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After Grasberg deal, Freeport CEO says it is open to mergers, sales

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After Grasberg deal, Freeport CEO says it is open to mergers, sales

TOP NEWS

After Grasberg deal, Freeport CEO says it is open to mergers, sales

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. is considering its options, which include strategic partnerships, asset acquisitions or even a merger, after the miner agreed to transfer majority control of its Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia, Bloomberg News reported, citing CEO Richard Adkerson. "If an opportunity for us to sell to another company would arise, and that would be good for our shareholders, you would see us trying to get the best deal we can get as opposed to being a company where management is trying to protect itself," Adkerson said.

Norsk Hydro prepares to restart Alunorte alumina plant after nabbing key permit

Norsk Hydro ASA secured approval from Brazilian federal environmental agency IBAMA to use a press filter for processing bauxite residues, which will extend the life of the bauxite residue deposit area one and will enable its Alunorte alumina refinery to restart at 50% capacity. This comes days after the Norwegian company said it would suspend production and lay off workers at Alunorte as the residue deposit area on the site was close to reaching its capacity.

Highlands Pacific says Metallurgical Corp. of China looking into US$1.5B expansion at Ramu

Highlands Pacific Ltd. confirmed a potential US$1.5 billion expansion of the Ramu nickel-cobalt project in Papua New Guinea and said majority partner Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd. is investigating the expansion.

DIVERSIFIED

* Consensus price forecasts for the commodities market remain generally positive, with most price projections for 2018 as of the end of September higher than in 2017. However, the recent continuance of a commodity price retreat saw many of the estimates revised down in the past month.

BASE METALS

* Consolidated Nickel Mines PLC is eyeing a production restart at the Munali nickel mine in Zambia in the first quarter of 2019, Reuters reported. The struggling mine was placed on care and maintenance in late 2011 due to low metal prices.

* London Metal Exchange CEO Matt Chamberlain said the exchange was preparing a proposal that will enable it to ban cobalt brands on the approved list that are believed to be tainted by human rights abuses, Reuters reported. The proposal will take effect by the third quarter of 2019 and will target the brands trading at a large discount.

* As a response to the LME proposal, Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd. CEO Jeremy Weir said the company plans to invest in a project to train, equip and organize artisanal and small-scale cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo into licensed cooperatives, Reuters wrote. The project will be trialed at the Mutoshi mine in the DRC.

* Arc Minerals Ltd. said it intersected mineralization in all 46 holes drilled to date at its Kalaba copper-cobalt project in Zambia. Executive Chairman Nick von Schirnding said the results show a continuous band of mineralization and have exceeded all initial expectations.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Acacia Mining PLC's third-quarter gold production slid 29% yearly to 136,640 ounces, primarily due to reduced operations at its Bulyanhulu mine and stockpile processing at Buzwagi.

* Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. said it intends to issue up to US$500 million of bonds to repay bank loans and fund its international business. S&P Global Ratings assigned a BBB- rating for the proposed issue of senior unsecured notes.

* Sociedad Minera de Santander temporarily suspended operations at its Soto Norte gold project in Colombia due to a blockade in the area of Tronadora since Oct. 2, which affected normal development of activities in the area.

* Australian corporate advisory firm PCF Capital Group Pty. Ltd. is launching one of the first gold and royalty-backed security tokens globally, FutureGold Pty. Ltd., which is seeking to raise up to US$250 million to fund gold explorers, developers and producers ahead of its first offering in the first quarter of 2019.

* Tharisa PLC produced 152,200 ounces of platinum group metals for its full fiscal 2018, representing a 6% increase year on year. Tharisa is considering taking on an equity partner for its PGM project in Zimbabwe, Miningmx reported.

* Village Main Reef Ltd. agreed to a three-year wage deal with the National Union of Mineworkers, the United Associations of South Africa and Solidarity. The agreement includes yearly increases in basic wages for category four to eight employees of 575 South African rand per year. Miners, artisans and officials will receive increases of 4.25% for each year of the deal. Meanwhile, negotiations are ongoing between Sibanye Gold Ltd. and the National Union of Mineworkers, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, UASA and Solidarity.

* Ramelius Resources Ltd. produced 51,428 ounces of gold from its operations in Western Australia in the September quarter, hitting the lower end of the guidance range of 50,000 to 54,000 ounces.

* Mali's industrial gold production this year is still expected to rise about 21% to 60 tonnes despite slightly lower-than-expected output so far, Reuters reported, citing Aboubacar Ogognagaly, head of the mines division.

* Laneway Resources Ltd. struck a deal for Maroon Gold Pty. Ltd. to mine up to 100,000 tonnes of near-surface ore from the company's Agate Creek gold project in Queensland, Australia, and process it at the latter's carbon-in-leach plant.

* Newcrest Mining Ltd.'s IT strategy overhaul four years ago, of reducing its IT team and making substantial investments in artificial intelligence, automation and data analytics, is reaping benefits through reduced costs and improved cash flow, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* KEFI Minerals PLC said local, zonal and regional authorities in Ethiopia confirmed their intention to trigger resettlement of the community affected by the development of the Tulu Kapi gold project, with an agreed target date of Jan. 1, 2019.

BULK COMMODITIES

* As U.S. import tariffs and sanctions against United Co. Rusal PLC push companies to change conventional supply routes, Indian aluminum makers are enhancing sales to Japan, Reuters reported.

* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission determined that the Port of Newcastle should reduce its current charge by about 20%, or 61 Australian cents per gross tonne, for ships entering the port to carry Glencore PLC's coal shipments.

* BIS Industries Ltd. secured a three-year contract extension to provide load and haul services for Glencore at the Newlands coal mine in Queensland, Australia.

* U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sees wage increases as a likely outcome of the ongoing contract negotiations between U.S. steel companies and the United Steelworkers union, Reuters reported. U.S. Steel Corp. and ArcelorMittal USA LLC are in talks with the United Steelworkers union, which represents about 31,000 workers.

* U.S. coal exports totaled 9.1 million tonnes in August, up 5.5% from July and up 17.3% from August 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

* In the week of Oct. 1, an analysis of coal producers' market capitalization found that the top 12 publicly traded U.S. companies saw their total market value grow US$2.69 billion since early November 2017 to US$12.73 billion as of Sept. 28, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* A definitive feasibility study for Centrex Metals Ltd.'s Ardmore phosphate rock project in Queensland, Australia, pegged a posttax net present value, discounted at 10%, of up to A$109 million, an internal rate of return of 30% and a four-year payback period.

* Australian Potash Ltd. entered into an earn-in and joint venture deal with St Barbara Ltd. for the latter to earn up to a 70% interest in the Lake Wells project in Western Australia.

* To limit global temperature increases, a special report by the International Panel on Climate Change recommended that coal power carbon emissions should be reduced by 45% compared to 2010 levels by 2030 and to near net zero by 2050, The Australian Financial Review wrote.

* Edenville Energy PLC signed a two-year deal to supply an initial 300 to 500 tonnes of coal per month from the Rukwa project in Tanzania to an industrial customer operating in East Africa.

* PJSC PhosAgro said Indian Potash Ltd. agreed to purchase up to 2 million tonnes of fertilizer PhosAgro produces from 2019 to 2021, valued at about US$1 billion.

* OMK plans to build a new steelworks and new facilities at the Vyksa metallurgical plant to produce seamless pipes and oilfield service mix pipe at its largest production site, Vedomosti reported.

* Lindian Resources Ltd. said the Tanzania Mining Commission granted project licenses 11176/2017, 11177/2017 and 11178/2017, covering the Magamba deposit of the Lushoto bauxite project.

* Mechel PAO is seeking to retain the railway to its Elga coal operation in Russia to receive tax benefits and subsidies, Vedomosti reported.

SPECIALTY

* The Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission refused to lift Albemarle Corp.'s lithium production quota, saying the information the company provied was not sufficient to justify the increase, Reuters wrote, citing a report by local newspaper La Tercera. The company secured approval from Corfo in March to increase production to between 120,000 and 140,000 annual tonnes of lithium from the 65,000 to 80,000 tonnes originally authorized.

* Bolivia will choose a new junior partner in a few weeks, from among seven companies that submitted proposals, to help industrialize its lithium deposits, Reuters reported, citing Deputy Minister of High Energy Technologies Luis Alberto Echazu, who said the evaluations would take at least two to three weeks.

* POZ Minerals Ltd. is expecting full permitting for a shovel-ready Blina diamond project in Western Australia to be finalized by November.

* Paladin Energy Ltd.'s takeover bid for Summit Resources Ltd. has been declared unconditional.

* Northern Minerals Ltd. produced the first rare earth carbonate through its Browns Range pilot plant in Western Australia, following the start of commissioning the plant in June.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Zambia remains open to talks with mining companies over the government's plan to hike mining taxes, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the Finance Ministry.

* India plans to put up for sale another 100 mines in the next six months following the recent e-auction of 50 mineral blocks in the country, which included 23 limestone, 17 iron ore, four gold, two each of manganese and graphite blocks, and one bauxite and diamond block each, Press Trust of India reported, citing the Ministry of Mines.

* The London Metal Exchange is aiming to launch 10 new contracts in the first quarter of 2019, ranging from hot-rolled coil steel to alumina to cobalt, a key material for electric vehicle batteries, Reuters reported.

* The Australian Labor Party pledged to develop the country's battery metals industry if Bill Shorten is elected the next prime minister, Australian Mining reported. Simultaneously, a A$100 million future battery industries cooperative research center in Western Australia is gaining momentum, WAtoday reported.

* Brian Graves, a partner at law firm Fasken, suggested more mining companies may be considering securing metals streaming deals, as opposed to seeking traditional forms of finance, as continued volatility in commodity prices has made it difficult for miners to access debt and equity financing, Mining Weekly reported.

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