US markets rise, July 8-12: Rio Tinto, Eldorado, Vale

Spot gold prices ended at US$1,407.60 per oz., up US$18.95 or 1.4% from the previous week. The yellow metal has spent the past three weeks trading around US$1,400 after making its June surge from a long-standing US$1,300 range.

Rio Tinto shares rose US66¢ to US$60.71, despite the supermajor announcing that the next phase of underground development at its colossal Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia will cost an extra US$2.7 billion and take 2.5 years longer than expected, due to stability risks with the mine design. Rio Tinto subsidiary Turquoise Hill, which owns part of Oyu Tolgoi, saw its shares tumble US15¢, or 12.2%, to US$1.08.

In its second-quarter production results, Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said: “We saw a challenging operational performance across our portfolio in the first half, while also investing in future growth at Richards Bay Minerals and Resolution. Whilst we experienced operational and weather issues at our iron ore operations in Australia, pricing and market demand has remained robust.”

Vancouver-based global miner Eldorado Gold was the top percentage gainer in the sector, up 12% to US$6.99 per share, as it tabled second-quarter production results with total gold production of 91,803 oz., and 174,780 oz. year-to-date. It says company-wide production is on track to meet an annual guidance of 390,000 to 420,000 oz. gold.

Eldorado declared commercial operations at its Lamaque gold mine in Quebec on March 31, and the miner says the first quarter of commercial operations “showed strong production” of 33,140 oz. gold.

Brazilian iron ore giant Vale saw its shares top the most active list, rising US68¢ to US$13.80. On July 9, Minas Gerais state convicted Vale for damages caused by the rupture of a tailings dam in Brumadinho, Brazil, on Jan. 25 that killed at least 247 people.

On July 15, Vale said it would pay 400 million reais (US$107 million) to compensate workers affected by the disaster, as well as individual compensation for “moral and material” damages, including job stability.

In May, Vale said it was writing down US$2.42 billion in potential payments to victims’ families and estimated out-of-court settlements for damages related to the disaster, including US$247 million for a “framework agreement” with labour prosecutors.


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