The U.S. and Canada finalized their joint action plan to collaborate on critical minerals, according to a statement from Natural Resources Canada. The action plan will promote joint initiatives that aim to bolster supply chains for critical minerals used in crucial sectors such as communication technology, defense and clean technology. Canada said the partnership may attract mining investments in the country and spur job creation and economic growth in various downstream industries.
Precious metals miner Sibanye Gold Ltd. exercised its option to increase its stake in fellow South Africa-based DRDGold Ltd. to 50.1% under a November 2017 deal in which Sibanye agreed to swap certain gold processing assets for an initial 38.1% interest in DRDGold. Sibanye agreed to spend about 1.09 billion South African rand to subscribe for 168,158,944 new DRDGold shares at 6.46 rand apiece, a 10% discount to DRDGold's 30-day volume-weighted average price.
Indonesia seeks lower FY'20 coal output to prevent price slide
To prevent a plunge in prices, the government of Indonesia set a cap on miners' coal production in 2020, Bloomberg News reported, citing Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif. According to Tasrif, the government set the production target at 550 million tonnes for this year, down 9.8% from 610 million tonnes in 2019. Tasrif said the government "doesn't want coal production to be too massive and drive prices lower and cause government revenue to drop."
* The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries urged the Indian government to remove a 2.5% import duty on copper concentrates, citing the country's need to import the material due to lack of domestic supply, Mining Weekly reported.
* Mexico-focused Endeavour Silver Corp. reported a 30% decrease in silver equivalent production to 1.7 million ounces in the fourth quarter of 2019. The decline was due to the suspension of the El Cubo mine as well as lower throughput and grades at the Bolañitos mine, partly offset by higher production at the Guanacevi mine and new production at the El Compas mine.
* Evolution Mining Ltd. gold output in the second quarter of its fiscal 2020, based on preliminary results, dropped to 170,890 ounces, against 181,996 ounces of gold produced a year ago. All-in sustaining cost during the period amounted to A$1,069 per ounce, increasing from year-ago all-in sustaining costs of A$973/oz. Meanwhile, the company's production for full fiscal 2020 is projected to hit the bottom end of its group output guidance of about 725,000 ounces on the back of an unanticipated loss of ore tonnes that were planned to be mined out at its Mount Carlton operation in Queensland, Australia.
* Detour Gold Corp.'s gold production in the fourth quarter of 2019 from its Detour Lake mine in Ontario climbed to 159,109 ounces from 158,200 ounces produced a year ago. Full-year output fell to 601,566 ounces from 621,128 ounces but was at the top end of the year's guidance of 590,000 to 605,000 ounces.
* Lundin Gold Inc. produced 28,678 ounces of gold in 2019 from its Fruta del Norte gold project in Ecuador, including 3,411 ounces of gold dore and 25,267 ounces of concentrate. The company updated the life-of-mine plan for Fruta del Norte and expects all-in sustaining costs to increase 6.5% over the previous estimate to US$621 per ounce, mainly due to an expected rise in royalties and production taxes and a decline in byproduct credits due to revised price assumptions for gold and silver.
* Dundee Precious Metals Inc. produced 69,500 ounces of gold and 10.0 million pounds of copper in the fourth quarter of 2019. For full-year 2019, the company produced 230,600 ounces of gold, within the updated guidance of 200,000 to 247,000 ounces, and 37.2 million pounds of copper, within the guidance of 33 million to 39 million pounds.
* Ramelius Resources Ltd. produced 47,902 ounces of gold in the December 2019 quarter, meeting its guidance range of 45,000 to 50,000 ounces.
* DRDGold produced 3,037 kilograms of gold from its Ergo and Far West Gold Recoveries operations in South Africa for the six months ended Dec. 31, 2019, a 33% year-over-year increase driven by higher contribution by Far West. The company said it is on track to meet the higher end of its fiscal 2020 gold production guidance of 190,000 ounces.
* Tharisa PLC's platinum group metals production on a 6E basis for its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2019, totaled 34,400 ounces, up from 33,600 ounces in the year-ago quarter, while chrome concentrates production improved to 342,500 tonnes from 305,400 tonnes.
* Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido wants the European Union to label informally mined gold in the country's southern jungles as "blood gold" to increase pressure on President Nicolas Maduro's government, Reuters reported.
* China granted China Molybdenum Co. Ltd. a license to export tungsten concentrate, a few months after it won an auction for about 28,336 tonnes of ammonium paratungstate formerly held by the defunct Fanya Metal Exchange, Fastmarkets MB reported.
* Eloro Resources Ltd. signed a definitive option agreement to acquire a 99% stake in the Iska Iska polymetallic epithermal project in Bolivia.
* Havilah Resources Ltd.'s largest shareholder and technical director, Chris Giles, said he recently killed a proposed "lifeline" investment of up to A$100 million in the company by a subsidiary of privately held, Sanjeev Gupta-led GFG Alliance Ltd. because it would have caused "poisonous" division, among other things. Giles, who founded Havilah with geologist Bob Johnson, gave S&P Global Market Intelligence several reasons why he had expressed reservations about the deal "right from the start" and had always advocated instead for a joint venture approach, targeting some up-front cash to cover costs.
* Tata Steel Ltd.'s Indian steel production totaled 4.46 million tons in the third quarter of its fiscal 2020, rising from 4.38 million tons year over year, according to provisional figures. Sales increased yearly to 4.84 million tons from 3.89 million tons and grew 17% quarterly from 4.13 million tons.
* Moody's said Anglo American PLC's planned acquisition of London-listed Sirius Minerals PLC would increase the mining giant's financial risk profile due to the capital investment needed to complete the target's North Yorkshire polyhalite project in the U.K., Mining Weekly reported.
* Polish coking coal producer Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa SA plans to spend 700 million Polish zlotys from its contingency fund to expand its capacity and bankroll other investments, Reuters reported, citing CEO Wlodzimierz Herezniak. The company reportedly earmarked 2 billion zlotys for investments this year.
* Citing challenging market conditions, Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House Ltd. will slash 355 jobs across its U.K. steelmaking plants in Yorkshire and Wales, with a majority of the layoffs coming from its Stockbridge specialty steels plant, the Financial Times reported.
* Share prices in metallurgical coal producers Mechel PAO and PJSC Raspadskaya rose on the Moscow Exchange, with Kommersant sources pointing to rising raw material costs amid bushfires in Australia as a potential cause of the increase.
* Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. raised 1.5 billion Chinese yuan through a short-term bond issuance. The interest rate of the notes was fixed at 2.85%, and the maturity of the bonds was set at 90 days.
* The relative calm settling over the global trade landscape may be shortlived. With Chinese Vice Premier Liu He due to arrive in Washington next week to sign a trade accord with the U.S., a replacement for NAFTA making its way to President Donald Trump's desk and an agreement with Japan in the bag, some might be tempted to sit back and admire their work. Others, emboldened by their successes, might look for a new target. Many observers see Trump falling into the second category and say he has Europe in his sights.
* In the name of speeding up infrastructure siting and other federal decisions, the Trump administration released a proposed rule to revamp the National Environmental Policy Act's requirements for when federal agencies are required to study the environmental impacts of major federal actions. Meanwhile, senior policy counsel Aaron Mintzes of nonprofit organization Earthworks said President Donald Trump's proposal to hamstring the National Environmental Policy Act harms the environment and democracy, and mining companies too may suffer because of it.
* Data analytics firm GlobalData said 61% of mine sites it surveyed made investments in mine communication systems in 2019, up from 55% in 2018, Mining Weekly reported. Their investments included private long-term evolution networks or 5G wireless technology. The survey involved 179 respondents from Africa, Asia, Australia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, the report said.
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