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Rio Tinto completes US$1.5B buyback, launches US$1.93B on-market buyback

TOP NEWS

Rio Tinto completes US$1.5B buyback, launches US$1.93B on-market buyback

Rio Tinto completed a US$1.5 billion buyback of Rio Tinto plc shares, comprising the US$500 million and US$1 billion on-market share buyback programs launched Feb. 8 and Aug. 2 respectively. The mining major will also undertake a further US$1.93 billion on-market buyback of shares, to be finalized by Dec. 31, 2018.

Tata Steel looks to borrow US$5.1B to refinance debt

Tata Steel Ltd. is looking to secure funding equivalent to US$5.1 billion via a loan facility and a euro-denominated bond issue in a bid to refinance its debt, Bloomberg News reported, citing "people familiar with the matter." The company is planning a US$2.15 billion, six-year syndicated facility to refinance loans of its units, TS Global Holdings Pte. and NatSteel Asia Pte.

Jiangxi Copper ordered to stop production amid pollution concerns

Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. will stop all production in its home province following a Jiangxi government order to help fight pollution in the area, Bloomberg News reported, citing a company official. The halt will remain in place for at least a week, before local pollution levels are re-evaluated.

DIVERSIFIED

* China's NCCL Natural Resources Investment Fund agreed to acquire Louis Dreyfus Co. BV's metals trading unit Dreyfus Co. Metals BV, with the deal expected to close in the first half of 2018. NCCL Natural Resources is owned by the units of China Molybdenum Co. Ltd. and New China Capital International Management Ltd.

BASE METALS

* MMG Ltd.'s MMG Finance unit secured a US$300 million revolving credit facility with a three-year term from Commercial Bank of China.

* Japan's Pan Pacific Copper Co. Ltd. expects copper prices to rise more than a quarter over the next two years on the back of growing global demand, Reuters reported. Pan Pacific expects copper prices to average US$7,280 per tonne in 2018 and US$7,720/t in 2019, compared to US$6,100/t this year, CEO Satoshi Arai said

PRECIOUS METALS

* Kin Mining NL finalized a US$27 million senior secured credit facility with Sprott Private Resource Lending LP for the construction of the company's Leonora gold project in Western Australia. The project is forecast to start production in the second half of 2018.

* Gascoyne Resources Ltd. closed a A$60 million loan facility with National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The company has drawn A$20 million from the facility to fund development costs as it advances its Dalgaranga gold project in Western Australia to production, with the first pour scheduled for late in the second quarter of 2018.

* Independence Resources Inc. plans to sell a gold-silver-cobalt bearing property in Montana that comprises a block of 60 patented and unpatented mining claims, given its lack of experience in hard rock metals mining, Mining.com reported.

* Gold prices rose to more than a three-week high on Dec. 26, backed by a weaker dollar, while palladium hit its highest since February 2001, Reuters reported.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Chinese officials in northern Shandong province used fabricated data to help aluminum and steel producers escape mandatory production cuts, Reuters reported, citing the state-run China Youth Daily. "Local official[s] have covered up for aluminum producers, leading them to build up their capacity," the publication wrote, citing a letter from a Ministry of Environmental Protection inspection team.

* Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. and its domestic subsidiaries entered into coal contracts for 2018 to supply an aggregate of 37.5 million tonnes of the material. The settlement price will be determined through negotiation between the parties in each transaction.

* Chinese imports of coal from Australia in November fell 0.3% year over year to 5.59 million tonnes due to heavy traffic congestion in Australian ports, Reuters reported, citing customs data.

* Meanwhile, China did not import iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea in November, amid the latest sanctions imposed by the UN against Pyongyang, Reuters wrote, citing customs data.

* China has pushed coal producers to boost their high-grade coal supply to lock in fuel for the winter, Reuters reported, citing a statement made by the country's National Development and Reform Commission.

* Geo Energy Resources Ltd. received an additional prepayment of US$40 million from Engelhart CTP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. for the supply of a minimum of 7.5 million tonnes of coal from the Sungai Danau Jaya mine in Indonesia in 2018.

* Five miners were killed after an 800-meter tunnel collapsed at a coal mine in Afghanistan's Samangan province, Mining.com reported. Four people were rescued after the accident while one worker was missing, the Associated Press reported, citing local authorities.

* Tigers Realm Coal Ltd.'s Russian subsidiary entered into an agreement with Sberbank to secure a loan of 600 million Russian rubles. The company will use the proceeds for operational purposes and CapEx prior to next revenue from sales, expected in July 2018.

* Russia's Mechel PAO leased 18 BelAZ mining trucks as part of a 2.8 billion ruble deal with State Transport Leasing Co.

SPECIALTY

* Syrah Resources Ltd. achieved the first production of bagged salable fines graphite from the Balama project in Mozambique.

* PJSC Alrosa plans to hold 30 international auctions for the sale of special sized diamonds, weighing 10.8 carats and above, in 2018.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* According to an ICRA report, global nonferrous metal prices will remain buoyant over the next three months on the back of widening supply gaps as a result of production delays across aluminum, copper and zinc, Press Trust of India wrote.

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.