US House votes to impeach Trump
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump on two counts, making him the third president in the country's history to be impeached as partisan conflict roils Congress. The House, controlled by Democratic lawmakers, voted 230-197 and 229-198 on Dec. 18 to approve impeachment charges for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, respectively. The Republican-controlled Senate will then act as a jury to acquit Trump of the charges or convict him and remove him from office. No Republican senators have expressed an inclination to convict and remove Trump, so a conviction is unlikely.
Vale's B-5 tailings dam structurally sound, says Brazil's mining regulator
Brazil's national mining regulator Agência Nacional de Mineração said that Vale SA's B-5 tailings dam poses no reason for concern, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the agency. The agency said that it visited the dam and found some minor superficial irregularities due to animals and a makeshift motocross course, but it was structurally sound. ANM said that B-5 "does not have any relevant structural anomalies that merit concerns."
Antofagasta starts permitting process for Minnesota's Twin Metals mine
Antofagasta PLC started the environmental permitting process for its US$1.7 billion Twin Metals copper-nickel-platinum project in Minnesota, Reuters reported. The London-listed copper miner said it submitted a formal mine operation plan to federal and state permitting agencies, but expects to wait years before a decision is reached. The move was made possible following a Trump administration order to reverse a 2016 protection order that halts new projects over the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Superior National Forest. Meanwhile, a group of Minnesota environmentalists, including former Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr, are urging Governor Tim Walz to stop the proposal as it would endanger one of the state's greatest assets, the Star Tribune reported.
* State-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp. is facing asset seizures after a failed appeal against a 2014 arbitration ruling over the cancellation of nickel and platinum joint ventures with British Virgin Islands-based Amari Holdings Ltd., Bloomberg News reported.
* Ørsted A/S is paying Swiss mining and commodities giant Glencore PLC to take over its LNG business, which it described as "loss-making" and said it was expected to remain so "for years to come."
* Godolphin Resources Ltd. successfully listed on the ASX, following a successful spin out of Ardea Resources Ltd.'s Lachlan Fold Belt gold and base metal tenements in New South Wales, Australia. Godolphin, which raised A$6.5 million in cash from its IPO after costs, will start drilling at its Mount Aubrey gold project in January 2020.
* Regency Mines PLC moved to fully control its U.K. energy storage business, Allied Energy Services Ltd., after buying out shareholders collectively holding a 20% stake in the latter. Earlier this year, the company shifted focus to battery metals, including its nickel and vanadium assets, alongside its existing business in U.K. energy storage development.
* Western Mining Co. Ltd. completed a debt-for-equity swap for replacement of debt worth 2 billion Chinese yuan, in which the company brought in the loan asset management units of Agricultural Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China as investors. The two state-run lenders each invested 1 billion yuan to own a 22.725% stake in its unit Sichuan Huidong Daliang Mining Co. Ltd.
* Kalia Ltd. was ordered to stop operations at its Mount Tore gold tenements in Papua New Guinea's Bougainville Island following the death of local geologist Terry Kilya on the property Dec. 12. The notice from the Department of Mineral and Energy Resources asked the company to repatriate Kilya's body to his family, assist police in catching the perpetrators, engage with the landowners and resolve all outstanding social issues including the land access fee payments.
* Clean TeQ Holdings Ltd. reached an agreement with Panasonic Corp. unit Panasonic Corp. Global Procurement Co. for a collaboration over the development of applications for scandium aluminum alloys, on top of an off-take agreement for up to 5 tonnes per annum of scandium oxide produced from the former's Clean TeQ Sunrise nickel project in Western Australia.
* ScoZinc Mining Ltd. said total measured and indicated resource tonnage for the Scotia zinc mine in Nova Scotia increased 105% to 25.5 million tonnes at a 2.84% zinc equivalent grade.
* In response to Centamin PLC's statement, Endeavour Mining Corp. said the nature of Centamin's interactions continues to suggest that it is unwilling to meaningfully explore the potential benefits of a merger. Endeavour, however, continues to believe in the merits of a combination of the two companies, urging Centamin to request the Takeover Panel for an extension to the "put up or shut up" period to Jan. 31, 2020, to give time for the completion of the necessary reciprocal due diligence.
* A definitive feasibility study for Big River Gold Ltd.'s Borborema gold project in northeastern Brazil outlined a posttax net present value, discounted at 8%, of US$203 million and a 41.8% internal rate of return. Borborema is expected to produce an average 71,250 ounces of gold per annum from a single open pit during an initial, stage-one life of mine of 10.2 years, at all-in sustaining costs of US$839 per ounce.
* A pre-feasibility study for Argonaut Gold Inc.'s Cerro del Gallo gold project in Mexico generated a posttax net present value of US$175 million, at a 5% discount, with a 20% internal rate of return and a 4.5-year payback period. The mine is expected to annually produce an average of 64,000 ounces of gold, 1.3 million ounces of silver and 2,400 tonnes of copper during a 15.5-year life of mine.
* Alamos Gold Inc. amended its existing undrawn revolving credit facility, increasing its size to US$500 million from US$400 million on more favorable terms, with maturity date extended to Dec. 17, 2023.
* Orla Mining Ltd. secured a US$125 million credit facility with Trinity Capital Partners Corp. and other lenders to develop the Camino Rojo oxide gold project in Mexico.
* Ely Gold Royalties Inc. and its subsidiary Nevada Select Royalty Inc. signed a binding term sheet for the purchase and assignment of a net profit interest from Pilot Gold USA Inc., a subsidiary of Liberty Gold Corp. Under the deal, Ely Gold will pay Liberty US$800,000 in cash and issue 2.0 million warrants at 43 Canadian cents apiece, for Ely Gold common shares.
* Majestic Gold Corp. secured an option to acquire a 51% interest in up to eight gold-prospective tenements in Western Australia, collectively called the Fair Adelaide East project, from privately-owned Plutus Resources Pty. Ltd.
* Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. said a worker died from injuries sustained in an accident related to rail-bound equipment at its Kusasalethu gold mine in South Africa. An investigation is underway.
* SilverCrest Metals Inc. closed a previously announced C$80.1 million bought deal offering, together with the full exercise of the over-allotment option, to raise a total of about C$92.1 million.
* Gold Fields Ltd. received approval from the Atacama Environmental Assessment Commission for its environmental impact study for the Salares Norte project in Chile.
* An updated total resource estimate for Genesis Minerals Ltd.'s Ulysses gold project in Western Australia outlined a 14% increase in contained gold to 867,000 ounces within 8.5 million tonnes grading 3.2 g/t gold.
* Pure Nickel Inc. shareholders approved a name change to Galleon Gold Corp., as well as the company's merger with Explor Resources Inc.
* A majority of thyssenkrupp AG's management board is inclined to sell the company's elevators business as a planned IPO would not generate enough funds for the struggling German conglomerate, Reuters reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. The report noted that the company's weakening balance sheet included €12.4 billion in debt and pension liabilities as of September-end, compared to €10.2 billion a year ago. Thyssenkrupp may reportedly receive bids as high as €17 billion for the unit.
* Infrastructure spending in Western Australia significantly improved after better-than-expected iron ore prices helped protect the state from sluggishness in the broader economy, according to Treasurer Ben Wyatt, The Australian reported. The state increased its forecast for operating surplus to A$2.6 billion from A$1.5 billion on the back of stronger iron ore prices and weaker Australian dollar that boosted mining royalties.
* Russian steelmaker Evraz PLC has faced problems in transporting coal supplies to Europe through Ukraine, failing to receive approvals for its shipments, RBC Daily and Vedomosti reported, citing a letter from Evraz's logistics director Kirill Pikalov to Russian Railways' deputy director general Alexei Shilo.
* Nucor Corp.'s board approved the addition of a coil paint line at the company's sheet mill in Mississippi County, Ark., which will result in additional capacity of 250,000 tons per year. The new coil paint line is expected to start up in the first half of 2022.
* Murray Energy Corp. spent at least US$5.7 million on gifts and charitable contributions over the two years before filing for bankruptcy protection, according to court documents. The largest privately held coal producer, which was run by Robert Murray before the filing, contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to entities that deny climate science and fight against environmental regulations. Murray has long been an outspoken critic of such regulations, particularly during the Obama administration, and has denied climate change.
* Atrum Coal Ltd. elected to incorporate results from a drilling program at the Isolation South deposit into the scoping study for the Elan hard coking coal project in Alberta, pushing back the study's completion to the first quarter of 2020.
* After a recent C$30 million IPO on the TSX Venture Exchange, Uranium Royalty Corp. is on the hunt for assets as it looks to grow its streaming and royalty portfolio, President and CEO Scott Melbye told S&P Global Market Intelligence in an interview. "Eventually we'll have 50 to 100 royalties and streams and be diversified across the global uranium market," Melbye said, speaking by phone while on a business trip in Texas.
* The government of Western Australia awarded lead agency status to Lynas Corp. Ltd.'s project to build a rare earths processing plant in Kalgoorlie. As lead agency, Western Australia's Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation will provide Lynas with project advice and assistance with managing and coordinating approvals within the project’s time frames.
* Lucara Diamond Corp.'s final diamond tender of 2019 generated sales proceeds of US$52.9 million, which is 16% higher than the producer's forecast. This brought up total revenue for 2019 to US$192.5 million, exceeding the upper end of its full-year forecast range of US$180 million.
* Tungsten Mining NL outlined an updated inferred resource estimate for the Mulgine Trench deposit, part of the Mount Mulgine tungsten project, of 230,000 tonnes of tungsten trioxide contained in 207 million tonnes grading 0.11% tungsten trioxide, at a 0.05% cut-off grade. The new estimate represented a 189% increase in tonnage and a 97% increase in contained tungsten.
* The U.S. and Canada signed a memorandum of understanding to provide a framework addressing the growing global demand for energy mineral resources. The document encourages responsible and sustainable mining practices, supports mineral supply chains and creates strategies to meet demand for clean energy technology.
* The launch of the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive in fiscal year 2018, combined with improving market conditions for the sector at the time, appears to have encouraged additional grassroots exploration in Australia, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team.
* Russia's state geological company, JSC Rusgeology, signed a cooperation agreement with the Republic of Congo's Ministry of Mines and Geology covering exploration of a host of minerals including diamonds and gold. The two countries will work together to identify diamond deposits in northern Republic of Congo and carry out predictive mineral mapping in the northwest with a view to finding gold, tantalum, niobium, manganese, nickel and bauxite, according to a statement from the state geological company, known as Rosgeo.
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