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  • ICL scoops up potash junior Allana for C$137m 27 March 2015

    Potash bulls beware: while the acquisition of Allana by ICL for the significant sum of C$137m will result in a brief resurgence of excitement in the potash industry, MOP projects are unlikely to exit the finance doldrums any time soon. While Allana’s management team and Danakil potash project must have been attractive to ICL, the acquisition should be viewed in light of ICL’s movement away from domestic operations, which have been beset by strikes and are staring at seemingly inevitable tax rises. Read More

  • Rio Tinto Minerals shielded from group job cuts 27 March 2015

    The slashing of personnel numbers across Rio Tinto's operations will save the company millions. Fortunately for industrial minerals, the cost savings look like they may take place in the group's main division in its iron ore interests, rather than affecting its minerals arm. Read More

  • MEPs call for maintenance of industrial mineral duties under TTIP deal 27 March 2015

    European Parliament committees have come together to discuss duties on US mineral imports in light of the new Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement between the EU and US. MEPs are likely to argue against the removal of tariffs for fear that US imports could undercut EU production in energy intensive industries. Read More

  • Baker Hughes and Halliburton shut down facilities ahead of merger meeting 27 March 2015

    Both companies announced that they would be implementing job cuts and facility shut downs as a result of lower activity in the oil and gas market. However, the oilfield service providers are set to meet today to vote on their proposed merger, which would create a business with greater market exposure the scope to be a competitor to industry leader, Schlumberger. Read More

  • Price Briefing 20 – 26 March 27 March 2015

    Albemarle hikes bromine prices; phosphate rock export values flat for last six months. Read More

  • Albemarle ratchets up bromine prices by 30% 27 March 2015

    Increases will not affect oilfield clear brine solutions; rise likely driven by struggling flame retardant profitability. Read More

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 20 – 26 March 26 March 2015

    Valence ships first 20 tonnes graphite from Uley; National Graphene Institute opens in UK. Read More

  • Image to potentially expand Boonanarring following intersection of high grade HM 26 March 2015

    Australian junior Image Resource has rolled out a drilling programme, the results of which have indicated that the company might be able to expand its Boonanarring mineral sands project, potentially allowing the company to increase its mine life to 10 years. Read More

  • Graphenea graphene cuts alumina ceramic wear in half 26 March 2015

    The Spanish nanomaterials company studied the effect of adding its standard graphene oxide to alumina-based ceramic materials used in the biomedical industry and found that a small amount of graphene can reduce wear by as much as 50%. It expects the results of the study to find application in commercial products in the near future. Read More

  • IM Lithium News in Brief 20 - 26 March 2015 26 March 2015

    Qantas has become the most recent global airline to ban lithium-ion batteries from its cargo holds; US Li-ion battery developer XALT Energy signs $1bn global exclusive agreement with Hybrid Kinetic Group of China for the supply of its lithium titanate batteries. Read More

  • Sierra Rutile’s 2014 performance hit by Ebola but improvements expected 26 March 2015

    Sierra Leone-based mineral sands miner Sierra Rutile operates in one of the countries worst hit by the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak so it is unsurprising that its production and revenue was impacted. The situation has also been compounded by low rutile prices. However, with reports of the spread of the virus slowing, the company expects to push up EBITDA and double production by focusing on cost cutting and expansion projects. Read More

  • Qatar expands limestone transport capacity 26 March 2015

    Qatar Primary Materials Co. has signed a deal with a Belgium-based port firm to develop limestone transport infrastructure as the Middle East country ramps up construction activity in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Read More

  • OCP profits continue to fall as company forecasts rising prices 25 March 2015

    Despite rising exports, OCP has seen its full year profits fall on lower phosphate rock and phosphoric acid prices. The company projects a stable rise in phosphate rock prices over 2015. Read More

  • Bentonite used as buffer in nuclear waste disposal experiment 25 March 2015

    After three years of preparation, Nagra has entered the monitoring phase of its FE Experiment for the disposal of high-level waste using bentonite as a buffer. Although the mineral is already used in many European countries for waste disposal, the experiment will allow computer simulations to be compared with real data. Read More

  • Consolidation: What a Sika-Saint-Gobain merger would mean for raw materials 25 March 2015

    The merger between Sika and Saint Gobain may well be off, but consolidation within the construction materials industry is here to stay, and raw materials suppliers will have to be innovative to keep their prices up as the next merger looms on the horizon. Read More

  • Moroccan phosphate rock prices remain flat 25 March 2015

    Prices unchanged in last six months but rise 13% year-on-year. Read More

  • MagIndustries to miss financial declaration deadlines 25 March 2015

    No reasons have been given by MagIndustries for the expected financial statements delay. The company’s headquarters were searched in January 2015 due to allegations of bribery and this development will only serve to further heighten investor concerns. Read More

  • Kenyan High Court rules against Pacific Wildcat on Mrima Hill rare earths permit 25 March 2015

    The Kenyan High Court has ruled against Toronto-listed Pacific Wildcat and its subsidiary, Cortec, in a long-running dispute over the granting of a mining licence for the Mrima Hill rare earths project under different rules in 2013. The permit was revoked following a government shake-up in 2013, and Pacific Wildcat has announced its intention to continue with the case. Read More

  • Correct lubrication offers mining operators competitive advantage 25 March 2015

    ExxonMobil recently showcased a range of its synthetic lubrication products, drawing attention to the importance of choosing the right lubrication for machine protection, productivity and manufacturing quality. Read More

  • Unichamp opens large lime plant in Philippines 24 March 2015

    Rio Tuba Nickel Mining will supply the limestone required by the new facility due to open in on 25 March. The plant could supply up to 45% of the Philippines’ industrial lime demand. Read More

  • IM Agriminerals News in Brief 16 – 24 March 24 March 2015

    SQM downgraded by Feller; Canpotex experiences major train derailment; Arianne Phosphate improves metallurgical flowsheet; Celamin in trading suspension after resource ownership dispute; Belarus and Montenegro hold potash and trade talks. Read More

  • IM Mineral Sands News in Brief March 2015 24 March 2015

    DuPont urges shareholders to vote for its director nominations; Testwork at Sheffield’s Thunderbird project shows improved mineral sands recoveries. Read More

  • Fairmount reports record 2014 revenue as proppant sales continue growth 24 March 2015

    US frac sand supplier Fairmount Santrol saw income and revenue increase last year as demand for its proppant products continued to increase, despite plummeting oil prices. The company expects positive sales to continue and has invested in capacity and logistics expansions. Read More

  • Indonesia considers scrapping bauxite export ban to raise processing funds 24 March 2015

    Indonesia may look at lifting its mineral export ban in order to provide funds for its domestic processing industry - a year after putting the ban in place to encourage investment in domestic processing. Removing the ban may raise enough funds to kickstart beneficiation in an industry that has been focused traditionally on raw materials. Read More

  • Israel Chemicals mulls nitrate of potash production 24 March 2015

    Strikes may be hurting Israel Chemicals in its homeland, but that does not mean it is not looking outwards for growth. After raising the possibility of purchasing fellow potash producer, Chile-based SQM, the company is now considering production of the speciality fertiliser saltpetre. Read More

  • BAIC-backed Pride graphite anode plant accelerates construction in Jixi 24 March 2015

    BAIC Motor Corp. is one of the biggest EV producers in China and its investment in a graphite anode facility in Heilongjiang’s graphite capital is just one of a number of projects underway to increase the production of value-added graphite materials in the region. Read More

  • Can selling exploration rights solve China’s graphite industry problems? 23 March 2015

    The recent auctions of Heilongjiang’s exploration rights in Jixi have been given a mixed reception by the industry. Proponents of the new system believe that it will help solve the issue of profiteering by powerful companies and promote the development of further processing, while others feel that it is a risky strategy that inflates the price of mineral reserves. Read More

  • World steel output broadly flat in February 23 March 2015

    Peak steel in China is now being spoken of by many as a past event. Figures by worldsteel and continued projections from mining giant BHP Billiton may serve to lighten the gloomy atmosphere. Read More

  • Belaruskali-China deal hails more fragmented and competitive potash market 23 March 2015

    The deal between Belarus and China could be the first of many more competitive moves by producers in the potash market. The sector has historically operated with large joint ventures controlling prices, but with the departure of Uralkali from the marketing arrangement with Belaruskali in 2013, the picture is now more fragmented - with implications for price and stability. Read More

  • IM Rare Earths News in Brief 17 – 23 March 23 March 2015

    Tasman Metals releases NI 43-101 report on Nora Karr rare earths project; Peak Resources attains A$5m funding; cerium-based catalyst could reduce the cost of nylon production. Read More

  • Saint-Gobain loses right to gain controlling stake in Sika 23 March 2015

    The Zurich court's decision to limit voting rights in Sika to 5% has essentially removed the most attractive part of the takeover deal for its French rival. Previously, Saint-Gobain got a controlling stake in Sika by only acquiring 16.1% of the shares, whereas now that same deal only comes with 5% of the voting rights. All eyes are now on Saint-Gobain to see if it will proceed under the revised circumstances. Read More

  • Yara-backed Quebec phosphate mine given go-ahead 20 March 2015

    Details on the scale of the recently approved open pit phosphate rock mine are thin on the ground, but with Yara among its serious backers, the project is likely to see its production start as planned in 2019. Read More

  • ICL eyes SQM assets as share price plunges 20 March 2015

    SQM's falling share price in the wake of the removal of its CEO amid a high profile political scandal has made it an attractive target for a number of businesses in ther fertiliser and speciality mineral sector. The Chilean company's fertiliser division's performance has been strong, and reportedly attracted the attention of ICL. Read More

  • 4,000 tpa NdFeB magnet facility takes shape in China 20 March 2015

    A large JV NdFeB magnet factory is expected to enter production in June of this year, according to local Chinese news source. Magnets are expected by much of the rare earths industry to drive demand growth in the near future as the world looks to new technologies. Read More

  • Price Briefing 13 – 19 March 20 March 2015

    Antimony trioxide prices drop while European graphite skirts under Chinese FOB contracts. Read More

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 13 – 19 March 20 March 2015

    Talga receives $5.5m towards German graphene plant; Triton makes expanded graphite from Balama North ore. Read More

  • PotashCorp. projects C$75-100m fall in revenue from Saskatchewan tax changes 19 March 2015

    Tax changes announced by the provincial government of Saskatchewan in its budget this week will result in a C$75-100m pre-tax drop in revenue, PotashCorp. has warned. Wider tax changes are being called for from many in the industry, who criticise the current system as inefficient and complex. Read More

  • Belaruskali agrees potash supply deal with China at $315/tonne 19 March 2015

    After a standoff in negotiations between Chinese importers and global producers of potash, Belarus has tentatively crossed the picket line by striking a deal at $315/tonne. The deal, which is only rumoured at present, may have broken the cartel that was already threatened by Uralkali's termination of its relationship with Belarus in 2013. Read More

  • Lanxess suffers sales losses but realignment programme boosts EBITDA 19 March 2015

    Lanxess's sales performance has suffered from market conditions in the rubber industry, but its realignment programme is enabling it to grow its EBITDA nonetheless. The first phase of its cost cutting was only the beginning, and the group has two more phases to implement before it believes it can start seeing the results in the rest of its business. Read More

  • PotashCorp. representatives resign from SQM as Chilean company’s shares drop by 30% 19 March 2015

    All three of PotashCorp.’s representatives on SQM’s board have resigned from SQM, putting momentum behind the share price battering observed throughout Wednesday. Media attention on the Chilean miner’s high-profile scandals has been intense, particularly following the firing of quarter-of-a-century serving CEO, Patricio Contesse. Read More

  • I-Minerals develops halloysite, kaolin, K-spar and quartz products 19 March 2015

    I-Minerals is getting underway with creating trade products from its Helmer-Bovill property in Idaho. Read More

  • Baltic Dry Index expected to rebound in Q2 19 March 2015

    Shipping association BIMCO predicts an upturn due to increased agricultural exports from Brazil, but falling demand for imported raw materials in China continues to cast a shadow over the market. Read More

  • Budget 2015: North Sea oil and gas sector thrown “lifeline” 18 March 2015

    New measures to kick-start investment in North Sea oil and gas production have today been announced by the UK Chancellor, throwing a lifeline to those working in the extraction industry as well increasing future demand for oilfield minerals. Read More

  • Budget 2015: UK seeks to build on graphene research 18 March 2015

    George Osborne's 2015 budget was largely focused on the oil and gas industry with scant mention of any other kind of mining. However, there was renewed emphasis on the UK's "Northern Powerhouse" which includes generous support from graphene research. Read More

  • Carbo to cut workforce as oil price fails to recover 18 March 2015

    After mothballing one plant and managing production at others, Carbo Ceramics has now made the decision to cut its workforce and quarterly dividend in a bid to stave off the impact of tumbling oil prices. Read More

  • SGL Group decreases graphite electrode capacity to counter weak prices 18 March 2015

    SGL Group has stayed true to its word and is implementing its planned cost savings - over half of which has been focused on its graphite electrode products. The company has increased its cost saving target to €240m in order to keep its balance sheet healthy going forward. Read More

  • Magnesita 2014 results triumph over flat steel production 17 March 2015

    Magnesita overcame headwinds in the steel market to deliver robust 2014 earnings, half of which came from new growth markets. The company is looking to the stainless steel and mini mills end market in North America for its 2015 growth. Read More

  • SQM board ousts CEO after 25 years at the helm 17 March 2015

    Patricio Contesse has been pushed out of SQM after a quarter of a century as its leader at an extraordinary general meeting. The company has provided no information on the content of the board meeting, but market speculation is focussing on the board’s perception of SQM’s public image, following a number of high-profile scandals. Read More

  • Molycorp registers further large losses but substantially reduces opex 17 March 2015

    Whether or not Molycorp can continue to avoid bankruptcy is still under question in light of the company’s latest set of financial results. Another substantial loss, set against significant leveraging is continuing to make for fractious relationships with investors, though certain measures, including opex reduction efforts, now appear to be making a difference. Read More

  • Sika shareholders ask for special audit while Burkard family loses right to EGM 17 March 2015

    A win for Sika as a Zurich court denies the Burkard family an emergency shareholders meeting. The shareholders opposed to the takeover are planning to ask for a special audit on the takeover process. Read More

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