Glencore's Katanga Mining to settle Canadian probe over DRC ops
Glencore PLC's Katanga Mining Ltd. and the Ontario Securities Commission have agreed to settle a probe related to the company's business dealings in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for more than C$30 million, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The settlement is related to Katanga's activities in the DRC between 2014 and 2016, with the regulator expected to name several current and former company executives in the settlement. It will focus on Katanga's relationship with Israeli business Dan Gertler, who has been sanctioned by U.S. authorities over corruption allegations.
GFG Alliance makes bid for steel trader Stemcor
GFG Alliance has made an approach to purchase steel trader Stemcor AG from a group of investors which include U.S. private equity firm Apollo, the Financial Times reported, citing unnamed sources. The Sanjeev Gupta-led company submitted a proposal earlier this month based on a range of valuations, including one close to the trading company's net asset value of US$150 million.
American Pacific ups Fort Cady value to US$1.25B; construction starts Q4'19
American Pacific Borate & Lithium Ltd. intends to begin construction at the Fort Cady borate project in California in the fourth quarter of 2019, following a positive definitive feasibility study for the operation. The study, which incorporated a third phase of operations, outlined a posttax, unlevered net present value, discounted at 10%, of US$1.25 billion, an internal rate of return of 41%, and a 21-year life.
* BHP Group Ltd. completed a US$5.2 billion off-market share buyback at A$27.64 per share, a discount of 14% to the market price of about A$32.14 per share and representing about 8.3% of the mining giant's issued share capital. It will also pay a special dividend of US$1.02 per share, part of the US$5.2 billion of net proceeds from the US$10.8 billion sale of its U.S. oil and natural gas assets to BP PLC and Merit Energy Co. unit MMGJ Hugoton III LLC.
* Jangada Mines PLC estimated an inferred mineral resource at its Pedra Branca project in Brazil of 8.3 million tonnes of ore at 0.22% nickel, 0.04% copper, 135 parts per million cobalt and 0.21 g/t platinum group metals and gold. The new resource could add about US$110 million to the project revenue. The new nickel and copper resource will be included in the bankable feasibility study, scheduled for the first half of 2019.
* China Polymetallic Mining Ltd. kicked off commercial production at its Aung Jiujia lead-zinc mine in Myanmar, after completing construction of a 1,000-tonne-per-day processing plant. The lead metal resources at the mine increased 5% to 753,343 tonnes, at a grade of 7.87% lead.
* An environmental court in India set aside a state government order to close Vedanta Ltd.'s Tuticorin copper smelter in Tamil Nadu, Reuters reported. However, the plant is not expected to reopen in the near-term with state government appeals expected on the horizon.
* Nickel Mines Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding to supply limonite ore to a new high pressure acid leach plant to be constructed within the Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park, which will have an annual nameplate output of 50,000 tonnes of nickel and 4,000 tonnes of cobalt.
* Imperial Metals Corp. engaged Bank of Montreal to expedite a formal restructuring process, which may include a US$1 billion company sale, Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
* S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team expects average copper all-in sustaining costs to increase 2.1% year over year in 2018, followed by a drop of 1.3% in 2019.
* Ural Mining & Metallurgical Co.'s Electrozinc plant in Russia will completely cease operations after being damaged by a fire in October, Vedomosti reported.
* Polymetal International PLC sold its Khakanja operations in Russia to private Russian buyers for US$30 million, including US$5 million in cash and US$25 million in assumed net debt. The loss on the disposal will amount to about US$15 million, based on the carrying value of the operations as at Nov. 30.
* Pretium Resources Inc. received amended permits to increase the production rate at its Brucejack gold mine in British Columbia to 3,800 tonnes per day, from from 2,700 tonnes, which will allow annual production to increase to 1.4 million tonnes from 1 million tonnes.
* Acacia Mining PLC said it is "not aware" of a probe by the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office over alleged bribery in Tanzania but had been in touch with the authority. The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources as saying there was an ongoing investigation, noting that it was unclear how far along the Serious Fraud Office investigation was.
* Eurasia Mining PLC is set to receive a new 71.1-square-kilometer exploration license, increasing its landholding at the West Kytlim open pit platinum mine in the Ural Mountains, Russia.
* Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd. shares resumed trading on the London Stock Exchange's AIM submarket but fell steadily Dec. 14 as the company secured better terms for the acquisition of the Kapan gold mine in Armenia from Polymetal International PLC.
* Silver Mines Ltd. struck a new deal with Thomson Resources Ltd. to earn up to an 80% interest in exploration license 7391 located near the the former's Bowdens silver project in New South Wales, Australia.
* Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s maiden shipment of its new 60.1% iron content product, West Pilbara Fines, has left Port Hedland for Hunan Valin Steel Co. Ltd. in China. The company will produce 5 million tonnes to 10 million tonnes of West Pilbara Fines in the 2019 fiscal year by blending ore from the Cloudbreak and Firetail mines in Western Australia. Once Eliwana begins production in December 2020, production of West Pilbara Fines will ramp up to 40 million tonnes per annum.
* Meanwhile, a massive bushfire caused by lightning briefly halted production at the Solomon iron ore hub, The West Australian wrote. Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines said the blaze did not cause damage to the site, which is now back to normal operations.
* Noble Group Ltd. received approval for its restructuring plan from the Supreme Court of Bermuda, allowing it to avoid liquidation. The company said it expects to complete the restructuring by Dec. 19, and the process will be overseen by a court-appointed officer.
* Universal Coal PLC's 49%-owned Eloff Mining Co. (Pty) Ltd., which holds the Eloff coal project in South Africa, received the mining right and environmental approval from the Department of Mineral Resources. The company plans to start development after it receives the Integrated Water Use License and the Waste License.
* Australian Bauxite Ltd. agreed to a sale of about 30,0000 tonnes of seaborne cement-grade bauxite from its Bald Hill bauxite mine in Tasmania, Australia, with the shipment scheduled for March 2019. Meanwhile, the company has started contract negotiations for the mining, processing and blending at the minesite.
* Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro tweeted that he is mulling the potential exploration of potassium, calcium and magnesium reserves in the country, daily Valor Econômico reported.
* Rio Tinto completed the US$500 million sale of the Dunkerque aluminum smelter in France to GFG Alliance's Liberty House Ltd., following delays to the deal's closing. Liberty House committed to continuing operations at Dunkerque, with the Sanjeev Gupta-led conglomerate previously announcing it will make further investments into the flagship plant.
* Separately, Rio Tinto has prepared a plan to protect its workers from asbestos contamination during the construction of a rail line vital to its US$2.6 billion Koodaideri iron ore mine, part of its Hamersley Consolidated operations in Western Australia, The West Australian wrote. The 166-kilometer railway will have a 19-kilometer section that will run through the Wittenoom Asbestos Management Area, 4.9 kilometers of which is located in a partially contaminated control area.
* Stephen Smyth, the Queensland district president of coal mining union Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, slammed BHP's plans to set up an in-house contract employment firm, accusing the mining giant's management of "misrepresentation" and insincerity in pursuing reforms, The Australian Financial Review wrote.
* Jubilee Metals Group PLC started commissioning its DCM fine chrome plant in South Africa, ramping up to 25,000 tonnes per month of additional capacity over the next four weeks, targeting output of 8,000 tonnes per month of fine chrome concentrate.
* Seven miners were killed and three others were injured in an underground transport accident at Chongqing Energy Investment Group Co. Ltd.'s Fengchun coal mine in China, Reuters reported, citing state-owned Xinhua news agency.
* U.S. steelmaker Nucor Corp. expects to set a new annual record by reporting full year consolidated EPS for 2018 in the range of US$7.25 to US$7.30, an increase of about 22% from the company's previous record EPS of US$5.98 in 2008.
* Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s proposed Carmichael coal project in Queensland, Australia could be further delayed after the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO, an independent Australian federal agency, found serious flaws in the company's key water management plan to protect an ancient springs complex near the site, ABC reported.
* Thirteen people are feared dead after being trapped while illegally mining coal in India's northeastern state of Meghalaya, CNN reported.
* Qatar Aluminium Ltd (Q.S.C)'s shares opened at 18 Qatari riyals, a 78% jump from the initial public offer price of 10.10 riyals, Reuters reported.
* A 552-carat yellow gem, which is about the size of a chicken egg, was unearthed from the Diavik mine in Canada's Northwest Territories, owned by Dominion Diamond Mines and Rio Tinto. Dominion Diamond Mines CEO Shane Durgin said the diamond, the largest-ever found in North America, is of gem quality, but refused to give more details regarding its value.
* Mineral Resources Ltd. struck a binding US$1.15 billion asset sale and share subscription agreement with Albemarle Corp. for the sale of a 50% interest in the Wodgina lithium project and the formation of a joint venture.
* Rainbow Rare Earths Ltd. outlined a maiden resource estimate at its Gakara rare earths project in Burundi of over 1.2 million tonnes of ore at 2.8% total rare earth oxides, containing 33,429 tonnes of TREO. The company said it plans to bring the Gomvyi Centre and Kiyenzi deposits into production during 2019.
* Bluejay Mining PLC updated the mineral resource at its Dundas project in Greenland to 101 million tonnes at 7.1% ilmenite. An optimized prefeasibility study for the project is on track for completion in the first quarter of 2019.
* Lynas Corp. Ltd. clarified media reports on the cost of exporting water leach purification residue by saying that the estimated costs, which seem to be much lower than the company's own initial assessments, were made on the basis of an analyst's views and report noted that the figures were only a rough estimate.
* JSC National Atomic Co. Kazatomprom completed the acquisition of a 40.05% stake in Energy Asia (B.V.I.) Ltd., increasing its interests in the Kharasan and Kharassan-2 uranium projects in Kazakhstan. It also acquired a 16.02% participatory interest in the chartered capital of joint venture "Khorasan-U" LLP.
* U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will step down at the end of 2018, President Donald Trump tweeted Dec. 15, amid a series of investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest. Zinke pushed for U.S. energy dominance, promoting oil drilling and coal mining, reducing royalty rates and easing land protections.
* Following about two weeks of climate talks in Poland, more than 195 nations including the U.S. and China adopted rules for implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change but punted some key issues to the next annual meeting. The next set of formal climate talks are slated to occur in Chile in 2019.
* A Colombian tribunal suspended the government's awarding of mining licenses until it establishes protected areas, Reuters reported. The country's mines and energy ministry will lodge an appeal against the decision, according to the newswire.
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