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BHP to decide on Jansen in early 2021; Alcoa plans up to US$1B in asset sales


BHP to take decision on Jansen in early 2021; Q1'20 copper output climbs YOY

BHP Group said it will take a final investment decision on its Jansen stage one potash project by February 2021, after the board approved a total US$345 million in funding for planning and derisking the project. The company's copper production in the first quarter of fiscal 2020 climbed 5% year over year to 429,500 tonnes, while iron ore output slid 1% to 61.0 million tonnes. Production of metallurgical coal was down 10% to 9.4 Mt and energy coal output declined 15% to 5.6 Mt. Nickel output improved 1% to 21,600 tonnes.

Alcoa kicks off broad asset review as Q3'19 net loss worsens YOY

Alcoa Corp. reported a third quarter net loss of US$221 million, or US$1.19 per share, from a year-ago loss of US$6 million, or 3 cents per share. Citing market conditions, the company said it would look to divest US$500 million to US$1 billion in noncore assets over the next 12 to 18 months. Alcoa will also review 1.5 million tonnes of smelting capacity and 4 million tonnes of aluminum refining capacity over the next five years in a process that could lead to curtailments, closures and divestitures.

Peruvian armed forces, police to unblock access to MMG's Las Bambas copper mine

The Peruvian government authorized the intervention of the armed forces and police to unblock access to MMG Ltd.'s Las Bambas copper mine, after the company said that it may have to cease production at the site due to the ongoing protest, Reuters reported. The report cited the decree published in the country's official newspaper El Peruano, declaring a state of emergency for 30 days in an Andean area where residents have been blocking a road for almost four weeks used by the mining company to transport concentrates.


* South32 Ltd.'s metallurgical coal production in its first fiscal quarter climbed 9% to 1.65 million tonnes, and energy coal output increased 2% to 6.72 Mt. Manganese ore production decreased 2% to 1.42 million wet tonnes, while manganese alloy output dropped 15% to 44,000 tonnes. Payable silver production slid 7% to 2.97 million ounces, while alumina climbed 13% to 1.31 Mt on the back of record production at Brazil Alumina.


* Atalaya Mining PLC reduced its copper output guidance to 44,000 to 45,000 tonnes, from 45,000 to 46,500 tonnes previously, due to delays in securing electric supply for its 15 million-tonne-per-annum expansion at the Proyecto de Rio Tinto project in Spain. The company produced 10,568 tonnes of copper in the third quarter, down from 11,055 tonnes a year ago.

* Horizonte Minerals PLC's pre-feasibility study for its Vermelho nickel-cobalt project in Brazil outlined a post-tax net present value, discounted at 8%, of US$1.72 billion, a 26.3% internal rate of return, and a 4.2-year payback period, assuming a base case nickel price of US$16,400 per tonne.

* Northern Cobalt Ltd. executed a binding term sheet with Millrock Resources Inc. to earn up to an 80% interest in the brownfields Goodpaster project in Alaska, located close to Millrock's West Pogo gold project.

* Pure Minerals Ltd. subsidiary Queensland Pacific Metals Pty. Ltd. extended a nickel-cobalt ore supply agreement for the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub in Australia to 10 years from five years, with an option to renew for another five years.

* Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead Co. is looking into building a lead-acid battery production line to meet demand from China's automotive sector.

* Carnavale Resources Ltd. withdrew from an option to acquire 70% of the African Panther Resources (U) Ltd.'s early-stage Kikagati tin project in Uganda.

* Karmin Exploration Inc.'s shareholders approved the acquisition of the company by Nexa Resources SA unit Votorantim Metals Canada Inc. for about 77 U.S. cents per share.

* Justice Debra Mullins said that she is yet to be convinced of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd.'s argument that it was not insolvent on Jan. 13, 2016, when it made a A$135 million security arrangement with Aurizon Holdings Ltd., the Australian Financial Review reported. The claim was made in Clive Palmer's bid to avoid paying a further A$100 million over the collapse of the company in 2016.

* The Supreme Court of British Columbia approved Cobalt 27 Capital Corp.'s acquisition by Pala Investments Ltd.


* Zhaojin Mining Industry Co. Ltd. posted a consolidated net profit of 316.9 million Chinese yuan attributable to shareholders under Chinese accounting standards for the first nine months of 2019, falling from 355.6 million yuan in the same period of 2018. Revenue increased to 4.63 billion yuan from 4.56 billion yuan, while the cost of sales rose to 2.83 billion yuan from 2.79 billion yuan.

* Eldorado Gold Corp. produced 101,596 ounces of gold in the third quarter, up from 84,783 ounces produced a year ago, as output from its Lamaque mine in Quebec more than doubled year over year.

* First Mining Gold Corp.'s updated preliminary economic assessment for its Springpole gold-silver project in Ontario outlined a posttax net present value of US$841 million, discounted at 5%, a 22% internal rate of return and a 3.4-year payback period from production.

* Roxgold Inc. produced a total of 33,036 ounces of gold in the third quarter, higher than the 30,532 ounces of gold produced in the same quarter of the previous year.

* Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd. subsidiary Royal Bafokeng Resources Pty. Ltd. will receive US$145 million as part of a streaming agreement for gold production from its mines, excluding Styldrift II and the Impala royalty areas. The company will supply 70% of its gold output to Triple Flag Mining Finance Bermuda Ltd. up to 261,000 ounces and deliver 42% of its payable gold production thereafter.

* Aura Energy Ltd. is looking into a separate IPO of its gold assets and is engaging several companies regarding listed shells to utilize for the assets.


* Heavily indebted Russian potash producer PJSC Uralkali placed US$500 million of five-year eurobonds at 4%, VTB Capital, a joint book runner of the sale, confirmed to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Uralkali declined to comment on the placement, but demand for the notes reached over US$1 billion, according to VTB. As a result, the initial yield guidance of 4.375% was lowered to between 4.125% and 4.25%, and subsequently to 4.0% to 4.125%.

* KONE Oyj is in discussions with CVC Capital Partners Ltd. while Blackstone Group Inc. has partnered with Carlyle Group LP for a planned joint bid for thyssenkrupp AG's elevator unit, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. CVC is also discussing whether it could bid independently in addition to pursuing a joint offer with Kone.

* Steel Dynamics Inc.'s attributable net income in the third quarter slid to US$151.0 million, or 69 cents per share, from US$398.4 million, or US$1.69 per share, a year ago. Net sales declined to US$2.53 billion, from US$3.22 billion recorded a year earlier due to "a challenging steel pricing environment."

* Altos Hornos de México SAB de CV's steel production is down 25% year over year to about 3 million tonnes per year, mainly due to lack of funding from foreign banks, which is "suffocating" the company's operations, daily El Financiero reported, citing interim CEO James Pignatelli.

* China Hongqiao Group Ltd. will build an environmentally friendly aluminum facility in Yunnan province that will use hydropower, Reuters reported, citing a statement from affiliate firm Shandong Weiqiao Pioneering Group Co. Ltd. The statement did not give details on the project's planned capacity, however, a website managed by the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association wrote that Hongqiao will construct a 2 million-tonne-per-year integrated aluminum smelting and hydropower project in the province's Wenshan prefecture by the end of the year, the report said.

* Metalsearch Ltd. wholly acquired Abercorn Kaolin Pty. Ltd., which owns the 128-square-kilometer Abercorn high purity alumina project in Queensland, Australia. The company is planning a 2,000-meter reverse circulation drilling program on the project to define a maiden inferred mineral resource and the potential scale of kaolin containing high grade aluminium oxide.

* Coal mined from the Powder River Basin, the most productive coal-producing area in the U.S., is expected to decline significantly in 2020 and could pressure companies to close "at least a few [Powder River Basin] mines" in the early 2020s, Moody's wrote.

* Stanmore Coal Ltd.'s run-of-mine coal production in the September quarter jumped 41% to 704,000 tonnes, while salable coal production surged 84% to 619,000 tonnes, on a yearly basis. Total coal sales reached a record 722,000 tonnes, for 127% growth year over year.

* Separately, Winfield Group Investments Pty. Ltd. terminated the proposed acquisition of a 50.1% interest in Stanmore Coal, saying it was unable to engage with the latter's key shareholders.

* China's demand for steel is poised to grow by only 1% to 909 million tons in 2020, sharply lower than the 7.8% growth forecast for 2019, as domestic industries wrestle with the repercussions from the country's trade war with the U.S., Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing data from the World Steel Association.

* Aguia Resources Ltd. was granted the preliminary license for the development of the Tres Estradas phosphate project in Brazil, following the approval of its environmental impact assessment by the Rio Grande do Sul State Environmental Agency.


* U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry expects the Nuclear Fuel Working Group, a Cabinet-level group set up by President Donald Trump in July, to make recommendations that will strengthen the domestic uranium mining industry, Reuters reported. "I think the challenge has always been to keep a uranium mining industry that was viable in U.S. and dealing with a global market place," Perry said.

* Oak Tree Capital Management LP and Ormonde Mining PLC's jointly owned Saloro SLU, operator of the Barruecopardo tungsten mine in Spain, entered a €10 million, 12-month term loan facility, which will be provided by funds managed by Oaktree. The loan provides Saloro with additional liquidity as it advances mining operations on the main orebody at Barruecopardo.

* Zenith Minerals Ltd. secured the Laramie rare earths project through leasing and staking in Wyoming. The company's surface rock sampling returned widespread total rare earth oxide grades up to 0.54% in two initial sampling areas.

* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. sold a run of mine parcel of 1,736 carats of diamonds from the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola, in which its partners are ENDIAMA EP and Rosas & Petalas SA, for US$2.6 million.


* The number of tailings dams suspended in Brazil fell to 38 on Oct. 17, according to the country's mining regulator ANM. Of the 54 structures that the agency rejected last week due to lack of stability, 16 delivered their declaration of stability condition and resumed operations, daily Valor Econômico reported.

* Members of the Chilean Senate's Mining and Energy Commission postponed a highly expected discussion of a new glacier law, which was scheduled for Oct. 16, arguing that the ruling party and the opposition are striving to reach an understanding concerning extractive activities in permafrost and periglacial environments surrounding glaciers, daily Emol reported.

* Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter is set to reintroduce legislation designed to fix a hole in native title laws caused by the Federal Court's surprise decision to overturn an indigenous land use agreement signed between the Western Australian government and Noongar people, which has put more than 300 mining leases at risk, The Australian reported.

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