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BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Ferrexpo, Weatherly Intl, Arian Silver

Mining news summary: BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Ferrexpo, Weatherly Intl, Arian Silver
BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) has agreed to acquire all of Chesapeake Energy Corporation's interests in the Fayetteville Shale, USA for US$4.75 billion.

Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) said that coastal operations in the Pilbara region continue to be hampered by ongoing weather issues associated with Tropical Cyclones Dianne and Carlos, that are likely to impact on shipped tonnage for the first quarter of this year.

Ferrexpo (LON:FXPO) has agreed to buy 400 newly built open rail car wagons with an option to purchase an additional 600 wagons, and they are to be used for the transportation of its iron ore pellets to the Ukrainian border for delivery to its customers.

Connemara Mining (LON:CON) has raised £1.05 million for an expanded drill programme on its zinc assets in Ireland. It is issuing 5.25 million new shares - about 20 percent of the enlarged company - to institutional investors at 20 pence a share. One warrant - exercisable at 35 pence a share - has also been issued for every placing share.

Bezant Resources (LON:BZT) said Friday morning that is considering the outright sale of the Mankayan copper-gold project in the Philippines rather than a joint venture, or partnership.

Minco PLC (LON:MIO) said its joint venture partner for the Pallas Green zinc project in the Republic of Ireland, Xstrata (LON:XTA), considers the project to be economic at its current stage, according to its preliminary assessment. Minco holds a 23.6 percent participating interest in Pallas Green.

Medusa Mining (LON:MML, ASX:MML, TSX:MLL) unveiled strong half yearly results this week, with net profits more than doubling to a record US$58.1 million. Medusa Mining has more than doubled in value in the past year. However City brokers following the story of the Philippines-focused gold producer reckon there’s scope for the stock to push on further from the current price of 445 pence. Fairfax, repeating its buy advice, has set a 549 pence a share price target, while Seymour Pierce’s Asa Bridle morning raised his valuation by 10.6 per cent to 613 pence a share on Friday.

DiamondCorp (LON:DCP, JSE:DMC) said 1,321 carats of diamonds recovered from tailings during plant re-commissioning at the Lace mine in South Africa were sold at tender in Johannesburg this week for US$94 per carat.

Sunrise Resources (LON:SRES) is following up exploration success at its Canadian gold project with a drilling programme at the Cue diamond project in Western Australia. This week the company revealed that it has now been granted an initial 5 year exploration licence over the 70 square kilometre area on the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. The Cue area was explored by De Beers between 1994 and 2001.

AIM-listed Irish zinc explorer Connemara Mining (LON:CON) said this week it had begun drilling on its three-licence Thurles block near the Lisheen mine in Tipperary. The initial programme is for three 300 metre holes, the locations of which have been selected after regional and detailed geophysics followed by geological modeling.

London Mining (LON:LOND) reported on an eventful fourth quarter and full year to December 31 2010 this week, saying it continued to deliver on key milestones throughout 2010, progressing its plans to produce over 30 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of iron ore by 2015. London Mining said this week that it has completed a scoping study for a 15 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) mining operation at the Isua project in Greenland.

Norseman Gold (LON:NGL, ASX:NGX) continues to offer more upside than any other London-listed gold producer, according to Seymour Pierce analyst Asa Bridle. In a note entitled ‘North Royal niggles’ the analyst cut his forecasts from the AIM-listed gold company, following the recent news that it would not achieve its production targets.

Hummingbird Resources (LON:HUM) is looking forward to an exciting year as it explores its prospective gold assets in Liberia, in a region that it believes will become a major new gold province. This week the company released interim results for the six months that led up to its IPO onto the AIM market.

Titanium Resources Group Ltd (LON:TXR) announced a cash placing by Mirabaud Securities LLP of 113,660,925 new shares at a price of 10 pence per share to raise approximately £11.4 million, or €13.4 million. The group is in the process of changing its name to Sierra Rutile Limited (SRL).

Obtala Resources (LON:OBT) has agreed a deal to acquire a 37 percent interest in a near-term producing tin mine development in South Africa.

Weatherly International (LON:WTI) expects first sales revenues in March after restarting production “at an opportune time given the current climate of high copper, and precious metal prices”. In its interim report the company said that it will now increase its exploration efforts to add to its JORC compliant inventory of 623,645 tonnes of copper.

Kalahari Minerals (LON:KAH) said its 41.08 percent owned associate Extract Resources (ASX:EXT, TSX:EXT) has reported chemical assay results from its world-class Husab uranium project in Namibia, confirming uranium mineralisation at several new targets.

City broker Fox-Davies repeated its buy advice and 123 pence a share price target for shares in Minera IRL (LON:MIRL, TSX:IRL) this week in the wake of some very encouraging drilling data from one of the firm’s prospects in Argentina. A scout programme at Pan de Azucar in Patagonia put down 27 holes over a length of 950 metres. A 3.25 metre section of the best hold contained 5.51 grams per tonne of gold and 5.55 grams of silver. Another almost 2 metre section contained 3.51 grams of gold and 8.23 grams of silver.

Minera IRL has unveiled positive results of first pass scout drilling at the Pan de Azucar prospect, in the Patagonia region of Argentina this week. The company drilled twenty-seven holes for a total of 3,976 metres along a 950 metre strike length. The best assay results include 3.25 metres grading 5.51 grams per tonne (g/t) gold and 5.55g/t silver, 5.0 metres grading 3.48g/t gold and 7.98g/t silver and 1.98 meters grading 3.51g/t gold and 8.28g/t silver.

Condor Resources (LON:CNR) has had its potentially transformational concession swap with B2Gold Corp (OTCQX:BGLPF, TSX:BTO) approved by the Nicaraguan government. This means that La India and Espinito San Pablo concessions are now registered in the name of La India Gold, which is 80 percent owned by Condor and 20 percent owned by B2Gold.

Baobab Resources (LON:BAO) shares advanced 10 percent in early deals on Tuesday, as it unveiled more encouraging results from the South Zone of the Tete project in Mozambique.

Anglo Asian Mining (LON:AAZ) reported encouraging drilling results from the Gedabek contract area and said that exploration at the Ordubad contract area demonstrates potential of targets that warrant further exploration.

Ovoca Gold PLC (LON:OVG) continues to encounter high grade intercepts at Zone 2 of the Olcha prospect on the Rassoshinskaya license. The license is in the North Eastern part of Russia’s Magadan Region. During 2010 over 10,234 metres were drilled on Olcha. The company has received laboratory analysis for all drilling results and is in the process of updating its resource model. Ovoca Gold PLC has appointed 53-year old mining engineer Kenneth Kuchling as a non-executive director with effect from 1 March 2011. Kuchling provides mining consulting services to multiple clients globally.

Ovoca Gold this week told investors that it has identified a new prospect in the Magadan Region of Russia. The company carried out trench sampling on the Zet prospect, which lies between the Olcha and Podgorniy projects, during the 2010 exploration programme and the results revealed a gold-bearing vein system which occupies around 40 square kilometres.

Regency Mines (LON:RGM) said its Mambare nickel joint venture with Direct Nickel Ltd (DNi) has filed an exploration licence application (ELA) with the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) of Papua New Guinea covering the Mount Lamington and Hydrographers Range volcanic areas.

Pan African Resources (LON:PAF) posted a strong rise in first half earnings despite a sharp hike in its cost base. The company, which owns the Barberton Mines in South Africa, unveiled attributable profit of £7.58 million, a rise of 70 per cent on the year earlier, as sales advanced by almost a third to £38.33 million.

Thor Mining PLC (ASX:THR, LON:THR) has identified additional anomalies for follow-up and potentially drill testing at the Dundas gold project.  The project sits within the Albany-Fraser belt, host to many significant deposits including the plus five million gold ounce Tropicana.

Kalahari Minerals (LON:KAH) said its 41.08 percent owned associate Extract Resources (ASX:EXT, TSX:EXT) has advised it is currently in talks with Rio Tinto (LON:RIO, ASX:RIO, NYSE:RIO) about potentially combining Extract’s Husab uranium project and Rio Tinto's Rössing uranium mine in Namibia.

Horizonte Minerals (LON:HZM) said infill drilling at its Araguaia project in Brazil has returned some “highly encouraging” nickel grades over good widths. The latest 15-hole programme focused on the Pequizeiro West target, and returned a 15.9 metre section at 1.56 per cent nickel and 6.9 metres near the surface at 2.1 per cent.

Stellar Diamonds PLC (LON:STEL) has made the strategic decision to fast-track development of its hard rock kimberlite portfolio in light of the strong rebound in diamond prices.

Churchill Mining (LON:CHL) has received a number of specific proposals to fund and develop its massive East Kutai coal project in Indonesia and that the interest in East Kutai is significant. Some of these would allow Churchill to take full control of the project.

Arian Silver (LON:AGQ, TSX-V:AGQ) said the first two holes of Phase 3 drilling at the San Jose property in Mexico’s Zacatecas State have intersected the widest zones yet of economic silver mineralisation.

Sirius Minerals (LON:SXX) has appointed geoconsultant specialists Spectrum & Hornet Geoconsulting to carry out seismic evaluation and interpretation work on its York potash project in Yorkshire.

Stratex International (LON:STI) has found high-grade gold and silver mineralisation in the Tigray province of Ethiopia. In November last year it optioned-into the Tigray Licence, which hosts the AbiAdi project.