Industry NEWS

19 October 2020

CIMIC agrees to sell 50% of mining services unit Thiess to Elliott

Australian engineering contractor CIMIC Group has signed an agreement to sell half of its mining services business, Thiess, to UK-based funds management firm Elliott Advisors, valuing the Thiess unit at A$4.3bn ($3.1bn).

CIMIC will continue to hold the remaining 50% stake in Thiess.

It expects a pre-tax gain on the stake sale of around A$2.2bn ($1.58bn) and a post-tax gain of around A$1.4bn ($1.01bn).

CIMIC first announced its intention to sell a portion of its contract mining company Thiess to Elliott in July. Elliott Advisors is one of the oldest fund managers of its kind. It manages over $40bn in assets in Australia and globally.

CIMIC will retain ownership of minerals processing and infrastructure solution company Sedgman as part of its 50% share in Thiess.

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19 October 2020

Glencore reportedly in talks with battery and auto firms about nickel

Commodities trader and miner Glencore’s CEO Ivan Glasenberg reportedly said that the company is talking with auto companies and battery manufacturers about a nickel supply deal.

Nickel is an important ingredient used in batteries that power electric cars.

Ivan Glasenberg made the statement during the Financial Times Mining Summit, Reuters reported.

The news agency quoted Glasenberg as stating: “A lot of the automobile guys and the battery guys are talking to us about nickel.”

This year, Glencore signed an agreement with American electric vehicle maker Tesla to supply the latter with cobalt from its Congo operations. Tesla reportedly plans to use Glencore’s cobalt in its Shanghai and Berlin gigafactories.

Glasenberg noted that the commodities trader is running down its coal mines and ‘won’t replace them’, as part of its efforts to reduce Scope 3 emissions, which mining firms are under immense pressure to address.

In February, Glencore committed to an approximately 30% reduction in Scope 3 emissions by 2035.

Last year, Glencore produced 121,000t of nickel and sold 181,000t through its marketing business.

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15 October 2020

New consortium to improve energy efficiency of mineral processing

Researchers from the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute have signed an agreement with mining companies Glencore, Anglo American, Newcrest Mining, Newmont Mining, and Aeris Resources to form a consortium to improve the energy efficiency of mineral processing.

Under the agreement, the Collaborative Consortium for Coarse Particle Processing Research (CPR) will operate initially for a period of five years.

The consortium is aimed at improving the energy efficiency of mineral processing operations.

This consortium will handle “multidisciplinary aspects of coarse particle processing” such as flotation, comminution, classification, as well as equipment design and process chemistry.

It will as well help towards addressing global challenges such as reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and human-made climate change mitigation.

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12 October 2020

Chile’s Collahuasi copper mine union agree on new contract

Chile’s Collahuasi copper mine workers union and management have reportedly reached an agreement on a new labour contract.

The new deal has helped avert the threat of a strike at the deposit, Reuters reported, citing an undisclosed source with knowledge of the discussions.

The legal deadline for the negotiations is on 30 October. The new contract would be effective from 1 November, Reuters said.

Glencore and Anglo American each hold 44% in Collahuasi while the remaining 12% is held by Japan Collahuasi Resources.

The Japanese consortium is led by Mitsui & Co and includes Nippon Mining & Metals Co and Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co.

The negotiations were reportedly the “most sensitive of 2020” in the nation due to the union size and importance of the mine with respect to its contribution to the total output in the country.

Reuters quoted its source as stating: “There is a good atmosphere… the issue has been settled.”

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6 October 2020

Northern Star agrees to acquire Saracen Mineral holdings for $4.1bn

Australian gold miner Northern Star Resources has agreed to acquire Saracen Mineral Holdings in an all-stock deal valued at A$5.76bn ($4.14bn).

The two companies will merge to create an A$16bn ($11.47bn) global gold producer.

The deal comes after the gold price hit a record high above $2,000 an ounce in August, owing to the metal’s status as a safe-haven asset as the Covid-19 pandemic triggered fears over global economy, Reuters reported.

The proposed merger will create a new gold major with a “world-class” portfolio and three large-scale production centres in Kalgoorlie and Yandal in Western Australia, as well as in North America.

Under the terms of the proposed merger deal, Saracen shareholders will receive 0.3763 Northern Star shares for each Saracen share held.

If approved, the deal would see Northern Star shareholders owning a 64% interest in the combined entity, while Saracen shareholders would own the remaining 36% stake.

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1 October 2020

President Trump declares National Emergency for critical minerals

US President Donald Trump has declared a National Emergency to expand the nation’s domestic mining industry and reduce its dependence on China for critical minerals. The Executive Order begins the process for the Department of the Interior (DOI) to develop a programme to fund mineral processing as a matter of national security.

The DOI will be able to use its powers under the Defense Production Act to fund domestic mineral processing. The Defense Production Act was this year invoked to order the production of critical medical supplies for the US Covid-19 response. The act authorises the government to mandate that businesses prioritise and accept contracts for materials deemed necessary for national security, regardless of any loss incurred on businesses.

In a message to US Congress attached to the Executive Order, Trump said: “A strong America cannot be dependent on imports from foreign adversaries for the critical minerals that are increasingly necessary to maintain our economic and military strength in the 21st century.”

The US has been increasingly concerned about its reliance on China for critical minerals essential to the production of military equipment as well as aircraft, computers, phones, and other electronics.

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