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Brazil court orders arrest of Vale workers; Abramovich sells Norilsk shares


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Brazil court orders arrest of Vale workers; Abramovich sells Norilsk shares


Brazil court orders arrest of Vale workers, contractors over Feijao disaster

Vale SA employees and contractors who worked for auditor TÜV SÜD AG and were charged following the Feijao mine disaster in January were ordered arrested by a Brazilian court, Reuters reported. The decision comes just barely a month after the workers were released by an appeals court order. Vale said the arrests are unnecessary, given that these people had already given their statements to authorities.

Norilsk falters as Abramovich sells shares below market value

PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co.'s share price dropped more than 4% upon opening March 13 in Moscow before pulling back slightly, after Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov's Crispian Investments sold a stake in the company at below market value in an accelerated bookbuild. Crispian, which originally planned to sell a 1.25% interest, sold a 1.7% stake for 13,450 rubles per share, representing a 6.5% discount on the March 12 closing price of 14,380 rubles.

Foreign-controlled Indonesian miners to begin off-loading shares, official says

Six foreign-controlled miners operating in Indonesia plan to off-load some of their shares in the near-term, in line with the country's mining regulations, Reuters reported, citing Yunus Saifulhak, director of minerals at Indonesia's energy and mining ministry. These companies include Vale's 60%-controlled PT Vale Indonesia Tbk., Newcrest Mining Ltd.'s 75%-owned PT Nusa Hamahera Mineral and Kingsrose Mining Ltd.'s 85%-controlled PT Natarang Mining.


* S&P Global Market Intelligence maintains a constructive short-term outlook for zinc prices after LME three-month prices have increased in line with expectations so far in 2019. LME three-month zinc prices traded at US$2,788/t on March 6, up 13.0% from the end of 2018.

* Having been on "care and maintenance" since 2015, TSX Venture Exchange-listed junior Altan Nevada Minerals Ltd. relaunched itself with a restructure and debt-for-equity swap underway and a new focus on its long-dormant Venus copper property in Nevada. At the close of the debt-for-shares conversion, the junior will be worth about C$3 million with just over C$1 million in the bank, corporate director Paul Stephen said in an interview on the sidelines of the Battery Minerals Conference in Perth, Western Australia.

* Hudbay Minerals Inc. reached an agreement with United Copper & Moly LLC to purchase the latter's 7.95% interest in the Rosemont copper project in Arizona and to terminate all of its remaining earn-in and off-take rights.

* General Moly Inc. said it is evaluating strategic alternatives amid a "challenging market," with options including possibly selling the company or its assets.

* Great Boulder Resources Ltd. executed an option to earn up to a 75% stake in Ausgold Ltd.'s Winchester copper project in Western Australia.

* Red Mountain Mining Ltd. secured an option to acquire a 70% interest in Crane Copper Mining, which holds a right to develop and process minerals from the smelter slag at the Jinja copper project in Uganda.


* B2Gold Corp. swung to an attributable net loss of US$58.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, from a profit of US$29.9 million in the year-ago period. Full-year 2018 attributable net profit slumped to US$28.9 million from US$56.9 million. The Toronto-listed miner's results during the year were affected by a US$55 million net impairment charge at the La Libertad gold mine due to political instability in Nicaragua and by the sale of the Mocoa copper-molybdenum deposit in the second quarter of 2018.

* The reported all-in sustaining costs of the largest gold producers dropped to a weighted average of US$826/oz in the fourth quarter of 2018, a 5% decrease from the same companies' weighted average in the previous quarter. The drop came even as most of the companies included in the analysis saw quarter-over-quarter increases in all-in sustaining costs.

* K92 Mining Inc. will go ahead with an expansion of the Kainantu gold mine in Papua New Guinea, doubling capacity to 400,000 tonnes a year.

* Doray Minerals Ltd.'s largest shareholder, Perennial Value Management, with about a 12.9% stake, confirmed its intention to vote in favor of the company's merger with Silver Lake Resources Ltd., subject to no superior proposal.

* Metminco Ltd. signed a nonbinding indicative offer to acquire Colombia-focused Andes Resources Ltd. for 33.5 new Metminco shares for every Andes share. The deal would give Metminco access to gold- and copper-prospective exploration tenements in the country.

* West Wits Mining Ltd. subsidiary Tambina Gold Pty. Ltd. entered into an agreement allowing First Au Ltd. to earn up to an 80% interest in the three active mining leases forming the Tambina gold project in Western Australia.

* VRX Silica Ltd. said Metalicity Ltd. decided not to progress its option agreement over the Biranup gold project in Western Australia.

* Altus Strategies PLC granted Indiana Resources Ltd. a 30-day extension to complete due diligence over its Lakanfla and Tabakorole gold projects in Mali, which are part of an option deal signed in February.


* Russia's third-largest steelmaker, PJSC Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works, said its shipments of metal products within the Commonwealth of Independent States grew by almost 6% year over year in 2018 to 9.03 million tonnes.

* China Coal Energy Co. Ltd.'s production of commercial coal in February rose 34.8% year over year to 7.21 million tonnes, while sales climbed 7.2% to 13.8 million tonnes.

* U.S. mines responsible for 1.9 million tons of coal production in 2018 were idle in the last quarter of the year, an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis shows. A majority of the idlings were at mines in Central and Northern Appalachia.

* A federal appeals court denied Murray Energy Corp.'s attempt to challenge a federal labor board's determination that the company committed unfair labor practices.

* After a fatal January roof collapse resulted in the suspension of operations, several mines in China will soon resume coal production, Caixin reported. The mines, located in Yulin city in the province of Shaanxi, will have a capacity of 130 million tons per year, according to a list of mines released by the city.

* Malaysia is ending its moratorium on bauxite mining March 31 on the condition that miners carry out an environmental impact study of their projects in the country before receiving licenses to restart operations, Reuters reported.

* Rail freight operator Aurizon Holdings Ltd. said repairs on its rail infrastructure and overhead lines that suffered damage from a train derailment at the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal in Queensland, Australia, earlier in the month are expected to be completed by March 15, Fastmarkets MB reported.

* Giyani Metals Corp. decreased its stake in Canoe Mining Ventures Corp. to about 9.9% from about 23.7% by selling 9,580,000 Canoe Mining shares for C$538,200.

* Mayur Resources Ltd. signed a binding off-take deal with Qingdao Shinebest to supply 200,000 tonnes per annum of vanadium titano-magnetite sands produced from the Orokolo Bay project in Papua New Guinea for two years.


* China, the largest producer of rare earth elements in the world, also emerged as the biggest importer of the minerals in 2018, Reuters reported, citing analysts. The country's imports of rare earth oxides and oxide equivalents soared 167% year over year to 41,400 tonnes, amid an industrywide crackdown on illegal production.

* Premier African Minerals Ltd.'s share price rose about 18% on March 13 after disclosing that the Zimbabwean government proposed a US$6 million investment in the RHA tungsten mine, which has been closed since January 2018 due to the lack of funds.

* Orocobre Ltd. CEO Martin Perez de Solay said lithium prices are expected to remain volatile for the short term, which will likely make financing difficult for new industry projects, Reuters reported. The executive noted that the company has seen its lithium prices drop 40% in the last six months.

* Wealth Minerals Ltd. secured a four-year option to acquire 1,749 hectares of vanadium claims in New Brunswick known as the Meductic property.

* Fission 3.0 Corp. signed a binding agreement to grant Rhyolite Lithium Corp. an option to earn up to an 80% interest in the company's mining concessions in Peru by spending up to C$22 million over a five-year period.

* Graphite One Resources Inc. obtained disinterested shareholder approval to convert its existing debt to Taiga Mining Company, Inc. into 13.3 million shares, increasing the latter's stake in the company to 39.5% from 19.22%.

* An International Energy Agency expert forecast at the Battery Minerals Conference in Perth, Western Australia, that electric cars will reach price parity with internal combustion engine cars in five years, but limited driving range, charge infrastructure and high purchase costs remain barriers.

* Walkabout Resources Ltd. is confident that it can confirm binding off-take agreements for at least 75% of the graphite product from its Lindi Jumbo project in Tanzania in the first half.

* Gem Diamonds Ltd. recovered 126,875 carats from its 70%-owned Letseng mine in Lesotho in 2018, up from 111,811 carats recovered a year earlier. Average value per carat increased to US$2,131 per carat, from US$1,930 per carat in 2017.

* Birimian Ltd. is aiming to complete a definitive feasibility study for its Goulamina lithium project in Mali by the first quarter of 2020, ahead of a final investment decision for the operation by the second half of 2020.


* Financing levels improved by 38% increase month over month in February, but the year-to-date total is still well below the same period of 2018, according to a Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence. Total funds raised for gold were up by US$6.6 million month over month, but the 50 completed financings was less than January's 55. Funding raised for base/other metals was up 26% on a monthly basis to US$45 million on a monthly basis in 30 financings, after falling to a 35-month low in January.

* After backlash from indigenous advocates, Brazilian Mining Secretary Alexandre Vidigal de Oliveira defended the government's plan to open the country's indigenous reserves for mining, saying mining in an environmentally sustainable manner will bring needed economic growth, Reuters reported.

* New emissions standards enacted by Western Australia's Environmental Protection Agency may open up potential legal issues against mining operations, which may lead to court disputes holding up the development of Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia, The West Australian reported.

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