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BHP resumes operations at Mt Whaleback iron ore mine after fire

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BHP resumes operations at Mt Whaleback iron ore mine after fire

TOP NEWS

BHP Billiton resumes operations at Mt Whaleback iron ore mine after fire

Operations resumed at BHP Billiton Group's Mt Whaleback iron ore mine, part of its Newman mining hub in Western Australia's Pilbara region, following disruption due to a fire, The Australian Financial Review reported. Meanwhile, commodity traders believe that the miner's lost output due to the fire will be easily absorbed by a well-supplied iron ore market, Reuters reported.

Wollongong Coal suspends coal mine as contractor is placed into administration

Wollongong Coal Ltd. has been forced to suspend operations at its Wongawilli coal mine in New South Wales, Australia, after its mining contractor SBD Services Pty. Ltd. was placed in administration.

Russian miners to see 'upside jump' in investment despite ruble rally

A rally in the value of the Russian ruble impacted the results of Russian mining companies in the first quarter, pushing up cash costs and leading to losses. Despite the negative impacts on the cost line of Russian metals producers, they still remain attractive to investment, said Dmitry Glushakov, CFA metals and mining equities analyst at Russia's VTB Capital.

DIVERSIFIED

* BHP Billiton chief commercial officer Arnoud Balhuizen said the company's Singapore marketing hub is critical, as the miner needed to be embedded in Asia given that nearly 70% of its sales went to the region, The Australian Financial Review reported.

BASE METALS

* Codelco's board has decided that a civil court should settle the ongoing controversy with the country's office of the comptroller general regarding how the state miner assigns retirement compensations and project contracts. Board members will hold a special meeting Jun. 5 to discuss additional measures, daily Diario Financiero reported.

* Separately, the comptroller's investigation into Codelco revealed that the miner assigned contracts totaling US$783.2 million to relatives of company executives and board members between 2013 and 2015, daily El Mercurio wrote. The contracts were directly assigned in most cases and many were not registered in the company's management registry, the investigation report said.

* Atalaya Mining plc approved a study to demonstrate the feasibility of increasing the mining and processing capacity to up to 15 million tonnes per annum at Proyecto Riotinto, from the current capacity of 9.5 mtpa. The move may increase copper production to 50,000 to 55,000 tonnes per annum.

* Global production of mined nickel fell 7.4% year over year in 2016 to total less than 1.99 million tonnes of nickel contained in ore, driven by declining output in the majority of nickel-producing countries across the world. In contrast, the largest 20 operations lifted their share of the global total to almost 50%.

* Roughrider Exploration Ltd. will not exercise its option to acquire the Sabin zinc-copper project in Ontario from Commander Resources Ltd.

* Riverside Resources Inc. regained a 100% interest in the drill-ready Thor copper project in Sonora, Mexico, after its joint venture partner, an Antofagasta Plc unit, opted not to move forward with its option to earn a 65% interest in the property.

* Bowmore Exploration Ltd. will change its name to Osisko Metals Inc. to create a new base metal exploration and development company focused on zinc in Canada, forming part of the Osisko group, with Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. as a significant shareholder owning a 20.5% stake.

* First Cobalt Corp. secured a 50% joint venture option from ASX-listed Cobalt One Ltd. for the latter's Yukon cobalt extraction refinery in Ontario.

* Freeport-McMoRan Inc. unit PT Freeport Indonesia agreed to build a smelter facility, which is expected to start operations in 2022, Kontan reported, citing Teguh Pamudji, secretary-general of the Indonesian Energy Ministry.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd. unit Shandong Gold Mining (Hong Kong) Co. Ltd. will apply for loans totaling up to US$1.26 billion from offshore units of two Chinese state-owned banks to fund its US$960 million acquisition of a 50% stake in the Veladero gold mine in Argentina from Barrick Gold Corp. The remaining US$300 million will be used as working capital.

* Silver Standard Resources Inc.'s pre-feasibility study for its Chinchillas silver project in Argentina forecasts construction to start in the third quarter at a cost of US$81 million, with first ore to be delivered in the second half of 2018.

* Gold production rose for a second consecutive year in 2016, by 1% to 96.3 million ounces, due to mines coming online and most of the world's largest mines increasing their production. The 20 largest operations increased their production by a weighted average of 6% over 2015, greatly outpacing the industry average.

* Torex Gold Resources Inc.'s Minera Media Luna SA de CV subsidiary signed a binding commitment letter for a secured US$400 million debt facility with joint book runners BNP Paribas Securities Corp., Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ING Capital LLC and Societe Generale.

* A federal judge in Montana blocked the development of Hecla Mining Co.'s Montanore silver mine in the northwestern part of the state over environmental concerns, Reuters reported.

* Minco Plc agreed to sell a 2% net smelter return royalty on the Curraghinalt gold-silver property in Northern Ireland to Dalradian Resources Inc.

* Great Panther Silver Ltd. completed the commissioning of the refurbished processing plant at its Topia silver mine in Mexico and is now operating at planned capacity.

* St Barbara Ltd. entered forward gold contracts on an additional 50,000 ounces of anticipated gold production from its Simberi mine in Papua New Guinea.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Given there is still no official date for operations to resume, Vale SA and BHP Billiton's joint venture Samarco Mineração SA implemented the third temporary suspension of work contracts with paid leave since the suspension of its iron ore mine in November 2015. The measure involves 800 employees and the leave would last one month, with the possibility to extend for another three months, daily Isto e Dinhero reported.

* The Santiago Environmental Tribunal gave the green light for CAP SA subsidiary CAP Minería to begin construction of its Puerto Cruz Grande port terminal in the La Higuera province of Chile's Coquimbo region, daily Diario El Día reported.

* IRC Ltd. expects its K&S iron ore mine in Russia to reach full-scale mining in June and to operate the mine at full capacity in the second half of the year.

* K+S Aktiengesellschaft completed the 30% share purchase of Al Biariq for Fertilizer Plant Co. Ltd. in Saudi Arabia. K+S can acquire another 30% of Al Biariq within the next two years.

* Price talks between Australian miners and Japanese steelmakers were put on ice as the Japanese companies are pushing to transition to more flexible arrangements from the current quarterly fixed-price terms, Reuters reported.

* Coal India Ltd.'s output declined by 4.3% year over year to 40.74 million tonnes in May, down for the second straight month, Bloomberg News reported.

* China's Belt and Road Initiative is expected to boost global steel demand by about 150 million tonnes, Bloomberg News reported.

* Brazil's iron ore export volumes increased by 3.26% year over year to 35.11 million tonnes in May, Metal Bulletin reported.

* Slab producer Companhia Siderúrgica do Pecém's plant in Ceará, Brazil, has yet to resume operations after a fire broke out at its steel mill May 28, Metal Bulletin reported.

SPECIALTY

* ASX-listed Tychean Resources Ltd. signed a binding agreement to acquire a 74% interest in South African diamond miner Ernest Blom Diamonds CC in a deal worth about A$8.2 million.

* Kimberley Diamonds Ltd. closed down its Lerala diamond mine in Botswana due to weak market conditions, leaving 130 workers unemployed, Reuters reported.

* Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev purchased 50% of the Grizzly emerald mine in Zambia, one of Africa's biggest emerald mines, Bloomberg News reported.

* Ormonde Mining Plc now expects its under-construction Barruecopardo tungsten project in Salamanca, Spain, to start mine commissioning in the third quarter of 2018, after the project entered into an accelerated construction and implementation phase.

* Russia will increase its tungsten production over the next few years with the development of the Tyrnyauz field, the country's largest tungsten and molybdenum reserve, Metal Bulletin wrote. The tender for the development of the field will be launched in the third quarter.

* An updated feasibility study for phase one of NextSource Materials Inc.'s Molo graphite project in southern Madagascar estimated a posttax net present value of US$25.5 million, at an 8% discount rate, and internal rate of return of 21.6%.

* Black Rock Mining Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding with Yingkou Botian Material Technology Ltd. Co. for the potential off-take of 50,000 tonnes per year of graphite concentrates produced at its Mahenge property in Tanzania.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Mining royalties payments in Bolivia totaled US$37.6 million in the first half, up 46% compared with the same period last year, according to official government figures, daily Pagina Siete reported.

* U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change but said he is willing to renegotiate the country's commitments to the agreement or seek a "new deal."

* Now that Trump has announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate change pact, the markets are left to assess whether eschewing a leadership role on the issue will help or harm the country's economic growth and which industries will be affected most.

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