Norsk Hydro hikes FY'17 dividend as Q4 net income surges YOY
Norsk Hydro ASA hiked its dividend for 2017 to 1.75 Norwegian kroner, from 1.25 kroner in 2016, as the company's net income in the fourth quarter of 2017 surged to 3.60 billion kroner, or 1.71 kroner per share, from 1.01 billion kroner, or 52 Norwegian øre, in the fourth quarter of 2016. Revenue in the quarter increased 83% year over year to 38.80 billion kroner, mainly on the back of higher realized all-in aluminium and alumina prices.
Lundin Mining's Q4'17 net earnings drop YOY to US$133M
Lundin Mining Corp.'s attributable net earnings dropped to US$133.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, from US$162.9 million in the same year-ago quarter, as sales rose year over year to US$533.3 million from US$459.2 million. The year-ago results for the fourth quarter included impairment reversals of US$95.9 million. The company estimated its 2018 CapEx at US$850 million, with exploration expenditures anticipated to be around US$83 million.
Russian mining majors draft proposal to drive more exploration
Russia's leading mining companies drafted a letter to the government outlining a proposal to allow the largest companies in the sector to conduct regional geological surveys. At the moment, state-run holding company Rosgeologia is the only organization authorized to do this in Russia. Reports of the letter initially appeared in the local newspaper Kommersant, which obtained a copy of the document. According to the report, PJSC Alrosa, PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co., Polymetal International Plc and Kinross Gold Corp. were signatories to the letter, which expressed concern over the decrease in funding for geological prospecting and the ensuing drop in exploration.
* Rio Tinto will evaluate all viable power options for Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.'s Oyu Tolgoi mine after the government of Mongolia terminated the Southern Region Power Sector Cooperation Agreement. Oyu Tolgoi is now obliged to deliver a domestic power source for the operation within four years, with the cost and means of financing to be finalized between shareholders. The company noted that it has already earmarked US$250 million a year for the development of a power station in Mongolia in its 2019 and 2020 CapEx forecasts.
* Rio Tinto appointed Moya Greene as an independent nonexecutive director. Greene is the CEO of Royal Mail Group and will join the mining giant's board in the second half.
* Followed by bumper payouts paid by South32 Ltd., Goldman Sachs expects Anglo American Plc and Glencore Plc to surprise the market with a competitive dividend, Miningmx wrote.
* Chilean business group Hurtado Vicuña and Teck Resources Ltd. are allegedly close to reaching an agreement over the sale of the 13.5% stake that the Chilean investor owns in Compañia Minera Quebrada Blanca SA, sources told daily Pulso.
* Barrick Gold Corp. President Kelvin Dushnisky deferred giving details but indicated in a conference call that the company would spend time talking about its copper portfolio during the investor day scheduled for Feb. 22. It was not clear to analysts what Barrick might say. Kerry Smith of Haywood Securities said he did not know what Barrick might detail, noting that copper makes up a small percent of the miner's cash flow.
* Nexa Resources SA swung to a fourth-quarter 2017 net profit of US$24.0 million, or 19 cents per share, from a loss of US$77.0 million, or 68 cents per share, in the comparable year-ago period. Revenues for the period increased 27.4% year over year to US$736.7 million, mainly due to higher than average zinc, copper and lead prices in the global market.
* Mitsui & Co. Ltd. entered into an agreement with JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corp. to acquire its 3.60% equity share in the Collahuasi copper mine. The company separately agreed to sell its entire 1.25% equity share in the Los Pelambres copper mine, 0.79% to JX Nippon and 0.46% to Marubeni Corp.
* As the date for the beginning of the new government of President-elect Sebastián Piñera approaches, six top executives have resigned from their positions in Codelco, and another two vice presidents are expected to leave the Chilean state miner by the end of February, sources told daily Diario Financiero.
* Freeport-McMoRan Inc. subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia and Amman Mineral Nusa Tenggara are still awaiting approval for their applications to extend their copper concentrate exports permits, which are due to expire Feb. 16, Reuters reported. Director General of Coal and Minerals Bambang Gatot said the country's mining ministry is evaluating the applications. Under the new rules issued in 2017, mining companies are required to reapply for an export permit every year.
* Yamana Gold Inc.'s net loss attributable to equityholders narrowed 48.0% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2017 to US$191.0 million, or a loss of 20 cents per share. The net loss was attributed to the non-cash impairment losses on the re-measurement of Gualcamayo and related Argentinian exploration in association with their reclassification as assets held for sale, partially offset by the income tax recovery in Argentina related to a tax rate change of US$216.8 million.
* Semafo Inc.'s prefeasibility study at its Mana project in Burkina Faso estimated total recoveries of about 1.5 million ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of US$809 per ounce for the life of mine. Separately, the company forecast gold production in 2018 from the Mana and Boungou projects at between 235,000 and 265,000 ounces at all-in sustaining costs of US$900 to US$940 per ounce.
* Dundee Precious Metals Inc.'s fourth quarter net loss attributable to shareholders from continuing operations shrunk to US$1.4 million, or 1 U.S. cent per share, from a net loss of US$107.5 million, or 67 cents per share, for the same period in 2016, which included impairment charges of US$115.2 million. Production in the quarter increased 12% for gold contained in concentrate to 49,390 ounces, copper production increased 7% to 9.5 million pounds and silver production was up 6% to 53,920 ounces on a yearly basis.
* McEwen Mining Inc.'s updated feasibility study for the Gold Bar mine in Nevada estimated a posttax net present value, discounted at 5%, of US$54 million, an internal rate of return of 23% and a payback period of 3.1 years. Gold production over the seven-year mine life is estimated at 397,700 ounces, higher than the previous plan's 325,400 ounces.
* Hummingbird Resources Plc started the 2018 exploration program at its Yanfolila gold mine in Mali, and intends to spend US$8 million to US$10 million on exploration this year in a bid to extend the mine's life.
* Scotgold Resources Ltd. said the director of rural planning and development at the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority issued a recommended approval of the company's application for the development of Cononish gold-silver mine in the U.K.
* Hecla Mining Co. reported a fourth-quarter 2017 net loss of US$27.7 million, swinging from a year-ago profit of US$20.3 million as sales dropped to US$160.1 million, from US$164.2 million in the year-ago period. The lower sales were mainly attributed to lower silver, zinc and lead production amid a strike at the Lucky Friday mine in Idaho, which was partly offset by higher realized silver, gold, zinc and lead prices.
* Northam Platinum Ltd. officially opened a 900 million South African rand smelter expansion at its Zondereinde platinum mine in South Africa's Limpopo province, Mining Weekly reported. The company's partner Heraeus contributed €20 million to the expansion program.
* DRDGold Ltd.'s board declared an interim cash dividend of 5 South African cents per share for the six months ending Dec. 31, 2017, after posting headline earnings of 60.4 million South African rand, or 14.3 cents per share, for the first half of its fiscal 2018. The period's earnings compare to the 10.2 million rand headline loss booked in the same period of fiscal 2017.
* S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Russia-based gold exploration and production company Petropavlovsk Plc to negative from stable, while affirming its B long-term issuer credit rating on the company.
* The Federal Court of Australia rejected a native title group's attempt to ban Adani Enterprises Ltd. from registering an indigenous land use agreement for its A$16.5 billion Carmichael coal development in Queensland's Galilee Basin, according to a social media post by Adani Australia.
* South32 CEO Graham Kerr said the miner is exiting the thermal coal business as it holds an uncertain future that does not support long-term investment and because the world needs to decarbonize, The Australian reported.
* Whitehaven Coal Ltd. posted a net profit of US$257.2 million for the half year ended Dec. 31, 2017, rising from US$157.5 million from the same period a year ago, on the back of higher coal prices. The company declared an interim dividend of 13 U.S. cents per share. Meanwhile, the company revised its saleable coal production guidance to the range of 20.5 million to 21.0 million tonnes, following reduced production from the Narrabri mine during the first half.
* Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. said that it has achieved the milestone of awarding A$2 billion in contracts and subcontracts to Aboriginal businesses and joint ventures under its Billion Opportunities program.
* Bowen Coking Coal Ltd. agreed to buy Cape Coal Pty. Ltd.'s 100% acquisition right over the Hillalong East coking coal project owned by Rio Tinto Exploration Pty. Ltd. Hillalong East is near the company's Mount Hillalong project in Queensland, Australia.
* Shougang Hierro-Peru SA doubled its net profit in 2017 on an annual basis to 417.4 million Peruvian soles, compared to 208.0 million soles in 2016, driven by higher sales prices, Metal Bulletin reported.
* W Resources Plc signed a credit and guaranty agreement for a US$35 million secured term loan facility to fund the development of the La Parrilla tungsten mine.
* Cia. Siderúrgica Nacional agreed to place part of its stock in Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA as a guarantee in a debt restructuring agreement with one of its creditor banks, sources told Bloomberg, in a report cited by Brazilian online media UOL. CSN owns a 16.4% stake in Usiminas.
* Prophecy Development Corp. expanded its Gibellini vanadium project in Nevada by acquiring an additional 105 unpatented lode mining claims adjacent to the project.
* Tawana Resources NL started commissioning the dense media separation circuit at its Bald Hill lithium-tantalum mine in Western Australia, with initial lithium concentrate production in the first quarter, subject to successful wet commissioning, slated to begin Feb. 21.
* Western Australian miners have driven the state's business confidence to its highest single quarter increase since the end of the global financial crisis, and analysts say their determination to boost production is a welcome respite for investors frustrated at years of disappointment despite back-to-back years of rising profits. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia's December quarter Survey of Business Confidence launched this week revealed that the state's miners were the sector expecting the greatest proportion of capital spend increases next quarter.
* The Indian government commissioned a 24-member study group to review existing mineral royalty rates, excluding coal, lignite and sand, and to propose revisions and changes to the royalty regime, Mining Weekly reported, citing a government order.
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