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China makes veiled rare earths threat; ArcelorMittal to reduce output

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China makes veiled rare earths threat; ArcelorMittal to reduce output

TOP NEWS

Report: China makes veiled threat of using rare earths as trade war weapon

China's state planning agency issued a statement that is seen as a veiled threat that the country could restrict the export of its rare earth minerals amid mounting trade tensions with the U.S., Chinese publication Global Times reported. "If any country wants to use products made of China's rare earth exports to contain China's development, the Chinese people would not be happy with that," a spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission was quoted as saying by Global Times.

ArcelorMittal to cut steel output in France, Germany

ArcelorMittal will reduce primary steelmaking production at its France and Germany operations, as well as extend a planned blast furnace stoppage at its Bremen, Germany, plant, due to weak market demand and high import levels in Europe. The company will also launch in 2020 a new target to significantly reduce its carbon dioxide emission, replacing its current 8% carbon footprint reduction target by 2020.

Risk of dam burst at Vale's Gongo Soco mine lower than expected

Vale SA said the unstable embankment at the Gongo Soco iron ore mine in Brazil had a lower risk of disintegrating than previously thought, based on the miner's latest analysis of the site. According to COO Marcelo Barros, there is a great probability that the slope will remain inside the extraction site, with no major consequences to the nearby Sul Superior tailings dam. Environment secretary Germano Vieira of Brazil's Minas Gerais state previously said the tailings dam had up to a 15% chance of collapsing.

BASE METALS

* A debottlenecking study for the restart of First Cobalt Corp.'s idled namesake refinery in Ontario outlined the potential to more than double production by increasing the initial capital investment.

* S&P Ratings said the liquidation proceedings initiated by Zambia on Konkola Copper Mines PLC will not affect Vedanta Resources Ltd.'s credit profile, due to the unit's small contribution to the parent entity's operating cash flows.

* The International Tin Association is facing a lawsuit from Kerilee Investments Ltd., a majority shareholder in KI3R Minerals Ltd., owner of the Nyamuliro tungsten mine in Uganda, for accusing the company of trading in conflict minerals, Reuters reported.

* Caravel Minerals Ltd. will proceed to a pre-feasibility study at its namesake copper project in Western Australia after a scoping study estimated a posttax net present value, discounted at 7%, of A$705 million, with a 20% internal rate of return, a four-year payback period and a 23-year mine life.

* South32 Ltd. secured an option to acquire an up to 80% stake in Superior Resources Ltd.'s Nicholson zinc project in Queensland, Australia, by spending a total of A$6 million on exploration within five years.

* Magmatic Resources Ltd. nixed the A$500,000 minimum spend requirement, part of its acquisition of the Mount Venn copper-nickel-cobalt project in Western Australia from Element 25 Ltd., in exchange for 2 million options. Meanwhile, Magmatic was granted tenement license E38/3351, abutting the Mount Venn project to the north.

* Argonaut Resources NL, the 30% joint venture partner in the Torrens copper project in South Australia, accused 70% owner Aeris Resources Ltd. of botching the program after the latter decided to pause drilling.

* ASX-listed Accelerate Resources Ltd. will reduce fixed costs by up to 46% within the next 12 months "in recognition of the tightness of current capital markets."

* The Minnesota State Court of Appeals upheld an environmental review for PolyMet Mining Corp.'s NorthMet copper project following a challenge from several groups.

* Searchlight Resources Inc. signed a letter of intent granting Emgold Mining Corp. an option to acquire the New York Canyon copper-molybdenum-gold property in Nevada.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Shareholders of Sibanye Gold Ltd. and Lonmin PLC approved a merger that valued the latter at £226 million. Under the deal, Sibanye will issue 1 share for every Lonmin share held, which the former said is final and will not be increased. The merger is expected to take effect June 7. Lonmin shareholders had voted in favor of the company acquiring greater diversity, according to CEO Ben Magara.

* Newcrest Mining Ltd. is buying water in the open market to try to overcome a drought that would affect its Cadia gold mine in New South Wales, Australia, The Australian Financial Review reported. Newcrest has reportedly been making water purchases in recent weeks at about A$1,000 per million liters, nearly triple the 2016 price. Glencore PLC is also facing the same issues at its CSA copper mine in the state.

* Tanzania will not allow Acacia Mining PLC to manage its mines in the country, reiterating that it will only engage with Barrick Gold Corp. to resolve a long-running dispute, Bloomberg News reported, citing government spokesman Hassan Abbasi.

* A consortium of local businessmen in Zimbabwe submitted a bid for Metallon Corp. Ltd.'s idled Mazowe and Shamva gold mines after B2Gold Corp. CEO Clive Johnson denied interest, The Herald reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the developments. Vara Mining reportedly secured offshore funding to bankroll a US$120 million investment aimed at doubling production at the mines over three years.

* Former Core Gold Inc. CEO and now activist shareholder Keith Piggott said Zhaojin Mining Industry Co. Ltd. is keen to re-enter negotiations over its previously proposed C$100 million investment in Core Gold.

* Authorities from Mexico’s Zacatecas state offered to mediate an agreement to end a two-month blockade by local villagers at Newmont Goldcorp Corp.'s Penasquito gold mine, Reuters reported, citing Zacatecas Secretary General Jehu Salas.

* Victoria Gold Corp. amended its existing US$175 million in debt facilities, with its senior secured facility raised to US$100 million, from US$75 million, while a subordinated secured credit facility was reduced to US$75 million, from US$100 million.

* TriStar Gold Inc. agreed to grant Royal Gold Inc. a 1.5% net smelter royalty and a 1% NSR option on the Castelo de Sonhos gold property in Brazil, as well as 19,640,000 TriStar share warrants, for a total of US$8.0 million.

* Alba Mineral Resources PLC said it expanded areas of gold mineralization at the Clogau gold project in the U.K. based on results from a soil sampling program.

* Hecla Mining Co. is facing a lawsuit from Rosen Law Firm over statements in which the company claimed that its Nevada operations have positive or self-funding cash flow despite its struggles.

* Moroccan miner Managem recovered 241 kilograms of gold cargo seized by Sudanese authorities over alleged smuggling, Reuters reported.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Potash producer Nutrien Ltd. is considering expanding its annual production capacity by 5 million tonnes after 2023, with an option to add another 5 million tonnes afterward. The additional capacity would come from expansions to Nutrien's existing Canadian mines.

* Mosaic Co. resumed mining at its Catalão phosphate mine in Brazil, with the operation running at full capacity. The mine was idled as the phosphate producer worked to bring the mine's tailings dam into compliance with new safety regulations imposed by the Brazilian government. Meanwhile, production at the Tapira mine is expected to restart in the third quarter, after securing the mine's safety certificate.

* The U.K. government identified potential buyers for British Steel Corp. Ltd., which was placed under liquidation by the high court recently, the official receiver said in a statement.

* Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. may increase alumina imports if prices are suitably low, despite shortages in northern China caused by the shutdown of at least two alumina refineries in Shanxi province, Reuters reported, citing Li Guangfei, deputy general manager of a Chalco trading unit.

* A Mexican federal judge issued an arrest warrant for former Petróleos Mexicanos SA de CV CEO Emilio Lozoya and steelmaker Altos Hornos de México SAB de CV executive Alonso Ancira in Mallorca over allegations of graft and corruption, Reuters reported, citing Mexican news agency Notimex.

* Fenix Resources Ltd. signed a cooperation agreement with the manager of the Port of Geraldton, the Mid West Ports Authority, to negotiate port access to export iron ore from its Iron Ridge project in Western Australia.

* Afarak Group PLC signed two agreements to acquire additional ownership in certain South African mining assets for 2,123,343 shares.

* Following a strategic review, Centaurus Metals Ltd. will undertake a new pre-feasibility study for the Jambreiro iron ore project in Brazil, which is slated for completion by the end of June.

* ASX-listed Cape Lambert Resources Ltd.'s share price jumped 30% in late afternoon trading on the ASX after it executed a nonbinding terms sheet for a A$15 million finance facility.

* A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio reintroduced bills intended to encourage the steel industry to produce fuel from a substance the government designates as a hazardous waste.

SPECIALTY

* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. generated US$3.5 million in revenue from the sale of a parcel of 7,008 carats of rough diamonds recovered from its 70%-owned Mothae mine in Lesotho.

* Fund manager Newgate Capital Partners sees Lynas Corp. Ltd. as one of the most strategic assets on the ASX, with the potential to triple production from the Mount Weld rare earths mine in Western Australia, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Mineral Commodities Ltd. sued environmental activists for defamation over their remarks on the approval of an exploration license for the company's Xolobeni mineral sands project in South Africa, Fin24.com reported.

* Total indicated and inferred resources at Bluejay Mining PLC's Dundas ilmenite project in Greenland grew 15% to 117 million tonnes grading 6.1% ilmenite.

* Premier African Minerals Ltd. canceled a drilling program at its Zulu lithium project in Zimbabwe after it failed to agree on a revised pricing structure for a drilling contract with KME Plant Hire (Pty) Ltd.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Brazil's Minister of Mines and Energy Bento Albuquerque said negligence in the mining sector was a main reason behind the recent disasters in the industry, without pinpointing specific instances or companies, Reuters reported. The minister also said that neglect of public power has also contributed to the string of disasters.

* Brazil National Agency of Mining Director General Victor Hugo Bicca is forecasting mining royalty collection to reach 3.5 billion Brazilian reais this year, from 3.04 billion reais raked in last year, Valor Econômico reported.

* Centrist parties lost ground in the European parliamentary elections but are still expected to form a coalition with the Liberals and Greens as the threatened populist insurgency failed to materialize.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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