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BHP hikes dividend as US tax reforms push fiscal H1'18 profit down 37% YOY

TOP NEWS

BHP hikes dividend as US tax reforms push fiscal H1'18 net profit down 37% YOY

BHP Billiton Group hiked its interim dividend to 55 U.S. cents per share, compared to 40 cents per share a year ago, despite a 37% drop in net profit. The company posted a profit of US$2.02 billion for the six months ended Dec. 31, 2017, down from US$3.20 billion recorded a year ago. The results included after-tax exceptional losses totaling US$2.04 billion, including US$1.83 billion from U.S. tax reforms and US$210 million related to the tailings dam failure in November 2015 at the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil.

Rusal, En+ Group deny reports of management shuffle

United Co. Rusal Plc and En+ Group plc denied recent media speculation that Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska will step down as the companies' president, saying no such executive changes have been made or discussed yet. According to the Russian industrial giants, possible executive changes will be considered in board meetings scheduled for Feb. 22.

Novolipetsk Steel Q4'17 net income improves 39% YOY to US$428M

PJSC Novolipetsk Steel's net income in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 39% year over year to US$428 million from US$308 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, as revenue for the quarter grew 43% on a yearly basis to US$2.82 billion. For full year 2017, the group's net income rose 55% to US$1.45 billion, from US$935 million in 2016, with revenue rising 32% to US$10.07 billion.

DIVERSIFIED

* BHP Billiton Group CEO Andrew Mackenzie said he is meeting with Elliott Management Corp. this week to discuss the activist shareholder's demand for BHP's business overhaul, Bloomberg News reported.

* S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research group found that the number and nominal value of initial resources were both down in 2017 after an uptick in 2016. The number of initial resources reported at new projects and at new deposits within existing projects announced by junior and intermediate companies slipped to 53, from 55 in 2016. The nominal value of all metals contained in new resources fell nearly 57% to just US$46 billion, from US$106 billion in 2016.

BASE METALS

* The Peruvian government is set to launch the auction for the Michiquillay copper project Feb. 20, after delaying it twice in 2017, Reuters reported. The government estimates Michiquillay will need about US$2 billion of investment to develop the project's 1.16 billion tonnes of copper resources.

* Sandfire Resources NL posted record sales revenues of A$296.2 million in the six months ending Dec. 31, 2017, driven by higher copper prices and reduced operating costs. The company's net profit surged to A$59.5 million, from A$35.9 million a year earlier.

* Copper Mountain Mining Corp.'s attributable earnings in the fourth quarter of 2017 jumped to C$16.5 million from C$2.1 million a year ago, pushing full-year earnings to about C$48.0 million, from C$7.7 million in 2016.

* Highlands Pacific Ltd. estimated a maiden resource for the Olgal deposit at its Star Mountains copper-gold project in Papua New Guinea of 210 million tonnes at 0.4% copper and 0.4 g/t of gold for 840,000 tonnes of contained copper and 2.9 million ounces of contained gold using a 0.3% copper cutoff.

* The recent price rally seen across base metals has been fueled by the depreciating U.S. dollar and exacerbated by fears over U.S. inflation and the recent stock market rout. Fundamentals have largely taken a back seat in proceedings, including in the zinc market, according to the Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Vedanta Resources Plc may fast-track the expansion of its zinc projects in Africa to take advantage of the commodity's rally to its highest price since 2007, Reuters reported, citing the company's Zinc International unit CEO, Deshnee Naidoo.

* Small-scale cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which accounts for about a quarter of the country's production of the commodity, has been found to lack safety measures and allegedly employ child laborers, Bloomberg News reported.

PRECIOUS METALS

* AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.'s loss attributable to shareholders for the fourth quarter of 2017 widened to US$73 million from a loss of US$7 million in the year-ago quarter. The company sold about 1 million ounces of gold at an average price of US$1,276 per ounce in the quarter, compared to 945,000 ounces at US$1,216 per ounce a year ago, and declared a full-year dividend of about 6 U.S. cents per share. AngloGold also outlined a framework agreement with the government of Ghana for redeveloping the Obuasi gold mine into a modern operation. The first stage of the project is expected to take 18 months to complete, and first gold pour is anticipated in the third quarter of 2019.

* Newmont Mining Corp. raised its dividend for the fourth quarter of 2017 by almost three times compared to the year-ago period to 14 U.S. cents per share, payable March 22 to shareholders on record as of March 8.

* Independence Group NL's net profit attributable to shareholders in the first half of fiscal 2018 dropped 84% year on year to A$3.2 million amid a depreciation and amortization expense of A$122.9 million as well as an increase in mining, development and processing costs.

* Aurelia Metals Ltd. reported a 321% rise in profit on a yearly basis for the last six months of 2017 to A$18.3 million thanks to higher sales revenue and increased production during the period.

* Northern Star Resources Ltd.'s net profit after tax slid 7% year over year to A$79.1 million in the first half of fiscal 2018, attributed to reduced activity at its Paulsens gold mine in Western Australia. Revenue from continuing operations rose 14% to A$435.3 million in the first half, with gold sales in the period totaling 267,278 ounces at an average price of A$1,678/oz with all-in sustaining costs at A$1,043/oz. Meanwhile, the company lifted its interim dividend 50% to 4.5 cents per share fully franked.

* Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. expects to book a headline loss per share of between 17 South African cents and 26 cents for the first half of its fiscal 2018, representing a year-over-year improvement of between 76% and 63%, compared with the headline loss of 71 cents per share in the year-ago period.

* Regis Resources Ltd. produced a record 184,034 ounces of gold at the company's Duketon gold project in Western Australia in the first half of its fiscal 2018, up from 154,702 ounces produced in the year-ago period. The company's revenue climbed 18% year over year to A$299.0 million in the half, leading to a record net profit after tax of A$84.6 million, representing a 39% year-over-year increase.

* Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd.'s gold production rose 24% year over year to a record 157,795 ounces in the first half of its fiscal 2018. The company's net profit after tax soared 209% to A$46.0 million, from A$14.9 million in the first half of its fiscal 2017.

* Saturn Metals Ltd.'s A$7 million IPO closed earlier than its expected Feb. 23 closing date and was heavily oversubscribed.

* Gladiator Resources Ltd. signed a binding heads of agreement with Thunderbird Metals Pty. Ltd. for the latter to reassign its right to acquire up to a 70% interest in the North Arunta gold joint venture with ABM Resources NL in Australia's Northern Territory.

* South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers claimed another worker was killed at Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s Driefontein gold mine, part of the Kloof project, due to electrocution, African News Agency reported. The project was recently suspended pending an investigation after three workers were killed in two separate incidents. The company has not yet confirmed the latest incident.

* Hardey Resources Ltd. estimated a maiden inferred mineral resource for its Grace project in Western Australia of about 1.6 million tonnes at 1.35 g/t of gold for 69,000 contained ounces.

BULK COMMODITIES

* India's cabinet approved the plan to allow private companies to participate in bidding for coal mines for commercial production, Reuters reported, citing Coal Minister Piyush Goyal, who said the move will ensure "affordable and reliable" local coal supply. The move is seen ending state-owned Coal India Ltd.'s near monopoly on mining and selling coal in the country.

* Mosaic Co. swung to a net loss of US$431.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 despite recording higher sales and operating earnings on a yearly basis. The result included a US$458 million noncash charge associated with changes in U.S. tax legislation. For the full year, Mosaic swung to a net loss of US$107.2 million from a profit of US$297.8 million in 2016.

* Russian businessman Mikhail Prokhorov agreed to off-load a 6% stake in United Co. Rusal Plc to a consortium led by billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, Reuters reported. The sale will see Vekselberg and his partners boost their stake in the Russian aluminum giant to 26.5%.

* Worthington Industries Inc. extended the existing US$500 million revolving credit facility until Feb. 16, 2023. The five-year facility was set to mature April 23, 2020.

* The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa said a possible tariff on steel imports by the U.S. government could affect South African markets and may result in weaker domestic production, Reuters reported.

* Adding to concerns over U.S. metals tariffs, a German economy ministry representative said the European Union will respond "appropriately" if the charge also applies to European steel imports, Reuters reported.

* Canada is hopeful that it will be exempt from the recommendation of the U.S. Department of Commerce for tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, Bloomberg News reported, citing Aluminum Association of Canada President Jean Simard.

* Tata Steel Ltd. reportedly submitted the highest bid for insolvent Indian companies Bhushan Steel Ltd. and Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd., Metal Bulletin reported.

* Evraz Plc signed a five-year contract with Russian Railways to supply 3.2 million tonnes of rail products worth 111.7 billion Russian rubles.

* Colombia's coal production fell 1.2% in 2017 to 89.4 million tonnes from 90.5 million tonnes in 2016, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the country's Energy and Mining Ministry.

SPECIALTY

* Toyota Motor Corp. said it developed a new magnet that would reduce the amount of a key rare earth metal used in magnets for electric car motors by about 20%, Reuters reported. The company developed a magnet that uses lanthanum and cerium, which are more readily available and cheaper than neodymium.

* Lithium Power International Ltd. intends to complete its 50% earn-in on the Maricunga lithium brine project in northern Chile up to six months ahead of the agreed joint venture schedule, following a successful preliminary economic assessment in December 2017.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The Republic of the Congo will start debt relief talks with creditors including Glencore Plc and Trafigura Beheer BV for restructuring over US$2 billion in debt and appointed Lazard as an adviser in upcoming talks with the companies, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

* A high court in South Africa ordered the South African government and the Chamber of Mines to involve communities in mining areas in ongoing talks about the country's mining charter, Mining Weekly reported.

* The value of mineral commodities produced from the Philippines rose by about 6% to 108.6 billion Philippine pesos in 2017, driven by higher prices for nickel, copper and gold, despite a slight fall in production volume, Manila Bulletin reported.

* According to an EY report, global mining and metals deal value in 2017 rose 15% year over year to US$51 billion, but the volume of transactions fell 6%. In 2018, EY expects deals to be supported by investment-led strategies, while some activity will be aimed at building portfolios for future growth.

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