July's top stories: Glencore's $1.13bn acquisition, Rio Tinto signs MoU for Jadar lithium project

Glencore signed $1.13bn worth of agreements to acquire a 49% interest in the Hunter Valley Operations, Rio Tinto signed an MoU with the Serbian Government for the Jadar lithium-borate project development, and Barrick Gold completed the sale of stake in Veladero mine for $960m. Mining-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from July 2017.


Glencore to gain 49% of Hunter Valley Operations for $1.13bn

Glencore signed $1.13bn worth of agreements with Yancoal Australia to acquire a 49% interest in the Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) coal mine in New South Wales, Australia.

The HVO mining operations form part of Yancoal’s proposed acquisition of Coal & Allied (C&A) from Rio Tinto.

Yancoal and Glencore will form a joint venture (JV) for the HVO once the acquisition of C&A is complete.

Glencore will be entitled to its share of HVO profits under the JV.


Rio Tinto signs MoU with Serbia to develop Jadar lithium-borate project

Rio Tinto signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Serbian Government regarding the development of Jadar lithium-borate project following rising global lithium demand. 

The MoU will see the company form joint working groups in collaboration with the government to develop the project through the study and permitting phases.

Jadar was discovered by Rio Tinto in 2004 and is located near Loznica in western Serbia, around 160km from Belgrade.


Washington Companies to buy Dominion Diamond for $1.2bn

Washington Companies signed a $1.2bn agreement to acquire Canada's Dominion Diamond. 

Washington will buy all of Dominion’s outstanding common shares for $14.25 each as part of the agreement.

Washington Companies is a group of privately held North American mining, industrial and transportation businesses, and approached Dominion with an acquisition proposal in March.


Barrick Gold completes sale of 50% stake in Veladero mine for $960m

Canadian miner Barrick Gold completed the sale of a 50% interest in the Veladero mine in San Juan province, Argentina, to Shandong Gold Mining for $960m.

The sale marks the completion of the first of the three steps agreed by the parties through an agreement signed in April.

Veladero mine produced 544,000oz of gold last year, while proven and probable mineral reserves as of 31 December last year were 6.7 million ounces of gold.


BHP to invest $276.69m in Australia’s Olympic Dam smelter operations

BHP Billiton is set to invest A$350m ($276.69m) towards a maintenance programme at its Olympic Dam smelter operations in South Australia.

Operations at the plant were suspended last year following a power outage.

Works at the plant include rebuilding key elements of the smelter flash furnace, electric slag furnace and the five-storey high-electrostatic precipitator.


Hexagon Mining launches solution for enhanced traffic flow in mines

US-based Hexagon Mining unveiled the HxGN Dynamic Haulage 1.0 solution, which is designed to optimise truck movement for mining companies.

The solution is expected to offer an efficient path to destinations under the MineSight Schedule Optimizer (MSSO) platform, irrespective of changes in haul roads and routes between operational phases and schedule runs.

According to the company, it offers an almost real-time path from cut-to-mill or dump, and back again.


Acacia Mining to comply with Tanzania's 6% royalty tax rule

UK-based Acacia Mining opted to pay the increased royalty rate of 6% in line with the new mine legislation in Tanzania, despite the company assessing the full impact of changes.

The recently enacted mining reform received presidential consent and allows the state to renegotiate contract terms with companies, enabling the government to have at least a 16% stake in projects.

Acacia also agreed to comply with the requirement of a 1% clearing fee on exports, as it wants to avoid disruptions to operations.


Victoria unveils new policy on future uses of coal

Australia's Victoria Government unveiled a new policy concerning future uses of brown coal, which it intends to use to drive investment, create jobs and balance environmental needs in forthcoming mining projects.

The policy seeks to set the terms of use of the state’s brown coal reserves and achieving low-emissions. It lends support to projects that provide employment to highly skilled workers and bolster investment in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland.

The new policy framework places stringent requirements on private sector proposals for new uses of coal, with future projects needing to comply with the state's commitment to net-zero emissions in accordance with the Climate Change Act 2017.


Polyus signs agreements to earn 100% interest in Sukhoi Log licence

Russia-based JSC Polyus Krasnoyarsk signed additional option agreements with RT Business Development to earn 100% interest of SL Gold and the Sukhoi Log deposit.

Polyus Krasnoyarsk will acquire an additional 25.1% interest in the Sukhoi Log deposit licence for $145.9m under the current agreement.

The company signed five-year cash option agreements with RT to acquire a 23.9% stake in SL Gold for $139m in December. It exercised the first option in May to increasing its stake in SL Gold to 54.6%.


South Africa suspends implementing controversial mining charter

The South African Government suspended the implementon of its new mining charter following a high court clash with industry.

The move comes after the country’s industry body Chamber of Mines approached the high court last month for an urgent injunction to stop the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) from implementing the Reviewed Mining Charter.

DMR unveiled the mining charter last month, which required all miners operating in the country, including Glencore and Anglo American, to increase the ownership of black shareholders from the existing 26% to 30% within a year to tackle the post-apartheid inequality issue in the industry.

The charter provoked almost instant protests from the miners association.