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Fortescue mulls dividend boost amid higher margins, iron ore prices

TOP NEWS

Fortescue mulls dividend boost amid higher margins, iron ore prices

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. CEO Nev Power indicated that the miner is likely to increase shareholder returns thanks to strong margins and higher iron ore prices, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Tahoe suspends dividends, output guidance on Escobal woes

Tahoe Resources Inc. suspended dividend payments and its previously issued full-year production guidance due to the suspension of the mining license at its Escobal silver mine in Guatemala in July, even as it announced a doubling of second-quarter earnings to US$33.5 million, or 11 cents per share, from US$16.7 million, or 5 cents per share.

Codelco struggling to reverse production decline, dwindling reserves

Chilean state-owned Codelco remained the world's largest copper miner in 2016, although Freeport-McMoRan Inc. and Glencore Plc are close behind, but the company is battling dwindling reserves, declining ore grades, labor unrest and ongoing fiscal uncertainty as it seeks to maintain output at its aging operations. Production continued to trend lower in the first half, with an 11% decline in the March quarter.

BASE METALS

* Mitsubishi Materials Corp.'s net income attributable to owners of parent rose by 8% year over year to ¥11.63 billion, or ¥88.80 per share, in the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. Operating profit for the metals sector decreased to ¥3.7 billion, from ¥4.5 billion in the year-ago period, while the aluminum sector remained unchanged at ¥2.3 billion.

* Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co. Ltd. reported a 29.4% year-over-year increase in net income attributable to owners of the parent of ¥4.8 billion in the first quarter of its 2017 fiscal year. The company's metals segment posted an operating loss of ¥600 million, swinging from a ¥2.1 billion profit in the year-ago quarter, while sales increased 35.6% year over year to ¥37.3 billion.

* Fireweed Zinc Ltd. quadrupled the landholding of its Macmillan Pass zinc project in the Yukon Territory, by signing an option and exploration agreement with Newmont Mining Corp. for the latter's MAC claims.

* The British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resources notified Engold Mines Ltd. that exploration activities at its Lac la Hache copper-iron ore-gold property will remain suspended, as fire danger remains at a high level within the project area.

* Sphinx Resources Ltd. agreed to acquire 22 claims comprising the Tessouat zinc project in Quebec from Resources Tranchemontagne Inc. and Gardin Inc.

* Shareholders of Ufaley Nickel JSC, the second-largest manufacturer of commercial nickel in Russia, voted to liquidate the company, Kommersant reported.

* Coventry Resources Ltd. staked an additional 70 state mining claims to expand its Stellar copper-gold project in Alaska.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Franco-Nevada Corp. posted net income of US$45.6 million in the second quarter, compared to US$42.3 million in the year-ago period. Revenue also rose to US$163.6 million from US$150.9 million in 2016 on stronger sales.

* AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. has no plans to back out of Australia in the same fashion as other larger producers have done and is looking to strike more deals to encourage greenfields gold exploration in the country.

* Australian gold hopeful Riversgold Ltd. indicated that it may look to strike a deal with fellow Australian explorer Emerald Resources NL to advance its tenements in Cambodia. The company entered into an agreement to acquire a company that has applied for exploration licenses in northeastern Cambodia, which are located next to Emerald's Okvau gold project.

* St Barbara Ltd. Managing Director Robert Vassie is accelerating the hunt for the company's next acquisition, The Australian reported. Vassie told the Diggers & Dealers conference that it is difficult to find good projects at suitable value in the Australian gold sector, but there could be good strategic sense in a merger of equals with a similarly sized miner.

* Pressure is mounting on Gold Fields Ltd. to restructure, sell or merge its Australian operations as a way of realizing value that does not seem to be currently reflected in its gold price, The Australian wrote. However, CEO Nicholas Holland is adamant that the current plan is the right one and will yield value with time.

* Klondex Mines Ltd. entered a definitive arrangement agreement to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Bison Gold Resources Inc.

* Conroy Gold & Natural Resources Plc received a request for a general meeting to remove Executive Chairman Richard Conroy and Managing Director Maureen Jones from the board, in favor of Patrick O’Sullivan, Paul Johnson and Gervaise Heddle.

* Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. struck a definitive deal to sell the Gavilanes silver project in Mexico to Marlin Gold Mining Ltd. for US$3.5 million.

* New Gold Inc. formally informed its staff at the Peak gold mine in New South Wales, Australia, about sale plans for the site, The Australian reported. The asset is expected to fetch about US$100 million.

* GobiMin Inc. plans to change its business from mineral exploration to investments, with shareholder approval to be sought at a Sept. 5 meeting.

* Para Resources Inc. agreed to purchase the Gold Road project in Arizona from Mojave Desert Minerals LLC for US$6.8 million.

BULK COMMODITIES

* PJSC PhosAgro boosted its fertilizer output in the second quarter by 15.7% year over year to 2.0 million tonnes. Total fertilizer sales rose 15% to about 2.1 million tonnes, supported by growing demand from Russia and Brazil.

* Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. narrowed its first-quarter after-tax loss to 4.21 billion Indian rupees from 12.40 billion rupees in the year-ago period. The company's steel and pellet production rose 6% and 8%, respectively, to 1.26 million tonnes and 1.69 million tonnes in the period.

* Timeless Software Ltd. said its subsidiary Xinjiang Tianmu Mineral Resources Development Co. Ltd.'s Tuchushan iron mine will be shut down, and its exploration and mining certificates will be repealed.

* Aluminum prices increased to US$2,000 per tonne, the highest since 2014, as a result of decreased production in China, Vedomosti reported.

* China's coal imports went down 8.3% year over year and 10% month on month to 19.46 million tonnes in July, Reuters reported.

* IC Potash Corp. entered a binding letter of intent to sell its indirect interest in the Ochoa sulfate of potash project in New Mexico to Cartesian Capital Group LLC for about US$15 million.

* Pitchblack Resources Ltd. agreed to off-load the Division Mountain coal project in Canada's Yukon Territory for C$100,000 as part of the company's strategic review of its assets.

* BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance said that a contractor from Independent Mining Services died at the Goonyella Riverside coal operation in Queensland, Australia, following an incident that occurred on Aug. 5.

SPECIALTY

* Tronox Ltd. reported a second-quarter net income of US$3 million, or 2 cents per share, swinging from a net loss of US$52 million in the year-ago quarter and a net loss of US$41 million in the previous quarter.

* Latin Resources Ltd. signed a binding letter of intent to secure the Geminis lithium mine and Don Gregorio concessions in San Luis, Argentina.

* Chile short-listed seven companies to develop value-added lithium projects in the country, Reuters reported. Projects resulting from the auction are expected to come online in 2019.

* Anfield Resources Inc. completed an updated resource estimate for the Clarkson Hill uranium project in Wyoming. The project hosts inferred resources estimated at 957,000 tonnes grading 0.058% triuranium octoxide, or U3O8, which is equivalent to 1.1 million pounds of U3O8.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* South Africa's mineral resources minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, has filed an answering affidavit in the Pretoria High Court, challenging an application by the Chamber of Mines to interdict the implementation of the controversial reviewed mining charter. Among other points, Zwane's affidavit accuses the chamber of blocking "effective and meaningful participation of black persons" in the mining industry and opposing transformation.

* South African President Jacob Zuma is considering making changes to his cabinet, including the possible removal of Minerals Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, if he survives a motion of no confidence in parliament, Bloomberg News reported.

* A steady uptick in M&A deals is expected in the second half, but EY forecasts that investors will stray from a one-size-fits-all approach and treat the industry commodity by commodity.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. London time, and scans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.