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Freeport close to temporarily resuming concentrate exports from Indonesia

TOP NEWS

Freeport close to temporarily resuming concentrate exports from Indonesia

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. unit PT Freeport Indonesia is close to reaching a deal with the Indonesian government that will allow the company to temporarily resume exporting copper concentrates from its Grasberg mine, Reuters reported, citing Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan. The deal would allow Freeport to resume concentrate exports in the next six months while a new permit is negotiated.

New Western Australian mines minister fails to address industry concerns

In his first speaking engagement as the new Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum at a Western Australian Mining Club luncheon in Perth, Bill Johnston left the industry hanging on the topics of the planned sale of the Utah Point bulk handling facility and the future of uranium mining in the state.

Resolute: Australian gold miners need to create more shareholder value

Resolute Mining Ltd. Managing Director and CEO John Welborn told attendees at the Western Australian Mining Club luncheon that he questioned the value Australian gold players create for shareholders, urging the industry to pick up its game. Welborn said shareholders continued to provide funds, but with little return so far.

BASE METALS

* Striking workers at Freeport-McMoRan Inc.'s Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru voted to end a nearly three-week strike, agreeing to resume work March 31, Reuters reported, citing the union. The work stoppage that started March 10 halted 95% of output at the site. However, Cerro Verde was able to produce at about 50% of its normal capacity a few days later, after contract workers were hired to operate key areas.

* Chile's mining production index fell 16% in February compared with the same month in 2016 and declined 9% compared with January this year mainly due to lower copper output because of the recent strike at BHP Billiton Group's Escondida mine. Specifically, copper production reached 376,948 tonnes, down 16.7% year on year, according to official statistics institute INE data.

* Pan American Silver Corp. is expected to sign investment agreements in April with state miner Comibol to jointly develop the Santa Isabel zinc project in Potosí, Bolivia. The company operates the San Vicente silver-zinc project in that same region, daily Los Tiempos reported.

* The Peruvian government plans to hold a new round of bidding for the La Oroya smelter in Junín before a liquidation deadline in August, after a third auction failed to draw offers for the 100-year-old facility, Reuters reported.

* Interfax wrote that Russia's Rosatom will invest up to 20 billion Russian rubles in the development of the Pavlovskoye lead-zinc deposit, which is operated by its ARMZ Uranium Holding Co. unit.

* Votorantim SA resumed operations at its Cajamarquilla zinc smelter in Peru at half of its 330,000-tonne-per-annum production capacity, Metal Bulletin reported.

PRECIOUS METALS

* The government of the San Juan province in Argentina restricted Barrick Gold Corp. from adding cyanide to its Veladero gold mine's heap leach facility. The restriction followed an order by the province to halt some operations at the mine after a pipe carrying gold and silver solution ruptured on the night of March 28.

* Australian gold miner Dragon Mining Ltd. is moving to delist from the ASX and shift to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange following a A$17.5 million fully underwritten capital raising. At least 53% of the company's shares are controlled by three shareholders not located in Australia, and a further 16.36% of investors are not Australian residents.

* Matsa Resources Ltd. acquired a 90% interest in two exploration licenses with a combined area of 43.32 square kilometers, increasing the total area of the Lake Carey gold project in Western Australia to 425.2 square kilometers.

* MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd. has signed a binding letter of intent to acquire the Holdsworth property in Ontario from Noble Mineral Exploration Inc. The property covers about 285 hectares and is part of the land package that comprises MacDonald Mines' Holdsworth gold-silver property.

* Golden Star Resources Ltd. has entered into a commitment for a US$25 million secured loan facility with Ecobank Ghana Ltd.

* After completing a six-month review period, Ashanti Gold Corp. exercised the option to earn 51% of Goldplat Plc's interest in the Anumso gold project in Ghana.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA requires a "strong president" to end the current debt crisis affecting the company, said the president of Ternium SA in Brazil, Paolo Bassetti, in an interview with daily Estado de Minas. Ternium is one of the controlling shareholders that forced out former CEO Rômel de Souza, who was replaced by Sérgio Leite. Ternium and Techint Group are key players in an ongoing boardroom conflict with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. over shareholder power at the Brazilian steelmaker.

* The declining production of commodities from China, including coal and aluminum, have triggered price swings and increased concerns from investors, The Wall Street Journal reported.

* POSCO expects its first-quarter net profit to jump to 800 billion South Korean won, from 338 billion won a year ago, on the back of the improved performances of its engineering and construction division and overseas steel business. The company estimates revenues in the period to reach 14.600 trillion won, from 12.461 trillion won in the first quarter of 2016, leading an increase in operating profit to 1.2 trillion won, from 660 billion won a year ago.

* Due to the severe weather associated with a cyclone in Queensland, Australia, New Hope Corp. Ltd. has put in place wet weather protocol measures. There are no significant impacts on mining operations. Meanwhile, the company's coal loading facility at the Port of Brisbane, Queensland Bulk Handling, suspended operations March 30.

* Indian steelmaker JSW Steel Ltd. is planning to raise up to US$750 million through an offering of nonconvertible senior unsecured fixed-rate bonds, Metal Bulletin reported, citing a company statement. Proceeds will be used to retire some of the company's debt and fund CapEx, among other things.

* The Rio Grande do Sul state government in Brazil has granted Aguia Resources Ltd.'s Rio Grande phosphate project priority status, the company said.

SPECIALTY

* Cazaly Resources Ltd. applied for an exploration license on over 73 square kilometers of land known as the Lake Innes project in New South Wales, Australia, that hosts several known nickel-cobalt resources.

* U3O8 Corp. staked the La Niquelina mine in Argentina, which previously produced uranium, cobalt and nickel. Mineralization at La Niquelina comprises the five-element vein type, which typically contains silver, nickel, cobalt, arsenic and bismuth or uranium.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The South African mining sector's profits before taxes improved by 72.2 billion rand year over year in 2016 after a decline of 68.0 billion rand in 2015, Fin24 reported, citing a statement from Chamber of Mines chief economist Henk Langenhoven.

* From 2013 through 2016, mining and exploration companies raised nearly US$90 billion to support their operations worldwide. The aggregate raised for Latin American and Asian operations accounted for more than a third of the total, and the aggregate raised for Europe, the U.S. and Pacific/Southeast Asia accounted for less than a quarter of the total. Lesser amounts were raised for work in Australia, Canada and Africa.

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