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Cracks found at Vale's B-5 dam; Northern Star to buy Newmont's Super Pit stake


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Cracks found at Vale's B-5 dam; Northern Star to buy Newmont's Super Pit stake


Cracks found in Vale's B-5 tailings dam in Brazil

Brazil's Minas Gerais state prosecutors asked Vale SA to hire an independent auditor after cracks were found in the iron ore mining company's B-5 tailings dam, Reuters reported, citing broadcast news from television program Jornal da Band. The B-5 tailings dam is located at the Mutuca iron ore mine, near the town of Brumadinho where Vale's collapsed tailings dam of the Feijao iron ore mine was located. The report noted that in October, Vale met with the prosecutors but declined to commit to an independent audit, saying that the cracks "have not been presenting any changes and do not compromise the structure."

Report: Northern Star set to acquire Newmont's Super Pit stake

Northern Star Resources Ltd. is set to acquire Newmont Goldcorp Corp.'s 50% stake in the Super Pit gold mine in Western Australia, with the miner said to have launched a A$700 million fundraising and tapped brokers Macquarie Capital and Canaccord Genuity to oversee the acquisition, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk reported. Sources said that Northern Star, which was placed on a trading halt Dec. 16, will most likely pay more than Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd.'s US$750 million purchase price for Barrick Gold Corp.'s 50% stake in the Super Pit, which was completed in November.

Jingye confident in closing British Steel acquisition amid deal breakdown rumors

Hebei Jingye Group Co. Ltd. is confident it will win approval for its bid to acquire British Steel Corp. Ltd., as it continues to make progress in completing the transaction, BBC News reported. The Chinese firm's statement came after The Telegraph, quoting Whitehall sources, reported that the bid is threatened with collapse and that talks with other potential suitors have been opened. Further, a report by The Times of London reported that capital controls being imposed by China on Jingye could thwart a final deal.


* Indonesian copper-gold miner and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. unit PT Freeport Indonesia said its underground pit will reach optimum operations by 2022, while the open pit will stop operations in mid-2020, Kontan reported, citing Freeport spokesman Riza Pratama.

* Vast Resources PLC initiated the cold commissioning of the Baita Plai polymetallic mine in Romania, with initial trial production to begin shortly.

* Ora Banda Mining Ltd. served Horseshoe Metals Ltd. and subsidiary Murchison Copper Mines Pty Ltd. an originating process for winding up due to failure to comply with a statutory demand in respect of finances owing under judgment debts amounting to A$64,254.93 in the case of the parent company and A$67,574.65 in the case of the subsidiary.


* First Quantum Minerals Ltd. started the arbitration proceedings against Zambia's ZCCM Investments Holdings PLC to resolve a dispute about a money transfer to parent company of Kansanshi Mining PLC, Reuters reported. The arbitration follows a criminal complaint made by ZCCM-IH with allegations of unauthorized money transfer by Kansanshi Mining to First Quantum's local subsidiary.

* Codelco CEO Octavio Araneda expects medium-term copper prices to range from about US$2.60 per pound to US$2.80 per pound, with the Chilean miner projected to generate additional revenue of about US$1 billion per year for the state starting 2021, Reuters reported, citing local newspaper El Mercurio.


* Endeavour Mining Corp. CEO Sébastien de Montessus and Centamin PLC Chairman Josef El-Raghy agreed at a meeting to conduct reciprocal due diligence exercise to determine the feasibility of a potential combination of the two companies, after the latter's board rejected the former's C$2.52 billion all-share takeover bid. Endeavour has sent a proposed timetable to Centamin in order to begin the due diligence process, and has asked Centamin to request for an extension of Endeavour's "put up or shut up" deadline of Dec. 31.

* South Africa-based Northam Platinum Ltd. struck a five-year wage agreement with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union at the Booysendal platinum operation. The company also completed a private placement of senior and unsecured notes worth 500 million rand, with proceeds to be used for the recommissioning of the Eland platinum mine.

* An updated reserve and resource estimate for Shanta Gold Ltd.'s New Luika gold mine in Tanzania, which will incorporate results from its latest drilling program, is due for release in early 2020.

* Resolution Minerals Ltd. completed the due diligence on the 64North project in Alaska. Resolution executed an option to a joint venture deal and provided the required US$500,000 exploration advance to Millrock Resources Inc.

* Geopacific Resources Ltd. said that civil construction has started at its Woodlark gold project in Papua New Guinea, following a A$40 million capital raising in October.

* Local authorities said that 24 people died in a landslide at the Ndiyo gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, reported, citing information from Agence France-Presse.


* Steelmaker ArcelorMittal's unit ArcelorMittal Europe plans to cut its carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 as part of its previously announced plan to be carbon neutral in Europe by 2050. The CEO of ArcelorMittal Europe's Flat Products segment, Geert Van Poelvoorde, said the decarbonization plan is in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change and the European Union's target to reach net-zero emissions in 2050 as part of the "European Green Deal."

* Citing slowing economic growth and increasingly difficult market conditions, Moody's Investors Service placed a negative outlook on the U.S. coal and steel sectors for 2020. The cumulative EBITDA of U.S. coal producers is forecast to decline by more than 3% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to a report detailing the firm's outlook on base metals, steel and coal. Moody's negative 2020 outlook for the U.S. steel industry stems from forecast muted demand due to slowing economic growth and "lackluster prices."

* Former New York City Mayor and 2020 White House hopeful Mike Bloomberg called to shut down all U.S. coal plants by 2030 and for the country to rely fully on clean energy by 2050 as part of a campaign energy plan. With the release of the proposal, Bloomberg joins several other top Democratic presidential contenders who have pledged to move the U.S. to 100% clean energy if elected.

* U.S. Steel Corp. agreed to pay US$8.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed in 2017 that accused the steelmaker of negligence in allowing air pollution emissions from its Clairton Coke Works in Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reported.

* Thailand's Standard Long Steel Product Trade Association, EAF Long Product Steel Producer Association, Association of Thai Steel Industries and the Thai Steel Wire Rod Trade Association submitted a petition to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asking for help to promote the use of locally manufactured steel products in infrastructure development projects, the Bangkok Post reported.

* American Pacific Borates Ltd. intends to double production of sulfate of potash at its Fort Cady mine in California to 217,724 tonnes per annum, from 108,861 tonnes per annum from the project's definitive feasibility study, on the back of continued strength of the market, and strong fertilizer market fundamentals that is expected to lead to long-term demand growth.

* Australian Bauxite Ltd.'s board approved the filing of a mining lease application in early 2020, coupled with a related project strategy, for its flagship Binjour bauxite project in Queensland, Australia.

* Oracle Power PLC reached an agreement with the private office of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum and China National Coal Group Corp. subsidiary China National Coal Development Co. Ltd. to jointly develop the Block VI coal-to-power project in Pakistan. The deal envisages the creation of a special purpose vehicle, which will be 73%-owned by China National Coal, 15%-owned by the private office and 12%-owned by Oracle Power.

* Ghana Manganese Co. terminated its equipment hire contract with 's African Mining Services at the Nsuta manganese mine in Ghana after the government advised the mining company to cap its production. Perenti reduced its fiscal 2020 underlying net profit after tax guidance to about A$115 million to A$120 million, from the previous guidance of A$140 million.

* India's coal ministry said that it will establish "Sustainable Development Cell" to promote sustainable coal mining in the country and address environmental concerns over mine closures, Press Trust of India reported.


* The oversupply of lithium chemical compounds that forced prices down in 2019 should persist in 2020 as the "electric vehicle revolution" will not accelerate in tandem with recent — and upcoming — increases in supply, according to a report of S&P Global Platts.

* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd.'s latest sales of diamonds from the Lulo mine in Angola and the Mothae mine in Lesotho generated US$6.4 million in revenue, bringing total sales in 2019 up to US$55.0 million.

* Prospect Resources Ltd. signed a three-year secure power supply agreement with Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company for the Arcadia lithium project.

* Gibb River Diamonds Ltd. said entities related to Ron Brierley, including Mercantile Investment Co. Ltd., divested their shareholding. The ASX-listed explorer believes that the sale greatly enhances its ability to promote and finance the Blina diamond project in Western Australia.

* The U.S. Army extended, for the third time, the deadline for proposals from miners for the cost estimates of a rare earths processing plant, with the Army division overseeing munitions planning to fund up to two-thirds of a refiner's costs and may fund at least one project, Reuters reported.


* Fitch analysts are maintaining a bearish metal prices outlook for 2020 due to trade tensions and expected weak demand which remain firmly in place, reported. Fitch analysts are expecting more mergers and acquisitions in the gold mining industry in 2020, especially among mid-tier producers following on from major deals announced in 2018 and 2019. Demand for lithium and cobalt, meanwhile, is expected to improve due to low prices luring purchases from electric vehicle manufacturers, and that Chinese electric vehicle sales hold strong.

* Peru's National Service of Protected Natural Areas approved the creation of the Ausangate Regional Conservation Area, which aims to safeguard the glaciers and the Andean grasslands, together with the emblemic animals, from damaging activities, reported. Though mining was not explicitly banned within the area, projects are unlikely to be approved, the report said, citing Cusco's manager for natural resources, María Isabel Cazorla.

* WestStar Industrial Ltd.'s engineering contractor business SIMPEC has been awarded an additional estimated A$6 million of scope extensions to its current contracts in Western Australia. This brings the total contracts awarded to the company to about A$30 million since July 1. The company is expecting to complete its acquisition of Alltype Engineering Pty Ltd. in early 2020.

S&P Global Platts and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

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