Miners suspend operations in Australia ahead of cyclones
Mining giants halted operations in Australia as cyclones Trevor and Veronica batter the country's north and western parts, according to reports. In Northern Territory, Glencore PLC suspended operations at its McArthur River zinc mine, while South32 Ltd. halted its GEMCO manganese operations. In Western Australia, Rio Tinto closed rail operations in Pilbara as well as its Robe Valley iron ore mine, while BHP Group suspended output at the Pyrenees oil project. Iron ore export terminals Port Hedland, Cape Lambert and Dampier were all shut down.
Vale orders evacuation as Sul Superior dam in critical condition
Vale SA evacuated communities in the Barão de Cocais municipality in Brazil's Minas Gerais state after independent auditors warned that the inactive Sul Superior dam at its Gongo Soco iron ore mine is in critical condition and could collapse any time. The company raised the warning to level three as a preventive measure. About 500 people were evacuated near the area in February. Vale also said that is working to clean the Paraopeba river after a series of laboratory tests confirmed that the tailings that contaminated the river after the fatal Feijao dam breach are non-hazardous.
British Columbia Investment Management Corp. joined Paulson & Co. Inc. in opposing Newmont Mining Corp.'s proposed US$10 billion acquisition of Goldcorp Inc. mainly due to the "egregious payout" worth US$12 million Goldcorp Chairman Ian Telfer stands to get once the deal is sealed. Meanwhile, VanEck, one of Newmont's largest investors with a 6% stake, wants the deal to be renegotiated, The Wall Street Journal reported. Joseph Foster, VanEck's portfolio manager and strategist for the gold and precious metals strategy, said that the merger will transfer away significant upside from Newmont's recent joint venture in Nevada with Barrick Gold Corp.
* BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said China, as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, should keep the needs of the host countries in view, The Australian reported. "Host countries are going to have to have their opportunities, their right to evaluate the risks and the benefits of participation," Mackenzie said.
* Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques told CNBC that he sees "lots of opportunities" in China despite its slowing economic growth. "The more iron ore you need, high quality iron ore, the more bauxite, the more copper, the better it is for Rio Tinto," he said.
* Sunstone Metals Ltd. CEO Malcolm Norris believes that Ecuador will be home to several copper and gold discoveries over the next 10 years. "It is highly prospective and it just hasn't seen the level of exploration of neighboring countries," he told the Australian Financial Review.
* The Kunming Intermediate People's Court of China fined the company behind the collapsed Fanya Nonferrous Metals Exchange 1 billion Chinese yuan for illegal fundraising and causing investors losses. The court sentenced the founder, Shan Jiuliang, to 18 years in prison for crimes including embezzlement, Reuters reported, citing the official Xinhua news agency.
* MOD Resources Ltd.'s ore reserve estimate within the planned T3 open pit copper mine, part of the Botswana property, swelled 61% to 34.4 million tonnes at 1.0% copper and 13.2 g/t of silver containing 342,700 tonnes of copper and 14.6 million ounces of silver. The open pit can now support a mine life of over 11 years.
* Ionic Brands Corp., formerly known as Zara Resources Inc., closed its previously announced acquisition of Washington state-based cannabis company Blacklist Holdings Inc. via a reverse takeover.
* Antofagasta PLC expects to secure water supply for its Zaldivar copper mine in Chile from BHP Group, which owns the nearby Escondida mine, Reuters reported, citing a company official. The size of the project, held in a 50/50 joint venture with Barrick Gold Corp., is not big enough to have its own desalination plant to use water from the Pacific Ocean, Antofagasta said.
* White Cliff Minerals Ltd. estimated a maiden resource at its Coronation Dam deposit of 5.7 million tonnes at 1.0% nickel and 0.08% cobalt, containing 56,700 tonnes of nickel and 4,300 tonnes of cobalt, above a cut-off grade of 0.8% nickel.
* Mitchell Services Ltd. secured a further extension to April 2020 of its underground drilling contract with BHP's Olympic Dam copper mine in South Australia.
* China Metal Resources Utilization Ltd. flagged a decrease of over 50% in its 2018 full-year net profit due to the significant fluctuation of metal prices in the second half of that year.
* Peruvian police arrested the leader and two lawyers of an indigenous community for allegedly trying to extort MMG Ltd. by blocking road access to the Las Bambas copper mine, Reuters reported.
* Plaintiffs of class-action lawsuits accusing Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. of fraud over its Pebble copper-gold project in Alaska are expected to file an appeal of the case's previous dismissal by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
* Telson Mining Corp. confirmed that the SAG mill throughput processing rate may be increased by at least 15% by reducing the size of crushed mill feed, according to test results from the Campo Morado zinc plant in Mexico. The company now intends to modify its crushing circuit and upgrade the pumping system to allow effective movement of the increased volumes.
* Rumble Resources Ltd. exercised its option to acquire the Munarra Gully copper-gold project in Western Australia. The company also acquired a highly prospective tenement north of the project for 400,000 shares.
* Philex Mining Corp. expects the start of production at its Silangan copper-gold mine in the Philippines to be delayed by four years to 2022 amid a national ban on new open pit mining, Reuters reported.
* PolyMet Mining Corp. unit Poly Met Mining Inc. completed the permitting process for its NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals mine and processing plant in Minnesota.
* Havilah Resources Ltd. took down information about its projects, including the Kalkaroo and Mutooroo copper projects in South Australia, from its website after the Australian Securities Exchange flagged them as misleading.
* White Rock Minerals Ltd. granted Sandfire Resources NL an option to acquire up to 70% of the Red Mountain zinc-silver-lead-gold-copper project in Alaska by spending A$30 million on exploration over six years.
* Arc Exploration Ltd. agreed to acquire Cyprium Australia Pty. Ltd., which owns an option to acquire an 80% interest in the Cue copper project in Western Australia from Musgrave Minerals Ltd., for 5,750,000 shares. As part of the deal, Arc must also issue Musgrave A$250,000 worth of shares.
* Following a strategic review, Artemis Resources Ltd. said its immediate focus will be on advancing the company's gold assets and securing third-party toll-treating opportunities to secure sufficient ore to start production at its wholly owned Radio Hill processing plant in Western Australia. The Carlow Castle gold-copper-cobalt project is its prime development asset, the company said, adding that a prefeasibility study on the asset will be delivered by the first quarter of 2020.
* Dacian Gold Ltd. slashed its full-year 2019 gold production guidance to between 150,000 and 160,000 ounces, from 180,000 ounces previously, due to the reduced availability of underground equipment at its Mount Morgans gold project in Western Australia that affected output in the March quarter.
* Petropavlovsk PLC said it received about US$57 million in Russian rubles as full repayment of two bridge loans advanced to IRC Ltd. in 2018 following the latter's recent debt refinancing. IRC will also pay a guarantee fee of US$6 million, with a further US$5 million payable by March 31, 2020.
* OceanaGold Corp. terminated its option agreements over Mirasol Resources Ltd.'s La Curva and Claudia gold projects in Argentina after exploration results did not meet OceanaGold's expectations.
* Majority of Doray Minerals Ltd.'s shareholders voted in favor of the company's merger with Silver Lake Resources Ltd.
* The South African government's Central Energy Fund will fund the bid by its subsidiary African Exploration & Mining Finance Co. for Optimum Collieries, BusinessLive reported, citing mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe said. The company will contribute 500 million South African rand, with the remaining to come from consortium partner Lurco Group, to purchase the operation.
* Jupiter Mines Ltd. launched a review of its strategic options with regards to its Central Yilgarn iron ore assets in Western Australia, which include the Mount Mason DSO hematite and Mount Ida magnetite projects.
* China is facing a possible five-year U.S. tariff on steel wheels after the U.S. Department of Commerce found that China unfairly subsidized exports to the U.S. and sold them at prices below fair value, Reuters reported.
* China's Hebei province, one of the nation's top steel-producing regions, plans to phase out 28 coal mines this year that have a total combined capacity of 10.0 million tonnes, according to a statement posted on the provincial government's website.
* Luxembourg's Tenaris SA agreed to acquire PAO TMK's Texas-based IPSCO Tubulars Inc. for US$1.2 billion. The deal covers a U.S. steel bar production facility in Koppel, Pa., a seamless production facility in Ambridge, Pa., and other welded, heat treatment and finishing facilities.
* Aluminum giant China Hongqiao Group Ltd. reported a 5.4% yearly increase in net profit attributable to shareholders for 2018 to about 5.41 billion yuan, mainly due to a significant fall in impairment losses.
* Evraz PLC unit PJSC Raspadskaya's board decided not to recommend any dividends for 2018 despite the coal miner recording a 40% year-over-year climb in net profit for the year to US$448 million. The board highlighted the need to conserve financial reserves in the face of coal price volatility.
* Lithium Consolidated Ltd. secured two lithium exploration licenses in Mozambique to become the first ASX-listed company to enter the country to explore for hard rock lithium.
* PJSC Alrosa CEO Sergey Ivanov was elected as chairman of the new Russia-Angola Business Council, which aims to strengthen business ties between the two countries.
* Marenica Energy Ltd. secured the Koppies uranium license in Namibia. Exploration is targeted in the second quarter.
* Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election found that the Donald Trump campaign did not conspire or coordinate with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to Attorney General William Barr's summary of the report released March 24.
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