's state-owned Industrial Development Corp. granted DiamondCorp Plc a loan repayment standstill until the miner completes its business rescue process. Talks with the company's other lenders are also underway to secure similar deals.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Only 27% of the bonuses the 12 largest mining companies operating in Chile pay their workers are tied to productivity goals, according to a preliminary report by productivity commission CNP, daily Pulso reported.

* India may cancel tariffs on over 70% of the goods traded with China under the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, Live Mint reported.

* The Indonesian government is drafting a regulation that could ease the country's looming mineral export ban, Reuters reported, citing a local newspaper. Copper concentrates, as well as partly processed or raw nickel and bauxite, would benefit from the new law, but unprocessed gold, silver, tin and chromium would remain on the export ban list.

* President-elect Donald Trump is considering appointing former U.S. attorney Debra Wong Yang as the next chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Bloomberg News reported, citing an unnamed source "with direct knowledge of the matter."

* International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde has been convicted of negligence but will not face a fine or jail sentence, Bloomberg News reported. The former French finance minister was found guilty on one count of negligence regarding a state payout to businessman Bernard Tapie during her time in office.

S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Ratings are owned by S&P Global Inc.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. London time, and scans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.