Rusal appoints new chairman as part of US sanctions waiver pact
United Co. Rusal PLC appointed Nonexecutive Director Jean-Pierre Thomas the new chairman, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Former Chairman Matthias Warnig stepped down earlier during the week as part of a significant restructuring the Russian company agreed on to have U.S. sanctions removed.
Glencore, Anglo American's Collahuasi seeks mine life extension with US$3.2B investment
The Glencore PLC and Anglo American PLC-owned Compañía Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi SCM is seeking an environmental permit to extend the life of the Collahuasi copper mine in Chile with an estimated investment of US$3.2 billion, Reuters reported. Collahuasi, which has an estimated production of 545,000 tonnes of copper this year, will upgrade its operations to improve efficiency and production.
Rio Tinto deploys AutoHaul program at Western Australia iron ore ops
Rio Tinto has successfully deployed the AutoHaul program across its iron ore operations in Western Australia's Pilbara region, establishing the world's largest robot and automated heavy-haul, long distance rail network. The miner operates about 200 locomotives on more than 1,700 kilometers of track in the Pilbara region, transporting ore from 16 mines to four port terminals.
* Vedanta Group founder Anil Agarwal said Vedanta Ltd. intends to spend US$8 billion in the next three years to expand production capacity across the group, BloombergQuint reported. The plan includes a 1 million-tonne expansion in aluminum and 800,000 tonnes in zinc as well as 500,000 barrels of oil. Agarwal added that the company will spend US$300 million to expand capacity to 2.5 million tonnes at recently acquired Electrosteel Steels Ltd.
* Selling shareholders of Wanguo International Mining Group Ltd. agreed to continue negotiations past the deadline with potential buyers who intend to acquire about 40.126% of the company's enlarged issued share capital as the parties have yet to sign a formal agreement.
* Zara Resources Inc., which owns the Forge Lake gold and Pigeon River nickel-copper projects in Ontario, entered into a definitive deal to acquire Washington State-based cannabis company Blacklist Holdings Inc. via a reverse takeover. The transaction is Zara's latest attempt to exit mining.
* Antofagasta PLC CEO Iván Arriagada said that the company expects production in 2019 to increase to 750,000 tonnes to 790,000 tonnes of copper, driven by higher average grades, particularly at its Centinela and Zaldivar mines in northern Chile, daily El Mercurio reported.
* Southern Copper Corp. unit Southern Peru Copper Corp. China Minmetals Corp. and Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd.-controlled Lumina Copper Corp., and Cia. de Minas Buenaventura SAA are reportedly mulling setting up a mining cluster in Peru's Cajamarca region to share infrastructure, transportation, and services common to the development of their Michiquillay, Galeno, and Conga projects, respectively, the daily Gestión reported, citing officials of Peruvian mining association SNMPE. The aim would be to reduce development costs for the projects, which are located close to each other in the La Encañada district.
* Centamin PLC expects to miss its full-year production guidance of 480,000 ounces of gold from its Sukari mine in Egypt by up to 2%. Cash costs for 2018 are expected toward the top end of the previous guidance of US$625 per ounce to US$640/oz, with all-in sustaining costs of about US$900/oz sold.
* Coeur Mining Inc. reported an initial proven and probable reserve estimate at its Silvertip silver-zinc-lead mine in British Columbia of 1.6 million tonnes, including 48.2 million silver equivalent contained ounces at an average grade of 930 g/t. The reserve includes about 15 million ounces of silver, 292.7 million pounds of zinc and 198.7 million pounds of lead.
* Patagonia Gold PLC agreed to acquire four additional exploration property blocks in Argentina's Santa Cruz province from Goldcorp Inc. The company will purchase the Las Mellizas, San Agustin, La Esperanza and Mancha Blanca property blocks in exchange for a 1% net smelter royalty on any future production.
* First Majestic Silver Corp. entered a share sale agreement to raise up to US$50 million to fund development at its existing mines and for additional working capital.
* Defiance Silver Corp. and ValOro Resources Inc. will close their merger on Dec. 31 to create a leading diversified explorer with an advanced portfolio of Mexican silver and gold projects.
* Discovery Minerals Ltd executed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with the owners of the War Mountain gold-silver project in Idaho.
* Israel Chemicals Ltd.'s Dead Sea Works Ltd., Dead Sea Bromine Co. Ltd. and Dead Sea Magnesium Ltd. units in Israel have a fixed asset value of about US$6 billion, based on an independent valuation. Separately, Israel Chemicals signed a five-year supply agreement with India's largest potash importer, Indian Potash Ltd. Under the agreement, the company will supply 600,000 tonnes per year in 2019 and 2020, increasing to 650,000 tonnes per year from 2021 to 2023, including options.
* Ferroglobe PLC will suspend production at its Niagara Falls facility in New York by Dec. 30, impacting 100 employees. Ferroglobe made the decision after assessing "various production adjustments to optimize utilization rates and logistics to customers," CEO Pedro Larrea said in a statement.
* Japanese crude steel production is expected to slightly decline by 0.4% year over year to 26.31 million tonnes during the January to March quarter, due to troubles at some steel plants, Reuters reported, citing the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
* The Thai Industrial Standards Institute seized sub-standard steel products worth 2.08 billion baht in 2018, Thailand's Daily News reported.
* Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. acquired 10,288,697 shares of Karnalyte Resources Inc. at a price of 17 Canadian cents apiece in a rights offering, increasing its stake to 38.7%, from 21.5%.
* Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan expects additional U.S. tariffs on Turkish imports to be lifted, Reuters reported. The U.S. increased tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum to 50% and 20%, respectively, in August.
* Total U.S. coal production for the week ended Dec. 22 increased 1.5% year over year to 15.9 million tons from 15.7 million tons, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
* Amid downward pressures on the economy, China's environment ministry said the country will embrace more efficient measures in its fight against pollution in 2019, though it will not reduce the pollution-reduction targets or relax the punishments faced by companies that violate the rules, Reuters reported.
* The Chilean government plans to delay its arbitration with Albemarle Corp., with the expectation that the company will make a new offer to fulfill the terms of a 2016 contract, Reuters reported, citing a source close to the negotiations. The company had to provide up to 25% of its annual lithium production, at discounted rates, to battery metal producers in Chile under the contract.
* Melior Resources Inc.'s board decided to terminate the proposed merger with Metallica Minerals Ltd., as the latter will not be able to satisfy certain conditions by the Dec. 31 completion deadline. The company will continue its focus on ramping up production at its Goondicum ilmenite project in Queensland, Australia, and will try to complete its transfer from British Columbia to Australia, where it intends to apply for official quotation of its shares.
* Russian state-owned Rosatom offered the Chilean government technology that it claims could boost lithium extraction rates, Reuters reported, citing lobbyist transparency filings. "If the Russian technology meets with your requirements and expectations ... Uranium One Group would be willing to introduce it ... for projects operated by Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, Albemarle ... and other concessionaires, with the goal of increasing their production quotas," said lobbyists for the Uranium One Group, a Rosatom unit.
* Diamond Fields Resources Inc. released a maiden inferred resource estimate for its Beravina project in Madagascar. At a cut-off grade of 9% zirconium dioxide, the project hosts 1.5 million tonnes at 15.3% zirconium dioxide, 22.7% zirconium silicate, 0.3% hafnium dioxide, 537 parts per million of thorium dioxide, and 46 ppm of U3O8.
* Voltaic Minerals Corp. entered into a binding assignment agreement with 1146915 B.C. Ltd. and underlying claim owners regarding two mineral claims covering about 6,778 hectares in Argentina's Salta province.
* Profits of Chinese industrial companies for the first eleven months of 2018 rose 11.8% from a year ago to 6.12 trillion Chinese yuan, Bloomberg reported. Among the sectors, mining and ferrous metals smelting recorded the largest increases, while ferrous metals and nonferrous metals smelting saw the steepest falls.
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