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Brazil orders Vale to suspend more dams; Rio Tinto to face Mozambique fraud case


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Brazil orders Vale to suspend more dams; Rio Tinto to face Mozambique fraud case


Vale ordered to suspend Minervino, Cordao Nova Vista dams in Brazil

Vale SA was ordered by a Brazilian court to suspend its Minervino and Cordao Nova Vista dams until the company proves the stability of the structures, Reuters reported. The miner said the suspension will not have a significant impact on its operations, and that mining waste was already shipped to other unspecified structures.

Court denies Rio Tinto's request to dismiss Mozambique fraud charges

A U.S. judge turned down Rio Tinto's request to dismiss a 2017 case filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleging the company of inflating the value of its failed coal investment in Mozambique, Bloomberg News reported. The SEC accused former CEO Thomas Albanese and former CFO Guy Elliott of inflating the value of coal assets acquired in Mozambique for US$3.7 billion, which were sold a few years later for US$50 million.

Antofagasta's FY'18 profit declines 27.6%

Antofagasta PLC's attributable profit to shareholders for full-year 2018 dropped to US$543.7 million, down 27.6% from US$750.6 million in 2017, mainly due to an increase in total operating costs. Revenue in the year slipped 0.3% to US$4.73 billion from US$4.75 billion a year ago due to lower average realized copper prices. A final dividend of 37.0 cents was declared, taking the full-year dividend to 43.8 cents, compared to 50.9 cents per share in 2017.


* BHP Group appointed Ian Cockerill and Susan Kilsby as independent nonexecutive directors, effective April 1, taking the company's total number of directors to 11.


* The Queensland government nixed the mining leases for Baal Gammon Copper Pty. Ltd.'s mothballed Baal Gammon copper mine over A$11,775 in unpaid local council rates, The Australian reported. Owner Denis Reinhardt slammed the notion of revoking the licenses for the mine, which he valued at over A$100 million, over the overdue fees.

* Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd., which is pursuing a resolution of the four Thackaringa joint venture disputes lodged by Broken Hill Prospecting Ltd. through independent expert determination, said that the resolution institute has nominated an expert, and the process is underway.

* Hardey Resources Ltd.'s new board is reviewing the company's asset portfolio and will reconsider the acquisitions of Nelly Vanadium Pty. Ltd. and Vanadium Mining Pty. Ltd.

* Mincor Resources NL signed a term sheet with BHP Billiton Nickel West Pty. Ltd. that will serve as a basis for a binding off-take agreement covering Mincor's Kambalda nickel operations in Western Australia.

* Camrova Resources Inc. agreed to acquire Chilean firm Asesoria y Inversiones MAYG SpA for C$2 million in shares.

* Puma Exploration Inc. and Trevali Mining Corp. mutually terminated an agreement covering the development of the Murray Brook zinc property in New Brunswick.

* A workers' strike looms at KGHM Polska Miedź SA's Sierra Gorda copper mine in Chile after a union rejected the company's latest offer in contract negotiations, Reuters reported, citing Union 1 President Maykel Ocayo.


* Kalamazoo Resources Ltd. will kick off high-tech work in April with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO, to gain further clarity on what will be expensive diamond drilling in the second half targeting "nothing less than 10 g/t" gold deposits at depth in one of the world's richest alluvial goldfields. The strategy of applying modern geophysics to look for high-grade mineralization at depth is similar to that adopted by Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. at Fosterville located 45 kilometers northeast of Kalamazoo's tenements, and Catalyst Metals Ltd. at Tandarra to the north.

* The appointment of Mark Bristow as Barrick Gold Corp. CEO helped thaw relations between the company's Acacia Mining PLC unit and the Tanzanian government, with a US$190 billion tax dispute expected to be resolved by May, Bloomberg News reported, citing Tanzania's attorney general Adelardus Kilangi.

* A proposed takeover by Middle Island Resources Ltd. for Alto Metals Ltd. is not expected to be able to meet its minimum acceptance condition, with three major shareholders of the latter indicating that they intend to not approve the approximately A$9.4 million deal.

* Tietto Minerals Ltd.'s drilling at its Abujar‐Gludehi deposit within its Abujar gold project in the Ivory Coast intersected the highest-ever grade drill result of 1 meter at 194.93 g/t of gold. A resource upgrade for the project is on track for completion by the end of the month.

* Sibanye Gold Ltd. said the South African labor court rejected a request by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union to stop the company's plan to restructure its gold operations in the country.

* Lydian International Ltd. CFO Douglas Tobler will resign, effective June 14, less than a year after Howard Stevenson quit as president and CEO, amid continued fierce opposition to the Amulsar gold project in Armenia.

* Argent Minerals Ltd. received final approval for the Pine Ridge gold mine drilling program, part of its Kempfield project in Australia, by the New South Wales government.

* Tanzania aims to curb illegal gold exports by setting up state-controlled trading centers at the country's mineral-producing regions by late June, Reuters reported, citing a statement from Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.

* At least 30 people were killed in an illegal gold mine collapse in Angola, the African News Agency reported.


* A Brazilian court froze 1 billion Brazilian reais in Vale's accounts as compensation for a community affected by the fatal tailings dam burst at the Feijao iron ore mine in Minas Gerais state. The order requires the company to pay for the relocation, food and other needs of the affected people from the Sebastião de Águas Claras-Macacos community.

* Vale secured an injunction allowing it to restart activities at the the Guaíba Island Terminal, in the town of Mangaratiba in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro, which was closed in March due to an alleged lack of an operating license. According to the Brazilian port regulator, about 40 million tonnes of iron ore go through the Ilha da Guaiba terminal per annum.

* Flinders Mines Ltd. filed a revised application for its delisting from the ASX. The company's revised plan was accepted by the Australian government's takeovers panel in February.

* Vedanta Resources PLC unit Vedanta Ltd. said two people died as a result of clashes between protesters and Odisha Industrial Security Force personnel outside its Lanjigarh alumina refinery in Odisha, India.

* Two autonomous trucks collided at BHP Group's Jimblebar iron ore mine in Pilbara, Western Australia, The West Australian reported. No one was injured in the accident, which was blamed on heavy rainfall. Operations resumed a few hours after.

* The suspension of Vale's Brucutu and Timbopeba mines prompted BMO Capital Markets to slash the company's iron ore production estimate by a further 30 million tonnes, The Northern Miner reported.

* Shares in Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. all rose March 18 as the companies are expected to benefit from the reduced output from Vale, which was forced to halt operations at its Timbopeba iron ore mine in Brazil following a court order, The Sydney Morning Herald wrote.

* New Hope Group Co. Ltd.'s net profit in the first half of its fiscal 2019 rose 4% to A$120.2 million, from A$115.6 million in the comparative period, thanks to its increased ownership in the Bengalla coal mine in New South Wales, Australia.

* Angang Steel Co. Ltd.'s net profit attributable to shareholders for 2018 jumped 19.8% year over year to 7.95 billion Chinese yuan, or 1.09 yuan per share, beating the previous guidance. Operating income for 2018 climbed 14.7% to 105.16 billion yuan, leading to a 58.64% surge in operating profit to 10.09 billion yuan, on a yearly basis.

* Separately, Angang Steel intends to issue asset-backed securities of up to 10 billion Chinese yuan to eligible investors in a bid to reduce capital costs and tap idle bills assets.

* Steel Dynamics Inc. flagged a year-over-year decrease in its first-quarter EPS to between 88 U.S. cents and 92 U.S. cents, from 96 U.S. cents a year ago.

* Russia's second-largest steelmaker, Evraz PLC, would buy back US$700 million of 6.5% outstanding bonds maturing on April 22, 2020, while the company's ultimate owners plan to place 1.8% of shares for sale.

* Thyssenkrupp AG's plant engineering business won an engineering, procurement and construction contract for a new fertilizer complex in Cairo. The order is valued in the mid-three-digit-million euro range.

* Prophecy Development Corp. will restart its Ulaan Ovoo coal mine in Mongolia this month, with an estimated 21,000 tonnes of coal production and sales.


* Tronox Ltd.'s proposed acquisition of Cristal, the titanium dioxide business of Saudi Arabia-based National Titanium Dioxide Co. Ltd., will be presented to the Federal Trade Commission for its consideration. The company said the FTC staff joined it to move to withdraw the case from adjudication and ask the commission to consider the transaction with the proposed remedy. An initial decision by the FTC's chief administrative law judge determined that the acquisition may substantially lessen competition for the sale of chloride-based titanium dioxide in North America.

* Boss Resources Ltd.'s phase one restart assessment at its Honeymoon uranium project in South Australia confirmed the estimates of the May 2017 pre-feasibility study.

* Thiess Pty. Ltd., through its 70%-owned Majwe Mining Joint Venture (Pty.) Ltd., secured a nine-year, A$1.7 billion contract to provide mining services at Debswana Diamond Co. (Pty.) Ltd.'s Cut-9 project, part of its Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana.

* PJSC Alrosa is evaluating whether to reopen the Mir diamond mine in Russia. The Mir pipe was suspended after a flood in 2017 that required the mine to be evacuated. The restart process would take between six and eight years and cost US$1.3 billion.

* Alrosa wants to own a majority stake in diamond projects in Zimbabwe that it will develop as part of a deal with the government, Reuters reported, citing CEO Sergey Ivanov.

* Renascor Resources Ltd. Managing Director David Christensen said that securing off-take contracts for its Siviour graphite project in South Australia that are creditworthy to service debt obligations is "difficult" as the customer base in the large Chinese market is made up of many small entities not often known to western debt providers.

* Syrah Resources Ltd. said its Balama graphite operation in Mozambique and its logistic supply chain have not been impacted by Cyclone Idai.


* The U.S. government established a new research program to address the expansion of automation and related technology in the mining sector.

* The Minerals Council of Australia urged the government to introduce tax reforms to attract more investments.

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