Zinc Hits Four Month High

- September 2nd, 2010

Zinc hit a four month high in early trading as economic data out of the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, bolstered overall market sentiment.

By Leia Michele Toovey- Exclusive to Zinc Investing News

Zinc hit a four month high in early trading as economic data out of the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, bolstered overall market sentiment.

In the US, data showed that sales of previously owned homes rose unexpectedly in July, factory orders edged up and claims for unemployment benefits fell, squashing rumors that the country should brace for a double dip recession. “Markets have become far too pessimistic about the possibility for double dip and the like. We’ll see increasingly better data through to the back end of this year,” said Tom Kendall, an analyst at Credit Suisse.  On the LME, zinc rose to $2,175 a tonne from $2,133, having hit a four month high of $2,194 earlier.

Strong demand by the physical markets, combined with accelerating manufacturing growth in China this August, added to the positive sentiment. This data overshadowed the fact that zinc stockpiles remain at record highs.

Global production of refined zinc exceeded usage by 176,000 tonnes in the first half of 2010, preliminary data from the Lisbon-based International Lead and Zinc Study group showed. Global zinc mine output was up 13.5 percent to 6.047 million tonnes in the January-June period from the same six months last year, ILZSG reported.

In India, Zinc futures rose 1.28 percent, taking cues straight from the aforementioned strong manufacturing data out of China. Looking forward, it is believed that MCX zinc will trade with a positive bias, in line with copper prices. Zinc stockpiles are at record highs, however, stocks dropped by 550 tonnes yesterday; canceled warrants also rose.

Company News

Xstrata Zinc, a division of Swiss mining giant Xstrata Plc. (LON:XTA) says its proposed acquisition of Noranda Income Fund (TSX:NIF.UN) has fallen through after the two companies were unable to reach an agreement. In late July, Xstrata Zinc offered $3.40 per unit or $127.5 million in cash for the fund, which owns the CEZinc smelter in Quebec. The company later increased its offer to $3.90 a unit or $146.3 million, a premium of 53 per cent to the closing price of the units on the day before the original offer was made. This offer failed to satisfy the committee of Noranda directors, who turned down the offer, citing recent marketing trading activity in the funds priority units as reason enough to hold out on the proposed deal. Xstrata responded, claiming that the two companies are unlikely to reach an agreement and has notified Noranda that it doesn’t intend to proceed with the proposal.

“Our proposal was based on our ability to consolidate the CEZinc refinery into Xstrata Zinc’s global operations to secure its long-term future and on our considered view, as the operators and managers of the asset, of its prospects on a standalone basis,” stated Xstrata Zinc CEO Santiago Zaldumbide. Currently, Xstrata owns 25 per cent of Noranda-managed CEZinc and supplies the smelter with zinc concentrate through a contract that will expire in 2017. Xstrata announced in July it would proceed with development of a new mine in Quebec to supply zinc concentrate to the smelter.

Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co., Japan’s biggest refined zinc producer, is planning to shut its Hikoshima smelter in western Japan for about 20 days of maintenance starting from late October, a company executive said. The smelter in Yamaguchi prefecture, which has annual capacity of 74,000 metric tonnes of special high-grade zinc, will resume operations in mid-November. Mitsui claims that the shutdown is scheduled, and will have no impact on production.  Mitsui Mining plans to produce 113,200 tonnes of zinc for the six-month period to the end of September, down 0.9 percent from 114,200 tonnes in the same period a year earlier.

Tarsis Resources (TSXV:TCC) has received encouraging drill hole results from its MOR project in the Yukon. Drill hole MOR 10-01 intersected 7.8 meters averaging 0.71 percent copper, 0.41 grams per tonne gold plus silver and zinc, from 85 meters.  Within the 8.7 meter interval was a higher grade 0.65 meters averaging 1.43 percent copper, 1.13 grams per tonne gold, 49.1 grams per tonne silver and almost 2 percent zinc. “The drilling is interpreted to have successfully intersected an extension to the Discovery Horizon which was also intersected in diamond drill programs conducted in 2007 and 2008.  The Discovery Horizon has now been tested and is apparently continuous over 600 meters of strike length,” Tarsis noted. Tarsis is currently looking for a JV partner for the MOR property. Commenting on the results, Tarsis’ President and CEO, Marc G. Blythe stated “We have satisfactorily explained the geochemical anomaly identified through prior auger soil sampling and will now focus on finding a partner who would like to option the property to continue exploration.”

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