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South America News

Goldcorp, Barrick creating another NuevaUnión-like JV at close to discovery cost

By: Henry Lazenby     28th March 2017 Canadian gold majors Goldcorp and Barrick Gold on Tuesday announced a series of transactions that will result in the creation of a new 50:50 joint venture (JV) over a new project located in the Atacama region of Chile, that combines Barrick and Kinross Gold’s Cerro Casale project, with Exeter... 

Diamond industry’s famous hungry crocodile doesn't cut it

By: Bloomberg     28th March 2017 The diamond industry’s most famous chart is the hungry crocodile, the ancient reptile’s jaws wide open, reflecting both a predicted shortage of gems and the inevitable price rises that will come with it. Not only has this chart, which has been an industry staple for more than a decade and... 

Colombia municipality, home of AngloGold project, votes to ban mining

By: Reuters     28th March 2017 Voters in Colombia's Tolima province have backed a proposal to ban mining projects in their municipality, a result that raises questions about the future of an AngloGold Ashanti gold exploration in the area. South Africa's AngloGold may not be permitted to extract gold at its flagship Colombian... 

Vale completes Moatize sale to Mitsui, appoints new CEO

By: Henry Lazenby     28th March 2017 Brazilian miner Vale has completed the sale of its interest in the Mozambique-based Moatize coal project to Japanese miner Mitsui & Co, receiving an initial payment of $733-million. A further $37-million will be paid after the financing for the project is concluded, Vale said in a press release... 

Avanco sets A$10.6m Brazil exploration budget

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     27th March 2017 The board of ASX-listed junior Avanco Resources has approved a A$10.6-million exploration budget for this year, to focus on its Brazilian projects. “Over the last decade, Avanco has accumulated an exciting portfolio of projects and tenements in the Carajas, a premier mineral province for the... 

Orinoco gets new COO

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     27th March 2017 Brazil-focused gold miner Orinoco Gold has appointed Craig Dawson as COO, effective immediately. He has more than 30 years experience in the Australian and international mining industry and has held senior operational positions at a number of midtier and global mining companies, including GM at... 

South32 to return additional $500m to shareholders

By: Martin Creamer     27th March 2017 Diversified mining company South32 on Monday announced that it intends to return an additional $500-million to shareholders, equating to 4.5% of the group’s current market capitalisation. The Sydney-, London- and Johannesburg-listed company said in a media release that this dividend-complementing... 

South32 to return additional $500m to shareholders
South32 CEO Graham Kerr

Glencore bond tanks and scuppers Anglo's return

By: Reuters     25th March 2017 Anglo-Swiss miner Glencore sold its first US dollar bond in two years on Tuesday, but the deal tumbled after pricing as a global sell-off added to a backlash against the deal's tight spread. The $1-billion ten-year trade is the company's first since April 2015, and follows a recovery in... 

Escondida outcome seen as disaster for BHP as workers return

By: Reuters     25th March 2017 The end of a historic strike at Chile's Escondida copper mine, the world's biggest, has left its owner, BHP Billiton, nursing an estimated $1-billion loss and probably in a weaker position for negotiations in a year or so, company and industry insiders said. On Thursday, the 2 500-member union... 

Brazil's Vale says US court annuls most of class action over dam disaster

By: Reuters     25th March 2017 Brazilian miner Vale said on Friday the US District Court for the Southern District of New York annulled the majority of a class action lawsuit against the company and executives over the collapse of a tailings dam in Brazil in 2015. The only parts of the case that remain ongoing are linked to... 

Miners regain mojo to spark $18bn in exploration hunt

By: Bloomberg     24th March 2017 A rebound in exploration by global miners could see spending hit $18-billion by 2025 with China the front runner in the search for a new generation of giant discoveries. Exploration budgets are rising after they plunged to an 11-year low of about $10-billion last year as mining companies slashed... 

Argentina says Enirgi, Orocobre to invest $880m in lithium

By: Reuters     24th March 2017 Miners Enirgi Group Corporation and Orocobre will expand their production of lithium in Argentina with investments of $720-million and $160-million, respectively, Argentina's government said on Thursday. Argentina is the world's No. 3 producer of lithium, a hotly demanded material used in car... 

Hot Chili raises A$13m

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     24th March 2017 Junior copper developer Hot Chili is hoping to raise up to A$13-million through a private placement to refund its outstanding debt and fund exploration work. The ASX-listed company on Friday said it had arranged an offering of unsecured convertible notes, with the funding to be led by lender... 

Proponents see glistening future in seabed mining, but environmentalists fret  

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     24th March 2017 With the current known mineral deposits on land increasingly being depleted globally, necessitating greater exploration, interest in deep-sea minerals is growing as mining companies look for future sources to exploit. “The ocean is where future resources exist,” India Council of Scientific and... 

Proponents see glistening future in seabed mining, but environmentalists fret

Freeport-McMoRan sees no material impact on output from Peru strike

By: Reuters     24th March 2017 Freeport-McMoRan said Thursday that a nearly two-week strike has not materially impacted production levels at its Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru, the country's biggest, though the union said output has been cut in half. The union is preparing to skirt an order by the labour ministry to return... 

Escondida workers to end strike as they opt for old contract

By: Reuters     23rd March 2017 The strike at Escondida, the world's largest copper mine, will end after workers decided to invoke a legal provision that allows them to extend their old contract, the union said on Thursday. The workers said they would present their decision to the government on Friday and return to work on... 

BHP's Escondida mine says negotiations dissolved; will return to production

By: Reuters     23rd March 2017 The negotiation process between BHP Billiton and striking workers at its Escondida mine in Chile has ended unsuccessfully, Escondida mine president Marcelo Castillo said on Thursday, and the company will try to restart operations. The company will also evaluate an option of the Chilean labor code... 

Minerals railway in Peru to take 2-3 wks to resume – govt

By: Reuters     23rd March 2017 A railway used by copper, zinc and silver mines to transport their concentrates from Peru's central Andes to port will not likely be operative for at least two to three weeks following "important" damages from floods and mudslides, the transportation minister said on Wednesday. Martin Vizcarra... 

Canadian royalties, streaming firm Franco-Nevada reports rising revenues as it looks to diversify

By: Henry Lazenby     23rd March 2017 Canadian gold royalties and streaming firm Franco-Nevada Corp has recorded a 37.6% increase in revenue for 2016, boosted by record ounces delivered and soaring sales. The company, which derives income from 107 producing royalties and streams, achieved a 30.9% increase in gold-equivalent ounces... 

Canadian royalties, streaming firm Franco-Nevada reports rising revenues as it looks to diversify

Colombia to produce 95Mt of coal in 2017 – vice-minister

By: Reuters     23rd March 2017 Colombia could produce at least 95-million tonnes of coal in 2017, below an initial target of 102-million tonnes, the mining vice-minister said on Wednesday. The Andean country is the world's fifth-largest producer of the fuel and recorded an output of 90.9 -million tonnes last year, the highest... 

Russia's Alrosa expects 6% fall in first-quarter diamond sales

By: Reuters     22nd March 2017 Russian diamond miner Alrosa expects its first-quarter sales to be down 6% at $1.25-billion compared with a year ago, the state-controlled company said in a presentation for its investor day on Wednesday. Alrosa, the world's largest producer of rough diamonds, plans to increase diamond output to... 

BHP mine struggling to stave off title of longest Chile strike

By: Bloomberg     22nd March 2017 The biggest copper mine in the world owned by the largest mining company is about to gain another, less desirable superlative – that of Chile’s longest mining strike in a generation. Management and union representatives at BHP Billiton’s Escondida are entering into another round of talks on... 

BHP buys back $2.5bn in bonds

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     22nd March 2017 Mining major BHP Billiton has repurchased $2.5-billion worth of bonds, allowing the miner to extend its average debt maturity profile and enhancing its capital structure. BHP this week announced the expiration of its tender offers for its $1.25-billion, 3.25% senior notes due in 2021, its... 

BHP buys back $2.5bn in bonds

Silver Wheaton board recommends name change as it rakes in record precious metals revenues

By: Henry Lazenby     22nd March 2017 The pioneer of the metals streaming mine financing model Silver Wheaton has proposed a name change to Wheaton Precious Metals, to better reflect the fact that an increasing proportion of its revenue is derived from gold. The Vancouver-based company on Tuesday said that, since 2013, it had seen a... 

Silver Wheaton board recommends name change as it rakes in record precious metals revenues

Anglo American readies bond market return

By: Reuters     21st March 2017 Anglo American is poised to sell its first public bond since it was stripped of its investment-grade status last year following the shock capitulation of global commodity prices. The mining company, rated Ba1/BB+, is expected to sell a US dollar and/or euro-denominated bond on Wednesday, after... 

Big banks talking to Rio Tinto's specialist new Ventures arm

By: Reuters     21st March 2017 London bankers are vying for contracts after Rio Tinto said it had set up a new unit, Rio Tinto Ventures, to develop more specialised mining prospects as it seeks to reduce its reliance on bulk commodities, three banking sources said. The big miners have traditionally relied on producing... 

Striking union at BHP's Escondida says it is open to further conversations

By: Reuters     21st March 2017 The union for striking workers at BHP Billiton's Escondida in Chile, the world's largest copper mine, said after meeting with the company on Monday that it was open to further conversations that could lead to reopening negotiations. "At this time, both parties are doing their own evaluation.... 

$60m 'Pink Star' diamond goes back on sale next month

By: Reuters     21st March 2017 A 59.60-ct diamond known as "The Pink Star" is returning to auction next month and could fetch a record $60-million, three years since it was sold for even more - only for the buyer to pull out of the deal. The diamond was presented by Sotheby's in London ahead of the auction in Hong Kong on... 

Peru mine output stranded after rains disrupt rail shipments

By: Reuters     21st March 2017 Heavy rains in Peru have disrupted train transport of minerals from the country's central region to the Pacific Coast, and the train line could take at least 15 days to fix, VP and Transport Minister Martin Vizcarra said on Monday. The government is coordinating with mining companies to find... 

Striking union, BHP Billiton's Escondida mine to meet Monday

By: Reuters     21st March 2017 Striking workers at BHP Billiton's Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world's largest, said they will hold negotiations with the company on Monday, but the union imposed a condition that it will only discuss workers' three main demands. Union members have also given union leaders authority to... 

Smaller global copper deficit seen in December – ICSG

By: Henry Lazenby     21st March 2017 The International Copper Study Group said Monday the global copper market deficit had fallen back to about 50 000 t in December, following a deficit of about 90 000 t in November. According to the group’s latest copper bulletin, world mine output is estimated to have increased by around 5%, or... 

Smaller global copper deficit seen in December – ICSG

Gold hits 2-wk high as Fed rate outlook weighs on dollar

By: Reuters     20th March 2017 Gold prices hit a two-week high on Monday as the dollar slumped to near 6-week lows after the US Federal Reserve's dovish outlook on the pace of rate increases this year continued to disappoint dollar bulls. Spot gold rose 0.5% to $1 234.60/oz by 0735 GMT, after earlier touching $1 235.50/oz, its... 

Union at Chile's Escondida slams new offer from management

By: Reuters     20th March 2017 The labor union at the world's largest copper mine, BHP Billiton's Escondida in Chile, called a fresh offer of talks by management to end a 39-day strike "manipulative." The union told Reuters on Sunday that it will decide whether to attend a meeting with the company after holding two assemblies... 

New offer suggests breakthrough in Chile's Escondida strike

By: Reuters     17th March 2017 Chile's Escondida has agreed to meet with its union and made changes to its contract offer, it said on Friday, a move that could herald the first real sign of a breakthrough in a strike at the world's biggest copper mine. The strike at the BHP Billiton-owned mine has lasted 37 days and has... 

Growing output, rising precious metal prices to benefit Maverix

By: Henry Lazenby     17th March 2017 Maverix Metals, a relatively newly TSX-V-listed royalty vehicle created last July, when Canadian miner Pan American Silver spun out its royalty portfolio, populating it with some of its management, is positioned to grow output and leverage rising precious metals prices over the coming years. The... 

Growing output, rising precious metal prices to benefit Maverix

Vedanta already turning Anglo’s discarded zinc assets to account 

By: Martin Creamer     17th March 2017 Diversified mining company Vedanta, which is being associated with the acquisition of 13% of the equity of Anglo American by Volcan Investments because of the link both these entities have with Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, has done well with the South African assets it acquired from Anglo... 

Vedanta already turning Anglo’s discarded zinc assets to account
Flashback video: Vedanta's Zinc International CEO Deshnee Naidoo updates Mining Weekly Online’s Martin Creamer on the Gamsberg zinc project. Video and Video Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Anglo's billionaire investor puts mining on cusp of M&A era

By: Bloomberg     17th March 2017 Anil Agarwal’s surprise move into Anglo American suggests the mining industry may be on the cusp of a new wave of deals. For years, Anglo has been the subject of takeover speculation and during the worst of the commodities crisis it seemed on the verge of a breakup. It spent last year getting... 

Anglo's billionaire investor puts mining on cusp of M&A era
Photo by Bloomberg
Anil Agarwal

Gold company manager charged in vast Peruvian smuggling plot

By: Bloomberg     17th March 2017 The operations manager at a metals-refining company was charged with helping run a gold smuggling network that reaped-billions of dollars for illegal mines controlled by drug dealers and other criminals in South America. A criminal complaint against Juan Pablo Granda, 35, outlines a vast... 

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