Gold Fields forming Ghana gold JV with Asanko
Gold Fields Ltd. struck a deal to form a 50/50 joint venture in Ghana with Canada's Asanko Gold Inc. The arrangement will see Gold Fields acquiring a 50% stake in the Asanko gold mine, associated properties and exploration rights in Ghana in exchange for an upfront US$165 million payment on closing and a deferred payment of US$20 million. Gold Fields will also invest US$17.6 million in Asanko Gold through a private placement for a 9.9% stake in the latter.
India's JSW Steel Ltd. agreed to acquire Acero Junction Holdings for US$80.9 million as part of an expansion drive in the U.S. The target company's assets include an electric arc furnace producing hot-rolled coils as well as a 3 million-tonne-per-annum hot strip mill. Earlier this week, JSW signed a memorandum of understanding to invest up to US$500 million in expanding its Texas operations.
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-Sébastien 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.
* The Port of Newcastle hit back after Australia's High Court rejected the port's 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.
* China's Congo Dongfang International Mining SPRL,
* Nevsun Resources Ltd.'s pre-feasibility study for the Timok Upper Zone copper-gold project in Serbia pegged a posttax 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.
* Nautilus Minerals Inc. reported the launch of its production support vessel at the Mawei shipyard in China. Nautilus and its partner Eda Kopa (Solwara) Ltd. will use the vessel at the Solwara 1 copper project in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea. The company hopes to mine the seafloor for copper, gold and silver.
* Microsoft Corp.'s former manager in China, Christina Feng, who managed the U.S. tech giant's program for the responsible sourcing of raw materials until January 2017, was tapped as the first executive secretary of the Responsible Cobalt Initiative, or RCI, Reuters reported, citing an interview with Feng. The RCI was launched by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers and Exporters in 2016 to address social and environmental risks in the cobalt supply chain.
* A supervisors' union at Codelco unit Codelco Norte rejected the company's wage offer and is urging its members to vote for industrial action, Metal Bulletin reported.
* Victory Mines Ltd. 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 its newly acquired cobalt-scandium projects in New South Wales and Western Australia and to review its other assets.
* Rox Resources Ltd. is selling its copper-tungsten-molybdenum-prospective Bonya tenement stake in Australia's Northern Territory to Thor Mining PLC for A$550,000 in shares.
* Red Rock Resources PLC 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.
* Randgold Resources Ltd. CEO Mark Bristow said the gold miner is continuing to hunt for its next world-class gold deposit through the expansion of exploration programs in West and Central Africa and is also evaluating its potential next mine project at Massawa in Senegal. "Irrespective of any new projects, however, our 10-year plan shows us remaining profitable at a long-term gold price of US$1,000 per ounce and generating cash that will support significant investment in our future as well as the continued payment of dividends."
* 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 in 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 died.
* 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 and intends to use the proceeds to cut its debt and create resources to realize growth opportunities.
* 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 that the capacity removed from Chinese supply is permanent.
* Riversdale Resources Ltd. 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.
* Ezz Steel Company 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."
* The Brazilian government-backed 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 about the credibility of the scientific work, Reuters reported.
* Magnetite Mines Ltd. 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 into a nondisclosure agreement with Jastrzebska Spólka Weglowa SA for potential cooperation regarding the former's Polish coal assets, including the Debiensko 1 and Jan Karski coal projects.
* 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 are 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%.
* U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the government will give China 60 days before the US$50 billion tariffs on Chinese goods take effect, adding that 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 faces 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.
* ASX-listed Magnis Resources Ltd. agreed to acquire a 10% stake in U.S.-based lithium-ion battery technology group Charge CCCV LLC for US$7.5 million. Magnis also secured an exclusive right to selected patents of Charge CCCV.
* Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA recommended that shareholders approve a final dividend of about US$1.63 per share, representing 100% of the company's net income for the year.
* Minbos Resources Ltd. secured an option to acquire 90% of the shares of Tana Minerals Ltd. unit MRE Mining (Mauritius) Ltd. that holds two rare earths exploration permits in Madagascar covering 440 square kilometers.
* 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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