Union says reached wage deal with Alcoa Australia, end strike

Date Sep 28 2018 16:06:13 Source:Foreign meida

Unionised workers at aluminium producer Alcoa's AA.N Western Australian operations agreed on a new wage deal on Friday and will return to work after a strike that lasted more than six weeks, according to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).


"This has been a difficult dispute but the workers at Alcoa have shown what is possible when workers stand together and demand fair treatment," the ACTU said in a statement. 


    Unionised workers at two alumina refineries and three bauxite mines had walked out on Aug. 8 on worries that a new workplace agreement did not adequately address job security, but Alcoa offered new terms last week.

Congo state miner warns Randgold on transfer of Kibali mine to Barrick

Date Sep 28 2018 16:04:30 Source:Foreign media
       Congo's state miner Sokimo warned Randgold Resources RRS.L on Friday that Sokimo would "assert its rights" in Barrick Gold Corp's acquisition of Rangold's stake in the Kibali project under a takeover deal, but Sokimo did not clarify its plans.


Canada's Barrick Gold ABX.TO agreed to buy Randgold Resources Ltd RRS.L this week in a $18.3 billion share deal to create the world's largest gold company by value and output.


Randgold has a stake in several projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including the Kibali mine, a joint venture with AngloGold ANGJ.J and Congolese state miner Sokimo. The project, one of Africa's biggest gold mines, is 45 percent owned by Randgold, 45 percent by AngloGold and 10 percent by Sokimo.


"Sokimo ... will assert its rights," the company said in a statement. It said the transaction represented an effort by the foreign companies "to impose themselves, without any prior discussion, in the countries from which the resources that make up their wealth are extracted."


The same language about asserting rights was used by Congo's other state miner, Gecamines, against Freeport, when in 2016 it announced the sale of its stake in the Tenke copper mine to China Molybdenum. Gecamines received $100 million in a settlement.


    Randgold and the Congolese authorities have been locked in a bitter dispute this year over a new mining code that hikes taxes and removes a 10-year stability clause on mining firms' existing deals with the government.

Shanghai aluminium slips, heads for worst month since March

Date Sep 28 2018 16:01:12 Source:Foreign media

Shanghai aluminium prices dropped for a fourth session on Friday and were on course for their steepest monthly drop since March after China decided not to impose blanket cuts on industrial output in 28 northern cities this winter.   


The production cuts are to be determined by local authorities and the market expects less restrictions on aluminium supply.


The London base complex was broadly higher, however, with copper adding 0.4 percent amid thin trade before China shuts down for a week-long holiday. 


"If you look at the regional macro cues they are all higher. Ahead of the holidays maybe people don’t want to be short," said Matt France, head of Asia institutional metal sales at Marex Spectron in Singapore.


    "It’s just a general drift higher so far as we head into the last SHFE trading session before Golden Week."

Finished Steel Imports by the U.S. Dropped 8%

Date Sep 28 2018 15:09:56 Source:Scrap Monster

The imports of total and finished steel by the U.S. declined by 0.8% and 8.1% respectively during the month of August this year. This is based on the preliminary data published by the U.S. Census Bureau.


As per data, the U.S. imported a total of 2,965,818 net tons (NT) of steel in August this year, marginally lower when compared with the imports of 2,989,654 NT in the prior month. The year-to-date finished steel imports dropped sharply by 10.4% from 26.613 million NT in Jan-Aug ’17 to 23.839 million NT.


Meantime, the finished steel imports by the country totaled 2,009,766 NT in August, as compared with the July ’18 final imports of 2,186,875 NT. The cumulative imports during the initial eight-month period of the year totaled 18.208 million NT, substantially down by 11% when matched with the imports of 20.453 million NT in Jan-Aug ’17.


The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the annualized imports of total and finished steel to drop by 6.2% and 7.6% respectively. Accordingly, the imports are likely to total 35.758 million NT, out of which finished steel will account for 27.312 million NT.


The finished steel product to record highest jump in import volumes during August this year was wire rods, the imports of which surged by nearly 30%. The other products to witness notable jump in import volume were ingots and billets and slabs.


The largest exporter of finished steel products to the U.S in August ’18 was South Korea. The imports from that country totaled 169,000 NT. In second place was Turkey with 119,000 NT, followed by Japan with 101,000 NT. 

Freeport, Rio formally yield control of giant Grasberg mine to Indonesia

Date Sep 28 2018 15:08:52 Source:Foreign media

Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) and Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) signed Thursday final agreements that give Indonesia a majority stake in their Grasberg copper mine, the world's second-largest, and which would be transferred to the state-owned mining company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum).


The "definitive" and "binding" agreements end a long-drawn-out, three-way dispute over the mine, centred on bringing Indonesian ownership up to 51%, a main requisite set by the government to allow Freeport-McMoRan, operator of Grasberg, to keep doing so.


It could also bring closure to years of disagreements between the Phoenix, Arizona-based copper miner and the country’s government, which last year curbed output at the mine, impacting metals prices worldwide.


The transfer of majority shares to Inalum will happen once the miner makes a payment of $3.9 billion to Freeport and Rio Tinto, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said in a statement.


As announced earlier this year, once Inalum becomes Grasberg's majority stakeholder, the government will issue a special mining license extension to Freeport allowing ore extraction until 2041.


The permit, known as an IUPK, is the “government’s commitment to maintaining the investment climate so as to provide certainty and security to foreign investors to invest in Indonesia,” minister Jonan noted.


The authority added that Freeport’s local unit will have to build a copper smelter with a capacity of 2 to 2.6 million tons per year, which should be completed in less than 5 years.


PT Freeport Indonesia is already drafting a roadmap to manage all environment-related issues surrounding the facility, Minister for Environment and Forest Siti Nurbaya said in the statement.


Government's victory


Today's deal is considered a victory for President Joko Widodo, who faces re-election in 2019 and who has insisted that mining companies must divest majority stakes in order to continue operating in the country.


Grasberg, the world’s second-largest copper mine and fourth largest gold operation, is transitioning to an underground operation, set to reach full capacity by 2022, when it will produce 160,000 tonnes per day of ore.


The additional Deep Mill Level Zone block cave mine, currently under construction, is projected to contribute an additional 80,000 tonnes per day of ore once at full capacity, expected in 2021.


Currently, Grasberg’s reserves are estimated to be worth about $14 billion. Lasst year it accounted for 47% of Freeport’s operating income, according Bloomberg Intelligence.