The ASX tumbled Jan. 31, following Wall Street, which saw its biggest sell-off since the U.S. presidential election as investors dumped stocks that could be affected by the Trump administration's isolationist policies, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Reuters also covered the fall in major U.S. stock indices. Dow Jones' MarketWatch wrote that Wall Street's fear index was at its highest in three months following the executive order tightening U.S. immigration rules, according to FactSet data.
Fortescue maintains full-year target after fiscal Q2'17 shipments dip 4%
Australian iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. shipped 42.2 million tonnes of iron ore during the three months that ended Dec. 31, 2016, a 4% quarter-over-quarter decrease and nearly flat on a yearly basis, but still maintained its full-year target for shipments at between 165 million tonnes and 170 million tonnes. Cash production costs in the quarter fell 7% to US$12.54 per wet tonne on a quarterly basis, down 21% over the year-ago period.
Iluka shutters ilmenite operations in US
Iluka Resources Ltd. decided to permanently close its ilmenite operations in the U.S. Tom O'Leary, managing director and CEO, said the Australian mineral sands producer is no longer contemplating resuming mining in Virginia or going ahead with the development of the Hickory project in Virginia or the Aurelian Springs project in North Carolina. Iluka is also unlikely to sell as it does not believe the assets will fetch a decent price.
* Glencore Plc-owned warehouse company Access World urged receipt holders to seek authentication for receipts of commodities such as copper and aluminum, warning that fake warehouse receipts are circulating in the company's name, Reuters reported.
* Polymetal International Plc increased its stake in LLC "Vostochny Basis," which holds the Tarutinskoye copper deposit in Russia, from 75% to 100%. The company acquired the 25% interest from Gerosena Trading Ltd. for US$10 million. Polymetal intends to produce 4,000 tonnes to 5,000 tonnes of copper per annum at the deposit in fiscal 2018 to 2020.
* Indonesia may issue a temporary mining permit for up to six months "in one or two days" to Freeport-McMoRan Inc. unit PT Freeport Indonesia, Reuters reported, citing the country's energy and mineral resources minister, Ignasius Jonan. The company's copper concentrate shipments from Indonesia have been halted since Jan. 12 when a ban on shipping semiprocessed ore out of the country came into effect.
* In a separate report, Reuters wrote that the Indonesian government will temporarily exempt PT Freeport Indonesia from some regulations while the miner's application for new mining rights is being processed, potentially allowing the company to resume copper concentrate exports.
* Heavy rains in Peru's Arequipa region may affect copper output from Freeport's Cerro Verde mine, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the mining giant's local unit.
* PolyMet Mining Corp. is now facing a second lawsuit from an environmental group, which claims that the federal land swap agreement signed by the company to secure 6,650 acres for its NorthMet copper-nickel mine in Minnesota heavily undervalued the land, Minneapolis' StarTribune reported.
* PT Antam (Persero) Tbk produced a record 20,293 tonnes of nickel contained in ferronickel in 2016, an 18% increase over the year-ago output of 17,211 tonnes.
* High Peak Royalties Ltd., which owns 21.36% of Royalco Resources Ltd., said it has no intention of accepting the 20 Australian-cent takeover offer by Fitzroy River Corp. Ltd. for Royalco, which has become unconditional.
* Zimplats Holdings Ltd. is engaging with the Zimbabwean government regarding President Robert Mugabe's plan to seize over 28,000 hectares of land from the miner, Fin24 reported. According to the miner, it was given 30 days from Jan. 13 to lodge an objection to the proposed compulsory acquisition.
* Nord Gold SE confirmed that it is considering the potential delisting of its global depositary receipts as it continues to consider options to maximize shareholder value, but noted that no decision has been made yet and there is no assurance that the company will delist.
* Detour Gold Corp. produced 143,512 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter of 2016 from the Detour Lake mine in Ontario, up from third-quarter output of 127,758 ounces and bringing full-year output to 537,765 ounces. The company expects production of 550,000 ounces to 600,000 ounces of gold in 2017, with production being the lowest in the first quarter.
* RBC Daily reported that Said Kerimov's PJSC Polyus, which recently received a license to develop Russia's largest gold deposit, Sukhoi Log, has warned investors about the risk of losing it due to the new Western sanctions against Rostec, its partner in the project.
* Artemis Resources Ltd. placed an order for a 150-tonne-per-hour trial gold recovery plant for its Nickol River gold project in Western Australia.
* Laconia Resources Ltd. entered into a binding agreement to acquire the 866-square-kilometer Kraaipan gold-nickel-copper-platinum group metals project in Botswana.
* Mirasol Resources Ltd. recently signed a letter of intent with OceanaGold Corp. to jointly explore Mirasol's early stage Curva gold project in Argentina. Under the agreement, OceanaGold can earn up to a 75% interest in the property.
* Gold Resource Corp. suspended mining and milling operations for up to 48 hours at the Arista mine, part of its El Aguila gold operation in Mexico, following two recent fatal accidents.
* CONSOL Energy Inc. is considering the sale of its coal business or a spinoff to shareholders after the company posted a US$321.2 million loss from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of 2016, or US$1.42 per share, swinging from a profit of US$45.3 million a year ago, Reuters reported.
* Fortescue Metals Group still has no plans to bring its Iron Bridge project in Western Australia into production anytime soon. "We're very confident in that project longer term," CEO Neville Power said during a Jan. 31 conference call. "Right now we just don't see that the conditions support bringing that into the market, but we're continuing to assess that." Meanwhile, Power did not rule out a share buyback as the company eyes its capital options amid increasing cash flows, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Power said he sees the company maintaining its payout ratio, which will be reviewed during the upcoming board meeting.
* A few months after the split from aluminum giant Alcoa Corp., several of the biggest Arconic Inc. shareholders are pressing the company to oust CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. In response to the report on shareholder pressure for a leadership change, Arconic said Kleinfeld "has the unanimous support" of its board, Reuters wrote separately.
* Japan's JFE Holdings Inc. is on track to build a steel plant in Mexico with its American partner, Nucor, though the Japanese firm continues to keep a close eye on U.S. policy after President Donald Trump threatened to pull out from the North American Free Trade Agreement, which binds Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, Reuters reported.
* Coal exports from South Africa's Richards Bay Coal Terminal fell by 3.7% in 2016 to 72.6 million tonnes, Reuters reported.
* India's National Mineral Development Corp. Ltd. is calling for the government to award new mining leases to the company under a specific regulation that would exempt NMDC from following the mandatory auction route to secure new leases. According to Mining Weekly, the miner's hunt for new leases comes as it aims to hit its ramp-up target of producing 75 million tonnes of iron ore per year from its current 30 million-tonne annual production.
* Engineering services firm Hatch Ltd. will lead the pre-feasibility study for the redesign of Vale SA's Rio Colorado potash mine in Argentina to reduce production capacity from 4 million tonnes per year to 1.4 million tonnes per year, daily Cronista reported.
* AO Holding Co. METALLOINVEST produced 10.3 million tonnes of iron ore in the fourth quarter of 2016, representing a 4.0% increase on a quarterly basis. Metalloinvest's iron ore production for fiscal 2016 also surged 3.1% year over year to 40.7 million tonnes.
* India's coal imports in 2016 fell 5.4% year over year to 194.93 million tonnes, Reuters reported.
* Following a review of its business, Iluka Resources said it expects to book a net loss after tax of between A$220 million and A$230 million for full-year 2016, including a pretax, noncash impairment of A$201 million and an increase in rehabilitation provisions of A$45 million, related mainly to closed U.S. operations. The December-quarter mineral sands production for the company slipped to 205,400 tonnes from 364,200 tonnes in the same quarter of 2015.
* Separately, Iluka's costs following the acquisition of Sierra Rutile Ltd. are forecast to be much higher in 2017 than the Australian mineral sands producer expected at the time it acquired the company. Following a review of its operations, Iluka revealed that it is now expecting total costs of US$87 million this year, higher than its three-year average guidance of between US$75 million and US$85 million.
* Rainbow Rare Earths Ltd.'s IPO on the London Stock Exchange raised £8 million, with the shares placed at 10 pence apiece, opening at 10.75 pence per share and hitting a session high of 12.84 pence on Jan. 31, Reuters reported.
* Rio Tinto unit Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. expects uranium production for 2017 to be between 2,000 tonnes and 2,400 tonnes, with sales to be broadly in line with production. Meanwhile, the company decided not to declare a final dividend for the 2016 financial year due to challenging market conditions.
* Birimian Ltd. approved the immediate start of a pre-feasibility study at its Bougouni lithium project in southern Mali after the scoping study confirmed the project's "outstanding" potential. The scoping study estimated average annual production of about 190,000 tonnes of 6% lithium oxide concentrate over an initial 13-year mine life.
* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. entered agreements with the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho to acquire a 70% interest in Mothae Diamonds Pty. Ltd., which holds the Mothae kimberlite diamond project in northeast Lesotho.
* Two senior U.S. lawmakers are planning to abolish a rule that required publicly traded mining, oil and gas companies to disclose payments they make to foreign governments, arguing that the regulation hampers U.S. companies' ability to compete, Reuters wrote.
* A recent report from Research and Markets estimated that the global mining equipment market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 8.3% over the next 10 years, reaching approximately US$198.3 billion by 2025.
* The Indian government is set to launch its biggest aero-geophysical survey of minerals in February, to cover over 200,000 square kilometers across seven states, in a bid to unearth deep-seated resources such as gold and copper and to further develop the country's mining industry, Indian Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar told Reuters.
* Equity markets last week continued to move higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial index above 20,000 on Jan. 25. The broader S&P 500 benchmark also hit new highs, helped by rallies in sectors directly affected by U.S. President Donald Trump's first executive actions, including the building of a wall along the border with Mexico and a requirement to use domestic steel in U.S. pipelines.
* Argentina's central government is finalizing the details of a bill to boost the country's mining sector by multiplying the number of projects and doubling investments, daily La Nación reported.
* Brazilian former billionaire Eike Batista was arrested by Brazil's federal police on his return to the country, Reuters reported. He is facing charges of paying about US$16 million in bribes to former governor Sergio Cabral.
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