Mining News Top 5

ASPERMONT Managing Editor Michael Cairnduff compiles the five most viewed stories on MiningNews.net to offer readers a brief of leading industry news from the past week.
Mining News Top 5 Mining News Top 5 Mining News Top 5 Mining News Top 5 Mining News Top 5

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For those who want the full story, please follow the links at the bottom of each brief back to MiningNews.net, where the associated coverage has been made directly available for your convenience.

Palmer apologises to China

OUTSPOKEN mining magnate and politician Clive Palmer has formally apologised to the Chinese people after he labelled them as "mongrels" who "shoot their own people"

The comments were made on ABC's Q& program on Monday, August 18, after Palmer was questioned over his long legal battle with China's CITIC Pacific.

In a letter to Chinese Ambassador to Australia Ma Zhaoxu, Palmer said he sincerely apologised for any insult to the Chinese people.

"I regret any hurt or anguish such comments may have caused any party and I look forward to greater understanding for peace and cooperation in the future," Palmer wrote.

Palmer urged people to keep an "open mind"

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Sandfire buys into US project

SANDFIRE Resources will be involved in the exploration and development of one of the highest-grade copper deposits in North America after acquiring a cornerstone interest in Vancouver-based Tintina Resources.

Under the new agreement, Sandfire will subscribe for 80 million shares in a private placement at C20c (A19c) per share.

The $16 million placement will give Sandfire an initial 36% interest in Tintina.

Tintina will also issue warrants exercisable at 28c, 32c and 40c which, if exercised, would increase Sandfire's stake to 53% and provide a clear path toward control of the project.

Tintina's key asset the 100%-owned Black Butte copper project in central Montana, containing a measured and indicated resource of 15.7 million tonnes grading 3.4% for 533,600t contained copper. Inferred resources are 2.3Mt at 2.8% for 63,500t copper.

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Pacific ops sink St Barbara result

WORSE-than-expected impairments of $A411 million on its Pacific operations has led gold producer St Barbara to post a $501 million full-year loss.

It compares to a $191.8 million loss for the 2013 financial year.

The underlying net loss after tax was $94 million, compared to a $29 million profit last year, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell to $73 million from $141 million.

The $411 million impairment reflects the indefinite suspension of Gold Ridge in the Solomon Islands and the slower than expected improvement in operational performance, plus a write-down of mineral rights, including the sulphides opportunity, at Simberi in Papua New Guinea.

St Barbara had previously flagged impairments of up to $379 million.

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Silver Lake flags impairment

A REVIEW of the carrying value of Silver Lake Resources' assets has resulted in non-cash impairments of $A48 million.

The impairments for the 2014 financial year are a result of the review of exploration and development assets at the Mount Monger operations in the Goldfields, particularly the Cock-eyed Bob and Maxwells underground deposits, which are being evaluated as long-term prospects until firm development plans are finalised.

The Cock-eyed Bob underground mine has been factored into Silver Lake's 2015 financial year production but an extension of the decline is being evaluated.

The recent decision to put the Lakewood processing facility on care and maintenance also contributed to the impairment.

The company is trying to sell Lakewood but doesn't expect a deal to be finalised until the December quarter.

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Intrepid, Blackthorn ink friendly merger

LISTED shell Intrepid Mines has announced a $A110 million buy-back and a friendly merger with copper developer Blackthorn Resources.

Intrepid will use part of its $140 million cash balance to buy-back shares at 30c each as part of a promise to return excess cash to shareholders.

The buy-back is a key condition of the merger.

Intrepid will then offer 1.078 shares for each Blackthorn share held, implying a 4% premium based on last closing prices.

The cash-backed value of 35.6c per Blackthorn share implies a 34% premium to the last closing price and an 82% premium to the three-month volume-weighted average price of Blackthorn shares.

Following the merger, Blackthorn shareholders will hold around 48% of the combined company with Intrepid shareholders to own the remainder.

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