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After Grasberg deal, Freeport CEO says it is open to mergers, sales

TOP NEWS

After Grasberg deal, Freeport CEO says it is open to mergers, sales

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. is considering its options, which include strategic partnerships, asset acquisitions or even a merger, after the miner agreed to transfer majority control of its Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia, Bloomberg News reported, citing CEO Richard Adkerson. "If an opportunity for us to sell to another company would arise, and that would be good for our shareholders, you would see us trying to get the best deal we can get as opposed to being a company where management is trying to protect itself," Adkerson said.

Tata Steel boosts fiscal Q2'19 output at Indian ops; output at European ops decline

Tata Steel Ltd.'s Indian operations produced about 3.27 million tonnes of steel in the second quarter of its fiscal 2019, slightly up from 3.20 million tonnes produced in the year-ago period, driven by better plant availability. Steel output at the company's European operations during the quarter slipped to 2.46 million tonnes from 2.60 million tonnes due to shutdowns and annual maintenance programs.

Chile sets sights on new copper markets, expansion of lithium industry

Chile plans to enter new copper markets and expand its lithium industry to shield its economy from an ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, Reuters reported, citing Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica. The South American country is also considering opening its copper and lithium reserves to foreign investment to take advantage of the demand for both metals from the electric vehicle industry.

DIVERSIFIED

* According to a report published by The Australian Financial Review, the documents that Glencore PLC wants to keep from the Australian Tax Office, which include emails, board briefings, step plans and PowerPoint presentations, detail how the commodities giant moved A$30 billion of resource projects out of the Australian tax net after a A$16 billion write-down of its chief holding company to zero.

BASE METALS

* Highlands Pacific Ltd. confirmed a potential US$1.5 billion expansion of the Ramu nickel-cobalt project in Papua New Guinea and said majority partner Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd. is investigating the expansion.

* Chilean state-miner Codelco is said to be in discussions to sell up to 60,000 tonnes of copper per annum to China Minmetals Corp. between 2019 and 2021, Reuters reported, citing industry sources.

* Separately, Chile's copper output declined 7% year over year to 462,000 tonnes in August due to lower production at Codelco and BHP Billiton Group's Escondida copper mine in the country, Reuters reported, citing government agency Cochilco.

* Trafigura Beheer BV plans to invest in a project to train, equip and organize artisanal and small-scale cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo into licensed cooperatives, Reuters reported. The plan was a response to a London Metal Exchange proposal to include responsible sourcing principles into metal brands deliverable against its contracts.

* The Federal Service for Supervision of Use of Natural Resources, or Rosprirodnadzor, approved a positive conclusion of the environmental impact assessment of the design documentation of the first stage of the Udokan copper mining and smelting complex in Russia, TASS reported. Earlier in the year, Baikal Mining Co. LLC said it kicked off construction of a mining and metallurgical plant at Udokan, which will have the capacity to process up to 12 million tonnes of ore per year after its launch in 2022.

* Weatherly International PLC, which was placed under the administration in June, said that following significant operational progress at the company's Tschudi mine in Namibia, it has restarted a strategic review of its operations. The review is considering options, including the sale of certain subsidiaries of the company and the disposal of certain assets.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Acacia Mining PLC's third-quarter gold production slid 29% yearly to 136,640 ounces, primarily due to reduced operations at its Bulyanhulu mine and stockpile processing at Buzwagi.

* Anglo American Platinum Ltd. will pay 55 million South African rand to compensate two communities in Limpopo, 19 years after they were displaced to make way for the Mogalakwena platinum mine, Mining Weekly reported.

* Australian corporate advisory firm PCF Capital Group Pty. Ltd. is launching one of the first gold and royalty-backed security tokens globally, FutureGold Pty. Ltd., which is seeking to raise up to US$250 million to fund gold explorers, developers and producers ahead of its first offering in the first quarter of 2019.

* Tharisa PLC produced 152,200 ounces of platinum group metals for its full fiscal 2018, representing a 6% increase year on year. Tharisa is considering taking on an equity partner for its PGM project in Zimbabwe, Miningmx reported.

* Randgold Resources Ltd. that it secured approval from the Malian government for an agribusiness project designed to replace mining at the Morila gold mine when it closes in two years.

* Laneway Resources Ltd. struck a deal for Maroon Gold Pty. Ltd. to mine up to 100,000 tonnes of near-surface ore from the company's Agate Creek gold project in Queensland, Australia, and process it at the latter's carbon-in-leach plant.

* Newcrest Mining Ltd.'s IT strategy overhaul four years ago, which reduced its IT team and made substantial investments in artificial intelligence, automation and data analytics, is reaping benefits through reduced costs and improved cash flow, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* KEFI Minerals PLC said local, zonal and regional authorities in Ethiopia confirmed their intention to trigger resettlement of the community affected by the development of the Tulu Kapi gold project, with an agreed target date of Jan. 1, 2019.

BULK COMMODITIES

* As U.S. import tariffs and sanctions against United Co. Rusal PLC push companies to change conventional supply routes, Indian aluminum makers such as Vedanta Ltd. are increasing sales to Japan, Reuters reported. Japanese trade data shows that imports of aluminum ingot from India doubled in the first eight months of 2018 compared to a year ago, while imports of alloy increased 11 times from a tiny amount a year ago.

* Mineral Resources Ltd. is said to be scouting for BCI Minerals Ltd.'s assets, as the company looks to divest its entire iron ore portfolio, which includes Iron Valley, Kumina, Bungaroo South, the Cape Preston East port rights and a number of other exploration tenements, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk reported. The binding bids for the assets were due last week. Other potential bidders include BBI Group, Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting Pty. Ltd. and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.

* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission determined that the Port of Newcastle should reduce its current charge by about 20%, or 61 Australian cents per gross tonne, for ships entering the port to carry Glencore PLC's coal shipments.

* BIS Industries Ltd. secured a three-year contract extension to provide load and haul services for Glencore at the Newlands coal mine in Queensland, Australia.

* Turkey will impose quotas on steel imports, effective Oct. 17, with an additional 25% duty on any imports above the quotas, Reuters reported, citing a filing published by the World Trade Organization.

* Russia's VTB will submit an independent bid for Essar Steel India Ltd., The Times of India reported, citing unnamed sources. VTB initially led the Numetal Ltd. consortium in a bid to acquire the debt-laden Indian steelmaker, but decided to go solo after the Indian Supreme Court allowed the company to join the bidding war despite being under U.S. sanctions.

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed its BB/B long- and short-term issuer credit ratings on thyssenKrupp AG and assigned a developing outlook after removing the ratings from CreditWatch positive. The move comes on the back of the company's recently announced plans to split its operations into two separate companies, which is expected to significantly alter the current credit profile of the group.

* A definitive feasibility study for Centrex Metals Ltd.'s Ardmore phosphate project in Queensland, Australia, pegged a posttax unleveraged net present value, discounted at 10%, of A$109 million, an internal rate of return of 30% and a four-year payback period.

* Australian Potash Ltd. entered into an earn-in and joint venture deal with St Barbara Ltd. for the latter to earn up to a 70% interest in the Lake Wells project in Western Australia.

* To limit global temperature increases, a special report by the International Panel on Climate Change recommended that coal power carbon emissions should be reduced by 45% compared to 2010 levels by 2030 and to near net zero by 2050, The Australian Financial Review wrote.

* Edenville Energy PLC signed a two-year deal to supply an initial 300 to 500 tonnes of coal per month from the Rukwa project in Tanzania.

* Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. redeemed all of its outstanding 5.90% senior notes due March 2020 and 4.80% senior notes due October 2020 with an aggregate outstanding principal amount of US$211 million. The redemption will decrease annualized interest expense by around US$10 million and extend the company's maturity profile.

* Germany's TRIMET Aluminium SE expects aluminum demand to increase in 2019, but a forecast is difficult to provide due to the global impact of U.S. import duties, Reuters reported, citing executive board member Thomas Reuther.

* Coking coal prices in China saw a near 6% increase, while coke jumped upward of 4%, as concerns about tighter supply amid longer production curbs grew following the return of investors from a weeklong holiday, Reuters reported.

SPECIALTY

* Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan believes the state's lithium boom is at risk from a crackdown on company tax rebates introduced by the federal government, The Australian wrote. McGowan is concerned that fears on imminent changes to tax incentives for research and development will result in fewer efforts to add value to the growing lithium sector.

* PJSC Alrosa's JSC Almazy Anabara unit extracted a rare 28.59-carat rough yellow diamond from the Ebelyakh placer deposit, part of the Anabar Division in Russia.

* POZ Minerals Ltd. is expecting full permitting for a shovel-ready Blina diamond project in Western Australia to be finalized by November.

* Paladin Energy Ltd.'s takeover bid for Summit Resources Ltd. has been declared unconditional.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The impact of the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China has yet to surface, various speakers at this year's LME Seminar indicated. Expectations are that the fallout between the world's two largest economies will further intensify in the coming months, posing obvious downside risks to commodities markets. However, China is tipped to take sufficient measures to shield and strengthen its economy, implying ongoing solid demand for most metals.

* The Australian Labor Party pledged to develop the country's battery metals industry if Bill Shorten is elected the next prime minister, Australian Mining reported. Simultaneously, a A$100 million future battery industries cooperative research center in Western Australia is gaining momentum, WAtoday reported.

* PAO Severstal's Severstal Ventures invested in Chrysalix RBV GP Ltd., which has been set up to invest in intelligent systems and automation platforms, such as artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning, as well as the development of new materials and special technologies, enabling digital transformation of large industrial companies. The fund will mainly invest in developing projects in Europe, North America and Asia. Vedomosti cited a source as saying that Severstal invested about US$10 million in the fund.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings, a separately managed division of S&P Global. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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