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Miners expect more ESG issues in 2020; Norsk Hydro cuts Alunorte production


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Miners expect more ESG issues in 2020; Norsk Hydro cuts Alunorte production


Top mining companies expect more consolidation, ESG issues in 2020

Mining companies including Barrick Gold Corp., Freeport-McMoRan Inc. and Newmont Goldcorp Corp. are expecting a big focus on environmental, social and governance issues, as well as on more consolidation, in 2020, according to their executives' interviews with Bloomberg. The report said the gold mining sector has seen over US$33 billion worth of deals signed in 2019. Bloomberg added that trade concerns created headwinds for base-metals miners.

Norsk Hydro temporarily cuts Alunorte production up to 50%

Norsk Hydro ASA said that production at its Alunorte refinery will be temporarily reduced to between 50% and 70% of capacity to prolong the lifetime of the bauxite inventories. The reduction came after the ceasing of power supply to the company's Paragominas bauxite mine in Brazil, which led to temporarily stopping production at the mine. The company said regular power supply is expected to resume within five to 10 days, noting that financial impact is estimated to be limited.

Thailand extends anti-dumping duties for additional 5 years

Thailand's government extended the anti-dumping duty on cold-reduced coiled and uncoiled carbon steel from China, Vietnam and Taiwan for the next five years to limit supply from the three countries, the Bangkok Post reported. Since 2014, Thailand has imposed anti-dumping tariffs of between 4.22% and 20.11% of cost, insurance and freight prices. The penalty period expired in February 2019 but was extended for an additional year. The latest extension will become effective after the February 2020 expiration date.


* Copper looks set to shine through the first half of 2020 as global trade tensions ease on the back of a tentative phase-one deal between the U.S. and China and manufacturing demand shows modest signs of improvement, some analysts say.

* Peruvian miner Cia. de Minas Buenaventura SAA will pay C$16 million to acquire a 19.3% stake in Canadian explorer Tinka Resources Ltd.


*Palladium revenue is expected to increase to 41% of total revenue from primary platinum group metals, according to the S&P Global Market Intelligence Metals and Mining Research team. The combination of higher coproduct revenues from palladium and rhodium price rises and currency depreciation in South Africa and Russia has reduced platinum all-in sustaining costs to US$678 per ounce in 2019. With PGM price rises expected to continue into 2020, we expect costs to fall further in 2020.

* In response to Centamin PLC's statement, Endeavour Mining Corp. said the nature of Centamin's interactions continues to suggest that it is unwilling to meaningfully explore the potential benefits of a merger. Endeavour said it continues to believe in the merits of combining the companies, urging Centamin to ask the Takeover Panel for an extension to the "put up or shut up" date to Jan. 31, 2020, to give time to complete necessary reciprocal due diligence.

* AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. achieved its first gold pour at the Obuasi gold mine in Ghana on time and on budget after the operation was halted five years ago. Annual gold production is expected to be 350,000 to 400,000 ounces for the first 10 years and above 400,000 ounces over the mine life at all-in sustaining costs of about US$800 per ounce.

* Resolute Mining Ltd.'s sulfide roaster at the Syama gold mine in Mali has been successfully brought back online and is operating at nameplate capacity.

* New Pacific Metals Corp. expanded its Silver Sand land package in Bolivia by acquiring a 100% stake in a special temporary authorization to the north of the project, by paying a one-time amount of US$200,000 to arm's length private owners. The newly acquired authorization currently consists of 6 hectares but will total approximately 0.50 square kilometers once consolidated to concessions called Cuadriculas and converted to mining administrative contract with the country's Autoridad Jurisdiccional Administrativa Minera.

* At least six people died and dozens were trapped after a gold mine collapsed in Nigeria's Plateau state, Anodalu Agency reported, citing the country's local media News Agency of Nigeria.

* Americas Gold and Silver Corp. said that its Relief Canyon gold project in Nevada has advanced to its final stage of construction with initial ore placement on the leach pads achieved. The company expects the first gold pour in the first half of January 2020 and commercial production in the late first quarter or early second quarter of 2020.

* Azumah Resources Ltd. received all of the environmental permits from the Ghanaian environmental protection agency, allowing the company to start construction and operation of its Wa-Lawra gold project.

* Genesis Minerals Ltd.'s contained resource at its wholly owned Ulysses gold deposit in Western Australia increased 14% from the October 2018 estimate to 867,000 ounces. The resource is hosted in 8.5 million tonnes of ore grading 3.2 g/t gold.

* Kalia Ltd. was ordered to stop operations at its Mount Tore gold tenements on Papua New Guinea's Bougainville Island following the death of local geologist Terry Kilya on the property Dec. 12. The notice from the Department of Mineral and Energy Resources asked the company to repatriate Kilya's body to his family, assist police in catching the perpetrators, and engage with the landowners and resolve all outstanding social issues including the land access fee payments.

* Kin Mining NL entered into a sale and purchase deal with Golden Mile Resources Ltd. to acquire 100% of two tenements that are contiguous with Kin's existing Cardinia gold project tenure in Western Australia for A$30,000. Kin also entered into an earn-in agreement with privately-owned Yilgarn Exploration Ventures PL for an exploration tenure at Desdemona North, 40 kilometers south west from Cardinia.


* Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. agreed to pay 1.29 billion Chinese yuan to acquire a 10% stake in Yunnan Aluminum Co. Ltd. through the subscription of 314,050,688 A shares of Yunnan Aluminum at 4.10 yuan apiece. The company said the deal would allow it to resolve competition issues with Yunnan Aluminum.

* Japan's crude steel production in the year starting April 2020 is expected to remain flat year over year, Reuters reported, citing the Japan Iron and Steel Federation. Domestic steel demand for construction and manufacturing is projected to fall, while export demand is seen to rise, the report said.

* Danakali Ltd. said that Colluli Mining Share Co. issued a notice to proceed to DRA Global, to begin its engineering, procurement and construction management services for the Colluli sulfate of potash project in Eritrea.

* Mayur Resources Ltd.'s plan to build a pilot plant at its Orokolo Bay industrial sands project in Papua New Guinea in 2020 remains on track, following the purchase of key plant equipment and mobile machinery.


* Clean TeQ Holdings Ltd. entered into a binding off-take agreement to supply up to 5 tonnes per annum of scandium oxide from its Sunrise project in New South Wales, Australia, to a unit of Japan's Panasonic Corp. for up to 10 years as part of an agreement to jointly develop applications for scandium-aluminum alloys for the Japanese group.

* China Minmetals Corp. established a new subsidiary to mark its entry into graphite, Reuters reported, citing the company's statement on its official Wechat account. China Minmetals Group (Heilongjiang) Graphite Industry Co. will advance the Yunshan graphite mine in Heilongjiang province, the report said.

* Lepidico Ltd.'s nonbinding letter of intent with BASF SE, wherein the latter will purchase lithium hydroxide sourced from the Karibib lithium project in Namibia, has been novated and extended to Dec. 31, 2020.

* U.K.-headquartered Gemfields Group Ltd. said the Zambian government will suspend the 15% export duty on precious gemstones, excluding diamonds, starting Jan. 1, 2020.

* Gibb River Diamonds Ltd. accepted an offer from the Western Australian government to apply for new tenements at the historical Ellendale diamond mine, which closed in 2015. India Bore Diamond was also invited to apply for other tenements at the site.

* Malawi’s Minister for Natural Resources, Energy and Mining gave Paladin Energy Ltd. statutory consent to divest its 85% stake in the Kayelekera uranium project to Lotus Resources Ltd.

* Galan Lithium Ltd. contracted Ad-Infinitum SPA to start the development of preliminary studies into the processing options for the Candelas lithium project in Argentina.


* Tariffs and trade tensions remain significant concerns for large businesses across the U.S., with about 43% of Fortune 500 companies mentioning these issues during earnings calls in the last few months, a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce showed. Nearly half of earnings calls from the manufacturing and industrial sectors discussed both tariff and trade tension impacts. The study also noted that 40% of construction contractors said their businesses would be affected by steel and aluminum tariffs, while 32% were concerned about the effect of new material and equipment tariffs on their operations.

* China will ban tailings dams in downstream areas with a high population or with nearby production and living facilities as the country tightens its rules to avoid a disaster similar to Vale SA's dam breach at the Feijao iron ore mine in January, Reuters reported, citing China's Ministry of Emergency Management.

* A bill authorizing mining on protected indigenous reserves in Brazil has been prepared and needs to be sent to Congress for consideration, according to the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Reuters reported.

* Nationwide strikes in France against pension reforms have postponed some minor metals deliveries until 2020, Fastmarkets MB reported. "It's very difficult to get material in and out of France and this is practically the last week of the year to ship goods to customers," a European minor metals trader told the news outlet.

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