COMMODITY / CHEMICAL BRIEFS

COMMODITY / CHEMICAL BRIEFS

NY COTTON FUTURES

SURGE TO 4-MONTH HIGHS

Cotton futures on the New York Cotton Exchange surged to four-month highs on speculative and trade house buying, linked to unconfirmed reports that Pakistan has suspended cotton exports, floor traders said.

But gains turned mixed by midday after trade houses stepped out of the arena, traders said. Activity settled into quiet narrow-range trading amid mostly commission house and technical fund buying.

A prominent cotton newsletter reportedly said that Pakistan's 500,000- bale quota for January shipment has been met, and the government suspended further exports. Uncertainty continues about how much Pakistan might produce this season because of a virus that is damaging its crop, sources said.

MYLAN LABORATORIES

SETTLES PART OF SUIT

PITTSBURGH - Mylan Laboratories Inc. said Monday that it has reached a settlement with Pharmaceutical Resources Inc., Par Pharmaceuticals, and Quad Pharmaceuticals, three related defendants that were part of Mylan's multimillion-dollar suit against numerous generic companies and individuals charged in the 1989 generic drug scandal.

The settlement came on the heels of a ruling last month by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals returning the case to the U.S. District Court in Baltimore for trial.

Under the settlement, Pharmaceutical Resources Inc., which is the parent company in the settling group, agreed to pay Mylan Laboratories the sum of $1 million cash and $2 million in their common stock.

MACMAHON TO DEVELOP

GOLD-COPPER PROJECT

SYDNEY, Australia - Mining group Macmahon Holdings Ltd. said Monday that it has been awarded a 30 million-Australian-dollar (US$19.87 million) contract to develop and mine the open-cut pits at the Northparkes gold and copper project in the Australian state of New South Wales.

Northparkes is being jointly developed by Peko-Wallsend Operations Ltd., Sumitomo Metal Mining Oceania Pty. Ltd. and SC Mineral Resources Pty. Ltd.

Under the contract, two open-pit mines will be developed and mined over the next three years with an optional two-year extension.

Macmahon said it will mine about 1.2 million metric tons of oxide ore in the first 12 months, producing approximately 90,000 ounces of gold. It will then mine the major copper sulfide ore bodies.

The project is expected to generate more than A$4 billion in metals sales, the company said.

GROUP: NICKEL LEVELS

HIGH IN NEW CALEDONIA

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Dangerously high levels of nickel have been found in the air and water in Noumea, capital of the French territory of New Caledonia, an environmental group said Monday.

Friends of the Earth (New Zealand) said in a statement it had called on French authorities to act immediately to reduce levels of nickel contamination

from a refinery less than one mile from the city center.

Nickel, like plutonium, is a confirmed carcinogen. It is so toxic that the World Health Organization has ruled that no safe level exists for nickel in air, Friends of the Earth representative Susi Newborn said.

"Dust samples taken from the window sills of hotels in Noumea had a nickel content three times greater than that of the nickel ore mined," Ms. Newborn said.