Base & Precious Metals News

Aug 03 - Piedmont Lithium delays timeline to supply Tesla

Piedmont Lithium Inc said on Monday it will delay first shipments of lithium chemicals to electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc and that it does not have a definitive date for when deliveries could begin. The decision was mutual, Belmont, North Carolina-based Piedmont said. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Aug 03 - China's copper appetite wanes just as US grows hungry: Andy Home

China's copper import surge has peaked. The country sucked in a record 4.67 million tonnes of refined copper last year, making it the single most important physical driver of the pandemic recovery rally.

Aug 02 - Russia mulls pegging tax on mining firms to global metals prices - Interfax 

Russia is considering pegging a mineral extraction tax (MET) levied on its metals producers to the global price of their products from 2022, the Interfax news agency reported on Friday, citing Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Sazanov. Moscow has been trying to protect its defence and construction industries from further growth in raw materials costs as metals prices rise at a global level.

Aug 02 - Rio Tinto readies to ship trial lithium plant to Serbia

Rio Tinto Ltd is set to ship a pilot lithium processing plant to Serbia from Melbourne in the coming weeks, the culmination of a decade's research to catapult the world's largest iron ore miner into battery minerals. The work, undertaken at a science hub on the outskirts of Melbourne, has found a way to economically extract lithium from jadarite, a mineral that has only been found in a Serbian valley.

Aug 02 - Union at BHP's Escondida mine in Chile rejects contract, company seeks talks

The union of workers at BHP Group Ltd's Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world's largest, said on Saturday it had voted to reject the company's final labor contract offer, prompting BHP to request government-mediated talks in a last-ditch effort to stave off a strike. The talks, once confirmed by authorities, will last for 5 to 10 days, according to Chilean labor law. If no agreement is reached, a strike would begin.

Jul 30 - China raises export tariffs for some steel products again in green push  

China will raise export tariffs for pig iron and ferrochrome, and remove export tax rebates for 23 steel products from Aug. 1, the second adjustment in three months as it seeks to ensure domestic supply while controlling output to curb emissions. Export tariffs for high-purity pig iron will be lifted to 20% from 15%, and for ferrochrome will be increased to 40% from 20%, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Thursday.

Jul 30 - China metals body names 66 certified importers for copper, aluminium scrap  

China published the third list of 66 domestic firms that would be allowed to import copper and aluminium scrap on Thursday, the country's metals recycling body said in a statement. The world's biggest metals consumer had given a green light to two batches of domestic importers and foreign suppliers for metals scrap trade as it banned imports of solid waste from 2021 on environmental concerns.

Jul 30 - Anglo American pays out record $4.1 bln to shareholders for first half 

Miner Anglo American on Thursday boosted shareholder payouts to a record $4.1 billion for the first six months of the year, sending its stock up more than 5% after bumper commodity prices lifted first-half profits to their highest ever. London-listed shares in Anglo, which have surged almost 80% over the last year, were up 5.2% at 1225 GMT, close to 13-year highs hit in May.

Jul 30 - Gold set for modest rally before easing in 2022 - Poll

Gold prices will average a little above their current level of $1,830 an ounce for the remainder of 2021 before edging lower next year as the global economy recovers and central banks begin to tighten monetary policy, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday. Prices of the metal, traditionally seen as a safe store of wealth, surged to record levels above $2,000 an ounce early in the coronavirus crisis but sagged as economies reopened.

Jul 29 - China demand powers Fortescue shipments to record, beats annual estimate 

Australia's Fortescue Metals Group Ltd on Thursday narrowly beat its full-year estimate for iron ore shipments after a record fourth quarter, as strong demand from top consumer China offset the impact of bad weather. The world's fourth-largest iron ore miner fared better than rivals Rio Tinto and BHP, whose June quarter output dropped because of weather disruptions in Western Australia.

Jul 29 - Australia's BlackEarth Minerals wins export rights in Madagascar 

Australia's BlackEarth Minerals said on Thursday it had received rights to export its graphite concentrate from Port d'Ehoala in southern Madagascar. Graphite is considered a "critical" mineral with a range of application, including in the manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles and in electrodes used for steel making.

Jul 29 - Gold demand has yet to recover fully from COVID-19, says WGC 

Global demand for gold rose in the second quarter to its highest quarterly level in a year as central banks and investors stepped up purchases, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Thursday. But with jewellery fabrication still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, gold use over the first six months of 2021 was lower than in any first half since 2008, the WGC said in its latest quarterly report. 

Jul 29 - Union at BHP's Escondida copper mine urges members to strike 

The union at BHP Group Ltd's Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world's largest, on Wednesday urged its members to vote to strike, saying the company was attempting to impose its will and its contract offer was "insufficient". The powerful, 2,300-member union is set to vote on BHP's contract offer between Thursday and Saturday this week.

Jul 28 - London judges reverse course to reopen $7 bln Brazil dam lawsuit against BHP 

London's Court of Appeal made a U-turn on Tuesday by agreeing to reopen a $7 billion lawsuit by 200,000 claimants against Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP, reviving a case over a dam rupture behind Brazil's worst environmental disaster. Lawyers for one of the largest group claims in English legal history have been pushing to resurrect the 5 billion pound ($6.9 billion) lawsuit against BHP since a lower court struck out the lawsuit as an abuse of process last year - and a Court of Appeal judge upheld that decision in March.

Jul 28 - Bandits steal truckloads of copper worth millions in southern Africa - sources 

Crime gangs have stolen dozens of truckloads of copper owned by miners and traders including Glencore, Trafigura and Traxys this year as they were heading to ports in southern Africa, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. Record high copper prices have triggered an increase in hijackings in recent months in Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia, said the sources who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Jul 27 - BHP delivers final offer to workers at Chile's Escondida copper mine -memo 

Labor contract negotiation at Chile's Escondida mine, the world's largest copper deposit, entered into a critical phase on Monday with the delivery of a final offer by operator BHP, according to an internal memo sent by the company to workers and seen by Reuters. Negotiations over the past two months between the company and its powerful workers' union over a new labor contract have been conducted in utmost secrecy, against a backdrop of record high metal prices amid expectations of a gradual global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Jul 27 - Booming stainless steel output to sustain nickel prices for months 

Healthy demand from stainless steel mills and electric vehicle battery makers is expected to underpin nickel prices over coming months, but rising supplies from top producer Indonesia are likely to weigh next year. Benchmark nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange, at $19,500 a tonne, are up more than 20% since April and at their highest since February.

Jul 26 - U.S. judge rules Lithium Americas may excavate Nevada mine site 

A U.S. federal judge has ruled that Lithium Americas Corp may conduct excavation work at its Thacker Pass lithium mine site in Nevada, denying a request from environmentalists who said the digging could harm sage grouse and other wildlife. The ruling marked a rare win for a U.S. critical minerals project as environmental groups increasingly pressure courts and regulators to block mining projects, even if they produce metals key to building electric vehicles.

Jul 26 - Australia's Lynas posts record revenue on robust demand, shares hit 8-year high 

Australia's Lynas Rare Earths Ltd posted record quarterly revenue on Monday on the back of "very strong" demand for its range of specialized metals that offset softer prices, sending its shares to a more than eight-year high. Lynas, the largest rare earths producer outside China, reported a jump in fourth-quarter revenue to A$185.9 million ($137 million), more than triple A$38 million a year earlier, pushing the stock up 9% to A$7.01, its highest since January 2013.

Jul 23 - Freeport-McMoRan profit jumps on surging copper prices 

Freeport-McMoRan Inc beat Wall Street's expectations for second-quarter earnings on Thursday as the copper producer, one of world's largest, benefited from higher demand and increased prices for the red metal. Copper prices touched an all-time record high of $10,747.50 a tonne in May. Bullish investors bet that demand for the red metal will increase further as the world economy recovers from COVID-19 woes and as green energy investments ramp up.

Jul 23 - China launches new anti-dumping probe into steel products from Japan, S.Korea and EU 

China on Friday launched an anti-dumping investigation into grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel imported from Japan, South Korea and the European Union following the expiry of tariffs in place for the last five years. Those tariffs will, however, be reinstated during the investigation which is due to be completed within a year, China's Ministry of Commerce said.

Jul 22 - Chile copper giant Codelco plans India, SE Asia push to trim reliance on China 

Chile state mining company Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, will seek to quadruple sales in Southeast Asia by 2023 and push further into the Indian market in an attempt to reduce a strong reliance on sales to China, the company told Reuters. The firm will open a new office in Singapore in August to help lead the push around the region to deal with clients in Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, among others, and to lead the drive into India, it said.

Jul 22 - BHP to supply Australian nickel to carmaker Tesla 

Global miner BHP Group said on Thursday it signed a nickel supply agreement with Tesla Inc and will work with the electric carmaker on lowering carbon emissions in the battery supply chain. Tesla said in June it expects to spend more than $1 billion a year on battery raw materials from Australia given the country's reliable mining industry and responsible production practices.

Jul 21 - In push to supply Tesla, Piedmont Lithium irks North Carolina neighbors 

In its quest to build one of the largest lithium mines in the United States, Piedmont Lithium Inc has overlooked one crucial constituency: its North Carolina neighbors. Piedmont last autumn signed a deal to supply U.S. electric automaker Tesla Inc with lithium sourced from its deposits in North Carolina, sending the company's stock up tenfold. The company, however, has not applied for a state mining permit or a necessary zoning variance in Gaston County, just west of Charlotte, despite telling investors since 2018 that it was on the verge of doing so.

Jul 21 - Australia's iron ore miners face train driver shortage amid COVID lockdowns 

Rio Tinto is asking train drivers working in mineral-rich Western Australia to work more hours, following a move by rival BHP Group, as miners rush to ship millions of tonnes of iron ore amid soaring prices for the steel making material. The push comes among a worsening skills shortage in Australia's west that has been exacerbated by strict coronavirus restrictions, which unions say have raised mental health risks for workers and their families.

Jul 20 - Final settlement for Brazil's Samarco dam disaster could reach $19 bln, governor says 

A definitive settlement with miner Samarco and owners, BHP Group and Vale SA, for the damage caused by a burst tailings dam in 2015 could reach 100 billion reais ($19.06 billion), the governor of the Brazilian state where the disaster occurred told Reuters. That estimate is nearly four times higher than an initial deal struck with mining companies in 2016, which created a foundation to implement reparations and temporarily froze lawsuits relating to the incident. 

Jul 20 - BHP posts record annual iron ore production, lower output elsewhere 

BHP Group Ltd on Tuesday reported full-year iron ore production near the top end of its forecast range, thanks to record output at two mines in Western Australia. However, the world's largest listed miner posted a 4% decline in fourth-quarter output, compared with last year, and lower annual production across four of its six major divisions.

Jul 19 - China frictions steer electric automakers away from rare earth magnets 

As tensions mount between China and the United States, automakers in the West are trying to reduce their reliance on a key driver of the electric vehicle revolution - permanent magnets, sometimes smaller than a pack of cards, that power electric engines. Most are made of rare earth metals from China. 

Jul 19 - China's Ganfeng to buy Millennial Lithium for up to $280 mln 

China's Ganfeng Lithium Co Ltd said on Friday it would buy Argentina-focused Millennial Lithium Corp for about C$353 million ($280 million), extending a deal spree by one of the world's biggest producers of the white metal. Prices for lithium, a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries, are up more than 65% year-to-date in China amid resurgent demand following a three-year downturn.

Jul 16 - Congo's cobalt monopoly to set price floor for artisanal miners 

The Democratic Republic of Congo's state cobalt buyer will put in place a price floor of $30,000 a tonne for the cobalt it buys from artisanal miners, Entreprise Generale du Cobalt (EGC) director-general Jean-Dominique Takis told Reuters. Cobalt, which is trading at around $50,000 a tonne, is used in the batteries that power electric vehicles, sales of which are expected to soar over coming years as the world strives to cut carbon emissions.

Jul 16 - Global metals trading impetus shifting from east to west: Home 

The remarkable one-year rally in base metal prices has been primarily driven by China's rapid COVID-19 recovery. While the coming demand boost for metals such as copper from the green revolution excites the supercycle bulls, it is China's resurgent manufacturing sector that is determining the immediate pricing landscape.

Jul 15 - Metals recycling to be a key plank for cutting emissions 

Consumer awareness of carbon emissions from the production of metals for the energy transition will eventually energise the recycling industry and stimulate searches for substitutes that could spoil the party for miners. Analysts at Wood Mackenzie estimate an additional 360 million tonnes of aluminium, 90 million tonnes of copper and 30 million tonnes of nickel will be needed over the next 20 years under a scenario that limits global warming to less than 2˚C.

Jul 15 - China June aluminium output falls for 2nd month, hit by power curbs 

China's primary aluminium output hit multi-year highs in the first half but production in June fell for a second straight month, official data showed on Thursday, as limits on power consumption in the smelting hub of Yunnan reined in production. The world's top producer of the metal increased first half aluminium output to the most since at least 2015, according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) records.

Jul 14 - AngloGold offers to buy out N. American bullion miner Corvus 

South Africa's AngloGold Ashanti Ltd said on Tuesday it had offered to buy all the shares it does not already own in Canadian bullion miner Corvus Gold Inc as it seeks to expand its ore reserves. The Johannesburg-listed company has shed most of their South African assets to focus on higher returns in both North and South America, sources said, as mining companies in South Africa struggle with rising costs, volatile labour relations and power disruptions. 

Jul 14 - Fund managers give copper a wide berth as China cools: Andy Home 

Fund managers have been reducing their exposure to copper as the market heads into what is normally a seasonally weak spot for demand. Supercycle bulls will argue that this is just a temporary soft spot before green infrastructure stimulus starts building momentum in Europe and the United States.

Jul 13 - Congo likely to start artisanal cobalt buying within 8 weeks 

The Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to start buying cobalt from artisanal miners within eight weeks as it aims to become the only legal buyer from miners in the informal sector. The government is looking to capitalise on soaring demand for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and to curb illegal exports which strip the state of needed tax revenue. It is also aiming to end unsafe working practices and child labour.

Jul 13 - China copper treatment charges near six-month high on smelter outage 

Spot treatment charges (TCs) for copper concentrate in China were on Monday assessed at their highest in almost six months after a smelter in the country's eastern Shandong province suffered an equipment breakdown. TCs, which smelters receive to process copper concentrate into refined metal, were languishing at decade lows in April amid tight supply. But they continued a recent recovery with a 4.4% jump to $47.50 a tonne on Monday, according to Asian Metal, marking the highest assessment since Jan. 21.

Jul 12 - Britain carves out exemption for gold clearing banks from Basel III rule 

Banks clearing gold trades in London can apply for an exemption from tighter capital rules due in January 2022, a British regulator said on Friday, removing what some said was a threat to the functioning of the market. London is the world's biggest physical precious metals trading hub. Its clearing system, operated by a handful of large banks with access to metal in vaults - JPMorgan, HSBC, ICBC Standard, and UBS - settles gold transactions worth around $30 billion a day.

Jul 12 - Can Reddit's silver "apes" beat the market? 

Kerry Kraker, 56, has worked in kitchens all his life. Since March he's spent around $100 a week - half his spare cash – on silver coins. He's part of a growing social media movement who say they are buying bars and coins for protection from a coming age of inflation. Thanks to a community of like-minded silver 'stackers' gathering on social-media platform Reddit Inc., Seattle-based Kraker says he also feels empowered.

Jul 09 - Canada's Star Diamond objects to Rio Tinto push for joint venture meeting

Junior miner Star Diamond Corp on Thursday said it objected to Rio Tinto's "predatory and coercive" actions after the global miner called a meeting for a joint venture the Canadian company says does not yet exist. Rio Tinto responded by saying it "disagrees with Star Diamond’s interpretations in all material respects."

Jul 09 - S.Africa says mine deaths rose 33% in the first half 2021

South Africa's mines recorded 32 deaths in the first half of 2021 compared with 24 during the same period in 2020, the mines ministry said on Thursday, continuing a spike in deaths which began last year in some of the world's deepest mines. South African mines, some of which are nearly 4km (2.5 miles) deep, have seen a regression in safety from record lows recorded in 2019 with the death toll last year up around 18% in 2020.

Jul 08 - Russia's aluminium export tax fuels price surge on spot market

Plans by Russia to impose taxes on exports of aluminium, a vital material for transport and packaging, have fuelled a surge in spot market costs for consumers in Europe and the United States. Moscow is proposing a 15% export tax on aluminium exports or a minimum of $254 a tonne between August and December. The tax will apply to Rusal, which accounted for 6% of global supplies estimated at 65 million tonnes last year.

Jul 08 - Forgotten tin tops energy transition metals leader-board: Andy Home

Copper may grab the supercycle headlines but it's the tiny tin market that outperformed all other base metals in the first half of this year.  London Metal Exchange (LME) tin hit a decade high of $33,181 per tonne in June and is currently trading around $31,800, up by 51% on the start of the year. Aluminium, the second-best year-to-date LME performer is up by 25% and copper "just" 21%.

Jul 07  - China's state metals reserves auctioned off in double-quick time

The first round of China's much-anticipated state metal reserves auctions needed only one of two days allotted for all the copper and aluminium on offer to be sold, notices on the bidding platforms and two industry sources said. In a rare move aimed at cooling a rally in metal prices that has pushed up raw material costs for Chinese manufacturers, the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said last month it would sell 50,000 tonnes of aluminium, 30,000 tonnes of zinc and 20,000 tonnes of copper on July 5-6. 

Jul 07 - Peru's Castillo expects mining firms to accept 'prudent' tax changes, adviser says

Peru's socialist president-in-waiting expects mining firms enjoying high metals prices to be won over to "prudent" plans to hike taxes on mineral resources, a top adviser told Reuters on Tuesday. In a sign that the gap between the business sector in the world's no. 2 copper producer and the incoming leftist government is closing, Pedro Francke, Castillo's economic adviser, said he expected firms would not oppose a planned review of tax rules after dozens of meetings with businesses.

Jul 06 - Brazil's Vale to use unmanned equipment to help shut down two dams

Brazilian miner Vale SA will use unmanned equipment for the removal of iron ore mining waste to help shut down two dams at imminent risk of collapse in Minas Gerais state, according to a securities filing on Monday. The announcement comes two years and four months after the collapse of a tailings dam at its mine in the town of Brumadinho that killed roughly 270 people, in one of the world's worst mining disasters.

jul 06 - Glencore names Kalidas Madhavpeddi as new chairman

Swiss commodities trader Glencore said on Monday Kalidas Madhavpeddi will take over as its new chairman at the end of the month, when Tony Hayward retires after eight years in the role. U.S.-based Madhavpeddi joined the board of the London-listed miner in February 2020 and is better known as the chief executive of China Molybdenum International (CMOC), a role he covered for almost ten years until 2018.

Jul 05 - Global copper smelting eases in June; nickel pig iron jumps

Global copper smelting activity slipped in June after a rebound a month earlier as Chinese plants closed for maintenance, data from satellite surveillance of copper plants showed. Satellite service SAVANT and broker Marex said in a joint statement on Friday that they were now monitoring nickel smelters, which showed weak refined nickel production, but a jump in nickel pig iron (NPI) activity.

Jul 05 - GM shakes up lithium industry with California geothermal project

General Motors Co is investing in a U.S. lithium project that could become the country's largest by 2024, making the automaker one of the first to develop its own source of a battery metal crucial for the electrification of cars and trucks. The deal, announced on Friday, comes as automakers around the world scramble for access to lithium and other electric vehicle (EV) metals as internal combustion engines are phased out.

Jul 02 - Brazil iron ore exports hit 9-month high in June, government says

Brazil's iron ore exports reached 33.68 million tonnes in June, the highest volume in nine months, as major producers like Vale shipped more in response to higher international prices, official government data showed on Thursday. June exports were up 12.2% compared with the same month last year, the data showed. Compared to the previous month, June exports were up 26.3%. Commodities prices have been rising globally, and iron ore prices have been bolstered by strong demand from China.

Jul 02 - Shortages flagged for EV materials lithium and cobalt

As the world moves to meet stringent targets for cutting carbon emissions - partly by phasing out internal-combustion-engine cars - demand for lithium, cobalt and nickel vital for electric vehicle batteries will soar, raising the prospect of shortages. High lithium prices have failed to spur investment in new capacity due to lower long-term contract prices, while the problem for cobalt supply is that it is mainly a byproduct of copper, meaning investment decisions are based on copper prices.

Jul 02 - Glencore enters new era under Gary Nagle's stewardship

Gary Nagle takes the helm at Glencore Plc on Thursday, a changing of the guard that shareholders hope will allow the mining giant to move past a U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation and lift its share price. Nagle, 46, is South African and an accountant by profession, as was his predecessor Ivan Glasenberg, earning him the nickname "mini-Ivan". He has run the company's coal assets division for the last two years.

Jul 01 - UK to extend quotas and tariffs on most steel imports 

Britain said on Wednesday it would introduce new regulations to help defend its steel industry after accepting a recommendation from its newly established Trade Remedies Authority to scrap some quotas on imports. Trade minister Liz Truss said the government only had the option of accepting or rejecting the recommendations in full, which said quotas and tariffs should be retained for 10 categories of steel for three years, and revoked in nine others.

 Jul 01 - U.S. EPA weighs Taseko copper mining process akin to fracking

Taseko Mines Ltd wants to produce copper in Arizona using a process that evokes oilfield fracking, but first the company has to convince the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it will not harm the state's water supply. The Canadian firm, which said it expects an EPA decision imminently, wants to use a process that involves injecting sulfuric acid and water deep underground to break up a mineral deposit. Uranium miners in rural parts of Australia and the United States have used the process, known as in situ leaching, for decades, but it has rarely been used to extract copper.

Jul 01 - Australia grants $131 mln loan for Olive Downs coal project

The Australian government approved a A$175 million ($131.25 million) loan to support development work on the first stage of the privately-owned Olive Downs metallurgical coal project in Queensland, the minister for resources said on Thursday. The financial support lent by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) comes as banks and financial institutions are facing increased pressure to stop supporting coal and other fossil fuel projects.

Jun 30 - Chile's top mining firms hope senate may modify higher royalty tax

Chile's top private miners see as "very good news" what they called a "change of tack" by senators considering a stiffer tax on mining royalties that was approved by congress's lower house last month, a spokesman for the group said on Tuesday. Joaquin Villarino, head of Chile's Mining Council, which represents major global miners such as AngloAmerican, BHP, Antofagasta, Teck and Freeport-McMoRan, said the state has the "legitimate" power to seek to increase tax revenues in moments when, as at present, copper prices spike - but not at the expense of development in the sector.

Jun 30 - Steel sector may be saddled with up to $70 bln stranded assets -report

The global steel industry may have to write down up to $70 billion in assets in the coming years because it is still building new blast furnaces using coal that will become obsolete as the world cuts carbon emissions, a report said on Tuesday. Some 50 million tonnes of steelmaking capacity is under development using blast furnace technology, largely in top producer China, U.S.-based think-tank Global Energy Monitor (GEM) said in the report.

Jun 29 - Russia's Nornickel sees $500 mln hit from new export duties - RIA

Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin, majority shareholder in mining giant Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), said on Monday the impact of new duties on the company was expected to be around $500 million, the RIA news agency reported. Russia has introduced temporary new export taxes for steel products, nickel, aluminium and copper which will cost producers $2.3 billion between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31.

Jun 29 - Glencore snaps up BHP, Anglo stakes in Colombian coal mine

Diversified miner Glencore will become the sole owner of the Cerrejon thermal coal mine in Colombia by buying out partners BHP and Anglo American, boosting its coal assets at a time when others are looking to exit the sector. Glencore said on Monday it expects to pay $230 million for the combined 66% stake owned by BHP Group and Anglo when the deal completes in the first half of 2022. It sees production volumes at the mine declining materially by 2030.

Jun 28 - Rio kept destruction of Ice Age Australia heritage secret, Aboriginal group says

A Rio Tinto Ltd forerunner failed to protect 18,000-year-old artefacts showing how people lived during the last Ice Age, part of destruction that the mining giant kept secret for decades, an Australian Aboriginal group alleged on Friday. The group said that Rio, despite pledges to improve how it protects Indigenous heritage after its destruction of sacred sites last year, did not come clean about the 1990s destruction of heritage at an iron ore mine that local Aboriginal people still do not have access to.

Jun 28 - Commodity outperformance switching to energy from metals: Russell

The rally in commodity prices is likely to see a shift from metals to energy resources, such as crude oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal, according to the latest forecasts from the Australian government. While the June quarter report from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources doesn't foresee a major retreat in the prices of metals such as copper, iron ore, zinc, aluminium and nickel, it does forecast stronger performances from energy commodities.

Jun 25 - Russia prepares to hit metals firms with $2.3 bln in export taxes in Aug-Dec

Russia is preparing new export taxes for steel products, nickel, aluminium and copper which will cost their producers $2.3 billion between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, its officials told a government meeting on Thursday. Moscow wants to protect its defence and construction industries from further growth in raw materials costs as prices for metals rise at a global level. 

Jun 25 - Chile's decades-old mining deals may hinder bid to lift copper royalties

With copper prices soaring and Chile's economy reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers want to fund recovery efforts by hiking royalties on the booming mining sector but the drive could flounder because of deals that previous governments signed decades ago to freeze tariffs on the biggest miners. Major foreign miners operating in the world´s largest copper producer obtained tax stability agreements that maintain payment regimes, and a Reuters review shows these do not expire for two to 15 years.

Jun 24 - Rio Tinto partners with Schneider Electric to meet decarbonisation goals

Global diversified miner Rio Tinto has partnered with French electrical equipment group Schneider Electric to utilise each others' materials and services, the companies said on Wednesday. Companies around the world are pledging a net-zero emission target by 2050, aligning themselves with the Paris Climate Agreement goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Jun 24 - China's first round of copper, zinc, aluminium auctions fails to impress: Russell

The rare auction of strategic reserves forms part of Beijing's efforts to take the heat out of red hot commodity markets, which have seen metals such as copper and iron ore reach all time highs amid a surge in demand as the world recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. However, initial market reaction to the announcement of the auctions would indicate that the volumes being offered are too small to make much of a difference in the world's largest importer, producer and consumer of industrial metals.

Jun 23 - Energy transition metals poised for uneven, explosive run higher

Buoyed by powerful demand expectations as the world moves away from reliance on fossil fuels, prices of many industrial metals rocketed, but future price rises are likely to be limited to a select few energy transition ingredients. The narrative of a synchronised upswing, characterised by some as a supercycle, is at odds with expectations shortages of materials will occur at different times.

Jun 23 - China to auction first batch of state metal reserves on July 5-6

China's state reserves administration on Tuesday said it would publicly auction a total of 100,000 tonnes of non-ferrous metals early next month in the first round of a rare and highly anticipated release of its stockpiles. The National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said in three separate notices it would auction 20,000 tonnes of copper, 30,000 tonnes of zinc and 50,000 tonnes of aluminium on July 5-6.

Jun 22 - Chinese regulators launch probe into spot iron ore trading

China's state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said on Monday it and the market regulator are jointly looking into the iron ore spot market and have pledged to crack down on hoarding and speculation. The move comes after NDRC said on Thursday that new rules on the management of price indexes for commodities and services will be effective Aug. 1 and will standardise price index compilation and transparency of information. 

Jun 22 - Rusal earning a small premium for low-carbon aluminium - EN+ 

Russia's Rusal is earning a small premium for its low-carbon aluminium, Gregory Barker, the chairman of its major shareholder EN+, said, despite current industry resistance to paying higher prices for less polluting metal. Aluminium consumers in the transport, packaging and construction industries looking to cut their carbon footprint want to source low-carbon material, but most are reluctant to pay a premium, aluminium industry sources say.

Jun 21 - China May copper exports hit 14-month peak as traders cash in on LME price jump

China's copper exports edged up for a third straight month in May to their highest level since March last year, customs data showed on Friday, as higher international prices encouraged traders to ship more metal overseas.  China is the world's top copper consumer and rarely exports large amounts. However, last month's surge in London Metal Exchange (LME) copper prices to a record high has not only made imports less favourable for China, but also incentivised shipments in the other direction. 

Jun 21 - Metals boom sees the return of physically-backed funds: Andy Home

The boom times have returned for industrial metals over the last year as global manufacturing activity has come roaring back from its pandemic lows. There is more to come, according to supercycle super-bulls such as Goldman Sachs who think that commodities demand growth is about to undergo a tectonic acceleration as the world decarbonises.

Jun 18 - Aboriginal groups reject bill to protect cultural heritage in Western Australia mining state

Indigenous Australians say a bill to protect cultural heritage in the mining state of Western Australia is flawed and should not be presented to parliament, as the state reviews laws that allowed Rio Tinto to destroy a 46,000-year-old rock shelter. Five Indigenous groups on Thursday said they had not been properly consulted over the bill's revisions.

Jun 18 - China's success in cutting metal prices may be fleeting: Russell 

China is claiming some initial success in curbing commodity prices, but the modest declines in copper, aluminium and zinc underscore the scale of the challenge facing Beijing's policy mandarins. China's economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, said that various measures, including the planned sale of some strategic reserves and increased market supervision, has started to cool runaway metal prices.

Jun 17 - Vale, BHP propose 1.2 bln reais DIP financing for Samarco, creditors oppose

Bankrupt miner Samarco Mineracao SA plans to receive a 1.2 billion reais ($238 million) debtor-in-possession loan extended by controlling shareholders Vale SA and BHP Group Ltd, according to court documents reviewed by Reuters. But a group representing 80% of Samarco's debt excluding Vale and BHP oppose the move, saying the DIP financing goal would be to protect Vale and BHP assets. Among these creditors are York Global Finance, Ashmor, Solus and City National.

Jun 17 - Learning to live with (talk of) Chinese state metal sales: Andy Home

This time last year China's state stockpile managers were under pressure to buy up metal from local producers reeling from the impact of coronavirus. Prices had just slumped to multi-year lows as the world's largest user went into lockdown. Fast forward a year and the same stockpile managers are now being instructed to sell metal as Chinese policy-makers try and dampen the effects of the remarkable price rally that has since unfolded.

Jun 16 - Fading ETF purchases will limit gold demand rise, Metals Focus says

Demand for gold from jewellers and central banks will recover in 2021 but remain below pre-pandemic levels, while buying of bullion by exchange traded funds (ETFs) will fall sharply, consultants Metals Focus said on Tuesday.  Supply of gold from mines, meanwhile, will rise to its highest on record this year, Metals Focus said in its annual Gold Focus report. 

Jun 16 - China to release copper, aluminium and zinc reserves to stabilise commodity prices

China said on Wednesday it will release national reserves of some base metals over the near term, as the world's top metals consumer tries to stabilise the price of critical commodities. The notice came as Beijing struggles to cool its red-hot metals sector, which has seen prices surge this year fuelled by a post-pandemic economic recovery, ample global liquidity and pockets of speculative buying.

Jun 15 - UK set to scrap half of steel quotas designed to curb imports  

Britain plans to revoke about half the limits on steel imports that it inherited from the European Union when the quotas expire on June 30, the government said on Friday. The UK steel industry, which generates about $2 billion in turnover each year, has warned the government not to remove any of the EU's so-called safeguard measures, saying it could spur a flood of imports.

Jun 15 - Members of Vale Sudbury nickel miners' union reject new offer

Members of a union representing striking workers from Vale SA's Sudbury, Canada, nickel mine have rejected the Brazilian company's latest offer, urging it to commit to "good-faith" talks to settle the strike. USW Local 6500 members voted by an 87% majority to reject Vale's second offer in two weeks, the union said. The offer was not that different to the earlier one that had sparked the strike on June 1, it said. 

Jun 15 - A nickel refinery tops U.S. battery metals wish list: Andy Home

The United States government should invest in nickel refining capacity in coordination with its allies, according to the Biden Administration's 100-day review of critical supply chains. It's an unexpected priority. Nickel isn't on the U.S. list of critical minerals. Although the country depends on imports, 68% of supplies come from what the report calls "allied nations" such as Canada, Australia, Norway and Finland.

Jun 14 - China seen releasing state metal reserves this year

China plans to release state reserves of nonferrous metals copper, aluminium and zinc in a programme set to last until the end of 2021, data provider Shanghai Metal Exchange Market (SHMET) and Chinese analysts said. State-backed research house Antaike on Friday said market speculation of a selloff had been "partially verified," although there is no official document outlining the plan.

Jun 14 - Mines and votes: Socialist Castillo sweeps Peru's key mining regions

Peru's key mining regions overwhelming supported socialist Pedro Castillo, who looks on track to win the Andean country's tight presidential election and has pledged to sharply hike taxes on firms operating in the world's no. 2 copper producer. The high support in districts where key mines are located underscores how tensions have burst through after years of conflict between mining firms and the local communities who often say they are left behind and do not share in the wealth.

Jun 11 - Judge orders Vale to pay victims' families in 2019 mining disaster

A regional labor judge has ordered Brazilian miner Vale SA to pay 1 million reais ($197,240) in compensation to each of the families of 131 employees killed in the collapse of a mining dam in 2019. The disaster in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais state, killed 270 people in Brazil's most deadly mining tragedy has hampered Vale's performance for two years as it was forced to curb production amid new safety protocols.

Jun 11 - China eyes releasing up to 900,000 T of aluminium reserves - consultancy

China is looking to release 800,000-900,000 tonnes of primary aluminium from its state reserves as soon as next month to ease high prices for the metal, consultancy CRU said in a note to clients, citing local market contacts. China, by far the world's biggest producer of aluminium, rarely sells state metal stockpiles.

Jun 10 - Vale's decomissioned Brazil dam at risk of collapse, labor body says

Iron ore miner Vale SA's decomissioned Xingu dam is at "imminent risk of collapsing," according to a statement on Wednesday by the Regional Labor Department for the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The Xingu tailings, or mining waste, dam in the town of Mariana, already devastated by a 2015 dam rupture which killed 19 people, had its risk level elevated last October by Brazil's National Mining Agency. Although the Xingu dam stopped receiving mining waste in 1998, Vale still employs workers there to monitor its stability ahead of a planned decommissioning procedure.

Jun 10 - London Metal Exchange ring will return, but for how long?: Andy Home

When the LME proposed closing the 144-year old bastion of open outcry trading in January, few in the metals trading community expected it to survive. The ring returns, but under potentially much reduced circumstances. It feels more like a stay of execution unless there's a radical rethink about how open outcry fits into the LME's curious ecosystem.

Jun 09 - LME to reopen iconic trading floor, but says electronic trading is future

The London Metal Exchange has abandoned proposals to close its open outcry trading floor, the last such venue in Europe, it said on Tuesday, but added it believes electronic trading is the future. The floor was closed in March 2020 for the first time since World War II to allow for social distancing needed to deal with COVID-19, silencing its red ring of seats and the theatre of arcane hand signals and frenzied shouting by traders.

Jun 09 - Global copper buyers must look elsewhere for concentrate as Indonesia cuts exports - CRU

As Indonesia prepares to ramp up domestic copper smelting, processors elsewhere must look for alternative sources of concentrate, which might cost more, consultancy firm CRU group said on Tuesday.  Indonesia is one of the world's top exporters of copper concentrate, or partially processed copper ore, with shipments estimated by CRU at some 1.3 million tonnes in 2020.

Jun 08 - London Metal Exchange to decide fate of iconic open-outcry "ring"

The London Metal Exchange will tell its members on Tuesday whether its iconic open outcry floor is to close for good, cementing the switch to electronic trading, a move strongly opposed by many of the exchange's users. The floor was closed in March 2020 for the first time since World War II to allow for the social distancing needed to deal with COVID-19, silencing its red ring of seats and accompanying theatre of arcane hand signals and frenzied shouting by traders.

Jun 08 - Indonesian tin miners target the ocean as reserves dwindle on land

Indonesia is the world's biggest exporter of tin used in everything from food packaging to electronics and now green technologies. But deposits in the mining hub of Bangka-Belitung have been heavily exploited on land, leaving parts of the islands off the southeast coast of Sumatra island resembling a lunar landscape with vast craters and highly acidic, turquoise lakes. Miners are instead turning to the sea.

Jun 07 - Aboriginal group disappointed by Rio Tinto board hire

An Aboriginal group on whose lands Rio Tinto mines iron ore in Western Australia said it did not support the miner's board appointment of former state minister Ben Wyatt, citing his approvals that led to destruction of cultural heritage sites. Wyatt, the state's former treasurer and Aboriginal affairs minister, is to be Rio's first Indigenous board member, the firm said on Friday, as it moves to restore a reputation tarnished after last year's destruction of the Juukan Gorge rock shelters.

Jun 07 - Biden's electric vehicle plan includes battery recycling push

President Joe Biden's strategy to make the United States a powerhouse in electric vehicles will include boosting domestic recycling of batteries to reuse lithium and other metals, according to government officials. As Biden makes fighting climate change and competing with China centerpieces of his agenda, the administration is set to wrap up a 100-day review on Friday of gaps in supply chains in key areas, including electric vehicles (EV).

Jun 04 - Rio Tinto appoints Aboriginal Australian former minister to board
Rio Tinto Ltd has made its first Aboriginal board appointment, hiring former Western Australian state treasurer Ben Wyatt as it strives to rebuild its reputation following last year's destruction of the Juukan Gorge rockshelters. Wyatt, 47, retired from state parliament in March after a 15-year career that included time as Aboriginal affairs minister, where he helped reshape legislation to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Jun 04 - U.S. to list Nevada flower as endangered, dealing blow to lithium mine

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said on Thursday it will propose listing the Tiehm's buckwheat flower as an endangered species, dealing a blow to ioneer Ltd's proposed Rhyolite Ridge lithium mine in Nevada. The decision reflects the ongoing tension between environmentalists and industry as the United States tries to wean its economy off fossil fuels and go electric. Lithium is a key component of electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Jun 03 - Mexico now ready to welcome private lithium miners

Mexico's leftist ruling party has dropped plans to nationalize lithium production and is now pushing to welcome private investors to help develop the country's potential in the metal used to make batteries, the senior lawmaker behind the proposal told Reuters. Mexico, a major copper and silver producer, is home to large potential reserves of lithium, used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. 

Jun 03 - BHP to spend up to $93 mln under Chilean environmental court agreement

Mining group BHP will spend up to $93 million in environmental repairs and reparations after a Chilean court brokered an agreement in a lawsuit from the state over water use and related damage to a sensitive salt flat in the north of the country. The lawsuit related to BHP's Escondida copper mine, the world's biggest, and the agreement involves the payment of compensation for environmental damage due to overdrawing water from the Punta Negra salt flat.

Jun 02 - Mexico now ready to welcome private lithium miners

Mexico's leftist ruling party has dropped plans to nationalize lithium production and is now pushing to welcome private investors to help develop the country's potential in the metal used to make batteries, the senior lawmaker behind the proposal told Reuters. Mexico, a major copper and silver producer, is home to large potential reserves of lithium, used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Most of it is in hard-to-tap clay deposits that are costly and technically difficult to mine. 

Jun 02 - Rio Tinto reports landslip at part of U.S. Bingham Canyon copper mine

Global miner Rio Tinto said on Wednesday that an anticipated landslip occurred at the southeast corner of its U.S. Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah on May 31, causing no injuries to personnel but disrupting operations. Rio said the landslip had been expected based on geo-technical monitoring at the mine, and all personnel had been removed from the area in advance to ensure safety. Rio didn't give any estimate for potentially lost production at the mine or impact on equipment, if any.

Jun 01 - BHP union says work schedules too punishing for train drivers

The work schedule BHP Group has imposed on train drivers at its iron ore operations in Western Australia will damage their mental health and that of their family members, said a union representing the group. The country's miners have been under pressure to ship out as much iron ore as they can while prices are close to record highs. BHP announced the first production at its $3.6 billion South Flank operations earlier this month.

Jun 01 - Russian metals firms may face $1.4 bln in extra tax, shares fall

Russian metals producers may face a demand to pay 100 billion roubles ($1.4 billion) in additional tax to the government for 'screwing the state', First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said in an interview with Russia's RBC TV. Moscow has been keeping a close eye on rising raw materials costs in the construction sector as part of widespread attempts to keep domestic commodity prices stable even as they rise at a global level. It lifted taxes for metals firms in 2020.

May 31 - Strike at BHP's Chile copper mine continues, union opposes substitute workers

A strike by a union of remote operations workers at BHP's Escondida and Spence copper mines in Chile entered its second day on Friday, as the company uses replacement workers to ensure continued production, a union leader told Reuters. The 200-member union runs BHP's Integrated Operations Center, which remotely manages pits and cathode and concentrator plants from Santiago.

May 31 - Logjams at Malaysian warehouses exacerbate aluminium shortages

Bottlenecks at London Metal Exchange registered warehouses in Malaysia owned by metals storage firm ISTIM UK are adding to the difficulties aluminium consumers in the United States and Europe face in getting the metal they need. Strong demand and tight supplies of aluminium have sent physical market prices in the United States to record highs, while in Europe prices are near their highest since Washington imposed sanctions on Russia's Rusal in 2018.

May 28 - Global palladium deficit to widen in 2021 - Nornickel

Russian metals miner Nornickel expects the deficit in the global palladium market to widen in 2021 due to flooding at its mines and an accident at its plant earlier this year, it said on Thursday. The world's largest palladium producer plans to partly compensate for the deficit from its stockpiles left from 2020, it said in a statement, adding that its Global Palladium Fund could also provide metal if there was a need to do so.

May 28 - Chile royalty bill could risk 1 mln T of future copper output, Goldman Sachs says

A Chilean bill to ratchet up royalties on mining companies in the world's top copper producing nation could, if unaltered, put at risk some 1 million tonnes of annual output, representing around 4% of global copper supply, Goldman Sachs said in a note. The legislation, which faces multiple procedural hurdles, including a discussion and vote in the senate, would impose a royalty as high as 75% on sales of copper as prices rise to pay for social programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts say.

May 27 - China bars banks from selling commodities-linked products to retail buyers - sources

China's banking regulator has asked lenders to stop selling investment products linked to commodities futures to mom-and-pop buyers, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, to curb investment losses amid volatile commodity prices. It has also asked lenders to completely unwind their existing books for these products, which they manufacture and sell to individual investors, said the sources, who are involved in and have been briefed on the decision.

may 27 - Biden's EV metals import plan unlikely to match climate goals - executives

The Biden administration's plan to rely on ally nations for most of the metals needed to build electric vehicles ignores the complexity of modern mining and could keep the United States from meeting aggressive climate goals, according to industry executives. Reuters reported on Tuesday that President Joe Biden plans to look abroad for most supplies of EV metals and focus on domestic processing into battery parts, part of a strategy designed to placate environmentalists and counter to a private commitment to miners last autumn to allow more domestic mining.

May 26 - Biden looks abroad for electric vehicle metals, in blow to U.S. miners (Reuters)

U.S. President Joe Biden will rely on ally countries to supply the bulk of the metals needed to build electric vehicles and focus on processing them domestically into battery parts, part of a strategy designed to placate environmentalists, two administration officials with direct knowledge told Reuters. The plans will be a blow to U.S. miners who had hoped Biden would rely primarily on domestically sourced metals, as his campaign had signalled last autumn, to help fulfill his ambitions for a less carbon-intensive economy.

May 26 - UK may support steel, but unlikely to nationalise Liberty (Reuters)

Britain is open to providing support for steel as a strategic sector, but nationalising Liberty Steel after the collapse of its main lender was unlikely, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on Tuesday. Liberty and the rest of Sanjeev Gupta's family conglomerate have been seeking to refinance its cash-starved web of businesses in steel, aluminium and energy after supply chain finance firm Greensill filed for insolvency in March.

May 25 - China to strengthen commodity price controls in next five years (Reuters)

China will strengthen price controls of key commodities in its 14th five-year plan from 2021 to 2025, making plans to cope with abnormal fluctuations in the prices of items such as iron ore, copper and corn, the state planner said on Tuesday. The National Development and Reform Commission said China would stick to its minimum purchase price policy framework for rice and wheat, ensure supply and stabilise prices. 

May 25 - Liberty Steel to sell UK assets, in talks with Credit Suisse (Reuters)

Tycoon Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty Steel Group said on Monday it would sell several UK assets and was holding talks with Credit Suisse about a standstill deal for its Australian unit after the collapse of Liberty's key lender Greensill Capital. Gupta's family conglomerate had been seeking refinancing of its cash-starved web of businesses in steel, aluminium and energy after supply chain finance firm Greensill filed for insolvency in March.

May 24 - Generalist funds flow back into mining as prices, inflation climb   (Reuters)

Surging prices for commodities, stronger balance sheets and rising inflation have lured back to mining stocks generalist investors that for years shunned the sector, data shows. Shares in diversified mining companies Rio Tinto, BHP, Anglo American and Glencore have doubled in the last year, as policy support measures in advanced economies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic stoked inflation.

May 24 - Chile's Codelco says 40% of its copper output at risk if glacier bill passes - media

Chile's state-run Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, said in a letter to lawmakers this week that as much as 40% of its copper output is at risk if a bill that limits mine operations near glaciers advances, according to a report in local daily El Mercurio. The letter, sent by Codelco to the Chilean Senate´s Mining and Energy committee, notes that three of its major mine operations - Andina, El Teniente and Salvador - would be impacted by the "absolute prohibitions" currently under consideration in the bill.

May 21 - Between a rock and a hard place: China's taming of hot commodities may be fleeting (Reuters)

China's recent measures aimed at cooling red hot industrial commodities prices will likely only have a temporary affect unless authorities take steps to curb consumption and potentially lower economic growth, analysts said. China's cabinet said on Wednesday it will strengthen its management of commodity supply and demand to curb "unreasonable" price gains to prevent consumers from being hit, triggering a rout across industrial metals on Thursday. 

May 21 - Chile's Codelco says its copper is 100% traceable amid sustainability drive (Reuters)

Chile's state-run Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, said on Thursday its product was now 100% traceable, a key step as the sprawling miner pushes to reduce its carbon footprint and boost sustainability within its operations. CEO Octavio Araneda said in a web seminar that tracing copper through its mines would help the company more precisely measure progress on its social and environmental goals while providing proof to increasingly demanding customers of those efforts.

May 20 - The Galaxy and Orocobre tie-up should be an attractive option for investors seeking exposure to lithium, particularly with significant capital--including a growing number of ETFs--chasing the electrification theme, JPMorgan says. The new, combined company should become the fifth largest lithium producer, based on forecast 2030 production, and the largest pure lithium-producing company outside of China, JPM says. "While cost synergies appear limited given its high growth phase, its increased size, diversification and improving quality will give it improved power in price and offtake negotiations as a long term supplier." It should post some of the best production growth in the business and its assets' location make it well suited to supply Europe and North America at a time when they are seeking to reduce dependence on China, JPM says.

May 20 - Gold is lower in early Asian trading, weighed by the rise in U.S. real yields following the release of FOMC minutes. The minutes showed that some policy makers believed it "might be appropriate at some point in upcoming meetings" to start discussing a plan for tapering asset purchases, CBA says. The precious metal has historically had a very strong inverse relationship with U.S. 10-year real yields, CBA adds. Spot gold is down 0.3% at $1,864.20/oz.

May 20 - Sentiment in China's steel industry shows little sign of flagging, although mills' willingness to paying sky-high raw-material prices does appear to be cooling, Macquarie says, citing its own industry survey. "Mills' raw materials inventory increased in the past month, but indications are for weaker appetite to buy more in the coming weeks, possibly due to the sharp price rally," it says. Spot iron ore was last at $215.45/ton after notching a recent record high around $233/ton, according to S&P Global Platts. Nevertheless, steelmaker sentiment was strong, supported by robust demand in both domestic and export markets as well as continued wide margins. "Mills are the most optimistic they have been in the past four years," Macquarie says.

May 20 - New digital exchange offers investors gold exposure and funding for miners (Reuters)

Investors looking for exposure to early stage gold mines can buy millions of dollars of the precious metal at a discount on a digital exchange in a new development which will also provide funding for miners to develop their assets. Physically-backed products such as exchange traded funds (ETFs) are one way for investors to access gold investments, but they don't offer discounts or the capital miners need to develop their operations.

May 20 -  Tin squeeze highlights critical minerals supply problems - Andy Home

It's typical of tin that it didn't make it onto the International Energy Agency's (IEA) list of metals needed to power the clean energy transition. Although designated a critical mineral by both the United States and China, tin has a habit of sliding between the gaps of the decarbonisation narrative.

May 19 - Million ounce palladium deficit will drive record prices, says Metals Focus (Reuters)

The roughly 10 million ounce-a-year palladium market will be undersupplied by around a million ounces in 2021 and the price will average $3,000 an ounce, up 37% from 2020 and the highest on record, consultants Metals Focus said on Tuesday. The roughly 8 million ounce platinum market would be undersupplied by 68,000 ounces if all investment demand is included and prices would average $1,200 an ounce, up 36% from 2020 and the highest since 2014. 

May 19 - Glencore to restart operations at Mutanda copper, cobalt mine in 2022 (Reuters)

Commodity trader and miner Glencore plans to restart operations at Mutanda - the world's biggest cobalt mine that also produces large amounts of copper - in the Democratic Republic of Congo next year, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Glencore, one of the world's largest copper producers and leading cobalt producer, said in February that the process to resume production at Mutanda was underway, but did not give a specific date.

May 18 - U.S.-EU metals talks avert tariff hike on American motorcycles, whiskey (Reuters)

The United States and the European Union agreed on Monday not to escalate their dispute over U.S. steel and aluminium tariffs, averting steep EU tariff hikes while the two sides launch formal talks on addressing excess global capacity largely centered in China. The European Commission, which oversees EU trade policy, said on Monday it would suspend for up to six months a threatened June 1 doubling of retaliatory tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, American whiskey and motorboats, and refrain from slapping tariffs on more U.S. products from lipstick to sports shoes.

May 18 - In world's top copper region political risk rises (Reuters)

In South America's copper-rich Andes political risk is rising as high poverty and debt levels amid the COVID-19 pandemic drive potentially sharp policy shifts and put mining wealth into the crosshairs of angry citizens and political leaders. In No. 1 copper producer Chile, an overhaul of its market-orientated constitution is underway, and it is debating whether to hike royalties on miners.

May 17 - China April crude steel output hits record despite production controls (Reuters)

China's crude steel output hit an all-time high in April, despite the government's pledge to curb annual production to reduce pollution as well as increasing costs from raw materials. With mills cranking up production fuelled by strong profits, the world's top steel producer churned out 97.85 million tonnes of the metal last month, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Monday. 

May 17 - Platinum set for third year of deficit as industry demand surges (WPIC)

The World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) said on Monday the global platinum market will be more undersupplied this year than it previously thought as economic recovery fuels a surge in demand from industry. Platinum is used by automakers, who embed it in vehicle exhausts to neutralise harmful emissions, by other industries such as glassmaking and for jewellery and investment.

May 14 - Brazil's Vale set to receive first-ever wind-powered ore carrier

Brazilian miner Vale expects to receive in coming weeks its first-ever mineral transport ship propelled in part by sails, the company said on Thursday. The ship, a VLOC, or very-large ore carrier, will also be the largest ever to be outfitted by the rotating sails, Vale said in a statement.

 

May 14 - Cobalt, Congo and a mass artisanal mining experiment: Andy Home

Cobalt epitomises the minerals conundrum at the heart of the green technology revolution. It's a key ingredient in the chemistry that powers electric vehicles and, along with other battery materials such as lithium, is facing a sustained demand surge as the world decarbonises.

May 13 - U.S. trade chief: 1962 law used for metals tariffs needs modernization

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Wednesday called on Congress to modernize the Cold War-era law that former President Donald Trump used to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, and vowed to address longstanding labor rights problems in Mexico. In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Tai said that the authorities under Section 232 of the Trade Act of 1962, were not necessarily well-suited to the need to protect U.S. steelmakers from foreign competition and this has "roiled" the U.S. economy and heightened tensions with trading partners.

May 13 - Chile's Codelco to break ground on $1.4 billion Salvador copper project

Chile's state-owned Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, announced on Wednesday it would soon break ground on a $1.4 billion project to extend the life of its aging Salvador division thru 2068. The Rajo Inca project aims to convert Salvador from an underground mine to an open-pit, and requires the company first strips away rock covering the mineral deposits, Codelco said in a statement.

May 13 - Gold prices are higher in Asian trade, as the commodity recovers from overnight losses in the U.S. session on investor concerns that faster-than-expected inflation could lead to a tightening of the country's monetary policy and higher interest rates. However, Huatai Futures expects gold prices to remain strong in the near term. The brokerage says the U.S. Fed is unlikely to raise rates any time soon, given a resurgence of coronavirus infections in various parts of the world and the central bank's earlier remarks that it will allow for above-target inflation. Spot gold is up 0.2% at $1,818.98/oz.

May 13 - Chinese iron-ore futures are steady in morning trade,
after the steelmaking raw material rose to another record high on Wednesday. Prices are supported by traders who are stocking up for fear that they will be caught short during rising global demand, ANZ says. They don't seem too concerned about risks related to curbs on steel output by Beijing, it says. Potential disruptions to overseas producers brought on by the pandemic may be supportive of prices too, it says, noting a surge in Covid-19 infections in Brazil, the world's second-largest iron-ore producer. The most-traded September iron-ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange is flat at CNY1,315 a ton.

May 12 - Weak cash flow lays bare Thyssenkrupp's long road to recovery

Thyssenkrupp's closely watched cash flow plunged deeper into the red in the second quarter, hit by restructuring costs and investments that overshadowed a guidance upgrade on the back of stronger demand and prices. Shares in the German conglomerate fell as much as 9.6% after the group said that negative free cash flow before mergers and acquisitions (M&S) widened to 750 million euros ($911 million), worse than analysts at Jefferies and JP Morgan had expected.

May 12 -China exchange considers accepting lower-grade iron ore amid price rally

China's Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) proposed to lower standard iron content requirements in ore delivered against its flagship futures to 61%, seeking to broaden supply sources to include lower grades amid a record-setting rally of the steelmaking ingredient. Under proposed revisions to the contract's trading rules, which are open to public feedback until Saturday, the Dalian bourse plans to reduce iron content in ore from 62% while also amending quality requirements for silica and aluminum oxide, it said late on Tuesday.

May 11 - Strike threat looms at BHP's Escondida and Spence copper mines in Chile

A union representing workers at BHP Group's Escondida and Spence copper mines in Chile has called for a strike vote among its members after contract negotiations stalled, the union's president told Reuters on Monday. The 205 workers run the company's Integrated Operations Centre which manages pits and cathode and concentrator plants in the north of the country from the Chilean capital Santiago.

May 11 - Shortages, low stocks risk copper spiking to new records

Shortages of copper and dwindling inventories are likely to propel prices of the industrial metal to levels beyond current record highs, unless scrap supplies rise significantly. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange hit $10,747.50 a tonne on Monday, surpassing a record of $10,190 hit in February 2011, for a gain of 37% this year.

May 10 - Chile's copper export revenue jumps in April as price soars

Chile's central bank said on Friday that copper export revenue had jumped 69% in April, a welcome windfall brought on by soaring prices for the red metal. Chile, the world's top copper producer, said it had exported $4.541 billion worth of copper in April alone, a boon for its ailing economy following months of coronavirus-induced economic stagnation.

May 10 - Lithium producers grow bullish as EV revolution turbocharges demand

Rising demand for lithium is stoking prices for the electric vehicle battery metal, fueling long-delayed expansions that still may not produce adequate supplies that automakers need to meet aggressive production plans. Growing industry optimism from higher lithium prices is a change from last year when funding for mines and processing plants dried up during the pandemic.

May 10 - Chinese buyers must face up to higher copper cost reality as LME prices hit record

With copper prices on the London Metal Exchange at record highs above $10,000 per tonne, key Chinese buyers who had been holding off purchases in the hope of a pullback now face the prospect of "higher for longer" copper costs. Prices in London hit an all time $10,253 a tonne on Friday, and are up 32% year to date. Most-active Shanghai June copper futures touched 74,950 yuan ($11,600.91) a tonne, only 1.6% below their all-time high of $76,160 yuan.

May 07 - China iron ore imports dip in April on shipping disruptions

China's iron ore imports fell 3.5% in April from a month earlier, official customs data showed on Friday, as shipments to the world's top iron ore consumer from major suppliers were disrupted by inclement weather. Arrival volumes of the steelmaking ingredient stood at 98.57 million tonnes last month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. 

May 07 - UK court to reconsider $6.9 bln Brazil dam lawsuit against BHP

London's Court of Appeal will hear a request to revive a 5 billion pound ($6.95 billion) lawsuit against Anglo-Australian mining group BHP over a 2015 dam failure in Brazil, a court order showed. Judge Nicholas Underhill has agreed to an oral hearing that could help to overturn a previous Court of Appeal decision which denied a 200,000-strong Brazilian claimant group permission to appeal against a judgment to strike out the landmark case.

May 06 - Albemarle profit beats expectations on rising lithium demand

Albemarle Corp, the world's largest producer of lithium, posted a quarterly profit on Wednesday that easily beat Wall Street's expectations on rising demand from the electric vehicle industry. The company reported first-quarter net income of $95.7 million, or 84 cents per share, compared with $107.2 million, or $1.01 per share, in the year-ago period.

May 06 - Some commodity producers lagging the rallies in red-hot metals: Russell

The global rally in commodities has seen some like copper and iron ore probe record highs, but when it comes to the companies producing natural resources the gains in their share prices have been largely lagging and uneven. Benchmark London copper futures came within a whisker of their all-time high on Wednesday, reaching $10,040 a tonne, just shy of the record $10,190 hit in February 2011.

May 05 - Chilean mining chief warns royalties bill in current form 'akin to expropriation'

Chile's National Mining Society (Sonami) has warned that a royalty project being discussed in Congress proposes levels of taxation that are "akin to expropriation" and would paralyze investment in the Andean nation. The plan, which proposes a progressive tax of at least 3% on copper and lithium sales, is driven by opposition-party legislators as a way to fund more expansive government social programmes as the country struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

May 05 - London Metal Exchange trading revenues fall 17% in Q1 2021

London Metal Exchange (LME) trading fees fell 17% to $263 million in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period of 2020, a results update from parent Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) showed. "LME trading fees dropped by $53 million... due to the 21% decrease in chargeable average daily volume of metals contracts traded in first quarter 2021," said a release posted on HKEx's website last week.

May 04 - Livent results top expectations as lithium demand begins to rebound

Lithium producer Livent Corp posted an adjusted quarterly profit on Monday that exceeded expectations on rising sales of the ultralight battery metal, with governments and automakers across the globe launching aggressive plans to make electric vehicles (EVs) mainstream. In a sign of bullishness on continued rising demand, Philadelphia-based Livent said it would resume expansions in the United States and Argentina that had been paused last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

May 04 - China seeks to cool red-hot steel sector, and aims at Australia: Russell

China has moved to cool its red-hot steel sector by discouraging exports and boosting imports of some feedstock alternatives to buoyant iron ore, steps largely viewed as short-term measures to calm prices. But there are likely some longer-term implications as well, as Beijing looks at ways to reduce the reliance of the world's biggest steel producer on Australian iron ore.

May 03 - Major tin producer MSC won't resume pre-COVID output for 9 months - letter

Malaysia Smelting Corp (MSC), the world's third largest tin producer, has told clients its smelting operation is being severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and it will take nine months to resume normal output, a letter seen by Reuters showed. MSC said in the letter, dated April 26, that it had to restrict intake and make changes to contracts - a move that will further exacerbate shortages of tin used in solder for electronic products and chemicals. 

May 03 - LME to announce open outcry ring decision in early June

The London Metal Exchange said on Friday it plans to announce around June 8 whether it will reopen its open outcry trading ring or permanently shut the only such floor in Europe. The 144-year-old exchange added in a statement that even if it decides in June to resume open outcry trading, it would not be able to implement the measure until late July at the earliest due to coronavirus restrictions.

Apr 30 - A grandiose dream to carve out a giant coal mine in frozen eastern Siberia

No one on the train knew what time it would arrive at its destination. For hour after hour it snaked through the snow-covered forests of far eastern Siberia without passing a single settlement. In the corridors between carriages, where some of the 100 or so men and three women on board gathered to shiver and smoke, even the door handles had grown a thick coating of ice.

Apr 30 - China's 2021 gold demand seen reverting to pre-pandemic levels - WGC official

China's 2021 gold demand will see annual growth and will revert to pre-pandemic levels if there are no dramatic changes to the global economic and geo-political situation, a World Gold Council (WGC) official said on Thursday. "For China we had better first quarter growth even compared to 2019 ... If things are stable, we are sure China can stay in such a positive growth," said Wang Lixin, WGC managing director in China, adding that the jewellery and investment segments would drive China's gold demand.

Apr 29 - Global gold demand at 13-year low as China buys but investors sell - WGC

Global demand for gold in the first quarter of 2021 was stuck near its lowest level since 2008 as heavy selling by investors in Europe and North America offset a revival of consumer buying in Asia, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Thursday. Traditionally seen as a safe asset, investors bought gold in unprecedented quantities last year as the coronavirus swept through the world economy.

Apr 29 - Fortescue quarterly costs jump as wet weather dents iron ore shipments

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd on Thursday reported flat third-quarter iron ore shipments and higher costs, missing analysts' forecasts, as it was hit by wet weather in Western Australia and a stronger Australian dollar. Cyclone season similarly dented output for Fortescue's bigger iron ore mining rivals Rio Tinto and BHP Group, but they have all benefited from soaring prices for the steelmaking ingredient.

Apr 28 - Brazil's Vale, eyeing EV market, mulls base metal spinoff

Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA is "closely analyzing" a possible spinoff of its base metals division, Chief Executive Eduardo Bartolomeo said on Tuesday, a move that could help the company take advantage of increasing demand from electric car manufacturers. The company previously considered spinning off its base metals division in 2014, but delayed the move in 2015, and later abandoned the idea.

Apr 28 - Analysts cut gold forecasts as economic growth recovers - Poll

Analysts and traders have slashed their gold price forecasts, with many believing a return to last year's record highs is unlikely as economic recovery tarnishes the safe-haven metal's appeal, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday. Spot gold has fallen to around $1,775 an ounce from an all-time high of $2,072.50 last August, when the COVID-19 pandemic upended economies and forced central banks to pump money into markets and cut interest rates.

Apr 27 - China steelmakers snap up high-grade iron ore on strong profits

Top-grade iron ore with 65% iron content is selling at a record spread over ores with 62% and 58% ferrous content, while the spread between benchmark 62% ore and lower-grade 58% ore has risen to a four-year high.  High-grade 65% iron ore currently costs $66.50 per tonne more than 58% iron ore and $33.50 more than 62% ore, according to data from SteelHome, but is still attractive for mills as their profit margins have risen this year.

Apr 27 - China copper price flip to discount vs LME raises red flag amid rally: Russell

Copper prices have scaled 10-year highs and while the rally may be justified on fundamental supply and demand grounds, there is a note of caution coming out of top consumer China. London Metal Exchange (LME) benchmark three-month copper traded as high as $9,780 a tonne in early Asian trade on Tuesday, the most since August 2011 and a 124% rally since the 2020 low of $4,371 in March last year, at the height of lockdowns to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Apr 26 - S.Korea's POSCO posts highest quarterly profit in a decade as steel prices jump

South Korean steelmaker POSCO posted on Monday its highest quarterly profit since the second quarter of 2011, as steel prices rose sharply due to demand outpacing supply. The world's fifth-biggest steelmaker said first-quarter operating profit surged 120% as "profit from all sectors, such as steel, global and infrastructure, and new growth, improved", including a 12% sequential jump in its carbon steel sales price. 

Apr 26 - Chile settles dispute with Albemarle over lithium reserves data

Chilean regulators have settled a high stakes dispute over reserves data with top lithium producer Albemarle Corp, according to a letter viewed by Reuters, defusing a spat that may have led to the suspension of the company's permit to expand its operations in Chile. Chile in 2016 gave Albemarle approval to hike production from the lithium-rich Atacama salt flat on condition the miner prove its reserves could sustain the increased output.

Apr 23 - Base metals rebound after taking a knock Thursday from reports that President Biden plans to nearly double capital gains tax for some high earners. Three-month copper on the LME is up 1.1% at $9,490 a metric ton and aluminum rises 1.1% to $2,384.50 a ton. The metals ended moderately lower Thursday after the reports that Biden was set to announce a raft of tax hikes. Traders Friday are parsing a string of PMI readings for France, Germany and the Eurozone which mostly beat economists expectations. Traders are still awaiting flash PMI readings covering the U.K. and the U.S. due out later in the day, as well as a speech by ECB president Christine Lagarde.

Apr 23 - Palladium shoots to new records as deficit-fuelled rally reignites

Palladium prices have surged to record levels and many analysts expect a further run towards $3,000 per ounce as automakers ramp up purchases of the metal used to neutralise harmful exhaust fumes, worsening a supply shortage. A shift to electric vehicles may eventually erode demand, but in recent years tightening environmental rules have forced carmakers to use more and more palladium in their gasoline engines.

Apr 23 - Shanghai aluminium soars as China's production stalls: Andy Home

Shanghai aluminium prices last week hit their highest since 2010 as the Chinese market gears up for a seasonal demand peak. The Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) aluminium contract continues to outperform international prices amid high volumes and open interest with no sign that anyone is being scared off by the increasingly strident official warnings about speculative heat in the country's commodity markets.

Apr 22 - Iron-ore futures in China are broadly higher in early trade, likely supported by weaker-than-expected shipments from major global miners. However, the prices appear to be too high to hold after the recent rally, as iron-ore demand could weaken, Huatai Futures says. The city of Handan has become the latest major Chinese steel-making hub to impose production curbs, which may further hurt demand already threatened by a resurgence in Covid-19 overseas, the brokerage adds. Most iron-ore contracts on the Dalian Commodity Exchange are a tad higher, although the most-traded September contract is down 0.3% at CNY1,092 a metric ton.

Apr 22 - Base metals are broadly lower in early Asian trade after rising overnight on hopes for strong demand driven by improving prospects for the global economy. The three-month LME copper contract is down 0.5% at $9,397 a ton, while the aluminum contract is 0.2% lower at $2,359 a ton. The outlook for copper appears cautiously optimistic, Huatai Futures says. A weak U.S. dollar and restocking demand in China before the Labor Day holiday could provide support for the metal, but current high prices may still put off some buyers, the brokerage says.

Apr 22 - Morgan Stanley reckons there is some reason to be cautious on demand for Chinese steel, which has pulled iron ore prices to a decade high. While China's reported new loans expanded 8% on year in 1Q, they were down 4% in March, MS notes. Cumulative new starts in the property market --measured by floor space-- were up 23% on year in 1Q, but were down 7% from the same period in 2019, says MS. The trend in infrastructure was similar. "Given these signals, we still expect China's underlying steel demand to slow down from current elevated levels as the year progresses," MS says.

Apr 22 - China's five-year plan aims to pare steel capacity and reduce reliance on foreign raw materials such as iron ore. "But they are long-term dynamics" and show little sign of stopping the hot steel and iron-ore markets in China today, Daniel Hynes, senior commodity strategist at ANZ, tells WSJ. "Certainly all the majors (in mining) are selling every ton they can get onto ships at the moment, and Chinese steel mills are happy to snap up any tons they can get," Hynes says. Given strong steel prices and wide margins for mills in China, "I suspect steel producers are making hay while the sun shines," he says.

Apr 22 - Gold edges higher in early Asian trade amid falling Treasury yields that reduce the appeal of U.S. fixed-income assets. The precious metal remains supported by softer U.S. yields, Axi says. Gold hasn't looked back since China recently increased import quotas for banks, which is expected to result in 5 million troy ounces of gold imports over April and May, Axi adds. Spot gold is up 0.1% at $1,796.40/oz.

Apr 22 - AMP Capital now expects an Australian budget deficit of A$125 billion in the year through June, down from a budget projection of A$214 billion in October, thanks in part to a surging price for iron ore, the country's No. 1 export, chief economist Shane Oliver says. Iron ore has soared to its highest since early 2011, when China's rapid growth and industrialization drove it to a record high. Prices back in the $180s-a-ton are "certainly good news for miners and the Australian economy," Oliver tells WSJ. Iron ore's unexpected rally should result in very large trade surpluses for Australia.

Apr 22 - Antofagasta copper output down 5.7% in Q1 as COVID infections surge

Chilean miner Antofagasta said on Wednesday copper production in the first quarter of 2021 was down 5.7% at 183,000 tonnes from the same year-ago period, in light of a surge of COVID-19 infections in the country. "In March, Chile entered a second wave of COVID-19 infections as the number of cases in Chile accelerated, reaching record daily cases since the outbreak of the pandemic," it said in its quarterly production results. 

Apr 22 - Record copper scrap flows this year won't plug deficit

Supplies of copper scrap will jump this year due to decade high prices, but are unlikely to come fast enough to meet robust demand, leaving shortages that are expected to trigger stock draws and further price gains. Copper prices around $9,400 a tonne are close to $9,617 hit in February, the highest since August 2011 and more than double the levels seen in March last year, when manufacturing activity crashed due to COVID lockdowns.

Apr 21 - Cargo ship runs aground as storm strikes near Philippines

A cargo ship carrying 20 crew members, nickel ore, and around 2,000 litres of diesel has run aground off the southern Philippine province of Surigao del Norte, the coastguard said on Tuesday. The cause was not immediately known, but the weather was rough in the area due to Typhoon Surigae, which brought winds that reached 195 km (121.17 miles) per hour, with its effects felt in many parts of the eastern Philippines.

Apr 21 - BHP sees full-year iron ore output near upper end of forecast

BHP Group Ltd said on Wednesday it expects annual iron ore production at the upper end of its forecast, although bad weather and planned maintenance at its operations in Western Australia sent third-quarter output nearly 2% lower. The world's largest listed miner expects overall production of the steelmaking ingredient at the top end of its 245 million tonnes (Mt) to 255 Mt forecast range. 

Apr 21 - China to strengthen raw material price supervision, crack down on speculators

China will take steps to stabilise raw material prices and strengthen supervision of the market after a spike in prices for commodities such as steel, nonferrous metals and petrochemicals, the country's industry ministry said on Tuesday. Rising commodity prices - driven by higher raw material costs, a recovery in downstream demand and speculation from the financial market - have increased Chinese manufacturers' costs and squeezed margins, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology spokesman Huang Libin said at a press conference.

Apr 20 - Iron-ore futures in China rise in early trade, building on recent gains on the back of strong domestic steel production. High steel production numbers released last week are continuing to boost sentiment in the iron-ore futures market, ANZ says, noting China's steel output rose by 19.1% in March from a year earlier. Steel exports from China jumped more than 16% in March due to rising demand from other major regions, the bank adds. The most-traded September iron-ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange is up 1.1% at CNY1,074 a ton.

Apr 20 - Base metals are higher in early Asian trade as investors expect a continued global economic recovery to drive demand for metal. Recent robust economic data in China and the U.S. has boosted optimism of further demand recovery, ANZ says. The market has also been buoyed by the infrastructure spending program U.S. President Biden is looking to implement, it adds. The three-month LME copper contract is up 0.2% at $9,390 a ton and the aluminum contract is up 0.2% at $2,335 a ton.

Apr 20 - Macquarie reckons Rio Tinto's iron-ore operations had a solid start to the year in the face of weather-related disruptions, with both production and shipments within 2% of its expectations. Performance of other divisions was mixed, with copper, bauxite, aluminum, titanium dioxide and borate output disappointing and alumina, diamonds and uranium production better-than-expected, it says. Still, the miner's earnings outlook remains positive thanks to elevated iron-ore prices, which are at their highest in nearly a decade. "Buoyant iron-ore prices continue to underpin strong earnings upgrade momentum with the stock trading on 2021 and 2022 free cash flow yields of more than 20% at spot prices."

Apr 20 - Alliance Steel Inc., an Oklahoma-based manufacturer of prefabricated steel structures, agreed Monday to pay $435,000 to settle apparent violations of US sanctions on Iran. The violations stemmed from outsourcing that Alliance did to an Iranian engineering company owned by the brother of Alliance's chief engineer, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said. While Alliance did the majority of its engineering work internally, when demand exceeded its internal resources it relied over a five year period on the Iranian engineering company for help, OFAC says. The Treasury says the apparent violations were non-egregious and that Alliance voluntarily disclosed the matter.

Apr 20 - Rio Tinto's iron ore output falls 2% on labour shortage, weather issues

Global miner Rio Tinto Ltd reported lower quarterly iron ore output on Tuesday as wet weather and labour shortages impacted its mine and port operations in Western Australia. Above average wet weather in the mines and workforce availability disrupted maintenance during the quarter, Rio said, while Tropical Cyclone Seroja impacted operations in April.

Apr 20 - Arizona mining fight pits economy, EVs against conservation, culture

Early last year, Darrin Lewis paid $800,000 for a hardware store in a tiny Arizona town where mining giant Rio Tinto Plc hopes to build one of the world's largest underground copper mines. Rio buys materials from Lewis's Superior Hardware & Lumber for its Resolution mine site, accounting for a third of the store's sales and helping to keep it afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Apr 19 - Australia's Orocobre buying Galaxy for $1.4 bln to create world No.5 lithium miner

Australian lithium miner Orocobre Ltd is buying smaller domestic peer Galaxy Resources for $1.4 billion to create the world's fifth most valuable producer of the key raw material for electric vehicle batteries. The all-stock deal for A$1.78 billion ($1.38 billion)announced on Monday, which will also establish Australia's most valuable lithium miner with a A$4 billion market capitalisation, comes as demand for the material is booming amid a jump in global sales of electric vehicles. 

Apr 19 - China opens its borders to billions of dollars of gold imports – sources

China has given domestic and international banks permission to import large amounts of gold into the country, five sources familiar with the matter said, potentially helping to support global gold prices after months of declines. China is the world's biggest gold consumer, gobbling up hundreds of tonnes of the precious metal worth tens of billions of dollars each year, but its imports plunged as the coronavirus spread and local demand dried up.

Apr 16 - China March aluminium output hits monthly record as new capacity comes on stream

China's March aluminium output rose from a year earlier to a monthly record, official data showed on Friday, despite curbs on energy use in the smelting hub of Inner Mongolia, as new capacity came on stream. Primary aluminium output in China, the world's top aluminium producer, was up 8.5% year-on-year at 3.28 million tonnes last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said, beating the previous monthly high of 3.27 million tonnes reached in December 2020. 

Apr 16 - Time running out to resolve U.S. metal tariffs dispute, EU official says

The European Union is concerned that time is running out for the United States to remove tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump on steel and aluminium, a senior EU trade official said on Thursday. Citing U.S. national security grounds the Trump administration in 2018 imposed tariffs of 25% on EU steel and 10% on aluminium - measures that steelmakers such as Thyssenkrupp and Voestalpine have said they were affected by.

Apr 15 - Serbia halts China-owned mine over environmental breaches

Serbia has ordered China's Zijin Mining Group to halt work at a shaft at the country's only copper mine and to complete a waste water treatment plant after it failed to comply with environmental standards, the mining and energy minister said on Wednesday.  Zijin became Serbia's strategic partner in the RTB Bor copper complex which includes the Jama mine, pledging to invest $1.26 billion in return for a 63% stake.

Apr 15 - Crime networks suspected of burning tech waste for scrap metal in Romania

In the villages surrounding Romanian capital Bucharest, the fires burning discarded electronic kit and car parts for scrap metal never stop. A month of near daily raids has uncovered what appear to be organised crime networks recruiting long-ignored poor villagers to burn the waste, Romania's environment enforcement chief said.

Apr 15 - Iron-ore futures in China are higher in early Asian trade. While there has been talk of the government expanding steel production curbs to more parts of the country, iron-ore prices will continue to be supported by strong consumption until the authorities roll out more output restrictions, Huatai Futures says. The most-traded September iron-ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange is up 2.5% at CNY1,038 a ton.

Apr 15 - Base metals are broadly lower after rising overnight on strong China demand. The three-month LME copper contract is 0.2% lower at $9,055 a ton while the nickel contract is down 1.5% at $16,125 a ton. Demand for copper is likely to pick up as peak consumption season approaches, Huatai Futures says, adding investors could buy dips given the improving outlook. The brokerage maintains its long-term upbeat view on the metal, citing a potential demand boost from China's push for copper-intensive new-energy industries.

Apr 15 - Gold gains in Asian trade. A pullback in the U.S. dollar remains a key supporting factor, Axi says. Gold is maintaining an upward momentum as concerns about the Fed dialing back accommodative policies are overblown, pointing to a regime of low interest rates for a longer period, which would benefit the precious metal, says AmBank Group Chief Economist Anthony Dass. Spot gold is 0.2% higher at $1,739.25 an ounce.

Apr 15 - Gold is trading steadily in the early morning Asian session, but could decline amid a slight rise in the 10-year Treasury yield. The precious metal continues to struggle to hold onto upward momentum, with prices facing pressure from higher bond yields, following comments from Fed Chair Powell that the U.S. economy seems poised for stronger growth, ANZ says. Also, investor demand for gold could be waning alongside the continued rally in crypto currencies, ANZ says. Gold is flat at $1,735.70/oz. The 10-year Treasury yield is up 1 basis point at 1.6405%.

Apr 15 - There's a risk BHP might not meet its metallurgical coal output guidance, UBS reckons. BHP has projected its share of met coal from the mines it runs will be roughly flat in FY 2021 versus FY 2020. "However, given exports through Hay Point in FY 2021 year to date, there appears to be downside risk," says UBS. Hay Point is used solely by BHP and accounts for roughly 65% of BHP's total Queensland coal exports. If April-June shipments are in line with year-ago levels, FY 2021 shipments through Hay Point will be roughly 47 million tons, down 6% on the year
prior, estimates UBS.

Apr 15 - AUD/USD is trading higher near 0.7725 and is back at its highest level since March 23. A weaker USD and high commodity prices are offering solid support, says CBA. A further boost may come from employment data for March at 0130 GMT, the bank adds. Economists are looking for 35,000 more jobs in the month, with the unemployment rate coming in at 5.7%, down from 5.8% in February. CBA says the consensus has generally underestimated the rebound in the Australia's job market since June.

Apr 14 - Nornickel to boost output of nickel products in Finland for EV battery market
Russian metals producer Nornickel said on Tuesday it will boost output of nickel products at its Harjavalta plant in Finland as it bets on the expanding market for battery materials needed for electric vehicles (EV). Finland's state mining investment firm Finnish Minerals Group, German chemicals giant BASF and Finnish utility Fortum are among companies currently forming an EV battery cluster in Finland. 

Apr 14 - Copper smelter terms at rock bottom as mine squeeze hits: Andy Home
Copper's turbo-charged rally has stalled over the last few weeks as funds have taken profits and physical buyers have refused to chase prices higher.  London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month copper hit a near 10-year high of $9,617 per tonne in late February but is now idling just below the $9,000 level, last trading at $8,910. 

Apr 13 - 'Deeds, not words': mining firms reshape boardrooms as investors demand sustainability

Under fire after a string of high-profile disasters, mining firms are shaking up their boardrooms in response to criticism that they are failing to meet their own environmental, social, and governance standards. Shareholders are demanding change from an industry whose reputation has been battered by deadly collapses of mine waste storage facilities in Brazil, and Rio Tinto's destruction of sacred rock shelters in Australia. 

Apr 13 - China March copper imports rise 25% from year ago on firm demand

China's March copper imports rose 25% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Tuesday, amid increasing demand for the metal and as arrivals climbed after logistics issued were resolved. Arrivals of unwrought copper and products totalled 552,317 tonnes last month, the General Administration of Customs said.

Apr 12 - Chile´s Antofagasta says surging copper price not enough to entice big investments

Miners will think twice before splashing out on major new projects even as copper prices have soared to decade-long highs this year, the CEO of Chile´s Antofagasta told Reuters. Prices have surged in recent weeks amid expectations of a global economic recovery, sparking talk of a new investment cycle in the sprawling worldwide copper industry.

Apr 12 - Reality check for copper bulls as Chinese demand growth slows

Copper long speculators are at risk of a price pull-back due to a delayed pick up in Chinese demand in its traditionally strong industrial consumption season in the second quarter.  Bullish investors, who poured money into copper eyeing a commodity super-cycle, have already reduced exposure amid fears of Chinese monetary tightening, a firm dollar and fresh coronavirus lockdowns in Europe.

Apr 09 - Chile lithium watchdog to cut red tape seen crimping sector

Chile's top lithium regulator is preparing to slash the red tape that investors have long said stymies output and new projects in the world's No. 2 producer of the ultralight battery metal, the head of the watchdog told Reuters. Jaime Salas, director of Chilean nuclear agency CCHEN, said in an interview in his Santiago office that the agency would shortly roll out revamped guidelines that make clear and transparent to newcomers how it determines lithium quotas, and also spell out how those rules will be enforced. 

Apr 09 - U.S. interior secretary looks to restore Utah monuments slashed by Trump

The president of the Navajo Nation on Thursday urged U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to protect 1.9 million acres of land as the Bears Ears National Monument during her visit to Utah, expanding the site that was slashed in size by former President Donald Trump to open it to mining, grazing and drilling. Jonathan Nez, president of the largest Native American tribe, met with Haaland in Bluff, the gateway to the Utah monument, during her two-day visit to the southwestern state, where she is meeting with tribes and political officials to discuss the potential restoration - or expansion - of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, two national monuments that were drastically downsized by Trump.

Apr 08 - Codelco chief bullish on copper price, fears fresh pandemic volatility

Copper prices are likely to remain strong, but the spread of COVID-19 variants could spark fresh volatility in the market, the chairman of Chilean state miner Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, told Reuters. The price of copper has hit near decade highs this year and climbed earlier this week after Chile tightened its lockdown over a spike in COVID-19 infections, with several new variants circulating. Some analysts linked the price rise to concerns over supply. 

Apr 08 - Flush from soaring platinum prices, Sibanye-Stillwater hunts for gold

Precious metals miner Sibanye-Stillwater is at the centre of deal talks in the gold sector but it may see its desire to create a South African gold champion thwarted as peers cut exposure to the country. Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman, 61, last month floated the idea of a merger with Johannesburg-listed AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields, arguing consolidation is needed for the country's gold miners to compete globally.

Apr 07 - Polls close in Greenland election closely watched by global mining industry

Voting stations closed in Greenland on Tuesday evening in a snap election that could unseat the ruling party and help decide the fate of vast deposits of rare earth metals that international companies want to exploit. The Arctic island of 56,000 people, which former U.S. President Donald Trump offered to buy in 2019 only to be told it was not for sale, is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but has broad autonomy.

Apr 07 - Perth Mint's March gold sales surge to highest since 2012

Perth Mint's gold sales climbed to their highest since at least 2012 in March as a fall in prices of the metal lifted demand for minted products, the refiner said in a blog post on Tuesday. Sales of gold coins and minted bars jumped to more than 130,000 ounces in March, up 4.8% month-on-month and 39% from a year earlier.

Apr 07 - The Aluminum Association, a US-based industry group, is calling for the Biden Administration to make adjustments to the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum imports. "The current Section 232 product exclusion process has inadvertently made the US a magnet for imports," the group says. "The current Section 232 exclusion process actively incentivizes companies to turn first to import aluminum products." According to the Aluminum Association, the Commerce Department allowed large amounts of exclusions for foreign imports of aluminum goods to satisfy manufacturer demands. Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the US were enacted by the Trump Administration in 2017.

Apr 06 - S.Korea steel giant POSCO weighs how to exit Myanmar military-backed venture - sources

Giant South Korea steelmaker POSCO has begun reviewing how it might end a joint venture with a firm controlled by the military in Myanmar in the wake of the coup there in February, two people with first-hand knowledge of the matter told Reuters. As Myanmar's army rulers continue a deadly crackdown on protest, with hundreds killed, the people said the Korean parent's POSCO C&C arm is looking into either selling its 70% stake in the venture with Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL), or buying out its partner's stake. 

Apr 06 - Barrick Gold nears agreement to reopen Papua New Guinea mine

Miner Barrick Gold said on Monday Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister James Marape announced an imminent agreement to reopen the disputed Porgera gold mine a year after it was shut. The world's second-largest gold producer lost a key court challenge last year over rights to the mine which accounted for about 5% of Barrick's production in 2019.

Apr 05 - India's March gold imports surge 471% to a record 160 T –govt source

India's gold imports in March surged 471% from a year earlier to a record 160 tonnes, a government source told Reuters on Thursday, as a reduction in import taxes and a correction in prices from record highs drew retail buyers and jewellers. Higher imports by the world's second-biggest bullion consumer could support benchmark gold prices, which have corrected nearly 17% from an all-time high of $2,072 in August 2020.

Apr 05 - Global copper smelting slides in March on Chinese shortages

Global copper smelting slipped to the lowest levels in at least five years in March as top producer China failed to recover following the Lunar New Year holiday due to supply shortages, data from satellite surveillance of copper plants showed. Weakness was seen across the board as other regions, which had been hit by pandemic-linked lockdowns, failed to make up for decline in China, satellite service SAVANT and broker Marex Spectron said in a joint statement on Thursday.

Apr 05 - Freeport-McMoRan's Freeport-McMoRan Bagdad Inc., received an imminent danger order related to a motor junction box at an overflow pump at its Bagdad mine in Arizona that had broken away from the motor and was hanging by the electrical conductors, the company said in a securities filing. The overflow pump "could be inadvertently energized," according to the filing, exposing people to volts of stray current. Freeport-McMoRan says the equipment was repaired and approved for full operation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration within 24 hours, terminating the order as of April 1.

Apr 01 - Congo launches state artisanal cobalt buyer to meet booming demand

Congo's state cobalt buyer announced a responsible sourcing standard for artisanal cobalt on Wednesday as it launched its ambitious move to bring all informal cobalt mining in the country under state control. Artisanal cobalt miners extract the battery metal using rudimentary means, often on unregulated sites and sometimes within industrial mine sites. Unsafe working practices and child labour have been widely reported on such sites.

Apr 01 - Google, BMW, AB Volvo, Samsung back environmental call for pause on deep-sea mining

Google, BMW, AB Volvo Group and Samsung SDI are the first global companies to sign up to a World Wildlife Fund call for a moratorium on deep-sea mining, likely shrinking the potential market for deep-sea minerals harvested for our cars and smartphones. The move away from fossil fuels to electrify the global economy is creating ever-increasing demand for the materials that go into batteries, some of which are found on the seabed whose ecosystems have yet to be fully explored.