British Steel collapses into insolvency after rescue talks fail
British Steel Corp. Ltd., which owns one of the U.K.'s last steelworks in Scunthorpe, was placed in compulsory liquidation, putting 4,500 jobs directly at risk, after recent talks failed between the government and the company's owner, private equity firm Greybull Capital LLP. The Government's Official Receiver took control of the company as part of the liquidation process following a high court decision. It will not impact British Steel's planned acquisition of the Ascoval steel mill in France, Reuters reported, citing a statement by the French finance ministry. There is also a pending £30 million insurance claim by the company the circumstances of which may prove controversial in the context of the collapse.
Acacia urges shareholders to take no action to Barrick's takeover
Acacia Mining PLC advised shareholders to take no action to Barrick Gold Corp.'s indicative offer to buy all the shares in Acacia it does not already own, in a deal valued at US$285 million, as the Acacia board studies the bid. Acacia noted that it continues to be excluded from the discussions between Barrick and the Tanzanian government. Meanwhile, an unnamed Barrick shareholder told Reuters that Acacia minority shareholders may not have a choice but to accept Barrick's buyout offer as they have little leverage due to Acacia's run-ins with the Tanzanian government.
Fortescue greenlights US$287M development of Solomon Hub's Queens Valley
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s shares were down 8.2% in May 22 afternoon trading on the ASX as the company approved the US$287 million development of the Queens Valley mining area at its Solomon Hub iron ore operations in Western Australia's Pilbara region. The development of the Queens Valley mining area, which is estimated to have a life of 10 to 15 years, will allow the company to maintain production of the low-alumina Kings Fines product.
* BHP Group CFO Peter Beaven said the mining giant plans to make more nickel investments amid a rise in demand for electric vehicle batteries, Reuters reported. Beaven noted that expanding BHP's nickel portfolio could come from either exploration or acquisitions.
* Copper producers such as First Quantum Minerals Ltd. and Vedanta Resources PLC are expected to be hit by planned power outages in Zambia, which is experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades, Bloomberg News reported. Copper producers in the country use more than half of the country's electricity supply, according to the news agency.
* First Quantum unit Minera Antares Peru SAC terminated its option to acquire Peruvian Metals' Panteria copper project in Peru. Peruvian Metals said it will seek new partners for the project.
* Aurubis AG signed an agreement to acquire materials recycler Metallo Group for €380 million. The company said the acquisition, which will be financed without a capital increase, will complement its Future Complex Metallurgy project, with which the company plans to process a higher volume of complex input materials.
* URU Metals Ltd. intends to apply to extend its mineral rights at its Zebediela nickel project in South Africa for a further 30 years. The company will conduct an environmental impact assessment as part of the application process, and the mining right will allow the project to advance towards production.
* Kasbah Resources Ltd. agreed to settle a court dispute with BDO Corporate Finance (WA) Pty Ltd. over a failed takeover by Asian Mineral Resources Ltd. for an undisclosed amount. Kasbah filed a case against BDO after an objecting shareholder saw errors in BDO's independent valuation of Kasbah.
* Barrick CEO Mark Bristow said gold miners must focus on more mergers to attract more investment, Reuters reported. “The industry is in decline and we have put ourselves in a very a tight spot because we haven’t invested in exploration and our future,” Bristow said.
* Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law exempting small-scale gold miners from excise and income taxes for gold sales to the country's central bank in a bid to strengthen its international reserves. The law will look to address the 99% drop in domestic gold purchases by the central bank to 10,000 fine troy ounces in 2019, from 900,000 fine troy ounces in 2010.
* The Government of Quebec in Canada will invest C$1.8 million in a C$3.5 million project that aims to connect Newmont Goldcorp Corp.'s Eleonore gold mine to an existing regional fiber-optic network. The project is expected to help Newmont optimize operations and increase its workers' quality of life.
* Mining production in Zimbabwe, especially gold, was stunted in the first quarter due to delays in the central bank's distribution of dollar payments to miners, Reuters reported. Miners in the country are paid dollars for half of their output while the remainder is paid in the local RTGS dollar currency.
* Eldorado Gold Corp. priced its offering of US$300 million aggregate principal amount of 9.5% senior secured second lien notes due 2024, which will be offered at 98% of par. The proceeds, along with a recent US$450 million senior secured credit facility, will be used to redeem its outstanding US$600 million 6.125% senior notes due December 2020.
* Canex Metals Inc. signed a letter of intent with a U.S.-based prospector to acquire the Gold Ranger property in Arizona by paying US$90,000 and spending US$80,000 on exploration over four years.
* Golden Queen Mining Co. Ltd. completed the sale of a 50% stake in the Soledad Mountain gold-silver mine in California through the sale of its Golden Queen Mining Holdings Inc. unit to Chairman and CEO Thomas Clay and certain members of the Clay family and associated entities.
* Boliden AB signed a long-term electricity supply agreement with a wind power developer for annual electricity deliveries of 240 GWh in Sweden and 175 GWh in Finland. Production will take place in wind farms located close to mining operations in the Boliden area and the Kokkola smelting operations in Finland.
* Equinox Gold Corp. agreed to sell its Elk gold project in British Columbia through the sale of its Gold Mountain Mining Corp. subsidiary to privately listed Bayshore Minerals Inc. for C$10 million.
* BHP is considering spending about A$800 million to automate 500 haul trucks across its iron ore operations in Western Australia and coal sites in Queensland, International Mining reported, citing CFO Peter Beaven.
* Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has asked Adani Enterprises Ltd. to work with the state regulator to come up with a timeline to secure approvals for its long-delayed Carmichael coal mine, Reuters reported. Palaszczuk said she wants all parties to agree to a timeline by May 24.
* Meijin Energy Co. Ltd dropped its application for a mining lease for its proposed A$6.7 billion China Stone coal mine in Queensland, ABC News reported. The company did not explain the move, but analysts told the news agency that the project is no longer part of China's coal policy and is not feasible financially given the difficulty Adani has faced for Carmichael, which is near China Stone.
* Germany plans to spend €40 billion to soften the impact of a ban on coal mines and coal-fired power plants in parts of the country, Financial Times wrote.
* China Baowu Steel Group Corp. Ltd. is mulling moving blast furnaces to Cambodia, from Xinjiang in China, in late 2019 in a bid to maintain output levels by shifting excess capacity outside of China, Reuters reported, citing a source familiar with the company's plans. The company is looking to relocate two blast furnaces with a combined capacity of 3.1 million tonnes, and two converters to turn iron into steel.
* Despite approving thyssenkrupp AG CEO Guido Kerkhoff's plan to list the group's elevator business, the company's supervisory board remains open for the possible sale of the unit, which drew interest from Finnish rival KONE Oyj, sources told Reuters.
* Ausdrill Ltd.'s BTP Equipment Pty Ltd. unit won a three-year, A$126 million contract extension to provide mining and ancillary equipment to Peabody Energy Corp.'s coal mines in Hunter Valley and Bowen Basin in Australia.
* Service provider Hargreaves Services PLC flagged a revenue and pretax profit hit from the collapse of British Steel, Reuters reported. Hargreaves estimated a current net exposure of £4.5 million to British Steel comprising trade debt and work-in-progress balances.
* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. is believed to have found its biggest diamond to date of over 100 carats from its Mothae mine in Lesotho, The Australian reported. The company went into a trading halt on May 22 "pending the announcement of a significant diamond recovery."
* Neometals Ltd.'s updated definitive feasibility study for its Barrambie vanadium-titanium-magnetite project in Western Australia outlined a posttax net present value, discounted at 10%, of A$199 million, a 15% internal rate of return and a 5.1-year payback period. The operation requires an initial capital expenditures of A$692 million, including contingency, and sustaining capex was pegged at A$123 million.
* Technology Metals Australia Ltd. executed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding with China-based CNMC Ningxia Orient Group Co. Ltd. for vanadium off-take from the company's Gabanintha project in Western Australia. CNMC will initially purchase 2,000 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide per year on a take-or-pay basis.
* Drilling activity in the March quarter continued to trend downward after a recent peak in October 2018, according to the Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence. Despite this downtrend, however, many companies — especially small-cap pure explorers — received above-average boosts to their share prices following the announcement of results at their projects during the quarter.
* Tanzania will start voiding inactive mining exploration licenses and distribute the land to small-scale miners who can immediately begin work, Reuters reported, citing Deputy Minister for Minerals Stanslaus Nyongo.
* Mining equipment maker Sandvik AB aims to increase revenue by at least 5% and trough EBIT margin by at least 16% in the long term after it achieved its financial targets in the last three years.
* Responding to speculations of the acquisition of BGC Contracting Pty Ltd., NRW Holdings Ltd. said it is not pursuing, or in advanced talks for, any acquisitions to the value speculated in the media reports. The Australian recently reported that NRW is in advanced talks to acquire BGC in a deal of up to A$600 million.
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