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Jefferies cuts BHP, Rio Tinto amid demand concerns; Mosaic swings to Q2 loss

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Jefferies cuts BHP, Rio Tinto amid demand concerns; Mosaic swings to Q2 loss


Jefferies cuts miners including BHP, Rio Tinto amid Chinese demand concerns

Financial services company Jefferies lowered its recommendation on Rio Tinto, BHP Group, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc., to "hold" from "buy" along with reducing its commodity price forecasts amid recent developments in the U.S.-China trade war that are more likely to have a "significant impact" on the global demand for metals, Reuters wrote.

Unfavorable weather drags Mosaic to Q2 loss

Mosaic Co. reported a net loss of US$233.1 million for the second quarter, down from a net profit of US$67.9 million a year ago, due to unprecedented wet weather in the Midwest weighing on its North American spring fertilizer sales volumes and phosphate margins. It also announced it was temporarily idling its Colonsay potash mine in Canada to lower costs. Mosaic cut its full-year adjusted EBITDA guidance to between US$1.8 billion and US$2.0 billion due to weaker sales volumes in the first half.

Rio Tinto leveraging on startups in greenfields exploration

Rio Tinto is talking to technology startups to help it find and develop what it believes to be significant deposits that still exist in Australia, such as the Winu copper discovery. Growth & Innovation Group Executive Stephen McIntosh said technology will "play a big part" of the Winu project in Western Australia, and Rio Tinto is seeking to use machine learning and sophisticated mathematical models to analyze the massive quantities of field data expected to be generated there.


* U.S. metal supply and processing companies urged the U.S. trade representative to not enact proposed tariffs on EU copper as it would increase prices of materials used by domestic automotive, energy and telecommunications sectors, which may lead to layoffs, Reuters reported.

* Centaurus Metals Ltd. secured an option to acquire the Jaguar nickel sulfide project in Brazil from Vale SA in exchange for the Salobo West copper project tenements in Brazil, US$7.1 million cash and a 0.75% royalty on concentrate production from Jaguar. Separately, Terrativa Minerais SA agreed to convert its 2% royalty in Salobo West into a 25% share of project sale proceeds against a payment of up to A$3.5 million over 2.5 years.

* The director general of mineral and coal at Indonesia's mining ministry, Bambang Gatot Ariyono, said the government's Jan. 12, 2022, deadline for banning mineral exports is intact, Reuters reported. The country decided in 2017 ban unprocessed ore and gave miners five years to build smelters locally.

* Global mined molybdenum production stagnated in 2018, with supply at 325,568 tonnes, compared to 325,877 tonnes in 2017, according to the Metals and Mining Research team at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Clive Palmer settled about A$100 million in claims with special-purpose liquidators and unsecured creditors over the collapse of Queensland Nickel Pty. Ltd., The Australian Financial Review reported. Palmer is still being pursued by general-purpose liquidators for up A$100 million in debt, which he disputes.

* Australian Mines Ltd. executed a long-form agreement allowing SK Innovation Co. Ltd. to purchase all of the battery-grade cobalt and nickel sulfates from the Sconi cobalt-nickel-scandium project in Queensland, Australia, for seven years.

* PolyMet Mining Corp. subsidiary Poly Met Mining Inc. said the Minnesota State Court of Appeals affirmed the validity of the state's nonferrous mining rules, which environmental groups challenged in a bid to overturn the company's permit approval for the NorthMet copper project.


* PJSC Polyus' profit in the second quarter surged to US$419 million, from US$114 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue in the quarter climbed 30% to US$897 million mainly on higher gold sales. Operating profit jumped 31% to US$506 million on a yearly basis.

* Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd.'s loss per share in the first half grew to 70.80 South African rand, from 12.40 rand a year ago, due to an increase in cash costs and depreciation, interest charges and higher borrowing costs. Revenue surged 90.6% year over year to 3.16 billion rand. Production of 4E ounces 21.1% to 199,200 ounces, and platinum output increased 21.3% to 129,200 ounces on a yearly basis.

* Macmahon Holdings Ltd. is taking legal action to seek an increase in rates for the life-of-mine contract at Newcrest Mining Ltd.'s Telfer gold project in Western Australia after the latter changed the mine plan.

* Ausdrill Ltd. subsidiary African Mining Services was selected as the preferred open pit mining contractor at West African Resources Ltd.'s Sanbrado gold project in Burkina Faso.

* Mako Gold Ltd. lodged two new gold-prospective exploration permit applications covering 296 square kilometers in Cote d'Ivoire.

* Semafo Inc. slashed the full-year guidance for its Mana gold operation in Burkina Faso to between 130,000 and 140,000 ounces from between 170,000 and 190,000 ounces as it suspended ore processing at the project until October due to a pit-wall failure at the Wona pit.

* Serabi Gold PLC delayed completing a preliminary economic assessment for the Coringa gold project in Brazil to the end of the month due to the company's decision to switch to a dry stacking solution and do away with a conventional dam.

* Thousands of Turkish protesters marched against Alamos Gold Inc.'s Kirazli gold project in the Canakkale province over concerns of deforestation and pollution, Reuters reported.

* Rumble Resources Ltd. signed a binding option agreement to acquire the Western Queen gold project in Western Australia from Ramelius Resources Ltd.

* Marmota Ltd. acquired the 178-square-kilometer Malbooma tenement near its Aurora Tank gold discovery and CAR gold prospect in South Australia.

* India's gold imports in July plummeted 55% year over year to 39.66 tonnes from 88.16 tonnes due to a rally to record domestic prices and lower demand caused by higher import taxes, Reuters reported, citing a government source.


* Vedanta Ltd. aims to double alumina capacity at its refinery in India's Odisha state to 4 million tonnes over the next 2.5 years while increasing aluminum smelter production capability by 30% to 3 Mt at an all-in cost of less than US$1,500 per ton, Bloomberg wrote, citing CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan. He added that the company plans to spend 550 billion Indian rupees to boost output across its businesses, but the main priority will be to reduce costs.

* Fortescue Metals Group is looking to boost exports from Australia's Port Hedland by 22 million tonnes per year once its Iron Bridge magnetite project in Western Australia is operational, The Australian Financial Review reported.

* Sirius Minerals PLC decided to suspend the proposed offer by its wholly owned subsidiary of US$500 million of senior secured notes due 2027 due to current market conditions. The offer was part of the stage-two financing of the company's underground Woodsmith potash project in Yorkshire, U.K.

* Cambrian Coal Corp.'s official committee of unsecured creditors filed a limited objection with a federal bankruptcy court asking it not to provide the coal producer with "unfettered authority" to enter into a stalking horse agreement. The debtors have not identified a stalking horse bidder for their assets despite the July 31 deadline to do so.

* Universal Coal PLC agreed to sell all of the coal produced at its Ubuntu colliery in South Africa to Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the South African power utility provider. The Ubuntu colliery will deliver 1.2 million tonnes per annum of thermal coal to Eskom, with first coal delivery set for November.

* Metallica Minerals Ltd. withdrew its application for a mining lease over the proposed haul road to Hey Point, which was to be used to deliver product from the Urquhart bauxite project in Queensland, Australia. The company's Oresome Australia Pty. Ltd. unit was unable to negotiate a logistics contract with owners of the Hey Point transshipment infrastructure and failed to pursue other loadout options.

* South32 Ltd. Chief Developing Officer Simon Collins said the company's final decision on the future of its manganese alloy smelters in Australia and South Africa will be made during the December quarter, Mining Weekly reported. Meanwhile, the executive will move to Vancouver from South32's headquarters in Western Australia to focus on the company's hunt for new projects in the Americas, The Australian reported.

* Despite China's longer-term climate goals of cutting coal consumption to reduce smog and greenhouse gas emissions, coal mine construction approvals jumped 5x in the first half to 141 million tonnes of new annual coal production capacity, Reuters reported, citing National Energy Administration approval documents.

* Vietnam is considering importing coal from the U.S. to meet its power generation needs, while the country plans on building more core power plants to meet rising demand, Reuters reported citing state-run newspaper Dau Tu. Stepping up imports may also help it narrow a trade surplus with the U.S. and potentially avoid the threat of tariffs by President Donald Trump.

* United Co. Rusal PLC halted work and evacuated all but essential staff at its Achinsk alumina plant in Russia following a fire at a nearby military base, Reuters reported.

* En+ Group PLC joined the U.N. Global Compact, a network of companies committed to implementing universal sustainability principles, as part of an effort to cut emissions in aluminum production.

* Parkway Minerals NL entered into a binding term sheet to acquire 97.79% of Consolidated Potash Corp., which holds a 15% interest in the Karinga Lakes potash project in Australia's Northern Territory and a 50% stake in a lithium-potash-prospective project in New Mexico.


* Ur-Energy Inc. cut its workforce, primarily affecting employees its Lost Creek facility in Wyoming, as part of measures to lower costs after President Donald Trump did not immediately enact measures to protect and support the domestic uranium mining sector.

* The Malaysian government may grant Lynas Corp. Ltd. a short license extension to operate the Gebeng rare earths plant, Reuters reported, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter. The government has yet to determine the final duration of the extension, which may be shorter than the usual three years, the sources said.

* Northern Minerals Ltd. terminated a rare earths carbonate off-take agreement with Lianyugang Zeyu New Materials Sales Co. Ltd. entered in April 2017, saying the purchaser was in breach of the sales agreement. The company is looking for new off-take deals for its Browns Range heavy rare earths project in Western Australia.

* Kommersant reported that Polymetal International PLC for the first time publicly declared its interest in the rare earth metals segment and will seek to invest in a Russian project as a minority shareholder. The company's largest shareholder, the IST Group, is developing the Tomtor field together with Rostec, but so far, the project worth about US$560 million is moving slowly.

* BlueRock Diamonds PLC signed an agreement with Teichmann South Africa Pty. Ltd. for the latter to provide mining services at its Kareevlei diamond mine in South Africa.

* Lucapa Diamond Co. Ltd. recovered a 64-carat, D-color, type IIa diamond that it considers the best quality stone unearthed from its 70%-owned Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho.

* China Magnesium Corp. Ltd. is selling its 91.25% interest in Shanxi Yushun Magnesium Co. Ltd., which owns the Pingyao magnesium-lithium plant in China, to Worldcom Parkway International Trade (Tianjin) Co. Ltd.


* Australia's miners welcomed the federal government's commitment to a 12-month review aimed at streamlining the resources sector's regulation, which they said is "suffocating" them amid calls for industry to "push back."

* Unable to match the U.S. dollar-for-dollar on tariffs, China responded to President Donald Trump's latest escalation by allowing its currency to weaken past 7 Chinese yuan per dollar for the first time in 11 years.

* U.N. investigators urged world leaders to impose financial sanctions on companies linked to Myanmar's military, which is accused of exterminating the Rohingya minority, Reuters reported. The military's two major conglomerates, Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. and Myanmar Economic Corp., have investments in various sectors, including gems and copper.

* Heavy mining-equipment maintenance contractor Mader Group aims to raise A$50 million in an IPO for a A$200 million listing on the ASX, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk wrote.

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