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Codelco further cuts investment budget by US$2.25B amid copper price downturn

TOP NEWS

Codelco postpones US$2.25B investment amid copper price downturn

A declining copper price prompted Chile's Codelco to shelve US$2.25 billion worth of planned investments, Reuters reported, citing an internal newsletter. The copper heavyweight said it now plans to spend US$18 billion over the five years to 2020, which will allow "better sustainability of the project portfolio."

South Africa's PIC eyes more South African control in Anglo American

South Africa's Public Investment Corp. wants to increase the share and control of South African investors in Anglo American Plc Bloomberg News reported, citing Public Investment Corp. CEO Dan Matjila. The fund is Anglo American's biggest shareholder and has been against selling off African assets under a radical restructuring plan. If Anglo American opts to proceed with the sales program, the public fund reportedly wants to see a new miner created with all of the company's African operations. Separately, Anglo American's deputy chairman of South African operations, Norman Mbazima, said the mining giant will push ahead with the proposed asset disposals in a bid to reorganize its business despite the recent rally in commodities prices.

Jindal Steel shares slide on interest payment default

Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. failed to make interest payments, due Sept. 30, on 11 different nonconvertible debentures, sending its share price down 5.1% in Mumbai on Oct. 6 noon trade, Bloomberg News reported, citing a regulatory filing. The company did not give a reason for the default. Meanwhile, Jindal Group's unit Jindal Shadeed Iron & Steel plans to set up a major iron ore pelletizing plant in Oman.

DIVERSIFIED

* A former employee at the Pinto Valley copper mine in Arizona is taking BHP Billiton Group to court over alleged discrimination. Arizona District Court documents show that a summons has been issued to BHP Billiton and several of its subsidiaries along with the new owner of the mine, Capstone Mining Corp., which acquired the operation in 2013.

BASE METALS

* The La Oroya smelter and the nearby Cobriza copper mine in Peru will likely be auctioned off in the first quarter of 2017, Reuters reported, citing Pablo Peschiera, director of consulting firm Dirige. The two assets will likely fetch at least US$100 million, but the smelter could cost US$700 million to upgrade, Peschiera said.

* The Philippine government will make a final decision on further mine suspensions by the end of this month, Bloomberg News wrote, citing Environment Undersecretary Leo Jasareno. Officials are informing mining companies of proposed suspensions, leaving them a week to respond and another week for the department to review their replies before reaching a final decision, Jasareno added.

* Australia's Takeovers Panel will not investigate Jervois Mining Ltd.'s claims that shareholder Scandium Development International Pty. Ltd. formed an alliance with other shareholders in an attempt to overthrow the board.

* Kosovo's government intends to make a renewed offer to assume control of a huge mining complex, Trepca, despite strong objections from Serbia, which claims it owns the business, Reuters reported. Kosovo's Parliament is expected to pass a law Oct. 7 giving the government 80% control of the complex, with the remaining 20% going to the miners.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Anglo American Platinum Ltd. is close to reaching a wage deal with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, Bloomberg News reported, citing CEO Chris Griffith. In September, wage talks between the union and Amplats, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Lonmin Plc reached a deadlock.

* Evolution Mining Ltd. Chairman Jake Klein expects gold prices to remain strong amid geopolitical and fiscal uncertainty, despite the prospects of a U.S. interest rate hike later this year, Reuters reported.

* St Barbara Ltd. witnessed a slight quarter-over-quarter increase in gold ounces produced during the first quarter of the 2017 financial year to 92,547 ounces, compared to 92,033 ounces in the final quarter of the last financial year.

* The signing of the contract between Lundin Gold Inc. and the government of Ecuador over the Fruta del Norte gold property is scheduled for the last week of October. The occasion will mark the release of the first US$25 million of the US$65 million in royalties the company pledged to pay in advance as part of the agreement reached in January, mining minister Javier Córdova said, news agency Andes reported.

* South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers said one of its members has died after succumbing to injuries. The Sibanye Gold Ltd. employee was assaulted Oct. 4 at the company's Cooke gold project.

* Lindian Resources Ltd. executed a binding share sale agreement to acquire the Uyowa and Kahama gold projects in Tanzania, which include two approved prospecting licenses and seven primary mining licenses that are still in application.

* Central Rand Gold Ltd. executed an agreement to acquire mine waste dump material located close to its metallurgical plant in South Africa after confirming the presence of 2.3 million tonnes of gold-bearing material, with an average in-situ grade of 0.7 g/t of gold.

* A Mexican government mediator said police have cleared three entrances to Goldcorp Inc.'s suspended Penasquito gold mine, while discussions are underway to resolve a blockade. An agreement with landowners and truckers is expected to be reached Oct. 5, Reuters wrote.

* Alamos Gold Inc. received final approval of the environmental impact assessment for the first phase of its La Yaqui project, part of the Mulatos gold property, from Mexico's federal environmental agency, SEMARNAT. Construction activities are expected to start later this year, with initial production on track for mid-2017.

* K92 Mining Inc. said gold production is underway from the Irumafimpa deposit at its Kainantu gold mine in Papua New Guinea, with concentrate shipment deliveries expected to start in November.

BULK COMMODITIES

* A Brazilian regional court accepted Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.'s request to invalidate the May 25 board decision to appoint Sergio Leite as CEO of Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA. Nippon Steel, a significant shareholder of Usiminas, said the board did not consult the Japanese firm when it appointed Leite.

* U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest dismissed a private antitrust lawsuit brought by aluminum buyers against Glencore Plc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which accused the defendants of artificially driving up the price of the metal, Reuters reported. Forrest noted in the judgment that "profit by defendants or losses by plaintiffs subsequently experienced in physical aluminum is irrelevant to antitrust standing."

* The former executive director of Atlas Iron Ltd. and current CEO of Pilbara Minerals Ltd., Ken Brinsden, has urged to politically and publicly debate the historical rental agreements between Western Australia, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, as the aging deals are creating an uneven playing field for other miners, The Australian Financial Review reported. Brinsden was cited as saying that both mining majors had experienced enormous support to grow, massively discounted royalties and incredibly supportive conditions in their state agreements.

* Aluminum heavyweight Alcoa Inc. completed its previously announced 1-for-3 share consolidation. The move was approved at an Oct. 5 shareholder meeting and has reduced the company's shares on issue to 600 million from 1.8 billion.

* S&P Global Ratings raised its long-term corporate credit rating on Consolidated Minerals Ltd. to CCC+ from selective default with a negative outlook. The ratings action follows the company securing bondholders consent to defer part of its 2016 and 2017 coupon payments on 2020 notes, which will moderately increase the company's liquidity headroom. However, the manganese ore miner remains highly dependent upon favorable market developments in the coming quarters to meet its financial obligations, the rating firm noted.

* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has extended the timeline for the sale of Glencore's coal haulage operations, GRail, in Hunter Valley, New South Wales, to Dec. 15. The regulator said a third competitor, in addition to Aurizon and Pacific National, is needed to enter the market to break the status quo, the Australian Associated Press reported.

* The Brazilian Labor Court rejected a claim filed by the Public Prosecutor's Office of Minas Gerais state and the Ministry of Labor against Samarco Mineração SA and its parent companies, Vale SA and BHP Billiton Group, for the re-employment of workers who were laid off following the Fundão dams collapse in November last year, Notícias de Mineração reported.

* The Industrial Development Corp. approved a funding package of 244 million South African rand for Ironveld Plc's high-purity iron, vanadium and titanium project, located in Limpopo province's Bushveld Complex, South Africa. The company has also finalized an off-take agreement with Oreport (Pty) Ltd. for 100% of high-purity iron powder production, totaling 42,000 tonnes per annum, for a period of five years from first production.

* Kommersant reported that Alexey Mordashov, the 79.2% owner and the head of the board of directors of PAO Severstal, asked the government of Russia to "take measures" to make sure that domestic consumers purchase fittings and other metal products at "the old, higher prices" in letters to Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov and Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service Igor Artemyev.

* Kommersant also reported that stocks of coal enterprises of the Kemerovo region exceeded the norm by 1.8-fold, reaching 16 million tonnes. Coal producers propose to slow the write-off of old railway carriages to avoid any deficiency. Russian Railways vows to accept all applications but notes that an increase in production is the reason for coal oversupply in warehouses, despite a promise not to do it.

* Despite Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional having refuted media reports about a potential minority stake sale in its iron ore unit Congonhas Minerios SA, Reuters cited an anonymous source as saying that the steel producer is seeking a minority stake sale based on a valuation of between US$30 billion and US$35 billion.

* Sources said the sale of Vale's fertilizer assets to Mosaic Co. remains on track despite a request from the Brazilian state development bank, or BNDES, to study the deal more carefully. BNDES pushed back the vote on the fertilizer deal at the company's recent board meeting.

* ThyssenKrupp AG assured about 8,000 Germany-based workers that current collective wage contracts and job guarantees would be upheld during its restructuring, Reuters reported, citing the head of the works council, Guenter Back. The company's works council and representatives from the IG Metall trade union will continue negotiations about potential restructuring measures at the division.

* Vedanta Ltd. intends to raise up to 12.50 billion Indian rupees by issuing nonconvertible debentures, Press Trust of India reported.

* Brazilian copper processor Termomecanica invested 27 million Brazilian reais to adapt part of its existing facilities to produce an initial 200 tonnes to 250 tonnes of aluminum products per month, which will target the domestic market and the Mercosul area, Metal Bulletin reported.

* Turkey informed the World Trade Organization that it launched dispute proceedings against Morocco over anti-dumping duties imposed by the North African country on imports of Turkish hot-rolled coil, Metal Bulletin reported.

* Meanwhile, Vietnam's Ministry of Industry & Trade launched an anti-dumping probe into Chinese imports of steel H-beam, Metal Bulletin wrote.

SPECIALTY

* Firestone Diamonds Plc has started mining activities at its 75%-owned Liqhobong diamond mine in Lesotho after completing construction work. Commissioning of the processing plant is now in the final stages, and commercial production is expected to start within this quarter.

* Dakota Minerals Ltd. entered a binding agreement to sell its Lynas Find lithium project in Western Australia to Pilbara Minerals Ltd., a day after releasing a maiden resource estimate.

* Merlin Diamonds Ltd. restarted operations at its Merlin diamond mine in Northern Territory, Australia, and first production of diamonds from the concentrate generated by the DMS plant is expected by mid-October.

* Kimberley Diamonds Ltd. secured a six-month supply agreement for diamonds from its Lerala diamond mine in Botswana.

* Vedomosti reported that PJSC ALROSA asked to simplify the export of diamonds as individuals cannot take them abroad if their value is more than US$25,000.

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