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H O M E

   
NEWS ROUND UP - INDIAN
Vinod Kapur elected VP of WFO

Mr. Vinod Kapur, Chairman & Mg. Director of Gargi Huttenes Albertus Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, has been elected as Vice President of World Foundry Organization during the WFO General Assembly held in Dusseldorf, Germany on 1st July'11.
The World Foundry Organization is the recognized centre of strategic foundry knowledge, designed to develop, enhance and improve the production of metal castings; through the latest technical and sustainable industry practices. Through the involvement of the member associations, in 30 countries the WFO creates a network of technical knowledge and resource that is a vital tool to every foundry association, foundry and foundry worker throughout the world. The WFO is a neutral body that represents the collective needs of the members on a global stage.

Hind Copper may chop off Fresh Equity Plan

Hindustan Copper may not go ahead with its plans to raise funds by issuing fresh equity shares. This plan was part of the proposed follow-on public offer (FPO) by the company. Now the FPO will be restricted to only 10% disinvestment of government shares. This proposal of the revised plan has been sent to the department of Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA).
Hindustan Copper will file a revised red herring prospectus. The public offer was to involve issue of fresh equity by the company to the extent of 10% of the company's pre-issue paid-up capital equivalent to 9, 25, 21, 800 shares of face value of Rs. 5 each in the domestic market. The government was to disinvest its 10% of pre-issue paid up capital, equivalent to 9, 25, 21, 800 shares of face value of Rs. 5 each. Shares would be reserved for employees of the company and would be available to retail investors, as per SEBI guidelines. Irregular financial markets led to the delays in the company's issue.

SC seeks govt stand on OMC's plea

The Supreme Court (SC) has sought to ascertain the central government's stand on a plea by Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) challenging the revocation of the environment clearance for a Sterlite bauxite mining project in the state. Seeking the government's response, a bench of justices R V Raveendran and Gyan Sudha Misra issued a notice to theMinistry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and directed it to file its reply. Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for OMC, said the Minister of State for MoEF passed an order withdrawing the environmental clearance just a day before demitting his office. No mandatory notice was given for this withdrawal. In this regard, it is pertinent to note that prior to the withdrawal, OMC had approached the apex court three months earlier when the ministry had revoked its forest clearance, which is different from environment clearance and is aimed at ensuring that the project does not lead to depletion of green cover in the area. The minister withdrew the environment clearance for the project despite knowing that the matter is subjudice and before the Supreme Court. The court, meanwhile, also allowed Prafful Samanta, on whose plea the MoEF had taken the action, to file an application to be a party in the matter.

Paucity of funds hits Nalco's Iran project

Paucity of funds has hit Nalco's plans to spread its arms across the globe. The company's Iran aluminium project is not taking shape the way it had expected them to. The company's Rs 10,000-crore project to set up a 310,000-tonne aluminium smelter and a 750-Mw power plant in Iran continues to languish due to paucity of funds. The situation is attributed to the geo-political situation in Iran which is not favourable. Consequently, Nalco has not been able to proceed with the financial closure for the project. The project was announced in 2007 and the total project cost then was Rs 8,000 crore, which now stands in excess of Rs 10,000 crore. Nalco had planned to ship bauxite from its Indian mines to Iran and convert it into aluminium. It had signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran's Kerman Development Organisation, but an agreement to form a joint venture hasn't been floated yet. In the meantime, Nalco had held talks with various financial companies, including the Islamic Bank of Indonesia, which had shown interest in financing the project. The talks, however, did not succeed. This is not the first overseas project of Nalco to hit a roadblock. Around the same time when the Iran project was announced, the company spoke of setting up aluminium smelters in South Africa and Saudi Arabia. The African project was a Rs 15,000 crore, half a million tonne smelter, and a 1,250-Mw power plant. The Saudi Arabian project was shelved at the planning stage and no details on the proposed capacities were given. The company reasoned lack of coal linkages for its decision. Of the four international projects announced, only the Indonesian smelter is close to getting started. Nalco is expected to choose its coal partner this month. It is looking to set up a 0.5 million tonne aluminium smelter and a 1,250-Mw power plant at a cost of $4 billion.

High metal prices lift Vedanta's profit

Vedanta Resources Plc, the diversified base metals producer, reported 33 per cent spurt in fiscal first-quarter profit to a record as commodity prices increased. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization climbed to $1.05 billion in the three months through June from $793.9 million a year earlier. Sales advanced 44 percent to $3.43 billion. Base-metal producers have seen profits buoyed by rising commodity prices. Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange jumped by 30 percent in the quarter to average $9,163 a tonne. Aluminum and zinc, also produced by the company, rose by 23 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Output of refined zinc, used to protect steel from rust, increased 17 percent to 193,000 tonnes, led by higher volumes at the Dariba smelter commissioned in March. Aluminum production advanced 2 percent to 173,000 tonnes, driven higher by output from the Jharsuguda-I smelter. Output from Zambian unit Konkola Copper Mines rose 3 percent to 35,000 tonnes. Production of finished copper plates, or cathodes, from India's Tuticorin smelter fell to 74,000 tonnes as concentrate grades dropped and the utilization rate declined. Mined copper production at Australian mines was 6,000 tonnes.

Orissa HC upholds govt's decision to stall VAL's refinery expansion

In a major setback to Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL), the Orissa High Court upheld the Centre's decision to stall expansion of its refinery plant at Lanjigarh. The high court has allowed VAL to make a fresh bid to obtain environmental clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for expansion of its existing units. Rejecting the writ petition of VAL and a related PIL, a division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra said: The process for environmental clearance for any expansion attempt by the company has to be started de novo. Justifying the MoEF order for maintaining 'status quo' at the plant site, the high court said the ministry's decision to withdraw the ToR granted to the company in 2009 was “legal”. The MoEF had stalled the expansion plan of VAL's refinery in October last year. Reacting to the high court's verdict, the company will take its next course of action after studying the full text of the judgment. The company is now left with two options-either to challenge the decision of the High Court in Supreme Court or to furnish a fresh proposal to obtain environmental clearance as suggested by MoEF. VAL, in August 2007, had applied for expansion of its existing refinery capacity from one million tonne per annum (mtpa) to six mtpa and that of its captive power plant from 75 MW to 300 MW. The company went ahead with construction work for refinery expansion without prior environmental clearances. While a substantial expansion work was in progress, the ministry under the Environment (Protection) Act-1986, had ordered the company to maintain status quo at the plant site and directed the Orissa Government to take legal action against the company for violating the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006. Challenging the MoEF order, VAL had moved a writ petition in the high court, urging the court to quash the ministry's order as it would hamper the socio-economic development of the area. All PILs, barring the one filed by Lanjigarh Anchalika Vikash Parishad were later withdrawn. MoEF had made it clear before the court that the violations committed by VAL have been referred to the expert appraisal panel and the company in January was asked to submit a fresh proposal for clearance.

Private Equity players keen on Metals

Private equity players are showing interest in the Metals industry. This trend is being seen after supply has been restricted due to controlled Chinese exports. According to analysts, during the first half of 2011, the PE investments worth $650 million have gone into the $30-billion Indian metals and minerals sector. India's metals and minerals sector has been one third of the $6.3-billion private equity investments. International mineral shortage along with security of input materials, technological upgradation and logistics support have affected the demand supply gap for all metals. According to sources, Apollo Global Management had made $350-million investment in Welspun group in June. Of Apollo Global's net investment into Welspun, $286.9 million will go into Welspun for 20% stake in the holding firm of Weslpun group, while $60 million will be in Welspun Maxsteel.

Goa revises safety norms for its mines

The Directorate of Mines Safety, will issue a revised set of safety norms to the mines following accidents at mining sites in Goa due to heavy rains. The norms will have to be complied with during monsoon. Mr Mihir Vardhan, chief of the monitoring committee on mining in Goa, said that the Directorate of Mines Safety of the Centre will issue a revised set of norms to be circulated to all the 95 mining sites across the state. The tailing points and ore dumps at the mining sites were the main cause of concern during monsoon. 3 people were killed and 6 were last month in the accidents that occurred during the incessant rains. The old set of safety norms are required to be changed. Goa Mineral Foundation, a NGO run by the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA), would conduct a scientific study and suggest long-term measures to avoid such situations.

NEWS ROUND UP - GLOBAL
Japan's zinc exports in June halves

Japan's refined zinc exports for June halved from a year earlier to 4,707 tonnes as production remained disrupted by the massive earthquake in March. The drop in June exports widened from a 32 percent decline in May. Exports remain hit by the earthquake and tsunami, which devastated northeast Japan and shut nearly 65 percent of the country's production capacity for zinc, used in automotive steel sheet and construction materials. Taiwan remained by far the biggest market for Japan's refined zinc in June, accounting for 31 percent of demand, steady from 32 percent. China's share fell to around 7 percent from 12 percent in May. Indonesia accounted for 28 percent, rising from 23 percent in May. Zinc is mainly used as an anti-corrosive coating in galvanized steel production and in plating.

Aluminium smelters in Henan face power cuts

Aluminium smelters in Henan province, China's top producer of the metal, faced electricity supply cuts that could hit output at a time of high domestic prices. Power-hungry aluminium smelters in the central province have received notices from local governments to prepare for power cuts. A fall in production in Henan could reduce supply in the domestic market, adding fuel to nearby aluminium prices which hovered near 35-month highs. China's electricity generation already hit a record 15.096 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) surpassing highs reached in previous days due to persistent scorching heat in southern China, fuelling demand to power air conditioners and other appliances. The figure was 8.15 percent higher than last year's peak daily output. China has suffered regional power shortages well before peak summer demand as low hydroelectric generation and high coal prices curbed supplies, stoking concerns of the worst summer power crunch in years. According to sources the local government and smelters had met few days ago for the power cut warning. Aluminium smelters in Henan may face cuts of up to 20 percent from normal supplies in August, possibly extending into mid-September if the hot weather continues. Such a cut could reduce production by between 50,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes, based on the province's total aluminium smelting capacity of near 6 million tonnes a year, near a third of China's capacity. The estimated lost production would represent up to 6.3 percent of China's production of 1.591 million tonnes in June, the highest ever.

Korea Zinc's Q2 profit up 37 per cent
     

Korea Zinc Co., South Korea's biggest producer of refined zinc, reported a 37 percent gain in second-quarter profit as zinc and silver prices rose. Net income climbed to 177.1 billion won ($168 million) in the three months ended June 30 on a consolidated basis from a revised 129.6 billion won from a year earlier,. Sales climbed 53 percent to 1.5 trillion won. Spot zinc climbed 11 percent on average in the quarter, while cash silver more than doubled and lead jumped 31 percent. Korea Zinc may continue to see profit growth through 2012 as output increases after plant expansion was completed in the first quarter. Zinc supplies will exceed demand by about 200,000 metric tonnes this year, while the lead surplus is estimated at 123,000 tonnes, the International Lead and Zinc Study Group said in April. The stock fell 1.5 percent to 437,500 won in Seoul, in line with a 1.1 percent drop in the benchmark Kospi index. The company reported earnings about five minutes before the market closed. Korea Zinc, which controls 82 percent of the domestic zinc market together with its biggest shareholder Young Poong Corp., has surged 58 percent this year, outpacing the 4 percent advance in the Kospi. Belgium-based rival Nyrstar NV gained 0.9 percent this year. Nyrstar reported first-half profit drop of 18 percent because of higher financing costs after buying mines. Operating profit increased 20 percent to 223.9 billion won in the second quarter. Year-earlier figures were revised following the company's adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards this year. Zinc and lead made up about 55 percent of Korea Zinc's sales last year, with by-products including silver, copper and gold accounting for the balance.

       
    SHFE lowers transaction fees for copper & lead
     

To revive sagging liquidity, Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) will lower transaction fees for its rebar and copper contracts and cut trading margins for most lead contracts.
Trading volumes of many futures contracts offered by the SHFE have fallen substantially since November last year.
Higher costs have forced out many speculative individual investors, and caused companies to scale down their activities. This has caused many brokerages to suffer.
Trading volumes of SHFE's rebar futures have plunged 67 percent in the first half of this year from year ago.
The cut in trading fees will ease investors' cost burdens and prevent trading volume from falling sharply. With lead futures having been newly launched, SHFE wants to maintain decent liquidity for lead. Transaction fees for its rebar futures will be lowered to 0.006 percent from 0.01 percent, while fees for copper futures will be halved to 0.01 percent.
For copper contracts cleared within a day, SHFE would levy a single transaction fee. Lead futures that expire from October onwards will also see their trading margins cut to 8 percent from 11 percent. The Shanghai bourse trades copper, aluminum, zinc, gold, natural rubber, fuel oil, lead and steel futures.

       
Shenzhen reopens refining facility
     

Shenzhen Zhongjin Lingnan Nonfemet, China's third-largest zinc producer, reopened refining facilities at its Shaoguan smelter in Guangdong province after a nearly 10-month closure linked to water pollution.The firm will keep the smelting facilities at Shaoguan shut and is upgrading most of those facilities. Smelting facilities would be reopened after an ongoing upgrading project and local authorities approval. The reopening of Shaoguan's refining capacity could increase production of refined lead and zinc in China. A month ago China produced 458,000 tonnes of refined zinc and 446,000 tonnes of refined lead, up 11.7 percent and 20.9 percent from a year ago, respectively.
In the first half of 2011, zinc production rose 6.1 percent on the year to 2.574 million tonnes and lead was up 25 percent to 2.302 million tonnes. Lead smelters in China may cut production in the second half as environmental checks rise.

       
    Breakwater offer gets Extended
     

The C$619 million offer for Breakwater by Toronto's Breakwater Resources and Belgium's Nyrstar has been extended due to the regulatory review process and the approval required under the Investment Canada Act.
The deal will make Belgium-based Nyrstar one of the five largest global zinc miners, increasing production from 31% to 43%.
Nyrstar has achieved record half year zinc metal production of 561,000 tonnes from its smelting division which also produced recoverable silver valued at €29 million. The company has shown continued progress in mining ramp-up with zinc in concentrate production, up 58% in the first half of this year. Nyrstar, as the world's largest zinc metal producer and through its continued upstream integration, is well positioned to leverage off strong zinc market fundaments.

       
    Norilsk expects nickel price to remain up

Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest producer of nickel and palladium, expects prices for its metals to rise in the second half of the year because of investor demand. Unrest in major producing areas would have less impact on prices than investor demand, especially for platinum group metals. Norilsk Nickel accounts for 40 percent of world supplies of palladium, which hit $822.52 per troy ounce on the London Metals Exchange (LME), up more than 10 percent this month. According to a market comment by HSBC, PGM prices could continue to rise if coal strikes in South Africa led to power cuts at key mines. The metals market would not see major upheaval from strike activity in South Africa, which supplies 80 percent of the world's platinum. Supply cuts in 2008 pushed platinum to an all time high of $2,290 per ounce. The market would not see major changes as a result of a strike at the world's largest copper mine, Chile's Escondida. LME copper hit its highest level since April, two days after Escondida declared force majeure on copper concentrate sales. Norilsk sold 136,400 tonnes of nickel in the first half of the year at an average price of $25,923 per tonne. That represented a premium of $358 to the average price of nickel on LME for the period.

Collahuasi mineworkers end strike, threaten more action

Workers at the world's No. 3 copper mine, Chile's Collahuasi, ended the strike giving thereby a relief to the consumers of the red metal from a fear of further rise in prices. With this contagion fears eased as the strike at the giant Escondida deposit ended. The Collahuasi mine operator said the strike had little effect on output and was ignored by most workers who continued at their posts during the call for a walkout. A group of workers recently blocked access roads to the open pit and later voted to strike for 24 hours to demand higher bonuses. Repeated labor action in top copper producer Chile has fueled supply worries and spurred global copper prices higher. Escondida, majority owned by BHP Billiton, extracts 7 percent of the world's copper, while Collahuasi accounts for 3.3 percent. Higher copper prices have emboldened workers from Indonesia to Zambia to Chile to demand a bigger slice of the record earnings of global giants like BHP, Freeport McMoran and Anglo American. While markets fear the labor unrest could spread to other mines, the 24-hour strike at Collahuasi, owned jointly by Xstrata and Anglo American, appeared to be an isolated example. Unions at other mines have no plans for immediate stoppages. Many employees disagreed with the call for labor action and continued to work, signaling rifts between workers that weakened the strike. At Escondida, workers continued their walkout after rejecting a new compensation offer from BHP. Union leaders acknowledged they were close to a deal but were deadlocked over a bonus demand. Copper prices in London jumped to three-month highs on supply fears stemming from the Escondida action. But copper gave back most of those gains later on concern about a weaker U.S. economy and a potential debt default. The Escondida strike took Chile by surprise, coming outside the collective wage agreement process, and is seen raising the possibility of more unpredictable labor action in future. The strike comes on the heels of a 24-hour workers stoppage by state copper giant Codelco, where unions are demanding a bigger say in the restructuring of the world's top copper mining company. Escondida has declared force majeure -- a clause that frees it of liability for shipment delays -- on most of its output. It said the length of the force majeure hinged on the strike. Some in the copper industry fear that if BHP agrees to demands for a higher bonus, workers at other mines in Chile could follow suit with similar demands.

Novelis to install continuous caster at Pieve

Novelis Inc., a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group and aluminium rolled products producer is keen on developing a continuous casting line at Pieve Emanuele, its Italy-based unit. The expansion of aluminum recycling will require the investment of $15.8 million. The proposed line will recycle the painted scrap aluminum generated during the production processes in Novelis' Italian, into the metal. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2012. Installing this new continuous caster will enable the Novelis Pieve plant in meeting the demands for material across the company's European operations.

Southern Copper's Q2 profit more than doubled

Southern Copper posted a second-quarter net profit of $658.0 million, more than double earnings from the same period last year due to higher metals prices and greater copper sales volume. The company's net profit was $313.4 million in the second quarter of 2010. Net sales totaled $1.80 billion versus $1.17 billion a year earlier. Southern Copper, one of the world's largest copper producers, is a subsidiary of Mexican miner Grupo Mexico. It operates mines in Peru and Mexico. The company said second-quarter copper production rose 28.8 percent from a year ago to 146,241 tonnes, due to production at the Buenavista mine in Mexico, formerly known as Cananea, which restored full capacity production after several years of labor disputes. The troubled Tia Maria project in Peru is on hold due to environmental and community concerns. The company plans to readdress the project with the new government and is confident that good investment conditions, stability, social inclusion and growth will prevail in Peru. Southern Copper has already invested several hundred million dollars into Tia Maria, a project estimated to cost a total of $1 billion.

Exxaro to close unprofitable Zincor refinery

Exxaro Resources Ltd., the second- biggest South African coal producer, plans to close the Zincor refinery in the country and may fire workers at the plant after failing to turn a profit or find a buyer. Zincor as a zinc-making operation has proved to be unsaleable. Zinc-making is financially unsustainable, with Zincor incurring mounting financial losses; and turn-around and improvement interventions have not helped. Exxaro unveiled plans to restructure and then sell zinc assets in 2009 to rid itself of low-margin, cyclical operations susceptible to rising energy costs and currency rates. Exxaro is still in talks on selling 50.04 percent of Namibia's Rosh Pinah zinc and lead mine and 22 percent of the Chifeng smelter in China. Zincor produced 120,000 metric tonnes of zinc last year. Base metals and industrial minerals contributed 12 percent to Exxaro's overall sales in 2010.

Grupo Mexico's Q2 net up

Mexican miner and railroad operator Grupo Mexico's second-quarter net profit doubled, reaching 8.2 billion pesos ($701 million), boosted by higher metals prices. The company, which has copper mines in Mexico, Peru and the U.S. Southwest, said revenue for the April-to-June period was 32.985 billion pesos, up 37.3 percent from a year earlier. Profit was in line with the $699 million as expected by analysts. Sales were likely boosted by the reincorporation of Arizona-based miner Asarco and higher freight traffic from Grupo Mexico's railroad division.. Asarco was under Grupo Mexico's control until the U.S. mining company fell into bankruptcy under the burden of environmental claims. Grupo Mexico pulled Asarco out of financial trouble and regained control in December 2009, beating out rival bids. Now Grupo Mexico wants to merge Asarco with its Southern Copper Corp mining affiliate. In the second quarter, Grupo Mexico invested $23.6 million at Asarco in maintenance work and new mine equipment. Grupo Mexico's mining unit has also resumed copper production at the massive Cananea mine in northern Mexico, which reopened last year after a three-year strike. Grupo Mexico renamed the historic pit, where labor unrest in the early 1900s helped spark the 1910 Mexican Revolution, “Buenavista del Cobre.” In Peru, the company has invested $128.2 million to expand the concentrator at its Toquepala mine and now sees expanded processing there of 60,000 tonnes. The project should be completed by the first quarter of 2013. All legal barriers have been lifted for the merger of its two Mexican railroad units, Ferromex and Ferrosur, after a a complaint by the national competition commission was rejected.
Ferromex acquired 44 new locomotives in the second quarter to boost its hauling capacity, and Ferrosur invested $9 million in the quarter, 70 percent more than in the same period last year, on repairs to rail lines damaged by hurricanes and storms. Grupo Mexico may be thinking of a spin-off of its transportation unit. In a separate move, it has made a bid for a larger ownership stake in Mexican airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (GAP). The bid for GAP is in a legal battle because GAP's internal bylaws prohibit any non-controlling shareholder from buying more than 10 percent of the company. Grupo Mexico did not mention the dispute in its second-quarter report.

Nickel surplus to narrow on rising stainless steel demand

A global nickel surplus may narrow on increasing stainless-steel demand from China and as new mining projects have stalled, limiting a decline in prices, said Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Japan's top producer. Supply will likely exceed demand by 20,000 tonnes this year from an earlier estimate of 35,000 tonnes projected in April after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Last year demand outstripped supply by 63,000 tonnes, the first deficit since 2006. Prices have fallen 0.6 percent this year, making nickel the worst performing base metal on the London Metal Exchange. Nickel is used for corrosion resistance in stainless steel. Global stockpiles may climb this year as output gains to 1.6 million tonnes while usage is forecast to rise to 1.54 million tonnes. The narrowing surplus is because of increasing demand by China to make stainless steel. Output from China, the biggest user and consumer of stainless steel, won't be badly affected by the nation's tightening monetary policy to curb inflation. World stainless-steel output may increase to 33.3 million tonnes in 2011, up from the company's April forecast of 32.3 million tonnes. China's output is expected to rise by 500,000 tonnes to 12.8 million tonnes. A delay at Sherritt International Corp.'s Ambatovy mine project in Madagascar, slowing output at Vale SA's Goro mine in New Caledonia and Onca Puma mine in Brazil as well as trouble at its Copper Cliff furnace earlier this year in Canada will narrow the expected surplus. Sherritt, which owns 40 percent of Ambatovy, production would begin in the first quarter of 2012. Korea Resource Corp., which holds 17.5 percent, said March 31 production would start in the second half of this year. At the same time, nickel stocks continued to trend lower, which may have been influenced in part by the underperformance of nickel production, i.e. producers resorting to LME stocks and deliver these to costumers. Nickel will average $24,064 a tonne in 2011 and $20,375 in 2012. World nickel output is expected to increase 12 percent to 1.59 million tonnes this year, while consumption may rise 5.7 percent to 1.57 million tonnes. China's output may grow to 365,000 tonnes in 2011, including nickel pig iron, from 335,000 tonnes in 2010, while the country's demand will likely rise to 630,000 tonnes from 575,000 tonnes.

Albidon cut output Forecast

Australia's Albidon Ltd. has cut its 2011 nickel concentrate output forecast by 21 percent at Zambia's Munali mine due to lower-than-projected ore production and quality. Nickel concentrate production for the full year to December 2011 is estimated at 44,000 tonnes, down from a May forecast of 55,279 tonnes. The Munali operation has not delivered the ore quantities and quality as promised. A structural fault around the south primary ventilation shaft of the mine resulted in three days of lost output amounting to 420 tonnes of concentrate. As a result of lower-than-expected production in Q2 and subsequent events, the full year forecast has been revised. Albidon was reviewing operations at Munali and would pay particular attention to the mining methods to improve ore production and feed grade to the process plant. The mine is 50 percent owned by China's Jinchuan Group. Albidon, which halted operations in mid-2008 at the southern African country's only nickel mine following a fall in metals prices, resumed output early last year after Jinchuan Group took a shareholding and invested $37 million.

Tecks Q2 results rise

Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd., world's top copper and zinc producer, with mines in Canada, Chile, Peru and the United States has announced that its second-quarter adjusted profit rose 91 percent. This was due to higher coal and copper prices. Although, the company expects full-year coal sales to be at the low-end of its forecast. The company had to cut its coal production because of operational hurdles, labour issues and adverse weather conditions. Teck expects that the 2011 coal production costs will fall in a range of C$71 to C$76 per tonne. Transportation costs will remain around C$30 to C$34 per tonne. Average coal selling prices are expected to range between US$280 and US$290 per tonne. Coal sales in 2011 will be at the low end of the 23.5 million to 24.5 million tonne range.

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