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Vale execs to be indicted over Feijao; US sanctions to target Iran metals sector


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Vale execs to be indicted over Feijao; US sanctions to target Iran metals sector


Vale, TÜV SÜD employees to be indicted over Feijao tailings dam collapse

Fifteen to 20 people are expected to be indicted in relation to the early 2019 collapse of the tailings dam at Vale SA's Feijao iron ore mine in Brazil, Reuters reported, citing Andressa de Oliveira Lanchotti, coordinator of a task force of prosecutors. The group expected to be charged includes executives from the mining giant, employees from German inspection company TÜV SÜD AG and the two companies themselves, according to the report.

Report: New US sanctions to target Iran's metals sector

Iran's metals sector will likely be hit by U.S. President Donald Trump's new wave of sanctions against the country, Bloomberg News reported, citing a source familiar with the administration's plans to "keep squeezing" Iran's economy following the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 2. According to the source, the sanctions will likely be targeting Iran's non-oil sectors as part of a previously disclosed plan to choke off other sources of revenue now that the U.S. has clamped down on its oil exports.

BHP halts Whaleback, Eastern Ridge iron ore mines in Western Australia amid floods

Floods caused by torrential rains brought by former tropical cyclone Blake are believed to have forced BHP Group to temporarily shutter its Whaleback and Eastern Ridge iron ore mines in Western Australia and its rail operations in the area, The Australian reported. Amid heavy rains, a Qantas Airways Ltd. plane carrying mineworkers slid off the runway while landing at the Newman Airport in the state. All 80 passengers and crew were safe and no one was injured.


* Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd. reported preliminary copper production of 204,000 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2019 and booked record output of 702,000 tonnes in the full year. In 2018, the company produced 158,000 tonnes of copper in the fourth quarter and 606,000 tonnes in the full year.

* Central Asia Metals PLC's Kounrad copper recovery plant in central Kazakhstan produced 13,771 tonnes of copper in 2019, falling from the previous year's output of 14,049 tonnes but surpassing guidance. Production from the SASA lead-zinc mine in Macedonia hit the upper end of the guidance range at 23,369 tonnes of zinc and 29,201 tonnes of lead.

* GSP Resource Corp. signed a letter of intent to acquire the Alwin copper-gold-silver project, which includes the past-producing Alwin copper mine in British Columbia, from vendors Richard John Billingsley and S. Gaye Richards for C$250,000 in cash, 4.5 million common shares and a 1.8% royalty.

* Taseko Mines Ltd. achieved its 2019 full-year copper production guidance at its Gibraltar copper mine in British Columbia, despite a strike by Canadian National Railway Co. in November that impacted shipments for 11 days. Annual production was 126 million pounds of copper, within the full-year guidance range of about 130 million pounds.


* Toronto-based Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. posted a 21% increase in gold production to a record 279,742 ounces in the fourth quarter of 2019 thanks to the strong performance of the Fosterville mine in Victoria, Australia. Full-year 2019 production surged 35% to a record 974,615 ounces, near the midpoint of guidance.

* Torex Gold Resources Inc. set a new annual gold production record at its El Limon-Guajes gold mine in Mexico after its full-year 2019 output rose 28% yearly to 454,810 ounces. Production in the fourth quarter of 2019 totaled 125,150 ounces.

* A 2018 appeal by the Patay indigenous community seeking a revision of the water quality baseline at Barrick Gold Corp.'s Pascua-Lama gold mine on the Chile-Argentina border was rejected by Chile's Supreme Court, Mining Journal reported.

* Rio Tinto unit Rio Tinto Exploration Pty. Ltd. completed the acquisition of a 51% stake in Antipa Minerals Ltd.'s Citadel gold project in Western Australia after sole-funding over A$11 million of exploration on the project. Rio Tinto has now assumed the operator role in the joint venture and has until Jan. 30 to decide whether to sole-fund an additional A$14 million of exploration within three years to increase its interest in the project to 65%.

* Centamin PLC produced 148,387 ounces of gold at the Sukari gold mine in Egypt in the fourth quarter of 2019, rising from 137,600 ounces year over year, according to preliminary figures. Full-year 2019 gold output improved 2% year over year to 480,529 ounces, and the company is maintaining its 2020 production guidance at 510,000 to 540,000 ounces.

* Sandstorm Gold Ltd. hit record sales of 63,800 attributable gold equivalent ounces in full year 2019, with record realized preliminary revenue amounting to US$89.4 million.

* LeaGold Mining Corp.'s production in the fourth quarter of 2019 totaled 93,982 ounces of gold, and sales totaled 92,601 ounces of gold. Full-year gold production totaled 375,445 ounces, with gold sales of 379,776 ounces.

* Equinox Gold Corp. achieved total production of about 201,000 ounces of gold in full year 2019, meeting the guidance range of 200,000 to 235,000 ounces. The company said its all-in sustaining costs are expected to be within the guidance of between US$940 and US$990 per ounce of gold sold.

* Gold futures surged to US$1,600 per ounce in overnight trading before falling 0.9% to US$1,560/oz after U.S. President Donald Trump signaled a move toward de-escalation, saying Iran seemed to be "standing down" from further retaliatory attacks, in his first televised address since a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian commander and Iran responded with a missile attack on U.S. installations in Iraq.

* MAS Gold Corp. will begin legal proceedings against Golden Band Resources Inc., after the latter failed to respond to its notifications related to the ownership of the La Ronge South gold joint venture in Saskatchewan.

* Sierra Metals Inc.'s board of directors approved a plan to return up to US$30 million to shareholders in 2020. The company said it is in a position to start returning capital to shareholders as it has entered a new phase as a generator of free cash flow.

* Rio Silver Inc. agreed to acquire 50% of the Palta Dorada gold-silver-copper property in northern Peru and entered into a memorandum of understanding with Peruvian Metals Corp. for joint exploration and development of the project.


* Monadelphous Group Ltd. was awarded a contract by BHP to upgrade conveyor equipment, power switching and stackers at the Area C iron ore mine in Western Australia. Work should be complete in the third quarter.

* Brazil's Agência Nacional de Mineração approved Meridian Mining SE's trial mining license on Jaburi within the Espigão manganese project. The license was approved for the production of 30,000 tonnes of manganese oxide concentrate per annum and is valid until Sept. 13, 2021.

* Six coastal states — California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Oregon — filed a legal brief backing Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and his staff over the denial of a required water quality permit for coal producer Lighthouse Resources Inc.'s plan to build a coal export terminal.


* U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette set aside a ban on licenses for exporting weapons-grade uranium for making medical isotopes for two years. The ban was supposed to begin Jan. 3, Reuters reported.

* Hong Kong-listed CNNC International Ltd. said its Emeelt Mines LLC unit sued the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia over its lack of action on the company's mining license application for a uranium project in Mongolia.

* Kenmare Resources PLC's fourth-quarter heavy mineral concentrate production from the Moma titanium mine in northern Mozambique dropped 34% yearly to 264,700 tonnes, with ilmenite and primary zircon output totaling 203,900 tonnes and 10,900 tonnes, respectively, representing declines of 26% and 28%. Shipments increased 23% to a record high 352,900 tonnes.

* London-based W Resources PLC sold the first shipment of tungsten concentrate from the new concentrator plant at its La Parrilla tungsten operation in Spain.

* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. recovered a 117-carat diamond from the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola. The gem-quality stone is the 14th diamond of over 100 carats recovered from Lulo and the first for 2020.

* Galaxy Resources Ltd. shares closed with an 8% gain on the ASX after the company said December-quarter lithium concentrate production at the Mount Cattlin mine in Western Australia totaled 43,222 dry tonnes, near the upper end of its guidance of 45,000 dry tonnes.

* The government of Salta Province and its regulatory bodies approved the environmental impact report and the development of the next stage works at Argosy Minerals Ltd.'s Rincon lithium project in Argentina.


* The U.S. would need to derive 100% of electricity sales from clean energy resources by 2050 under a draft climate change bill that Democratic lawmakers will unveil later in January. On Jan. 8, Democratic leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce released details of a pending climate bill to be titled The Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation's Future Act, or CLEAN Future Act.

* Overall drilling activity metrics decreased month over month in December, continuing a trend seen in December of the previous two years, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team. The total number of reporting projects drilled declined by 19 to 213, which is still above the year-to-date average of 204, and the number of companies reporting dropped to 198, from 220 in November.

* Through their Minderoo Foundation, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. Chairman Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola will donate A$70 million to wildfire relief efforts in Australia, The Australian Financial Review reported.

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