Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

Rio Tinto boss unfazed by concerns about Chinese economy – by Henry Sanderson and Neil Hume (Financial Times – March 28, 2017)

The head of Rio Tinto, one of the world’s biggest mining companies, said he had no concerns about China’s economy, predicting restructuring of the country’s state-owned enterprises would lead to demand for the iron ore it produces in Australia.

Jean-Sébastien Jacques told the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne that China’s crackdown on polluting steel furnaces would lead to greater demand for higher-quality raw material iron ore, a key ingredient in steelmaking. China’s state council has set out plans to eliminate 100m-150m tonnes of steel capacity as it tries to shift to a more consumption and services-oriented economic model.

Officials are planning a new crackdown on steel production in the key north-eastern city of Tangshan in an attempt to prevent false reporting of mill closures by local governments reluctant to obey shutdown orders, according to an official order seen by the FT this week. Continue Reading →

India looms large on the iron ore horizon: FMG – by Glenda Korporaal (The Australian – March 27, 2017)

India could be the next big source of demand for Australian iron ore, according to Fortescue Metals chief executive Nev Power.

“Right now China is our major customer but, through Asia and into India, we are seeing very strong growth rates,” he said in an interview with The Australian on the weekend.

“India is now the fastest growing economy in the world, growing at around 7.6 per cent. “It is still has a long way to go before it catches up to China, but with 1.4 billion people you can see that the demand for infrastructure and commodities is going to increase. Continue Reading →

Threat of Cyclone Disrupts Mining in No. 1 Met Coal Exporter – by Ben Sharples and Perry Williams (Bloomberg News – March 27, 2017)

BHP Billiton Ltd. and Glencore Plc are halting some production in the world’s largest exporter of coal used in steel-making, as the biggest cyclone since 2011 to hit Australia’s Queensland nears the state.

South Walker Creek metallurgical coal mine operations will be suspended from the end of day shift on Monday and preparations are under way to manage increased rainfall throughout the week, BHP said in a statement. Glencore is preparing to temporarily halt output from the Collinsville and Newlands mines, the company said in a separate release.

Severe tropical cyclone Debbie is forecast to cross the coast Tuesday morning with wind gusts up to 260 kilometers (162 miles) per hour, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Previous storms in Australia have flooded mines, swamped machinery and led to price spikes. Continue Reading →

[Australia] ‘Coal miners stick together and we bleed black’ (Queensland Times – March 23, 2017)

WE BLEED black. That is what Bundamba MP and Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Select Committee chair Jo-Ann Miller said about coalminers and their families in a forthright speech to parliament today.

Ms Miller moved that the the House take note of report No. 1 of the Committee, titled Inquiry into the re-identification of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis in Queensland-interim report. Ms Miller started off by telling the parliament that coalminers are a tough breed.

“As a coalminer’s daughter and granddaughter, I know this well,” she said. “We stick together and, as we say, we do not bleed red; we bleed black. “Unfortunately, that is so true of black lung disease. Continue Reading →

The iron ore price has begun its slow descent back to ‘normal’ – by Tess Ingram and Lisa Murray (Australian Financial Review – March 23, 2017)

The iron ore price will fall but it won’t drop off a cliff. That’s the view of analysts who are predicting a drawn-out decline for the price of Australia’s most important commodity, rather than a “sharp crunch down”.

The spot price of iron ore fell 3 per cent in China on Wednesday to $US84.99 per tonne, taking the fall over the past two days to 7.7 per cent. Moves by Chinese regulators to cut property speculation are weighing on the prices of Chinese construction steel and iron ore prices.

While the price has held up surprisingly well in 2017, beating the expectations of most analysts, it has slid consistently since March 16 and is about $US10 per tonne lower than the peak of $US94.86 per tonne on February 21. Continue Reading →

Queensland suppliers awarded $900M of Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite project contracts – by Leo Oliver (International Business Times – March 23, 2017)

Mining giant Rio Tinto has awarded contracts worth $1.38 billion for the development of the Amrun bauxite mine project. Of these, Queensland suppliers have received nearly two-thirds, amounting to $900 million, of the contracts. More than 500 companies have been associated with the project in the state.

The project, in Cape York Peninsula, includes the development of a mine, processing plant and bauxite stockpiles, warehouses, a power station and new barge, ferry and ship loading facilities. It is expected to substitute the East Weipa bauxite mine.

The volume of bauxite to be exported from Cape York following the development of the mine is forecast to surge by nearly 10 million tonnes a year. Production and shipping is expected to kick-off in the first half of 2019. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Rinehart children cleared to sue billionaire mother – by Sonali Paul(Reuters U.S. – March 22, 2017)

The children of mining billionaire Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person, have been cleared by a court to sue their mother for what they describe as mismanagement of a multi-billion dollar family trust, in a long-running family feud.

Rinehart’s daughter Bianca, who is now trustee of the family trust, said Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd – the mining company set up by her grandfather, Lang Hancock, and run by her mother – did not pay A$500 million ($380 million) in dividends that she said were due to shareholders, one of which is the family trust.

The trust’s only asset is a 24 percent stake in Hancock Prospecting, which has reaped billions of dollars from iron ore assets in Western Australia. Continue Reading →

Indigenous Australians: Labor to support native title changes to protect mining deals – by Gareth Hutchens (The Guardian – March 21, 2017)

Labor will support the Turnbull government’s move to amend the Native Title Act following a shock federal court decision striking out a native title deal in Western Australia last month.

It means mining projects – including Adani’s Carmichael coalmine – already in operation under Indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs) may not be affected by the federal court’s ruling.

The news has angered Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners fighting Adani’s mine. They have accused Labor of “lining up with the government” to wind back their rights. Continue Reading →

Australian mining firms closely watching after Tanzania imposes an export ban – by Daniel Flitton (Sydney Morning Herald – March 20, 2017)

A surprise export ban imposed on gold and copper concentrate by Tanzania’s President has forced several Australian mining firms to seek urgent assurances about the future of their operations in the African nation.

The export ban is seen by some as the latest manifestation of a populist drive affecting politics worldwide, amid a backlash to globalisation most obviously characterised by Donald Trump’s rise to the White House.

Perth-based Tanga Resources director John Stockley will fly to Tanzania on Monday for talks with local ministers after the country slapped a ban on the export of mineral concentrates and ores for metallic minerals, including gold, copper, nickel and silver. Continue Reading →

Billionaire Adani Sees Disputed Australia Mine Start by 2020 – by P R Sanjai and Perry Williams (Bloomberg News – March 20, 2017)

India’s Adani Group plans to begin extracting coal from the $16.5 billion Carmichael project in Australia in 2020 after environmental protests delayed the first phase of the mine.

The company will begin work on the project three months after it gets final approval from Australia’s federal government, Gautam Adani, billionaire chairman of the Indian group said on Friday. Adani expects permission from Malcolm Turnbull’s government for the project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin as early as May, with a final investment decision by May or June, he said.

The project is meant to fuel power generation for 100 million Indians and create 10,000 jobs in Queensland. It will likely proceed given the pressing need for fresh sources of power generation in India, according to David Lennox, an analyst with Fat Prophets in Sydney. Continue Reading →

The Economist explains: How Australia has gone 25 years without a recession (The Economist – March 16, 2017)

WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S iron ore and Queensland’s coal were at the centre of Australia’s recent mining boom, stoked by the red-hot growth of China’s steelmaking industry. At its height about five years ago, mining investment accounted for 9% of national GDP. But as investment started to decline in 2013, Western Australia’s debt soared.

At 6.5%, its unemployment is now Australia’s highest. If the pattern of earlier booms had followed, Western Australia’s plight would have reverberated around the country and ended in a national bust. Yet the economy’s growth has stayed intact, notching up 25 years without a recession. How has Australia managed a feat that has defied most other rich countries?

Australia’s mining booms over the past 160-odd years made the country feel rich and confident while they lasted. Workers made big money, and this brought prosperity to far-flung regions producing gold, coal, gas and other commodities. Recessions followed nearly all earlier booms, including the most recent one, in the 1980s, largely because the upheaval proved too big a shock for an economy that was highly regulated. Continue Reading →

Tensions rise in New Caledonia as it mulls a break with France – by Michael Field (Nikkei Asian Review – March 16, 2017)

Bougainville and Guam are also moving toward referendums on constitutional status

AUCKLAND Due east of Australia, the Pacific island of New Caledonia is mulling a final break from France, ending a relationship lasting more than 150 years. In a referendum that will take place next year, islanders will vote on the issue of independence.

The wording of the referendum question to be asked has not been determined, and neither has the eligible electorate. Tensions have been building, prompting Paris to dispatch 50 additional security officers to the territory. They arrived in February, but attacks on police have continued, wounding three and drawing condemnation from authorities.

Sonia Backes, a senior pro-French politician in New Caledonia, has been critical of what she sees as Paris’ soft line. This month she demanded the prosecution of an indigenous politician who called whites in New Caledonia “immigrants.” “UNBEARABLE REMARKS” “These remarks are unbearable,” she said, adding that those who say such things should be prosecuted for “inciting racial hatred.” Continue Reading →

Programmed targets employment for 5000 Indigenous Australians – by Ben Creagh (Australian Mining – March 6, 2017)

Mining services provider Programmed has set a goal to employ 5000 Indigenous Australians across its operations.

Programmed, which also operates in industry sectors like oil and gas, manufacturing and retail, announced the 10-year plan in Canberra last week with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest.

It is the largest ever contract by an Australian company for Indigenous employment. According to Programmed, the company wants a workforce that reflects the diversity of society by culture, gender, age, sexual orientation and abilities. Continue Reading →

Sam Walsh befuddled by Rio Tinto wealth ‘deferral’ – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – March 6 2017)

Every door at Rio Tinto used to be wide open to Sam Walsh. But when the former Rio Tinto chief executive and his lawyers checked in with his erstwhile dominion to find out what the board found so disturbing in the erupting Simandou email scandal, he was told: “Read the newspapers, Sam.”

Walsh is said to be befuddled and insulted by the lack of professional courtesy offered by his former employer through their time of shared crisis and thoroughly mystified by the logic that had the Rio Tinto board force a “deed of deferral” on the present and future benefits Walsh is owed by the company.

The deed, revealed in Rio Tinto’s annual report, puts a two-step delay on Walsh owning the full weight of deferred shares awarded under short and long-term incentive plans that would be worth about $20 million at current prices. Continue Reading →

Greens push to close coalmining in 10 years – by Kylar Loussikian (The Australian – March 3, 2017)

The NSW Greens will today call for the phase-out of all coalmining over a decade, a move the industry says will have a devastating effect on jobs and end “almost all” of the state’s electricity generation ­capacity.

The policy, to be launched by federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale and the party’s state energy spokesman, Jeremy Buckingham, also calls for an auction for mining licences over that period to raise $7 billion to be used to support miners and regional communities as they move away from coal.

The state’s coal industry produced 247 million tonnes of raw coal in the last financial year, and 191 million tonnes of saleable coal worth nearly $15bn. It also powers about 80 per cent of the state’s electricity generation capacity. Continue Reading →