Base & Precious Metals News

May 27 - U.S. panel launches trade secret theft probe into China steel
U.S. regulators on Thursday launched an investigation into complaints by United States Steel Corp that Chinese competitors stole its secrets and fixed prices, in the latest trade spat between the two countries. The International Trade Commission (ITC) said in a statement that it has not made any decisions on the merits of the case. click here.

May 27 - Mining in hard times: small teams and big trucks for BHP's Olympic Dam
A vast copper and uranium lode in Australia's parched outback, global miner BHP Billiton's  Olympic Dam was long emblematic of the industry's boom year projects: complex, ambitious and - until 2012 - slated for a $20 billion expansion. Like its rivals, BHP is still betting on copper, and the ore under Olympic Dam's red desert sand is key to that. click here.

May 27 - Surge in Chinese zinc output could shrink forecast global deficit
Chinese zinc miners and smelters cranked up output in March after prices rallied, raising questions over the market's bullish scenario by potentially delaying global shortages. Zinc has been the darling of the base metals market and the best performer this year, with many investors piling in to benefit from a tightening market after shutdowns at a number of major mines. click here.

May 27 - Goldman sees China steel demand weakening as 'too many furnaces' reopen
Producers that returned to China's steel market after a price rally earlier this year may be forced to run below capacity as demand weakens for the rest of 2016, Goldman Sachs said. "Too many blast furnaces have been reheated, and excess steel production is driving a modest restocking at a time when inventories are usually drawn down," Goldman analysts Christian Lelong and Amber Cai said in a report dated May 26. click here.

May 27 - U.S. rates likely to trump geopolitical jitters and drive gold lower
The threat to gold from a rise in U.S. rates will outweigh the potentially positive impact of a raft of geopolitical tensions, if the relationship between gold prices and real interest rates in recent years is anything to go by. Since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009, gold prices have moved in a lockstep inverse relationship to real U.S. interest rates, calculated by subtracting inflation from 10-year Treasury yields. click here.

May 27 - Top China steel city orders mills to cut output to clear air
China's top steelmaking city of Tangshan has ordered mills in and near the area to cut production for five days from Friday to ease air pollution, according to a notice from the local government. It was not clear how much capacity is affected but Tangshan is the biggest city in Hebei province, which accounts for more than 20 percent of China's steel output. click here.

May 27 - Gold market set for new code of conduct from 2017
Gold market participants will be covered from next year by a new code of best practice brought in to replace the bullion market annex of the Non-Investment Products (NIPs) code, the London Bullion Market Association said on Thursday. The announcement came after the first global code of conduct for currency trading was launched earlier on Thursday, focusing largely on the detail of how banks deal with clients' orders, and aimed at rebuilding trust in the world's biggest financial market. click here.

May 27 - Anglo American appoints Bruce Cleaver CEO of De Beers
Global mining company Anglo American Plc said it appointed Bruce Cleaver as chief executive of its diamond mining unit De Beers Group, after previous CEO Philippe Mellier decided to step down. De Beers, the world's largest diamond producer by value, will remain part of Anglo American's operations even after a radical restructuring of the latter, in the belief that surging Chinese and Indian demand for diamonds will outstrip dwindling supply. click here.

May 27 - U.S. firm files class action against Brazil steelmaker Gerdau
New York investor rights law firm Pomerantz LLP filed a class action suit against Brazil's Gerdau SA, Latin America's largest steelmaker, alleging the company issued materially misleading business information filed to investors over tax liabilities. Porto Alegre, Brazil-based Gerdau is the latest Brazilian company with shares traded in the United States to face actual or potential lawsuits over securities fraud as a result of Brazilian corruption investigations. click here.

May 26 - Britain plans steel pensions overhaul to ease sale of Tata assets
Britain's government said on Thursday it had started discussions on overhauling the deficit-laden British Steel Pension Scheme, a major stumbling block for potential buyers of Tata Steel's UK assets.With serious offers now on the table for Tata Steel UK, Britain's government is racing against time to find a way to put the company's British pension fund on a sound footing to help facilitate a sale. click here.

May 26 - U.S. levies hefty duties on Chinese corrosion-resistant steel
Corrosion-resistant steel from China will face final U.S. anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties of up to 450 percent under the U.S. Commerce Department's latest clampdown on a glut of steel imports, the agency said on Wednesday. The department also issued anti-dumping duties of 3 percent to 92 percent on producers of corrosion-resistant steel in Italy, India, South Korea and Taiwan, it said in a statement. click here.

May 26 - Cameron says Tata Steel UK gets "encouraging" offers
Tata Steel has received a number of serious offers for its businesses in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday as steel workers marched past Downing Street to put pressure on the government to get a deal. Britain's steel industry has been hit by cheap Chinese imports, high energy costs and a global supply glut and in March Tata said it wanted to sell its remaining plants in the country, putting 15,000 jobs at risk. click here.

May 26 - Brazil's Usiminas taps Leite as CEO in sign of easing dispute
Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA tapped veteran executive Sergio Leite as chief executive officer on Wednesday, as Brazil's largest listed flat steelmaker battles to turn around a business hurt by a recession, cheap imports and rising debt. In a securities filing, the board of Belo Horizonte, Brazil-based Usiminas approved a management shuffle in which Ascanio de Figueiredo Silva was picked to replace Leite as senior vice president for sales. Ronald Seckelmann will remain as chief financial officer, the filing said. click here.

May 26 - Jiangxi Copper says China should prevent excess imports - exec
China should prevent excess imports of copper to offset output cuts by domestic smelters, a senior executive at Jiangxi Copper said on Thursday. Wu Yuneng, vice-president of China's top producer of the metal, also told a conference in Shanghai that banks should not lend to inefficient companies suffering overcapacity. click here.

May 26 - Kyrgyz court fines Centerra Gold unit Kumtor $98 mln
A court in Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday fined the country's biggest gold miner, Kumtor Operating Company, a unit of Canada's Centerra Gold Inc, 6.7 billion soms ($98 million) for environmental damage. Kumtor's lawyers told reporters at the hearing that they would appeal the ruling. click here.

May 26 - Amplats bid to buy peace around prized South African mine may backfire
Anglo American Platinum's bid to appease a community near its most profitable South African mine may unravel, highlighting the challenges of managing flashpoints of social unrest while trying to shore up its balance sheet. The world's largest open-pit platinum mine, Mogalakwena was shut for two weeks last year when residents of the surrounding shanty towns rioted, protesting against the government's failure to provide services and the mine's failure to provide jobs. click here.

May 26 - Russia's Gokhran has no plans to buy palladium, polished diamonds
Russian precious metals and gems repository Gokhran does not need to add palladium or polished diamonds to its stocks in 2016, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said on Wednesday. Gokhran, which is part of the finance ministry, has said repeatedly in recent years that it plans to start buying palladium from Russian miners, but only made small purchases to test the market in 2015. click here.

May 26 - Finland starts preparations to shut troubled nickel mine
The Finnish government will start preparations for closing down Talvivaara's former nickel mine in northern Finland, economy minister Olli Rehn said on Wednesday. The final decision on closing the loss-making mine will be made later this year, if no private investor is found to keep it running by then, Rehn said. click here.

May 26 - Liberia grand jury indicts Sable Mining, officials for bribery
A grand jury in Liberia on Wednesday indicted government officials, including the speaker of parliament and the head of the ruling party, along with London AIM-listed Sable Mining on charges including bribery. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered an inquiry into Sable's acquisition of an iron ore concession in northern Liberia after the watchdog group Global Witness made accusations of wrong-doing in a report earlier this month. click here.

May 26 - ArcelorMittal South Africa says Saldanha steel plant will keep operating
ArcelorMittal South Africa's Saldanha plant will keep operating, its chairman said on Wednesday, after the facility was placed under review earlier this year due to low steel prices and rising costs. The plant, north of Cape Town is the newest in the company's fleet and was opened in 1998 to focus specifically on steel exports, but low steel prices and high electricity and transport costs made it unprofitable last year.  "As the board, we are comfortable that we will have a Saldanha that is a good, healthy, performing business for a long period," said ArcelorMittal South Africa Chairman Mpho Makwana. click here.

May 26 - Workers at Toromocho copper mine in Peru plan strike May 31
Workers at Chinalco Mining Corp International's copper mine Toromocho in Peru are planning a four-day strike on Tuesday to press for the reinstatement of a quarterly bonus tied to company results, the union said on Wednesday. The stoppage at the Chinese-owned mine has been scheduled to start at 6:30 a.m. local time (1130 GMT), Carlos Orellana, secretary of defense of the union, said by phone. click here.

May 25 - Top banks gain from discontent over hefty LME fee increases
Core industrial clients of the London Metal Exchange (LME), unhappy with a steep rise in trading fees, are taking some of their business to top-tier investment banks and rival exchanges, industry sources said. Business moving to banks and in some cases, the CME group, is reflected by a 4 percent drop in volumes on the 139-year old exchange last year, the first annual fall since 2009. click here.

May 25 - China's nickel imports still flattering to deceive: Andy Home
China is importing more nickel than ever before. Headline imports of refined metal hit a new all-time record high of 49,012 tonnes in April. The cumulative tally of 157,600 tonnes over the first four months of the year represents a 115,000-tonne increase over the same period of last year. click here.

May 25 - Brazil police probe U.S. Steel venture, Tenaris pipe unit
Brazilian police said on Tuesday they investigated local units of three international steelmakers in a second-straight day of raids probing graft at the country's state-controlled oil producer, Petroleo Brasileiro SA . Police and prosecutors allege that Apolo Tubulars, which is 50 percent owned by United States Steel, and Luxembourg-based Tenaris SA's  Brazilian unit Confab were involved in a bribery scheme to win work from Petrobras, as the oil company is known. click here.

May 25 - Indonesia renews Newmont Mining's copper export licence for six months
Indonesia's mining ministry recommended renewing the export licence for the local unit of U.S. copper and gold miner Newmont Mining Corp  to export copper concentrate for the next six months, a ministry official said on Tuesday. Newmont, Indonesia's second-biggest copper miner, will be allowed to export up to 419,757 tonnes of copper concentrate from its Batu Hijau mine in eastern Indonesia, Coal and Minerals Director General Bambang Gatot told reporters. click here.

May 25 - Freeport staff to oversee transition at Tenke copper mine in Congo
The Chinese company buying Freeport McMoRan Inc's majority stake in the Tenke copper mine has told the Congolese government that Freeport staff will oversee the operation for a transitional period of 12 to 18 months, an adviser to the prime minister said on Tuesday. A delegation from China Molybdenum Co (CMOC) is visiting Democratic Republic of Congo this week to reassure government officials who have expressed alarm about the change of ownership of the largest private investment in the country's history, the adviser said. click here.

May 25 - Venezuela to rejoin global group fighting conflict diamonds
Venezuela expects to rejoin the global watchdog established to stop trade in conflict diamonds as it seeks to resume diamond exports, its central bank director said on Tuesday. "We are certain we will rejoin this year," Jose Khan told Reuters on the sidelines of an international meeting of the group, known as the Kimberley Process. click here.

May 25 - Serbia's sole copper miner plans job cuts to return to profit
Serbia's RTB Bor copper mine plans to lay off nearly a third of its workforce over a five-year period and hire new management in an attempt to return to profit in the face of low copper prices, an executive said on Tuesday. Burdened with one billion euros ($1.1 billion) of debt, state-owned RTB Bor has been protected from creditors but the government has said that status will end this month as part of a 1.2 billon euro International Monetary Fund loan deal.  click here.

May 25 - Kinross continues processing at strike-hit Mauritania gold mine
The processing facility remains in operation at Kinross Gold Corp's Tasiast mine in Mauritania, a spokesman for the miner said on Tuesday after workers at the site went on strike. Management at the mine in western North Africa also have a contingency plan to minimize the impacts of the strike, which includes processing stockpiled material, Kinross spokesman Louie Diaz said in an email. He did not give details of the plan. click here.

May 25 - France's Macron backs mineral exploration, rues lost GMO research
France will encourage more exploration in oil and gas as well as other minerals to reduce its dependence on imports, backed by new mining legislation to be put before parliament, Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday. The government has already awarded 10 exploration permits under a new "responsible mining" approach drawn up to accompany the bill to be introduced in parliament within months, Macron told a commodities conference in Paris. click here.

May 24 - Coking coal's sensible response to China's steel boom: Russell
With China's steel and iron ore bubble popped, the market is struggling to work out what price levels these commodities should be trading around. Perhaps coking coal provides good guidance. Coking, or metallurgical, coal is the second major component, along with iron ore, in making steel, but it doesn't attract as much attention given the limited ways to trade it and relatively strong concentration of producers. click here.

May 24 - Collapsed Australian steelmaker Arrium eyes sale of profitable Moly-Cop unit
Troubled Australian steel group Arrium Ltd, which collapsed last month after creditors rejected a private equity bailout, will hire a global investment bank to advise on the sale of its profitable Moly-Cop mining supplies unit, the firm's administrator said on Monday. Moly-Cop, which makes steel balls to grind ore, among other items, operates mostly in the United States and Latin America, and had been excluded until now from Arrium's restructuring after a private equity sale collapsed last year. click here.

May 24 - China not encouraging large steel exports - industry body
China is not encouraging large steel exports and has taken measures to control shipments offshore, the country's steel association said on Tuesday. "The Chinese steel industry is willing to solve trade disputes through cooperation ... it strongly opposes protectionism and making steel trade a political issue," the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) said in a report on its website. click here.

May 24 - Indonesia renews Newmont Mining's copper export licence for six months
Indonesia's mining ministry has issued the local unit of U.S. copper and gold miner Newmont Mining Corp with a recommendation to continue copper concentrate exports for the next six months, a ministry official said on Tuesday. Newmont, Indonesia's second-biggest copper miner, will be allowed to export "around 400,000" tonnes of copper concentrate from its mine in eastern Indonesia, Coal and Minerals Director General Bambang Gatot told reporters, without providing further details. click here.

May 24 - New Mexico sues EPA, mine owners over massive gold mine waste spill
New Mexico sued the U.S. Environmental Protection agency, an agency contractor and two mining companies on Monday over the 2015 breach of an abandoned Colorado gold mine that spilled some 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater into three states. The Gold King Mine spill, which was accidentally triggered by EPA inspection team called to the mine to inspect an existing seepage, unleashed a torrent of yellow sludge which contained high concentrations of heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead. click here.

May 24 - Copper market in 24,000 tonnes surplus in Feb 2016 - ICSG
LONDON, May 23, The global world refined copper market showed a 24,000 tonnes surplus in February, compared with a 51,000 tonnes surplus in January, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) said in its latest monthly bulletin. For the first 2 months of the year, the market was in a 76,000 tonnes surplus compared with a 134,000 tonnes surplus in the same period a year earlier, the ICSG said. click here.

May 24 - Czech unions join investors to bid for insolvent NWR arm
Czech miners' unions have teamed up with lignite mine owner Pavel Tykac and another investor to make on offer for New World Resources' insolvent mining subsidiary OKD, the unions said on Monday. The unions did not give any details of their offer to NWR, which is mainly owned by a trio of international investment funds. OKD, NWR's main business, filed for insolvency this month after failing to secure government aid. click here.

May 24 - Gold miner Polyus evacuates miners after pit landslide in Siberia
Russia's largest gold producer Polyus has evacuated 89 out of 153 of its miners blocked after a landslide at the Vostochny pit of its Olimpiada mine in Siberia, the company said on Monday. There were no injuries after the slide of some 50,000 to 70,000 cubic metres of rock, and Polyus said the remaining miners would be evacuated by 1200 GMT. click here

May 23 - CME bids to boost its metal storage network, challenge LME
The CME Group is talking to several warehouse companies to expand its metal storage network globally, three metal industry sources told Reuters, a move that could further challenge the London Metal Exchange's (LME) dominance. In recent years the CME, the world's largest futures market operator, has been steadily building its storage network - partly as a result of controversy surrounding the LME warehouse system.
click here.

May 23 - China's May iron ore imports stay robust, majors squeeze rivals: Russell
China's imports of iron ore are likely to have maintained their recent strength in May, as top suppliers Australia and Brazil continue to squeeze market share from smaller rivals. Imports this month are likely to come in around 84.76 million tonnes, according to vessel tracking data compiled by Thomson Reuters Commodity Research and Forecasts. click here.

May 23 - Buyout group to back rival's bid for Tata's UK steel assets - sources
Excalibur Steel, a management buyout group interested in purchasing Tata Steel's British steelmaking operations, is ready to lend its support to rival bidder Liberty House, two industry sources told Reuters on Sunday. Tata said in March it wanted to sell its UK steel operation, which has been hit by cheap Chinese imports, rising costs and weak demand. click here.

May 23 - U.S. measures to protect steel sector do not address root problem - China Commerce Ministry
U.S. efforts to protect its steel industry will not solve the sector's fundamental problems, which stem from past protectionist measures, China's Ministry of Commerce said on Saturday. The comments were posted on the ministry's website following a decision on Friday by the U.S. International Trade Commission to continue probing imports of certain steel products from 12 countries, including China and Korea. click here.

May 23 - Sluggish Chinese demand, new battery tax weighs on lead
Lead, the worst performing industrial metal on the London Metal Exchange this year, is set to stay under pressure due to weak demand in China, where a new tax has been slapped on lead-acid batteries and authorities are cracking down on electric-bikes. Lead depends on lead-acid batteries for about 80 percent of demand in top consumer China. click here.

May 23 - Regulator asks China Molybdenum how it will finance Brazil buy
China Molybdenum (CMOC) said Chinese regulators have asked it to disclose how it will finance its $1.5 billion acquisition of Anglo American Plc's niobium and phosphates business in Brazil. The request comes after CMOC, one of China's largest producers of molybdenum, agreed to buy Freeport-McMoRan Inc's stake in the Tenke copper project in Democratic Republic of Congo for $2.65 billion. click here.

May 23 - Funds raised bullish gold bets before Fed signaled June rate hike
Hedge funds and money managers raised their bullish bets in COMEX gold futures and options in the week to May 17, a day before the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated it could raise interest raise rates as early as June, data showed on Friday. Speculative investors added 1,767 lots to take their total to 227,651, while they cut their bullish bets for silver by 4,674 contracts to 66,982. click here.

May 23 - Zimbabwe's platinum industry calls for $2.8 bln in new investment
Zimbabwe could double annual platinum production to more than 900,000 ounces in the next decade, making the metal the nation's top export earner but current producers need $2.8 billion in new investment to do so, an industry association said on Friday. The southern African nation holds the second largest known reserves of platinum after South Africa but mines have struggled with low prices, a black empowerment law forcing mines to sell more than 50 percent of the business to locals, and power shortages. click here.