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Planned asset sales in Portugal, Germany may fetch steelmaker CSN US$1B

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COVID-19 Impact & Recovery: Private Equity

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Lithium prices rally cobalt prices correct

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Planned asset sales in Portugal, Germany may fetch steelmaker CSN US$1B

TOP NEWS

Planned asset sales in Portugal, Germany may fetch steelmaker CSN US$1B

Brazil's Cia. Siderúrgica Nacional tapped U.S. investment bank Jefferies to advise on the sale of its assets in Portugal and Germany, Reuters wrote, citing Brazilian daily O Estado de S.Paulo. The sale of the assets, including Lusosider Projectos Siderúrgicos SA in Portugal and SWT in Germany, are expected to fetch US$1 billion by October. The report added that CSN is also looking to secure a streaming deal in the week of Aug. 13 with a Canadian bank for its mining output in the coming years, which could give it US$1.5 billion in cash this year.

Barrick Gold may form copper company with partners, denies interest in Detour

Barrick Gold Corp. is assessing its copper assets "very seriously" to see if it would make sense to form a copper company with one or two partners, likely from China, Bloomberg News reported, citing statements from Executive Chairman John Thornton at an internal meeting, parts of which were posted on the company's website. The Canadian miner is planning to increase its number of tier-1 assets over time and subsequently divest assets that are not deemed strategic. Meanwhile, Thornton rejected Paulson & Co. Inc.'s claim that Barrick was interested in acquiring Detour Gold Corp., saying its operations did not meet the three criteria to be a tier-1 mine.

BlueScope posts 119% YOY jump in FY'18 net profit

BlueScope Steel Ltd.'s net profit soared 119% year over year to A$1.57 billion in fiscal 2018. The group's underlying EBIT, meanwhile, jumped 15% to A$1.27 billion, on a back of a strong performance in the second half, driven by robust demand and steel spreads in its U.S. and Australasian markets. BlueScope's board approved the payment of an increased final dividend of 8 cents per share and an on-share market buyback of A$250 million, to be held in the first half of fiscal 2019.

BASE METALS

* South32 Ltd. completed the acquisition of the remaining 83% interest in Arizona Mining Inc. for US$1.3 billion.

* China is the largest source of mined zinc in the world, accounting for 35% of estimated global production in 2018. The Chinese mining industry is opaque, with lower levels of public reporting and a large number of private or state-owned operations. Outside of China, the next-largest producers India, Peru, Australia and the U.S. are expected to contribute a further third of mined production in 2018, according to a report by Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Profit after tax in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 for Hindalco Industries Ltd. plus Utkal Alumina International Ltd. more than doubled year over year to 7.34 billion Indian rupees, compared to 3.64 billion rupees the year before, driven by higher EBITDA and lower finance costs.

* Glencore PLC unit McArthur River Mining Pty. Ltd. received approval from the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority for the overburden management project at the McArthur River lead-zinc mine.

* Four of the five labor unions at Codelco's El Teniente copper mine in Chile accepted the company's latest contract offer, Reuters reported, citing union leaders. "The contract was approved by an ample margin after the company improved its offer," said Guillermo Lemaitre, president of the main labor union involved in talks.

* Chengtun Mining Group Co. Ltd. agreed to acquire 100% of cobalt producer Zhuhai Kelixin Metal Material Co. Ltd. for 1.2 billion Chinese yuan in shares to widen its footprint in the new energy equipment industry. It expects to expand its cobalt business by adding processing and manufacturing.

* Consolidated Zinc Ltd. rejected a claim by Pandion Minerals Pty Ltd., which said it was conditionally entitled to a 10% interest in Consolidated Zinc's 51%-owned Minera Latin America Zinc joint venture, which owns the Plomosas zinc project in Mexico.

* Pima Zinc Corp., formerly Rae-Wallace Mining Co., agreed to buy the Pima zinc property in Arizona through the acquisition of the issued share capital of 1139432 B.C. Ltd.

* Titan Minerals Ltd. will proceed with the compulsory acquisition of Andina Resources Ltd. after it issued 545,263,978 shares to shareholders representing 97.09% ownership of the Peru-focused explorer.

* A bus ferrying 18 Chinese mining workers in Pakistan's Baluchistan province was attacked by a suicide bomber, with some of the individuals suffering minor injuries, Reuters reported. The miners targeted worked at Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd.'s Saindak copper project in the country.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Trucks belonging to Banro Corp.'s Namoya gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were attacked by militia, resulting in two fatalities and the abduction of four others, Reuters reported, citing the country's army. "The two people killed are not Banro workers but passengers that the drivers picked up along the road," an army spokesperson said. The hostages include two drivers and two soldiers who were protecting the trucks.

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and eight of its subcontractors were nominated in a lawsuit brought by around 300 Navajo farmers and ranchers in connection with the Gold King mine spill in 2015, seeking US$75 million in compensation, Mining.com reported. An EPA's clean-up team working at the site accidentally caused the spill of over 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater in the Colorado mine. The farmers and ranchers claim they lost crops and livestock, and had to pay to haul clean water as the spill prevented them from using water from the polluted rivers.

* Dampier Gold Ltd. claimed Vango Mining Ltd. is acting in breach of its joint venture deal for developing the K2 gold mine in Western Australia. If the companies do not resolve the dispute within three weeks, the matter will be escalated to a mediator.

* Sumatra Copper & Gold Plc suspended operations at its Tembang gold-silver operation in Indonesia and placed the mine on care and maintenance. The company has been operating solely on the production from the Belinau underground mine, while it awaited connection of Tembang to the state-owned electricity grid. However, production from the underground mine has resulted in negative cashflow from operations, prompting the company to suspend the operation to minimize losses.

* Lithium-focused Marindi Metals Ltd.'s deal to sell its Bellary Dome gold project in Western Australia's Pilbara region to Pacton Gold Inc. fell through.

* Underground mining at Doray Minerals Ltd.'s Deflector gold-copper mine in Western Australia resumed following safety checks that ensured there were no further hazards at the site.

BULK COMMODITIES

* U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Aug. 10 that U.S. tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum would be doubled to 50% and 20%, respectively.

* State-owned Coal India Ltd.'s attributable profit in the first quarter of its fiscal 2019 jumped to 37.86 billion Indian rupees, from 23.51 billion rupees a year earlier.

* Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. booked consolidated net profit of 1.10 billion Indian rupees in the first quarter of its fiscal 2019, a swing from a net loss of 4.21 billion rupees a year earlier.

* Weak performance at the ferroalloys segment impacted the second-quarter results of Afarak Group PLC, which recorded a loss of €2.7 million, compared to a year-ago profit of €2.9 million. Lower market prices and specific adverse conditions at the South African plants affected the ferroalloys segment.

* Banpu PCL booked second-quarter net profit of US$124.4 million, a significant increase from net profit of US$65.9 million reported in the year-ago period. The improvement in results were driven mainly by the strong performance of the company's coal business, and also included a foreign exchange gain of US$36.8 million due to the rapid depreciation of the Thai baht against the U.S. dollar during the period.

* Banpu's 68%-owned Indonesian subsidiary, PT Indotambangraya Megah Tbk., agreed to acquire coal miner PT Nusa Perdana Resources for US$30 million.

* Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA halted all the blast furnaces at its Ipatinga facility in Brazil's Minas Gerais state after an explosion in one of the gas tanks at the site. About 34 people were injured following the incident, but all have left the hospital, Reuters reported. The company is still investigating the causes and impact of the explosion.

* Sberbank purchased a 10% stake in OAO Metalloinvest's Mikhailovsky GOK subsidiary in a transaction aimed at easing the company's debt burden, Reuters reported. Metalloinvest will use the proceeds to partially repay its Sberbank debt, Interfax cited a company spokesperson as saying.

* The board of KIOCL Ltd., formerly Kudremukh Iron Ore Co. Ltd., approved the technoeconomic feasibility report to set up a 2-million-tonne iron ore pellet plant in India's Andhra Pradesh state, with an investment of 9 billion Indian rupees, The Hindu reported. The plant would be commissioned by 2021.

* India's National Company Law Appellate Tribunal cleared Tata Steel Ltd. to file a bid for Bhushan Steel Ltd. and cleared Vedanta Ltd. to bid for Electrosteel Steels Ltd., Mint reported. The tribunal ruled in favor of Tata after rejecting appeals from Bhushan Steel founder Neeraj Singal and its operational creditor, Larsen & Toubro Ltd.

* Tata Sponge Iron Ltd. may invest about 30 billion Indian rupees to set up a steel manufacturing facility, The Economic Times of India reported.

* Union Investment, which owns just a 0.2% stake in ThyssenKrupp AG, said the German group requires a broad overhaul in strategy carried about by a new external CEO, as the recently unveiled mid-term goals will not be enough to put the group back on track, Reuters reported.

* Geo Energy Resources Ltd. completed the first shipment of coal, comprising about 50,000 tonnes, from its Tanah Bumbu mine in Indonesia's Kalimantan province.

* A total of 35,000 tons of North Korean coal and pig iron worth US$5.8 million illegally entered South Korean ports in 2017, in possible violations of U.N. sanctions, The Washington Post reported, citing preliminary results from an investigation by the Korea Customs Service.

* Shaanxi Coal Industry Co. Ltd.'s net profit rose 8.6% year over year to 5.94 billion Chinese yuan in the first half due to increased demand for energy in China. Operating revenue grew 2.57% year over year to 26.24 billion yuan.

SPECIALTY

* Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra expects his government to pass laws within six months required to tap a new lithium and uranium deposit, Reuters reported. The move will remove a major obstacle for Plateau Energy Metals Inc.'s proposed US$800 million Falchani mine in the country, as the company recently pointed at the lack of rules to mine radioactive materials in the country.

* POZ Minerals Ltd. Executive Chairman Jim Richards believes that the company is ideally positioned to take over the shuttered Ellendale diamond mine, which once produced about half the world's fancy yellow diamonds, and a Euroz analyst said it is the right time for Western Australia's government to tender the project. The government said in April that it was working toward releasing the request for expressions of interest for Ellendale in the West Kimberley in the first half.

* PJSC Alrosa's sales of rough and polished diamonds in July rose 16% year over year to US$339.1 million. Total diamond sales grew 9% to US$3.03 billion in the January-July period.

* Israel wants to re-tender the Dead Sea mining concession in 2022, around eight years ahead of schedule, due to environmental and investment concerns, Reuters reported. The government has rarely intervened in the operations of the largest extractor, the Dead Sea Works, which is formerly state-owned and now operated under Israel Chemicals Ltd.'s 70-year mining license.

* BlueRock Diamonds PLC reached a settlement with former CEO Riaan Visser and will provide security for £230,000, the full amount of his alleged claim. Visser's application for the liquidation of the company's operating subsidiary, Kareevlei Mining Pty. Ltd., will be removed from the court roll.

* Oakdale Resources Ltd. formally terminated its deal to acquire up to a 51% interest in Africa Mineral Sands Pte. Ltd., which owns the Vast mineral sands project in South Africa.

* Australian miners are increasing lithium exploration amid strong demand for the commodity, despite a decline in commodity prices, Reuters reported. According to the newswire's report, a flurry of new hard-rock lithium projects beginning to ship was pinpointed as the cause of the 44% drop in lithium carbonate prices this year.

* Yellow Cake PLC purchased 350,000 pounds of uranium from National Atomic Co. Kazatomprom JSC for about US$8.2 million in cash.

INDUSTRY

* Russian President Vladimir Putin is open to discussing a proposal by government aide Andrei Belousov for raising additional revenue from metals and mining companies, but has not made any decision yet, Reuters reported, citing Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. The proposal recommends around 500 billion Russian rubles of additional taxes on 14 leading companies. PJSC Novolipetsk Steel Chairman Vladimir Lisin said the higher taxes will force companies to be inefficient, Reuters wrote.

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