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Brazil orders 50% output cut at Norsk Hydro alumina refinery

TOP NEWS

Brazil orders Norsk Hydro to cut 50% output at alumina refinery

Norsk Hydro ASA was ordered by the Secretariat of Environment and Sustainability in Para, Brazil, to cut production by 50% at its Alunorte refinery due to violations of environmental regulations, as well as suspend the operations at a tailings dam of the Paragominas bauxite mine. The resolutions were made following heavy rainfall Feb. 16-17 that caused flooding in the region. The Norwegian aluminum maker is also evaluating statements by Brazilian Minister of Environment José Sarney Filho calling for a possible suspension of operations at Alunorte.

Fresnillo hikes final dividend as 2017 attributable profit climbs to US$560.6M

The board of Fresnillo Plc recommended an increased final dividend of 29.8 U.S. cents per common share, equivalent to about US$219.6 million, from 21.5 cents per share declared in 2016, after the group's 2017 attributable profit rose to US$560.6 million, including the effects of its Silverstream contract. The company attributed the improved profits in 2017 to the revaluation of foreign exchange rates on its deferred taxes and a 9.2% year-over-year increase in adjusted revenue.

Mitsubishi in talks with Anglo to raise Quellaveco copper project stake to about 30%

Mitsubishi Corp. is in talks with Anglo American Plc on potentially increasing its stake in the Quellaveco copper project in Peru to about 30% from the current 18.1%, Kanji Nishiura, the Japanese group's head of metals and coal, told Bloomberg News. Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani said the company is willing to sell about a 30% interest in the project to prospective partners.

DIVERSIFIED

* An attorney for Russian businessman Roman Abramovich-owned Crispian Investment Ltd. is seeking permission from a London court to proceed with the sale of a 2% stake in PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co. to billionaire Vladimir Potanin, Reuters reported. United Co. Rusal Plc's billionaire owner, Oleg Deripaska, who holds a 28% stake in Norilsk Nickel, sought an injunction in a London court Feb. 16 to stop Crispian from selling the minority stake to Potanin's Whiteleave Holdings Ltd.

BASE METALS

* Freeport-McMoRan Inc. has no plans to sell its cobalt project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo even though several parties are interested, Reuters reported, citing Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson. The prices offered were not enough to prompt a sale, but the miner plans to explore other options, including a joint venture, to develop the assets.

* A preliminary economic assessment for Deep-South Resources Inc.'s Haib copper project in Namibia estimated a posttax net present value, discounted at 7.5%, of US$463.1 million, an internal rate of return of 23% and a 5.7-year payback period based on throughput of 8.5 million tonnes per annum spanning a 55-year mine life.

* Strategic Minerals Plc completed all prerequisite conditions to close the acquisition of the Leigh Creek copper mine in South Australia.

* Amid negotiations with smelters, Teck Resources Ltd. President and CEO Donald Lindsay said he sees zinc treatment charges falling further. "I couldn't say by how much," Lindsay said, speaking at the BMO Global Metals & Mining conference.

* Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. CEO Sean Boyd told Bloomberg TV that the miner is reviewing its cobalt assets in Canada after receiving five or six inquiries amid surging demand for the rechargeable-battery ingredient.

* Southern Copper Corp. President and CEO Óscar Gonzalez Rocha said the company will be able to operate the Michiquillay and Quellaveco copper projects in Peru simultaneously, El Comercio reported. The company also trusts that construction of the Tia Maria copper project will be authorized by the Peruvian authorities in the first half.

* Heron Resources Ltd. awarded the underground mining contract for the Woodlawn zinc-copper project in New South Wales, Australia, to PYBAR Mining Services.

* Northisle Copper & Gold Inc. entered into a joint venture agreement granting Freeport-McMoRan unit Freeport-McMoRan Mineral Properties Canada Inc. a right to acquire up to 65% interest in the Pemberton Hills copper property in British Columbia.

* Globex Mining Enterprises Inc. sold its Certac copper-zinc-gold-silver property in Quebec to Osisko Mining Inc.

PRECIOUS METALS

* AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said the company reached out to the Tanzanian government over changes to the country's mining laws that the company intends to challenge through arbitration, Bloomberg News reported. The chief executive also said the gold miner may opt to sell more assets at the right price and is open to partnerships at its Obuasi gold mine in Ghana, which the company will reopen after receiving government approval for its redevelopment plans.

* A federal court in Mexico ratified a protection claim filed by indigenous communities against exploration works at Almaden Minerals Ltd.'s Cerró Grande and Cerró Grande II gold-silver concessions in Ixtacamaxtitlán in Mexico's Puebla state, magazine Contralinea reported. The court argued that Almaden had not complied with the necessary consultations with indigenous communities during its licensing process.

* SilverCrest Metals Inc. estimated an initial inferred resource of 402,000 ounces of gold and 32.7 million ounces of silver at its Las Chispas property in Mexico, using a cutoff grade of 150 g/t of silver equivalent. The resources is hosted within 3.4 million tonnes of ore at 3.66 g/t of gold and 297 g/t of silver.

* Beadell Resources Ltd. secured a US$60 million senior credit facility from Sprott Private Resource Lending LP to fund the development of its Tucano gold mine in Brazil, for the retirement of an existing loan facility and for general corporate purposes.

* S2 Resources Ltd. completed the sale of its Polar Metals Pty. Ltd. unit, which holds 100% of the Polar Bear and Norcott gold projects and an 80% joint venture interest in the Eundynie gold project in Western Australia, to Westgold Resources Ltd. for A$9 million.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Ferroglobe PLC turned in a net profit of US$32.2 million, or 19 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2017, from a year-ago net loss of US$242.0 million, or US$1.41 per share. For full-year 2017, the silicon and manganese producer swung to a profit of US$25.2 million, from a net loss of US$338.4 million a year earlier. The results for the quarter and full year ended Dec. 31, 2017, included a benefit of US$30.9 million resulting from U.S. tax reforms.

* Russian steelmaker OAO Metalloinvest invested 230 million rubles into boosting capacity at a Ural Steel JSC facility by 50% to 1.8 million tonnes per annum.

* Adani Enterprises Ltd. rejected criticism, saying the quality of the thermal coal at its A$16.5 billion Carmichael mine in Queensland, Australia, is better than that of most of its main competitors in Asia, including China and India, The Australian Financial Review reported. According to an independent report commissioned by Adani, the Carmichael stage-one coal contains energy content of 4,800 kilocalories per kilogram, which places the project between the 25th and 29th percentile of the coal cost curve.

* The Japanese steel industry wants the U.S. to exclude the country from its proposed steel import duties, as the country poses no threat to the U.S. national security, Reuters reported, citing Japan Iron and Steel Federation Chairman Kosei Shindo. "Ideally, we want the U.S. to avoid imposing any import restrictions on steel," Shindo was quoted as saying.

* Grupo Simec SAB de CV sold 2.093 million tonnes of steel products in 2017, slightly higher than the 2.085 million tonnes of steel products produced in the prior year.

* Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer's Mineralogy Pty. Ltd. is seeking A$2.7 billion in damages from Citic Ltd. in a suit filed in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, The Australian Financial Review reported. The suit contends that the liquidation of Palmer's petroleum business may have been averted if CITIC had paid royalties from the Sino-Iron project earlier.

* India set a 2019 deadline to complete the auction of coal assets to private investors, Mining Weekly reported.

* Former Union Minister and Indian National Congress leader Srikant Jena proposed that India's Odisha state should set up its own bauxite refinery instead of using Vedanta Ltd.'s Lanjigarh refinery, The Economic Times of India reported.

* U.S. President Donald Trump said he wants to revive the American steel industry even if that requires applying tariffs to imports from other countries, Reuters reported. The White House said he has not made a final decision on the issue.

* Kommersant reported that Evraz Plc won VEB's competition for the management of coking coal miner Sibuglemet. Evraz has managed the asset from 2015, and the contract will be on the same terms as previously. Sources said this will give the company an opportunity to enter into the capital of Sibuglemet, which has an annual output of about 5 million tonnes of coking coal.

SPECIALTY

* Iluka Resources Ltd. narrowed its net loss to A$171.6 million for full year 2017 from A$224 million a year earlier. The company's mineral sands revenue soared 40% year over year to about A$1.02 billion, with sales volumes of zircon, rutile and synthetic rutile increasing 27% to 889,000 tonnes.

* Morgan Stanley analysts expects lithium prices to slide 45% by 2021 as the expected growth in electric vehicles will not be enough to offset rising supply from Chile. New and planned expansion projects in the country will "threaten to add" about 500,000 tonnes per year to the worldwide supply by 2025.

* FMC Corp. is planning a US$500 million initial public offering of about 15% of its lithium business on the NYSE late in the third quarter or early fourth quarter, Reuters reported, citing CFO Paul Graves.

* POSCO signed an agreement with Australia's Pilbara Minerals Ltd. to buy up to 240,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate per year as the South Korean steel major plans to make about 30,000 tonnes of lithium products per year starting in 2020, Reuters reported. As part of the deal, POSCO will get a 4.75% stake in Pilbara Minerals for A$79.6 million.

* Argosy Minerals Ltd. increased its stake in the Rincon lithium project in Argentina to 77.5% after completing the second stage of its agreement to earn up to a 90% interest in the project.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Miners in Papua New Guinea, including Barrick Gold Corp. and Ok Tedi Mining Ltd., reported damage to its infrastructure in the wake of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in the country, Reuters reported. K92 Mining Inc. said its operations were not impacted by the earthquake.

* South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who replaced Jacob Zuma in the position, appointed Gwede Mantashe as the country's new mines minister, Miningmx reported. Mantashe is a former general-secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers and replaced Mosebenzi Zwane in the role. The appointment was welcomed by the Chamber of Mines.

* Blackrock's chief investment officer for natural resources, Evy Hambro, expects mining companies to generate a significant amount of cash this year should the commodity prices hold, the Financial Times wrote. "The outlook above should leave the Company and other shareholders at the mercy of management teams in terms of them either remaining disciplined and not overinvesting capital back into the business or reverting to the bad old ways of value destruction," Hambro said.

* The ease of doing business in the U.S., given decreasing regulations as well as flexible labor and more abundant energy, is "a major change in our business," Freeport-McMoRan President and CEO Richard Adkerson said at the BMO Global Metals & Mining conference. He also pointed to an improved regulatory environment in the U.S. as decreasing the burden from environmental issues and boosting the ease of opening or expanding mines in the country.

* There is a strong policy to promote and stimulate the Indian mining industry, but even as the sector develops, government bureaucracy remains a significant barrier to foreign companies seeking to invest, Panthera Resources Plc CEO Geoff Stanley said in an interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* A decree regulating mining activity in Venezuela's Bolivar state has failed, according to environmentalists, as mineral extraction in the area has increased and is being conducted in a disorderly manner, Mining.com reported.

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