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In This List

Vale ordered to close another Brazilian mine; BHP's autonomous trucks collide

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State of the Market: Mining Q1-2020

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Mining Exploration Insights December


Vale ordered to close another Brazilian mine; BHP's autonomous trucks collide

TOP NEWS

Vale ordered to halt Timbopeba iron mine operations in Brazil

In another setback following the fatal Corrego do Feijao dam burst, Vale SA was ordered by a Brazilian court to stop operations at its Timbopeba iron ore mine in Minas Gerais state. The embattled miner had been ordered to halt activities at its other operations in the state: the Fabrica and Vargem Grande iron ore complexes and the Brucutu mine. Meanwhile, Brazilian prosecutors also ordered Vale to guarantee 50 billion reais for environmental recovery efforts after the Feijao disaster, Reuters reported.

Autonomous trucks collide at BHP's Jimblebar iron ore mine

Two autonomous trucks collided at BHP Group's Jimblebar iron ore mine in Pilbara, Western Australia. The company attributed the incident to heavy rainfall that deteriorated the road surface, causing one vehicle to slide into the other, The West Australian reported. The company said operations resumed within hours after the accident and no one was injured.

South African court blocks mining union bid for expanded strike

South Africa's labor court blocked the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union's request for an expanded strike at several platinum and gold mines in the country, Lonmin PLC confirmed. The union plans to appeal the decision.

DIVERSIFIED

* India's antitrust watchdog raided units of Glencore PLC and two other companies in Mumbai as part of a probe into an alleged cartel on the price of pulses, a staple food in India, sources told Reuters.

* South Africa's Competition Tribunal conditionally approved Glencore and partner Off The Shelf Investments Fifty Six (RF) Pty. Ltd.'s proposed US$973 million acquisition of Chevron Corp.'s subsidiary in the country, Reuters reported.

BASE METALS

* KGHM Polska Miedź SA President and CEO Marcin Chludzinski ruled out the sale of the Sierra Gorda copper mine in Chile as the company tries to rebuild the mine's value amid high production costs and other issues, Reuters reported.

* Strategic Minerals PLC agreed with New Age Exploration Ltd. to acquire its entire 50% shareholding in Cornwall Resources Ltd., the joint venture vehicle developing the Redmoor tin-tungsten project in Cornwall, U.K., for a total capped purchase price of £2.7 million.

* Nyrstar NV deferred an interest coupon payment of about €31.6 million on €850 million of debt as the company seeks to sign a restructuring deal.

* Austpac Resources NL secured A$803,000 in funds from YanGang (Hong Kong) Co. Ltd. through a private placement to finalize testing for its proprietary zinc iron recovery process, or ZIRP. YanGang also proposed to fund the construction of a ZIRP plant.

* African Battery Metals PLC agreed to acquire up to 10 million new ordinary shares in Katoro Gold PLC at 1 pence apiece and secured an option to own up to 35% of Katoro's Haneti nickel project in Tanzania for up to £125,000.

* Vedanta Ltd. named Pankaj Kumar CEO of its Sterlite Copper unit amid the ongoing battle to restart the Tuticorin copper smelter in India's Tamil Nadu state, Reuters reported.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Newmont Mining Corp. launched an offer to exchange all outstanding notes issued by Goldcorp Inc. for up to US$2 billion of new notes and cash in connection with Newmont's proposed US$10 billion takeover of Goldcorp. Meanwhile, the US$245 million power station project for Newmont's Tanami gold mine in Australia's Northern Territory is complete.

* Wesizwe Platinum Ltd. will scale down the development of its Bakubung mine in South Africa to a 1-million-tonne-per-annum mine with an equivalent 1 mtpa processing plant, from the 3-mtpa mine previously envisioned. The decision comes amid a weak market for platinum group metals.

* Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd.'s shares surged over 43% on the ASX as it said it will receive over A$82 million as a settlement of proceedings against its political risk insurers. The company said it had a political risk insurance policy in place at the time it was alleged that the government of Thailand illegally expropriated Kingsgate's Chatree gold mine in May 2016.

* Chile's Supreme Court ordered the Antofagasta environmental court to review its October 2018 ruling that required Barrick Gold Corp. to close the Chilean side of its suspended Pascua-Lama gold project, which sits on the border with Argentina. The court said the decision must be reassessed after admitting a claim a local company filed that accused the environmental judges of neglect when issuing the sentence, daily La Tercera reported.

* Nkwe Platinum Ltd.'s amalgamation with Gold Mountains (Bermuda) Investment Ltd. has become effective as part of its acquisition by Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd.

* Cameo Cobalt Corp. agreed to acquire three mineral claims adjacent to its Big Mac gold property in British Columbia's Golden Triangle.

* Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd. signed a binding term sheet for a joint venture with Turkish mining contractor Çiftay İnsaat Tahhüt ve Ticaret AS to collaborate on the Chaarat and Kyzyltash projects in the Kyrgyz Republic. Construction is ongoing at Tulkubash, and first gold production remains on schedule for 2021.

* To fund the ongoing construction of the Buritica gold-silver project in Colombia, Continental Gold Inc. secured a US$175 million financing package backed by Newmont and Triple Flag Mining Finance Ltd.

* AIC Resources Ltd. shareholders were urged to accept Intrepid Mines Ltd.'s second takeover offer of 1 Intrepid share for every 2 AIC shares.

* Trueclaim Exploration Inc. signed a letter of intent to acquire privately held esports investment company New Wave Holdings Corp. via a reverse takeover.

* Vizsla Resources Corp. terminated its option on the Kathleen Mountain property in British Columbia after exploration results showed the project did not warrant further development.

* Oriole Resources PLC identified multiple gold-in-soil anomalies at its Wapouze gold project in Cameroon, including an 8-kilometer-long anomaly within the Bataol zone with a highest grade of 0.53 g/t gold.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Rio Tinto asked shareholders to reject a resolution in the upcoming annual general meeting in May that calls for the company to report its direct emissions and those of its customers in greater detail. The rule change would have it set out transition plans in its annual reporting, starting in 2020, consistent with the goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change to limit global warming, including targets to reduce scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions.

* Wollongong Coal Ltd. was ordered to halt all mining activities at its Wongawilli colliery in New South Wales, Australia, following recent underground inspections by mine inspectors. Resumption of the Wongawilli operation is subject to the company completing risk assessment and implementing adequate control measures and to regulators approving the safety measures.

* China Coal Energy Co. Ltd.'s net profit attributable to shareholders rose 33.3% to 4.49 billion Chinese yuan in 2018, within its guidance of between 4.4 billion yuan and 4.8 billion yuan. The company's board recommended a dividend of 7.8 fen per share for a total payout of 3.43 billion yuan, up from the 5.5 fen per share declared in 2017.

* Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska sued the U.S. in a bid to remove sanctions imposed on him in 2018, Reuters reported. While United Co. Rusal PLC, En+ Group PLC and EuroSibEnergo PLC have been removed from the sanctions list, Deripaska remains blacklisted.

* Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s amended mine plan for its A$1.5 billion Iron Bridge iron ore project in Western Australia secured approval from the state's Environmental Protection Authority, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* BHP Group is not in a rush to bring its Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan to production, The Australian Financial Review wrote, citing CEO Andrew Mackenzie, who said the company is continuing to de-risk the project and improve its economics.

* Norsk Hydro ASA appointed Hilde Merete Aasheim, the executive vice president and head of Hydro's primary metal business area, as its new president and CEO. She will succeed Svein Richard Brandtzæg, who decided to step down after 10 years as CEO.

* Nucor Corp. anticipates EPS of US$1.45 to US$1.50 for the first quarter of 2019, decreasing quarter over quarter from US$2.07 but increasing year over year from US$1.10.

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed its B- long-term issuer credit rating for Mongolian Mining Corp., with a stable outlook. The rating agency said it expects the company's sales volume and cost profile to improve over the next 12 months despite a decline in coal prices due to China's economic slowdown.

* A definitive feasibility study for Allegiance Coal Ltd.'s Tenas project, part of its Telkwa metallurgical coal joint venture with Itochu Corp. in British Columbia, pegged a net present value, discounted at 8%, of A$260.5 million, a 47% internal rate of return and a 2.5-year payback period.

* Westmoreland Coal Co. emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization March 15. The company's plan of reorganization effectuated the sale of substantially all of its assets to a new entity, Westmoreland Mining LLC, a privately held company owned and operated by a group of its former creditors.

* A feasibility study for the expansion of Avenira Ltd.'s 80%-owned Baobab phosphate project in Senegal estimated a posttax net present value, discounted at 8%, of US$212 million, a 25.5% internal rate of return and a 3.3-year payback period.

* Re-electionist Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is hoping that surging iron ore prices will lead to a A$6 billion federal budget boost to entice voters, The Australian Associated Press reported.

* Several U.S. coal producers announced plans during fourth-quarter 2018 earnings calls to invest in additional mine capacity, but analysts are skeptical that the market is turning away from share repurchases in favor of capital expenditures.

SPECIALTY

* PJSC Alrosa is evaluating reopening the Mir diamond mine in Russia as it will cost an estimated US$1.3 billion and take six to eight years to restart, Reuters reported. The Mir pipe was suspended due to flooding in 2017.

* Pilbara Minerals Ltd. conditionally exercised an option for a joint venture with POSCO to develop a downstream lithium chemical conversion facility in the Gwangyang Free Economic Zone in South Korea. The facility is rated to process 40,000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate equivalent. It will source spodumene from the miner's Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia and use POSCO's proprietary PosLX purification process.

* Magnis Energy Technologies Ltd.'s 47%-owned Imperium3 New York signed a term sheet to secure US$52 million for funding the production of lithium-ion battery cells from the company's Huron Campus in New York.

* Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said the country may build small nuclear reactors jointly with the U.S. as it looks to allow investment in prospecting and mining for uranium, Reuters reported.

* Mineral Resources Ltd. increased its stake in the Mount Marion lithium project in Western Australia to 50% from 43.1%.

* Debswana Diamond Co. Pty. Ltd., a joint venture between De Beers SA and the Botswana government, aims to keep output at about 24 million carats in 2019, Reuters reported, citing Managing Director Albert Milton.

* Infinity Lithium Corp. Ltd. increased its ownership of the San Jose lithium project in Spain to 75% after renegotiating the earn-in terms with Valoriza Mineria SA from a 2016 deal.

* Diamond Fields Resources Inc. raked in US$1.1 million from the sale of 47,298.18 carats of unpolished diamonds from its ML111 license offshore Namibia.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* S&P Global Market Intelligence's Pipeline Activity Index fell to 64 from 76 in January, the index's worst showing in almost three years. The PAI measures the level and direction of overall activity in the commodity supply pipeline by incorporating significant drill results, initial resource announcements, significant financings and positive project development milestones into a single comparable index.

* Up to 60 workers are feared to have been affected by gastroenteritis at a mining camp owned by Fleetwood Corp. Ltd. in Western Australia's Pilbara region, ABC reported.

* Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra announced that he will issue a Supreme Decree to provide local authorities with the budget to prevent illegal mining in the Peruvian Amazon, Mining.com reported.

* VTB Capital bolstered its base metals and precious trading divisions with new hires in Switzerland and China, Reuters wrote.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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