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Chinese banks step up financial support for state coal, steel firms


Chinese banks step up financial support for state coal, steel firms

China Construction Bank Corp. signed a framework agreement for 30 billion Chinese yuan worth of debt-for-equity swaps with state-controlled coal and steel companies in the eastern Anhui province, Reuters wrote, citing Xinhua News Agency. The bank signed deals with Huainan Mining Industry (Group) Co. Ltd., Huaibei Mining Group and Magang (Group) Holding, the parent of Maanshan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd., among others. Earlier this week, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China also signed three debt-for-equity swaps with coal and steel producers in Shanxi province, with those deals also valued at 30 billion yuan.

US Steel to restart production at Keetac plant in March 2017

U.S. Steel Corp. said it will restart the Keetac plant in Minnesota which has been idled since May 2015. Employee callbacks at Keetac will start in early January 2017, while the production is anticipated to begin in March next year. The move comes as the company seeks to adjust its pellet production after inking agreements to supply iron ore pellets to third-party customers.

Fortescue to develop Eliwana iron ore deposits

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. appears to have decided to develop its Eliwana iron ore deposits in Western Australia, The West Australian reported. The project, with estimated capital costs between US$1 billion and US$1.5 billion, will replace the company's 27 million-tonne-per-year Firetail iron ore mine.


* PT Antam (Persero) Tbk expects full-year 2016 production of ferronickel and gold, its two main commodities, to exceed the company's targets. Ferronickel production reached 20,080 tonnes of nickel contained in ferronickel, as of the beginning of the last week of December, compared to the full-year 2016 target of 18,500 tonnes of nickel contained in ferronickel.

* Xanadu Mines Ltd.'s Ulaanbaatar-based managing director, Andrew Stewart, told The Australian that the company hosted five visits in the past two months from cashed-up mid-tier Australian gold producers among the host of mining firms, that were interested in learning about its early-stage copper and gold projects. The renewed interest is attributable to a shortage of new discoveries, improving appetite for acquisitions and recent policy stability in Mongolia, the report added.


* North Mining Shares Co. Ltd. plans to purchase an aggregate of 65% of the entire issued share capital of Wealth Pioneer Group Ltd., which holds a 60% equity interest in the potassium feldspar mine in Shangluo city in China's Shaanxi Province, for a total of HK$900 million, payable with a combination of cash and the issuance of promissory notes.

* Serbian state-owned miner RTB Bor, owner of the Bor Basin copper mine, is looking for a new management team to prepare the mine and smelter for privatization and repay up to US$1.05 billion of debt, Reuters reported. The country entered a €1.2 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund in 2015, which requires it to dispose of its remaining and mainly loss-making state enterprises.

* Queensland Mining Corp. Ltd. agreed with Chinova Resources Cloncurry Mines Pty. Ltd. to extend exclusive rights to explore six sub-blocks at the Young Australian prospect, part of the White Range copper-cobalt project in Queensland, Australia, until June 2020.

* Analysts see an extremely tough 2017 for Chinese zinc smelters due to depressed concentrate supply and lower demand growth for the metal, Metal Bulletin reported. Meanwhile, the competition for business amid higher smelting capacity is weighing on treatment charges, impacting profitability at the smelters.


* Centerra Gold Inc. received all the necessary permits and approvals for its 2017 mine plan for the Kumtor gold project in Kyrgyzstan.

* Hummingbird Resources Plc appointed Ausdrill Ltd. subsidiary African Mining Services as mining contractor for its Yanfolila gold project in Mali. Construction at the mine is underway, and the first gold pour is expected to occur in 2017.

* OceanaGold Corp. started milling operations at its Haile gold mine in South Carolina. The company expects to produce 150,000 ounces to 170,000 ounces of gold at Haile in 2017 at all-in sustaining costs of between US$500 per ounce and US$550 per ounce.

* A court in Perth, Australia, imposed a A$65,000 fine on the contractor for the ball mill at Newmont Mining Corp.'s Boddington gold mine in Western Australia over an incident that left a worker severely injured in July 2012, the Australian Associated Press reported.

* The Shanghai Gold Exchange plans to lower the offer limit to 500 kilograms from 1,000 kilograms on some spot gold contracts starting next year, Reuters reported.

* Aquila Resources Inc. secured two final permits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for its Back Forty gold-zinc project. The company will now focus on completing its feasibility study, finalizing two remaining permits, and raising the capital to fund the project through to commercial production.


* Russia's OJSC Novolipetsk Steel will reduce its pig iron export volumes from January 2017 due to its own increasing need for raw materials, Metal Bulletin reported, citing a company spokesperson.

* The Urban and Rural Overall Development Co. has agreed to exempt Chongqing Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. from its debt of 450 million Chinese yuan. The company was also granted a special fund of 21.1 million Chinese yuan by the Finance Bureau of the Management Committee of the Changshou Economic and Technological Development Zone for industrial development.

* Egypt's Ministry of Industry and Trade initiated an anti-dumping probe into imports of rebar and wire rod from Ukraine, Turkey and China last week on the request of Egyptian steel producers Ezz Steel and Suez Steel, Metal Bulletin wrote.

* Bahrain steelmaker Universal Rolling will resume rebar production in January 2017 after a production halt of about two years, Metal Bulletin reported.

* Despite claims by the Indian government regarding the rise in demand for the fossil fuel, the supply of coal to the power sector by state-owned Coal India Ltd. dropped 6% to 33.7 million tonnes in November, The Hindu reported.


* Peru's energy and mining ministry said the country registered 29 mine-related fatalities in 2016, unchanged from 2015 and the lowest in at least 16 years, Business News Americas reported.

* With less than three months until the Western Australian election, it is still unclear what the two major political parties would do to bolster the state's resources sector. While the Liberal Party appears to have no clear mandate, the Labor Party has outlined its plan to introduce the Skilled Local Jobs Bill to support the growth of jobs in industries complementary to the resource sector.

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