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Independence to allow Panoramic offer to lapse; Iran eyes US$10B mining exports


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Independence to allow Panoramic offer to lapse; Iran eyes US$10B mining exports


Independence Group to allow takeover offer for Panoramic to lapse

Panoramic Resources Ltd.'s ASX stock fell by as much as 22% on Independence Group NL's announcement that it would allow its takeover offer for the former to lapse Jan. 17, 2020. Independence Group CEO Peter Bradford said that while its off-market bid based on the Savannah nickel-copper project's 2017 feasibility study represented a "win-win" for both companies' shareholders, Panoramic's subsequent disclosures — including the operational update and need for additional funding — had "significantly eroded" the value proposition for Independence shareholders, which led the company to its decision.

Exports from Iran's mining sector to hit up to US$10B by March 2020

Iranian Deputy Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Jafar Sarqini said the country's mining sector will hit an export value of US$9 billion to US$10 billion by March 2020, the end of Iran's calendar year, Tehran Times reported. "Mines of Iran will not only meet the needs of the country's industrial plants and construction industry but will also export about [US$9 billion to US$10 billion] of minerals and other products by the end of the year," Sarqini said.

Vale closes new US$3B revolving credit line

Vale SA signed a US$3 billion, five-year revolving credit facility from a banking syndicate of 16 global lenders led by Citigroup, Crédit Agricole, MUFG and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. The new credit line replaces a US$3 billion facility of the same tenor signed in 2015, which will be canceled, and is in addition to a US$2 billion credit line available for drawdown until 2022. Vale said the new facility will act as a buffer and aligns with its focus on lowering borrowing costs.


* BHP Group's majority-owned Escondida copper mine in Chile produced 870,970 tonnes of copper from January through September, down 8.4% year over year due to an expected drop in ore grades at the open pit operation, S&P Global Platts reported.

* Chile's copper commission Cochilco forecast mining investment in the country to grow 57% in 2020 to US$10.38 billion. According to the Chilean agency, most of the projects are expected to materialize between 2021 and 2023, daily El Mercurio reported.

* Fraser Range Metals Group Ltd. completed the acquisition of Wildcat Resources Ltd.

* The board of Dizon Copper-Silver Mines Inc. approved the sale of the company's 20,534-square-meter property in Subic, Zambales, in the Philippines, which used to be the site of a copper concentrates storage facility and a loading-out pier, to real estate company Sunplaza Development Corp. for 100.0 million Philippine pesos.

* Vancouver, British Columbia-based Zincore Metals Inc. agreed to a reserve takeover by Latin America-focused miner Mines & Metals Trading (Peru) PLC. Following the deal, the company will continue the reactivation of its Accha Zinc Oxide District project and exploration and development of Mines & Metals Trading's Recuperada zinc-lead-silver project in Peru.

* European Cobalt Ltd. will no longer proceed with the acquisition of Maroon Gold Pty. Ltd., in a mutual decision made by the parties.

* China's monthly nickel ore imports from Indonesia climbed to a near six-year high of 3.33 million tonnes in November ahead of Indonesia's planned export ban in January 2020, Reuters reported.


* After rallying in 2019, gold is set for a solid performance in 2020 amid economic uncertainty and the emergence of monetary stimulus, analysts said.

* Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the country may consider investing part of its National Wealth Fund in gold, Reuters reported. Siluanov sees gold investments as more sustainable in the long term, compared to investing in financial assets.

* Zambian Ministry of Mines Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga said the country is missing out on revenues because copper miners do not declare the gold they produce, Reuters reported. "What has been happening is that in some cases the gold has been hidden in the copper blisters or copper cathodes. A system will be put in place to ensure that we account for that gold," Mulenga said.

* Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd. finalized a stabilization agreement with the government of Kyrgyzstan for its Tulkubash and Kyzyltash projects, part of the Chaarat gold property. The agreement is based on the country's investments law, which provides formal assurances to investors on the stability of the tax regime. The first gold production from Tulkubash is on track for late 2021.

* Gold Road Resources Ltd. unit Gold Road Projects Pty. Ltd. decided to withdraw from the Wadderin letter agreement with Cygnus Gold Ltd. Meanwhile, Gold Road and Cygnus Gold are finalizing the 2020 programs and budgets for the joint ventures on Lake Grace and Yandina.

* Resources & Energy Group Ltd. is set to kick off a drilling program in January 2020 of about 15,000 meters at its East Menzies gold project in Western Australia, covering three areas. CEO David Frances said the company will consider third-party offers to campaign-mine the existing deposits in a bid to generate cash flow.


* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleged that BlueScope Steel Ltd. CEO Mark Vassella received regular briefings about plans of the company's former general manager of sales and marketing, Jason Ellis, to fix steel prices, The Australian reported. According to the regulator, Vassella was given details within a month of the launch of the plans and received regular reports for at least six months.

* China's Henan Shenhuo Group Co. Ltd. will start production at the first 150,000-tonne-per-year line of its aluminum smelting project in the Wenshan prefecture of Yunnan province Dec. 31, Reuters reported, citing unidentified company officials. The plant is expected to reach the full annual production rate by March 2020.

* Malaysia, which concluded an antidumping probe on behalf of its local industry on imports of cold rolled iron or nonalloy steel coil, imposed duties on China, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, Reuters reported Dec. 26, citing Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry. The Southeast Asian country imposed a duty of 26.39% on all Japanese producers, 26.38% on most Chinese producers and 3.84% on South Korean exporters except POSCO, which had no duty imposed.

* Russian steel pipe producer PAO TMK aims to close the US$1.2 billion sale of its U.S. subsidiary, IPSCO Tubulars Inc., to Tenaris SA in January 2020, Reuters reported, citing Interfax.

* India's Coal Mines Provident Fund Organisation will impose a levy of 10 Indian rupees on every tonne of coal produced by its members, including Coal India Ltd. and Singareni Collieries Co (SCCL), to resolve an asset-liability imbalance that is seen to exhaust the pension fund by 2028, The Economic Times of India reported. The levy is projected to raise 6.5 billion rupees from Coal India this year if the company achieves its annual production guidance, the report said.

* The Indian government is expected to auction off over 200 commercial coal mining blocks to privately owned miners in the next five years ahead of plans to stop thermal coal imports for its power plants by 2024, The Economic Times of India reported.

* The Department of Primary Industry and Resources of Australia's Northern Territory approved OM Holdings Ltd. subsidiary OM Manganese Ltd. to resume operations at the Bootu Creek manganese mine, which was suspended in August due to a fatality.

* Miners based in Odisha, India, increased the price of iron ore by up to 10%, even as supply from the state hit an all-time high, in anticipation of a supply disruption as multiple mine leases will expire at the end of the fiscal year, The Economic Times of India reported.

* Goa Mining People's Front, which represents the state's mining sector, appealed to the government to restart mining activities in the state by the end of the month, The Economic Times of India reported.


* Former Bolivian President Evo Morales said in an interview that he was forced to resign from office through a coup backed by the U.S., which wanted access to the country's lithium resources, AFP reported. The ex-president claimed the U.S. orchestrated the coup after Bolivia, which has 16,000 square kilometers of lithium reserves, decided to look for lithium extraction partnerships with Russia and China instead of the U.S.

* An environmental tribunal in Chile admitted a claim by local indigenous communities against a previous ruling by environmental regulator SMA, which approved an environmental compliance plan submitted by Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA unit SQM Salar SA for its brine extraction operations in the Atacama salt flat. The decision overrules the SMA approval and requires the agency to begin a new examination of the plan, daily La Tercera reported.

* Russian diamond producer PJSC Alrosa and state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Co. finalized their joint venture agreement to explore for primary diamond deposits in the African country.


* Peru could have generated US$29 billion more in mining tax revenues for the past 13 years had the country adopted a better tax model, according to BNamericas.

* The Philippine government must introduce reforms to help small-scale miners legitimize their operations, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported, citing a study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies. The think tank said the People's Small-scale Mining Act of 1991 was a "dismal failure" as it did not spread employment opportunities and allow equitable sharing of the country's resources.

* China's Ministry of Natural Resources is looking to promote investment by public and private organizations into restoring land damaged by mining activities as part of a five-year plan, Reuters reported. According to the ministry, mining-related activities had damaged over 3.6 million hectares in the Asian country by the end of 2018. Restoration efforts were hindered due to a lack of policies to encourage investment.

S&P Global Platts and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

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