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Freeport mulling options, including mergers, following Grasberg resolution


Freeport mulling options, including mergers, following Grasberg resolution

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. is mulling its options, which include strategic partnerships, asset acquisitions, or even a merger with another entity, after the American miner ceded majority control of its Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia, Bloomberg News reported, citing CEO Richard Adkerson. "If an opportunity for us to sell to another company would arise, and that would be good for our shareholders, you would see us trying to get the best deal we can get as opposed to being a company where management is trying to protect itself," Adkerson said.

Norsk Hydro prepares to restart Alunorte alumina plant after nabbing key permit

Norsk Hydro ASA secured approval from Brazilian federal environmental agency IBAMA to use a press filter for processing bauxite residues, which will extend the life of its bauxite residue deposit area one and will enable its Alunorte alumina refinery to restart at 50% capacity. This comes days after the Norwegian firm said it would suspend production and lay off workers at Alunorte, as the residue deposit area on the site was close to reaching its capacity.

Village Main Reef strikes 3-year wage deal with South African unions

Village Main Reef Ltd. agreed to a three-year wage deal with the National Union of Mineworkers, the United Associations of South Africa and Solidarity. The agreement includes yearly increases in basic wages for category four to eight employees of 575 South African rand per year. Miners, artisans and officials will receive increases of 4.25% for each year of the deal. Meanwhile, negotiations between Sibanye Gold Ltd. and NUM, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, UASA and Solidarity are ongoing.


* Consolidated Nickel Mines PLC is eyeing production restart at the Munali nickel mine in Zambia in the first quarter of 2019, Reuters reported. The struggling mine was placed on care and maintenance in late 2011 due to low metal prices.

* London Metal Exchange CEO Matt Chamberlain said the exchange was preparing a proposal that will enable it to ban cobalt brands on the approved list that are believed to be tainted by human rights abuses, Reuters reported. The proposal will take effect by the third quarter of 2019, and target the brands trading at a large discount.


* Acacia Mining PLC's third-quarter gold production slid 29% yearly to 136,640 ounces, primarily attributed to reduced operations at its Bulyanhulu mine and stockpile processing at Buzwagi.

* Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. said it intends to issue up to US$500 million of bonds for repaying bank loans and funding its international business. S&P Global Ratings assigned a BBB- rating for the proposed issue of senior unsecured notes.

* Sociedad Minera de Santander temporarily suspended operations at its Soto Norte gold project in Colombia due to a blockade in the area of Tronadora since Oct. 2, which affected normal development of activities in the area.

* Tharisa PLC produced 152,200 ounces of platinum group metals for its full fiscal 2018, representing a 6% increase yearly.

* Ramelius Resources Ltd. produced 51,428 ounces of gold from the company's operations in Western Australia in the September quarter, hitting the lower end of the guidance range of between 50,000 and 54,000 ounces.

* Mali's industrial gold production this year is still expected to rise by around 21% to 60 tonnes despite slightly lower than expected output so far, Reuters wrote, citing Aboubacar Ogognagaly, head of the mines division.

* Newcrest Mining Ltd.'s IT strategy overhaul four years ago, through the reduction of its IT team and substantial investment in artificial intelligence, automation and data analytics, is reaping benefits through reduced costs and improved cashflow, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* KEFI Minerals Plc said local, zonal and regional authorities in Ethiopia have confirmed their intention to trigger resettlement of the community affected by the development of the Tulu Kapi gold project, with an agreed target date of Jan. 1, 2019.


* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission determined that the Port of Newcastle should reduce its current charge for ships entering the port to carry Glencore PLC's coal shipments by around 20% or 61 Australian cents per tonne.

* BIS Industries Ltd. secured a three-year contract extension to provide load and haul services for Glencore at the Newlands coal mine in Queensland, Australia.

* A definitive feasibility study for Centrex Metals Ltd.'s Ardmore phosphate rock project in Queensland, Australia, pegged a posttax net present value, discounted at 10%, of up to A$109 million, an internal rate of return of 30% and a four-year payback period.

* Edenville Energy PLC signed a two-year deal to supply an initial 300 to 500 tonnes of coal per month from the Rukwa project in Tanzania to an industrial customer operating in east Africa.

* PJSC PhosAgro said Indian Potash Ltd. agreed to purchase up to 2 million tonnes of fertilizer produced by the former from 2019 to 2021, valued at about US$1 billion.

* U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sees wage increases as a likely outcome of the ongoing contract negotiations between U.S. steel companies and the United Steelworkers union, Reuters reported. U.S. Steel Corp. and ArcelorMittal USA LLC are in talks with the United Steelworkers union, which represents about 31,000 workers.

* U.S. coal exports totaled 9.1 million tonnes in August, up 5.5% from July and up 17.3% from the year-ago month, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

* In the week of Oct. 1, an analysis of coal producers' market capitalization found that the top 12 publicly traded U.S. companies saw their total market value grow US$2.69 billion since early November 2017 to US$12.73 billion as of Sept. 28, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* OMK plans to build a new steel works and new facilities at the Vyksa metallurgical plant for the production of seamless pipes and oilfield service mix pipe at its largest production site, Vedomosti reported.

* Lindian Resources Ltd. said the Tanzania Mining Commission granted project licenses 11176/2017, 11177/2017 and 11178/2017, covering the Magamba deposit of the Lushoto bauxite project.

* Mechel PAO is seeking to retain the railway to its Elga coal operation in Russia to receive tax benefits and subsidies, Vedomosti reported.


* The Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission, or CCHEN, refused to lift Albemarle Corp.'s lithium production quota, saying the information provided by the company was not sufficient to justify the increase, Reuters wrote, citing a report by local newspaper La Tercera. The company secured approval from Corfo in March to increase production to between 120,000 and 140,000 annual tonnes of lithium, from the 65,000 to 80,000 tonnes originally authorized.

* POZ Minerals Ltd. is expecting full permitting for a shovel ready Blina diamond project in Western Australia to be finalized by November.

* Paladin Energy Ltd.'s takeover bid for Summit Resources Ltd. has been declared unconditional.

* Northern Minerals Ltd. produced the first rare earth carbonate through its Browns Range pilot plant in Western Australia, following the start of commissioning of the plant in June.


* Zambia remains open to engaging in dialogue with mining companies over the government's plan to hike mining taxes, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the Finance Ministry.

* India plans to put up for sale another 100 mines in the next six months following the recent e-auction of 50 mineral blocks in the country, which included 23 limestone, 17 iron ore, four gold, two each of manganese and graphite blocks, and one bauxite and diamond block each, Press Trust of India reported, citing the Ministry of Mines.

* The London Metal Exchange is targeting launching 10 new contracts in the first quarter of 2019, ranging from hot rolled coil steel to alumina, as well as cobalt, a key material for electric vehicle batteries, Reuters reported.

* Consensus price forecasts for the commodities market remain generally positive, with most price projections for this year as of the end of September higher than in 2017. However, the recent continuance of a commodity price retreat saw many of the estimates revised down in the past month, a Metals and Mining research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence wrote.

* Brian Graves, a partner at law firm Fasken, suggested that more mining companies may be considering securing metals streaming deals as opposed to seeking traditional forms of finance, as continued volatility in commodity prices has made it difficult for miners to access debt and equity financing, Mining Weekly reported.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings, a separately managed division of S&P Global. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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