London Metal Exchange's suspension on Rusal metal to stay
The London Metal Exchange said it did not have any plans to lift a suspension on metal made by United Co. Rusal PLC despite a recent decision by the U.S. to extend a deadline for companies to wind down contracts with the Russian firm, the Financial Times reported. Under the restriction, any metal produced or sold by Rusal after the U.S. sanctions — imposed against Russian entities and individuals for profiting from the country's "malign activity" around the globe — cannot be warranted or be placed in the LME's warehouses.
Glencore, Gertler working to reach settlement over DRC royalties dispute
Glencore is working with Israeli businessman Dan Gertler to reach an out-of-court settlement associated with a royalties dispute in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bloomberg News reported, citing two sources. A scheduled hearing in a London court on May 11 was postponed as both sides worked to come to an amicable solution. Gertler is seeking US$2.28 billion in damages and unpaid royalties from Glencore, which the company ceased to pay after he was sanctioned by the U.S.
Tanzania revokes retention license for Barrick, Glencore nickel JV
Tanzania revoked a retention license for Barrick Gold Corp. and Glencore PLC's undeveloped Kabanga nickel joint venture in the country as part of a new mining regime, Reuters reported. The Kabanga license, which was originally set to expire in May 2019, was one of the 11 canceled by the government under 2018 mining regulations.
* BHP Billiton Group has sold a more than A$100 million exposure in Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group to an unidentified buyer, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk reported.
* Analysts agree the heat has come out of the battery metals market somewhat but that would not stop what could well be the ASX's next commodities float, Galileo Mining Ltd., particularly with famed West Australian veteran prospector Mark Creasy involved. S&P Global Market Intelligence also confirmed the report by The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk that Independence Group NL has taken a nearly 5% stake in Galileo.
* Union workers at BHP's Spence copper mine in Chile accepted to bring forward collective bargaining negotiations, according to union leader Ronald Salcedo. Negotiations will begin May 14, Salcedo said, daily La Tercera reported.
* Savannah Resources Plc received letters of no objection from all eight ministries in Oman for its Mahab 4 and Maqail South mining license applications, part of its Block 5 copper project. The company is now in discussions with the country's Public Authority of Mining to secure mining licenses.
* Northisle Copper & Gold Inc. and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. agreed to an initial work plan and budget for the former's Pemberton Hills copper project in British Columbia. Freeport will sole fund the program, estimated to cost C$700,000, and complete certain payment and spending milestones to earn up to a 65% interest in the project.
* Sipa Resources Ltd. entered a deal allowing Rio Tinto subsidiary Rio Tinto Mining & Exploration Ltd. to acquire an up to 75% interest in its Kitgum-Pader base metals project in Northern Uganda.
* Louis Dreyfus Co. BV closed the sale of its metals trading unit Louis Dreyfus Co. Metals BV to China's NCCL Natural Resources Investment Fund for US$466 million, Reuters reported. The Louis Dreyfus unit is one of the largest global traders of copper, zinc and lead concentrates.
* Dissident shareholders shook up Zenyatta Ventures Ltd.'s board of directors after voting at a special meeting of shareholders, in a move that was flagged in mid-February. The shareholders and Zenyatta said that four members of its board of directors were removed and replaced with other nominees.
* NuevaUnion, a US$3.5 billion Chilean joint venture between Goldcorp Inc. and Teck Resources Ltd., is set to deliver an environmental impact statement by the end of 2018 after completing feasibility studies, Reuters reported, citing a source at the mine. The copper-gold project is anticipated to start operations by 2022 to 2023.
* Norm Seckold's Nickel Mines is eyeing an IPO on the ASX, which could raise about A$125 million and would value the company at around A$400 million, The Australian wrote. A final decision on the proposed IPO is yet to be made.
* A trial over the legality of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's sale of a stake in PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co. is set to begin May 14 in London, Reuters reported. Rusal is seeking to block Abramovich from selling the interest to Vladimir Potanin, arguing that it violates a 2012 shareholder agreement.
* Lonmin PLC's net loss in the first half of fiscal 2018, ended March 31, shrunk to US$67 million, compared to a net loss of US$214 million in the year-ago half. Revenue in the six months increased to US$561 million, from US$486 million a year ago, as the U.S. dollar platinum group metals basket price increased 27% year over year. The company also revised its full-year CapEx guidance to 1.2 billion South African rand to 1.3 billion rand, from 1.4 billion rand to 1.5 billion rand previously. The company's platinum production in the fiscal half climbed 3.9% year over year to 143,374 ounces, and platinum group metals output increased 3.5% on a yearly basis to 274,941 ounces.
* Aura Minerals Inc.'s Honduran unit Minerales de Occidente SA de CV has been blocked by a local judge from exhuming bodies from an over 200-year-old cemetery to make way for its San Andres gold mine, Reuters reported. A lawyer for the citizens of the town of Azacualpa, Victor Fernandez, said a 2015 agreement between the local mayor's office and relatives of the deceased to protect the bodies was broken.
* Orvana Minerals Corp. unit OroValle Minerals SL intends to reopen the Carles gold mine in northern Spain's Principality of Asturias, Mining.com reported. The mine was put under care and maintenance in 2017.
* Arrow Minerals Ltd. executed definitive agreements allowing Pacton Gold Inc. to earn up to an 80% joint venture interest in the Pilbara gold project in Western Australia.
* AurCrest Gold Inc. entered a deal to acquire a 2% net smelter returns royalty on its Richardson Lake gold property in Ontario for a payment of C$50,000.
* Efforts to replace gold ore reserves through mergers and acquisitions gained traction in 2017 as companies purchased more primary gold assets than the year before, according to a Metals and Mining Research report. With the major producers heavily represented among both the buyers and the sellers of mines and projects, the upswing is mainly a continuation of the portfolio rationalization of the previous four years of industry retrenchment. However, with the majors facing dwindling gold reserves, the increase in purchases by producers may also herald a return to reserves replacement through acquisitions, although likely not to historical levels of investment as spending restraint appears to have become embedded in corporate strategy.
* Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. is seeking tenders to build a tailings or waste storage facility at its Marula platinum mine in Limpopo, South Africa, Reuters reported, citing a newspaper ad from the company. According to the ad, bidders are required to use 100% unskilled local labor and must maximize the use of local subcontractors.
* South Africa's Solidarity trade union, which represents 2% of the unionized workforce in the country, is demanding a wage hike of 10% annually for the gold sector over the next three years, Reuters reported, citing a document submitted to the Chamber of Mines.
* Rescuers recovered two more workers from Jastrzebska Spólka Weglowa SA's Borynia-Zofiowka-Jastrzebie coal mine in Poland, bringing the number of fatalities to four, Reuters reported. Seven miners were initially trapped nearly a kilometer underground after an earthquake May 5. Two workers were rescued earlier, while one remains missing.
* Banpu PCL swung to a net loss of US$40.0 million in the first quarter from a year-ago net profit of US$40.9 million. The Thai company's profit was affected by a court-ordered one-off payment of US$86 million in connection with the Hongsa coal-fired power plant in Laos, as well as a foreign exchange loss of US$33 million due to strong appreciation of the Thai baht against the U.S. dollar.
* Adani Enterprises Ltd. unit Adani Mining Pty. Ltd. took an impairment charge of 896.4 million Indian rupees, or about US$13.3 million, on the Carmichael coal project in Queensland, Australia, as the project's development continues to be hampered by delays and legal challenges, Bloomberg News reported. The impairment was booked in the quarter ended March 31.
* Votorantim SA swung to a net income of 150 million Brazilian reais from a year-ago net loss of 546 million reais, partially due to higher metal prices, Reuters reported.
* TMK IPSCO, a U.S.-based unit of Russian pipemaker TMK, is seeking exemption from the U.S. tariffs for some of its products, Reuters reported. The unit is one of the largest domestic producers and suppliers of seamless and welded steel pipe for the oil and gas industry, and sources some of the materials from its Russian affiliates.
* The government of China's Jiangsu province, one of the country's biggest steel-producing regions, is considering closing small coke plants in certain areas as part of anti-pollution measures, Reuters reported, citing an official from the provincial government. The move is seen leading to higher costs for local steel mills, which will have to source coke elsewhere.
* Certain North Korean traders are offering cheap coal to Chinese buyers who are storing it at ports in North Korea amid hopes that sanctions related to purchases of North Korean coal will be eased, three Chinese traders told Reuters. The report noted that coal sale offers surged after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's surprise visit to Beijing in March ahead of an expected meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
* Arafura Resources Ltd. received environmental approval from the Australian government for its Nolans neodymium-praseodymium project in the Northern Territory, Australia.
* Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd.'s purchase of Rio Tinto's Coal & Allied Industries Ltd. unit in a US$2.69 billion deal in 2017 failed to inspire other Chinese coal majors to follow suit with similar acquisitions. In China, any enthusiasm for M&A in coal assets abroad is being overshadowed by the launch in August 2017 of a government campaign to consolidate the domestic coal industry, which is targeting to create several large mining companies by the end of 2020. Yanzhou Coal has already ruled out ruled out further M&A this year, saying it would instead focus on its domestic operations.
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