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Liquefaction blamed for Vale dam burst; Rio appeals stoppage of offering


Expert report out on deadly Vale dam collapse; Germany investigating auditor

An expert panel hired by Vale SA to conduct an investigation over the disintegration of a tailings dam at the Feijao iron ore mine in Brazil in January concluded that the failure and resulting flow slide was the result of flow liquefaction, or sudden loss of strength, within the tailings in the dam. The panel said that there were no "apparent signs of distress" to the dam structure prior to the burst that killed hundreds. Meanwhile, German prosecutors opened an inquiry into TÜV SÜD AG, suspecting that it illegally signed off on the stability of a tailings dam at Feijao, Reuters reported.

Rio Tinto appeals suspension of Energy Resources of Australia's A$476M offering

Rio Tinto filed an appeal against Australian Takeovers Panel's decision to suspend Energy Resources of Australia Ltd.'s A$476 million renounceable entitlement offer. In its decision, the panel said minority shareholders will be unlikely to participate as it requires shareholders to invest additional capital to avoid dilution.

ArcelorMittal Europe eyes 30% reduction in emissions by 2030

ArcelorMittal Europe aims to cut emissions by 30% by 2030, part of ArcelorMittal's previously announced plan to be carbon neutral by 2050. To achieve the goal, the company will focus on a cleaner steelmaking process as well as the use of carbon capture.


* The internal shakeup at mining giant BHP Group continued, with the announcement that Chief Transformation Officer Jonathan Price will depart the company. The company said that Price will return to the U.K. with his family after overseeing the transition of his team into the assets and functional areas over the first half of 2020.

* French diversified miner ERAMET SA slashed its second-half EBITDA forecast, saying would be in line with its first-half EBITDA of €307 million after previously flagging a significant increase for the period. The company said low prices of manganese ore and nickel would weigh on its results. Eramet confirmed its annual output targets of 4.5 million tonnes of manganese ore, 720,000 tonnes of mineral sands and 1.5 Mt of nickel ore exports.


* A new tailings pond constructed by Grupo México SAB de CV is reportedly posing a new threat to the local population after the company spilled about 11 million gallons of copper sulfate acid solution carrying heavy metals in 2014 from the Buenavista mine into the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers, Fronteras Desk reported, citing a new report by the nonprofit PODER.

* Chinese graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, is investigating China Nonferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co. Ltd.'s deputy general manager Yang Qi on serious breaches of discipline, according to Reuters, which wrote that the allegations are a "common euphemism for corruption."

* Copper prices jumped to a seven-month high of US$2.8310 per pound, reported, after the U.S. and China reportedly agreed the terms for a "phase one" deal, as part of which the U.S. is considering lowering existing tariffs, though legal text is yet to be finalized. U.S. President Donald Trump is willing to delay the next round of fresh tariffs on nearly US$160 billion of Chinese goods, originally scheduled to take effect Dec. 15, after China pledged US$50 billion in farm purchases next year, sources told Reuters and Bloomberg.

* Zambia's Kansanshi Holdings Ltd. filed an arbitration case against ZCCM Investments Holdings PLC and Kansanshi Mining PLC over an allegedly illegal transfer of money, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the Lusaka Stock Exchange. The proceedings are strictly confidential, the report said. ZCCM owns 20% of the Kansanshi copper mine, with the rest held by First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

* Aus Tin Mining Ltd. agreed to non-binding indicative terms for a A$1.5 million convertible loan to resume operations at the Granville tin project in Tasmania, Australia. Mine restart is eyed during the March 2020 quarter.


* Barrick Gold Corp. CEO Mark Bristow said the company's finances were strong enough to support the start of a new mine or even carry out a transaction without taking any outside help, Bloomberg News reported. "We're going to settle all the near-term debt, and we're left with debt that's only due from 2023 onwards," Bristow said.

* 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.

* Xtract Resources PLC and Nexus Capital Holdings Ltd. terminated their collaboration agreement to exploit alluvial gold deposits at the former's Manica concession in Mozambique. Xtract will now be in charge of 100% of gold revenue and costs of its Mozambican subsidiary Explorator Ltda.

* Resolute Mining Ltd. launched a strategic review to assess options for the Bibiani gold mine in Ghana. The review is designed to consider its recommissioning plans for the mine, assess capital requirements, evaluate funding activities, and to investigate expressions of interest from third parties to acquire the property.

* Toronto-based IAMGOLD Corp. expects its Westwood underground gold mine in Quebec to achieve a steady-state annual gold production of 130,000 ounces to 145,000 ounces at all-in sustaining costs of US$1,000 per ounce to US$1,100/oz following a ramp-up period of three to four years. During the ramp-up period, yearly gold output is projected at 100,000 ounces to 125,000 ounces at AISC of US$1,125/oz to US$1,225/oz.

* One of Kalia Ltd.'s geologists died from injuries sustained in a fall during fieldwork at the company's Mount Tore tenements in Papua New Guinea.

* The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy approved amendments to the mining and air use permits for Aquila Resources Inc.'s Back Forty gold project to align them with the project design outlined in the August 2018 open pit feasibility study as well as in its wetlands permit issued in June 2018.


* Thyssenkrupp AG is hoping to win contracts related to the construction of a new factory by Tesla Inc. close to the German capital, Klaus Keysberg, a board member in charge of steel and materials services at the conglomerate told German business daily Handelsblatt, according to Reuters.

* Pacific Bauxite Ltd. will dispose of its bauxite projects in the Solomon Islands, including the Nendo and South West New Georgia projects, in order to focus on its Australian assets. The ASX-listed explorer did not disclose the terms of the transaction.


* Lynas Corp. Ltd. said it expects to submit a compliant tender amid reports that the U.S. Army plans to invest in a rare earths plant as part of the country's efforts to boost domestic supplies of the materials used in military weapons and technology. The Army will reportedly fund at least one project and up to two-thirds of a refiner's cost.

* China's Tianqi Lithium Corp. will launch its previously announced fundraising of up to 7 billion Chinese yuan on Dec. 17, through a placement of 342,596,383 shares priced at 8.75 yuan apiece.

* Tectonic Gold PLC divested its interest in Tirupati Graphite PLC, which planned to develop a graphite project in Madagascar, to focus on its projects in Australia and South Africa.

* Ferro-Alloy Resources Ltd. appointed SRK Consulting and Coffey International to deliver a bankable feasibility study for the Balasausqandiq vanadium project in Kazakhstan. The company said the extension of the building that houses the plant is now complete and the main equipment for the first-phase expansion is being commissioned.

* The sales price for 6% spodumene concentrate shipments from Mineral Resources Ltd.'s Mount Marion lithium mine in Western Australia was set at US$520.92 per dry tonne for the December quarter, compared with US$608.95 per dry tonne for the September quarter.


* Six large mining company stocks are trading more than 20% below analysts' mean target prices, implying a strong upside potential for investors, an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis found. Of the top 25 companies by market capitalization, 19 mining company stocks are trading below analysts' mean target prices. Six of the top companies are trading above analysts' price targets.

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