Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

China imported record 1.02b tonnes of iron ore in 2016 – by Ranjeetha Pakiam(Australian Financial Review – January 14, 2017)

Bloomberg – Iron ore imports by China surged to a record above 1 billion tonnes last year as unexpectedly strong steel production and lower local mine output combined to fire up demand in the world’s top buyer for cargoes from Australia and Brazil, supporting a rebound in prices.

Asia’s top economy imported 1.024 billion tonnes in 2016, up 7.5 per cent from a year earlier, according to customs data issued on Friday: that’s about 32 tonnes a second, according to Bloomberg calculations. Purchases last month totalled about 89 million tonnes, compared with 96.3 million tonnes a year earlier.

Iron ore surged more than 80 per cent last year as China added stimulus to sustain economic growth, bolstering steel production, soaking up rising low-cost mine supply and shredding bears’ forecasts. Continue Reading →

[Australia] Would-Be Kingmaker Calls Out Iron Giants in Ore Tax Battle – by Rebecca Keenan (Bloomberg News – January 12, 2017)

The world’s biggest mining companies producing iron ore from Australia aren’t paying their fair share in taxes, according to a lawmaker who wants a 20-fold raise in a state levy that’s been unchanged since the 1960s and the era of imperial pounds, shillings and pence.

The proposal has “overwhelming” support and Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd.’s objections don’t stack up, according to Brendon Grylls, Western Australia’s Nationals party leader. Grylls, a farmer and one-time baker turned politician, is championing the drive to raise the lease rental payment, levied on ore from the two companies, to A$5 a metric ton ($3.68) from 25 Australian cents.

“It is quite clear to me that Western Australia is not receiving a fair recompense for making our iron ore available,” Grylls said in an interview from his office in West Perth on Tuesday. “It was 2 and 6 converted to 25 cents when decimalization came in.” Continue Reading →

[Australia] Indigenous people and miners need each others’ help – by Nyunggai Warren Mundine (Australian Financial Review – January 10, 2017)

The minerals industry isn’t going anywhere. It will only get bigger. The human appetite for resources shows no signs of abating. Technology and innovation, population and economic growth will only make that appetite stronger.

Indigenous people aren’t going anywhere either and our population is also getting bigger. Minerals extraction means engaging with Indigenous people. Indigenous Australians have ownership or other rights over 20 per cent of the continent, including most areas where mining occurs. And there’s still native title claims to be concluded and compensatory funds to be invested.

Socio-economically, there’s a big gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Demographically, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia are like two different countries – the demographics of Australia are typical of developed economies; the demographics of Indigenous Australia resemble developing economies. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s S11D iron-ore mine a reality check for Australian politicians – CME – by Esmarie Swanepoel ( – January 10, 2017)

PERTH ( – The Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) has warned that the commercial start of the $19.7-billion Eliezer Batista S11D iron-ore mine, in Brazil, is a reality check for Australian politicians looking to use the sector as a “bottomless cash cow”.

CME CEO Reg Howard-Smith said on Tuesday that commercial operations at the world’s largest iron-ore mine were expected to start this month, with mining giant Vale taking advantage of Brazil’s lower-cost taxation and royalty regime.

The Brazilian major inaugurated the new iron-ore project in December, with the mine ramping up to 90-million tonnes a year by 2020. Once the ramp-up is completed, about 2 700 employees will be working directly at the plant and mine and, at least, 10 000 indirect jobs will have been created. Continue Reading →

Stories of Australia’s mining decline were greatly exaggerated – by Brendan Pearson (Australian Financial Review – Janaury 9, 2017)

Brendan Pearson is chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia.

One of the questions posed most frequently by politicians and economists in recent years has been the following: “What comes after the mining investment boom?” New official commodity forecasts released on Monday provide a simple answer – a much bigger mining industry.

The forecasts, by the Industry Department’s Office of Chief Economist, revised up resources exports for 2016-17 to $205 billion. That’s an upward revision of nearly $40 billion since March 2016. Just the incremental increase in expected earnings is bigger than annual receipts from tourism.

The result surely dispels the proposition that the mining investment boom was a simple one-off event that left no enduring legacy and therefore needed to be “replaced” by something else. Continue Reading →

Australia sees iron ore price heading sharply lower – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – January 9, 2017)

SYDNEY – Australia has forecast a steep decline in the price of iron ore, its most valuable export commodity, calling an end to an unexpected rally fueled by strong demand from China.

The forecast average price in 2017 of around $52 a tonne – down from about $80 a tonne at present – comes as big miners are set to report bumper profits in coming months, while smaller rivals are still getting back on their feet.

“If the iron ore price starts to go down the high performance of last year won’t be replicated this year,” said Shaw & Partners mining analyst Peter O’Connor. “It could be a trainwreck for the smaller, marginal producers.” Continue Reading →

Mining deals set to rebound as commodity prices recover – by Matt Chambers and Michael Bennet (The Australian – January 6, 2017)

Australian mining deals are expected to rebound from a more than 12-year low this year as confidence grows that the worst of the commodities downturn is over and as the big miners continue to hone their portfolios through sales and purchases.

Mining mergers and acquisitions involving Australian companies fell by $2 billion to just $6.9bn last year, according to analysis of Bloomberg M&A data by The Australian. This was the lowest in at least 12 years and less than a 10th of the $71.9bn worth of deals struck by Australian miners and their grateful investment bankers and lawyers in the boom year of 2007, when Rio Tinto disastrously paid $50bn in cash for Canada’s Alcan.

The slump in 2016 deals came as low commodity prices for much of the year left sellers who were not distressed on the sidelines, believing prices would rise. At the same time, most buyers would ­settle for nothing other than an absolute bargain. Continue Reading →

Coalition backs $100bn growth plan for coal industry – by David Crowe (The Australian – January 5, 2017)

The federal government is backing a $100 billion investment target to expand the Australian coal industry as it blasts the “hypocrisy” of environmentalists who want to halt new mines, escalating a fight over attempts to mandate more solar and wind power.

Aiming to open up vast new deposits for export, the government is mobilising against warnings about the “end of coal” as it considers a $1bn loan for the Adani mine in central Queensland on the condition the cash will help further projects.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan told The Australian it would be hypocritical to stop coal production or exports on the grounds that developing nations should not use fossil fuels to drive their economic growth. Continue Reading →

On the hunt for illegal miners as a new gold rush hits New Zealand – by Eleanor Ainge Roy (The Guardian – December 27, 2016)

Prospecting for gold is growing in popularity by the year, but amateurs looking for a quick fortune can damage the environment

Hokitika, New Zealand – When travelling up the glacial rivers that thread through parts of New Zealand’s rugged South Island Jackie Adams often uses his 1,500CC motorbike to move quickly over the shingle beds.

But in his line of business speedboats and helicopters can come in handy too. “No-one expects someone from the government to cruise up a river on a motorbike,” said Adams. The former British Army colonel’s unique job is to hunt for illegal gold miners, an increasingly large number of them who work the ground at night. Continue Reading →

Lithium litmus test – by Staff (Mining Journal – December 22, 2016)

Australia’s lithium sector has swelled in line with market interest and 2017 could prove the litmus test for some 50 juniors which have entered the space this year.

Among the hopefuls, Blaze International Limited (AU:BLZ) made a foray into lithium in August, announcing it had the option to acquire the Marble Bar lithium project from Great Sandy Pty Ltd, an entity owned and controlled by well-known Pilbara prospector and miner Denis O’Meara.

O’Meara first identified mineralised pegmatites in the area in 1985 but little economic significance was placed on them at the time. Continue Reading →

Shuttered Gold Mine Shows Investors Risks of Thai Power Grab – by Chris Blake (Bloomberg News – December 18, 2016)

When Thailand’s junta leader-turned-prime minister used his absolute power to suspend gold mining — prompting an Australian miner’s shares to plummet 19 percent in a single day — he complicated efforts to attract foreign investors already spooked by military rule.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha announced the order last week, saying that gold mining will be suspended from the start of the year in a bid to address health and environmental concerns. By issuing the order under Article 44 of the constitution enacted when his junta toppled the elected government in 2014, Prayuth ensured it was “lawful, constitutional and final.”

The most immediate loser is Australia’s Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd., which through its subsidiary operates Thailand’s largest and only commercially viable gold mine. Its shares dropped as much as 19 percent last Wednesday and are down nearly 40 percent since May 10, when Thailand announced the Chatree mine might close amid complaints of arsenic and manganese contamination in nearby villages. Continue Reading →

[Australia] Lithium creatures are stirring – by Staff (Mining Journal – December 14, 2016)

Fair to say there aren’t many Christmas cards being exchanged between the offices of Lepidico, Lithium Australia, Strategic Metallurgy and newly renamed Parkway Minerals, despite the ‘close’ connections of key figures at the various companies over the years.

Instead it’s ASX statements carrying each other’s names that are flying back and forth at the moment, with legal documents in tow.

Lithium microcap Lepidico’s recent annual general meeting in Perth heard the company would be maintaining a business-as-usual approach to developing its proprietary L-Max process while an ongoing legal stoush with rival junior Lithium Australia bubbled away below the surface. Continue Reading →

New Caledonian miners seek to ramp up nickel ore exports to China – by Melanie Burton , Cecile Lefort and Gus Trompiz (Reuters U.S. – December 24, 2016)

MELBOURNE, SYDNEY, PARIS – New Caledonia’s nickel ore miners have applied to increase shipments to China after an environmental crackdown on Philippine mine supply this year has caused prices to spike, four sources familiar with the matter said this week.

Two miners, Societe Metallurgique Le Nickel (SLN), owned by France’s Eramet, and Societe des Mines de la Tontouta (SMT) have applied for permits to export more ore to China in 2017, the sources said.

China is demanding new sources of nickel ore to feed its vast stainless steel industry after the Philippines, the world’s biggest ore exporter, halted production at some mines for environmental violations. China’s steel industry has boosted production this year to meet construction demand amid a domestic property boom. Continue Reading →

Holloway Mine in Matheson suspending operations – by Joe O’Grady (Kirkland Lake Northern News – December 13, 2016)

BLACK RIVER-MATHESON – While a significant amount of mining activity continues in the Matheson area, the Holloway Mine will no longer be part of it, at least for now. Owner Kirkland Lake Gold has announced the 10-year-old mine is transitioning to care and maintenance, which means operations will cease, but the site will be maintained for possible future re-opening.

The company, in a release, says the majority of the employees at Holloway Mine will be reassigned to nearby Kirkland Lake operations. By doing this, the company says it will effectively be replacing external contractors. As well, Kirkland Lake Gold will continue to conduct surface exploration drilling programs in 2017, which will progressively step further west of the Holloway shaft, an area that is historically under explored.

Further to the west of the Holloway Mine Kirkland Lake Gold is drilling the Lightval and drilling is planned for the Harker West target, as the company explores for another Lightning Zone style mineralization area. Continue Reading →

Copper Supply From Top Mine Threatened as Export Ban Looms (Bloomberg News – December 14, 2016)

Exports from the world’s second-largest copper mine in Indonesia are under threat as a government ban on overseas concentrate shipments is scheduled to come into force from the middle of January.

While ministers are rushing to revise the regulations so miners that have committed to build smelters can continue to export ore concentrates, an intermediate product used to make copper, there’s no guarantee that the deadline will be met. The rules as they stand now only permit shipments of refined metal after Jan. 11.

Richard Adkerson, chief executive officer of Freeport-McMoRan Inc., the world’s biggest publicly traded copper miner and owner of the massive Grasberg mine in Papua province, says he’s confident the issue will be resolved. Continue Reading →