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Alrosa's FY'18 diamond sales up 6%; US Senate moves to keep Rusal sanctions


Alrosa's FY'18 diamond sales up 6% to US$4.51B on high demand, prices

PJSC Alrosa's total diamond sales in 2018 grew 6% year on year to US$4.51 billion, from US$4.27 billion in 2017, driven by high demand for rough diamonds and positive price dynamics in the first half of the year. Rough diamond sales totaled US$4.41 billion, while polished diamond sales stood at US$95.3 million, according to preliminary figures.

US Senate Democratic leader to force vote rejecting lifting of Rusal, En+ sanctions

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer moved to reject the removal of sanctions on United Co. Rusal PLC, its parent En+ Group PLC and EuroSibEnergo PLC, as he plans to force a vote soon on a resolution that will oppose the Trump administration's decision, Reuters wrote. Schumer said the proposal is "flawed" as it failed to limit Oleg Deripaska’s control and influence of the companies. The news comes after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended his plan to lift the sanctions.

Ex-Dominion Diamond CEO launching company selling synthetic stones

Former Dominion Diamond Mines CEO Patrick Evans is launching a company producing lab-grown diamonds, the Financial Times reported. Evans said his company would sell gem-quality diamonds larger than one carat for the engagement market, and hopes to offer prices about 15% to 20% cheaper than the natural diamonds. The industry veteran, who said that natural supplies of diamonds will soon run out, plans to take the company public on the TSX in 2020.


* Rockfire Resources PLC CEO David Price revealed that he rejected a number of battery metals projects to stay true to the company's copper-gold focus, and traces of high grades at his new Queensland, Australia, projects give him confidence that it is the right move.


* Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s revolving credit facility lenders, comprising 13 South African and international banks, agreed to retain the upper limit of the company's net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA ratio at 3.5x for another 12 months until the end of 2019 on the same terms as the previous agreement. The ratio was due to fall to 2.5x from the end of 2018.

* The contractors' union at Cia. de Minas Buenaventura SAA's Uchucchacua silver mine in Peru launched a strike over "unsuitable working conditions." The union also protested Buenaventura's dismissal of certain contracted workers at the site as the company concluded some contractor-related services.

* 3D Resources Ltd. said its proposed acquisition of the Grand Bois and Morne Bossa gold projects in Haiti is unlikely to close by March 31 after the vendors disagreed with the process of validating land titles. 3D Resources said it is still continuing to work with its Haitian lawyers and the vendors to complete the deal.

* Sanatana Resources Inc. successfully negotiated a surface access agreement with the local landowners for the company's Tirua project in Solomon Islands. The agreement will help Sanatana secure a prospecting license over the 264-square-kilometer project and to begin exploration.

* Vector Resources Ltd. completed the purchase of a 60% joint venture interest in the Adidi-Kanga gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The joint venture with Mongbwalu Goldfields Investment Ltd. has all approvals to start site development and conduct a definitive feasibility study for the project.

* Georgian Mining Corp. is awaiting the final approval for an exploration permit at its 50%-owned Bolnisi copper-gold project after the Georgian government finally considered it in a cabinet meeting at the end of December 2018.

* TomaGold Corp. increased its ownership in the Monster Lake gold property in Quebec to 50% from 45% after agreeing to acquire Quinto Resources Inc.'s 5% stake for C$500,000.

* Armadale Capital PLC entered into a formal agreement to sell its noncore Mpokoto gold project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to African Royalty Co. Pty. Ltd., a company related to Arrow Mining Pty. Ltd.

* Nexus Gold Corp. closed the acquisition of the 509-hectare New Pilot gold project in British Columbia. As consideration, the company issued 3.5 million shares to vendor Warren Robb, a director and senior officer of the company.

* Endeavour Mining Corp. raised its stake in the Ity gold-silver mine in Cote d'Ivoire to 85% from 80% after issuing 1,072,305 shares worth US$15 million to Didier Drogba Group unit DYD International Holding Ltd.

* Matsa Resources Ltd. started work at its wider Lake Carey gold project in Western Australia after completing mining at the Red Dog project.

* New Pacific Metals Corp. is set to expand the Silver Sand silver-tin project in Bolivia after securing exploration, mining and production rights on adjacent ground.


* Kameron Collieries ULC slashed 18 jobs at its Donkin coal mine in Nova Scotia following a roof collapse that forced the Cline Group LLC unit to halt operations, CBC News reported, citing Mine Vice-President Shannon Campbell. The mine's restart is subject to the Department of Labour's approval of a new ground control plan, the report said. No timeline was provided.

* Coal sales from TerraCom Ltd.'s Blair Athol project in Queensland reached 605,423 tonnes for the December 2018 quarter. First-half coal sales for the 2019 financial year totaled 1.2 million tonnes at an average realized price of US$92/t. The company said it is currently on track to achieve its coal sales guidance of 2.5 million tonnes for the fiscal year.

* BHP Group Ltd. hired Southern Innovation, a Melbourne, Australia-based tech firm that developed a device called Drillscan, which can detect the quality of iron ore in real time, The Australian Financial Review reported. Trials of the device, which can be attached to BHP's drill rigs, are expected to start in July.

* OCJ Investment, the second largest single shareholder in Flinders Mines Ltd. has joined efforts to stop its proposed delisting from the ASX, The West Australian wrote. The Chinese-backed investor holds an approximately 22% stake in Flinders.

* An indefinite strike forced Coal India Ltd.’s Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd. unit to stop operations at its Talcher unit, part of the larger Mahanadi Coalfields operations in India's Odisha state, Odisha Sun Times wrote. Citing a company spokesperson, the report said daily losses are estimated at around 200 million Indian rupees.

* Chatham Rock Phosphate Ltd. is likely to approach the market and eligible existing shareholders to raise further working capital after its planned merger with Capital Trust Group Ltd. hit a roadblock. Chatham Rock said Capital Trust's proposed US$10 million fundraising, a condition of the merger, is taking longer than expected partly due to the past holiday season.

* North Rhine-Westphalia, a coal mining state in Germany, is demanding at least €10 billion in structural support if the country's plans to phase out coal pushes through, Reuters reported citing Andreas Pinkwart, the state's economy minister.

* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is working to put pressure on U.S. President Donald Trump to drop the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed in May 2018, Reuters reported.

* Wollongong Coal Ltd. is facing a protected industrial action from workers at its Wongawilli colliery in New South Wales, Australia, from Jan. 14 to Jan. 20. The industrial action is related to a proposed enterprise agreement between the labor-hire contractor and its employees.

* All 21 miners trapped underground after a roof collapse at Baiji Mining Co. Ltd.'s Lijiagou coal mine in China's Shaanxi province were killed, Xinhua News Agency reported.

* Nan Nan Resources Enterprise Ltd. resumed operations at its Kaiyuan coal mine in China after renewing its mining permit, which is valid from Nov. 3, 2018, to Nov. 3, 2019.

* Tellus Holdings plans to start construction in February at its Tellus kaolin project in Coolgardie, Western Australia, after securing both major environmental approvals it needed to operate the mine, The West Australian reported. Construction is expected to take 14 months, and production should start in 2020.


* Syrah Resources Ltd. declared commercial production at its Balama graphite operations in Mozambique. Meanwhile, the company's natural graphite production in the fourth quarter totaled 33,000 tonnes, while full-year production stood at 104,000 tonnes, in line with updated guidance.

* Lithium Energy Products Inc. completed its acquisition of the Jackpot Lake lithium property in Nevada. The company agreed with the seller on an immediate transfer for a payment of 759,259 in Lithium Energy shares at the Jan. 10 closing price of 13.5 Canadian cents apiece for a total of around C$102,500. The remaining payment of C$102,500 will be made within six months of the project transfer.


* The possibility of an El Niño phenomenon in 2019 poses cost risks among miners in Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador who heavily rely on hydroelectric power, wrote, citing Fitch Solutions.

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