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Vale suspends another Brazilian mine; Sumitomo may miss Ambatovy output guidance


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Vale suspends another Brazilian mine; Sumitomo may miss Ambatovy output guidance


Vale suspends another Brazilian mine on inconclusive stress test results

Vale SA said it has temporarily and on a preventive basis halted operations at its Alegria iron ore mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil, after receiving inconclusive results from stress tests, which could not guarantee the stability of its structures. The company said the suspension will impact up to about 10 million tonnes per annum of production. Operations will resume once the ongoing studies are completed with the assurance of stability under stress conditions.

Sumitomo may miss revised production guidance at Ambatovy nickel JV

Sumitomo Corp. warned that it may miss its revised annual production guidance after a fire forced the company to suspend its Ambatovy nickel plant in Madagascar for about two weeks in February, Reuters reported. Nickel production forecast from Ambatovy was previously cut to between 38,000 and 40,000 tonnes, from between 40,000 tonnes and 43,000 tonnes.

Clean TeQ eyes partnership to fund Sunrise project development

Clean TeQ Holdings Ltd. is mulling bringing in an equity partner to fund the US$1.49 billion development costs of its Sunrise nickel-cobalt project in New South Wales, Australia, Mining News reported. CEO Sam Riggall said the company has received indicative commitments for A$500 million from four banks, and the number is expected to grow with Chinese investments.


* Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. swung to a profit of US$6.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, from a year-ago net loss of US$137.7 million. Revenue in the quarter dropped to US$196.6 million, from US$242.5 million in the prior year, mainly due to lower sales and prices for silver.

* Sibanye Gold Ltd. said South Africa's Labor court declared that the extension of a labor agreement that the company reached in November 2018 to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and other non-unionized workers is valid.

* Citigroup Inc. is planning the sale of several tons of gold received as collateral from Venezuela's central bank against a US$1.6 billion loan, Reuters reported, a setback on President Nicolas Maduro's efforts to hold onto the country's quickly shrinking reserves. A US$1.1 billion first-tranche repayment of the loan was due on March 11. The gold has a market value of about US$1.36 billion, and Citibank plans to deposit the US$258 million surplus in a New York bank account, two sources said.

* French prosecutors launched a new probe into alleged tax fraud by Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, whose family runs PJSC Polyus, after similar charges were dropped last year, London's Financial Times reported. Kerimov was detained in 2017 after being accused of being the ultimate beneficiary of the acquisition of several villas, including one worth more than €150 million, by certain shell companies.

* Gold has recently come back to the spotlight amid global political uncertainty, but experts at the 121 Mining Investment Hong Kong conference are still cautious over the outlook for gold prices. Samson Li, a senior metals analyst at Refinitiv GFMS, noted the start of risk-off sentiment in late 2018, which he said was related to investors lacking confidence due to a downturn in the Chinese economy.

* Emgold Mining Corp. kicked off its four-year option to acquire 91% of the Casa South property in Quebec after completing the first option payment of C$75,000.

* IDM Mining Ltd. secured securityholder approval for Ascot Resources Ltd.'s takeover offer, whereby each IDM Mining shareholder will receive 0.0675 of an Ascot share for each share held.

* Worried about the company's "seemingly misleading disclosures," some Guyana Goldfields Inc. shareholders engaged an independent consultant to review the resource model at the company's Aurora gold mine.

* ArcWest Exploration Inc. signed a definitive agreement to sell its Willoughby gold-silver property in British Columbia to StrikePoint Gold Inc.

* The power line at Gold Resource Corp.'s El Aguila gold project in Mexico is now connected to a new local power grid. The company previously generated electricity for the project from diesel fuel.


* Vale SA blocked attempts by Brazilian authorities to audit the tailings dam at its Feijao iron ore mine months before the fatal burst, Reuters reported, citing news website G1, which quoted Minas Gerais state prosecutor William Garcia. Lawyers for the mining major reportedly did not provide the dam's safety documents and argued that its stability was validated by its hired auditor TUV SUD AG.

* Worthington Industries Inc.'s net earnings in the third quarter of fiscal 2019 fell to US$26.8 million, from US$79.1 million a year ago, due to a US$13 million pretax charge for a replacement program related to certain composite hydrogen fuel tanks and inventory holding losses of US$10.8 million in the steel processing segment. Net sales in the quarter inched up 4% year over year to US$874.4 million due to higher average selling prices in steel processing.

* Pure Alumina Ltd. signed a binding agreement to acquire Toronto-based high-purity alumina producer Polar Sapphire Ltd. for C$25.8 million in shares and cash. The company aims to expand its high-purity alumina production to 5,000 tonnes per annum within three years.

* Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. set up a research and development center in Karratha, Western Australia, to explore opportunities for the application of autonomous mobility technology in an urban environment.

* PJSC PhosAgro's net income in the fourth quarter of 2018 grew 6% year over year to 4.50 billion Russian rubles, from 4.26 billion rubles in the year-ago period, on higher prices and the depreciation of the ruble against the U.S. dollar.

* Anglo American PLC allocated over US$162 million to invest in the rehabilitation of its Australian operations over the next five years, Mining Weekly reported. About US$82 million will be used towards the restoration of its open cut Dawson coal mine, with another US$40 million earmarked for the Capcoal open cut mine.

* Rio Tinto suspended operations at its Weipa bauxite mine in Queensland, Australia, as per standard procedures ahead of Cyclone Trevor, Reuters reported.

* ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd. denied claims by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa alleging that its members, employed by contractors, are forced to work amid poor wages and working conditions. The union is on strike at the company's Vanderbijlpark operations.

* Thyssenkrupp AG and Tata Steel Ltd. secured an eight-day extension of the deadline to submit antitrust concessions for their planned European steel joint venture, Reuters reported. The European Commission is now expected to release a decision May 13.

* Thanks to steady demand and higher prices, OCP SA, the world's top phosphate exporter, booked a 19% rise in its 2018 full-year net profit to 5.4 billion Moroccan dirhams, Reuters reported. Revenue jumped 15% to 55.9 billion dirhams.

* The Nova Scotia government issued four compliance orders and six warnings to Cline Group LLC since limited operations started at its Donkin coal mine in January, CBC News reported. The mine was suspended in late December 2018 following a roof collapse at the site.

* After the tax on coal, which helps pay for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, was cut Jan. 1, the fund is being drained of money because of the U.S. government's inaction, The Associated Press reported. Budget officials estimate that there will not be enough money to fully cover the fund's benefit payments by mid-2020.

* After a difficult fourth quarter, Ramaco Resources Inc. is charging ahead with an "aggressive growth model" aimed at doubling the size of the metallurgical coal-focused producer in the next three to four years.


* Pilbara Minerals Ltd. CEO Ken Brinsden told delegates at the Lithium & Battery Metals Conference in Perth, Western Australia that "it feels like there needs to be some consolidation" by the world's major lithium producers targeting smaller companies, particularly in the Pilbara.

* Australian explorer Lindian Resources Ltd. will undertake a formal mediation process in April in a bid to end a long-running battle around a disputed option agreement for up to 75% of the Kangankunde rare earths project in Malawi.

* Base Resources Ltd.'s pre-feasibility study at its Toliara mineral sands project in Madagascar outlined a post-tax net present value, discounted at 10%, of US$671 million, a 22.4% internal rate of return, and a 4-year payback period. The project is estimated to produce 25.7 million tonnes of ilmenite, 1.7 million tonnes of zircon and 266,000 tonnes of rutile during its 33-year mine life.

* PJSC Alrosa fetched US$14.6 million from separate auctions of rough and polished diamonds held simultaneously in Hong Kong.

* Neometals Ltd. delayed the feasibility study for its proposed 10,000-tonne-per-year lithium hydroxide processing plant in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia due to higher-than-expected capital costs and weak market conditions, The West Australian reported.

* Kenmare Resources PLC's Moma titanium mine in northeastern Mozambique was not materially impacted by Cyclone Idai. Product loading activities and shipping, which were suspended for seven days, have resumed.

* Bluejay Mining PLC denied market speculation that it is planning a fundraising and said it has sufficient funds to support its operations into spring 2020. It remains in talks with a Rio Tinto unit regarding a deal to assess the commercial potential of Bluejay's Dundas ilmenite-titanium project in Greenland.

* A consortium of National Aluminium Co. Ltd., Khanij Bidesh India Ltd., Hindustan Copper Ltd. and Mineral Exploration Co. Ltd. plans to enter the lithium-ion battery manufacturing business, Mining Weekly reported. The joint venture is said to be eyeing assets in Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.

* Woomera Mining Ltd. secured exploration license E74/632 for its Mount Cattlin lithium project in Western Australia, bringing up the total project area to 128 square kilometers across three tenements.

* Bacanora Lithium PLC's Deutsche Lithium GmbH unit secured a five-year exploration license covering 42 square kilometers surrounding its Zinnwald lithium project in Germany.


* Australia's Labor party proposed to coordinate with the Western Australian government and other parties to build a A$46 million mining research center named Australian Future Mines to help discover the nation's untapped resources, The West Australian reported, citing Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

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