Chinese investors agreed to set up a US$10 billion metallurgical complex in South Africa's special economic zone, with construction expected to start in 2019, Reuters reported, citing an executive involved in the project. The project, which will see the construction of a stainless steel plant, a ferrochrome plant and a silicomanganese plant, is still in the planning stage.
Analysts mostly upbeat on BHP's US$10.8B shale sale
Analysts from major banks said BHP Billiton Group selling its U.S. unconventional oil and gas assets to BP PLC for US$10.5 billion allows it to move on from an episode best left in the past, but one independent analyst who has compared the prices achieved per acre to the going rate when the Australian miner bought them said it has come off much worse. As BHP's net debt is toward the lower end of its US$10 billion to US$15 billion target range, the company expects to return the net proceeds from the deals to shareholders, and CEO Andrew Mackenzie said the sale will help the company "simplify and strengthen" its portfolio to generate shareholder value and returns for "decades to come." BHP also agreed to sell its Fayetteville units to Merit Energy Co. unit MMGJ Hugoton III LLC for about US$300 million.
Gold Road looking at Canada, US expansion after Gruyere success, CEO says
Gold Road Resources Ltd. CEO Ian Murray told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the company is looking at acquiring early stage assets in tier 1 jurisdictions of Canada and the U.S. as the Gruyere JV with operator Gold Fields Ltd. has given it the freedom to explore in its own right and was preferable to funding the project with bank debt. Murray said that the Gruyere joint venture in Western Australia could be a model for the gold industry going forward to develop projects as bigger companies are increasingly looking to partner with juniors.
* The Indian government is planning to auction 12 mineral blocks, including eight iron ore mines, three graphite blocks in Jharkhand, and one limestone block in Andhra Pradesh within the next two months, Press Trust of India wrote, citing an official document.
* South32 Ltd. could seek to resolve an ongoing legal battle over its Cerro Matoso nickel mine in Colombia through international arbitration, The Australian Financial Review reported. Earlier in the year, the Colombian Constitutional Court determined that waste from Cerro Matoso had led to members of the seven indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities surrounding the mine being diagnosed with problems, and ordered the company to pay damages as well as to apply for a new license to operate the mine and smelter.
* About 85% of the 800-strong workforce at First Quantum Minerals Ltd.'s Las Cruces copper mine in Spain started a strike to demand for the payment of toxic bonuses, or hazard pay, for subcontractors, Mining.com reported, citing Spanish media.
* Chennai Solidarity Group, a non-governmental organization, said in a report that Vedanta Ltd.'s Tuticorin copper smelter in southern India's Tamil Nadu state emitted between 2 and 21 tonnes of cancer-causing arsenic into the environment every day during its operations, a figure estimated using the company's data, The Hindu reported. The company said that the data was used selectively and is misleading, the report added.
* Lundin Mining Corp.'s C$1.4 billion takeover bid for Nevsun Resources Ltd. will put shareholders to the test with one key question: is it enough? Some analysts speculate that shareholders will hold out for a sweeter deal, while others expect that the offer will satisfy appetites.
* eCobalt Solutions Inc.'s two major shareholders, Australia's Regal Funds Management and hedge fund Tribeca Investment Partners, called for a change in the company's senior management or the launch of a sales process, due to concerns that the delay in the development of the Idaho cobalt project is wasting the windfall from high demand in the battery sector, Reuters reported.
* Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. expects its net profit for the six months ended June 30 to increase between 50% and 80%, or between 415 million Chinese yuan and 664 million yuan, on a yearly basis. This expected increase is driven by higher prices for the company's major metal products during the period.
* Xinjiang Xinxin Mining Industry Co. Ltd. expects to record a net profit of not less than 6 million Chinese yuan for the first six months of the year, from a net loss of 64.5 million yuan. Consolidated revenue is targeted at 866 million yuan.
* Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp.'s 50/50 joint venture in Western Australia, the Kalgoorlie Super Pit gold mine, expects lower production and higher costs for the full year after two rock falls that suspended operations in May, Mining Journal wrote, citing Newmont COO Tom Palmer. The Kalgoorlie Super Pit mine reduced its gold output guidance to between 550,000 and 660,000 ounces at all-in sustaining cost of between US$825/oz and US$875/oz. The mine had been targeting gold production of between 700,000 and 800,000 ounces at all-in sustaining cost between US$750/oz and US$800/oz for the full year.
* A U.S. judge dismissed lawsuits against Barclays PLC and four other banks by investors alleging a multiyear silver price-fixing conspiracy, Reuters reported.
* Lonmin PLC reported a slight year-on-year rise in total platinum group metal sales to 352,128 ounces for the third quarter of its fiscal 2018, compared to 345,354 ounces sold in the same period a year ago.
* Dragon Mining Ltd. started test mining activities at its Faboliden gold project in northern Sweden. The work will initially involve removing overburden from the test-pit area to prepare it for the planned extraction of 100,000 tonnes of ore from the test pit during the second phase in 2019.
* Regis Resources Ltd.'s group ore reserves as of March 31 increased 86% to 4.06 million ounces, while group mineral resources fell 2% to 7.86 million ounces.
* Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA, or Usiminas, swung to net loss of 19 million Brazilian reais in the second quarter, from a net income of 176 million reais a year earlier. The company attributed the negative results to a 16% depreciation of the reais against the U.S. dollar in the period, which generated exchange losses.
* Hancock Prospecting Pty. Ltd.'s off-market takeover offer of 4.2 Australian cents per share for Atlas Iron Ltd. is now unconditional. The offer is scheduled to close Aug. 3.
* Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. CEO Elizabeth Gaines said the company's 60.72%-owned Iron Bridge magnetite project in Western Australia is economically viable at current prices, The Australian reported. However, securing a go-ahead for the US$1.5 billion project will need additional studies on the market outlook, costs and size.
* NV Bekaert SA's consolidated revenue increased 3% yearly to €2.15 billion in the first half, resulting from increased volumes, the aggregate effect of passed-on wire rod price increases and price-mix boosting organic sales growth.
* IRC Ltd.'s second-quarter iron ore concentrate production increased 53% yearly to 580,933 tonnes, with iron ore sales increasing 47% to 555,677 tonnes, due to record monthly and production and sales volumes at the K&S mine in Russia.
* Mineral Resources Ltd. signed an option to earn up to a 50% joint venture interest in Brockman Mining Ltd.'s Marillana iron ore project in Western Australia.
* Sociedad de Inversiones Pampa Calichera SA, one of the companies through which businessman Julio Ponce holds his stake in Chile's Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, sold US$275 million bonds in the local market, Reuters reported. The 15-year bond had a 4.5% annual interest rate.
* Orano SA's net loss reached €205 million in the first half, widening from €154 million in the year-ago period. Revenue in the period slipped to €1.71 billion, from €1.79 billion.
* Hastings Technology Metals Ltd. signed an exclusive mandate with German bank KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH for the provision of up to A$250 million in senior debt facilities to finance the Yangibana rare earths project in Western Australia.
* Northern Minerals Ltd. officially opened the pilot plant of the Browns Range heavy rare earths project in Western Australia's East Kimberley region. In a statement, the state government said the project will be a "major job-creator" for the Kimberley region and Western Australia.
* Tango Mining Ltd. sold a 42.26-carat diamond recovered from run of mine gravel at the Oena diamond mine in South Africa for US$11,267 per carat on a tender at the Kimberley Diamond Exchange.
* Gem Diamonds Ltd. recovered a 100.5-carat, top white color, Type IIa diamond from its Letseng mine in Lesotho, the 11th diamond of over 100 carats this year.
* A Brazilian mining regulator established in late 2017 with an aim to accelerate regulatory process and attract foreign investment in the sector has yet to begin activities, with experts cautioning that the agency could be stalled at least through the October general elections or until 2019, Reuters wrote.
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