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Samarco to use Vale pit to deposit tailings upon restart

TOP NEWS

Samarco to use Vale pit to deposit tailings upon restart

In a step toward resuming operations, Vale SA and BHP Billiton Group intend to use the former's Timbopeba pit to deposit the tailings from their Samarco iron ore joint venture in Brazil when it resumes operations, Reuters reported.

S&P revises ratings on US metal companies

S&P Global Ratings has reviewed its recovery and issue-level ratings in the U.S. metals and mining downstream and upstream sectors, and revised issue-level and recovery ratings for a number of companies such as Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., Westmoreland Coal Co., Stillwater Mining Co. and Hecla Mining Co.

Brazil sues ThyssenKrupp mill over illegal operating license

Brazilian state prosecutors filed a public civil lawsuit against ThyssenKrupp AG's Companhia Siderurgica do Atlântico slab mill in Brazil and local authorities over "illegal operating authorization" granted to the slab producer in 2010, Metal Bulletin wrote. The lawsuit could jeopardize the sale of the loss-making plant as Ternium SA, which restarted talks to acquire the plant in October, pulled out of the deal recently considering the regulatory and tax risks involved, Reuters reported, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

BASE METALS

* The International Copper Study Group said the global refined copper market had a deficit of 15,000 tonnes in September, compared to a surplus of 156,000 tonnes in the preceding month, Metal Bulletin wrote.

* Kasbah Resources Ltd. shareholders have asked the Australian Takeovers Panel to stop the company from undertaking a A$3.7 million placement to Pala Investments Ltd., which owns roughly 74% of Asian Mineral Resources Ltd. Kasbah revealed that it was undertaking the placement, which would give Pala a 19.9% stake, following an announcement that the planned takeover of the company by Asian Mineral Resources would not go ahead.

* Labor unions representing 2,550 workers at BHP Billiton Group's Minera Escondida Ltda., which operates the Escondida copper mine in Chile, have started the collective agreement negotiation process with the company's management, daily Diario Financiero reported.

* Glencore Plc will receive a A$15 million grant from the Queensland, Australia government to extend the life of its Mount Isa copper smelter till 2022, MiningNews reported. "We can only operate the Mount Isa copper smelter for as long as it remains economically viable," Glencore Copper Assets Australia COO Mike Westerman said.

* The general manager of Antofagasta Plc's Los Pelambres copper mine, Robert Mayne-Nicholls, appeared in a court hearing in San Juan province in Argentina as part of the legal dispute with Glencore Plc over Los Pelambres' Cerro Amarillo tailings deposit, located on the grounds of Glencore's El Pachon mine. Both Glencore and San Juan authorities claim alleged pollution and usurpation of private property. However, Mayne-Nicholls argued that the company built the dam at a time when the border between Argentina and Chile was not clear in the area, and that the deposit meets Chilean regulation.

* Alecto Minerals Plc intends to acquire the Mowana copper mine in northeastern Botswana through the acquisition of Cradle Arc Investments Pty. Ltd.

* Codelco is set to receive an environmental permit for a 10-year exploration campaign at its El Teniente copper project in Chile, Business News Americas wrote.

* Morumbi Resources Inc. completed the previously announced acquisition of the El Mochito zinc-lead-silver mine in Honduras from Nyrstar NV for US$500,000.

* Reuters wrote that Israeli police detained Asher Avidan, the former president of a company linked to similarly detained Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz's BSG Resources Ltd. in a widening inquiry into allegations of bribery and corruption in Guinea.

* Queensland Mining Corp. Ltd. and its subsidiaries signed an option and joint venture agreement with Teck Resources Ltd. unit Teck Australia Pty. Ltd. on the White Range copper project in Queensland. Teck was granted an option to earn a 70% interest in the White Range #1, Kuridala South, White Range Consolidated and Copper Canyon East tenements.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Aurum Mining Plc will change its name to Shearwater Group plc, subject to shareholder approval in January, and will focus on acquiring and developing businesses in the information security and cyber security sectors. The company will also seek to divest its mining assets over the coming months.

* Jaguar Mining Inc. is targeting 100,000 ounces to 110,000 ounces of gold output in 2017, about 10% more than its 2016 guidance, at projected all-in sustaining costs of US$900 to US$1,000 per ounce of gold sold.

* Horizon Gold Ltd. began its first day on the ASX trading at 12.5% less than its IPO price of 40 Australian cents. The company, which was spun out of Panoramic Resources Ltd., lit up the boards of the Australian exchange Dec. 21 at 35 cents following a fully underwritten IPO of A$15 million. However, just under 77,000 shares were traded.

* Ariana Resources Plc secured a 100% interest in the Salinbas gold project in Turkey from a subsidiary of Eldorado Gold Corp. for a nominal cash payment and a net smelter return royalty of up to 2% on future production, granted to the subsidiary.

* Azure Minerals Ltd. estimated an indicated and inferred mineral resource of 150,000 ounces of gold and 4.80 million ounces of silver for the Loma Bonita gold deposit at its Alacran gold-silver-copper project in Mexico, at a 0.21 g/t of gold cutoff. About 85% of the total gold ounces are within the indicated mineral resource category.

* Hunt Mining Corp. signed an agreement to sell existing gold and silver tailings at the Martha project area for processing at Pan American Silver Corp.'s Manantial Espejo mill in Argentina.

* KalNorth Gold Mines Ltd. and Keras Resources Plc have terminated their negotiations over the proposed development of the former's Lindsays gold project in Western Australia.

* Goldplat Plc said Ghana's government renewed the company's license to purchase and deal in gold for a period of three years. Under the terms, the company's Gold Recovery Ghana Ltd. unit will pay a 5% royalty to the government on all minerals obtained from its operations.

* Triple Flag secured its first silver streaming agreement with Milpo UK, a subsidiary of Compañía Minera Milpo SAA, for most silver output from the Cerro Lindo polymetallic mine in Peru, Mining Weekly reported. Triple Flag will make an upfront payment of US$250 million to Milpo by Dec. 21 and will pay 10% of the spot silver price per ounce for deliveries starting January 2017.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Alcoa Corp. said its Portland smelter in Victoria has been operating at less than 30% of its capacity after a power outage affected the plant three weeks ago, Reuters wrote.

* Chinese steel and iron ore futures dropped for the sixth consecutive day Dec. 21 as heavy smog continues to envelop portions of northern China, curbing demand and halting construction activities. According to Reuters, traders said several steel mills in the area have been ordered to reduce output and the Tianjin port was also directed to stop handling coal, iron ore and other nonliquid products.

* Two unions representing workers at Colombian coal rail company Fenoco reached a new wage deal with the company, preventing a strike that could have hampered coal exports, Reuters reported.

* South Africa's steel output rose by 3.1% year on year in November, to about 498,000 tonnes, Business Day wrote, citing data from the World Steel Association.

* The 114 workers stuck at Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.'s Allan potash mine in Saskatchewan following a fire incident have all been safely evacuated, CBC News reported. The fire has been extinguished and employees are expected to return to work soon.

* Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. may repay debt by selling a significant portion of its stake in Oman unit Jindal Shadeed Iron and Steel LLC, Live Mint reported, citing "two people aware of the development." The company can even go for a full sale if it receives an appropriate offer, one of the sources said.

* Atlas Iron Ltd.'s definitive feasibility study at its Corunna Downs iron ore project pegged initial annual production of 4 million tonnes per annum of direct shipping ore over an initial mine life of five years to six years. CapEx is expected to be between A$47 million and A$53 million, including contingency. The company will make a development decision for Corunna Downs in the March 2017 quarter, and first ore on ship from the project is targeted in the March 2018 quarter.

* Metallica Minerals Ltd.'s pre-feasibility study for its 50%-owned Urquhart bauxite project in Queensland estimated a pretax project net present value, discounted at 10%, of A$78.4 million on sales of 6.5 million tonnes of proved and probable reserves. The mine will target a production rate of 1.5 million tonnes per annum by 2019. Ozore Resources Pty. Ltd. owns the other half of the project.

* Global crude steel output for the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association totaled 132.4 million tonnes in November, representing a 5.0% year-over-year increase. China's crude steel output during the period came in at 66.3 million tonnes, up 5.0% on a yearly basis.

SPECIALTY

* De Beers SA CEO Bruce Cleaver believes U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's policies to increase jobs and lower taxes may result in a higher demand for diamonds, Live Mint reported. "Lower taxes, more jobs, translates into more disposable income and translates into more diamond purchases," Cleaver said.

* Lake Resources NL acquired an additional 3,900 hectares of lithium brine leases, increasing the total lease area either granted or under application in the Kachi lithium brine project in Argentina to almost 50,000 hectares.

* Sayona Mining Ltd. secured an option from Great Sandy Pty. Ltd. to acquire an 871-square-kilometer package of tenements in the Pilgangoora lithium district of Western Australia.

* Tawana Resources NL has decided to exercise the option to acquire Lithco No. 2 Pty. Ltd., which holds an earn-in right over the Bald Hill lithium-tantalum mine in Western Australia. This will result in the company becoming a joint venture partner of Alliance Mineral Assets Ltd. in the project.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Norway's central bank, managing the country's US$869 billion wealth fund, has excluded a further 15 coal-related companies from its portfolio due to their use or production of coal. According to Reuters, the bank plans more exclusions next year and has placed 11 more firms under observation for potential exclusion in the future.

* The World Bank will lend Zambia US$100 million to reduce environmental health risks in areas polluted by mining activities and to support the African nation's economic diversification, Reuters reported.

* The number of mining-related deaths in Australian mines dropped to six this year, half of the 12 deaths reported in 2015 at the country's mining, and oil and gas operations, MiningNews reported.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. ET, and scans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.