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Rio Tinto enters into physical trading for metals, minerals

TOP NEWS

Rio Tinto moves into physical trading for metals, minerals

Rio Tinto moved into physical trading of self-produced metals and minerals in a bid to get better prices, the Financial Times reported, citing the company's CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques. The company is currently trading small volumes of bauxite, alumina and aluminum, "but at some point in time, over the medium and long term, we could increase our trading activities," Jacques said.

EMR acquires 80% Lubambe stake from Vale, African Rainbow for US$97.1M

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.

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.

BASE METALS

* An official from Indonesia's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources said that US$5.03 billion has been invested into the construction of nickel smelters by 13 companies in the first 10 months of 2017, the Jakarta Globe reported. A government regulation issued earlier this year required miners to process raw materials locally before exporting them.

* Chilean state copper commission Cochilco projects the country's copper production to increase 13.9% by 2028 over 2016 levels to 6.32 million tons, Reuters reported.

PRECIOUS METALS

* Eldorado Gold Corp. reorganized its board to make it "leaner and more concentrated," with a reduced total of eight directors compared to the previous 10 members. Eldorado noted that departing directors will not be replaced, and the board has also reduced director compensation.

* Patagonia Gold Plc entered a definitive agreement for the previously announced acquisition of the Calcatreu deposit from Pan American Silver Corp. for US$15 million. The company intends to advance the Calcatreu project in 2018 by exploring the area immediately around the existing resource.

* WPG Resources Ltd. said that due to maintenance issues at the mill and some under-performing stopes at the Challenger gold mine in South Australia, production for the December 2017 quarter will be lower than previously guided.

* A technical report on Monarques Gold Corp.'s Beaufor gold mine in Quebec generated 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 mine life. Operating costs are expected to come in at C$41.5 million while the total project cost is pegged at C$43 million.

BULK COMMODITIES

* 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 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-tpa blast furnace at full capacity.

* Turkey's crude steel output rose 12.7% year over year to 34.2 million tonnes in the January-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.

* Tian Poh Resources Ltd. received support from the Mongolian Ministry of Energy to advance a feasibility study for its proposed coal-to-gas project, in which coal from its Nuurst coal deposit would be gasified to supply residents of Ulaanbaatar. The company also signed a memorandum of understanding with Shenwu Environmental Technology Co. Ltd. to jointly advance the proposed project.

SPECIALTY

* 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.

* Chilean development agency Corfo said that 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.

* 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.

* In a call with S&P Global Market Intelligence, National Atomic Co. Kazatomprom JSC has 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 UN Security Council. The contract with Iran was extended to 2020, from initially 2017, Kazatomprom CEO Galymzhan Pirmatov previously told journalists in a press briefing.

* Russian gas producer Novatek is considering a bid for PJSC Alrosa's gas fields, while oil giant Rosneft might not participate in the auction due to tight deadlines, Reuters wrote. Novatek allegedly already informed Russia's Anti-Monopoly Service of its intention to buy the assets when they will be auctioned on Feb. 19 at a starting price of 30 billion Russian rubles.

* 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.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* 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.

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