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BHP signs renewable energy deals in Chile; Norway's US$1T fund invests in Rio


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BHP signs renewable energy deals in Chile; Norway's US$1T fund invests in Rio


BHP flags US$780M hit to switch Chilean copper mines to renewables from coal

BHP Group signed new power supply contracts for its Spence and Escondida copper mines in Chile, which the company expects will cut energy costs by up to 20% and displace up to 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. In its results for the six months ending in December, the company will make a provision of about US$780 million due to canceling existing coal contracts for the mines. The company awarded a tender to ENEL Generación Chile to supply 3 terawatt-hours per year for 15 years starting in August 2021 and for Colbún to supply 3 terawatt-hours per year for 10 years beginning in January 2022. The two mines will fully source their power from renewable energy sources in the mid-2020s.

Norway's sovereign wealth fund builds Rio Tinto stake

Norway's US$1 trillion wealth fund built a 1.4% stake in Rio Tinto by the end of September, Bloomberg reported, placing the fund among the top 10 holders of Rio Tinto shares. Norway refused to buy Rio Tinto stock for more than a decade because of the environmental damage caused by the Grasberg copper and gold mine in Indonesia. Rio Tinto agreed to sell its stake in Grasberg to Freeport-McMoRan Inc. for US$3.5 billion last year.

Workers to strike at BHP's Escondida copper mine amid Chilean protests

Unionized workers at BHP Group's Escondida copper mine in Chile will down tools Oct. 22 in solidarity with protests across the country following a hike in public transport costs, Reuters reported. The workers will strike for at least one shift, the report said, citing Patricio Tapia, president of Escondida's Union #1. Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica had told the newswire that mining operations in the country operated normally through the weekend during the protests, which left at least seven people dead.


* Sagittarius Mines Inc.'s US$5.9 billion copper-gold mining project in Tampakan, South Cotabato is expected to go full swing in the coming months, according to Felizardo Gacad Jr., director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Region 12, Philippine News Agency reported.

* Bryah Resources Ltd. increased its land holding at its flagship Bryah Basin gold-copper project in Western Australia by acquiring two new exploration licenses, E52/3700 and E52/3726, covering a total of 83 kilometers. The company has also applied for additional three exploration licenses covering a further 172 kilometers.

* Bluejay Mining PLC has lodged an application to the Mineral License and Safety Authority in Greenland for a new mineral exploration license surrounding the existing Kangerluarsuk zinc-lead-silver project. The company said that a six-hole maiden drill program has been finalized to test multiple large and high-grade zinc-lead-copper-silver targets during early 2020.


* Financing for Mongolian projects may become harder to secure as potential investors could be put off by the country being added to an anti-money-laundering watchdog's "grey list," the Australian Financial Review reported. Mining projects in the country include Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi copper project. The Financial Action Task Force considered Mongolia to be one of the countries whose financial systems are lacking in safeguards against money laundering and terrorism funding, the report said.

* Nexa Resources SA is expecting to start commercial production at the Aripuana zinc project in Brazil by 2021, reported.


* Erdene Resource Development Corp. is expecting its Khundii gold project in Mongolia to generate strong returns following the results of two studies for the property's Bayan Khundii and Altan Nar deposits. A pre-feasibility study on the Bayan Khundii deposit outlined a post-tax net present value, discounted at 5%, of US$97 million, with a 42% internal rate of return and a 1.8-year payback period. Meanwhile, an updated preliminary economic assessment on the property's Altan Nar deposit defined a post-tax net present value, at the same discount rate, of US$24 million, with a 92% IRR and a 1.1-year payback period.

* Petropavlovsk PLC's third-quarter gold sales shot up 53% year over year to 126,400 ounces from 82,800 ounces.

* Oklo Resources Ltd. approved an initial 10,000-meter drilling program comprising aircore, reverse circulation, and diamond core drilling at Seko, within its flagship Dandoko gold project in Mali, in advance of a maiden mineral resource estimate scheduled for completion early in the second quarter of 2020. The company also said that it has recommenced drilling at Dandoko following the conclusion of the wet season.

* Orla Mining Ltd. entered a commitment letter with Trinity Capital Partners Corp. for a five-year secured project finance facility of up to US$125 million for the development of its Camino Rojo gold project in Mexico.

* Dundee Precious Metals Inc. agreed to acquire a 19.5% stake in INV Metals Inc. through a C$10 million investment in INV's C$15.6 million private placement priced at 40 cents per share. INV will issue 25.0 million shares to Dundee, which is expected to help INV advance the Loma Larga gold project in Ecuador. INV's shares closed with a 7.5% gain on the TSX.

* Newmont Goldcorp Corp. increased its ownership to 19.9% from 15.9% in the share capital of Sirios Resources Inc.. on a partially diluted basis by acquiring 5,410,000 units for C$1.1 million.


* Western Australia ports minister Alannah MacTiernan expressed doubt that more than 500 kilometers of rail and a deepwater port can be viably built at Oakajee to service iron mines, the Australian Financial Review reported. The comment follows the completion of Mitsubishi Corp.'s transfer of shares in its A$9.7 billion Jack Hills iron ore mine, expansion, and planned rail and port facility to Sinosteel Corp. Sinosteel Midwest CEO Stuart Griffiths said that people should keep an open mind, as the company is conducting a thorough review of iron ore development options in Australia's mid-west before it decides whether to spend billions at Oakajee.

* Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House Group has reignited talks with the U.K. government about buying British Steel Corp. Ltd., which collapsed into compulsory liquidation last May, Sky News reported.

* Tata Steel Ltd.'s subsidiary Tata Steel Europe has decided to cut 2,500 jobs or 25% of its workforce to save US$930 million in costs, Business Standard reported, citing Dutch media outlet NH Nieuws.

* Avenira Ltd. completed the sale of its interest in the Baobab phosphate project in Senegal and in Novaphos Inc. The company is now debt free. Avenira retains the Wonarah phosphate project in the Northern Territory of Australia and exclusive rights to use the Novaphos high-grade technology in Australia.

* Brazilian steel consumption went down 6.4% to 1.8 million tonnes in September from 1.9 million tonnes in the same month of the previous year, Fastmarkets MB reported, citing national industry association Instituto Aço Brasil, as demand retreats for both domestic and imported materials.

* Kore Potash PLC's prefeasibility study for the Dougou extension within its 97%-owned Sintoukola potash project in the Republic of Congo is on track to be completed in April 2020 within budget.

* Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co.Ltd. will hold all steel product prices unchanged in November amid high inventories at home and weakening overseas prices, Reuters reported.

* A minor roof fall at Bounty Mining Ltd.'s Cook Colliery coal project in Queensland, Australia interrupted production as it partially buried the company's CM13 continuous miner. There were no injuries associated with the incident, but it will negatively impact the company's October production.


* The Kunming Intermediate People's Court in China will launch four simultaneous online auctions Oct. 27 for germanium, gallium, tellurium and selenium inventories formerly held by the now-defunct Fanya Metal Exchange, Reuters reported, citing notices on e-commerce platform Taobao.

* South Africa's Department of Mineral Resources and Energy granted a mining right to Pamish Investments No. 39 (Pty.) Ltd. regarding the five farms which comprise the Mokopane Vanadium project, owned by Bushveld Minerals Ltd. and Izingwe Capital (Pty) Ltd., in South Africa. Bushveld Minerals' stake in the project will accordingly reduce to 60.8% from 64%, while Izingwe Capital's stake will reduce to 34.2% from 36%.

* Vital Metals Ltd., looking to transform into a developer of rare earth oxides, completed the acquisition of Cheetah Resources Pty. Ltd.

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