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Rio Tinto selling Australian coal unit to Yancoal for up to US$2.45B

TOP NEWS

Rio Tinto sells Australian coal unit to Yancoal for up to US$2.45B

Rio Tinto struck a deal to sell its Australian subsidiary Coal & Allied Industries Ltd. to Yancoal Australia Ltd. for up to US$2.45 billion. The amount comprises an initial US$1.95 billion in cash payable at completion and US$500 million in deferred cash payments payable over five years after the deal closes.

BHP Billiton, Vale face class action from noteholders over Samarco spill

BHP Billiton Group and Vale SA are facing a class action lawsuit in New York as a result of the November 2015 Samarco tailings dam burst, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Brazil's Banco Safra SA filed a claim on behalf of the holders of A$2.2 billion of notes used to fund the iron ore joint venture.

UK Supreme Court says parliament OK needed for Brexit

The British Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to leave the EU without parliamentary approval. However, the devolved legislatures of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland need not be consulted. The government said the Supreme Court ruling does not impede the process of departure from the European bloc or alter the timetable set out by Prime Minister Theresa May.

DIVERSIFIED

* In order to improve its supply and demand analysis of the commodity markets, Rio Tinto is hiring eight Singapore-based experts, including positions for market analysis, ranging from junior to principal analysts, offering short-term supply and demand analysis as well as competitor analysis, Reuters reported.

BASE METALS

* Rox Resources Ltd. entered a definitive agreement with Teck Resources Ltd. unit Teck Australia Pty. Ltd., under which Teck will acquire Rox's 49% stake interest in the Reward zinc project in Australia's Northern Territory.

* Teck Resources is in talks with Anglo American Plc regarding the sharing of port infrastructure in Chile in an effort to cut costs. The two companies are planning to build ports just 5 kilometers apart to support Teck's Quebrada Blanca copper mine and Anglo's Collahuasi copper mine.

* Recent step-out drilling extended the length of the Kakula copper discovery by approximately 1.6 kilometers, or 40%, to about 5.5 kilometers. The Kakula deposit, which forms part of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.'s Kamoa-Kakula joint venture property in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, remains open along strike.

* Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. CEO Ronald Thiessen expects the company to receive environmental approval to develop its long-stalled Pebble copper-gold project in Alaska under the new U.S. administration headed by President Donald Trump, Bloomberg News reported. Thiessen said the ongoing dispute with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be resolved within 100 days.

* Sandfire Resources NL will repay the remaining A$50 million of the A$380 million finance facility, which was used to fund the development of the DeGrussa copper project in Western Australia, on Jan. 3, and become debt free nearly 12 months earlier than expected.

* Chile anticipates boosting its copper output by 4.3% year over year to 5.79 million tonnes in 2017 on the back of increased output at the BHP Billiton-controlled Escondida mine, Reuters reported.

* Strategic Minerals Plc signed a shareholders agreement with New Age Exploration Ltd. and Cornwall Resources Ltd. to raise its stake in the Redmoor tin-tungsten project in the U.K. to 50%.

* China produced 6.27 million tonnes of zinc in 2016, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 2%, while copper output rose 6% on a yearly basis to 8.44 million tonnes in the period, Metal Bulletin reported.

* Rokmaster Resources Corp. completed its acquisition of a 100% interest in the Duncan Lake zinc-lead property in the Slocan Mining district in southeast British Columbia.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Russian gold producer PJSC Polyus beat both its original and its increased production guidance with output climbing 12% year over year to 1.97 million ounces in full-year 2016, driven by higher production volumes at all hard-rock deposits. In 2017, the company set a gold production target of between 2.075 million ounces and 2.125 million ounces.

* Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd. expects its net profit attributable to shareholders for 2016 to surge by between 100% and 150% from the 587.0 million Chinese yuan, or 41 fen per share, posted in 2015, on the back of higher sales prices and volumes of gold.

* The Russian government is reportedly trying to sell one of the world's largest untapped gold deposits at a discount to a joint venture between PJSC Polyus and state-run Rostec while implementing sanctions and restrictions to make the asset unattractive to foreign bidders.

* Goldcorp Inc. President and CEO David Garofalo stressed the need for gold majors to invest in exploration in order to feed their future project pipelines, as current reserves have declined by about one-third over the past five years, which may lead to gold mining becoming a less attractive industry for investors, Mining Weekly reported. "The majors don't want to take on the risk of greenfields exploration anymore, but will have to partner a lot more, even among seniors," Garofalo added.

* South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers, or NUM, reached an agreement with AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. to redeploy most of the 849 workers within the company instead of laying them off, Reuters reported, citing NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu. The company started talks with the union earlier in January over its plan to lay off 849 workers. Most will be redeployed, and the others will be trained in other skills, according to the report.

* Eastern Platinum Ltd. is seeking to have a notice of civil claim filed against it by Hebei Zhongheng Tianda Platinum Co. Ltd. dismissed with costs. The Chinese group filed a claim against Eastplats in the British Columbia Supreme Court in December 2016 over an alleged repudiation and breach of a share purchase agreement.

* Pan American Silver Corp.'s Argentine subsidiary decided to suspend its Navidad silver-lead-gold project in the country because the new regional mining legal framework was not approved by the local Lower House. The approval would have allowed open-pit mine development in the Chubut province, online news page OPI Santa Cruz reported.

* The head of Chilean environmental regulator SMA, Cristián Franz, told daily Diario Financiero that the agency is working on the details for a new fine against Barrick Gold Corp.'s Pascua Lama gold project, which is expected to be announced by mid-2017.

* Asa Resource Group Plc was served with a claim in the High Court of Zimbabwe by Zindico Consortium to indigenize its 85%-owned Freda Rebecca gold mine. The company believes there is no merit to the claim and said operations at the mine will continue as normal.

* Bitterroot Resources Ltd. secured an option to acquire the North Hackberry claims in Arizona, which host the Silver King past-producing, high-grade silver mine, from Ely Gold & Minerals Inc.

* Bolivia's state miner Comibol plans to build a 200-kilogram-per-day gold processing plant in 2018 as part of the country's industrialization drive, Business News Americas reported, citing CEO Marcelo Quispe.

BULK COMMODITIES

* PAO Severstal subsidiary JSC Severstal-Metiz entered a definitive agreement with Austrian metal wire rope company Teufelberger Wirerope GmbH for the sale of the former's Redaelli Tecna SpA, which also manufactures steel wire ropes.

* Jupiter Mines Ltd. plans to buy back 6% of its own shares, at 40 U.S. cents apiece, totaling US$55 million.

* The Indian government decided to off-load a 10% stake in its 75.58%-owned manganese miner, MOIL Ltd., which is expected to fetch about 4.50 billion rupees, Press Trust of India reported.

* Chinese state-owned steel mills have largely rejected Rio Tinto's plan to charge an extra premium of up to US$2 per tonne for its highest-grade iron ore, The Australian Financial Review reported. However, some of the smaller steel mills with an annual production capacity of up to 5 million tonnes have agreed to the price hike.

* BlueScope Steel Ltd. raised its first-half earnings forecast for fiscal 2017, on the back of stronger steel prices, higher iron ore export prices and cost reductions. The company now expects its unaudited underlying EBIT to reach about A$600 million, compared to prior guidance of A$510 million.

* DaTong Coal Industry Co. Ltd. expected to swing to a net profit attributable to shareholders of about 180 million Chinese yuan in 2016 from the net loss of 1.80 billion yuan, or 1.08 yuan per share, recorded in 2015.

* For the year ended Dec. 31, 2016, Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal Co. Ltd. expects to post net profit attributable to the shareholders of about 2.0 billion yuan, representing a 2,110% jump on a yearly basis.

* Czech Industry Minister Jan Mladek said he would recommend that state miner Diamo acquire mining group OKD a.s., the insolvent operating unit of New World Resources Plc, for the symbolic price of 1 Czech koruna, Reuters reported.

SPECIALTY

* Anglo American Plc's diamonds division, De Beers SA, sold US$720 million worth of rough diamonds in the first sales cycle of 2017. The diamond producer recorded actual rough diamonds sales of US$422 million in the 10th or final sales cycle of 2016.

* Lynas Corp. Ltd. produced 1,331 tonnes of neodymium-praseodymium in the December 2016 quarter, compared to 1,176 tonnes produced in the previous quarter, while total rare earth oxides output rose to 3,913 tonnes from 3,665 tonnes in the September quarter. The rare earth miner also achieved record sales during the three-month period, with A$65 million in invoiced sales, compared to A$53.8 million in the September quarter.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Under an executive order of the newly inaugurated President Donald Trump, the U.S. has withdrawn from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, Reuters reported.

* Meanwhile, Trump told business leaders he wants to cut federal regulations by 75% or more and repeated plans to slash taxes to encourage more manufacturing in the U.S.

* Mining contractor CIMIC made a hostile cash takeover offer of 14.5 Australian cents per share for Macmahon Holdings, valuing the latter at A$174 million, The Australian Financial Review reported. CIMIC already owns a 20.54% stake in Macmahon.

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