EMR Capital closed the US$97.1 million acquisition of an 80% stake in the Lubambe copper joint venture in Zambia from Vale SA and African Rainbow Minerals Ltd., The Australian Financial Review reported. The remaining 20% stake in the mine, which currently produces nearly 20,000 tonnes of copper concentrate per year, is held by state-owned ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc.
U.S. Department of the Interior retracts approval for Westmoreland's coal mine expansion
Westmoreland Coal Co. has not yet received approval to expand a Montana mine, the U.S. Department of the Interior said, calling its earlier announcement of the approval "the result of an internal miscommunication." The Associated Press reported earlier that the department had given the OK for a 60 million-ton expansion of Westmoreland's Rosebud mine, which serves the nearby Colstrip coal-fired power plant.
Kazatomprom's uranium supply contract with Iran hinges on UN approval
In a call with S&P Global Market Intelligence, National Atomic Co. Kazatomprom JSC clarified that it will honor its current contract to supply Iran with 950 tonnes of uranium concentrate, but that the timing is dependent on the approval of the six countries that make up the U.N. Security Council. The contract with Iran was extended to 2020, from initially 2017, Kazatomprom CEO Galymzhan Pirmatov previously told journalists in a press briefing.
* Chilean state copper commission Cochilco projects the country's copper production to increase 13.9% over 2016 levels by 2028 to 6.32 million tons, Reuters reported.
* WPG Resources Ltd. said that due to maintenance issues at the mill and some underperforming stopes at the Challenger gold mine in South Australia, production for the December 2017 quarter will be lower than previously guided. The combined production from the Challenger and Tarcoola mines for the December quarter is now expected to be approximately 11,000 ounces, with the fiscal 2018 output from the two mines now estimated at 60,000 ounces.
* A technical report on Monarques Gold Corp.'s Beaufor gold mine in Quebec estimated an after-tax net present value of C$4.4 million at a 5% discount rate, with total production of 30,018 ounces over its 17-month mine life. Operating costs are expected to come in at C$41.5 million, while capital costs are pegged at C$1.5 million.
* IRC Ltd.'s K&S mine in Russia signed a long-term off-take contract with a Russian customer for a monthly supply of iron ore concentrate. The contract will provide a stable source of revenue for the company and may alleviate the impact of the Trans-Siberian Railway congestion issues.
* Noble Group Ltd. unit Noble Resources International Pte. Ltd. acquired an additional 10.0% stake in Northern Mongolian Railways Ltd., a subsidiary of Aspire Mining Ltd., for US$1.4 million.
* Chalco Shandong Co. Ltd., a unit of Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., or Chalco, conditionally agreed to acquire Chinalco Qingdao Light Metal Co. Ltd. from Aluminum Corp. of China for 300.4 million Chinese yuan. Upon completion of the transaction, Qingdao Light Metal will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Chalco.
* Chalco has been fined 100,000 Chinese yuan and five of its employees have been reprimanded or dismissed for improperly handling hazardous waste at its Lanzhou plant, Sixth Tone reported. Gansu Xinxin Furnace Co., the contractor hired by Chalco's Lanzhou operations to dispose of the waste, was fined the same amount as its employer for failing to "take relevant safety measures," according to Lanzhou's environmental protection bureau.
* Just a year after the U.S. coal sector celebrated the lowest workplace fatality count in modern history, the death toll increased 75% over the prior year.
* Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. completed the installation of a 3 million-tonne-per-annum basic oxygen furnace as the last piece of equipment in the expansion of its integrated steel mill in India's Odisha state, Metal Bulletin reported. The company furnace installation will allow the company to run its 4-million-tonne-per-annum blast furnace at full capacity.
* Turkey's crude steel output rose 12.7% year over year to 34.2 million tonnes in the January to November period, Metal Bulletin reported, citing the Turkish Steel Producers Association. The country's crude steel output is expected to exceed 37 million tonnes for the whole year.
* Serbian power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije, or EPS, started operations at a new €60 million open pit coal mine, which is expected to produce between 5 million tonnes and 6 million tonnes of lignite a year. The move aims to secure supplies for the company's biggest power generating complex over the next decades.
* Thousands of locals in northeastern Morocco continue to protest after two brothers died while illegally mining coal from a tunnel 85 meters below the ground. According to the South China Morning Post, demonstrators are calling for more jobs and development in the area.
* Chilean development agency Corfo said Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, or SQM, could contribute between US$4.7 billion and US$7.55 billion in royalties to Chile by 2030 if the parties can resolve their ongoing dispute relating to mining royalties over SQM's lithium lease in the Salar de Atacama region, Reuters wrote.
* Corfo will assign two mediators to oversee activities at SQM until 2030, even if the parties settle the ongoing dispute over mining concession contracts in northern Chile, sources told daily El Mercurio. The first mediator would supervise the environmental impact of SQM's operations, while the second would make sure contract conditions are being met.
* Bolivia, which boasts nearly a quarter of the globe's known lithium resources, hopes to sign a deal with at least one foreign partner to invest up to US$750 million in factories to meet growing demand from manufacturers, such as electric car maker Tesla, and countries, mainly China, The Australian Financial Review reported.
* Almonty Industries Inc. awarded POSCO unit POSCO E&C a 40.3 billion South Korean won engineering, procurement and construction contract for development activities at the Sangdong tungsten-molybdenum mine in South Korea.
* PJSC Alrosa recovered the first diamonds from the Verkhne-Munskoe deposit in Russia. The next batch of ore from Verkhne-Munskoe will arrive at processing plant No. 12 in the fourth quarter of 2018 as part of the commercial development of the deposit.
* Bolivian mining authorities have reversed a total of 673 private concessions to the state between 2014 and 2017 due to lack of activity or investment, said the director of Administrative Jurisdictional Mining Authority AJAM, Erik Ariñez, daily La República reported.
* Brazilian President Michel Temer signed a decree instituting a formula to calculate reference values for new royalty rates on different minerals except for iron ore, which will be subject to a separate order. The decree, which regulates the royalty aspects of new mining legislation Law 13,540 passed in early December, will be implemented by the country's new National Mining Agency, daily Valor Econômico reported.
* Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly approved a constitutional law awarding the state total control over development and production of mineral reserves found in the Arco Minero del Orinoco mining belt in Bolívar state, daily El Universal reported.
* Mining companies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including local units of Glencore Plc, China Molybdenum Co. Ltd., Randgold Resources Ltd., Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and MMG Ltd., urged the government to reconsider new legislation that could cause a lasting dispute between the sector and the government, Bloomberg News wrote, citing a letter from the group.
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