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Brazilian court suspends criminal proceedings over Samarco dam burst

Industry Top Trends 2021: Metals and Mining

Greenhouse gas and gold mines Nearly 1 ton of CO2 emitted per ounce of gold produced in 2019

Essential Metals & Mining Insights - September 2020

Essential Metals & Mining Insights - August 2020


Brazilian court suspends criminal proceedings over Samarco dam burst

TOP NEWS

Brazil court suspends criminal proceedings over Samarco dam burst

A Brazilian court temporarily suspended criminal proceedings against 22 employees of Samarco Mineração SA and owners Vale SA and BHP Billiton Group, who are accused of killing 19 people in the 2015 Samarco iron ore mine disaster, over the validity of evidence submitted in court, Reuters reported. A judge in Minas Gerais is considering whether to dismiss the case based on claims from two Samarco executives that phone data, instant messages and emails were collected outside of the legally authorized time period.

South African minister accuses miners' association of blocking transformation

South Africa's mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane has filed an answering affidavit in the Pretoria High Court, challenging an application by the Chamber of Mines to interdict the implementation of the controversial reviewed mining charter. Among other points, Zwane's affidavit accuses the chamber of blocking "effective and meaningful participation of black persons" in the mining industry and opposing transformation. In a response statement, the chamber has denied the allegations, flagging that the "unilaterally designed" charter will destroy investment and jobs to the benefit of "select few."

Fortescue mulls dividend boost amid higher margins, prices

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. CEO Nev Power said the miner is likely to increase shareholder returns thanks to strong margins and higher iron ore prices, the Australian Associated Press wrote. "We flagged at the time of the interim dividend that we would be reviewing the payout ratio at the time of final dividend. The board will consider this in two weeks," Power said on the sidelines of the Diggers and Dealers conference in Western Australia.

DIVERSIFIED

* Anglo American Plc Technical Director Tony O'Neill believes that technology will deliver the next step of productivity improvements, with the company aiming to halve operating costs through implementing new technology, The Australian reported.

* Brazilian police arrested a couple for allegedly unscrewing the bases of energy towers belonging to Vale near the city of Parauapebas and who were seeking up to 15 million Brazilian reais from the miner in exchange for abandoning plans to continue such attacks, Bloomberg News reported. According to a report by Globo, Vale has refused to negotiate with or pay the couple despite over a dozen attacks.

BASE METALS

* Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. swung to a net profit attributable to owners of the parent of ¥22.08 billion, from a loss of ¥6.94 billion, in the first quarter of its fiscal year ending in March. Operating profit jumped 171.8% year-over-year to ¥21.77 billion, while net sales increased 21.1% to ¥214.48 billion.

* Sumitomo decided to exit a nickel exploration project in the Solomon Islands amid a slump in nickel prices and an unfavorable court decision that denied it rights over a nickel deposit in the Isabel province, Reuters reported, citing a company spokesman. However, the spokesman noted that the company will look for new nickel assets in the Philippines and Indonesia, among other locations.

* A new high-grade copper discovery made in Western Australia's Bryah Basin by Auris Minerals Ltd. spurred investor interest in newcomer Bryah Resources Ltd., which has adjoining ground and is close to listing on the ASX.

* Audalia Resources Ltd. sold three exploration licenses, comprising the Gascoyne lead project in Western Australia, to Serena Minerals Pty Ltd. for 2.5 million shares.

* Red River Resources Ltd.'s Cromarty Resources Pty. Ltd. unit signed a contract with Trafigura Pte. Ltd. for off-take of zinc and lead concentrates to be produced from the Thalanga zinc project in northern Queensland, Australia.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Members of South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers marched to AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.'s head office in Johannesburg to protest the miner's move to cut 8,500 jobs at its loss-making mines, Mining.com reported. The union is threatening a general strike, as it also concerned about the Bokoni platinum mine's plan to cut over 2,600 permanent jobs by September.

* Evolution Mining Ltd. is considering the underground potential of the White Foil deposit at its Mungari gold-silver project in Western Australia, The West Australian reported, citing Executive Chairman Jake Klein. "We've started drilling some really interesting results at White Foil but it's still early days, there's still a lot of life left in the pit," Klein said.

* GobiMin Inc. plans to change its business from mineral exploration to an investment company and will seek shareholder approval at a Sept. 5 meeting.

* The Solidarity union expressed concern over Lonmin Plc's move to remove the recognition and organizational rights of minority trade unions including Solidarity, the National Union of Mineworkers and Uasa, Mining Weekly reported. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union is now recognized as the only trade union at the company's operations.

* News reports emerged prior to this week's Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie, Australia, that contractors would be protesting at the event over nonpayment by Eastern Goldfields Ltd. However, Executive Chairman Michael Fotios said the company had been working with its suppliers and the "vast majority" of the contractor payments had been made.

* Para Resources Inc. agreed to acquire all of the assets comprising the Gold Road mine in Arizona for US$6.8 million. The deal includes a fully permitted 500-tonne-per-day cyanide leach mill, which was last operated in June 2016.

* Gold Fields Ltd. CEO Nick Holland said the company may have to look for a toll treatment arrangement, as its 2 million-tonne-per-annum Granny Smith processing plant in Western Australia is operating at under half of its nameplate capacity, The West Australian reported.

* Evolution Mining hopes to spur a new wave of investment by larger gold producers in juniors to uncover the next generation of mines with its recent A$2.5 million cash injection into newcomer Riversgold Ltd.

* Conroy Gold & Natural Resources Plc shareholders approved the removal of six of the company's nine directors. Meanwhile, the resolution to appoint Patrick O'Sullivan, Paul Johnson and Gervaise Heddle as board members failed. The board now comprises Executive Chairman Richard Conroy, Managing Director Maureen Jones and nonexecutive director Garth Earls.

* 3D Resources Ltd. acquired a 70% interest in Haitian companies Delta Societe Miniere SA and Ayiti Gold Co. SA, which own the Morne Bossa and Grand Bois gold projects, respectively.

* Explaurum Ltd. recorded the highest-grade intersection at its Tampia gold project in Western Australia. Results included an intersection of 10 meters at 72.94 g/t gold from 61 meters, including 1 meter at 716 g/t gold from 68 meters.

* Capricorn Metals Ltd reported initial JORC-compliant probable ore reserves of 21 million tonnes at 1.06 g/t of gold containing 713,000 ounces for the Bibra deposit at its Karlawinda gold project in Western Australia.

BULK COMMODITIES

* PJSC PhosAgro boosted its total fertilizer output in the second quarter by a little under 16% year over year to 2.0 million tonnes with sales up 15% to about 2.1 million tonnes.

* Whitehaven Coal Ltd. refinanced its senior bank facility and now has a A$1.0 billion drawable line of credit and A$200 million of bank guarantee capacity.

* Wescoal Holdings Ltd. said Buildmax Ltd. unit Dieselpower terminated the mining services agreement for the Elandspruit colliery in South Africa, effective October-end.

* China Shenhua Energy Co. Ltd. will invest 17.15 billion Chinese yuan in constructing a coal-to-olefins plant in Inner Mongolia with annual production capacity of 750,000 tonnes, consisting of 350,000 tonnes for polyethylene and 400,000 tonnes for polypropylene.

* Yancoal Australia Ltd. and its brokers met with fund managers in Singapore as the company kicked off the process to hunt for equities investors with a three-to-five year view and willing to support its Coal & Allied Industries Ltd. acquisition from Rio Tinto, according to The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk.

* Tata Steel Ltd. posted consolidated net profit attributable to owners of 9.21 billion Indian rupees in the first quarter of its fiscal 2018, swinging from a net loss of 31.83 billion rupees in the year-ago quarter. Revenue in the period rose 19% year over year to 309.7 billion rupees on the back of increased capacity in India and Tata's restructuring efforts in Europe.

* Compass Minerals International Inc. swung to a second-quarter net loss of US$6.4 million from a year-ago net profit of US$6.3 million. The results were pressured by increased costs in the salt segment and sluggish plant nutrition sales in South America, the company said.

* Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s decision to develop either its Nyidinghu or Eliwana deposit as a replacement for its Firetail mine does not hinge on the recent native title decision handed down by Australia's Federal Court, according to CEO Nev Power.

* Prices of Russian steel products increased in the first week of this month, with hot-rolled steel up 3.2% to US$463 per tonne and cold-rolled steel improving 5.5% to US$516 per tonne, Vedomosti reported. Prices were pushed by the rise in coal prices in July, as well as the decrease of steelmaking products in China.

* Shaanxi Coal Industry Co. Ltd. plans to raise up to 4 billion Chinese yuan in debt to repay loans, including a phase-one issuance of 1 billion yuan scheduled for Aug. 9. The 1 billion yuan notes will carry an interest rate between 4.20% and 5.20% and mature Aug. 10, 2020.

* Five miners were killed and two others were injured after a coal mine in Muzaffarabad, Kashmir, collapsed due to a gas explosion, Mining.com reported. Authorities have arrested six officials of the mining company for failing to observe safety standards.

* Ding He Mining Holdings Ltd. entered a strategic cooperation letter of intent with Xinjiang Tianpeng Energy Co. Ltd. for magnesium ingot production. The parties also plan to team up on starting new businesses, including in semicoke.

* OAO Metalloinvest entered new long-term contracts to supply 3.4 million tonnes of iron ore and pellets to Evraz Plc before June 30, 2018.

* Paringa Resources Ltd. started excavation and site development works at the Poplar Grove mine site area, part of its Buck Creek coal mining complex in Kentucky.

* Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. resumed operations at its Oita Works plate mill in Japan after implementing all the necessary safety measures. The group suspended operations after a fire broke out at the mill Jan. 5.

SPECIALTY

* Albemarle Corp. posted attributable net income of US$103.3 million for the second quarter, swinging from a net loss of US$314.8 million in the same 2016 quarter. Net sales in the period rose year over year to US$737.3 million from US$669.3 million.

* Codelco canceled a proposed joint venture with Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, or SQM, to develop the lithium reserves in the Pedernales and Maricunga salt flats in northern Chile, Pulso reported, citing the company's filing before the Chilean Lower Chamber. The cancellation was caused by SQM's ongoing contract conflict with Chilean development agency Corfo over concession rights in the Atacama desert.

* Firestone Diamonds Plc revised its financial year 2018 guidance at its 75% owned Liqhobong diamond Mine in Lesotho to between 800,000 and 850,000 carats, from 1 million carats previously, as a result of a revised mining plan.

* Richland Resources Ltd. reported a maiden JORC-compliant mineral resource estimate for exploration license 25973, located about 45 kilometers from its Capricorn sapphire mining operations in Queensland, Australia. The estimate comprises inferred resources of 5 million loose cubic meters of sapphire-bearing gravel at an estimated grade of 3.5 grams per loose cubic meter, or 17.5 carats per loose cubic meter.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The U.S. Department of the Interior repealed a 2016 rule that transformed how companies value their sales of oil, gas and coal extracted from the Federal and Tribal lands, Reuters reported, citing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The rule was introduced to close a loophole that allowed companies to skip royalty payments when mining on public land. The department has formed a royalty policy committee that will propose alternatives to the valuation rule.

* Chilean Mining Minister Aurora Williams said mining companies are seeking to invest about US$65 billion in the country over the next 10 years, nearly one-third more than previously estimated, Reuters reported. More than 90% of the projects are in copper, including KGHM Polska Miedz SA's Sierra Gorda, and include the reactivation of the El Abra mill, a joint venture between Codelco and Freeport-McMoRan Inc.

* Chile raised US$430 million in taxes from the mining industry in the first half, up 34% compared with the same period last year, according to an analysis of government figures by Chilean mining association Sonami, El Mercurio reported.

* The aggregate market capitalization for the top 25 mining companies increased by 13.9% in July compared with the end of June, with the majority of these companies experiencing an increase in market value, according to an exclusive SNL Metals & Mining Research report.

* Australia's Minerals Council will lobby to reduce unions' powers to strike over the content of workplace agreements under a renewed push to reform industrial laws in this term of the parliament, The Guardian reported.

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