BHP to review 4 industry association memberships over climate, energy policies
BHP Group will review its memberships in four industry associations that go against the mining giant's policies on climate change and energy, although it was not ready to withdraw as some shareholders had wished. BHP will evaluate its membership in the New South Wales Minerals Council by April 30, 2020, and in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Mining Association of Canada and the American Petroleum Institute by Aug. 31, 2020.
German anti-cartel watchdog fines steelmakers €646M
Steelmakers thyssenkrupp AG, Salzgitter AG unit Ilsenburger Grobblech GmbH, and Voestalpine AG were fined a total of about €646 million as part of a settlement with German antitrust watchdog Bundeskartellamt over price fixing in the German steel market. From mid-2002 to June 2016, the companies and three individuals collaborated to fix prices and surcharges for quarto plates, a kind of steel used for construction, bridges, ships and pipelines. The fine is not final and can be appealed.
Glencore to join Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network
Glencore PLC will join the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network, an industry collaboration that uses blockchain technology to promote responsible sourcing and production practices. The company expects to obtain full membership by the end of February 2020 and initially focus on cobalt.
* European copper major Aurubis AG aims to dispose of its noncore flat rolled products division in 2020; talks with potential buyers are already in advanced stages, Reuters reported, citing CEO Roland Harings. The flat rolled products division supplies the construction, automotive, electronics and telecommunications sectors. It has primary production sites in Germany, the U.S., the Netherlands and Finland and has copper processing centers in Italy, the U.K. and Slovakia.
* Indonesian President Joko Widodo vowed to defend the government against a complaint filed by the EU with the World Trade Organization over the country's planned ban on nickel ore exports, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the Cabinet Secretariat. Widodo said the government would not backtrack on the export restriction.
* Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. will receive financial support of 1.5 billion Chinese yuan from controlling shareholder Jiangxi Copper Corp. Ltd., which the company can only use to repay loans or supplement its working capital.
* Dongying Fangyuan Nonferrous Metal Co. Ltd. stopped the syndication of a US$300 million, one-year loan two weeks into its launch to the market, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter.
* Copper exploration budgets have increased by US$245.4 million, or 12%, year over year in 2019, driven by optimism for new discoveries in Australia and by increased activity by major companies in Chile and the U.S., according to the Metals and Mining Research team of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
* Alamos Gold Inc. is on track to reach its full-year 2019 production guidance of 480,000 to 520,000 ounces and all-in sustaining cost of US$920 per ounce to US$960/oz. Dividends increase 50% to an annual rate of 6 U.S. cents per share starting in 2020, reflecting a strong free cash flow outlook.
* PNX Metals Ltd. decided to prioritize near-term gold production from its Fountain Head project, part of the Hayes Creek project in Australia's Northern Territory, and has accelerated studies and approvals for developing a gold heap leach operation. Funds will be reallocated from the broader Hayes Creek definitive feasibility study to accelerate activities at Fountain Head.
* The independent board committee of Australian royalty company Royalco Resources Ltd. recommended that shareholders accept Fitzroy River Corp. Ltd.'s offer to acquire all Royalco shares it does not own for 24 Australian cents apiece.
* ExGen Resources Inc. granted Blue Lagoon Resources Inc. an option to acquire 80% of the Gordon Lake gold property in Canada's Northwest Territories.
* Tata Steel Ltd. is mothballing, instead of closing, its Orb Electrical Steels unit in Newport, South Wales, U.K., as the steelmaker seeks a new buyer for the operation, BBC News reported. Workers at the site will be moved to other parts of the business, including Port Talbot.
* Marubeni Corp. agreed to acquire shares in Canada-based Alliance Magnesium Inc., which plans to build a C$100 million magnesium ingot commercial plant in Quebec, with Marubeni's investment at C$16.7 million. Construction will start in 2020, with first production expected in the same year.
* After Chinese steelmakers broadly saw their earnings plunge in the third quarter, analysts noted some recent changes in the demand picture, expecting a recovery in companies' earnings for the last quarter of the year amid improving steel margins. Steel producers recently saw their margins improve with domestic prices for steel, especially construction steel rebar, rallying in November, according to Xu Ruoxu, a Shanghai-based nonferrous metals analyst with brokerage firm Shenwan Hongyuan Securities.
* A self-proclaimed nonpartisan budget watchdog suggested that the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund's outstanding debt to the U.S. Treasury could reach US$15.4 billion by 2050 due to the reduced coal excise tax rate on coal producers.
* TNG Ltd. signed a binding term sheet to sell 100% of the iron products that will be produced at its Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in Australia's Northern Territory to Indian mining conglomerate Vimson Group. The company intends to annually produce about 500,000 tonnes of iron oxide fines from its planned TIVAN processing facility.
* Kommersant reported that Estonia-registered NT Marine Co. received permission to supply over 600,000 tonnes of coking and steam coal from Russia to Ukraine in December.
* Nippon Steel Corp. intends to terminate its reporting obligations with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
* Steel Dynamics Inc. completed the sale of US$400 million of 2.800% notes due 2024 and US$600 million of 3.450% notes due 2030. The company will use the proceeds to redeem or satisfy and discharge the entire US$700 million of its 5.125% senior notes due 2021 and for general corporate purposes.
* Charlotte, N.C.-based lithium giant Albemarle Corp. forecast a 2024 revenue range of US$4.4 billion to US$5.0 billion. The company said it sees significant growth potential driven by increasing sales of electric vehicles.
* PJSC Alrosa's supervisory board approved the disposal of the company's 99.75% stake in nonstate pension fund JSC Almaznaya Osen to a professional financial company. The Russian diamond producer said the deal is aimed at accelerating the development of the fund, which counts current and retired Alrosa employees among its clients.
* Petra Diamonds Ltd.'s mining operations in South Africa are operating normally after state power utility Eskom lifted load restrictions.
* Rio Tinto acknowledged the Australian Takeovers Panel's decision to suspend Energy Resources of Australia Ltd.'s A$476 million renounceable entitlement offer. The mining giant will consider the panel's judgment before determining its next steps.
* Northern Minerals Ltd. shed two Chinese directors in the past two months amid revelations that China has increased rare earth oxide exports while western countries scramble to secure their own supply chains. CEO George Bauk said at the New World Metals Conference in Perth, Australia, that his company had been criticized for having so many Chinese directors on its board and too much Chinese investment.
* Base Resources Ltd.'s definitive feasibility study for its Toliara heavy mineral sands project in Madagascar outlined a posttax net present value, discounted at 10%, of US$652 million, a 21.4% internal rate of return and a 4.25-year payback period. The first and second stage capital expenditure totals US$511 million for a 19 million-tonne-per-annum operation.
* Prospect Resources Ltd.'s updated definitive feasibility study for its 87%-owned Arcadia lithium project in Zimbabwe outlined a posttax net present value, discounted at 10%, of US$645 million, a 70% internal rate of return and a 1.5-year payback period. Meanwhile, the ASX-listed company's shares had jumped 22.73% by Dec. 22 trading close after the company signed a memorandum of understanding for a possible equity investment and off-take deal by Uranium One Group JSC, a subsidiary of Russia's ROSATOM.
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