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First Quantum may invest US$1B in Zambia; BHP sees India to offset China plateau


Report: First Quantum eyeing US$1B investment in Africa's largest copper mine

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. is considering investing about US$1 billion to add another decade of production to the largest copper mine in Africa, Reuters reported, citing company documents. The Canadian mining company would reportedly increase annual production from the Kansanshi mine in Zambia from a projected 235,000 tonnes in 2019 to 300,000 tonnes over time with the investment. The company's board would need to sign off on the proposal over the coming year, which could be complicated by issues stemming from taxes and assets between mining companies and the Zambian government.

BHP expects India to offset China's "plateau"

BHP Group is expecting steel production in India to grow 7% a year over the 2020s, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. According to Huw McKay, BHP vice president for market analysis, China is now in a "plateau" phase, while demand in other top steel markets such as Japan and South Korea was also subdued. "The mature markets are sort of settling a little bit and India is coming up, filling a gap that would have emerged," McKay said. Separately, India's coal ministry may allow companies from all sectors to bid for coal and lignite mining licenses, a move that is expected to draw investment from Indian and global companies as well as mining majors.

Glencore considered Fortescue takeover

Glencore PLC considered to offer a takeover deal to Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. to gain exposure to iron ore, The Australian reported, citing unidentified sources. However, Glencore did not pursue any potential deal as Forrest was not a seller of his 35% controlling stake in Fortescue. Fortescue's CEO Elizabeth Gaines said that the company is focused on long-term sustainability of its core iron business.


* Panoramic Resources Ltd. produced 1,042 tonnes of nickel, 695 tonnes of copper and 55 tonnes of cobalt in concentrate during the December 2019 quarter, down by 22% for nickel and by 19% for copper from the previous quarter.

* Myanmar Metals Ltd.'s expansion study for its Bawdwin lead-silver-zinc joint venture in Myanmar delineated two further open pit cutbacks beyond the planned starter pit. According to the expansion study, underground mining at Bawdwin is possible, but two further open pit cutbacks, namely phases two and three, "offer potential for superior outcomes relative to underground mining."


* Gold prices rose to nearly a six-year high after a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, Bloomberg News reported. Bullion rallied as much as 1.6% to US$1,553.52 per ounce in the spot market, the highest since September. Platinum futures reached US$1,000/oz for the first time since early 2018, while silver and other haven assets also climbed, the report said.

* India's 2019 gold imports dropped 12% year over year to 831 tonnes, the lowest in three years, amid weak demand from retail buyers following record-high prices in the second half, Reuters reported, citing a government source. Gold imports in December 2019 fell 18% to 60 tonnes, the report added. In value terms, imports were down almost 2% to US$31.22 billion.

* Trans-Siberian Gold PLC's Asacha mine on Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula will continue to receive discounted electricity in 2020 following an agreement with the peninsula's main power provider. State-owned PJSC Kamchatskenergo will supply the underground mine with electricity at a reduced price of 4.75 Russian rubles per kilowatt-hour in 2020.

* U.K.-based Caledonia Mining Corp. PLC declared a quarterly dividend of 7.5 U.S. cents, rising 9.1% from the previous dividend of 6.875 cents. The dividend is payable to shareholders of record as of Jan. 17, with the dividend check mailing date set for Jan. 31.

* Resolute Mining Ltd. forward sold an additional 22,800 ounces of gold at an average price of US$1,553 per ounce in scheduled monthly deliveries of 3,800 ounces between July and December. The company said that it took advantage of market volatility and current gold price strength to extend its U.S. dollar-denominated gold hedge position.

* Metalla Royalty & Streaming Ltd. expects its common shares to begin trading on the NYSE American as of market open on Jan. 8, under the ticket symbol MTA. The company's common shares will continue trading on the TSX Venture Exchange under the same symbol.


* Anglo American PLC is facing pressure from certain investors to keep its thermal coal mining business amid growing concerns on climate change, The Sunday Times reported. The company's CEO Mark Cutifani has said that Anglo American will quit thermal coal mining, but he did not specify when.

* The proposed green deal by the European Commission on reducing emissions to net zero by 2050 could transform demand for metals used in technology and green applications, Argus Media reported, noting that some will be benefiting while some will be losing out.

* Floods in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, may cause logistical issues for steelmakers in the country, Fastmarkets MB wrote, citing an unnamed trader source. The floods have killed at least 43 people and displaced about 400,000 others, the report said.

* Tata Sons Private Ltd. chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran said in an interview with The Sunday Times that the company "can't have a situation where India keeps funding the losses." The company owns the steelworks in Port Talbot, which according to the chairman, needs to be self-sustaining.

* Nucor Steel Memphis Inc. bought heat-treating equipment from Energy Alloys LLC and plans to build a new, 23,000-square-foot facility to house it, the Daily Memphian reported. The new facility will be constructed at the company's existing plant in Pidgeon Industrial Park, and is expected to produce value added products for customers. The report noted that the total investment is about US$10 million.


* Pathfinder Minerals PLC is exploring commercial options for mining concession 4623C, part of its Moebase ilmenite property in Mozambique, as talks to resolve a dispute over the license continue. The company said it is assessing two independent opportunities, with due diligence on their suitability for Pathfinder now at an advanced stage.

* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. recovered 9,837 carats from its Mothae mine in Lesotho and 4,170 carats from its Lulo mine in Angola during the fourth quarter of 2019, for a total of 14,007 carats. The record results for the quarter contributed to record annual group production of 49,120 carats and combined sales of US$55.0 million for full-year 2019.

* Texas-based Rio Grande Resources Corp. informed the Mining and Minerals Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department of its plan to shut down its Mount Taylor uranium mine, according to the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. The center noted that the mine is neither economically feasible nor environmentally sustainable.

* Lithium Australia NL subsidiary VSPC signed a memorandum of understanding with Beijing Saideli Technology Inc. Co. Ltd. to collaborate on a staged plan for VSPC to commercialize production of its lithium-ferro-phosphate cathode material.


* Australian Industrial Transformation Institute Professor Goran Roos said that industries will shift to a metal-based economy to a higher extent in the future from a coal-and-petroleum based economy, on the back for the global push for decarbonization, ABC reported.

* Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took pride that his administration has not approved new mining concessions, and criticized the five administrations preceding him for issuing approvals that ceded 90 million hectares of land to mining companies, reported.

* Imdex Ltd. completed the acquisition of Flexidrill and its patent protected technologies, COREVIBE and MAGHAMMER, following payment of NZ$3 million in cash.

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