News Archive

Glencore faces US$3b freezing orders in DRC

Ventora Development Sasu served orders in the DRC for $695 million and $2.28 billion, against Mutanda and Kamoto respectively, alleging breaches of royalty agreements.

Gertler was added to the US’s list of specially designated nationals last year and Ventora alleges Glencore’s subsidiaries had indicated they would not make royalty payments to Ventora as a result of Gertler being designated an SDN.

Millennial Lithium building Grandes plans

Millennial Lithium building Grandes plans

Cobalt 27 charges up for transition

Cobalt 27 charges up for transition

LSC headed towards front of Li pack

LSC headed towards front of Li pack

Valor Resources identifies significant high grade mineralisation at surface

Valor Resources identifies significant high grade mineralisation…

Country Investment Profile - Greenland

Country Investment Profile – Greenland

MICROMINE to issue latest version of 3D modelling  mine planning software

MICROMINE to issue latest version of 3D modelling …

Cerro Blanco puts Bluestone on production runway

Cerro Blanco puts Bluestone on production runway

Maptek expands role in mining's digital future

Maptek expands role in mining’s digital future

Amerigo sitting pretty on vast copper resource

Amerigo sitting pretty on vast copper resource

“Glencore denies that Mutanda and KCC are in breach of any of their obligations under their respective agreements with Ventora and AHIL [Africa Horizons Investments Limited] and also entirely rejects Ventora’s calculation of the value of the future royalties allegedly owed to Ventora,” the company said in a statement.

It said Mutanda and KCC would “vigorously contest” the freezing order and any subsequent proceedings, adding its agreements were subject to English law.

The orders authorise the Commercial Court of Kolwezi to freeze certain bank accounts, tangible moving assets and intangible moving assets, such as receivables as well as the mining titles up to the amount of the orders, Glencore said.

It is the latest DRC drama for the diversified miner and commodities trader, with Kamoto’s state-owned joint venture partner last week starting legal action to dissolve the company over a capital deficiency and no results yet on discussions over the implementation of the DRC’s new mining code.

Glencore released its statement after 5pm London time on Friday, where its shares had closed down about 1p to £3.69.

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Emeco to raise equity for new M&A

Matilda, which has offices in Toowoomba, Mackay and Perth, has a fleet of 83 pieces of mining equipment with an average age of 9,300 hours, compared to Emeco’s average of 25,000 hours.

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Zenith powering ahead

Zenith Energy (ASX: ZEN) managing director Hamish Moffat said the company had achieved a high strike rate in securing three big new build-own-operate (BOO) contracts with Newmont Mining, Dacian Gold and Gascoyne Gold since its 2017 IPO and listing, as well as contract extensions. With Newmont’s power plant at Tanami in central Australia to be commissioned early in 2019, Zenith will have more than 180 megawatts of contracted BOO generation capacity on its books and about 350MW of total contracted installed capacity.

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"Rusal…hopes the measure will be enough [to be removed from sanctions list]"

Two sources told Reuters that Rusal would soon appoint a fully independent board that would in turn install a new management team, in the hope the US would remove the firm from its sanctions list, declared earlier this month in response to Russia’s “malign activity” around the globe.

“Rusal is in touch with US authorities and hopes the measure will be enough for them to be removed from the sanctions list,” one of the sources told the wire service.

Millennial Lithium building Grandes plans

Millennial Lithium building Grandes plans

Cobalt 27 charges up for transition

Cobalt 27 charges up for transition

LSC headed towards front of Li pack

LSC headed towards front of Li pack

Valor Resources identifies significant high grade mineralisation at surface

Valor Resources identifies significant high grade mineralisation…

Country Investment Profile - Greenland

Country Investment Profile – Greenland

MICROMINE to issue latest version of 3D modelling  mine planning software

MICROMINE to issue latest version of 3D modelling …

Cerro Blanco puts Bluestone on production runway

Cerro Blanco puts Bluestone on production runway

Maptek expands role in mining's digital future

Maptek expands role in mining’s digital future

Amerigo sitting pretty on vast copper resource

Amerigo sitting pretty on vast copper resource

The US last week appeared to soften its stance on Rusal, with Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin extending a deadline for Rusal’s US customers to comply with sanctions and indicating the US would consider lifting the sanctions if Rusal’s major shareholder Oleg Deripaska gave up control of the company.

However a US Treasury spokesperson told Reuters changes in Rusal’s ownership did not guarantee the end of sanctions.

Rusal owners had not indicated they were seeking nationalisation of their company, Moscow-based news agency Interfax reported on the weekend.

If the company was not taken off the sanctions list, it might be forced to end its aluminium exports and focus only on the domestic market, Reuters reported.

Rusal shares, which had been trading at HK$4.64 before more than halving in value earlier this month, were up around 6% this morning to $2.10, which represents a 61.68% drop year-to-date.

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Filo drilling points to resource uplift

Highlights included 50m at 0.56% copper, 0.5g/t gold and 236.4g/t silver; and 36m at 1.45% copper.

“We expect to convert a large portion of our inferred oxide resource to indicated, which was one of our primary objectives this season,” CEO Adam Lundin said.

RESOURCEStocks QA: Mustang's Christiaan Jordaan

RESOURCEStocks QA: Mustang’s Christiaan Jordaan

Capricorn moves fast to launch

Capricorn moves fast to launch

Cardinal advances Namdini

Cardinal advances Namdini

Zinc project galvanises White Rock

Zinc project galvanises White Rock

Kingston commences major drilling program at 2.8Moz Misima Gold Project

Kingston commences major drilling program at 2.8Moz…

Filo released a preliminary economic assessment on the oxide portion of the project’s existing resource in November, which outlined an after-tax NPV (8% discount) of US$705 million and a 3.6-year payback using a $3 per pound copper price.

It put initial capex at $792 million for a 13-year mine producing an average annual 50,000 tonnes of copper, 115,000 ounces of gold and 5.13 million ounces of silver.

The company is well-funded as it works on a prefeasibility study, having closed a C$25.5 million (US$19.9 million) share offering and private placement in February.

Metallurgical testwork began earlier this month and the company said it was laying the groundwork for future environmental assessments and project permitting.

Filo shares last traded at C$2.50, valuing it around $180 million.

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Canada stock market shutdown pushes investors to explore options

TORONTO (Reuters) – A rare outage at Canada’s major stock exchanges could dent the credibility of operator TMX Group Ltd (X.TO) and encourage investors to explore alternative trading channels, fund managers and traders told Reuters.

A darkened television studio is seen at the offices of TMX Group, which operates the Toronto Stock Exchange, after the company announced it was shutting down all markets for the rest of the day after experiencing issues with trading on all its exchange platforms in Toronto, Ontario, Canada April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Canada’s stock market suffered a partial shutdown on Friday, forcing TMX to halt trading more than an hour early. TMX has since said the exchanges will resume trading on Monday after “internal technical issues” were resolved.

The outage sent investors to TMX competitors and exchanges in New York that listed Canadian companies, traders said. Some of Canada’s biggest companies – including the likes of Suncor Energy (SU.TO) (SU.N), Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) (ENB.N) and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) (ABX.N) – are listed both in Toronto and New York.

While the shutdown occurred on a low-volume trading day, it highlighted the technological challenges faced by exchanges such as TMX, and the risks to reputation that come with them.

“It is not a good thing for the exchange or the investors. It is lost business for TMX and lost credibility. It makes investors look elsewhere,” said David Cockfield, portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management.

Cockfield said he expects traders to take defensive steps: “They will say, ‘Maybe I better establish alternative trading routes. If the TMX goes down on me again, I don’t want to be caught twice.’”

TMX’s exchanges in Canada, which include the Toronto Stock Exchange, Toronto Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and the Montreal Exchange, account for about 61 percent of trading on the world’s sixth-largest stock market, according to official data.


Some traders and fund managers said it was still too early to assess the full extent of the damage from Friday’s outage.

Jos Schmitt, chief executive of NEO Exchange, said no one wins from a shutdown.

“It is bad for the Canadian markets’ reputation overall,” Schmitt told Reuters, adding that he was concerned about what he saw as complacency over a lack of real-time market data.

“We need to solve the real industry-wide issues and we encourage the Canadian Securities Administrators to address these issues and help bring us out of the data dark ages,” Schmitt said.

TMX said on Saturday that the disruption was caused by a “hardware failure in a central storage appliance of the trading system”, and noted it was not the result of a hack.

Asked for additional comment on Sunday, a TMX spokeswoman referred to the company’s statement on Saturday.

“It puts people on heightened alert,” said Diana Avigdor, head of trading and portfolio manager at Barometer Capital Management. “The TMX has to manage damage by being very straightforward and clear with what backup systems they will have going forward.”

Canada’s stock market last suffered a major outage nearly a decade ago, when a system fault linked to data feeds shut down trading for a full day in December 2008, including on the small-cap TSX Venture Exchange.

Most of the trading volume on Friday was transferred to other markets, such as Chi-X, Pure Trading and MATCHNow, as well as to inter-listed stocks in the United States, said Peggy Bowie, senior trader at Manulife Asset Management.

Representatives for ChiX, Pure Trading and MATCHNow were not immediately available, or could not be reached, for comment on Sunday.

When asked on Friday whether the regulator was conducting an investigation into the outage, the Ontario Securities Commission said only that it was in contact with TMX. The OSC declined to comment on Sunday.

In Saturday’s statement, TMX chief executive Lou Eccleston apologized to clients and said the company was committed “to applying the lessons learned from this incident to help us prevent such issues from recurring in the future.”

Reporting by John Tilak and Fergal Smith; Editing by Denny Thomas and Daniel Wallis

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Hong Kong scrambles for talent in battle for Nasdaq’s biotech crown

HONG KONG (Reuters) – When Hong Kong unveiled plans last year to encourage biotech companies to list in the city by loosening listing rules, the financial industry and investors cheered.

FILE PHOTO: The name of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited is displayed at the entrance in Hong Kong, China January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

Hong Kong was an obvious financing center for a growing number of Chinese companies developing new drugs. But as the new rules come into effect Monday, at least one problem has become evident: Hong Kong’s limited expertise in the biotech field.

Biotech companies without revenues, let alone profits, will now be allowed to apply for listings in the city under the new rules. Some 10 companies – mostly Chinese, including the Temasek-backed Innovent Biologics and Shanghai Henlius Biotech – are already planning floats and some have dropped U.S. IPO plans in favor of listing closer to home.

The result however is a scramble for experts in a city whose financiers have limited experience with science.

Just 3 percent of all Hong Kong-listed stocks, by capitalization, come from so-called “new economy” sectors – tech as well as biotech – according to a report last year by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (0388.HK), the bourse operator.

That compared with 60 percent for Nasdaq and 47 percent for the New York Stock Exchange.

Several bankers, investors and industry executives estimated that the city currently had fewer than 20 experienced biotech and biopharma bankers.

“It’s not easy to hire the right professionals,” said Kevin Xie, head of healthcare and co-founder of China Renaissance, a boutique investment bank. “There’s a limited pool globally who truly understand the industry.”

Leading investment banks are touting their ability to transfer bankers from the United States to plug gaps in Hong Kong. But lacking local licenses, those seconded to Hong Kong can only advise their colleagues, not work on deals themselves.

Li Hang, head of Greater China equity capital markets at CLSA, said: “We really need sector specialist bankers to run biotech deals, otherwise everybody will say we don’t know how to do the due diligence.”

Difficulties around talent go beyond the banks. Charles Li, chief executive of HKEX, said last month that it was tough to hire biotech professionals. “All financial institutions in town have been seeking such talent,” he said.

Nonetheless, Li said Tuesday, when announcing the finalised rules, that HKEX had found a dozen experts, primarily scientists or employees of pharmaceutical companies, to serve on a board advising a listing committee that approves each IPO application.


Hong Kong’s appeal to would-be IPOs rests largely on its familiarity with Chinese firms, its convenient timezone for mainland executives and its new rules.

“On Nasdaq, the main investors for biotech stocks are mainly U.S. funds, but, in Hong Kong, we can better tap Chinese and Asian investors as we are closer to them,” said Yang Dajun, chairman of Ascentage Pharma, a Chinese biotech company.

JPMorgan analysts forecast that China’s biologics industry will double in size to $52 billion by 2021 compared with a global growth rate of 60 percent. Biologics are the products produced by biotech and biopharma firms.

While U.S. companies have been the largest capital-raisers, accounting for 44 percent of industry funds raised through IPOs in the past five years, Chinese groups were next, accounting for a fifth, according to Thomson Reuters data.

All that has sparked interest in Hong Kong.

Last June, shares in the drug developer Wuxi Biologics (2269.HK) rose 39 percent on their debut and now stand 167 percent higher.

However, industry insiders and market participants warn of risks in the sector, saying that many biotechs are reliant on a handful of early-stage new drugs, making them vulnerable if one fails.

Mary Leung, the CFA Institute’s Asia Pacific head of advocacy, questioned the ability of average investors to evaluate such companies.

“Given how long it will take for pre-revenue companies to demonstrate whether they are successful, for retail investors, it’s almost like investing in bitcoin,” she said.

This is a particular issue for Hong Kong, where retail investors often expect to be protected by regulators. Until now, the city’s rules have been strict, requiring three years of profitability, or a certain level of cashflow, before any company can apply to list.

About 20 percent of daily trading in Hong Kong is undertaken by small-time investors, compared with about 2 percent in New York.

“Will we have the courage to stay with it because 30 to 40 percent of these biotech companies will fail and they may crash spectacularly?” Ken Hitchner, Asia-Pacific chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs, said at a conference last month.

“We will have spectacular successes – we will have future Tencents across tech, across biotech. But there will be front-page headlines of really spectacular implosions and that’s the nature of dealing with the bleeding edge of innovation.”

Reporting by Julie Zhu and Alun David John in HONG KONG; Additional reporting by Jennifer Hughes; Editing by Philip McClellan

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T-Mobile, Sprint say $26 billion deal would give U.S. tech lead over China

(Reuters) – T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) and Sprint Corp (S.N) said on Sunday they had agreed to a $26 billion all-stock deal and believed they could win over skeptical regulators because the merger would create thousands of jobs and help the United States beat China to creating the next generation mobile network.

The agreement capped four years of on-and-off talks between the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers, setting the stage for the creation of a company with 127 million customers that will be a more formidable competitor to the top two wireless players, Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and ATT Inc (T.N).

U.S. regulators, who have challenged in court ATT’s $85 billion deal to buy U.S. media company Time Warner Inc (TWX.N), are expected to grill Sprint and T-Mobile on how they will price their combined wireless offerings.

Verizon has 116 million U.S. wireless customers, according to a spokesman, while ATT has 93 million branded customers, as of the first quarter.

Their first round of merger talks ended unsuccessfully in 2014 after the administration of then-U.S. President Barack Obama expressed antitrust concerns.

The new deal will create the highest-capacity U.S. network, lower prices, create jobs and improve service in rural areas, said John Legere, the chief executive of T-Mobile and the new head of the proposed combined company.

The combined company, which will be called T-Mobile, will invest $40 billion over the next three years to upgrade its networks to accommodate the next generation 5G wireless technology, which is expected to have the speeds necessary to power drones and self-driving cars, Legere said in a statement.

The companies said during a conference call with analysts that the recent U.S. tax overhaul would have a positive impact, and the combined company would not be a significant taxpayer until 2025.

T-Mobile and Sprint said they expected to complete their deal no later than the first half of 2019, an ambitious goal given the intense U.S. regulatory scrutiny it will be subjected to. T-Mobile will not be liable to pay Sprint a breakup fee should regulators block the deal, according to sources who asked not to be identified because that detail in their contract had not yet been made public.

The companies said they expected U.S. regulators would see the benefits of the deal.

“This isn’t a case of going from four to three wireless companies – there are now at least seven or eight big competitors in this converging market,” Legere said, referring to cable companies as wireless competitors. Other companies also would be forced to accelerate their investments in the face of a combined T-Mobile-Sprint, the companies added.

A spokeswoman for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai declined to comment on Sunday on the proposed merger. The FCC will decide whether to grant the deal regulatory approval if it is in the “public interest,” the spokeswoman added.

CTIA, a trade organization that represents the U.S. wireless communications industry, ranks the United States behind China and South Korea in 5G readiness. The Chinese government launched a plan targeting 5G deployment by 2020, with three carriers committed to the timeline.

Legere said the deal would likely lead to lower prices from ATT and Verizon, as well as Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O).

ATT declined to comment. Comcast could not immediately be reached for comment.

Verizon declined to comment on prices but said it remained committed to building a 5G network.

Smartphones with the logos of T-Mobile and Sprint are seen in this illustration taken September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration


The breakthrough in the companies’ negotiations, first reported by Reuters on Thursday, came after T-Mobile majority-owner Deutsche Telekom AG (DTEGn.DE) and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), which controls Sprint, agreed on a structure that would allow Deutsche Telekom to continue to consolidate the combined company, which will have a market value of over $80 billion, on its books.

Deutsche Telekom will own 42 percent of the combined company, and will control the board of the combined company, nominating nine of the 14 directors. Legere will also serve as a director.

The implied equity valuation for Sprint is $6.62 per share based on T-Mobile’s closing share price on Friday. Sprint shares closed on Friday at $6.50.

The all-stock transaction is at a fixed exchange ratio of 0.10256 T-Mobile shares for each Sprint share, or the equivalent of 9.75 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile US share.

Tokyo-based SoftBank and Deutsche Telekom will sign a voting rights agreement that will give Deutsche Telekom access to voting rights for a total of 69 percent of T-Mobile shares.

The second round of talks between Sprint and T-Mobile ended in November over valuation disagreements.

Since then, Sprint’s shares lost about a fifth of their value amid questions about how the company can compete effectively under the weight of its long-term debt of more than $32 billion.

T-Mobile’s market capitalization is $54.7 billion, while Sprint is valued by the deal at $26 billion.


Even though Sprint’s customer base has expanded under CEO Marcelo Claure, growth has been driven by discounting. Analysts say that without T-Mobile, Sprint lacks the scale needed to invest in its network and to compete in a saturated market.

T-Mobile has fared better than Sprint, even if it remains a distant third to Verizon and ATT. It has managed to score sustained market-share gains, as innovative offerings, improving network performance and good customer service attract new customers, according to Moody’s Investors Service Inc.

T-Mobile became the first major U.S. carrier to eliminate two-year contracts, a shift quickly embraced by consumers and copied by competitors. The company has also badgered rivals with its unlimited data plans.

Both Sprint and T-Mobile are far behind Verizon and ATT in upgrading their network to accommodate next generation 5G wireless technology. Even after their merger, the combined company’s budget to invest in 5G will be smaller than that of Verizon or ATT.

Sprint and T-Mobile hope the deal will give them more firepower to participate in auction for spectrum to develop 5G. They plan to participate in a spectrum auction in late autumn and will request a waiver if the merger prevents the companies from participating.

PJT Partners, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Evercore served as advisers for T-Mobile. The Raine Group, J.P. Morgan and Centerview Partners LLC advised Sprint.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis, Sheila Dang and Liana B. Baker in New York; Writing by Sheila Dang; Editing by Peter Henderson, Lisa Shumaker and Peter Cooney

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Australia’s AMP says Chairwoman Catherine Brenner steps down

(Reuters) – AMP announced the resignation of Chairwoman Catherine Brenner on Monday, the second senior executive at the Australian wealth manager to exit after damaging revelations at a judicial inquiry into the country’s financial sector of serious misconduct at the firm. 

FILE PHOTO: The logo of AMP Ltd, Australia’s biggest retail wealth manager, adorns their head office located in central Sydney, Australia, May 5, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

The country’s largest listed wealth manager also said it would cut all directors’ fees for the rest of calendar year 2018 by 25 percent because of the “collective governance accountability for the issues raised in the Royal Commission” and their impact on AMP’s reputation.

Brenner’s departure comes about a week after AMP announced the resignation of Chief Executive Craig Meller following disclosures at the government-backed Royal Commission into the financial sector that AMP breached provisions of the Corporations Act that carry criminal sanctions.

“I am deeply disappointed by the issues at hand and am particularly concerned for the impact they have had on our customers, employees, advisers and shareholders,” Brenner said in a statement on Monday.

AMP said Brenner would depart immediately. She will be replaced temporarily by fellow board member Mike Wilkins, who was also named interim chief executive to replace Meller.

AMP also announced the departure of its group general counsel and company secretary, Brian Salter.

AMP said the selection process for a new chief executive was under way, but did not provide a timeframe for that or the chair recruitment process.

Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Jane Wardell and Peter Cooney

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