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Rio Tinto boosts dividend as H1 profit surges 93% YOY

TOP NEWS

Rio Tinto's H1 profit surges 93% YOY

Rio Tinto declared an interim dividend of US$1.10 per share, compared to the year-ago interim dividend of 45 U.S. cents per share, after a 93% surge in net earnings to US$3.31 billion in the first half. The dividend, which is equivalent to US$2.0 billion, along with an additional share buyback of US$1.0 billion by the end of the year, will see the company return US$3.0 billion in cash to shareholders.

Noble Group to challenge Yancoal's US$2.5B capital raising

Major Yancoal Australia Ltd. shareholder Noble Group Ltd. is planning to challenge the former's planned US$2.5 billion equity raising and will lodge an objection with Australia's Takeovers Panel as early as Aug. 3, The Australian wrote. Noble's 13.2% Yancoal stake could be drastically diluted if it does not participate in the latter's rights issue, as the embattled trading house is facing financial constraints and is selling assets to service impending debt obligations.

Uncertainty over South Africa mining charter stalls Harmony, AngloGold deal

The uncertainty surrounding South Africa's mining charter has stalled Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd.'s long-running talks to purchase AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.'s South African assets, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The sources value the assets targeted for acquisition at between US$500 million and US$650 million.

DIVERSIFIED

* BC Hydro and Power Authority exercised its right of first offer to buy Teck Resources Ltd.'s two-thirds stake in the 496-MW Waneta Dam in British Columbia for C$1.2 billion cash.

BASE METALS

* Nyrstar NV's loss in the first half narrowed to €21 million from €242 million in the same period of 2016, with underlying EBITDA rising 23% to €111 million, driven by a 50% increase in the average zinc price and a stronger U.S. dollar.

* Nyrstar's sell-off of zinc mines could be extended after the company rejected "seriously undervalued" offers for the assets, CEO Hilmar Rode said during a conference call, adding that the company will divest the assets if the right offer comes, Metal Bulletin reported.

* Industrias Peñoles SAB de CV second-quarter profit was over 5x higher at 3.22 billion Mexican pesos, compared to the 639.3 million pesos reported in the same quarter of 2016. Total quarterly sales rose 3.6% year over year to 20.71 billion pesos due to higher average metals prices.

* Liquidators are trying to freeze A$200 million of Clive Palmer's assets in a bid to recover millions in taxpayer funds used to pay out the laid off Queensland Nickel Inc. workers, the Australian Associated Press reported.

* IndustriALL Global Union told Reuters in an emailed statement that it will formally announce its support for striking workers at Freeport-McMoRan Inc.'s Grasberg copper mine to press the Indonesian government to reinstate thousands of striking workers at the site.

* Antofagasta Plc is targeting opening an exploration office in Peru before the end of the year to expand its presence in the country, Mining.com reported.

* European Cobalt Ltd. signed an exclusive option agreement to acquire the Jouhineva cobalt-copper-gold-silver project in Finland.

* A preliminary economic assessment for the Florida Canyon zinc-lead-silver project in Peru outlined an after-tax net present value of US$198 million, at an 8% discount rate, and an internal rate of return of 24.7%. The project is a joint venture between Solitario Exploration & Royalty Corp. and Compañía Minera Milpo SAA.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Zhaojin Mining Industry Co. Ltd. intends to issue short-term bonds in China of up to 8.0 billion Chinese yuan. The funds will mainly be used for production and operations of the company, including replenishing liquidity and repaying borrowings.

* Kinross Gold Corp. booked attributable net earnings of US$33.1 million, or 3 U.S. cents per share, for the second quarter, shifting from an attributable net loss of US$25.0 million, or 2 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2016. Quarterly production rose to 694,874 gold equivalent ounces from 671,267 gold equivalent ounces a year earlier, and all-in sustaining cost declined to US$910/oz from US$988/oz.

* McEwen Mining Inc. produced 22,191 ounces of gold and 779,487 ounces of silver in the second quarter, down from 27,888 ounces gold and 875,006 ounces silver produced in the year-ago quarter.

* Zimplats Holdings Ltd. is facing a court application filed June 26 by the Zimbabwean government to enforce its planned seizure of 27,948 hectares of land within the miner's special mining lease area in the country.

* Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd.'s gold reserves increased by 40% year over year as of June 30, the company said noting that the update incorporates mining depletion of 293,000 ounces. The estimate comprises the Carosue Dam and Thunderbox mines, both in Western Australia, and includes an initial underground reserves estimate for Thunderbox with 518,000 ounces of contained gold.

* Pure Gold Mining Inc. initiated a revised preliminary economic assessment for the Madsen gold project in northwestern Ontario after a 48% increase in contained indicated resources.

* Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. completed the acquisition of the Tlacolula property, part of Fortuna Silver's San Jose gold-silver project in Mexico, from Radius Gold Inc.

* Goldcorp Inc. completed the previously planned acquisition of all issued and outstanding common shares of Exeter Resource Corp. that it does not already own via a plan of arrangement.

* Ardiden Ltd. signed an option to acquire the Pickle Lake gold project in Ontario from White Metal Resources Corp. for cash and shares.

* Taku Gold Corp. entered an option agreement to fully acquire Golden Predator Mining Corp.'s Sonora Gulch gold property in the White Gold District of Canada's Yukon Territory.

* Carbine Resources Ltd. signed a binding off-take agreement with Chinese trading company IKing International Ltd., which guarantees a floor price for pyrite concentrate produced at the Mount Morgan project in Queensland, Australia.

* Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. saw its net earnings rise to US$34.6 million in the second quarter, from US$10.6 million a year ago, as revenue in the period more than doubled to US$189.9 million on the back of increased sales volumes.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Mitsubishi Corp.'s metals segment booked consolidated net income of ¥50.7 billion for the quarter that ended June 30, up from ¥14.7 billion a year ago, thanks to higher commodity prices received by its iron ore and coal businesses.

* Marubeni Corp.'s energy and metals business segment booked an attributable net profit of ¥7.19 billion in the first quarter of its fiscal 2018, swinging from a loss of about ¥5.0 billion booked a year earlier. The company attributed the unit's results to improved profits from its Chilean copper and Australian coal businesses, driven by higher prices, along with improved margins in the LNG field.

* Sojitz Corp.'s metals and coal division posted a profit attributable to the company of ¥4.17 billion for its fiscal first quarter that ended June 30, swinging from a year-ago loss of ¥360 million.

* Metinvest BV's second-quarter crude steel output declined year over year to about 1.9 million tonnes from 2.2 million tonnes, impacted by the loss of assets to separatist fighters in east Ukraine.

* AK Steel Holding Corp. said its AK Steel Corp. unit will raise US$280 million through the issues of senior notes due in 2025.

* Tata Steel Ltd.'s Tata Steel UK Ltd. unit completed the sale of its steel pipe mills in Hartlepool, U.K., to Liberty House.

* India's National Company Law Tribunal accepted petitions from Essar Steel India Ltd.'s lenders to initiate insolvency proceedings against the debt-laden steelmaker, Metal Bulletin reported.

* Crusader Resources Ltd. agreed to a conditional deal to sell the Posse iron ore mine and 1 million-tonne-per-annum processing plant in Brazil to Inter Invest BP S/A for about A$3.2 million, or 8 million Brazilian reais.

* Producers of green aluminum, which is produced using renewable energy sources, are starting to increase prices amid growing demand from industrial customers facing pressure to their reduce carbon footprints. According to Reuters, aluminum producers that have access to sizable hydropower capacity include Norsk Hydro ASA, Alcoa Corp., United Co. Rusal Plc and Rio Tinto.

* Intrepid Potash Inc. more than halved its net loss in the second quarter to US$5.9 million from US$13.4 million a year ago, amid lower costs in its potash segment and increased sales from its Trio business.

* Rio Tinto CFO Christopher Lynch said the company is making good progress in selling its stakes in the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, though talks are still underway given the complexity of the deal, Reuters reported.

* Coal India Ltd.'s sales outpaced production by a record 7.69 million tonnes in July, with shipments increasing 6.9% year over year to 44.33 million tonnes and production sliding 0.3% to 36.64 million tonnes, Bloomberg News reported.

* Fluor Corp. was awarded a project and construction management services contract by BHP Billiton Group for the South Flank iron ore project in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

* Glencore Plc's head of coal assets, Peter Freyberg, said Australia might have to postpone its commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change to keep up its economy, The Australian reported. Freyberg said the renewable energy target needs to be abolished, with penalties introduced on anti-competitive electricity producers.

* ThyssenKrupp AG's works council is not pushing for a proposed split of the group, its head Wilhelm Segerath said after a newspaper reported that trade union IG Metall was eager to explore such a move as an alternative to a proposed steel merger with Tata Steel's European operations, Reuters wrote.

* Mastermyne Group Ltd. was awarded a contract to supply development labor to South32 Ltd.'s Illawarra coal operations at its Appin colliery in New South Wales, Australia.

SPECIALTY

* Brazil's Odebrecht SA agreed to off-load its 16.4% stake in an Angolan diamond mine to partners as it seeks to raise 12 billion Brazilian reais cash by the end of 2018, Reuters reported, citing sources with knowledge of the transaction.

* MGX Minerals Inc. entered a binding letter of intent to acquire all of Power Metals Corp.'s U.S. petrolithium brine assets, as well as a 20% working interest in the latter's current hard rock assets and any future assets acquired for the next three years.

* Azarga Uranium Corp.'s 70%-controlled UrAsia in Kyrgyzstan LLC subsidiary granted Mining Investment Co. Alliance an earn-in option to acquire a 100% interest in the Kyzyl-Ompul uranium project in Kyrgyzstan.

* IsoEnergy Ltd. signed an agreement to acquire the Geiger uranium joint venture, formerly the Henday Lake property, in Saskatchewan from Areva Resources Canada Inc., Cameco Corp. and JCU (Canada) Exploration Co. Ltd. for C$100,000 in cash and 1 million common shares.

* Vedomosti reported that PJSC Alrosa does not see the point in ramping up production now. Alrosa's target for production this year will not undergo a strong correction, as the market will not be able to digest additional volumes of rough diamonds, company President Sergey Ivanov Jr. said.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Latin America continues to be the world's most popular exploration destination with total exploration budgets in 2016 of US$1.95 billion, or 28% of the global total. Gold was once again the top exploration target as its share of the total budget increased from 42% to 44% in the region, although total exploration spending in the region actually decreased by 21.7% compared to 2015.

* India's Supreme Court ordered the government to revise the National Mineral Policy by December to effectively regulate the mining industry and stop illegal activity, Bloomberg News reported.

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