Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

A Mining Billionaire Takes His War on Slavery to the UN – by Katie Robertson (Bloomberg News – September 21, 2017)

Andrew Forrest walks up to CEOs and confronts them with the ugly truth: You may be a slaveholder. The Australian billionaire, who founded Fortescue Metals, one of the world’s largest iron ore producers, has spent years trying to convince anyone who will listen that slavery thrives in the modern world—and that they need to do something about it.

Since confronting the practice in his own company’s supply chain, Forrest has been on a mission to abolish forced labor and human trafficking. This year, he made it to the United Nations.

A special panel of world leaders addressing global slavery was chaired by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday on the sidelines of the General Assembly and was attended by UN Secretary General António Guterres and senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump, among others. Continue Reading →

Glencore industrial dispute putting pressure on NSW coal supplies – by Mark Ludlow and Angela Macdonald-Smith (Australian Financial Review – September 20, 2017)

Protracted industrial action at 10 of Glencore’s NSW coal mines and a congested rail network are contributing to supply issues in Australia’s largest state, with fears it could affect the grid’s ability to keep the lights on this summer.

Amid growing concerns about coal-fired power generators being unable to secure enough coal supplies, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has vowed to maintain the industrial unrest at Glencore mines where negotiations have stalled over 10 separate enterprise agreements.

CFMEU national president Tony Maher said the industrial action organised by the unions at about eight mines across the Hunter Valley had had a “material” impact on Glencore’s operations and was affecting their ability to supply coal to customers. Continue Reading →

Iron ore price sheds 3.5pc to dip below $US70 – by Samantha Woodhill (The Australian – September 20, 2017)

Iron ore spot prices have fallen below $US$70 a tonne for the first time since July, shedding 3.5 per cent overnight. The spot price was today at $US68.30 a tonne, with futures also indicating weak prices.

ANZ senior commodities analyst Daniel Hynes said the fall followed comments by the Reserve Bank of Australia in its September meeting, the minutes of which were released yesterday.

“The weaker sentiment in the market was fuelled by comments from the RBA, which said prices are expected to fall ahead of the ongoing expansion of the global iron ore supply chain,” he said. Continue Reading →

Matt Barrie says doomed Australia needs ‘an Apollo program’ (Australian Financial Review – September 20, 2017)

Australia is doomed to become a third-world country unless its government starts “something like the Apollo program” to inspire its citizens into becoming a technology economy, chief executive Matt Barrie told the AFR Innovation Summit 2017.

Australians are “too busy paying off their mortgages and watching Netflix” to realise their economy was missing out on a technology goldrush, Mr Barrie said, which had seen just five American technology companies – Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook – now generate annual revenues equivalent to half of Australia’s gross domestic product.

The economy would struggle to replace the revenues lost when the mining booms and housing booms inevitably imploded, Mr Barrie said, pointing out that Chinese banks were by some estimates facing $1.7 trillion losses from bad loans. Continue Reading →

Mining millions to lift traditional Aboriginal landowners out of ‘poverty’, says Ngadju elder – by Jarrod Lucas (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – September 17, 2017)

Twenty-five years since the High Court’s landmark Mabo decision, traditional landowners in one of Western Australia’s biggest mining regions are finally starting to see the benefits of native title.

The resources wealth of WA’s Goldfields, which generates a gross regional product of more than $6 billion for the state, has not stemmed the ongoing social issues that prompted a widespread trial of the Federal Government’s cashless welfare card.

But Aboriginal leaders are optimistic the start-up of two major mining operations will improve the lives of Indigenous Australians living in poverty while creating life-changing education and job opportunities for young people. The $456 million Nova nickel-copper mine, which was officially opened this month by WA Mines Minister Bill Johnston, is expected to deliver more than $20 million in native title royalties for the Ngadju people over the next decade. Continue Reading →

Coalition to allow government-backed loans to coalmines as banks hesitant – by Gareth Hutchens (The Guardian – September 11, 2017)

The Turnbull government has responded to the increasing unwillingness of Australia’s banks to fund major coal projects by overturning a ban on government-backed loans to domestic miners.

Steve Ciobo, the minister for trade, says protesters and activist groups have so discouraged Australia’s retail banks from financing “otherwise viable exporters in the coal sector” that the government must step in to fund a growing “market gap.”

He said government funding would now be provided via the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), and he has written to Efic asking it to change its mandate to broaden its lending criteria. Earlier this year, the financial regulator warned that climate change posed a material risk to the entire financial system, urging companies to start adapting. Continue Reading →

The Australian companies mining $40 billion out of Africa – by Eryk Bagshaw (Sydney Morning Herald – September 10, 2017)

Francina Nkosi chose to live in Lephalale because of the farmland. There was enough space to raise her daughter and as many women as there were men, a rarity in parts of the Limpopo province of South Africa. A year later, in 2007, the Medupi power station set up shop. It brought with it men, lots of them, some carrying HIV, others with wallets full of their living away from home allowance.

Prostitution followed, the town closest to the power station became famous for having the most expensive sex workers in the country. Teenage pregnancy came next. Now there’s two men for every woman in Lephalale. Nkosi worries there is more to come.

In 2011, an Australian company, Resgen, followed the power station into town. Residents claim it promised a school, water and industry, in return for a mine that would eventually produce 6.4 billion tonnes of coal. Continue Reading →

A Deadly Disease That Strikes Coal Miners Has Returned in Australia – by Perry Williams (Bloomberg News – September 8, 2017)

Claustrophobia never bothered Keith Stoddart as he sheared coal from the wall of a long, narrow and dusty tunnel hundreds of meters underground in northeastern Australia. Now, racked by a progressive, deadly lung disease, the 68-year-old gets panicked by pangs of shortness of breath.

His illness had been absent since the mid 1980s in Australia, the world’s top coal-exporting country. At least, that’s what records showed until May 2015, when mine-veterans like Stoddart began presenting in doctors’ rooms with an irreversible scourge from a bygone era: black lung disease.

Twenty-five cases of so-called coal workers’ pneumoconiosis have since been confirmed in Stoddart’s home state of Queensland, government records show. Many of them were missed by routine medical screening, and all of them point to weaknesses in modern mining technologies and dust controls that the government is now trying to fix. Continue Reading →

Western Mining solves nickel mystery in Nigeria – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – September 8, 2017)

A year after revealing a Nigerian nickel discovery that looked too good to be true, former Western Mining Co chief Hugh Morgan believes his team has cracked the technical challenges presented by the mystery mineralisation.

Mr Morgan’s private company Comet Minerals has discovered what looks to be a vast and unique nickel deposit comprising an abundance of balls of almost pure nickel.

When he first unveiled the discovery at last year’s Africa Down Under conference, Mr Morgan was hopeful that separating the balls from the surrounding soil would be a relatively simple process. Continue Reading →

First female general manager at Kalgoorlie Super Pit promises to shake up status quo – by Bettina Arrow , Sam Tomlin and Jarrod Lucas (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – September 6, 2017)

The first woman to run Kalgoorlie’s iconic Super Pit has promised to shake up the status quo at Western Australia’s most famous gold mine. Cecile Thaxter officially began as general manager at Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines on Monday, taking charge of more than 1,100 workers and millions of dollars in gold reserves.

Born in Jamaica and educated at Columbia University in New York, Ms Thaxter worked in investment banking prior to shifting into mining, where she worked in various executive roles for Super Pit co-owner Newmont Mining. As mining companies continue to push for greater female representation in senior roles, she said she was delighted by the accomplishment.

“Not necessarily for the first [woman], but for the second, third and others that come along.” Having most recently managed Newmont’s Phoenix/Lone Tree mine in Nevada, Ms Thaxter comes to Kalgoorlie-Boulder at an interesting juncture in the mine’s life. Continue Reading →

Rise of copper and nickel has miners reaching for shelved plans – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – September 5, 2017)

The resurgence in nickel and copper prices to their highest levels in years has become the latest boon for Australia’s resources sector, boosting profit margins for miners and prompting others to consider dusting off old mines and forgotten exploration projects.

Nickel, which has for so long had been the exception to the broader post-downturn recovery in metals prices, this week touched its highest level in two years while the copper price has climbed to heights not seen since 2014.

The price of both metals has been helped along by a combination of a weaker US dollar, supply outages and healthy demand, as well as longer-term expectations of a substantial boost in demand from the rapidly expanding electric vehicles market. Continue Reading →

Mineral exploration up, but more needed ‘to find the mines of tomorrow’ – by Darren Gray (Sydney Morning Herald – September 4, 2017)

Australia needs more greenfields mineral exploration “to find the mines of tomorrow,” the acting chief executive of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies said on Monday, in the wake of new national figures showing a slight lift in spending on mining exploration.

Graham Short welcomed the jump in mineral exploration spending (excluding petroleum), which rose 9.9 per cent in the June quarter to an estimated $437.7 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. The new Australian Bureau of Statistics figures also showed a smaller increase, of 4.7 per cent, in petroleum exploration expenditure to $355.6 million.

The ABS figures showed that while mineral exploration spending (excluding petroleum) was up $90 million on June last year, it was far below the levels seen in the June quarter of 2011 and 2013, when activity was estimated at about $600 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. Continue Reading →

‘We’ll have final say on any mining,’ warn Panguna landowners – by Fabian Hakalits (Asia Pacific Report – August 30, 2017)

Panguna landowners will determine any reopening of the controversial mine on Bougainville, says a local leader. Philip Miriori, chairman of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Land Owners Association (SMLOLA) in Panguna, Philip Miriori, has told EMTV News that all parties and talks would go through them.

This was because the people in the Special Mining Lease area were greatly affected by the mine’s impacts when it was operating in the 1980s before the 10-year Bougainville civil war. “We do not want the past to repeat itself but it must be a reminder to us now to get a better deal for the SMLOLA members and the rest of Bougainville,” he said.

Miriori said the past had gone, and history should not be repeated in Bougainville. He claimed meetings had been conducted with resolutions and agreements passed which the SMLOLA were not a party to. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Brave decision! Adani to start Australian coal mine on its own – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – August 29, 2017)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Adani Enterprises’ decision to start building Australia’s biggest coal mine would appear at face value to be a straightforward announcement that a major project is finally getting underway.

The Indian conglomerate said on Aug. 28 that it will start work in October on the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland state, initially using A$400 million ($317 million) of its own funds. There is no reason to doubt Adani intends to do exactly what it said it was planning to do by starting to build the $4 billion mine, with a goal to ship coal by 2020.

But there are several reasons to be sceptical about the timing of the announcement, and perhaps about its motivations. It would be a brave board of company directors that approved spending hundreds of millions of dollars when there is still considerable uncertainty over the future of the overall project. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore’s Kings Are Spending Again – by Rebecca Keenan and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 29, 2017)

The biggest iron ore producers in Australia are spending as much as $10 billion on mines so they can keep pumping out shipments to China as demand in their biggest customer shows little sign of easing.

Led by Rio Tinto Group, the nation’s top three exporters plan to add about 170 million metric tons of new capacity to replace exhausted mines and are studying investments in infrastructure and equipment to boost export capacity to their long-term targeted rates. Output will rise 9 percent to 843 million tons in 2022, according to Deutsche Bank AG estimates.

Forecasts of a slowdown in China’s steel industry are proving to be misplaced with BHP Billiton Ltd. saying production hasn’t yet peaked and likely won’t do so until the middle of next decade, while steel-making raw materials will continue performing well over the coming 12 months. Iron ore prices are trading near a four-month high. Continue Reading →