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South America News

Yellen can't halt Trump gold rally that funds bet against

By: Bloomberg     20th February 2017 They should’ve had more faith. Hedge funds reduced their wagers on a bullion rally for the first time in three weeks, just before prices neared a two-month high and capped a third straight week of gains. Not even Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s outlook for higher US interest rates has been... 

Vale scraps controlling bloc, merges shares in major transparency move

By: Reuters     20th February 2017 Vale SA plans to become a company with no defined controlling shareholder as soon as possible, in a landmark step aimed at enhancing transparency and equal rights for all shareholders in the world's largest iron-ore producer. In a Monday statement, Vale said controlling shareholders grouped under... 

South32, AusQuest partner on exploration in Australia, Peru

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     20th February 2017 Diversified miner South32 has struck a strategic alliance agreement (SAA) with ASX-listed AusQuest to develop a pipeline of exploration opportunities. Under the terms of the SAA, AusQuest will generate and secure prospective early-stage exploration opportunities, which will then be offered to... 

South32, AusQuest partner on exploration in Australia, Peru

De Beers' Forevermark diamonds to add 10% more outlets in 2017, says CEO

By: Reuters     18th February 2017 Diamond jewellery retailer Forevermark, part of the Anglo American mining group, has expanded to 2 000 outlets globally and expects a further 10% rise this year, CEO Stephen Lussier said on Friday. The number of new Forevermark outlets, which sell selected De Beers diamonds, rose by 14% last... 

Freeport declares force majeure at Indonesia copper mine

By: Reuters     18th February 2017 Freeport-McMoRan said on Friday it cannot meet contractual obligations for copper concentrate shipments from its Grasberg mine in Indonesia following a five-week export ban, the second big producer in a week to declare force majeure. Production at Freeport's giant mine in Papua, Indonesia, came... 

Anglo to suspend copper mining at El Soldado in Chile

By: Reuters     18th February 2017 Anglo American will temporarily suspend operations at its El Soldado copper mine in Chile after failing to receive regulatory approval for a redesign that would have helped keep output flowing, the company said on Friday. Chilean mining regulator Sernageomin has rejected the permit request for... 

New US President may benefit the resources sector

By: Henry Lazenby     17th February 2017 While Donald Trump is likely to lower US corporate taxes, bringing US dollars back into the country and rebuilding American infrastructure through a massive $1-trillion spending programme, the new President is coming in at the “US midnight”, Euro Pacific Capital founder and CEO Peter Schiff says.... 

New US President may benefit the resources sector

BHP Billiton, Escondida workers far apart one week into strike

By: Reuters     17th February 2017 The positions of BHP Billiton and the striking union at its Escondida copper mine, in Chile, the world's largest, remain distant even as the two parties agreed this week to return to the table. Escondida's 2 500-member union officially walked off the job on February 9 after contract talks with... 

Gold Fields set for ‘year of reinvestment’, announces R2.28bn South Deep growth plan 

By: Natasha Odendaal     16th February 2017 The South Deep gold mine achieved several milestones in 2016 as interventions implemented over the past two years started yielding results and dual-listed Gold Fields will now embark on a new R2.3-billion rebase plan at the mine to create a defensive asset in a spiralling industry. Equipped with... 

Gold Fields set for ‘year of reinvestment’, announces R2.28bn South Deep growth plan
Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland talks to Mining Weekly Online about South Deep's turnaround, what its future holds and why it is such a critical asset for Gold Fields. Camerawork: Nicholas Boyd. Videoediting: Lionel da Silva. Date recorded: 16.02.2017.

Major South African coal extension project on cards – South32

By: Martin Creamer     16th February 2017 A decision will be taken in the June quarter on go-ahead for the Klipspruit Life Extension coal project in Mpumalanga, which is said to have robust economics. The original BHP Billiton capital expenditure (capex) of $500-million-plus for the two-year development has been more than halved under... 

Major South African coal extension project on cards – South32
South32 CEO Graham Kerr

South32 swings to H1 profit on stronger commodity prices

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     16th February 2017 Diversified miner South32 has reported a massive surge in underlying earnings to $479-million for the six months to December 31, compared with $26-million in the previous corresponding period. “The disciplined application of our strategy and stronger commodity prices underpinned a significant... 

South32 swings to H1 profit on stronger commodity prices
South32 CEO Graham Kerr

Kinross narrows Q4 loss as margins rise

By: Henry Lazenby     16th February 2017 Canadian miner Kinross Gold has reported a smaller headline loss for the fourth quarter ended December 31, as margins expanded on the back of higher gold sales and prices. The Toronto-based company reported an adjusted net loss of $50.9-million, or $0.04 a share, for the three-month period,... 

Goldcorp’s Q4 earnings surprise as decentralised business reaps rewards

By: Henry Lazenby     16th February 2017 Miner Goldcorp has reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, as substantially lower costs at its gold mines in the Americas and a higher gold price offset lower output, the company said on Wednesday. The Vancouver-based company reported net earnings of $101-million, or $0.12 a share,... 

Barrick lifts dividend as earnings beat forecast

By: Henry Lazenby     16th February 2017 VCanada’s Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold producer by volume, announced on Wednesday that it has made significant progress on initiatives to repair its debt-laden balance sheet, declaring a higher dividend to shareholders and renewing its focus on exploration spending. The Toronto-based... 

Barrick lifts dividend as earnings beat forecast

DRDGold spends R26m in six months on environmental restoration  

By: Martin Creamer     15th February 2017 Johannesburg is probably one of the world’s best examples of unintended sustainable development, where almost accidentally the mining economy has been fully replaced by another larger economy. This is because mining took place for long enough to allow for the emergence of services industries such... 

DRDGold spends R26m in six months on environmental restoration
Mining Weekly Online’s Martin Creamer talks to DRDGold CEO Niël Pretorius on the company’s R26-million expenditure on environmental restoration. Photographs: Duane Daws. Video: Nicholas Boyd. Video Editing: Lionel da Silva.

New labour laws in Chile embolden striking miners

By: Reuters     15th February 2017 Workers at the world's largest copper mine in Chile are digging in for a long strike, emboldened by new labour laws that are likely to result in tough wage negotiations in the industry in 2017 in one of Latin America's most free-market economies. The 2 500-member union at BHP Billiton's Escondida... 

KGHM to book $1.4bn impairment on international assets

By: Henry Lazenby     15th February 2017 Polish base metals producer KGHM expects to book a noncash writedown of $1.4-billion on its international assets for the 2016 financial year. This followed the completion of major impairment tests on its foreign assets. The total impairment in the consolidated financial statements, after taking... 

Striking union at Escondida copper mine agrees to talk

By: Reuters     14th February 2017 Striking workers at Chile's massive Escondida copper mine have accepted a government invitation to try to resume dialogue with mine operator BHP Billiton, the union and government said on Tuesday. A BHP spokesperson said the company also had received the government invitation and was still... 

Electric car boom spurs investor scramble for cobalt

By: Reuters     14th February 2017 Investors are buying up physical cobalt anticipating that shortages of the metal, a key component of lithium-ion batteries used in electrical cars, will spur prices to their highest levels since the 2008 financial crisis. Prices for cobalt metal have climbed nearly 50 percent since September to... 

Kumba applying exploration-to-beneficiation technology 

By: Martin Creamer     14th February 2017 South Africa’s biggest iron-ore mining company Kumba Iron Ore intends maximising the return potential of its assets through productivity initiatives, accompanied by ongoing robust cost management. It intends ensuring disciplined capital allocation, prioritising the reinstatement of dividend... 

Kumba applying exploration-to-beneficiation technology
Mining Weekly Online’s Martin Creamer at the Kumba Iron Ore results presentation by CEO Themba Mkhwanazi and outgoing CFO Frikkie Kotzee. Video and Video Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Kumba lifts output, slashes costs, pumps cash, CFO quits

By: Martin Creamer     14th February 2017 South Africa’s biggest iron-ore mining company Kumba Iron Ore beat production guidance, slashed costs and pumped cash – but what was a successful 12 months to December 31 last year, was marred by two fatalities. Controlling shareholder Anglo American said in a separate statement that it would... 

Kumba lifts output, slashes costs, pumps cash, CFO quits
Kumba Iron Ore CEO Themba Mkhwanazi

Glencore’s DRC copper top-up wins analyst cheer

By: Martin Creamer     14th February 2017 Diversified mining and marketing company Glencore has bought the remaining 31% stake in Mutanda Mining for $922-million and a further 10.25% stake in Katanga Mining for $38-million from Dan Gertler’s Fleurette Group, the company’s joint venture partner. The all-cash transaction will result in... 

Glencore’s DRC copper top-up wins analyst cheer
Photo by Bloomberg
Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg

Nickel market rebalancing put on hold as divergent Indonesia, Philippines strategies signal standoff

By: Henry Lazenby     14th February 2017 A rebalancing of the nickel market has been cast into doubt as divergent strategies by major producers Indonesia and the Philippines muddles the outlook, a recent report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) has found. While Indonesia looks to increase nickel exports, the Philippines is... 

Nickel market rebalancing put on hold as divergent Indonesia, Philippines strategies signal standoff

Key Vale partners want to keep CEO to stem political pressure – Valor

By: Reuters     14th February 2017 Vale's top non-government shareholders want CEO Murilo Ferreira in the job for another two years to stem pressure from Brazilian politicians to appoint an ally at the helm of the world's No 1 iron-ore producer, newspaper Valor Econômico said on Monday. Valor, which cited unnamed people familiar... 

Road to Las Bambas copper mine clear after Peru protest ends

By: Reuters     13th February 2017 MMG has been transporting copper concentrates from its Las Bambas mine, in Peru, since late on Friday, when residents of a nearby town called off protests that had blocked the road used by the company, a representative of the ombudsman's office said. The five-day protest in Challhuahuacho ended... 

McEwen Mining to buy Lexam VG

By: Henry Lazenby     13th February 2017 Precious metals miner McEwen Mining will acquire Lexam VG Gold under a plan of arrangement in an all-scrip deal valued at about $54-million. McEwen Mining will pay a 30% premium to Lexam shareholders based on the TSX-listed stock’s 30-day volume weighted average price on Friday. The acquisition... 

Surging iron-ore won’t ‘fall off a cliff’, says Rio Tinto

By: Bloomberg     13th February 2017 Iron-ore will defy forecasts for a dramatic price collapse as China’s economy remains strong and the top buyer boosts demand for higher-quality imports, according to Rio Tinto Group, the second-largest exporter. “I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s going to fall off a cliff,” Chief Financial... 

BHP vows legal action at top copper mine after group enters site

By: Bloomberg     13th February 2017 BHP Billiton, the owner of the world’s biggest copper mine known as Escondida, said it will take legal action after a group of more than 300 people entered the mine site during a strike and forced some contractors to abandon the compound. People wearing masks entered the mine site at 18:00... 

BHP's Escondida copper mine declares force majeure on Chile strike

By: Reuters     10th February 2017 BHP Billiton's Escondida, in Chile, the world's largest copper mine, will not be able to meet its contractual obligations on metals shipments after a two-day-old workers' strike brought production to a standstill, a company spokesperson said on Friday. Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange... 

BHP's Escondida copper mine declares force majeure on Chile strike
Photo by BHP Billiton
Escondida, Chile

New Bill on way to boost State involvement in mining

By: Martin Creamer     10th February 2017 A new Bill is to be presented to the South African Parliament to strengthen the State’s role in the industry, currently dogged by legislative, regulatory and administrative tensions between government, business and labour. The Mining Company of South Africa Bill will be presented to Cabinet and... 

New Bill on way to boost State involvement in mining
President Jacob Zuma

Verde Agritech stock leaps on Brazil enviro licence approval

By: Henry Lazenby     10th February 2017 The TSX-listed stock of plant nutrient project developer Verde Agritech nearly doubled to a new 12-month high late on Thursday, after it announced that the Minas Gerais State Environmental Agency had issued an environmental licence for its Cerrao Verde project. "With this long-awaited... 

Verde Agritech stock leaps on Brazil enviro licence approval
Photo by Verde potash
Cerrado Verde, Brazil

Chile Escondida BHP copper mine workers gird for long battle

By: Reuters     9th February 2017 Workers gearing up for what could be a prolonged strike at the world's leading copper mine, BHP Billiton's Escondida, are stockpiling rations and supplies to survive the searing sun and bone-chilling nights of Chile's northern high-desert. Dozens of colourful tents were splayed out near the... 

Rio Tinto considers exiting interest in Freeport Indonesia mine -The Australian

By: Reuters     9th February 2017 Rio Tinto is considering walking away from its interest in the giant Grasberg copper mine operated by Freeport McMoRan Inc in Indonesia, The Australian newspaper reported on Thursday, citing the mining giant's chief executive. "There is no doubt it is a world-class resource, but I'm not sure... 

BHP approves $2.2bn investment for Mad Dog 2 development

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     9th February 2017 Diversified miner BHP Billiton has approved a $2.2-billion investment for its share of the Mad Dog Phase 2 development, in the Gulf of Mexico. The Mad Dog Phase 2 project, in which BHP holds a 23.9% interest, is a southern and south-western extension of the existing Mad Dog field, and includes a... 

New Gold narrows Rainy River funding gap by selling El Morro stream to Goldcorp

By: Henry Lazenby     9th February 2017 New Gold has sold a 4% gold stream on the El Morro project, in Chile, to Canadian gold major Goldcorp for $65-million. The transaction is mutually beneficial to both companies as it bolsters New Gold’s balance sheet as the company pushes through the final stages of the Rainy River project's... 

New Gold narrows Rainy River funding gap by selling El Morro stream to Goldcorp

Orvana widens Q1 loss

By: Henry Lazenby     9th February 2017 The TSX-listed stock of copper and gold miner Orvana Minerals on Wednesday traded 12.5% lower after the company reported a widened loss for the first quarter of the 2017 financial year. The Toronto-headquartered company, which owns mines in Spain and Bolivia, reported sales of 14 060 oz of gold,... 

Argentina lithium projects seek financing as production seen tripling

By: Reuters     8th February 2017 Argentina's lithium carbonate production will triple by 2019, and could grow by even more if companies find financing for various projects they are prepared to launch, industry executives and a government official told Reuters. Demand for lithium - a crucial material in electric car batteries... 

A fillip for iron-ore, but is it sustainable?

By: Kim Cloete     8th February 2017 The past year has been a volatile but positive one for iron-ore, with higher prices helped by a burst of demand from China. Panelists at the Investing in African Mining Indaba, being held in Cape Town, this week, agreed that there was still great uncertainty in the iron-ore market, with Macquarie... 

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