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Northern Star to pay US$800M for 50% Super Pit stake; Essar Steel's sale closes


Northern Star to buy Newmont's 50% stake in Super Pit gold mine

Australia's Northern Star Resources Ltd. inked a binding sales agreement to buy Newmont Goldcorp Corp.'s 50% stake in Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd, holder of a 50% interest in the Super Pit gold mine in Western Australia, for a total consideration of US$800 million. The mine is a 50/50 joint venture between Newmont and Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd., which acquired its 50% stake from Barrick Gold Corp. for US$750 million in November. The transaction is expected to be completed by early January 2020.

ArcelorMittal, Nippon close Essar Steel purchase

ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel Corp. closed their acquisition of the troubled Essar Steel India Ltd. In October 2018, the companies lodged a winning bid of 420 billion Indian rupees, or about US$5.7 billion at the time, to acquire Essar Steel through India's insolvency process. The joint venture has crude steel capacity of 7.5 million tonnes per annum and iron ore pellet capacity of 14 mtpa. The company plans to increase its finished steel shipments to 8.5 mtpa over the medium term and to between 12 mtpa and 15 mtpa over the long term.

Tech giants blamed for juvenile Congolese cobalt miners' fatalities, injuries

Human rights firm International Rights Advocates filed lawsuits against tech giants Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla for aiding and abetting in the death and serious injury of Congolese children claimed to be working in cobalt mines in these companies' supply chains, The Guardian reported. Families of the victims said that their children were killed or maimed while mining for cobalt, which is necessary to power the rechargeable lithium batteries used by the companies in their products.


* Lead production in 2019 is expected to increase marginally, with further growth expected in 2020, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team. Mine expansions and new startups ensure stable output with slow but irregular growth.

* Aeon Metals Ltd. said that the inferred mineral resource estimate for the Amy zone of its Walford Creek copper-cobalt project increased to 5.1 million tonnes grading 1.25% copper, 0.14% cobalt, 37 g/t gold, 1.35% lead and 0.63% zinc.

* Nevada Copper Corp. started production at the Pumpkin Hollow copper processing plant in Nevada. The company expects its first shipment of concentrate and initial revenue in the coming weeks and expects the underground mine to ramp up to full-scale commercial production through the first half of 2020.


* Africa-focused gold producer Endeavour Mining Corp. and London- and Toronto-listed Centamin PLC agreed to undertake reciprocal due diligence to determine the feasibility of a merger after Centamin's board snubbed Endeavour's C$2.52 billion all-share takeover offer in early December.

* Vancouver, British Columbia-based Equinox Gold Corp. and LeaGold Mining Corp. entered into a definitive agreement to merge and form a gold producer operating entirely in the Americas. Under the proposal, LeaGold shareholders will receive 0.331 of an Equinox Gold share for each share held, implying a C$2.70 value per LeaGold share. Closing is expected in the first quarter of 2020.

* Russian gold producer Trans-Siberian Gold PLC expects to save about US$6 million over the next seven years thanks to its admission to the Kamchatka Advanced Special Economic Zone. The company also said it may be entitled to an accelerated process for a value-added tax refund. As part of the deal, Trans-Siberian Gold will invest up to US$21.2 million in new projects until 2024 including developing Vein 25, an extension to the Asacha gold mine.

* Scotgold Resources Ltd. flagged a 12-week delay to the development schedule of the Cononish gold-silver mine in Scotland, U.K., due to issues in managing the excavated materials needed to build the process plant building and to establish the wide drainage site for the dry stack tailings storage facility. First gold production is now expected in May 2020.

* Mexus Gold US is exploring fundraising options, including selling part of its nonproducing properties, to hire more crewmembers and operate the Santa Elena gold mine continuously for 24 hours.

* The Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved the plan of arrangement between Aethon Minerals Corp. and AbraPlata Resource Corp. to merge into an advanced-stage silver-gold exploration company.

* Sunrise Resources PLC signed a deal with General Moly Inc. unit Liberty Moly LLC for a five-year lease of water rights to develop the CS pozzolan-perlite project in Nevada. The leased water rights are attached to the past-producing Liberty molybdenum mine about 18 miles west of CS.


* After more than two weeks of negotiations, delegates from more than 190 countries went home without reaching an agreement on how to account for carbon reductions and markets under the Paris Agreement on climate change. Expressing disappointment with the lack of concrete progress at COP25, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement, "The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis."

* Steel Dynamics Inc. expects lower fourth-quarter earnings year over year of between 49 U.S. cents and 53 U.S. cents per diluted share, or between 55 cents and 59 cents in adjusted earnings per diluted share. The company is set to book lower earnings partly due to two planned annual maintenance outages at the Butler and Columbus flat roll divisions, resulting in higher than normal maintenance and associated costs of about US$15 million, or 5 cents per diluted share. The outage also reduced flat roll steel shipments by about 70,000 tons to 80,000 tons.

* Alcoa Corp. will permanently close its Point Comfort alumina refinery in Texas. The site's 2.3 million tonnes of annual alumina capacity has been fully curtailed since June 2016. Alcoa will record restructuring charges in the fourth quarter of approximately US$175 million. Point Comfort is part of Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals, a group of companies owned 60% by Alcoa and 40% by Alumina Ltd.

* 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 envisions 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.

* India's Comptroller and Auditor General censured state-owned Coal India Ltd. over pollution at eight mines, Mining Weekly reported.


* Governments across the world are supporting the uptake of electric vehicles, with efforts focused on improving air quality, meeting greenhouse gas emissions targets, bridging cost gaps between EVs and internal combustion engines, and lowering fuel unit consumption. EV incentive policies across Europe, the U.S., China and Japan have driven sales, but ongoing policy support is still needed to continue fleet electrification as average EV prices are still higher than that of ICE vehicles on a nonsubsidized basis, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team.

* Iluka Resources Ltd. expects an impairment charge of US$290 million related to its Sierra Rutile Ltd. operations in Africa, Reuters reported. This will reduce the carrying value of Sierra Rutile's remaining net assets to about US$50 million. Iluka also expects its rehabilitation liability to increase by US$41 million, hurting fiscal 2019 results.

* Lynas Corp. Ltd. was not successful in being granted an approval by the Malaysian government to increase its lanthanide concentrate processing limit for 2019.

* Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbai Jeenbekov signed a decree banning the mining of uranium and thorium deposits in the country, Xinhua reported. The new law prohibits geological exploration and development of uranium and thorium deposits, and the dumping and transfer of the material, in Kyrgyzstan.

* USA Rare Earth LLC and Texas Mineral Resources Corp. opened the Wheat Ridge rare earths pilot plant in Colorado, the first rare earths processing facility outside of China. The plant will use feedstock from the Round Top rare earths deposit in Texas.

* 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 to US$55.0 million.

* Speciality Metals International Ltd. through its joint venture with CRONIMET Australia Ltd. completed the C2 electrical commissioning for the entire plant at the Mount Carbine tungsten project in Queensland, Australia.

* 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 will help it promote and finance the Blina diamond project in Western Australia.

* Talga Resources Ltd. started its second commercial-scale trial of its Talcoat graphene additive for maritime coatings.


* The Philippines’ Mines and Geosciences Bureau issued an order requiring the monitoring of undisposed residual stockpiles outside mining sites, in a bid to improve the country’s regulation of small-scale mining operations, the Manila Bulletin reported.

* Madagascar's mining chamber opposed a draft bill that would grant the government a bigger share of revenue from mining activities, Reuters reported. The bill aims to increase royalties on nickel, cobalt, precious metals and gemstones to 4% from 2%. The government would also own at least a 20% stake in any marketable mining production under the proposal.

* Peru's National Service of Protected Natural Areas approved the creation of the Ausangate Regional Conservation Area, which aims to safeguard glaciers and the Andean grasslands, together with emblematic 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.

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