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Rusal chairman steps down; Rio Tinto eyes dual-listing of Canadian iron ore unit

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Rusal chairman steps down; Rio Tinto eyes dual-listing of Canadian iron ore unit

TOP NEWS

Rusal chairman steps down after US sanctions waiver pact

United Co. Rusal PLC Chairman Matthias Warnig resigned as part of a significant restructuring the Russian company agreed for the removal of previously imposed U.S. sanctions, Reuters reported. Warnig's departure is one of the conditions of the deal. Rusal expects to pick his successor Dec. 27.

Rio Tinto eyes dual-listing Canadian iron ore unit stake in H1'19

Rio Tinto is pursuing a dual listing for its 59% stake in Iron Ore Co. of Canada Inc. in New York and Toronto in the first half of 2019, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the situation. The mining major is targeting a valuation of some US$4 billion in the IPO, the sources said, noting that the plans depend on market conditions improving. While the company had previously failed to sell its Iron Ore Co. of Canada stake for between US$3.5 billion and US$4 billion in 2012, the option is not off the table, the sources added.

Vedanta mulls up to US$4B investment for new steel plant in Jharkhand

Vedanta Ltd. is planning to invest between US$3 billion and US$4 billion to develop a new steel plant in Jharkhand, India, Mint reported. The plant will have an annual capacity of 4.5 million tonnes, and will become part of the company's recently acquired Electrosteel Steels Ltd. at Bokaro.

BASE METALS

* PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co. terminated the agreement to sell South African assets to Botswana state-owned BCL Ltd., including a 50% stake in the Nkomati joint venture, citing "serious breaches of contract." However, the company said it will continue to seek damages from BCL to cover losses that it suffered due to the state miner's failure to honor its obligations.

* Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co. Ltd. plans to invest US$147.2 million for a new copper project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Reuters reported. Expected to be launched by September 2019, the project has an estimated annual production capacity of 30,000 tonnes of electro-deposited copper.

* Japan's Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. sees the global nickel deficit nearly halving to 49,000 tonnes in 2019 from 93,000 tonnes in 2018, on the back of higher production of primary metals by global suppliers and lower-grade nickel pig iron in Indonesia, Reuters reported.

* Sandfire Resources NL exercised its option to enter into a joint venture with White Rock Minerals Ltd. over the latter's Red Mountain zinc project in central Alaska.

* Consolidated Zinc Ltd. increased its ownership in the Plomosas zinc-lead-silver mine in Mexico from 51% to 90%.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Navarre Minerals Ltd. and Catalyst Metals Ltd. agreed on the terms of a joint venture for the Tandarra gold project in Victoria, Australia.

* Kalamazoo Resources Ltd. signed an agreement to sell its Snake Well gold project in Western Australia's Murchison region to Adaman Resources Pty. Ltd. for A$7.0 million.

* Enterprise Metals Ltd. entered into an agreement to acquire the rights to gold-copper‐zinc exploration license application 20/944, expanding the Murchison gold project in Western Australia.

* Tribune Resources Ltd. and Rand Mining Ltd. are expected to reject Northern Star Resources Ltd.'s A$150 million offer for their interests in the East Kundana gold joint venture in Western Australia, and may make a counter offer for Northern Star's stake in the asset, The Australian reported. Northern Star holds a controlling 51% interest in East Kundana.

* Aurelia Metals Ltd. finalized the transition to contract mining at its Peak gold mine in New South Wales, Australia. Under the contract, Pybar Mining Services Pty. Ltd. will undertake all underground development and production mining activities at the site for an initial five-year term.

* VTB Capital, one of Russia's largest gold traders, slashed gold exports in 2018 due to higher demand from the country's Central Bank and weaker demand in China, Reuters reported, citing VTB Capital's commodities head, Atanas Djumaliev. The bank sold 11 tonnes of gold to China this year.

BULK COMMODITIES

* As 2018 comes to a close, the U.S. coal sector is on track to return to a trend of declining fatal accidents. The industry opened the decade with 48 fatalities in 2010, followed by 20 in each of the next three years. The annual fatality count then steadily declined before hitting an all-time low of just eight in 2016. However, fatalities nearly doubled in 2017, with 15 coal miners dying on the job, according to U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data. Ten fatalities have been attributed to the sector in 2018.

* Israel Chemicals Ltd. subsidiary Dead Sea Works Ltd. reached an agreement to settle a dispute with the Israeli government over royalties. Dead Sea Works agreed to pay US$27 million in royalties by Dec. 25, including interest and linkage, from 2000 to 2017.

* Bounty Mining Ltd. entered into a A$20 million working capital facility with Amaroo Blackdown Investments Pte. Ltd. and Amaroo Blackdown Investments LLC, available between Dec. 31, 2018, and April 25, 2019. The facility will be used to support operations at the Cook colliery in Queensland, Australia, and Cook CHPP, the possible purchase of mining equipment for Cook, as well as for the repayment of a prepaid sales agreement with Lido Trading.

* India's union minister, Suresh Prabhu, said the country's commerce ministry is in favor of increasing import duties on aluminum to support domestic manufacturers, Press Trust of India reported. "The proposal is under examination and we support the proposal," Prabhu said.

* Rescue teams are trying to reach 15 coal miners trapped underground for 13 days in India's Meghalaya state, Reuters reported. However, the chances of survival look slim after floodwaters rushed through the illegal "rat-hole" pit, the report added.

* Evraz PLC and Russia's Vnesheconombank may form a joint venture based on Sibuglemet, in a deal that will further strengthen Evraz's position in the coking coal market, Vedomosti reported.

* The Queensland Supreme Court ordered Thiess Pty. Ltd. to pay an employee A$720,000 after a workplace incident at the now mothballed Burton Downs coal mine left him with a lower-back injury in 2011, The Australian reported.

SPECIALTY

* PJSC Alrosa plans to sell more than 80 noncore assets in 2019, aiming to fetch around 6.1 billion Russian rubles. The list includes three legal companies, 14 objects of realty and land, 15 under-building objects and 49 housing objects.

* Maxim Shkadov, director general of Russian diamond manufacturer Kristall, is leaving the company to join Alrosa ahead of an expected merger between the companies, IDEX reported. A decision to formally merge the companies has still not been made.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The Mining Industry Council of Thailand and the Ministry of Industry are in negotiations over a policy that raised the royalty rate for exports of some types of minerals to 7% from 4%, Thailand's Khao Sod reported. Earlier in November, a group of 13 mining operators asked the ministry to revise the regulation.

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