Mosaic Co. agreed to acquire Vale SA's Vale Fertilizantes SA business for US$2.5 billion. The company will fund the deal with US$1.25 billion in cash to be raised through debt issuance and by issuing 42.3 million shares of common stock, about 11% of its outstanding shares.
The shutdown of Alcoa Corp.'s troubled Portland aluminum smelter in Victoria, Australia, would deduct A$800 million from the national gross domestic product and could result in the loss of over 3,600 jobs, The Australian reported, citing a report commissioned by the Australian Workers Union.
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. confirmed reports that its planned partnership with Vale over order customization for Chinese steelmakers is unlikely to proceed after the companies failed to agree on the deal's commercial terms. According to The Australian Financial Review, Fortescue is looking for other companies with which to blend its Pilbara ore.
* New evidence obtained by French outlet France 24 showed that Francois de Combret, the French banker who was paid US$10.5 million by Rio Tinto to help the company deal with the government of Guinea in 2011, was still in contact with the mining giant in March of this year, The Australian Financial Review reported.
* BSG Resources Ltd. said Israeli police detained Beny Steinmetz for questioning as part of an ongoing probe relating to the company's involvement in bribery and corruption in Guinea, Reuters reported. BSG in a statement said the investigations are "obsolete" and the allegations are baseless.
* In a separate report, Reuters wrote that a spokesman for the Israeli police would not identify the detained businessman but said the suspect is under investigation for bribing public officials in Guinea and may appear in court Dec. 19.
* Meanwhile, Saadou Nimaga, secretary general of Guinea's ministry of mines, told Reuters that Steinmetz's detention is linked to a Guinean corruption investigation that began in 2011, adding that the government is not ready to make an extradition request, although its probe could implicate many people, Reuters reported.
* PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel has budgeted total CapEx of US$2 billion for 2017, including US$450 million for its Bystrinsky copper project in Russia.
* Asian Mineral Resources Ltd. advised its shareholders that the company and Kasbah Resources Ltd. have mutually agreed to terminate a scheme implementation agreement pursuant to which Kabash agreed to be acquired by Asian Mineral Resources.
* Ironbark Zinc Ltd. was awarded a 30-year mining permit for its Citronen zinc-lead property in Greenland.
* Libero Mining Corp. secured a five-year option from Kris Weckerling and partners to acquire a 100% stake in the Tomichi porphyry copper-molybdenum deposit in Colorado.
* Riva Resources Ltd., formerly known as Dragon Energy Ltd., entered an exclusive nonbinding memorandum of understanding for an exploration farm-in and joint venture with a LeadFX Inc. subsidiary over the Paroo Station lead property in Western Australia.
* Atalaya Mining plc achieved nameplate capacity of 9.5 million tonnes per annum in December at its wholly owned Proyecto de Rio Tinto in Spain. The company expects to produce 34,000 tonnes to 40,000 tonnes of copper in 2017.
* Era Resources Inc. updated the resource at its Yandera project in Papua New Guinea to measured and indicated resources of 728 million tonnes grading 0.33% copper, 0.01% molybdenum and 0.10 parts per million of gold.
* Fresnillo Plc clarified that it has resumed construction of a pyrite plant at its Zacatecas leaching facility, opposing a report by daily Opportimes suggesting that investment had been suspended. "The pyrite project remains on schedule with detailed engineering works, construction and the order placement for major equipment already underway," a spokesperson for the company wrote in an email to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
* The London Bullion Market Association initiated a consultation seeking comments and feedback from market participants on the new draft global precious metals code to be implemented in May 2017, Metals Bulletin reported.
* An accident at an illegal gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo killed at least 20 people, Mining.com reported. The death toll is expected to increase.
* Brixton Metals Corp. is acquiring the past-producing Gowganda silver mine in Ontario from Tahoe Resources Inc. unit Temex Resources Corp.
* Golden Queen Mining Co. Ltd. declared commercial production at its Soledad Mountain gold-silver mine in California.
* Strategic Metals Ltd. said its board unanimously approved a spinout of its Eureka, Triple Crown and Treble precious metals projects in Canada's Yukon Territory to Trifecta Gold Ltd.
* Metals Creek Resources Corp. entered an option and joint venture agreement with Strategic Metals' wholly owned subsidiary, Trifecta Gold, pursuant to which Trifecta can earn up to a 75% interest in the Squid East and Squid West gold properties in Canada's Yukon Territory.
* Richmont Mines Inc. received approvals from the Ontario government for the amendments of both air and wastewater environmental compliance approvals for the Island gold mine in Ontario. The amended permits support a potential ore mining and processing rate increase to an average of 1,100 tonnes per day, from the current 900 tonnes per day.
* Panoramic Resources Ltd.'s gold spinoff, Horizon Gold Ltd., will list on the ASX on Dec. 21 after the company successfully completed its fully underwritten A$15 million IPO.
* St. Barbara Ltd. will buy back US$20 million in aggregate principal of its U.S. 144A senior secured notes, effective Jan. 20, 2017.
* Liberty House and SIMEC, owners of the U.K.'s only aluminum smelter, plan to invest £120 million in a project at the plant in Lochaber, Scotland, to make aluminum wheels for the car industry, Reuters reported. The groups acquired the 47,000-tonne smelter and two hydro-electric power stations in November from Rio Tinto.
* The Australian wrote in a separate report that Australia's green groups have warned they will fight to stop the Portland smelter gaining access to clean energy funding, after Federal Industry Minister Greg Hunt flew to owner Alcoa's headquarters in the U.S. to offer a lifeline of subsidized federal funding for its power supply.
* In the face of strong opposition from the coal industry and its allies in Congress, the U.S. Department of the Interior on Dec. 19 issued a final version of the contested Stream Protection Rule.
* K+S AG has acquired a 30% stake in Al-Biariq for Fertilizer Plant Co. Ltd., a fertilizer producer in Saudi Arabia. The German company will pay between US$7 million and US$9 million for the stake, Reuters reported.
* The New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission approved the extension of Centennial Coal Co. Ltd.'s Airly coal mine for 20 years, after more than a year of public hearings and an independent study, ABC reported. The project is expected to secure more than 70 existing jobs and up to 135 positions if operations ramp up.
* Universal Coal Plc intends to start phase-two open-pit operations at its New Clydesdale colliery in South Africa in January 2017.
* Steel Authority of India Ltd. is in talks with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and Kobe Steel Ltd. over potential technical agreements that would help the Indian firm expand its global presence, Reuters reported, citing Chairman Prakash Kumar Singh. SAIL may also consider buying troubled domestic steel assets for a "cheaper price."
* PT Adaro Energy Tbk expects coal production in 2017 to fall in the range of 52 million tonnes to 54 million tonnes, in line with 2016 production, as it focuses more on stocking coal reserves, Kompas reported, citing a company official.
* Techint Group is preparing to file a lawsuit taking its boardroom scuffle at Brazilian steelmaker Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA to Brazil's highest appeals court, if recent appeals to regional courts against a state court's October decision in favor of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. are denied, Reuters reported, citing a source close to the matter.
* India's coal imports in November were reported at 14 million tonnes, down 16.4% year-on-year, and likely to continue its descent in the near future due to demonetization and a spike in global markets, among other issues, The Press Trust of India reported.
* The Indian government unveiled a new national electricity plan that would see a dramatic increase in the nation's use of renewable energy. According to ABC, the power plan says India will not need any additional coal-fired energy capacity in the next decade, casting doubts about Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia.
* S&P Global Ratings raised Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s issuer credit rating to BB+ from BB as a result of the company reducing its absolute debt levels. The outlook on the long-term rating is stable.
* Petmin Ltd. said that if an offer by Bidco to acquire all or a portion of the issued ordinary shares in the company is implemented, it would propose to delist from the JSE. Bidco will make two separate but concurrent offers to acquire shares in Petmin, excluding the company shares held by its subsidiaries.
* Iron ore miners operating in northwestern Australia may experience a cyclone before Christmas, The Australian Financial Review reported. The Bureau of Meteorology has alerted some companies to a weather system that is building and could develop into a cyclone by the end of this week.
* A global forum comprising the G20 group of nations and members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development, or OECD, has been formed to tackle steel overcapacity, Metal Bulletin wrote. The forum will report annually to G20 ministers and has a three-year renewable mandate.
* Mexico has imposed a 35.64% definitive anti-dumping duty on high-carbon ferro-manganese volumes imported from South Korea, Metal Bulletin reported.
* Following intense scrutiny, clarification and negotiations, Kibo Mining Plc awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for its Mbeya coal-to-power project in Tanzania, to SEPCO III.
* Premier African Minerals Ltd. restructured the previously signed off-take agreement with Noble Group Ltd. unit Noble Resources International Pte. Ltd. Premier will now supply the first 4,100 tonnes of wolframite concentrate from the RHA tungsten property in Zimbabwe over an anticipated two-year period.
* Mkango Resources Ltd. entered a collaboration agreement with Noble Resources, allowing the company to acquire up to a 12.5% interest in Mkango.
* Texas Mineral Resources Corp. extended the MOU executed in July 2016 with anthracite producer Jeddo Coal Co. parent company Pagnotti Enterprises Inc. to evaluate the possibility of recovering and producing scandium and rare earth elements from coal deposits at operations around the Jeddo Basin near Hazleton, Penn.
* Kairos Capital Corp. signed a binding letter of intent to acquire a 26,400-hectare lithium property portfolio covering exploration claims over six salars in regions I and II of northern Chile.
* South Africa's state-owned Industrial Development Corp. granted DiamondCorp Plc a loan repayment standstill until the miner completes its business rescue process. Talks with the company's other lenders are also underway to secure similar deals.
* Gemfields Plc generated revenues of US$30.4 million from its auction of rough ruby held in Singapore. The company sold 1,094,406 carats out of the 1,372,145 carats offered.
* Northern Minerals Ltd. executed an engineering, procurement and construction contract for its Browns Range heavy rare earth pilot plant in Western Australia.
* The Indonesian government is drafting a regulation that could ease the country's looming mineral export ban, Reuters reported, citing a local newspaper. Copper concentrates, as well as partly processed or raw nickel and bauxite, would benefit from the new law, but unprocessed gold, silver, tin and chromium would remain on the export ban list.
* President-elect Donald Trump is considering appointing former U.S. attorney Debra Wong Yang as the next chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bloomberg News reported, citing an unnamed source "with direct knowledge of the matter."
* International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde has been convicted of negligence, but will not face a fine or jail sentence, Bloomberg News reported. The former French finance minister was found guilty over one count of negligence regarding a huge state payout to businessman Bernard Tapie during her time in office.
* Research group BIS Shrapnel expects maintenance spending in Australia's resource sector to increase to US$10 billion in the next five years, compared to US$6.6 billion in 2016, The Australian Financial Review wrote.
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