Report: Swiss prosecutors not targeting Rio Tinto in Mongolian bribery probe
Swiss prosecutors are not investigating Rio Tinto in connection with bribery allegations related to the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia, the Financial Times reported, citing a letter from the Swiss Office of the Attorney-General. This follows a statement by Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques to Bloomberg News that Swiss authorities did not make any contact with the company. "Currently, the investigation is directed neither against your client nor against any of client's employees," the letter read.
Debt-free Rio Tinto is within reach as coal divestments beat analysts forecasts
Rio Tinto was able to generate proceeds of more than US$11 billion through asset sales over the past five years, giving the company the option of becoming debt free, The Australian Financial Review reported. The latest deal brings Rio Tinto's proceeds from the recent Queensland coal sales to US$4.15 billion, whereas analysts had expected the mining giant to net between US$1.7 billion and US$2.2 billion for the entire business. UBS said the US$2.25 billion sale of Kestrel appeared to have factored in long-term coal prices of US$170/tonne, which analysts called "impressive."
ICL closes US$1B sale of noncore units, flags US$840M capital gain in Q1
Israel Chemicals Ltd. completed the sale of its fire safety and oil additives business units to SK Capital for about US$1 billion. The company expects to book a capital gain of about US$840 million in the first quarter. Israel Chemicals intends to use the proceeds to cut its debt and create resources to realize growth opportunities.
* The Port of Newcastle has hit back after the High Court rejected its appeal to review previous decisions supporting Glencore Plc's push to have the port regulated, telling S&P Global Market Intelligence that its shipping pricing remains competitive with other Australian ports.
* Rio Tinto accepted €431.6 million of its euro-denominated notes due 2020 and 2024 for purchase as part of measures to cut its gross debt by about US$2.25 billion.
* Victory Mines Ltd. has placed its Bolivian tin operation in caretaker mode and suspended all current budgeted capital and operating expenditures, deeming it a noncore asset following a board review. The company now plans to focus mainly on exploration at the newly acquired cobalt-scandium projects in New South Wales and Western Australia, and review its other assets.
* Nevsun Resources Ltd.'s pre-feasibility study for the Timok Upper Zone copper-gold project in Serbia pegged a post tax net present value, discounted at 8%, of US$1.82 billion and an 80% internal rate of return at a copper price of US$3.15 per pound as valued at the start of construction, estimated for July 2020. The study envisions a 10-year mine life producing over 1.7 billion pounds of payable copper, excluding inferred resources.
* A supervisors' union at Codelco's unit Codelco Norte rejected the company's wage offer and is urging its members to vote for industrial action, Metal Bulletin reported.
* Rox Resources Ltd. is selling its copper-tungsten-molybdenum-prospective Bonya tenement interests in Australia's Northern Territory to Thor Mining Plc for a total of A$550,000 in shares.
* Red Rock Resources Plc has secured an extension to May 31 from Cobalt Blue Ltd. for the due diligence period to acquire a 26.25% interest in the proposed copper-cobalt tailings joint venture project.
* Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd.'s attributable net profit rose to 1.60 billion Chinese yuan in 2017, up from 784.1 million in 2016, while revenue increased to 205.05 billion yuan from 202.31 billion yuan.
* Empire Resources Ltd. started dispute resolution proceedings regarding its toll treatment agreement with Eastern Goldfields Milling Services Pty. Ltd. for the Penny's Find gold joint venture in Western Australia. The company is looking to recover over A$830,000.
* Draig Resources Ltd. completed the acquisition of the Yandal South gold project in Western Australia by paying A$100,000 and issuing 3.0 million ordinary shares.
* Gold Fields Ltd. appears to have closed ranks on the mergers and acquisitions front and recognizes serious challenges for the industry in mines getting deeper with barely any greenfields exploration, but a senior executive told S&P Global Market Intelligence that it could re-enter that latter space going forward.
* Goldplat Plc subsidiary Gold Recovery Ghana Ltd. completed the installation and commissioning of an elution plant and associated ancillary equipment at its site in Tema, Ghana. The first gold was poured during March.
* DRDGold Ltd.'s shareholders approved the deal proposed by Sibanye Gold Ltd. to swap some of the latter's assets for a 38% stake in DRDGold.
* Barrick Gold Corp. founder and chairman emeritus Peter Munk passed away.
* Serabi Gold Plc plans to raise at least US$8 million through the issuance of new ordinary shares at 36 pence per share to conduct drilling at the Palito and Sao Chico projects, develop the recently acquired Coringa project, start regional exploration and pay down debt.
* There is a slim chance that Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s hoped-for retraction in discounts for its lower-grade iron ore could play out but the likelihood is more pain going forward as both S&P Global Market Intelligence and CRU believe the capacity removed from Chinese supply is permanent.
* Riversdale Resources Ltd. has decided to cancel its IPO, which would have valued the company between A$450.7 million and A$532.4 million, due to a lack of interest from investors, The Australian reported.
* Chinese coal major Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. is not in the market for major acquisitions this year as it prioritizes production ramp-up at its domestic projects, CFO Zhao Qingchun said in an interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence.
* Ezz Steel Co. swung to a net loss after tax and minority interest of 1.58 billion Egyptian pounds in 2017, compared to a net profit of 162 million pounds a year ago. Chairman and managing director Paul Chekaiban said the company was not able to run its plants at capacity "because of an acute shortage in working capital facilities due to the significant devaluation of the Egyptian currency."
* A government-backed institute in Brazil, the Evandro Chagas Institute, found increased levels of heavy metals, including aluminum and lead, in waters near Norsk Hydro ASA's Alunorte alumina refinery. However, the company raised questions on the credibility of the scientific work, Reuters reported.
* Magnetite Mines Ltd. has finalized the framework agreement for the proposed acquisition of Lodestone Equities Ltd. with the target and its sole shareholder Coffee House Group Ltd.
* Prairie Mining Ltd. entered a nondisclosure agreement with Jastrzebska Spólka Weglowa SA for potential co-operation regarding the former's Polish coal assets, including the Debiensko 1 and Jan Karski projects.
* Harvest Minerals Ltd.'s final exploration report for its Arapua fertilizer project in Brazil was approved by the department of mines inspector for Minas Gerais. The company will now submit its environmental report and then a feasibility study to secure a full mining license.
* Russian fertilizer producer PJSC Acron posted an increase in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2017 to US$429 million from US$356 million in 2016. A lower average dollar to Russian ruble exchange rate weighed heavily on Acron's net profit in 2017, which dropped significantly year over year to US$244 million, from US$381 million in 2016.
* Adani Enterprises Ltd. abandoned the 2020 target date to start coal mining at the Carmichael coal project in Queensland, Australia, after failing to meet a March deadline to secure up to A$3 billion in project financing, Bloomberg News reported, citing a source. First coal production and supply from the project is now expected in 2021.
* Kommersant reported that after the failure of the deal with China Shenhua Energy Co. Ltd. on the coal-energy project at the Ogodzhinskoye field in Russia's Amur region, Rostec reduced its stake to 25%.
* ArcelorMittal concluded its share buyback program, repurchasing 7 million shares for about €184.3 million, equivalent to about US$226.5 million, with per-share prices averaging at €26.34.
* The government of Queensland, Australia, may lose A$500 million in royalties per year, as Aurizon Holdings Ltd.'s revised maintenance plan is expected to reduce coal exports by A$4 billion, or up to 20 million tonnes per year, Mining Weekly reported.
* The U.S. has hinted that any cap imposed on steel imports from Australia would be more generous than import limits placed on major metal producers in South Korea and some other countries, The Australian Financial Review reported.
* U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the government will give China a 60-day window before the US$50 billion tariffs on Chinese goods take effect, adding it would take years to bring the trading relationship between the countries "to a good place," Reuters reported.
* A planned merger of ThyssenKrupp AG and Tata Steel Ltd.'s European steel units face another challenge as German unions are opposing a labor agreement, which guaranteed that Tata's Netherlands-based division could continue to operate as an independent company under the venture with control over its own profits and an independent supervisory board, Reuters reported.
* Armadale Capital Plc's scoping study on the Mahenge Liandu graphite project in Tanzania pegged a posttax net present value, discounted at 10%, of US$239 million, an 89% internal rate of return, and a 1.2-year payback period. The capital cost is estimated at US$35 million. The company will now kick off a definitive feasibility study and advance to a decision to mine in early 2019.
* Battery Minerals Ltd.'s total mineral resources at the Balama Central graphite project in Mozambique doubled to 32.9 million tonnes at 10.2% total graphitic carbon for 3.4 million tonnes of contained graphite.
* The board of URA Holdings Plc, which became an AIM Rule 15 cash shell in December 2017, is looking to acquire projects and assess various opportunities.
* Nemaska Lithium Inc. signed a nonbinding term sheet for a US$150 million streaming agreement as it seeks to raise between US$775 million and US$825 million to build the Whabouchi lithium project in Canada.
* The number of fatalities at South African mines reached 22 this year, Bloomberg News reported. Mining deaths increased for the first time in a decade to 88 in 2017, up from 73 in 2016, according to the country's Department of Mineral Resources.
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