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BHP Billiton cuts copper guidance due to power outage, repairs at Olympic Dam

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BHP Billiton cuts copper guidance due to power outage, repairs at Olympic Dam

TOP NEWS

BHP Billiton cuts copper guidance due to power outage, repairs at Olympic Dam

BHP Billiton Group revised its 2017 financial year production guidance for copper down 2% to 1.6 million tonnes due to the negative impact of a statewide power outage and unplanned maintenance at the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia. Copper output in the December quarter of 2016 was down 7% year over year to 357,000 tonnes. Western Australian iron ore production rose 9% to about 60.0 million tonnes.

Norilsk Nickel approves sale of 39.32% stake in Bystrinskiy copper project

PJSC Mining and Metallurgical Co. Norilsk Nickel approved the sale of up to a 39.32% stake in the Bystrinskiy copper project to a Russia-focused natural resources fund, CIS Natural Resources Fund, established by Interros Group and ESN Group. The project is being valued at US$730 million for the transaction.

Rio Tinto sells Australian coal unit to Yancoal for up to US$2.45B

Rio Tinto struck a deal to sell its Australian subsidiary Coal & Allied Industries Ltd. to Yancoal Australia Ltd. for up to US$2.45 billion. The amount comprises an initial US$1.95 billion in cash payable at completion and US$500 million in deferred cash payments payable over five years after the deal closes.

DIVERSIFIED

* In order to improve its supply and demand analysis of the commodity markets, Rio Tinto is hiring eight Singapore-based experts, Reuters reported.

BASE METALS

* Antofagasta Plc's copper production for full-year 2016 increased 12.5% year over year to 709,400 tonnes. Gold production in the year jumped 26.6% year over year to 270,900 ounces, while molybdenum production at Los Pelambres totaled 7,100 tonnes. The company expects to produce 685,000 tonnes to 720,000 tonnes of copper, 185,000 ounces to 205,000 ounces of gold and 8,500 tonnes to 9,500 tonnes of molybdenum in 2017.

* Vedanta Resources Plc priced its offering of US$1.0 billion in bonds due 2022 at 6.375%. Proceeds will fund its cash buyback of up to US$1.95 billion in outstanding notes, which received valid offers totaling about US$795.9 million.

* Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. expects its net profit attributable to shareholders to increase by 40% to 60% in 2016, compared to the year-ago net profit that totaled 637.2 million Chinese yuan, or 18 fen per share.

* Rambler Metals & Mining Plc expects to produce 5,100 tonnes to 5,800 tonnes of copper and 4,400 ounces to 5,100 ounces of gold in full-year 2017. In 2016, the company produced 4,174 tonnes of copper and 6,132 ounces of gold.

* Regulus Resources Inc.'s wholly owned Peruvian subsidiary, Southern Legacy Peru SAC, executed a definitive agreement with Compañía de Minas Buenaventura SAA unit Compania Minera Coimolache SA to jointly explore the AntaKori copper-gold project in northern Peru.

* CobalTech Mining Inc. acquired additional interests by purchasing eight new cobalt properties covering 1,535 hectares in Quebec.

* Unionized workers at the BHP Billiton-majority-owned Escondida copper mine in Chile rejected the company's latest wage offer and asked its workers to vote for a strike and prepare for an extended conflict, Reuters reported.

* China Nonferrous Mining Corp. Ltd. expects to book a decrease of about US$270 million in its loss attributable to company owners and may post a profit for the year ended Dec. 31, 2016. The company booked a loss of US$279.9 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2015.

* Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. CEO Ronald Thiessen expects the company to receive environmental approval to develop its long-stalled Pebble copper-gold project in Alaska under the new U.S. administration headed by President Donald Trump, Bloomberg News reported.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Northern Star Resources Ltd. produced 124,871 ounces of gold in the second quarter of fiscal 2017, up from 109,995 ounces produced in the previous quarter. All-in sustaining costs for the second fiscal quarter totaled A$1,063 per ounce, compared to A$1,091 per ounce in the previous quarter. Revenue for the quarter totaled A$197.5 million, an improvement from A$183.2 million reported in the previous quarter.

* Fresnillo Plc forecast 58 million ounces to 61 million ounces of silver production, and 870,000 ounces to 900,000 ounces of gold output in 2017. The company achieved record annual silver production of 50.3 million ounces and record annual gold production of 935,513 ounces in 2016, a 7.1% and 22.8% jump year over year, respectively.

* Evolution Mining Ltd. is on track to meet its fiscal 2017 gold production guidance after posting record output of 217,812 ounces in the December 2016 quarter.

* Pan American Silver Corp.'s corporate affairs director, Ricardo Zarandon, denied earlier media reports that said the company was abandoning its Navidad silver-lead-gold project in Argentina's Chubut province, and insisted that there is still interest in developing the project, daily Tiempo de San Juan reported.

* Lundin Gold Inc. will start construction of its Fruta del Norte gold project in Ecuador in July, the company's vice president of business sustainability, Nathan Monash, said. The average annual production at the mine's full capacity would total 340,000 ounces of gold, daily El Universo reported.

* Centerra Gold Inc. hedged about 51% of its expected 2017 copper production from its Mount Milligan mine in northern British Columbia. The company also entered into zero-cost collars for 8.3 million pounds of copper with settlements dates during the February to December period at a minimum price of US$2.25 per pound and a maximum price of US$3.21 per pound of copper.

* Victoria Gold Corp. is looking to arrange up to US$220 million of senior secured project debt to fund its Eagle gold project in Canada's Yukon Territory through construction and into production.

* Peru's environmental regulator, OEFA, fined Aruntani SAC and its Arasi gold project, in the Puno region, more than 1 million Peruvian soles over environmental infractions recorded between 2010 and 2016 that affected the mine's area of influence in the Pucara basin, news radio RPP reported.

* South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers said AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. agreed to hold back on its planned job cuts in favor of redeploying most of the affected employees to other operations, while the rest will be reskilled, Reuters reported.

* An arbitration tribunal dismissed a claim against Avesoro Resources Inc. regarding the termination of International Construction & Engineering's civil and earthworks contract for the New Liberty gold mine in Liberia.

* Eastern Platinum Ltd. is seeking to have a notice of civil claim, filed against it by Hebei Zhongheng Tianda Platinum Co. Ltd., dismissed with costs. The Chinese group filed a claim against Eastplats in the British Columbia Supreme Court in December 2016 over an alleged repudiation and breach of a share purchase agreement.

* An initial National Instruments 43-101-compliant resource estimate for Aton Resources Inc.'s Hamama West deposit, part of the company's Abu Marawat gold-silver concession in Egypt, estimated indicated resources containing 88,000 ounces of gold and 3.4 million ounces of silver within 3.8 million tonnes grading 0.72 g/t of gold and 27.6 g/t of silver.

BULK COMMODITIES

* POSCO swung to a net profit of 1.048 trillion South Korean won for the full year 2016, compared to the year-ago loss of 96 billion won. Revenue for the company dropped to 53.084 trillion won in the year from 58.192 trillion won in 2015, however, gross profit increased to 6.689 trillion won, from 6.534 trillion won.

* Alcoa Corp. has upped its "return-seeking capital" to US$150 million from US$100 million to support its goal of growing its bauxite business.

* Meanwhile, Alcoa is waiting for a clearer picture on U.S. President Donald Trump's planned tax reform before deciding whether or not a restart of its idled aluminum smelters could be a possibility.

* Separately, Alcoa has improved its bottom line since being split into two companies, reducing its net loss to US$125 million, or 68 cents per share, in the final quarter of 2016 from US$826 million, or US$4.52 per share, a year earlier.

* Wuhan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. expected to swing to a net profit attributable to shareholders of about 406 million Chinese yuan in 2016, from a net loss of 7.51 billion yuan, or 74.4 fen per share, posted a year earlier.

* AK Steel Holding Corp. posted a net loss of US$62.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, narrowing from a net loss of US$145.4 million a year earlier. The company returned to positive EBITDA of US$44.6 million, from negative EBITDA of US$13.8 million recorded in the year-ago period.

* Russian fertilizer producer PJSC Acron's total commercial output for mineral fertilizers in 2016 jumped 19.8% year over year to about 5.3 million tonnes. Total commercial output for industrial products, however, dropped 8.3% year over year to 869,000 tonnes.

* Chongqing Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. expects to book a net loss attributable to shareholders of the company for full-year 2016.

* On the back of higher prices, Atlas Iron Ltd. realized a 10.8% year-over-year increase in iron ore shipments during the fourth quarter of 2016, Metal Bulletin reported. The company shipped 4 million wet tonnes during the period, compared to 3.61 million wmt recorded a year ago.

* Chinese state-owned steel mills have largely rejected Rio Tinto's plan to charge an extra premium of up to US$2 per tonne for its highest-grade iron ore, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Brazil's flat steel sales declined 4% year over year to 3.04 million tonnes in 2016, Metal Bulletin reported.

* Thailand's Ministry of Commerce decided to impose import duties on H-beam steel products of 31.43% in 2017 and 31.05% in 2018, in an effort to safeguard domestic steel product manufacturers after imports increased sharply, Thailand's Daily News reported.

SPECIALTY

* Anglo American Plc's diamonds division, De Beers SA, sold US$720 million worth of rough diamonds in the first sales cycle of 2017. The diamond producer recorded actual rough diamonds sales of US$422 million in the 10th and final sales cycle of 2016.

* Lynas Corp. Ltd.'s production of total rare earth oxides rose to 3,913 tonnes in the second quarter of its fiscal 2017, compared to 3,166 tonnes a year earlier. The company also achieved record sales during the period, with A$65 million in invoiced sales, compared to A$49.5 million in the corresponding year-ago quarter.

* Great Lakes Graphite Inc. received an order for 20 tonnes of synthetic graphite from a Middle East-based customer.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* U.S. President Donald Trump's team released a priority Emergency & National Security Projects list of 50 initial infrastructure developments in the pipeline, with an investment cost of US$137.5 billion, according to a report by The Kansas City Star. Trump's team has proposed that public-private partnerships, on a 50/50 basis, will provide funding for the planned projects.

* Fourteen mining projects had their environmental impact assessment reports approved by the Peruvian authorities. The projects account for US$16.08 billion, one-third of the total investment portfolio estimated in the country, according to the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Approved mining projects include Ollachea, Quellaveco, Conga, Crespo, Shauindo, Shouxin and Tambomayo, news radio RPP reported.

* A former minister of mines in Guinea, Mahmoud Thiam, pleaded not guilty to U.S. charges that he laundered US$8.5 million in bribes from a Chinese conglomerate to help the latter secure mining rights in the West African country, Reuters reported.

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.