Time now for our daily look at commodity prices and news. Shareholders in Fronteer Gold Inc. (AMEX: FRG) have approved the company’s acquisition by Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) in a $2.32 billion deal that includes the creation of a new company, Pilot Gold. Under the terms of the so-called Plan of Arrangement, Newmont gets properties in Nevada that belonged to Fronteer and Fronteer shareholders get an 80.1% stake in Pilot Gold, which includes properties in Nevada, Turkey, and Peru and about $10 million in operating cash.
A large new deposit of a rare earth element has been discovered in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang. The main feature of the discovery is a deposit estimated to hold 70 metric tons of scandium, a rare earth element used as an alloy with aluminum in some aerospace applications. Other rare earths are likely present in smaller amounts as well. Other metals found in the same deposit include 800 metric tons of silver, 130,000 metric tons of lead and zinc, and 3,000 tons of cadmium. The whole deposit is valued at more than $10 billion.
The European Union has tried for three years to negotiate a deal on food derived from cloned animals that would satisfy all 27 member nations. The European Parliament was apparently set to drop a demand for a ban on the sale of so-called “novel” food in return for mandatory labeling of novel food products.
The EU governments refused to go along with the deal because it risked an all-out trade war with countries like the US which already exports novel products made from the natural offspring of cloned animals. Cloned animals themselves are not used as food because they are so costly to develop and the success rate of the cloning process is not very high — less than 20%. European polls have shown that 58% of the population believe cloning should never be used to produce food.
Cocoa prices have continued to fall, and are now below $3,000 per metric ton. The selling is based on expectations that a ban on exports will be lifted, as scheduled, on March 31st. Forces opposed to the former president who refuses to leave office have captured a key cocoa-producing town and are poised to seize the country’s main agricultural lands.
Copper prices have continued to fall as markets raise doubts about demand from China. Copper closed at $4.274/pound, down from highs of about $4.66 in mid-February.