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Vale shunned Brazil's Feijao audit; Norsk Hydro recovering from cyberattack


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Vale shunned Brazil's Feijao audit; Norsk Hydro recovering from cyberattack


Report: Vale shunned Brazil's attempt to audit Feijao dam

Vale SA resisted attempts by Brazilian authorities to audit a tailings dam at its Feijao iron ore mine months before it burst and killed over 300 people, Reuters reported, citing news website G1, which quoted Minas Gerais state prosecutor William Garcia. Vale's lawyers reportedly did not provide the dam's safety documents and argued that its stability was validated by its hired auditor TUV SUD AG.

Norsk Hydro working to recover normal operations after cyberattack

Norsk Hydro ASA is working to restart IT systems in a safe manner following the recent cyberattack. However, it is still not clear how long it might take to restore stable IT operations. The company expects to restart certain systems at the extruded solutions and rolled products operations soon, which would allow for continued deliveries to customers.

Aeris Resources confirms interest in Glencore's CSA copper mine

Aeris Resources Ltd. confirmed a report from The Australian Financial Review that it is in talks to buy Glencore PLC's CSA copper-silver mine in New South Wales, Australia, for about US$575 million. The proposed deal would involve up to US$300 million of debt, an equity capital raising of up to US$240 million and a silver stream of up to US$40 million.


* 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. One person died from the accident, the report said.

* Hong Kong-listed copper and cobalt producer Jinchuan Group International Resources Co. Ltd. recorded a 60.8% year-over-year jump in profit attributable to shareholders for 2018 to US$66.9 million, or 51 U.S. cents per share. Revenue for the year surged 154.9% to US$1.40 billion on the back of strong cobalt prices.

* Nickel Mines Ltd. commissioned the second kiln at its 60%-owned Hengjaya nickel-cobalt mine in Indonesia and produced the first nickel pig iron. The first and second kilns are expected to reach at least 80% nameplate capacity by early April and early May, respectively.

* KGHM Polska Miedź SA averted a strike at its Sierra Gorda copper mine in Chile after it extended negotiations with the union of 520 workers, Reuters reported, citing a union representative.

* Poseidon Nickel Ltd. kicked off initial refurbishment of the Silver Swan decline in Western Australia, which will enable safe access into underground diamond drilling platforms for exploration drilling of the Black Swan ore deposit, expected to start this week.


* Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. posted a net profit of US$6.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, swinging from a loss of US$137.7 million in the year-ago period. Full-year earnings surged 640.2% to US$427.1 million, compared to US$57.7 million in 2017.

* Sibanye Gold Ltd. said South Africa's Labor court declared the validity of a labor agreement that it extended to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and non-unionized workers. The company urged the union, which has been on strike since November, to follow the ruling.

* French prosecutors launched a new probe into alleged tax fraud by Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, whose family runs Polyus Gold International Ltd., after dropping similar charges last year, Financial Times wrote. Kerimov was jailed in 2017 after being accused of being the ultimate beneficiary of the acquisition of several villas 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.

* Crusader Resources Ltd. entered into a binding term sheet to sell its Juruena gold project in Brazil to Meteoric Resources NL for A$1 million cash and A$2 million in shares.

* 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.


* 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 earmarked more than US$162 million to rehabilitate its Australian mining operations over the next five years, Mining Weekly wrote. The company will reportedly spend about US$82 million on the Dawson coal mine and US$40 million on the Capcoal coal mine, both in Queensland.

* 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 currently 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 on May 13 from April 29.

* TerraCom Ltd. said over three years were added to the economic life of its Blair Athol coal mine in Queensland, Australia, following an increase in the JORC marketable reserves to 23.5 million tonnes. The mine life now stands at about eight more years based on a sales profile of 3 million tonnes per annum.

* Thanks to steady demand and higher prices, OCP S.A., 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 in Canada has 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.

* Paringa Resources Ltd. secured a US$56 million term loan facility to refinance existing debt, expand development of the Poplar Grove coal mine, part of the Buck Creek Complex in Kentucky, and for working capital.


* 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.

* 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-a-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 the 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.

* 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.

* Lepidico Ltd. said wet commissioning of its pilot plant for lithium processing is on schedule to start in April, with operation during the second half of May.


* 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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