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Australasia News

Keegan publishes positive study for Ghana gold project

By: Matthew Hill     23rd September 2011 Shares in junior Keegan Resources took a 26% pounding on Thursday, despite the company having announced a positive prefeasibility study for its Esaase gold project in Ghana. Though the drop should be considered in the context of a 6.2% decline in the TSX-V, Keegan’s fall was far sharper. 

Franco-Nevada promises wealth tomorrow from latest buy

By: Matthew Hill     23rd September 2011 Investors will have to wait years to benefit from Franco-Nevada’s latest purchase of Lumina Royalty for $66-million in shares and warrants, but CEO David Harquil told shareholders on Thursday it would be worth it. Lumina, a private company spun out of Lumina Copper, owns a portfolio of royalties... 

Candente to list Cobriza unit Oct 12

By: Matthew Hill     22nd September 2011 Toronto- and Lima-quoted Candente Copper aims to list its spun-out Cobriza Metals unit on the TSX around October 12, the company said on Thursday. The company first announced the plans to separate Cobriza, which holds its early stage Peruvian copper exploration projects, in May, in order to... 

Chavez wants 55% stake in Rusoro's gold mines

By: Matthew Hill     22nd September 2011 TSX V-listed Rusoro Mining on Thursday said the Venezuelan government wants a 55% stake in its gold operations in the country. The Russian-backed firm said CEO Andre Agapov and chairperson Vladimir Agapov had met with Venezuela Energy and Petroleum minister Rafael Ramírez, who communicated the... 

Union agrees new deal at Xstrata's Kidd site

By: Reuters     22nd September 2011 Xstrata's copper division said union members at its Kidd Metallurgical Site in Canada have ratifed a new three-year wage deal. "Xstrata Copper Canada is pleased to announce that members of CAW-Local 599 have ratified a new three-year collective agreement at its Kidd Metallurgical Site in... 

Barrick earmarks over $12bn for Chilean projects

By: Francisca Pouiller     22nd September 2011 Canada-based Barrick Gold expects to make major investments in Chile, where the world’s biggest bullion producer is developing the Pascua Lama project. The mining firm has allocated $5-billion dollars to the first bi-national gold and copper mine, in addition to the $6-billion destined for its... 

Glencore's Katanga names new chief executive

By: Matthew Hill     22nd September 2011 Democratic Republic of Congo-focused Katanga Mining has promoted COO Jeffrey Best as CEO, after incumbent John Ross last month resigned. The copper and cobalt producer said on Thursday Ross would remain available to assist Best in the transition. 

Silvercorp buys another $4m of its shares

By: Matthew Hill     22nd September 2011 Fraud-accused Silvercorp Metals has bought around another $4-million worth of its own shares, as short seller attacks refuse to abate. The firm, which says it is China’s biggest primary silver miner, has acquired a total 4.47-million shares under the repurchase programme launched in June, paying... 

Under attack again 

22nd September 2011 The American author Mark Twain once said “Reputation is a hall-mark: it can remove doubt from pure silver, and it can also make the plated article pass for pure.” And China-focused Silvercorp’s reputation has come under further strain after new allegations of impropriety against the miner... 

Commodity markets have not yet priced in rising double-dip threat - Roubini

By: Terence Creamer     22nd September 2011 Commodity markets were not yet fully pricing in the rising risk that a number of advanced industrial countries, including the US, could face a double-dip recession, world renowned economist Nouriel Roubini told a South African audience this week. Responding to a question posed by a delegate to... 

Kalgoorlie Mining increases resource, launches debt funding

By: Esmarie Iannucci     22nd September 2011 Gold developer Kalgoorlie Mining has increased its resource base at the Bullant gold project by some 68% after defining a Joint Ore Reserves Committee complaint resource at its Wattle Bird resource. Kalgoorlie said on Thursday that its total mineral resource has now increased to some 2.4-million... 

$25bn Wheatstone LNG project gets final environ approval

By: Esmarie Iannucci     22nd September 2011 The Australian government on Thursday approved US major Chevron’s $25-billion Wheatstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Pilbara. Environment Minister Tony Burke said that he had approved the project, but that the company would have to adhere to 70 conditions. 

India’s NMDC to buy 50% of Legacy for A$19m

By: Esmarie Iannucci     22nd September 2011 The board of Australia’s Legacy Iron on Thursday agreed to sell a 50% stake in the company to India’s National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) for A$18.89-million and announced that it was considering spinning off certain assets. Legacy CEO Sharon Heng said that the NMDC transaction would... 

Galaxy's Chinese plant on schedule

By: Esmarie Iannucci     22nd September 2011 Lithium miner Galaxy Resources on Thursday reported that the construction of its Jiangsu lithium carbonate project, in China, was progressing on schedule, with final stage construction currently under way. The company said that with the calcination kiln has been installed and is now in its final... 

Marenica diversifies into US coal

By: Esmarie Iannucci     22nd September 2011 ASX-listed uranium company Marenica Energy has taken its first step into diversification after subscribing for a cornerstone position in the newly floated Texas & Oklahoma Coal company (TOCC). The company said on Thursday that the investment would provide Marenica would an early-stage... 

Sacome calls on govt to exempt magnetite from MRRT

By: Esmarie Iannucci     22nd September 2011 Mining body South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (Sacome) on Thursday called for magnetite to be exempt from the federal government’s proposed mineral resources rent tax (MRRT), saying the industry was under threat from the tax. Sacome CEO Jason Kuchel, who was responding to the second... 

Banro touts 2013 dividend as first production nears

By: Matthew Hill     22nd September 2011 Banro Corporation, three weeks away from its first gold production in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), aims to pay its first dividend in 2013, chairperson and CEO Simon Village said on Wednesday. The company is commissioning the first phase of its Twangiza project, which is set to produce... 

This Halloween, trick or treat for Hathor boss Mike Gunning?

By: Matthew Hill     21st September 2011 Halloween’s got a big red circle around it in Hathor Exploration CEO Mike Gunning’s diary this year. It’s the day after the expiry of Cameco’s unfriendly C$520-million offer for his company, which has already received a frosty reception from the target. “Somehow, that’s appropriate for me,” he... 

Anooraq hikes wages 9%, studies synergies with Amplats

By: Matthew Hill     21st September 2011 Anooraq Resources, which owns the Bokoni platinum mine in South Africa together with Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), on Wednesday said it agreed to a 8% to 9% a year wage increase for workers at the operation, effective July 1. The company also noted that the financing talks it was in with... 

China base metals demand growing 10% more than GDP

By: Reuters     21st September 2011 Demand growth for base metals in China is exceeding its GDP growth rate by 10 percent, and will keep growing, Fan Shunke, the president of China Non-ferrous Techno-Economic Research Institute said on Wednesday. "Base metals demand is about 10% higher than the GDP growth rate," Fan, who is also... 

Coal miners Walter and Alpha say production to be lower

By: Matthew Hill     21st September 2011 North American coal producers Alpha Natural Resources and Walter Energy both said on Wednesday that 2011 production would be less than previously predicted. For Walter, sales will be slightly over 5.2-million tons, or around 11% lower than the 5.9-million ton figure it gave earlier this year. 

Gold Fields makes $66m down payment on ‘promising’ Philippines project

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     21st September 2011 South African gold major Gold Fields has made a $66-million down payment as part of an option agreement to acquire a 60% interest in an undeveloped gold/copper Far Southeast (FSE) deposit in the Philippines. Gold Fields spokesperson Sven Lunsche told Mining Weekly Online the $66-million payment... 

Pallinghurst mulls London listing to boost lacklustre share value

By: Martin Creamer     21st September 2011 Diversified resources investment company Pallinghurst is exploring the potential for a London Stock Exchange listing to provide some lustre to its dull share value in Johannesburg. The JSE-listed investment-holding company is battling to close the gap between the value of its assets and its... 

S Africa’s Petmin to invest $25m in Canadian iron sands JV

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     21st September 2011 South African diversified miner Petmin plans to increase its stake in a Canadian iron sands and pig iron joint venture (JV) project by a further 40% through a $25-million investment, the JSE- and Aim-listed miner announced on Wednesday. This follows a deal signed in September 2010, which gave... 

Copper market in surplus in Jan-July 2011 – WBMS

By: Reuters     21st September 2011 The global copper market had a surplus of 260 500 t in January to July compared with a surplus of 76 000 t in the whole of last year, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics (WBMS)said on Wednesday. World refined production for January to July rose to 11.21-million tons, up 1.1% compared with the... 

Friedland takes issue with Rio Tinto

By: Matthew Hill     21st September 2011 Tensions between the owners of the massive Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia, diversified miner Rio Tinto and Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines, appeared to flare up again on Wednesday, after the smaller firm accused its partner of making unauthorised statements regarding the asset. Ivanhoe CEO Robert... 

Murchison scales back Oakajee work while considering funding plans

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st September 2011 Iron-ore miner Murchison Metals on Wednesday said that it would scale back expenditure and short-term work on the Oakajee rail and port project, as well as the Jack Hills expansion project, while commercial solutions were being sought. The ASX-listed miner said that securing supply chain... 

Kagara to sell ‘noncore’ WA nickel assets

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st September 2011 Base metals miner Kagara has appointed an adviser to help sell its nickel assets in Western Australia, which were deemed non-core, the company said on Wednesday. Kagara appointed Goldman Sachs & Partners to investigate the process for monetising the Forrestania nickel assets. 

Meridian board backs takeover offer from Chinese shareholder

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st September 2011 ASX-listed explorer Meridian has agreed to a takeover by its largest shareholder, Northwest Nonferrous International Investment, which values the company at A$68-million. Northwest announced its intention to make an offer in July and has now agreed to pay Meridian shareholders A$0.14 a share in... 

BHP Billiton cautions over tax regime changes

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st September 2011 Countries reviewing tax regimes should ensure that their resources sector remained globally competitive, the chairperson of global mining giant BHP Billiton cautioned on Wednesday. “While we recognise it is appropriate for countries to periodically review tax law, we also believe any change... 

PanAust doubles copper hedge book

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st September 2011 Metals miner PanAust has moved to insulate itself from market volatility by doubling its copper hedge book. The miner said on Wednesday said that around 9 000 t, or 78% of the company’s copper sales wee currently subject to provisional pricing, and were covered by hedging at an average copper... 

Atlas inches closer to full takeover of FerrAus

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st September 2011 Iron-ore miner Atlas Iron has secured a 94.95% shareholding in takeover target FerrAus, with the company saying on Wednesday that it would launch a compulsory acquisition of all the outstanding FerrAus shares at the close of the offer on October 5. “It’s a fantastic result to get over 90% just... 

Firestone appoints new CEO

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st September 2011 ASX- and JSE-listed coal miner Firestone Energy has appointed David Knox as CEO, effective from September 20. Knox would initially be located in Johannesburg, and would assume the responsibility for the whole of Firestone’s operations in South Africa. 

Minotaur and CSIRO trials new gold mining method

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st September 2011 ASX-listed Minotaur Exploration’s Tunkillia gold project, in South Australia, has been selected to conduct the first field trails of a new in-situ gold extraction process developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The in-situ process, which could... 

Legacy goes into trading halt, awaits NMDC development

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st September 2011 The shares of ASX-listed Legacy Iron have gone into a trading halt related to a cornerstone investment that Legacy was undertaking with India’s National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). Earlier this month, Legacy received a formal binding offer from NMDC, which was aiming to become a... 

As with gold, miners bullish on silver prices

By: Reuters     21st September 2011 All that glitters is not just gold, with prices for silver also expected to strongly rise within the year due to a worsening economic landscape. Silver, the second-most popular precious metal, has historically traded in tandem with gold prices, and in the past 12 months its price has more than... 

Hecla ties dividend to silver price

By: Matthew Hill     21st September 2011 Hecla Mining, the biggest silver-miner in the US, is following the gold giant Newmont’s lead, and linking its dividend to the price of the precious metal it produces, the company said on Tuesday. The quarterly dividend starts at $0.01 a share with a $30/oz silver price, and increases by $0.01... 

Silvercorp asks regulators to offer protection from short sellers

By: Matthew Hill     21st September 2011 The Chinese miner under attack from short-sellers, Silvercorp Metals, on Tuesday said it is working with another Chinese company, Nasdaq-quoted Deer Consumer Products, to get their assailants to appear in court. Speaking to an audience at the Denver Gold Forum, CEO Rui Feng also decried a lack... 

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