Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

Strike impacts Freeport’s Grasberg mine, workers ‘resigned’ – by Susan Taylor (Reuters U.S. – May 25, 2017)

TORONTO – Freeport McMoRan Inc said Thursday that mining and milling rates at its Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia have been affected by an extended strike, and a “large number” of approximately 4,000 absentee workers were deemed to have resigned.

Escalating labor tension is a further disruption for Freeport, entangled in a lengthy dispute with Indonesia over rights to the giant mine, which has cost both sides hundreds of millions of dollars. Arizona-based Freeport is now trying to mitigate the impact of workforce issues on mining and milling rates, which it would not quantify, by re-allocating resources, training additional workers and supplementing its mill throughput with available stockpiles, spokesman Eric Kinneberg said.

Benchmark copper prices hit three-week highs Thursday as worries about prolonged disruptions at Grasberg triggered short-covering, ahead of a long holiday weekend in Europe and top consumer China. Freeport Indonesia union industrial relations officer, Tri Puspital, told Reuters on Saturday that the strike had halved Grasberg’s output. Continue Reading →

SA ranks third, behind Australia and Canada, in terms of number of mines – by Robert Laing (Business Day – May 26, 2017)

SA ranks a distant third behind Australia and Canada in the number of mines it has, and the gap is likely to widen because the two leading mining countries have far more new projects under way.

Australia has about 540 mine projects under way, Canada about 290 and SA 137, according to a graph in a report titled Currency Movements: Winners and Losers in the Mining Industry, released by BMI Research on Friday morning.

Australia’s lead is extending its lead because 320 of its projects are new developments, followed by Canada, with 190. SA is in third place again, with about 50. BMI forecasts that mines in Russia, China, India, Canada, Australia and Brazil will benefit from their currencies weakening against the dollar from 2017-2021. Continue Reading →

Adani’s $16.5 Billion Aussie Mine Rattled by Tax Deal Delay – by Perry Williams (Bloomberg News – May 24, 2017)

India’s Adani Group could walk away from its $16.5 billion Carmichael coal project in Australia unless a royalties deal can be reached with the state government, according to federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan.

The Queensland government’s failure to agree the terms of the royalty regime for the mine may jeopardize the development in the state’s Galilee Basin, Canavan said in a phone interview on Wednesday. Adani was due to make a final investment decision on May 29 for the Carmichael mine, but delayed that on Monday citing uncertainty over royalty payments.

Adani’s approval for the project “is contingent on the Queensland government coming to a decision on their royalties policy,” Canavan said. “You can’t expect Adani to make a multi-billion dollar decision if they don’t know what tax they will pay. The ball is now in the Queensland government’s court.” Continue Reading →

Australia’s Mining Bust Town Reawakens – by James Thornhill (Bloomberg News – May 23, 2017)

House-buyers seeking a bargain amid the wreckage of Australia’s mining boom might want to get in quick.

Port Hedland, a shipping hub for the Pilbara iron ore region in Western Australia, saw house prices collapse nearly 70 percent in the past four years as workers lost their jobs and left amid the end of a resources investment boom. But prices there have reached a bottom and are now even rising.

“We’re starting to get multiple offers on properties,” said Peter Dunning, a real estate agent at Ray White Group in Port Hedland, who says local values have risen about A$50,000 ($37,470) in the past six months. “People realized that prices had got so cheap, they probably weren’t going to get any cheaper. So they started buying.” Brighter spots in housing is one of three chunks of evidence adding to a growing sense that Australia’s resource-based economies are improving. Continue Reading →

Mining industry looks towards a new wave of automation – by Eric Barker (Australain Broadcasting Corporation Rural – May 23, 2017)

Australia’s mining industry continues to push the boundaries of automation with the use of robots and remote-controlled equipment expanding in the industry. Automation in mining has a long history as companies look to extract minerals more efficiently and more safely.

However, the new wave of automation has been tipped to change the employment landscape of the industry. James Cook University professor Ian Atkinson said it was likely some jobs would be lost but expected it to happen over a long period of time.

“It’s not just taking workers out and putting a machine in, it’s going to happen really quite gradually for a long time yet.” Professor Atkinson said although automation had the potential to take some jobs it could also provide new employment opportunities. “You’re not going to be using machines to build new mines, people will still be doing that because that’s very non-routine,” he said. Continue Reading →

[Australia Coal] Adani takes brinkmanship to new levels – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – May 23, 2017)

The circumstances of Adani Group’s very public decision to delay boardroom debate on a final investment decision for the opening stanza of its $16.5 billion, 60-year Carmichael coal campaign would suggest the economics Queensland’s much-vaunted new coal horizon are far more fragile than the potential miner wants us to appreciate.

Either that or we are seeing a very rare level of brinkmanship between Adani and its host governments over the financial mechanics by which the Indian conglomerate might invest in building a massive new mining complex in Queensland’s Galilee Basin and in constructing the railway need to carry Carmichael coal to an Adani-owned export terminal at Abbot Point.

I mean, here we have a coal project proponent that has spent seven years driving through jungles of red and green tape, and more recently through a brutal wilderness of anti-coal resistance, only to belatedly find itself in desperate need for about $1.2 billion of government assistance if the project is to happen. Continue Reading →

South32 Needs a Spouse in a Hurry: Merge With Teck Resources – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – May 19, 2017)

(Bloomberg Gadfly) — For all the debate about activist investor Elliott Management Corp.’s assault on the mining company now rebranding itself as BHP, there’s another question investors should be pondering: What’s going to become of Billiton?

South32 Ltd., the company spun out of BHP Billiton Ltd. in 2015 and consisting largely of sub-scale assets brought into the business in its 2001 merger with Billiton Plc, has put in a creditable performance of late.

As Elliott would be happy to point out, South32’s shares have risen about 28 percent since the split, compared with a 21 percent drop at its larger sibling. After two years of losses, analysts expect $1.24 billion of net income in the year through June. In a mining industry still groaning under the weight of its debts, South32’s $859 million net cash pile is the biggest after Coal India Ltd. and Hindustan Zinc Ltd. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe plans $200 million platinum refinery with Australia’s Kelltech (Reuters U.S. – May 17, 2017)

Zimbabwe is planning to build a $200 million platinum refinery next year in a joint venture with Australia’s Kelltech Ltd, the Mines Minister said on Wednesday.

The southern African nation holds the world’s largest deposits of platinum after South Africa and has been pushing mining firms operating in the country to build refineries to stop the export of raw platinum ore.

Walter Chidhakwa said the government’s mining arm, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, would own 30 percent of the refinery, privately-owned Kelltech would own 49 percent and the balance would be held by Golden Sparrow, a Zimbabwean firm. Continue Reading →

Exclusive – Australian billionaire uses indigenous land laws to keep prospectors off farm – by Jonathan Barrett (Reuters U.K. – May 18, 2017)

SYDNEY – Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has used laws designed to protect indigenous land rights to stop prospectors searching for minerals on his West Australian cattle farms, angering both traditional Aboriginal landowners and mining community members.

While tensions between the competing interests of indigenous landholders, pastoral leaseholders and miners on government-controlled land are common, Forrest’s approach represents one of the first known examples of a non-Aboriginal successfully using rights afforded to indigenous people to their own advantage.

Native title is a legal doctrine in Australia that recognises indigenous rights to certain parcels of land. Forrest’s use of it is not illegal, but it adds to the fractious relationship he has with some indigenous groups. Different groups have raised concerns over Forrest’s cattle interests and have battled over land rights with the company he founded and chairs – Fortescue Metals Group (FMG.AX), the world’s fourth biggest iron ore miner. Continue Reading →

Diamantina minerals province next mining boom – by Jacinda Tutty (Queensland Courier-Mail – May 15, 2017)

TUCKED away in the Queensland Outback, trillions of dollars lies buried beneath the ground.A veritable gold mine of minerals essential for the future of the world’s entire technology industry lies untouched, in rare geological pipes in a remote band of terrain running from western Queensland up to the Northern Territory border.

It’s been called the Diamantina minerals province and could be the largest gold rush of its kind. Better yet, the trillion-dollar discovery is right in our backyard. The State Government is beginning to marshal what is sure to become an arms race between mining exploration companies eager to strike gold.

Should early discoveries of traces of minerals such as platinum, scandium and gold prove true, Queensland’s mines and resources minister Dr Anthony Lynham said it could unlock billions for the state economy and thousands of new jobs. Continue Reading →

BHP dumps Billiton in Australian identity push – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – May 15, 2017)

BHP Billiton will seek to reclaim its Australian identity through a major rebranding exercise after conceding that it and other big companies were losing the trust of communities around the world.

The resources giant will today begin a $10 million advertising campaign that heralds the end of the “three blobs” logo and double-barrel name the company has used since the merger of BHP and Billiton in 2001.

The campaign refers to the company simply as BHP rather than BHP Billiton, and will eventually be followed by a change of the company’s official registered name to “BHP Limited”. The slim, lower-case letters in BHP’s existing logo will gradually be replaced by the bold, capital-letter logo BHP used prior to the merger. Continue Reading →

Elliott willing to back BHP board candidate as next chairman: source – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – May 11, 2017)

SYDNEY – Elliott Management is willing to back a board member of BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) to be its chairman upon the retirement of Jac Nasser despite deep reservations about its top management, a source close to the activist shareholder said on Thursday.

Elliott, founded by billionaire Paul Singer, is pushing for a $46 billion overhaul at BHP that includes spin offs, dismantling a corporate structure built on dual listings in London and Sydney and returning more money to shareholders. The Anglo-Australian miner has rejected the demands.

The activist investor blames Nasser and BHP’s top management for what it sees as bad investments by the world’s biggest mining house, particularly in U.S. shale gas, the source said. But Elliott believes “there are personalities on the board that are talented and capable”, with the “potential for someone to be selected from the existing board”, the source said. Continue Reading →

After the mining, what’s next? Overseas mine rehabilitation offers lessons for Australia – by Gregg Borschmann (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – May 3, 2017)

Click here for the radio program:

In Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, the Hazelwood brown coal mine is closed. In the NT, the Ranger uranium mine is due to shut down in four years’ time. They’re very different mines, but with the same problem: what to do with the landscape once the mining stops.

From Australia to the Americas, from Europe to South Africa, there are plenty of lessons to be learned. One of the best examples of restoring a post-mining landscape comes from Europe, where uranium mining by the once feared and secret Wismut company had created a environmental tragedy.

“It was military mining … a military operation to get the first uranium for the Soviet nuclear bomb,” says Gerhard Schmidt, a senior researcher with the Oeko Institute in Germany. “It was not very sustainable … they mined and milled the ore and put the wastes into large piles of more than 100 million tonnes, some of which are the largest in the world.” Continue Reading →

Australia to Block Any Attempt to Move BHP Billiton Listing – by Perry Williams and Matthew Burgess (Bloomberg News – May 3, 2017)

Australia would block any attempt to move BHP Billiton Ltd.’s main sharemarket listing to the U.K. as proposed by activist investor Elliott Management Corp., Treasurer Scott Morrison said.

“It is unthinkable that any Australian government could allow this original Big Australian to head offshore,” Morrison said in a statement Thursday. If BHP implemented Elliott’s proposals “it may commit a criminal offence and could be subject to civil penalties,” he said.

New York-based Elliott is meeting with BHP investors in Australia this week to outline proposals it made public last month for a corporate overhaul, higher shareholder returns and a spinoff of U.S. oil assets. BHP, which held about eight months of discussions with Elliott, has rejected the plans, saying the costs and risks outweigh any potential benefits. Elliott didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Continue Reading →

Faith in coal breathing new life into Surat Basin plan – by John McCarthy (Queensland Courier-Mail – May 3, 2017)

NEW life has been breathed into Glencore’s $6 billion Wandoan thermal coal project, east of Roma, as mining companies dust off plans for developments in the Surat Basin.

The Courier-Mail understands Glencore will receive its mining lease for Wandoan within weeks. The mine will create about 1300 jobs in construction and more than 800 in operation, but Glencore will not comment until after it receives the lease. It will not be alone.

New Hope Group has a resource of one billion tonnes of coal in the Surat and is advanced in a feasibility study aimed at potentially starting development of its projects within three years. The proposals are likely to spark a renewed fight with environmental activists. Continue Reading →