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Gold strike may hit Sibanye earnings; Nucor plans US$1.35B steel plate mill

Greenhouse gas and gold mines Nearly 1 ton of CO2 emitted per ounce of gold produced in 2019

Essential Metals & Mining Insights - September 2020

Essential Metals & Mining Insights - August 2020

State of the Market: Mining Q2-2020


Gold strike may hit Sibanye earnings; Nucor plans US$1.35B steel plate mill

TOP NEWS

Sibanye expects hit from gold strike in South Africa

A protracted labor action at Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s South African gold mines may affect the miner's revenues, Bloomberg News reported, citing James Wellsted, a company spokesman. The company is assessing the financial impact of the strike, which is causing inconsistent output at three mines amid limited operations. Thousands of workers allied with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union started the strike in late November 2018 over a pay dispute.

Nucor to build US$1.35B steel plate mill in US Midwest

Nucor Corp. plans to build a US$1.35 billion mill in the U.S. Midwest capable of producing 1.2 million tonnes per year of steel plate products and expected to be fully operational in 2022. The new mill will enable Nucor to produce over 97% of the plate products demanded in the U.S. market, including new products, while creating 400 new jobs.

Resolute says no decision yet on potential spin-off, sale of Ravenswood mine

Resolute Mining Ltd. clarified that it has not made any decision associated with the potential sale or spin-off of its Ravenswood gold mine in Queensland, Australia, although it expects to undertake a strategic review of the asset in the first half. The Australian reported earlier about the move, which comes as the company is seeking a dual listing in London and is also shifting its focus to Africa.

DIVERSIFIED

* Former Xstrata CEO Mick Davis set up a new mining venture, Niron Metals, which will look for global opportunities in industrial materials, including nickel, zinc and copper, The Daily Telegraph reported. The venture has two additional directors: Varda Shine, former sales boss of De Beers SA, and Marcos Camhis, founder and CEO of Switzerland-based Fos Asset Management.

* Leading Edge Materials Corp. formally initiated an internal strategic review to assess all potential opportunities to maximize shareholder value and enable the company to accelerate customer engagement in the European battery materials industry. The move comes after shareholders flagged that the company's current share price does not adequately reflect the underlying value of the miner and its asset portfolio.

* AusIndustry advised Argent Minerals Ltd. regarding its review of the research and development claims made by the company for the 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years, suggesting that the latter may be required to repay up to A$1.4 million plus in penalties and interest. Argent maintains the claims were made in compliance with the applicable legislation.

* Canex Energy Corp. entered into a nonbinding letter of intent to acquire Choom Holdings Inc.'s Island Green Cure Ltd. and Medi-Can Health Solutions Inc. subsidiaries, which are focused on medical marijuana.

BASE METALS

* Due to declining copper prices, Imperial Metals Corp. decided to suspend operations at the Mount Polley mine in British Columbia. The suspension plan includes milling of low grade stockpiles, which is expected to extend the operations to the end of May.

* Rockfire Resources PLC decided to relinquish two of its Mount Visi exploration licenses in Papua New Guinea with immediate effect and will instead focus on its project in Queensland, Australia. The company made the decision due to extreme terrain, poor exploration results and the anticipated high cost of ongoing exploration.

* ECobalt Solutions Inc. reduced risks in the Idaho cobalt project after increasing the target production rate by 50% to 1,200 tonnes per day in a new mine plan. The plan will allow eCobalt to produce more cobalt earlier, thereby increasing cash flows at the beginning of the mine life, improving payback and overall project economics amid recent market volatility.

* Sofia Med SA, a Bulgarian copper producer and a unit of Elvalhalcor Hellenic Copper and Aluminium Industry SA, secured a €25 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Reuters reported. Several lenders are extending parallel financing as part of a €85 million long-term joint financing package to help Sofia Med set up a new research and development unit, and to develop new higher value added copper products.

* Marquee Resources Ltd. intersected high-grade mineralization within and beyond the constraints of the current mineral resource model at its Werner Lake cobalt project in Ontario. The company expects a positive update to the mineral resource estimate in the first quarter.

* Wolfden Resources Corp.'s resource estimate for its Pickett Mountain zinc-lead-copper project in Maine showed an indicated mineral resource of 2.05 million tonnes at 19.32% zinc equivalent. The project hosts an inferred mineral resource of 2.03 million tonnes at 20.61% zinc equivalent.

* Fitch Solutions Macro Research sees global refined copper demand to outpace production and maintain the deficit until 2021, mainly due to solid demand from China's power and infrastructure sector, as well as increasing electric vehicle production, Mining Weekly reported.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Sumitomo Corp. committed to spend up to ¥5 billion to advance Novo Resources Corp.'s gold projects in Australia. Novo said it extended and expanded a 2017 memorandum of understanding that saw Sumitomo help Novo move the Beatons Creek gold project in Western Australia toward production.

* Great Panther Silver Ltd.'s board urged shareholders to vote in favor of its proposed takeover of Beadell Resources Ltd. and name change in a Feb. 11 special meeting.

* King River Resources Ltd. intersected a high-grade gold zone during reverse circulation drilling at its Mount Remarkable gold project in Western Australia. The new zone, at the eastern edge of the Trudi main grid, returned a result of 4 meters at 19.88 g/t gold, including 1 meter at 69.30 g/t gold from 21 meters, and is open to the east.

* Ascot Resources Ltd. agreed to acquire IDM Mining Ltd. in a deal that will consolidate the companies' gold projects in the Golden Triangle region of northwestern British Columbia, with closing expected by March end.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Operations at the Mitsubishi Corp. and BHP Group Ltd.-owned Saraji coal mine in Queensland, Australia, resumed after a person died in a machinery accident Dec. 31, 2018, Australian Mining reported. Meanwhile, CFMEU Mining and Energy is urging BHP to inform its workforce about areas of concern at all seven coal mines the company operates in central Queensland.

* As Poland prepares to adopt an energy strategy for the next two decades, environmental groups urged the government to reduce its dependence on coal more quickly than planned, the Financial Times reported. According to the draft proposal from the Polish energy ministry published in November 2018, coal will continue to play a significant role in the country's energy mix until at least 2040.

* Batchfire Resources Pty. Ltd. is seeking investors to raise up to A$100 million in debt and is considering an equity investment worth about A$25 million, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk reported. The coal miner purchased the Callide thermal coal mine in Queensland from Anglo American PLC in late 2016.

* A coal miner was killed at an Illinois coal facility Jan. 5, marking the first industry fatality of 2019, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration confirmed. John Ditterline, an employee with S & L Industries, an underground mining contractor, was found at the Hamilton County coal mine pinned between an air lock door and the coal rib. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

* Two people were killed in another mining-related accident in India's Meghalaya state, The Economic Times of India reported. The incident occurred at time when a rescue operation is ongoing to recover 15 miners trapped inside an illegal coal mine in the state since Dec. 13, 2018.

* Meanwhile, the Indian state of Nagaland decided to ban illegal coal mining and impose a provisional ban on all the companies that have been issued mining licenses, in the wake of the Meghalaya coal mining incidents, NDTV reported. The Nagaland cabinet set up a committee to review the issue of coal mining and the resultant environmental-related damages.

* Kibo Energy PLC intends to fast-track the remaining technical work to complete an integrated bankable feasibility study for its 85%-owned Mabesekwa coal independent power project in Botswana and review commercial opportunities for it.

* Private equity firm Blue Point Capital Partners LLC sold its stake in Elyria, Ohio-based Alco Manufacturing Corp. LLC for an undisclosed sum. Alco makes precision turned unleaded steel, brass and aluminum couplings and fittings for various end markets, including agriculture, construction, industrial production, oil and gas exploration, forestry, mining, utility and material handling equipment.

SPECIALTY

* Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA secured approval from Chile's environmental regulator for a US$25 million compliance plan that will cut the lithium miner's extraction of brine and fresh water at its Salar de Atacama operation, Reuters reported. The environmental regulator filed charges against the company in late 2016 related to several violations.

* The world's largest niobium producer, Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração, is planning to boost its ferro-niobium capacity by 50% to 150,000 tonnes per annum over the next two years with an investment of around US$200 million, Fastmarkets MB reported.

* Chilean lithium carbonate exports reached US$949 million in 2018, significantly up from US$686 million in 2017, Reuters reported. The increase is attributed to growing prices and demand for the key material used in electric vehicle batteries, the country's central bank said.

* Societe Miniere de Bisunzu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo's biggest coltan miner, will end its ITSCI certification due to rising costs, Reuters reported, citing the Communications Director Philippe Stuyck. Coltan is an ore containing niobium and tantalum and is used in technological products such as mobile phones and laptops.

* Energy Fuels Inc. resumed vanadium production from tailings pond solutions at its wholly owned White Mesa uranium mill in Utah and produced the first batches of vanadium concentrate, also known as black flake. The company also plans to invest US$4.2 million to increase uranium production to be able to capitalize on a potential improvement in uranium market conditions. It expects to achieve monthly production rates of 200,000 to 225,000 pounds of vanadium pentoxide by the end of the first quarter and maintain this level of output during 2019 and through at least half of 2020.

* Shefa Yamim (ATM) Ltd. said carmeltazite, a mineral found in one of its gemstones, the trademarked Carmel Sapphire, was recognized and approved as a new mineral by the International Mineralogical Association Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Japan is eyeing the exploration of seafloor massive sulfides, which could cater to the country's demand for basic metals, BBC News reported. Although finding such deposits at the seafloor could be tough, just one of these deposits is thought to contain enough zinc to supply Japan's demand for a year.

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