US markets mixed, Jan. 4-8

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.61% to finish the week at 31,097.97 and the S&P 500 declined by 1.83% to 3,824.68. Spot gold dropped US$48 per oz., or 2.53%, to US$1,850 per ounce.

Rio Tinto jumped US$11.47 to US$86.69 per share. U.S. President Donald Trump’s outgoing administration plans to approve a land swap on Jan. 15 that the company and its partners need to build the Resolution copper mine in Arizona, clearing a long-time hurdle for a project that is opposed by many Native Americans. The project abuts the reservation where the San Carlos Apache tribe lives. The tribe and several environmental groups have said they may sue to stop the land swap. Rio Tinto and BHP Group have spent more than US$2 billion on new mine shafts and permitting applications for the project. The proposed mine would tunnel 2,134 metres underground and, developers say, could supply a quarter of the copper consumed annually in the U.S.

Shares of Vale rose US$2.16 to US$18.92 per share. The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais is hoping to win at least 28 billion reais (US$5.3 billion) from a compensation deal with the miner related to the Brumadinho tailings dam disaster. A court-mediated hearing is expected this month, said State Secretary General Mateus Simoes. “The idea is that we end the text discussion tomorrow and start the value discussion,” Simoes reportedly told Reuters on Jan. 6. “Certainly the floor for the beginning of the negotiations has to be 28 billion reais.” The government of Minas Gerais has requested in court total damages of approximately 54 billion reais (US$10.2 billion) for the material and moral damages related to the rupture of the Vale dam in Brumadinho on Jan. 25, 2019, which left 270 dead.

Iamgold dropped by US18¢ to US$3.49 per share. The company announced that it has adopted new governance guidelines on board renewal to reflect evolving governance best practices. The new guidelines stipulate that the average board tenure should not exceed ten years, no director should chair a standing committee of the board for more than ten years, and no director should be the board chair for more than ten years. In conjunction with these guidelines and in accordance with the board’s previously stated commitment to diversity, Anne Marie Toutant and Deborah Starkman were appointed to the board on Dec. 14, 2020. With the announcement that John Caldwell has decided to step down from the board and that Mahendra Naik will not stand for re-election, following the next shareholder meeting, the board will consist of eight members, 38% of whom are female, and the average tenure will be fewer than six years.


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