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Rio Tinto draws interest for remaining Australian coal assets

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Rio Tinto draws interest for remaining Australian coal assets

TOP NEWS

Rio Tinto receives approaches for remaining Australian coal assets

A few weeks after Rio Tinto agreed to sell some Australian coal operations for up to US$2.45 billion, the global mining giant received approaches for its remaining coal mines in the country, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News. According to the sources, the company is considering options for its stakes in the Hail Creek and Kestrel coking coal mines in Queensland, including a potential sale that could fetch up to US$1.5 billion. However, a formal sale process will not start until Anglo American Plc makes a final decision on whether to off-load its coking coal mines in Australia, the sources added.

JSW Steel swings to net profit in Q3'17

JSW Steel Ltd. swung to a consolidated net profit of 7.30 billion Indian rupees for the third quarter of its fiscal 2017, from a net loss of 7.09 billion rupees posted in the year-ago period.

Altius Minerals to record up to C$75M non cash impairment

Altius Minerals Corp. will record a non-cash impairment charge of C$70 million to C$75 million on the carrying value of its 53% interest in the Genesee Royalty Ltd. Partnership for the fiscal quarter ended Jan. 31, 2017. The adjustment will bring the Genesee royalty book value closer to the valuation estimates already in use by the financial analysts that cover Altius, the company said.

DIVERSIFIED

* Vale SA should pay shareholders dividends of at least 25% of the net income recorded in 2016, Investor Relations director André Figueiredo said at an event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Reuters reported.

BASE METALS

* Union workers of BHP Billiton Group's Escondida copper mine in Chile threatened to strike longer than in 2006, when the halt lasted 25 days. If the strikes are similar, it would affect daily production by 3,500 tonnes of copper, equivalent to losses of US$3 million per day, daily Diario Financiero reported.

* Separately, BHP Billiton requested the mediation services of the labor authority to extend the time for negotiations with the workers union at the Escondida mine by five days, daily La Tercera reported.

* The Philippine government has ordered the shutdown of 23 mines in the country, with a focus on nickel producers, which account for half of the country's nickel output, Reuters reported, citing a ministerial press conference. The country also ordered suspensions at an additional five mines, including OceanaGold Corp.'s Didipio gold mine.

PRECIOUS METALS

* AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.'s headline earnings for the year ended Dec. 31, 2016, are expected to be between US$104 million and US$118 million, representing an increase of 242% to 262% on a yearly basis. Meanwhile, headline earnings per share are expected to increase 239% to 256% year over year to between 25 and 28 cents.

* Wallbridge Mining Co. Ltd.'s prefeasibility study for its Fenelon gold mine in Quebec pegged a pretax net cash flow of C$6.62 million, a pretax net present value, discounted at 5%, of C$5.84 million, and a pretax internal rate of return of 92% for the initial mine life of about 18 months for the known reserves located above 100 meters depth and in close proximity to the existing ramp.

* Regulus Resources Inc. and Compañía Minera Coimolache SA signed a contract to perform exploration works at the AntaKori gold-copper deposit in the Cajamarca region, news mining page Portal Minero reported.

* Belo Sun Mining Corp. secured a construction license from the Brazilian state government of Para, under the environmental authority SEMAS, for the company's Volta Grande gold project.

* Metallum Resources Inc. received final approval from the TSX Venture Exchange to change its business from a mining issuer to an investment issuer. The company will now focus on strategic investments in private and public company securities.

* DRDGold Ltd.'s measured mineral resources increased 52.6%, while mineral reserves increased 66.6%, compared to the June 30, 2016, estimate. The revised estimates have resulted in a five-year extension to the operating life of the Ergo gold deposit in South Africa.

* Following a cost review, RNI NL managed to reduce overheads from A$678,000 from the six months ended Dec. 31, 2016, to a forecast of A$340,000 ounces for the first half of 2017. The company cut the number of directors from four to three, and has reduced director fees.

* Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. declared an interim dividend of 50 South African cents per share, after the company returned to a net profit attributable to owners of 1.54 billion rand in the first half of its fiscal 2017, up from a loss of 445 million rand a year earlier. The company produced 553,862 ounces of gold, 8% higher than the 513,576 ounces produced in the previous six months.

* Richmont Mines Inc. expects consolidated gold production to increase by up to 15% year over year in 2017, to between 110,000 and 120,000 ounces, driven by a strong performance from its Island gold mine in Ontario.

* Genesis Metals Corp. entered into a binding agreement to acquire a 100% undivided interest in the Hygrade property in Quebec, from Les Ressources Tectonic Inc. The property comprises nine contiguous claims covering 254 hectares and is located within the boundaries of Genesis' Chevrier gold project.

* A South African court ruled in favor of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. subsidiary Ivanplats (Pty) Ltd., paving the way for the company to proceed with the relocation of informal graves near its Platreef platinum project in Limpopo province.

BULK COMMODITIES

* United Co. RUSAL Plc completed the debut offering of US$600 million of eurobonds with a five-year term and a coupon rate of 5.125% per annum. The proceeds will be used to refinance some of RUSAL's existing pre-export finance facility and improve its debt maturity profile, the company said.

* Kommersant reported that Alexey Mordashov's PAO Severstal faces possible tax claims of about US$400 million associated with the tax on dividends, paid through the Cypriot company to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) companies in the 2009-2015 period.

* Danish company DONG Energy has decided to phase out the use of coal as fuel at its power stations by 2023 in a move towards changing to a sustainable energy system and creating a green energy company. "The future belongs to renewable energy sources, and therefore we're now converting the last of our coal-fired power stations to sustainable biomass," CEO Henrik Poulsen said.

* For the first time in more than 40 years, India will be allowing private mining companies to mine and sell coal, with a total of 23 mines to be auctioned during the year, Bloomberg News reported, citing Susheel Kumar, the country's coal secretary. India's Ministry of Coal will auction four mines to both state-run and private companies beginning April 1, with an additional 19 mines to be offered later in the year.

* Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. lifted its fiscal 2016 net profit forecast to ¥80.0 billion, or ¥90.00 per share, compared to ¥60.0 billion, or ¥68 per share, expected previously. Company affiliates are expected to post higher earnings, leading to the upgraded guidance.

* Outokumpu Oyj reported a net profit of €144 million, or 35 cents per share, for 2016, increasing 67% from €86 million, or 23 cents per share, booked a year earlier. For the final quarter of 2016, Outokumpu booked a net profit of €192 million, or 46 cents per share, down year over year from €308 million, or 74 cents per share. The company's board proposed a dividend of 10 cents per share for 2016.

* Mitsubishi Corp.'s metals business recorded a profit of ¥130.3 billion for the nine months that ended Dec. 31, 2016, an increase of ¥153.6 billion on a yearly basis from ¥23.3 billion. The rise was mainly due to higher earnings in the Australian coal business due to lower production costs and higher market prices, as well as larger dividends from investments, and one-off gains from the company's withdrawal from a nickel project.

* Chile commenced an anti-dumping probe into imports of steel grinding rods from China, Metal Bulletin wrote, citing Chile's anti-distortions commission. The probe was launched Jan. 31.

SPECIALTY

* Chilean business conglomerate Grupo Errázuriz formed a joint venture with Taiwan-based Simbalik Group to develop a US$250 million lithium project, which is expected to produce 20,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate per year in the Maricunga salt flat, daily Pulso reported.

* Toyota Tsusho Corp.'s net profit attributable to owners of the parent for the nine months ended Dec. 31, 2016, jumped 81.2% year over year to ¥63.52 billion, or ¥180.52 per share. Consolidated net sales for the period dipped 7.2% year over year to ¥5.810 trillion, mainly due to yen appreciation.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The December quarter saw another surge in global drilling activity, following a jump in the September quarter, with the number of distinct projects reporting drill results rising to its highest level since the June 2013 quarter. Overall, 450 distinct projects reported drilling assays, up from 367 in the September quarter and from 350 in the year-ago period.

* The U.S. Senate, by a vote of 54-45, approved a resolution to overturn a rule intended to cut water pollution from coal mining waste, Reuters reported.

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