Fortescue Metals ends Western Australia power supply agreement with TransAlta

Date Nov 13 2017 17:11:27 Source:Reuters

    Nov 13 (Reuters) - Australian iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd  FMG.AX  said on Monday it has terminated a power supply agreement with TransAlta Corp  TA.TO  for its Port Hedland operations in Western Australia.

    The miner said in a statement it was not satisfied that TransAlta's obligations under the a previously agreed power purchase agreement have been met. Talks with Alberta-based TransAlta had failed to reach a satisfactory outcome, it said.

    TransAlta could not be reached for an immediate comment outside the company's usual business hours.

     Fortescue had notified TransAlta earlier this year that the latter's South Hedland Power Station had not met its performance criteria under their contract.  

    The 150 megawatt South Hedland plant, which was commissioned by TransAlta in July this year, also supplies power to the region's state run energy provider, Horizon Power.

    Fortescue added that it continues to obtain full power for its Port Hedland operations from other suppliers.

    Shares of Fortescue were 0.4 percent lower, compared to a 0.3 percent drop in the Australian benchmark  .AXJO .


Edited by SHMETEdited by SHMET

PRECIOUS-Gold prices trade in range, but U.S. rate hike view weighs

Date Nov 13 2017 17:07:48 Source:Reuters

    Nov 13 (Reuters) - Gold prices drifted in a narrow range on Monday, but held near the previous session's low, pressured by a firmer dollar and expectations of a series of interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve this year and in 2018.

    Spot gold  XAU=  was nearly unchanged at $1,276.61 per ounce at 0734 GMT. On Friday, gold dropped 0.7 percent for its biggest one-day percentage fall since Oct. 26, weighed down by a rise in U.S. Treasury bond yields.  

    U.S. gold futures  GCcv1  for December delivery were up 0.2 percent at $1,277.10.

    "The sell-off (on Friday) underlines the sensitivity of gold to the U.S. yield curve and further emphasizes that the safe-haven premium in the gold price is mainly non-existent at the moment," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst with OANDA.


    "Gold's fate will not be its own as we enter the home stretch of 2017."

    The expectation of an interest rate hike by the Fed next month is keeping gold prices range-bound, said Richard Xu, a fund manager at China's biggest gold  exchange-traded fund, HuaAn Gold.

    Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said on Monday that he expects to back an interest rate hike next month and expects the central bank in the United States to raise rates three times next year.  

     "Markets are digesting this news and we don't see much movement in gold prices in the next one or two months," Xu said.

    Higher interest rates tend to boost the dollar and push bond yields up, putting pressure on gold prices by increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

    The dollar rose as U.S. yields spiked and as the pound stumbled on uncertainty surrounding the fate of British Prime Minister Theresa May's government, although the main investor focus was still on how and when a planned U.S. tax overhaul would pan out.  USD/  

    The head of the House of Representatives' tax-writing committee said on Sunday he would not accept elimination of a federal deduction for state and local taxes, opposing a proposal from Senate Republicans that would hike taxes for some middle class Americans. 

     Spot gold is biased to retest support at $1,263 per ounce, a break below which could open the way towards the next support at $1,241, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. 

    "In lieu of major developments, it is difficult to see gold finding the support necessary for a move back toward $1,300 over the near-term," MKS PAMP trader Sam Laughlin said in a note.

    In other precious metals, silver  XAG=  edged up 0.1 percent to $16.91 per ounce. 

    Platinum  XPT=  rose 0.3 percent to $928.49 per ounce and palladium  XPD=  was up 0.2 percent at $996.25.



Edited by SHMET

Freeport Indonesia reopens mine access after shooting

Date Nov 13 2017 17:04:28 Source:Reuters


    JAKARTA, Nov 13 (Reuters) - The Indonesian unit of Freeport-McMoRan Inc  FCX.N  has reopened the main supply route to its huge copper mine in Papua, the company said on Monday,

after the road was closed on Sunday following a shooting incident in the area. 

    No one was reported injured when shots were fired at an escort vehicle travelling from the lowlands, but Freeport cancelled all convoys along the road on Sunday afternoon while

the security situation was assessed. 

    "It was already open this morning," Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said, when asked about the status of the road. The temporary closure has had no impact on production at the world's second-biggest copper mine, Pratama said. 

    The incident was the latest in a string of shootings near the mine since mid-August that have killed one police officer and wounded at least six others. 

    Authorities have declared a state of emergency and stepped up security in the area around Tembagapura village, about 10 km from the mine. 

    The separatist West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-OPM), a group linked to the Free Papua Movement, has said it is at war with police, military and Freeport. It was not immediately clear if TPN-OPM was behind Sunday's shooting. 

    Police in Indonesia's eastern-most province on Sunday said they would issue a notice to an "armed criminal group" that authorities say are occupying villages in Mimika regency, where Freeport's Grasberg mine is located, and demand that the rebels surrender their weapons and turn themselves in. 

    Freeport spokesman Pratama said he had received no reports of kidnapped employees. Papua Police chief Boy Rafli Amar told local media on Sunday that "there were reports that an employee of PT Freeport has been kidnapped by the armed criminal group." 

    Pratama said police reports that a Freeport excavator had been used by the group to dig up a road to Banti, one of the villages authorities said was occupied by the rebel group, were also unconfirmed. 

    About 200 officers were standing by to secure the area by force if necessary, police officials said. 

    Papua has had a long-running, and sometimes violent, separatist movement since the province was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticised 1969 U.N.-backed referendum.

    Foreign journalists have in the past required special permission to report in Papua, and once there, have had security forces restrict their movement and work. 

    President Joko Widodo has pledged to make the region more accessible to foreign media by inviting reporters on government-sponsored trips, although coverage remains difficult.



Edited by SHMET

Dalian iron ore falls for third day amid China steel output limits

Date Nov 10 2017 15:36:38 Source:Reuters

    MANILA, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Chinese iron ore futures drifted down for a third day in a row on Friday amid concerns that consumption of the steelmaking commodity in the world's top user would be reduced as steel producers slash production over winter.

    The mills across northern China, along with other industrial plants, had been ordered to curb output for four months from November to limit smog during the cold season.

    "With the cuts to steel output and other industrial activity to last until mid-March, there is a good likelihood that iron ore prices could drift even lower in coming months," Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Vivek Dhar said in a note.

    The most-actively traded iron ore for January delivery on the Dalian Commodity Exchange  DCIOcv1  was down 1.2 percent at 463.50 yuan ($70) a tonne by 0220 GMT.

    Spot iron ore prices have fallen more than 10 percent from near $70 a tonne in late September.

    Iron ore for delivery to China's Qingdao port  .IO62-CNO=MB  stood at $62.32 a tonne on Wednesday, little changed from the previous day, according to Metal Bulletin. 

    Dhar said an increase in global iron ore supply may push prices below $60 a tonne by mid-2018.

    BMI Research, a unit of Fitch Group, sees iron ore averaging at $50 in 2018 and slipping to $48 in 2019, saying slower economic growth in China could weaken steel demand.

    "The strong iron ore import demand seen in 2017 will cool in 2018 as steel production griwth will taper due to lower prices from oversupply," BMI analysts wrote in a report this week.

    "This will be driven by (the) reining in of China's fiscal spending from 2018 onwards."

    The price of construction steel product rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange  SRBcv1  was flat at 3,787 yuan a tonne. Coke  DCJcv1 , another steelmaking ingredient, slid 3.2 percent to 1,831 yuan per tonne, after touching a three-week high on Thursday.    


Edited by SHMET

FMC Corp announces $300 mln lithium investment in Argentina

Date Nov 10 2017 15:35:42 Source:Reuters

    BUENOS AIRES, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Chemicals manufacturer FMC Corp  FMC.N  said it would invest $300 million investment to double its lithium production in Argentina by 2019, its local affiliate said in a statement on Thursday.

    The investment in Catamarca province will more than double its output of lithium to 40,000 metric tonnes per year in two years, unit Minera del Altiplano said. 

    Catamarca province Governor Lucia Corpacci said the agreement would need to be approved by the province's legislature.

    U.S.-based FMC is one of the so-called 'big four' global companies that produce lithium, a mineral used in rechargeable batteries. The price of lithium has rocketed in recent years on the back of an expected rise in demand for electric vehicles.


Edited by SHMET