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BHP, Rio said to present improved wage offer to Escondida union

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BHP, Rio said to present improved wage offer to Escondida union

TOP NEWS

BHP, Rio said to present improved wage offer to Escondida union

BHP Billiton Group and Rio Tinto made a last-minute improved wage offer to the union at the Escondida copper project in Chile in a bid to avoid a strike at the mine, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing Chilean media. The companies reportedly increased their pay raise offer to 2% from 1.5% and offered an US$18,000 signing bonus.

Asset sales in Portugal, Germany may fetch steelmaker CSN US$1B

Brazil's Cia. Siderúrgica Nacional tapped U.S. investment bank Jefferies to advise on the sale of its assets in Portugal and Germany, Reuters wrote, citing Brazilian daily O Estado de S. Paulo. The sale of the assets, including Lusosider Projectos Siderúrgicos SA in Portugal and Stahlwerk Thüringen GmbH in Germany, is expected to fetch US$1 billion by October. The report added that CSN is also looking to secure a streaming deal next week with a Canadian bank for its mining output in the coming years, which could give it US$1.5 billion this year.

South32 closes US$1.3B Arizona Mining buy

South32 Ltd. completed its acquisition of the remaining 83% interest in Arizona Mining Inc. for US$1.3 billion. Former Arizona Mining shareholders received to C$6.20 in cash for each share held under the deal announced in June. Arizona Mining owns the Hermosa silver-zinc-lead project in Arizona.

BASE METALS

* PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co.'s net income attributable to shareholders surged 81% year on year to US$1.65 billion, or US$10.6 per share, in the first half. Total revenue swelled to US$5.83 billion, from US$4.25 billion in the prior-year period, thanks to higher realized metal prices, greater copper and platinum group metals production volumes, and sales of palladium from previous stocks.

* All but one of the five labor unions at Codelco's El Teniente copper mine in Chile accepted the company's latest contract offer, Reuters reported, citing union leaders. "The contract was approved by an ample margin after the company improved its offer," said Guillermo Lemaitre, president of the main union involved in discussions. The union that voted against the contract has until October to strike a deal, when the current labor pact expires.

* The workers' union at JX Nippon Mining Metals Corp. and Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co. Ltd.'s Caserones copper mine in Chile said it will kick off a strike Aug. 14 after 98.5% of its workers voted to reject the final wage offer from the mine operator Minera Lumina Copper Chile SA, Mining Weekly reported. The union will first meet the mine's operator for a compulsory mediation Aug. 13.

* China is the largest source of mined zinc in the world, accounting for 35% of estimated global production this year. Outside of China, next-largest producers India, Peru, Australia and the U.S. are expected to contribute a further third of mined production, according to a report by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* New Century Resources Ltd. started zinc concentrate production at its Century zinc mine in Queensland, Australia, amid renewed expectations of commodity price upside as Managing Director Patrick Walta said the perception of a looming "wall of supply" to which his project contributed is unlikely to eventuate.

* King River Copper Ltd. embarked on an internal corporate restructure, with its Mount Remarkable gold project and other copper-gold tenements in Western Australia to be held by newly formed subsidiary Kimberley Gold Pty. Ltd., while its vanadium-titanium-iron-fluorspar projects are to be held by its existing Speewah Mining Pty. Ltd. unit. It also proposed a name change to King River Resources Ltd., subject to shareholder approval.

* A bus ferrying 18 Chinese mining workers in Pakistan's Baluchistan province was attacked by a suicide bomber, with some of the individuals suffering minor injuries, Reuters reported. The miners work at Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd.'s Saindak copper project in the country.

PRECIOUS METALS

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and eight of its subcontractors were named in a lawsuit filed by about 300 Navajo farmers and ranchers in connection with the Gold King mine spill in 2015, seeking US$75 million in compensation, Mining.com reported. An EPA clean-up team working at the site accidentally caused the spill of over 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater from the mine in Colorado.

* Trucks belonging to Banro Corp.'s Namoya gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were attacked by militia, resulting in two fatalities and the abduction of four others, Reuters reported, citing the country's army.

* Rockfire Resources PLC was granted a five-year exploration permit to mine the Kookaburra tenement in Queensland, Australia. The granted tenement includes the Brigalow alluvial goldfield and covers 232 square kilometers.

* Sumatra Copper & Gold PLC suspended operations at its Tembang gold-silver operation in Indonesia and placed the mine on care and maintenance. The company has been operating solely on the production from the Belinau underground mine while it awaited connection of Tembang to the state-owned electricity grid.

* Lingbao Gold Group Co. Ltd. agreed to sell its Lingbao Wason Copper-Foil Co. Ltd. unit to Shenzhen Londian Electrics Co. Ltd. for 2.56 billion Chinese yuan.

* Eastern Goldfields Ltd. reached a settlement with GR Engineering Services Ltd. related to arbitration proceedings over the refurbishment contract for its Davyhurst gold project in Western Australia.

* African Underground Mining Services, a joint venture between Ausdrill Ltd. and Barminco Holdings Pty. Ltd. secured a US$160 million contract to conduct underground mining at the Zone 55 and Bagassi South mines, part of Roxgold Inc.'s Yaramoko gold project in Burkina Faso.

* Avesoro Resources Inc. produced 60,231 ounces of gold, a 12% reduction quarter on quarter, at all-in sustaining costs of US$985 per ounce sold in the second quarter. Gold sold in the period dropped 16% to 57,285 ounces at an average realized price of US$1,302 per ounce.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Following the first delivery of bauxite to China from its Bauxite Hills mine in Queensland, Australia, Metro Mining Ltd. has executed two additional binding off-take agreements with Chinese customers. The company will ship a total of 780,000 tonnes of bauxite in 2018 and 2019.

* U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that U.S. tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum would be doubled to 50% and 20%, respectively.

* BlueScope Steel Ltd.'s net profit for its full fiscal 2018 spiked 119% year over year to A$1.57 billion, or A$2.82 per share, partly due to reversal of previously impaired plant and equipment at its Australian Steel Products segment, recognition of previously unbooked Australian tax losses, restatement of deferred tax liabilities associated with U.S. tax reform as well as higher underlying profits. As a result, the Australian steel major declared a 60% higher final dividend of 8 cents per share, as well as an on-market share buyback of A$250 million, to be held in the first half of its fiscal 2019.

* Meanwhile, BlueScope Steel plans to undertake an up to US$700 million investment in the U.S. to expand the steelmaking capacity at its North Star business by up to 900,000 tonnes, The Wall Street Journal reported.

* Israel wants to re-tender the Dead Sea mining concession in 2022, around eight years ahead of schedule, due to environmental and investment concerns, Reuters reported. The government has rarely intervened in the operations of the largest extractor, the Dead Sea Works, which is formerly state-owned and now operated under Israel Chemicals Ltd.'s 70-year mining license.

* State-owned Coal India Ltd.'s attributable profit in the first quarter of its fiscal 2019 jumped to 37.86 billion Indian rupees, from 23.51 billion rupees a year earlier.

* Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. booked consolidated net profit of 1.10 billion Indian rupees in the first quarter of its fiscal 2019, swinging from a net loss of 4.21 billion rupees a year earlier.

* Banpu PCL booked second-quarter net profit of US$124.4 million, a significant increase from net profit of US$65.9 million reported in the year-ago period, driven mainly by the strong performance of the company's coal business, and also included a foreign exchange gain of US$36.8 million due to the rapid depreciation of the Thai baht against the U.S. dollar during the period.

* Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA halted all the blast furnaces at its Ipatinga facility in Brazil's Minas Gerais state after an explosion at one of the gas tanks at the site. About 34 people were injured following the incident, but all have left the hospital, Reuters reported.

* Rail freight operator Aurizon Holdings Ltd.'s attributable net profit for its full fiscal 2018 inched up to A$228.0 million, from A$226.4 million. Revenue slipped to A$1.22 billion from A$1.26 billion.

* Aurizon was ordered by the Federal Court to continue its intermodal operations in Queensland, Australia, while the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's case against it and Pacific National is heard and determined.

* Sberbank purchased a 10% stake in OAO Metalloinvest's Mikhailovsky GOK subsidiary in a transaction aimed at easing the company's debt burden, Reuters reported. Metalloinvest will use the proceeds to partially repay its Sberbank debt, Interfax cited a company spokesperson as saying.

* T2 Resources Fund Pty. Ltd. will proceed with the compulsory acquisition of Realm Resources Ltd. after closing its offer to acquire Realm shares with a relevant interest of 96.3%.

* The Singapore Exchange announced plans to put in place a contract for 65% iron ore, which will launch by year-end, in addition to a benchmark contract for 62% iron ore and low-grade 58% iron ore, The West Australian reported, citing head of commodities William Chin.

* The board of KIOCL Ltd., formerly Kudremukh Iron Ore Co. Ltd., approved the technoeconomic feasibility report to set up a 2 million-tonne iron ore pellet plant in India's Andhra Pradesh state, with an investment of 9 billion Indian rupees, The Hindu reported. The plant would be commissioned by 2021.

* Union Investment, which owns a 0.2% stake in thyssenKrupp AG, said the German group requires a broad overhaul in strategy carried about by a new external CEO as the recently unveiled midterm goals will not be enough to put the group back on track, Reuters reported.

SPECIALTY

* The Zimbabwean government confirmed that the restructuring of Premier African Minerals Ltd.'s 49%-owned RHA tungsten mine can move ahead without requiring approval by the mines ministry, sending the company's share soaring in early afternoon London trading. Additionally, the company's loan account in RHA will be capitalized in exchange for the issue of additional shares, giving Premier a 90% interest in RHA. Meanwhile, the results of an independent review to bring RHA back into production will be reported in the coming weeks.

* Yellow Cake PLC purchased an additonal 350,000 pounds of uranium from National Atomic Co. Kazatomprom JSC at US$23.30 per pound and will pay US$8.2 million in cash.

* Beowulf Mining PLC estimated a maiden indicated and inferred resource for its Aitolampi graphite project in Finland of 19.3 million tonnes at 4.5% total graphitic carbon containing 878,000 tonnes of graphite, at a nominal 3% TGC cutoff grade.

* Separately, Diatreme Resources Ltd. estimated a maiden resource for the Nob Point prospect, part of its Cape Bedford silica-heavy minerals project in North Queensland, Australia, totaling 21.6 million tonnes at over 99% silica.

* Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra expects his government to pass laws within six months required to tap a new lithium and uranium deposit, Reuters reported. The move will remove a major obstacle for Plateau Energy Metals Inc.'s proposed US$800 million Falchani mine as the company recently pointed at the lack of rules to mine radioactive materials in the country.

* POZ Minerals Ltd. Executive Chairman Jim Richards believes that the company is ideally positioned to take over the shuttered Ellendale diamond mine, which once produced about half the world's fancy yellow diamonds, and a Euroz analyst said it is the right time for Western Australia's government to tender the project.

* Sheffield Resources Ltd. was granted environmental approval for its Thunderbird mineral sands project by the state government of Western Australia.

* PJSC Alrosa's sales of rough and polished diamonds in July rose 16% year over year to US$339.1 million. Total diamond sales grew 9% to US$3.03 billion in the January-July period.

* Mozambique now accounts for as much as 80% of the world's ruby output, from nothing 10 years earlier, with miners such as Fura Gems Inc. and Gemfields Group Ltd. descending on the African nation, Bloomberg News reported.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Peru's mining exports totaled US$14.69 billion in the first half, representing an 18.3% rise yearly, El Comercio reported, citing figures from Peru's National Society of Mining, Petroleum, and Energy. Copper exports, meanwhile, booked a 23.2% increase to US$7.69 billion in the first six months.

* Resources companies are targeting students in primary and high school levels in a campaign to push for the benefits of mining and recruit future workers at its operations, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

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