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World Bank's IFC to pull out from Rio Tinto's Simandou iron ore project

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World Bank's IFC to pull out from Rio Tinto's Simandou iron ore project

TOP NEWS

World Bank's IFC to exit Rio Tinto's Simandou iron ore project

The World Bank's International Finance Corp. is exiting Rio Tinto's Simandou iron ore project in Guinea after a decade of being a partner, the latest setback in a string of issues hampering the development of the US$20 billion project, Bloomberg News wrote, citing an email from the company.

Rio Tinto cutting debt by US$1.5B via cash tender offer

Rio Tinto repurchased and canceled about US$1.5 billion of its 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 notes under the cash tender offer announced in late September. The global mining giant's offer to redeem about US$1.5 billion of its 2017 and 2018 U.S.-dollar-denominated notes will remain open until Oct. 26.

Noble agrees to US$1.05B sale of US energy business to Calpine

Noble Group Ltd. agreed to sell its Noble Americas Energy Solutions LLC unit to Calpine Corp. for US$800 million plus an estimated US$100 million of net working capital, according to separate statements. The sale also includes the repayment of working capital, estimated at an additional US$248 million. The sale is expected to close in December and will complete Noble Group's US$2 billion capital-raising initiative announced in June.

DIVERSIFIED

* With the Paris climate accord scheduled to come into force on Nov. 4, mining major BHP Billiton Group still expects its copper, oil and gas, iron ore and coal businesses to have strong future margins in a world with lower carbon emissions, Reuters reported. "Under all current plausible scenarios, fossil fuels will continue to be a significant part of the energy mix for decades," the company noted.

BASE METALS

* Vedanta Resources Plc posted a year-over-year drop in second-quarter production for fiscal 2017 for all three commodities — zinc, lead, and silver — from its Indian zinc operations. Refined zinc production fell 29% on a yearly basis to 150,000 tonnes, while refined lead production dropped 24% to 31,000 tonnes. Silver output slid 4% to about 3.5 million ounces.

* Freeport-McMoRan Inc. resumed normal operations at its Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia after resolving a 10-day labor dispute with a worker union at the mine, Reuters reported, citing a company spokesman.

* The BHP Billiton and Glencore Plc majority-owned Antamina mine in Peru is likely to double zinc output to between 340,000 tonnes and 360,000 tonnes in 2017, Reuters reported, citing the mine's General Manager Abraham Chahuan. Annual copper output, meanwhile, is expected to increase to 430,000 tonnes in 2016 and 2017, slightly above the 2015 total of 412,000 tonnes.

* PT Timah (Persero) Tbk recorded lower monthly exploration activity amounting to 88 billion Indonesian rupiah during the January-September period, compared to 109 billion rupiah during the same period in 2015, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* The environmental permit of Austral-Asia Link Mining Corp.'s nickel mine in the Philippines will be canceled just months after it started operations, Reuters reported, citing the environmental and natural resources secretary Regina Lopez. The suspension was not prompted by the country's mining audit but because it sits between a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a marine protected area.

* PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel vowed to defend its interests in the sale of its 50% stake in the Nkomati nickel joint venture in South Africa to Botswana-based BCL Ltd. This comes after the government of Botswana applied to the high court to place its copper and nickel producer BCL Mine Ltd., under provisional liquidation due to nonprofitability.

* Independence Group NL has made its Windward Resources Ltd. takeover bid unconditional after Windward announced that Eastern Goldfields Ltd. has withdrawn from the funding agreement. Independence has already acquired a 19.9% interest in Windward.

* Australian Mines Ltd. is acquiring the Flemington scandium-cobalt project in New South Wales, Australia, from Jervois Mining Ltd. and the Sconi scandium-cobalt project in Queensland from Metallica Minerals Ltd.

PRECIOUS METALS

* SolGold Plc rejected a proposal by BHP Billiton, which offered US$30 million for a 10% stake in the company and a director position on its boards. BHP also suggested an earn-in arrangement over the Cascabel copper project in Ecuador, under which it would spend US$275 million to acquire a 70% stake out of SolGold's 85% interest in the company that holds the Cascabel tenements. SolGold's board determined that the BHP proposal is not in the best interests of the company and its shareholders, and still prefers the US$33 million financing deal with Maxit Capital LP and Newcrest Mining Ltd.

* Compañía de Minas Buenaventura SAA's third-quarter gold production totaled 277,556 ounces, down from 366,881 ounces in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, silver production amounted to about 5.75 million ounces, slightly up from 5.63 million ounces reported in the same quarter of 2015.

* Tharisa Plc exceeded its fiscal 2016 output guidance for platinum group metals, producing about 132,600 ounces, a 12.4% year-over-year increase. Chrome production totaled approximately 1.2 million tonnes, up 10.8% despite marginally lower feed grades.

* Metals X Ltd. CEO Peter Cook believes the separation of the ASX-listed miner's gold assets into a new company will likely set it up for a re-rating rather than make it a takeover target. Cook told SNL Metals & Mining on the sidelines of the Precious Metals Investment Symposium in Sydney, Australia, that if the newly demerged Westgold Resources Ltd. did not re-rate, it could go from being "one of the hunters to being the hunted."

* The Malian government's shuttering of the offices controlled by Randgold Resources Ltd. does not affect the operations of the Morila, Loulo and Gounkoto gold mines in the country. "We have continued to engage with the Malian authorities at the highest level to resolve the remaining issues and we trust that the parties will return to the negotiating table in the spirit of constructive partnership..." the company added.

* Separately, Reuters reported that the Malian government demanded that Randgold Resources pay 50% of the US$80 million it says the miner owes the government before starting talks about the repayment schedule for the remaining amount.

* Kinross Gold Corp. is set to start mining two small but high-grade silver and gold deposits in Russia by 2018, according to Lou Naumovski, general manager of Kinross' Russian operations. The Toronto-listed company will begin mining Moroshka, located 4 kilometers east of the Kupol site, by late 2017, and at September Northeast, located 15 kilometers northwest of Dvoinoye, by 2018.

* AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. said in an emailed statement that the company will wait to see if Ghana will enforce a state order to remove the illegal miners from the gold miner's Obuasi operations in the country, adding that similar claims made earlier were ineffective, Bloomberg News wrote.

* Avocet Mining Plc entered into a conditional joint venture agreement covering the Tri-K gold project in Guinea. Under the terms, a unit of Managem SA will acquire up to a 70% stake by completing a work program and meeting certain milestones.

* King River Copper Ltd. signed a heads of agreement with Spectrum Rare Earths Ltd., allowing the latter to earn a 51% stake in the Mount Remarkable gold prospect in Western Australia.

* Primary Gold Ltd. completed the previously announced A$10 million acquisition of the Coolgardie gold project in Western Australia from MacPhersons Resources Ltd.

* Torian Resources Ltd. has launched an off-market takeover offer to acquire all of the shares in Cascade Resources Ltd. for a total of A$8.4 million.

* The Perth Mint and the ASX are working to launch a new gold futures contract. Richard Hayes, CEO of The Perth Mint in Western Australia, told SNL Metals & Mining on the sidelines of the Precious Metals Investment Symposium in Sydney, Australia, that the collaboration will allow customers to take physical delivery of gold.

* Royalties paid by gold producers to the New South Wales government in Australia rose by 12.5% in the 2016 financial year to about A$54 million, state Industry, Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts told delegates on the first day of the Precious Metals Investment Symposium.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. agreed to acquire BC Iron Ltd.'s 75% interest in the Nullagine iron ore joint venture in Western Australia for A$1.00, and will now evaluate the feasibility of restarting operations in the current market.

* JSW Steel Ltd. is engaged in "exploratory work" on acquiring an interest in troubled Italian steelmaker Ilva International SpA, Metal Bulletin reported, citing JSW's joint Managing Director Seshagiri Rao. Talks are in the initial stages and JSW representatives have visited Ilva steelmaking sites, Rao added.

* Following a rally in the spot market, a recent deal points to the Q4'16 metallurgical coal benchmark likely doubling versus both the prior quarter and the year-ago period to settle above market expectations, reversing a downcycle that lasted more than five years.

* Tata Steel Ltd. is understood to be in talks with the U.K.'s Pension Protection Fund and the pensions regulator, and is said to be close to a restructuring deal that would pave the way for the proposed merger of Tata Steel's U.K. business with ThyssenKrupp AG, according to The Sunday Times.

* Chinese state-owned Dongbei Special Steel Group Co. Ltd. has been formally placed into a bankruptcy restructuring process following a court filing by one of its creditors, Alashan Jinzhen Smelting Co. Ltd., Reuters reported, citing Xinhua News Agency. Dongbei's subsidiary Fushun Special Steel said that 496.9 million of its shares held by Dongbei had been frozen by the court.

* According to The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk, Moly-Cop's pathfinder prospectus indicates fiscal 2017 EBITDA of US$146.2 million, which is in line with the US$145.8 million posted for the year ended June 30. Gross profit is expected to be US$223.7 million, reflecting a 3% year-over-year increase, while after-tax net profit is estimated at US$59 million.

SPECIALTY

* TNG Ltd. successfully produced, for the first time, high-purity vanadium electrolyte using vanadium pentoxide from its flagship Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in Australia's Northern Territory.

* Global Geoscience Ltd. estimated a JORC 2012-compliant maiden indicated and inferred mineral resource for South Basin, part of its Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, of 393 million tonnes, containing about 3.4 million tonnes of lithium carbonate. At a 0.6% lithium carbonate equivalent cut-off, the resource contains 0.9% lithium carbonate, 2.9% boric acid, and 1.7% potassium sulfate.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* India's Mines Ministry is assessing funding options to support exploration activities of government-owned and -operated mining firms in a bid to increase the sector's contribution to the country's gross domestic product to 2% from 1%, according to Mining Weekly.

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