BHP wins 1st round in previously unknown A$87M legal battle over Singapore hub
BHP Billiton Group successfully convinced a tribunal that its dual-listed Australian and British companies are not associates, in an unreported A$87 million legal battle with the Australian Taxation Office over the company's controversial Singapore marketing hub, The Australian reported. The company is trying to fight the ATO's assertion that the company's British arm, BHP Billiton PLC, must also pay tax on 58% of the income it reaps from the sales of Australian goods, primarily coal from its Hunter Valley operations, through Singapore.
Mineral Deposits Ltd.'s board has asked shareholders to reject the takeover offer of A$1.46 per share from Eramet. Chairman Nic Limb said that Eramet's offer is "opportunistic" and "grossly inadequate" and "comes at a time when the TiZir joint venture is operating at or near record highs and is expected to deliver ongoing strong, sustainable operating performance." In a separate release, the company said it expects to produce 815,000 tonnes of heavy mineral concentrates this year, and 745,000 tonnes in 2019, compared to 724,755 tonnes in 2017.
Franco-Nevada hikes dividend after booking record Q1 earnings, revenue
Franco-Nevada Corp. increased its quarterly dividend for the 11th consecutive year to 24 cents per share, representing a 4.3% increase on a quarterly basis. The company's net income in the first quarter rose 41.7% year over year to a record US$64.6 million, or 35 cents per share, from US$45.6 million, or 25 cents per share. Revenues, meanwhile, were up slightly at US$173.1 million from US$172.7 million last year.
* Whoever succeeds Codelco Chairman Oscar Landerretche must tackle pending issues concerning changes and delays in the miner's structural projects portfolio, an ongoing dispute with the country's office of the comptroller general, the annual capitalization of the company, pending collective bargaining negotiations, and the modernization of its corporate governance, daily Diario Financiero reported.
* Antofagasta PLC's mining arm Antofagasta Minerals S.A. appointed four women members of the board at several of its mining projects, effective June 1. The new board members include risk and compliance manager Anna Gretchina at Minera Los Pelambres board, competitivity manager Rosario Orchard at the Minera Centinela board, occupational safety and health corporate manager Katharina Jenny at the Minera Antucoya board, and process technical manager Cecilia Arrué at the Minera Zaldívar board, daily Diario Financiero reported.
* Sierra Metals Inc. produced 23.4 million copper equivalent pounds in the first quarter, compared to 25.1 million pounds produced a year ago, on the back of record quarterly throughput from its Yauricocha mine in Peru and the Bolivar mine in Mexico. The revenue from metals payable increased 13% year over year to US$61.7 million in the quarter.
* Bezant Resources PLC completed its strategic review on all of its existing assets and operations, and said it minimized overheads and is implementing additional cost cutting initiatives identified in the review. The company noted that its Eureka copper-gold project in Argentina has the potential to produce 600,000 tonnes of contained copper and 52,000 ounces of gold.
* Mundoro Capital Inc. agreed to option its Saje lead-zinc project in Bulgaria to an arm's length private company.
* Boliden AB secured a €770 million two-tranche credit line from a banking syndicate. Company CFO Håkan Gabrielsson said the deal increases the Stockholm-based company's debt maturity profile at lower funding costs.
* B2Gold Corp. swung to a net profit of US$57.4 million, or 4 cents per share, for the first quarter, from the year-ago net loss of US$4.6 million, or 1 cent per share. Record quarterly gold production of 239,684 ounces, up 80.6% yearly, at lower all-in sustaining costs of US$750 per ounce, compared to US$889 per ounce a year ago, resulted in the Canadian gold miner's return to profit.
* Randgold Resources Ltd.'s first-quarter profit attributable to shareholders shrunk to US$57.5 million, from US$69.8 million a year ago. Gold sales in the quarter declined to US$391.8 million, down 4%, due to lower volumes, partially offset by higher selling prices. The company sold 294,428 ounces at US$1,331 per ounce, compared to 335,603 ounces at US$1,220 per ounce.
* Australia's strong grassroots gold exploration and the improving broader sector confidence has triggered a spate of initial public offerings which are whetting the appetite of both Chinese and other large global miners looking to replenish reserves, S&P Global Market Intelligence reported.
* First Majestic Silver Corp. swung to a net loss of US$5.6 million in the first quarter, from year-ago net earnings of US$2.7 million due to higher cash costs per ounce. Revenue in the quarter dropped 15% year over year to US$58.6 million as the company realized lower per ounce silver prices and lower sales volumes.
* Mexican antitrust authorities granted clearance to First Majestic's planned acquisition of Primero Mining Corp. in a cash and stock deal, valued at about US$320 million.
* Avesoro Resources Inc.'s gold production in the first quarter swelled 357% year over year to 68,088 ounces. Revenues increased 364% year over year to US$91.4 million, with record quarterly gold sales of 68,553 ounces at an average realized price of US$1,333 per ounce.
* Dalradian Resources Inc.'s contained gold resource at its Curraghinalt deposit in Northern Ireland increased 46% in the measured and indicated categories and 32% in the inferred category. The deposit now hosts 6.35 million tonnes at 15.02 g/t gold for 3.1 million contained ounces in the measured and indicated categories and 7.7 million ounces at 12.24 g/t gold for 3 million contained ounces in the inferred category.
* Eurasia Mining Plc said its West Kytlim alluvial platinum-gold mine has now achieved several successive days at near full capacity, and shipments to the refinery are expected to start by May 11.
* Barrick Gold Corp. signed a subscription agreement to invest US$38.1 million in Midas Gold Corp. through a nonbrokered private placement. Midas will use the proceeds to advance its Stibnite gold project in Idaho through to completion of a feasibility study and for permitting related to redeveloping and restoring the project.
* Pan American Silver Corp.'s net earnings rose significantly to US$48.2 million in the first quarter from US$20.0 million a year earlier. Silver output in the period slipped to 6.1 million ounces from 6.2 million ounces, while gold output increased to 46,230 ounces from 37,700 ounces. The company approved a dividend of 3.5 cents per share for the quarter.
* Mongolia-focused explorer Steppe Gold Ltd. filed a final prospectus for a C$21.1 million IPO of units at C$2 each, with the offering to close by May 22. The company has secured conditional approval to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange, provided it meets all of the bourse's requirements by July 31.
* Cradle Arc PLC said that Randgold Resources Ltd. is terminating the joint venture agreement for the exploration and development of the Kossanto West gold project in Mali, without providing details. Kossanto West forms part of the larger Kossanto property.
* Sumitomo Corp.'s metal products business unit doubled its profit attributable to shareholders for the full fiscal year, ended March 31, to ¥20.21 billion, compared to ¥9.97 billion a year ago, on the back of stable performances of overseas steel service centers and one-off profit from asset replacement. The mineral resources, energy, chemical & electronics business segment swung to a profit attributable to shareholders of ¥61.98 billion, compared to a year-ago loss ¥17.20 billion, as the San Cristobal silver-zinc-lead mining project in Bolivia and the iron ore mining project in South Africa delivered strong results.
* S&P Global Ratings revised Sumitomo's outlook on its long-term corporate credit rating to stable from negative, after the Japanese firm booked a net profit of ¥308.5 billion in its fiscal 2017, up by around 80%. The rating agency also affirmed its A- long-term corporate credit and senior unsecured debt ratings and A-2 short-term corporate credit rating on the company.
* Israel Chemicals Ltd.'s net income in the first quarter surged to US$928 million, or 73 cents per share, from the year-ago net income of US$68 million, or 5 cents apiece. Revenue in the three months rose to US$1.40 billion, compared to US$1.30 billion in the prior-year quarter. The results included a capital gain of US$841 million from the sale of the oil additives and fire safety businesses.
* Tronox Ltd.'s net loss in the first quarter increased to US$44 million, or 36 cents per share, compared to the year-ago loss of US$41 million, or 35 cents apiece. Revenue in the quarter increased to US$442 million, from US$378 million in the prior-year quarter. The results included an impairment loss related to the sale of the electrolytic operations and transaction costs related to the Cristal acquisition that totaled US$45 million.
* Meanwhile, Tronox secured an option to acquire 90% of Advanced Metal Industries Cluster Co. Ltd.'s ownership in a titanium slag smelter facility in Saudi Arabia.
* Steel Authority of India Ltd. restarted a blast furnace at the Rourkela steel plant in India, which was rebuilt as part of the company's modernization and expansion program, The Economic Times of India reported.
* Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA is producing at 60% of its total capacity, compared with the Brazilian steel industry's national average of 68%, CEO Sergio Leite said, daily Diario do Comercio reported.
* Kommersant reported that Evraz PLC may see its charter capital reduced by US$1.43 billion for payment to shareholders. The dividend policy adopted in March by Evraz assumes annual payments of at least US$300 million, but in fact the company paid US$860 million for 2017, and analysts and investors are waiting for continued high payments.
* Kommersant reported that PJSC Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works postponed the launch of hot-rolled production at its Turkey-based plant, MMK Metalurji, until the situation with import duties on steel in the U.S., E.U. and Turkey is clarified. Andrei Yeremin, the company's economic director, announced at a conference call with investors and analysts. The decision to launch was made "in late February [to] early March," but then the situation changed, the top manager said.
* Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. booked a consolidated net loss of 4.26 billion Indian rupees in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2018, widening from a net loss of 983.7 million rupees a year earlier. The company's production of steel and pellets increased 32% and 15%, respectively, to 1.7 million tonnes and 1.8 million tonnes.
* Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau SA's net income in the first quarter plunged 45.6% from a year ago to 448.4 million Brazilian reais, due to a one-time reversal of contingent liabilities made in 2017. Profit fell despite higher production and sales in the first quarter. Gerdau's crude steel output climbed 3.7% year on year to 4.17 million tonnes and steel shipments rose 7.8% to 3.87 million tonnes.
* Brazilian antitrust authority Cade approved Yara International ASA's planned acquisition of the Cubatão Fertilizantes complex from Vale SA for about US$255 million. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the month.
* ArcelorMittal tapped Bank of America-Merrill Lynch to dispose of its assets in Italy, Romania, Macedonia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Belgium, in a bid to secure antitrust clearance for the planned acquisition of Italian steelmaker Ilva International SpA, Reuters reported.
* Russia's PJSC Acron is in talks with Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro for the potential acquisition of the latter's two fertilizer units, Reuters reported.
* Marenica Energy Ltd. signed a binding agreement to purchase the 2,692-hectare Mile 72 uranium project from Metals Australia Ltd.
* Mezzotin Minerals Inc. entered a definitive agreement to sell its Sabi Star rare earth property in Zimbabwe to a local subsidiary of Hong-Kong-based private investor, Max Mind Investment Ltd., for US$125,000 cash.
* Pathfinder Minerals Plc said that the shareholders who previously requested a general meeting to consider the ouster of CEO Nicholas Trew and Chairman Henry Bellingham from the board have withdrawn their application, and the resolutions will not be a part of the May 15 general meeting.
* Albemarle Corp.'s first-quarter net income surged 162% year over year to US$131.8 million, while net sales rose 14% to US$821.6 million. The company lifted its full-year EPS guidance to between US$5.10 and US$5.40, reflecting an 11% to 18% increase over the 2017 results.
* The Congress of South African Trade Unions and the National Union of Mineworkers plan to picket at the Chamber of Mines on May 10 to demand action against "deteriorating safety standards" in the mining industry, Mining Weekly reported.
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