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In This List

Norsk Hydro hit by cyberattack; Brazil orders Vale to suspend more dams

Mining Exploration Insights - April 2020

Mining Exploration Insights December

Mining Exploration Insights: Dip in gold drilling weighs on results

State of the Market: Mining Q2-2019


Norsk Hydro hit by cyberattack; Brazil orders Vale to suspend more dams

TOP NEWS

Norsk Hydro hit by cyberattack

Norsk Hydro ASA fell victim to an extensive cyberattack that compromised IT systems in most business areas at the aluminum major. The company said it has switched to manual operations as much as possible and is working to contain the attack, but it does not know the full extent of the situation. A company representative told Bloomberg News that its extrusion plants have been temporarily suspended while primary production potlines are being operated manually where possible.

Vale ordered to suspend Minervino, Cordao Nova Vista dams in Brazil

A Brazilian court ordered Vale SA to suspend its Minervino and Cordao Nova Vista dams until the company proves the structures are stable, Reuters reported. The miner said the suspension will not have a significant impact on its operations, and it has already shipped mining waste to other unspecified structures.

Court denies Rio Tinto's request to dismiss Mozambique fraud charges

A U.S. judge turned down Rio Tinto's request to dismiss a 2017 case the U.S. SEC filed accusing the company of inflating the value of its failed coal investment in Mozambique, Bloomberg News reported. The SEC accused former CEO Thomas Albanese and former CFO Guy Elliott of inflating the value of coal assets acquired in Mozambique for US$3.7 billion, which were sold a few years later for US$50 million.

DIVERSIFIED

* Antofagasta PLC's earnings attributable to shareholders for 2018 fell to US$543.7 million from US$750.6 million the year before. EBITDA fell 13.9% to US$2.23 billion due to higher unit cash costs, increased exploration and evaluation expenditures, and mine closure provisions.

* BHP Group appointed Ian Cockerill and Susan Kilsby as independent nonexecutive directors, effective April 1, taking the company's total number of directors to 11.

BASE METALS

* BHP signed a nonbinding letter of intent to acquire up to a 70% stake in Luminex Resources Corp.'s Tarqui 1 and 2 copper mining concessions in Ecuador for up to US$7 million in cash payments and by investing as much as US$75 million in the property. The companies will hold talks over the next three months to sign a binding deal.

* The Queensland, Australia, government nixed the mining leases for Baal Gammon Copper Pty. Ltd.'s mothballed Baal Gammon copper mine over A$11,775 in unpaid local council rates, The Australian reported.

* Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd., which is pursuing a resolution of the four Thackaringa joint venture disputes lodged by Broken Hill Prospecting Ltd. through independent expert determination, said the resolution institute nominated an expert, and the process is underway.

* Hardey Resources Ltd.'s new board is reviewing the company's asset portfolio and will reconsider the acquisitions of Nelly Vanadium Pty. Ltd. and Vanadium Mining Pty. Ltd.

* Mincor Resources NL signed a term sheet with BHP Billiton Nickel West Pty. Ltd. that will serve as a basis for a binding off-take agreement covering Mincor's Kambalda nickel operations in Western Australia.

* Yunnan Chihong Zinc and Germanium Co. Ltd. posted a 46% year over year drop in its net profit attributable to shareholders for 2018 to 622.8 million Chinese yuan from 1.16 billion yuan a year earlier.

* Nickel Asia Corp. plans to increase its domestic sales to maximize profits. Shipments for 2019 are expected to remain unchanged, Reuters reported, citing Senior Vice President and CFO Emmanuel Samson.

* Kinross Gold Corp. will secure a 9.7% stake in Wolfden Resources Corp. with a C$2.5 million investment, which will mainly be used to explore the Pickett Mountain high-grade polymetallic deposit in northeastern Maine.

* Camrova Resources Inc. agreed to acquire Chilean company Asesoria y Inversiones MAYG SpA for C$2 million in shares.

* Puma Exploration Inc. and Trevali Mining Corp. mutually terminated an agreement covering the development of the Murray Brook zinc property in New Brunswick.

* A workers' strike looms at KGHM Polska Miedź SA's Sierra Gorda copper mine in Chile after a union rejected the company's latest offer in contract negotiations, Reuters reported, citing Union 1 President Maykel Ocayo.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Kalamazoo Resources Ltd. will kick off high-tech work in April with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization to gain further clarity on expensive diamond drilling in the second half targeting "nothing less than" 10 g/t gold deposits at depth in one of the world's richest alluvial goldfields.

* Mark Bristow's appointment as Barrick Gold Corp. CEO helped thaw relations between the company's Acacia Mining PLC unit and the Tanzanian government. A US$190 billion tax dispute is expected to be resolved by May, Bloomberg News reported, citing Tanzanian Attorney General Adelardus Kilangi.

* A proposed takeover by Middle Island Resources Ltd. for Alto Metals Ltd. is not expected to meet its minimum acceptance condition, with three major shareholders of the latter indicating that they do not intend to approve the approximately A$9.4 million deal.

* Tietto Minerals Ltd.'s drilling at its Abujar‐Gludehi deposit within its Abujar gold project in Cote d'Ivoire intersected the highest-ever grade drill result of 1 meter at 194.93 g/t gold. A resource upgrade for the project is on track for completion by the end of the month.

* Sibanye Gold Ltd. said the South African labor court rejected a request by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union to stop the company's plan to restructure its gold operations in the country.

* Lydian International Ltd. CFO Douglas Tobler will resign, effective June 14, less than a year after Howard Stevenson quit as president and CEO, amid continued fierce opposition to the Amulsar gold project in Armenia.

* Peloton Minerals Corp. unit SBSL Subsidiary Corp. granted Frederick Private Equity Corp. an option to acquire up to 75% of the 390-acre Silver Bell-St Lawrence gold project in Montana.

* Argent Minerals Ltd. received final approval for the Pine Ridge gold mine drilling program, part of its Kempfield project in Australia, from the New South Wales government.

* Tanzania aims to curb illegal gold exports by setting up state-controlled trading centers at the country's mineral-producing regions by late June, Reuters reported, citing a statement from Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.

* At least 30 people were killed in an illegal gold mine collapse in Angola, the African News Agency reported.

BULK COMMODITIES

* A Brazilian court froze 1 billion Brazilian reais in Vale's accounts as compensation for a community affected by the fatal tailings dam burst at the Feijao iron ore mine in Minas Gerais state. The order requires the company to pay for the relocation, food and other needs of the affected people from the Sebastião de Águas Claras-Macacos community.

* Vale secured an injunction allowing it to restart activities at the Guaíba Island Terminal in Mangaratiba in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro. The terminal was closed in March due to an alleged lack of an operating license. About 40 million tonnes of iron ore go through the Ilha da Guaiba terminal per year, according to the Brazilian port regulator.

* Flinders Mines Ltd. filed a revised application to delist from the ASX. The Australian government's takeovers panel accepted the company's revised plan in February.

* French lender BNP Paribas' Cardif insurance division laid out new goals to reduce exposure to coal, Reuters wrote. The company will no longer fund power generation companies where coal-fueled generation comprises more than 30% of installed capacity.

* Vedanta Resources PLC unit Vedanta Ltd. said two people died as a result of clashes between protesters and Odisha Industrial Security Force personnel outside its Lanjigarh alumina refinery in Odisha, India.

* The suspension of Vale's Brucutu and Timbopeba mines prompted BMO Capital Markets to slash the company's iron ore production estimate by a further 30 million tonnes, The Northern Miner reported.

* Shares in Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. all rose March 18 as the companies are expected to benefit from the reduced output from Vale, which was forced to halt operations at its Timbopeba iron ore mine in Brazil following a court order, The Sydney Morning Herald wrote.

* New Hope Group Co. Ltd.'s net profit in the first half of its fiscal 2019 rose 4% to A$120.2 million from A$115.6 million in the comparative period thanks to its increased ownership in the Bengalla coal mine in New South Wales, Australia.

* New Hope expects to decide on reopening the Burton coal mine in Queensland, Australia, by the end of the year, Reuters reported, citing CEO Shane Stephan. The mine was suspended in December 2016. New Hope bought it from Peabody Energy Corp. in November 2017.

* Angang Steel Co. Ltd.'s net profit attributable to shareholders for 2018 jumped 19.8% year over year to 7.95 billion Chinese yuan, or 1.09 yuan per share, beating guidance. Operating income for 2018 climbed 14.7% to 105.16 billion yuan, leading to a 58.64% surge in operating profit to 10.09 billion yuan on a yearly basis.

* Separately, Angang Steel intends to issue asset-backed securities of up to 10 billion Chinese yuan to eligible investors to reduce capital costs and tap idle bills assets.

* Kalium Lakes Ltd. entered into a nonbinding term sheet with German KfW IPEX-Bank for A$102 million of senior debt funding for its Beyondie sulfate of potash mine in Western Australia in addition to the A$74 million debt funding package the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility recently approved.

* Ferrexpo PLC said it now expects to release its full-year 2018 results around April 3 after a probe into its donations to a charity uncovered additional discrepancies. Results had been scheduled for released March 20.

* Steel Dynamics Inc. flagged a year-over-year decrease in its first-quarter EPS to between 88 U.S. cents and 92 cents, from 96 cents a year ago.

* Russia's second-largest steelmaker, Evraz PLC, will buy back US$700 million of 6.5% outstanding bonds maturing April 22, 2020. The company's ultimate owners plan to place 1.8% of shares for sale.

* Evraz's shares opened down 5.7% at 594 pence March 19 in London after the Russian steelmaker's four core shareholders sold a total of 25.4 million shares in an accelerated bookbuild at 595 pence apiece.

* Fenix Resources Ltd. said the total mineral resource at its Iron Ridge project in Western Australia increased 84% to 9.2 million tonnes at 64.1% iron, 3.36% silica, 2.66% aluminum oxide and 0.045% phosphorus using a 58% iron cutoff grade.

* Thyssenkrupp AG's plant engineering business won an engineering, procurement and construction contract for a new fertilizer complex in Cairo. The order is valued in the mid-three-digit million euro range.

* Prophecy Development Corp. will restart its Ulaan Ovoo coal mine in Mongolia this month with an estimated 21,000 tonnes of coal production and sales.

SPECIALTY

* Tronox Ltd.'s proposed acquisition of Cristal, the titanium dioxide business of Saudi Arabia-based National Titanium Dioxide Co. Ltd., will be presented to the Federal Trade Commission for its consideration. The company said the FTC staff joined it to move to withdraw the case from adjudication and ask the commission to consider the transaction with the proposed remedy. An initial decision by the FTC's chief administrative law judge determined that the acquisition may substantially lessen competition for the sale of chloride-based titanium dioxide in North America.

* Boss Resources Ltd.'s phase-one restart assessment at its Honeymoon uranium project in South Australia confirmed the estimates of the May 2017 pre-feasibility study.

* Thiess Pty. Ltd., through its 70%-owned Majwe Mining Joint Venture (Pty.) Ltd., secured a nine-year, A$1.7 billion contract to provide mining services at Debswana Diamond Co. (Pty.) Ltd.'s Cut-9 project, part of its Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana.

* PJSC Alrosa wants to own a majority stake in diamond projects in Zimbabwe that it will develop as part of a deal with the government, Reuters reported, citing CEO Sergey Ivanov.

* Renascor Resources Ltd. Managing Director David Christensen said securing off-take contracts for the company's Siviour graphite project in South Australia that are creditworthy to service debt obligations is "difficult" as the customer base in the large Chinese market is made up of many small entities not often known to western debt providers.

* Syrah Resources Ltd. said its Balama graphite operation in Mozambique and its logistic supply chain have not been impacted by Cyclone Idai.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The U.S. government established a new research program to address expanding automation and related technology in the mining sector.

* The Minerals Council of Australia urged the government to introduce tax reforms to attract more investments.

* Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he will not revoke concessions for mining companies and asked Canadian companies to follow the same standards as they do in their home country such as accurately paying taxes and protecting the environment, Reuters reported.

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