• Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd (Chalco) , the country’s largest aluminium producer, plans to issue new shares to raise up to $1.3 billion to fund development and expansion projects.Chalco will apply to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) within six months for the issue of not more than 1.25 billion additional Shanghai-listed A shares. The shares, which buyers will not be able to sell for 12 months, will be issued to no more than 10 target subscribers at a price to be determined after the CSRC approval, it said.
  • China has raised from February 1 its resource tax on iron, tin, molybdenum, magnesium, talc, and boron in a move aimed at conserving resources and curbing pollution.  The tax rate for iron ore has been raised to 80% from 60%, while taxes for tin ore has been lifted to 12-20 yuan per ton from 0.6-1 yuan per ton, with the specific rate depending on grade, the Shanghai Securities News reports.
  • The world’s top three iron-ore producers are in talks to join China’s first physical iron-ore trading platform, an official from the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) has said. “The three major miners are active and in talks with us,” Wang Xiaoqi, vice-chairman of the association, told reporters, referring to Brazilian miner Vale, Australia’s BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto .
  • China’s Minmetals Resources is looking for more acquisitions after sealing the $1.3-billion takeover of Africa-focused Anvil Mining, CEAndrew Michelmore has said. The company will continue looking for copper, zinc and nickel sulphide assets in Africa, North and South America, parts of Asia as well as Australia, he said, after failing in a $6.5-billion bid for Equinox Minerals last year. “We’re always looking,” Michelmore said.
  • Top aluminium producer RUSAL Plc has said that it expects more companies to cut aluminium output this year, with China accounting for about a third of global cuts, but still forecast that global output would top demand.
  • Venezuela will develop its huge Las Cristinas gold project in partnership with Chinese state investment company CITIC. The Government last year cancelled Canadian company Crystallex International’s permit to develop the long-troubled mine project south of the Orinoco river.
  • 2011 was a tough year for the resources markets as most base metals dropped 20% or more in value and the annual performance of precious metals, as a group (with the exception of gold) was also rather dismal.Nevertheless, in spite of dropping equity valuations for most miners, last year was the “second busiest year of mining M&A activity in history” with total disclosed values of $149 billion, a 33% increase over 2010, says PwC’s Global Mining Group.
  • The Dutch were the last to build a railway in Indonesia and that was before World War Two. Their soldiers marched people off their land at gunpoint. The question of compensation did not arise. Now, it’s the Chinese that are coming to build a new railway in Indonesia. China Railway Group has been awarded a $4.8-billion contract to build and maintain the new line in southern Sumatra. The railway will run from the Tanjung Enim coal mine, the richest deposit in Indonesia, to a new port in the Sunda Strait. From there, the coal will be shipped to the northern hemisphere to power China’s industrial engine, part of a strategy of building infrastructure for resources that Beijing has employed successfully elsewhere in the world.
  • 2011 started with a bang for the mining sector. Fresh from a year when metals prices continued to perform remarkably well, investors came into the new year feeling hopeful that the worst of the turmoil was now behind them, hopeful that Greece and Ireland would be able to sort out their financial woes and, that the world would get back to business.
  • The August 2011 OECD Composite Leading Indicators (CLIs) make pretty dismal reading. Of note is that the Euro Area, the major 5 Asian economies (excluding Japan), China, Brazil and India are all below the threshold 100.0 “pointing strongly to a slowdown in economic activity below long term trend”. Germany is close to that threshold; Canada and the UK are below it. As for the USA, that venerable institute ECRI, which correctly forecast the beginning and the end of the last recession and over the past 15 years has gotten all of its recession calls right while issuing no false alarms, states, “If the USA isn’t already in a recession now it is about to enter one.” If ECRI is right then where the USA goes so the rest of the world will follow.    
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