Freeport Indonesia closes mine access road again after shooting

Date Nov 14 2017 15:55:32 Source:Reuters
    TIMIKA, Indonesia, Nov 14 (Reuters) - The Indonesian unit of Freeport-McMoRan Inc  FCX.N  closed the main access road to its giant copper mine in the eastern province of Papua on Tuesday for the second time in three days after another shooting incident.

    A Freeport vehicle was hit by gunfire while it was heading from Tembagapura to Ridge Camp, the company said in a statement, referring to an area where Freeport workers live. 

    One passenger in the vehicle "suffered a bullet wound to his thigh" but was in a stable condition at a local clinic, according to the statement.

    Security apparatus were on the scene investigating the incident, it said.

    One source initially described the vehicle as a "patrol car". The Freeport statement said it was a "light armoured vehicle". 

    It is the second time the access road to the Grasberg mine has been closed since Sunday, and follows a string of shooting incidents since mid-August that have injured at least seven people and killed one police officer.  

    The violence has escalated security concerns around the mine

to their highest level in more than five years.

    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 were behind the latest shootings. 


Edited by SHMET

Japan's JXTG cuts output target for Chile copper mine

Date Nov 13 2017 17:16:59 Source:Reuters
    TOKYO, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Japan's JXTG Holdings  5020.T  has crimped the full-year target for copper concentrate output at its Caserones mine in Chile, hit by lower production in the first half after a blackout, company officials said on Friday.

    The firm now expects output of 102,000 tonnes in the fiscal year ending March 31, versus its August forecast of 110,000 tonnes.

    The Caserones copper mine was forced to halt operations for

three weeks after power lines were damaged by heavy snow and

rain in mid-May.                                       

    Copper concentrate output in April-September was 39,000

tonnes, compared with 36,000 tonnes in the same period last

year, the officials said after a media briefing on the firm's


    Output in October-March is projected to total 63,000 tonnes. The utilisation rate has stabilised at around 90 percent and will likely stay around that level through next March, said company general manager Kyugo Yotsuya.

    Output at the Caserones project - 77.37-percent owned by a joint venture between JXTG and Japan's Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co Ltd  5706.T  - has been behind schedule since it started producing in May 2014 in the arid mountains of northern Chile. Trading house Mitsui & Co  8031.T  owns the remaining stake in the mine.     

    Forecast production at Caserones remains at 140,000-145,000 tonnes for 2018/19, and at 150,000 tonnes for 2019/20, a company spokesman said.

    JXTG, formed from a merger of Japan's biggest and third-biggest oil refiners, on Friday reported a 195.4 billion yen ($1.72 billion) operating profit in the six months ended Sept. 30. 

    That compares with a combined profit of 118.6 billion yen for JX Holdings and TonenGeneral Sekiyu in the corresponding period a year earlier. 

    After the merger on April 1, JXTG, which controls about half Japan's domestic gasoline sales, said it expected to report an annual operating profit without taking into account the effect of inventory of 400 billion yen.

    Katsuyuki Ota, JXTG Holdings Senior Vice President, said oil refining margins have remained at their highest levels in seven years, reflecting lower crude refining capacity to comply with the government's second round of directives on increasing the competitiveness of refining units.

($1 = 113.5000 yen)

Edited by SHMETEdited by SHMET

Reborn Canada steelmaker Stelco eyes organic, M&A growth –CEO

Date Nov 13 2017 17:15:55 Source:Reuters

   TORONTO, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Resurrected Canadian steelmaker Stelco Holdings Inc  STLC.TO  is banking on growth from ramped-up production and acquisitions, Chief Executive Alan Kestenbaum said on Friday, as the 107-year-old company completed its initial public offering.

    Hamilton, Ontario-based Stelco, owned by U.S. private equity group Bedrock Industries, will use part of its C$230 million ($181 million) IPO proceeds on projects that boost capacity at its two steel-processing facilities in southern Ontario.

    The listing also allows quick access to capital markets if a suitable M&A deal emerges among "numerous" potential targets, Kestenbaum said.

    Stelco, which emerged in June from its second bankruptcy protection in 13 years, produces flat-rolled, value-added steels for the construction, automotive and energy industries. 

    "Many companies and owners today have broken balance sheets, are forced asset sellers and have operational issues. We talk to everybody," Kestenbaum said in an interview with Reuters.

    "We could look at buying another steel mill, we also could look at buying other finishing operations, or things like that, that help us penetrate markets."

    Declining to identify targets or timing, Kestenbaum said "attractively priced" North American assets, with synergy benefits, are ideal.

    Stelco shares began trading last week on a "when-issued" basis and quickly jumped above the C$17 pricing to C$19. On Friday, the stock was unchanged at C$19.45.

    Stelco emerged from nearly three years of bankruptcy protection with C$3 billion in debt and C$1.4 billion in pension and retirement obligations extinguished.

    That coincides with mostly weak North American auto sales this year, after a record 2016, though global steel prices SRBcv1 have gained 157 percent since end-2015 as China, the

world's top steel producer and consumer, shut capacity in an environmental crackdown. 

Stelco, under bankruptcy protection between 2004 and 2006, was acquired in 2007 by U.S. Steel Corp. 

    Kestenbaum said Stelco will now operate under a "tactical flexibility" strategy, adjusting the products and industries it pursues based on margins.

    While its shipments to automakers fell to 3 percent last year, from 37 percent in 2006, Stelco plans to boost production of lightweight, higher-strength steels increasingly sought by the industry. 

    Auto industry gains are not critical to Stelco's growth, but offer an opportunity to boost margins, Kestenbaum said.

    "The auto industry wants more suppliers and they remember Stelco," he said. 

($1 = 1.2686 Canadian dollars)


Edited by SHMET

METALS-London copper stays above one-month low on steady demand

Date Nov 13 2017 17:14:31 Source:Reuters

    MELBOURNE, Nov 13 (Reuters) - London copper on Monday climbed away from one-month lows hit last week, buoyed by steady demand and as the dollar hovered below recent peaks. 

    "Investors will be looking at Chinese fixed asset investment and industrial production numbers for October (released Tuesday) to glean any signs of weakening demand for commodities," ANZ said in a report. 



    * COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper  CMCU3  had edged up 0.7 percent to $6,832.50 a tonne by 0719 GMT, erasing small losses from the previous session. Prices last week fell to the weakest in around a month at $6,761.50 a tonne. 

    * SHFE COPPER: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper  SCFcv1  finished up 0.3 percent at 53,650 yuan ($8,076) a tonne. 

    * NICKEL: LME nickel  CMNI3  rallied 2.3 percent, rebounding after prices hit their weakest in more than a week on Friday. 

    * CHINA DATA: Chinese data this month is expected to show the world's second-biggest economy cooled further in October as policy makers harden efforts to reduce financial risks and foster long term sustainable growth.

     * U.S. POLICY: A Federal Reserve official said on Monday he expects to back an interest rate hike next month despite caution over the low-inflation "conundrum," since the U.S. central bank needs to prepare for any future economic shock. 

    * FREEPORT: 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.

    * COPPER INVESTORS: Hedge funds and money managers reduced their net long position in COMEX copper contracts in the week to Oct. 31, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday. Non-commercial net longs turned lower from what had been the strongest since February.

  * CHINA: China will raise foreign ownership limits in financial firms in a step granting access to a tantalizing multi-trillion dollar financial services market, as the country seeks to position itself as a major global finance hub.



    * Asian shares stepped back in cautious early trade on Monday as investors look to see whether U.S. Republicans could hammer a tax reform deal quickly, while the British pound fell on growing doubts over Prime Minister Theresa May's leadership.  MKTS/GLOB   Edited by SHMET

Finnish nickel producer, Trafigura tap electric vehicle boom

Date Nov 13 2017 17:12:27 Source:Reuters

    HELSINKI, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Finland's Terrafame nickel mine is planning to start producing material for electric vehicle batteries by 2020, the company said on Friday, after securing $200 million more in funding from commodities trader Trafigura Group. 

    Trafigura, which will also increase its nickel and cobalt sulphides offtake agreement with Terraframe, is providing the funds with Galena Asset Management and Nordic fund Sampo Plc. 

    "The new funding package ... is a significant factor enabling Terrafame to move from established industrial operations to investing in new business opportunities associated with the electric vehicle battery segment," Trafigura said in a statement on Friday.

    With the electric vehicle revolution gaining speed, miners and metals traders are racing to shore up supply deals with battery makers. This deal will help Trafigura compete on the trading side with rival mining and trading giant Glencore GLEN.L  that already dominates cobalt supplies with its assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Terraframe, formerly known as Talvivaara  TLV1V.HE , has been under government control since 2015 after years of losses and production problems. It returned to profit last year and commodities trader Trafigura agreed in February to take a stake and help to ramp up production. 

    Terrafame said it plans to build a new chemical plant by 2020, which would convert nickel into a valuable form of sulphate, a powder-like substance particularly suited for use in batteries.

    Most electric vehicles rely on lithium-ion batteries, with the main component comprised mostly of nickel.

    Lithium batteries, which keep a charge over longer distances, are being installed in electric cars from Tesla's  TSLA.O  top-of-the-line Model X to General Motors'  GM.N  more modestly priced Chevy Bolt.

    "The availability of nickel and cobalt is critical for the electric vehicles market to continue developing. As a producer of these metals, Terrafame is aiming to take a leading role in supplying battery manufacturers," Terrafame CEO Joni Lukkaroinen said in a statement.

    The new plant would have annual capacity of about 150,000 tonnes of nickel sulphate, which Terrafame said would make it one of the largest producers globally.

    The company said it expects to make a final decision on the investment in the first half of 2018.

    Trafigura added in its statement that it will market all of Terraframe's forthcoming nickel and cobalt products until end 2027. The trader already takes all of Terraframe's existing output of nickel and cobalt sulphides.

    Trafigura added it has extended its current offtake agreement for 80 percent of Terraframe's zinc sulphide precipitates until end 2027.

Russia's Rusal Q3 core earnings surge 30 pct y/yMELBOURNE, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Russian aluminium giant Rusal's  0486.HK  core earnings beat expectations in the third quarter, helped by rising aluminium prices and greater sales of higher margin products.

    Third quarter earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) surged by 30 percent to $549 million from $421 million in the third quarter of 2016 Analysts had expected core earnings of $515 million.

    The company reported strong financial results on the back of robust aluminium demand and higher prices, Vladislav Soloviev, CEO of RUSAL said in a statement. Value added products made up half of all sales, and it aims to increase this to 60 percent by 2021. 

    Aluminium prices have been supported by a cut in China's production over winter that has spawned a market deficit and propelled prices. 

    "Looking ahead towards the end of the year, we maintain our positive forecast for global aluminium industry with the demand to reach 63.1 million tonnes and deficit to widen to 1.1 million tonnes," Soloviev said.

    Hong-Kong listed Rusal's earnings have been supported by a stronger aluminium market, a move to quarterly dividend payouts, continuing debt refinancing and repayment, and its potential inclusion in the prestigious MSCI Russia index, Renaissance Capital said in a note.



Edited by SHMET