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Orocobre signs lithium supply deals with Chinese firms

Two contracts were signed for the supply of battery-grade lithium…

LME stock surge grounds high-flying nickel, but for how long?

London Metal Exchange inventory has more than doubled in the…

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Reuters: China interested in building nuclear plant in East Africa

Reuters reports: China wants to help build nuclear power generation in East Africa, uranium mining and investment company IBI Corp said in a statement after meeting Chinese officials in Beijing, revealing China's undimmed appetite for overseas nuclear expansion despite the Japanese nuclear crisis this year. IBI, which has uranium-prospective land in Uganda, said its director, A.J. Coffman, held an "encouraging meeting... with the relatively new umbrella organization overseeing China's research and development of Generation 3 and Generation 4 nuclear power plant designs."

Baosteel positive about getting approval for Zhanjiang project from government

China's Baoshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd expects to receive regulatory approval for its coastal Zhanjiang project this year, Chairman He Wenbo said on Tuesday, despite government resolve to extend a fight against overcapacity. "We will try to obtain approval this year, and are starting to build a raw materials dock," He, also president of parent Baosteel Group, told reporters on the sidelines of a company event.

Dramatic fall in China rare earths exports

China's rare earths exports in April were 53% down on a year earlier and 12.6% from the March figure, yet export value per tonne rose ten-fold, customs data showed on Monday. China, which controls about 97% of rare earth output, has angered customers in Japan, the United States and Europe by clamping down on production and sale of the 17 rare earth elements, citing a need to clean up highly polluting production processes and to stop illegal exports.

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Reports: Chinese steel giant says iron ore market is in a ‘bubble’

"Everyone who has money is rushing to invest in iron ore," Baosteel Group chairman, Xu Lejiang said on Friday, warning that supply may outstrip demand “sooner than expected” pushing prices down in the process. Brazil’s Vale, and Australian heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto have some $45bn slated for new mines. The cash price of 62%-iron ore shipped to China's Tianjin port has almost tripled from Nov. 21, 2008 when data became available, according to the Steel Index.

Canadian Press: Chinese invest $73m in Quebec iron ore explorer

Two Chinese state-owned companies have invested over $73m for a roughly 30% interest in privately-owned Century Iron's plans to export iron ore extracted at several properties in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador in eastern Canada. The transactions are part of $115.5m of financing arranged by Century Iron through private placements and the amalgamation of Century Iron Mines Corp. and Century Iron Ore Holdings.

BHP’s treatment, refining costs with large Chinese smelters rise 25%

Large copper smelters in China settled term treatment and refining charges with global miner BHP Billiton Ltd at $90 per tonne and 9 cents per pound respectively for delivery in the second half of this year, a smelter source said on Friday. The second-half treatment and refining charges, or TC/RC, will nearly double from the same period of 2010 and represent a rise of 25 percent from about $72 for the first half of 2011. The term TC/RC for the full year 2010 was $46.5 and 4.65 cents.

Chinese gold production rises 4% in Q1

China's gold output in the first three months of 2011 totalled 73.412 tonnes, up 4.63 pct from the same months of 2010, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Friday. It said gold mining output was 60.262 tonnes, up 5.18 percent, while another 13.15 tonnes was obtained from smelting base metals, up 2.21 percent from a year earlier.

Reuters: Quality issues threaten India iron ore sales to China

Reuters reports that world number three supplier India's iron ore exports and prices could be hit by quality issues raised by China on $2.2bn worth of shipments. India sends almost all its exports to China, trade worth around $1.5bn per month. During the first four months of 2011, over a third of India's exports to the Chinese province of Jiangsu were substandard, China's General Administration of Quality, Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a notice posted on its website.

Investors worried about bullion’s direction should look east

Many investors are calling into question billionaire hedge-fund manager George Soros’s commitment to gold. With higher highs no longer a regular occurrence in the gold market, some see Soros’s dumping of gold ETFs as a clear sign that the party is over. But as trading in the first Asian precious metal futures contract opens on Wednesday, bearish investors may want to take a cue from the millions — maybe billions — of investors in India, China, Vietnam and across the region who are pouring money into gold and are willing to pay a premium.