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Alrosa's Q4'18 profit drops 52% YOY; Vale ordered to close another mine


Alrosa's Q4'18 profit drops 52% YOY; FY'18 profit up 15% on increased revenue

Despite a 52% year-over-year plunge in PJSC Alrosa's net profit in the fourth quarter of 2018, the diamond miner posted a 15% increase in full-year earnings to 90.4 billion Russian rubles as revenue grew and profitability improved considerably. Alrosa attributed the crash in fourth-quarter net profit to the recognition of income from an insurance reimbursement of 10.5 billion rubles as other operating income for 2017, which was paid in full in 2018.

Vale ordered to halt Timbopeba iron mine ops 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 funds of 50 billion reais for environmental recovery efforts after the Feijao disaster, Reuters reported.

South African court blocks mining trade union's planned 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 lodge an appeal against the decision.


* India's antitrust watchdog raided units of Glencore PLC and two other firms 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.


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

* 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.

* 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 propsoed 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 as new CEO of its Sterlite Copper unit amid an ongoing battle to restart the Tuticorin copper smelter in India's Tamil Nadu state, Reuters reported.

* Heron Resources Ltd. said a contract superintendent rejected the majority of a revised claim by CIMIC Group Ltd. unit Sedgman Pty. Ltd. over additional costs of A$53 million for building the Woodlawn zinc-copper project in New South Wales, Australia.


* 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, Newmont reported that the US$245 million power station project for its Tanami gold mine in Australia's Northern Territory is now complete.

* 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.

* Wesizwe Platinum Ltd. will curtail all non-production expense and allocate all resources to complete the development of its Bakubung mine in South Africa to enable business sustenance amid a weak market for platinum group metals.

* 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.

* Laneway Resources Ltd. said it has made significant progress at the Agate Creek gold project in Queensland, Australia, prompting it to aim to start mining activities in early April and start ore processing at Maroon Gold Pty Ltd.'s processing plant shortly after.

* 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.


* Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska sued the U.S. in a bid to remove sanctions imposed on him last year, 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, Canada to production, The Australian Financial Review wrote, citing CEO Andrew Mackenzie, who said that the company is continuing to de-risk the project and improve its economics.

* China Coal Energy Co. Ltd.'s attributable profit for the 2018 full year reached 4.49 billion Chinese yuan, up from 3.37 billion yuan in the year-ago period.

* Nucor Corp. anticipates EPS in the range 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.

* 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, with a 47% internal rate of return and a 2.5-year payback period.

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

* Westmoreland Coal Co. emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on 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.

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

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

* GCM Resources PLC entered into a second joint venture agreement with Power Construction Corp. of China Ltd. to develop an additional coal-fired power plant at the proposed Phulbari coal mine in northwestern Bangladesh.


* Debswana Diamond Co. (Pty.) Ltd., a joint venture between De Beers SA and the Botswana government, targets to keep output at around 24 million carats in 2019, Reuters reported, citing managing director Albert Milton.

* Pilbara Minerals Ltd. exercised its option to enter into an incorporated joint venture with POSCO for the development of a downstream lithium chemical conversion facility in South Korea. The JV would process spodumene from Pilbara's Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project using POSCO's patented PosLX purification process.

* 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 under a 2016 deal.

* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. recovered an 83.9-carat diamond from the Mothae kimberlite plant in Lesotho, the fourth diamond over 50 carats recovered from the operation.

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

* BlueRock Diamonds PLC received permits to allow continuous production at its Kareevlei diamond mine in South Africa.


* S&P Global Market Intelligence's Pipeline Activity Index, or PAI, 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 a gastro outbreak 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, reported.

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

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