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Glencore, Apollo among short-listed bidders for A$2B Rio Tinto coal assets

TOP NEWS

Glencore, Apollo among short-listed bidders for A$2B Rio Tinto coal assets

The sale process for Rio Tinto's last remaining coal mines, including the Valeria and Winchester South coal mines in Queensland, Australia, is set to enter its second round, with Glencore Plc and a group led by Apollo Global Management LLC set to be included in the short-listed bidders, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources. The asset package is estimated to be worth over A$2 billion and the sources also confirmed that Whitehaven Coal Ltd. and South32 Ltd. made indicative offers for Rio Tinto's Hail Creek and Kestrel coal mines in Queensland by the deadline this month.

South African miners expect to settle silicosis lawsuit in early 2018

A working group comprising six miners operating in South Africa in early 2018 expects to settle a massive class action brought by mine workers suffering from silicosis and occupational tuberculosis, having earmarked a total of 5 billion South African rand for the settlement, Business Day reported. The group comprises African Rainbow Minerals Ltd., Anglo American Plc, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Gold Fields Ltd., Sibanye Gold Ltd. and Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. and is headed by former Harmony Gold CEO Graham Briggs, who said talks with the class-action attorneys are "well advanced."

BlueScope Steel raises H1'18 underlying earnings outlook

BlueScope Steel Ltd. expects its underlying earnings for the six months ended Dec. 31 to be around A$460 million, compared to A$420 million previously, driven by higher steel prices and domestic volumes, higher contribution from export coke and the recognition of previously impaired taxes at its Indian joint venture.

DIVERSIFIED

* Another round of negotiations between Chad and commodities trader Glencore to restructure an over US$1 billion oil-backed loan ended this week without any agreement, Reuters reported, citing a source. Glencore lent the West African country's state oil firm SHT about US$1.45 billion in 2014 to be repaid with crude oil, which was subsequently syndicated with several banks.

* Panthera Resources, which holds a gold project in India, and Erris Resources Ltd., which holds gold and zinc assets in Sweden and Ireland, respectively, will list their shares on London's AIM on Dec. 21, bringing the number of mining listings this year to 11, Reuters reported.

BASE METALS

* OZ Minerals Ltd. entered into an earn-in agreement with Red Metal Ltd. to acquire up to a 70% interest in the latter's Punt Hill copper project, near OZ Minerals' Carrapateena project in South Australia.

* An auction for the US$2 billion Michiquillay copper mine project in Peru, which was scheduled for Dec. 20, will now take place Feb. 20, Reuters reported, citing state investment agency ProInversion. The auction was canceled due to the political turmoil in the country.

* Antofagasta Plc struck an early wage deal with its three workers' unions at the Centinela copper mine in Chile, leaving the Los Pelambres copper mine to enter an agreement in 2018, Metal Bulletin reported. The new Centinela contract includes payment of an end-of-negotiations bonus to the workers, as well as a pay increase and other benefits.

* Nautilus Minerals Inc. said funding talks with various parties, including its major shareholders, are taking longer than expected. While Nautilus remains positive that talks will conclude soon, there is no guarantee a funding deal will be finalized, in which case the company will turn to asset sales, joint ventures and capital restructurings.

* Red River Resources Ltd. noted an increase in the estimated mine life for the West 45 polymetallic massive sulfide deposit, part of the Thalanga zinc project in central Queensland, Australia, to at least 2019 following an increased ore reserve and resource estimate.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Trek Mining Inc. unit Aurizona Goldfields Corp. entered into a definitive agreement with Sprott Private Resource Lending LP for an US$85 million secured project credit facility that will be used for the development, construction and working capital requirements of the company's Aurizona gold mine in Brazil.

* Sandstorm Gold Ltd. amended its revolving credit agreement, enabling the company to borrow up to US$150 million for general corporate purposes, including paying dividends.

* Great Panther Silver Ltd. updated resources for its past-producing polymetallic Coricancha property in Peru, after acquiring the project in early July. Coricancha hosts measured and indicated resources totaling 752,759 tonnes grading 5.8 g/t of gold, 200 g/t of silver, 2.06% lead, 3.26% zinc and 0.53% copper, with inferred resources estimated at 943,160 tonnes grading 5.0 g/t of gold, 209 g/t of silver, 1.45% lead, 3.25% zinc and 0.64% copper.

* Canarc Resource Corp. said it will retain its 33.33% carried interest in the claims adjacent to past-producing Eskay Creek gold property in British Columbia, through a recently announced deal between Barrick Gold Corp. and Skeena Resources Ltd., under which Skeena can acquire Barrick's Eskay Creek property. Barrick's 66.67% interest in the adjacent claims will shift to Skeena on meeting certain obligations under the agreement.

* Barra Resources Ltd. completed the acquisition of the issued share capital of Kidman Resources Ltd. unit Coolgardie Mining Co. Pty. Ltd., which holds the mining license for the Burbanks gold mine in Western Australia.

* Emmerson Resources Ltd. achieved first gold pour at its Edna Beryl mine in Australia's Northern Territory, part of the Tennant Creek Mineral Field joint venture.

BULK COMMODITIES

* ArcelorMittal's Kazakh unit, ArcelorMittal Temirtau, is set to miss its 2017 steel production target of 4.2 million tonnes after losing output due to a strike staged by workers earlier this month, Reuters reported, citing the unit. The Kazakh company did not disclose figures for the production loss or its expected output for the year.

* An ArcelorMittal subsidiary agreed to pay US$1.5 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged that the company's western Pennsylvania coke plant showered the area with soot and other pollutants, the Associated Press reported, citing a proposed agreement filed in Pittsburgh's federal court.

* Creditors of insolvent Indian companies are seeking approval from the country's new bankruptcy court to sell the assets of as many as 40 companies, including steel producers Essar Steel India Ltd, Bhushan Steel Ltd, Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd. and Electrosteel Steels Ltd, which owe more than US$26 billion in combined debt, Bloomberg wrote. India's Vedanta Ltd., ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel Ltd. and JSW Steel Ltd. as well as Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. are among the several suitors for these assets.

* The board of oil and gas producer AWE Ltd. backed Mineral Resources Ltd.'s takeover offer, which values the former at 83 Australian cents a share, or around A$526 million, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

* The stalled Gina Rinehart-backed Alpha coal mine project in the Galilee Basin could be progressing, after a GVK Hancock lobbyist met with key opposition politicians during the Queensland election campaign, fueling speculations about an impending fire sale, ABC reported.

* AustSino Resources Group Ltd. plans to undertake a public offering of up to 450 million shares at 1 Australian cent apiece to raise up to A$4.5 million, to satisfy ASX requirements for requotation of the company's shares from voluntary suspension. The offer is scheduled to close Jan. 17, 2018.

* JSW Steel is set to commission a 4.50 million-tonne-per annum slab production facility at Dolvi in India's Maharashtra state in mid-2019, Metal Bulletin reported.

* Cokal Ltd. is working out the pricing mechanism for coal off-take for 2.5 million tonnes of premium PCI coal from the BBM project in Indonesia, with the contract valued at about A$400 million.

* Mechel PAO signed a memorandum for a long-term coal supply deal with China's Jidong Cement, covering up to 3 million tonnes of steam coal produced from its Elga and Neryungrinsky mines in Russia, making the Chinese company the chief foreign consumer of Elga's steam coal.

* Itochu Corp. increased its dividend forecast for fiscal 2018 on the back of higher profit expectations. The Japanese company will declare an annual dividend of at least ¥70 per share in fiscal 2018, compared to the previous forecast of ¥64 per share.

* A rockfall incident at the Evraz Plc-operated Yesaulskaya coal mine in the Siberian region of Kemerevo trapped three miners, Reuters reported, citing the local administration. Initially, 102 miners were trapped, of which 99 have been rescued.

* Indonesian miner PT Adaro Energy Tbk.'s wholly owned subsidiary, Arindo Holdings, raised US$12.1 million from an IPO in Mauritius, which Adaro will use to repay debt and shore up working capital, the Jakarta Globe reported. Adaro expects to produce 52 million to 54 million tons of coal this year.

* A senior official for the Trump administration said a new security strategy may lead to tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in the U.S. to protect the country's economic interests due to national security concerns, Reuters reported.

* Ukraine's coal mines reduced production 13.6% year over year to about 31.96 million tonnes from January to November, Interfax reported, citing the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry. Coking coal output declined by 20.1% to 6.2 million tonnes during the period.

* Latin America's crude steel output rose 7% year over year to 5.5 million tonnes in November, Metal Bulletin reported, citing preliminary figures from regional steel association Alacero. Finished steel production also rose by 7% to 4.6 million tonnes in the same period.

SPECIALTY

* Tronox Ltd. confirmed that the European Commission initiated a phase-two review of the company's planned acquisition of Cristal's titanium dioxide business. The commission would have up to 90 working days, a period that may be extended or shortened, to make a final decision on whether the proposed transaction would significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area.

* Kibaran Resources Ltd. signed a binding heads of agreement with ProGraphite GmbH to access technical and commercial knowledge of graphite processing for use in battery product applications.

* Pilbara Minerals Ltd. entered into an off-take agreement to sell at least 1 million tonnes of unprocessed run-of-mine lithium-tantalum material from the Pilgangoora project in Western Australia to Atlas Iron Ltd. on a mine gate sale basis starting in the June 2018 quarter.

* Speciality Metals International Ltd. agreed to purchase the Mount Carbine quarry and two mining leases for an undisclosed price. The company said the mining leases, located within its Mount Carbine tungsten project in Queensland, Australia, are "integral to the successful development" of the project.

* Lithium and junior miners secured US$42 million in funding in October, the largest of which was a US$23 million capital raising by Neo Lithium Corp. to fund its Tres Quebradas lithium project in Argentina, Mining.com reported.

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