Hecla Mining Co. rose$. 01 or. 1 percent, to $3.35. Pan American Silver Corp. rose$. 14 or 1.3 percent, to $11.32. Silver Standard Resources Inc. rose$. 05 or. 7 percent, to $6.48.» Read More
*Shares up 2 pct, outperform UK mining sector. MELBOURNE/ LONDON, Aug 15- Diversified mining company BHP Billiton declared its preference for a demerger of its aluminium, manganese and nickel assets on Friday, setting the stage for the formation of a separate business that could be worth at least $12 billion.
*Investors buy gold, Treasuries on Ukraine news. NEW YORK/ LONDON, Aug 15- Gold prices were slightly lower on Friday, paring losses on safe-haven buying as equity markets slid after Ukraine said its forces had engaged a Russian armored column on Ukrainian soil in what appeared to be a major military escalation.
SAO PAULO, Aug 15- Whichever way Brazil's steel industry looks it sees pain. "Only a crazy person would invest in Brazil right now," CSN Chief Executive Benjamin Steinbruch told a conference in Sao Paulo this week.
*China economic data points to weakness, euro zone slows. LONDON, Aug 15- The price of copper edged higher on Friday as some investors bought back short positions to take profits ahead of the weekend, but gains were capped as a gloomy outlook for the economy in top metals consumer China raised concerns about demand.
*Concerns over Ukraine, Iraq soften. LONDON, Aug 15- Gold prices dropped 1.4 percent on Friday as European stock markets headed for their biggest weekly gain since mid-February on expectations for more central bank stimulus to lift the euro zone economy. "Gold is really not liking the strong return seen in stocks," Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen said.
*Physical demand still weak in Asia. LONDON, Aug 15- Gold prices fell on Friday, erasing earlier gains, as stock markets headed for their biggest weekly gain since mid-February in Europe, with recent weak data increasing expectations for central bank action to lift the economy.
*Volumes low due to public holiday in Europe. LONDON, Aug 15- European shares rose on Friday, gaining ground for the fourth time in five sessions, helped by BHP Billiton after the world's biggest miner said it could spin off assets. It is encouraging for the sector overall, " James Butterfill head of equity strategy at Coutts, said.
The final conference call took place on Thursday between banker-dealers in the $3 billion a day London silver market in the old process of fixing the benchmark silver price.
*Physical demand still weak in Asia. LONDON, Aug 15- Gold edged up towards $1,315 an ounce on Friday, heading for a second weekly gain, after soft U.S. and European economic data fueled expectations that central banks would stay committed to ultra-loose monetary policy, pushing bond yields lower.
Michael Widmer, metals strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, discusses London's new silver pricing mechanism and the outlook for metals - particularly gold.
PARIS, Aug 15- European shares rose in early trade on Friday, gaining ground for the fourth time in five sessions, helped by BHP Billion after the world's biggest miner said it could spin off assets. At 0707 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,333.67 points, set to post its biggest weekly gain since mid-February.
MELBOURNE, Aug 15- BHP Billiton declared its preference for a demerger of its unwanted aluminum, manganese and nickel assets on Friday, setting the stage for the formation of a separate company that one report said could be worth $14 billion.
SINGAPORE, Aug 15- Gold traded firmly above $1,300 an ounce on Friday and looked poised for a second-straight weekly gain as sluggish global economic data and geopolitical tensions boosted the metal's safe-haven appeal.
LONDON, Aug 15- The silver market enters a new electronic era in benchmarking on Friday after a regulatory drive for more transparency in price setting brought the 117- year-old silver' fix' to an end. The process will be operated jointly by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which provides the platform and algorithm, and administrator Thomson Reuters.
Jeff Largey, head of metals and mining research at Macquarie Group, looks ahead to earnings at BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata.
Hedge fund Paulson & Co maintained its stake in the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, in the second quarter.
MOSCOW, Aug 14- Russia's gold producers' lobby has upgraded its 2014 output forecast to 275 tonnes after the industry boosted production by 26.6 percent in the first half of the year, the Gold Industrialists' Union said on Thursday.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 14- South African bullion producer Harmony Gold said on Thursday it was looking for acquisition opportunities elsewhere in Africa and in Papua New Guinea, even as it scales back investment on existing projects.
Roger Manser, consultant at Kallanish, says Chinese steel production is keeping prices very low.
MELBOURNE, Aug 14- India's Adani Mining has won state approval to build a rail line for its $15 billion Carmichael coal project in Australia, it said on Thursday, bringing it a step closer towards making a final decision on whether to go ahead with the massive scheme.