Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

Electric vehicles could be a game changer for high-grade nickel producers – by Tess Ingram (Australian Financial Review – July 25, 2017)

Strong interest in a new battery-grade nickel product Western Areas plans to produce reinforces suggestions the growing electric vehicles sector could deliver a “renaissance” for the flagging nickel market, Western Areas managing director Dan Lougher says.

Western Areas started work in the June quarter on its mill recovery enhancement project, which plans to produce a high-grade nickel concentrate product from its Forrestania nickel operations in Western Australia from the March quarter of 2018.

While the project will produce only about 1400 tonnes of the 45 to 50 per cent nickel concentrate, compared to Western Areas’ annual nickel production of about 25,000 tonnes, Mr Lougher said the Perth-based miner had already fielded interest in the product from multiple global battery market players. Continue Reading →

[Australia Mining] “This is Adani” -by Domanii Cameron (Townsville Bulletin – July 22, 2017)

INDIAN mining conglomerate Adani has launched a $1.4 million national advertising campaign in a bid to quash the myths that are plaguing the controversial Carmichael coal mine.

“This is Adani” kicked off today with the new branding to circulate across TV, radio, newspapers and digital sites. Adani Australia’s chief executive officer and Head of Country Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the campaign showed the “real Adani”.

“We will soon start the largest industrial project in Australia by an Indian company, an investment that will deliver 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, and an investment that will generate more than $40 billion in state and Federal taxes and royalties,” he said. Continue Reading →

Zinc Rally Set to Last as Producer Sees Best Price in Decade – by Swansy Afonso (Bloomberg News – July 20, 2017)

The rally in zinc prices has the potential to jump this year to levels not seen in a decade as demand continues to outstrip supply amid mine output disruptions, according to Hindustan Zinc Ltd., Asia’s biggest producer by market value.

Prices may rise to about $3,000 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange in the next couple of quarters, Sunil Duggal, chief executive officer of the Vedanta Ltd. unit, said in a phone interview from Udaipur in Rajasthan. The last time prices hit that level was in 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Zinc, used to galvanize steel, has spearheaded an advance in base metals, gaining about 23 percent in the past year, as production cuts by Glencore Plc and other suppliers helped spur shortages. Higher prices and an increase in output saw Hindustan Zinc on Thursday report an 81 percent increase in net income to 18.8 billion rupees ($292 million) in the three months to June. Continue Reading →

Traditional owners win native title fight with Fortescue – by Darren Gray (Sydney Morning Herald – July 20, 2017)

Native title holders in the Pilbara will seek compensation after winning their long-running battle with iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group. In a judgment on Thursday, the Federal Court awarded the Yindjibarndi people exclusive rights over a section of Pilbara land where Fortescue operates the Solomon mine.

Shortly after the judgment was handed down, senior Yindjibarndi lawman Michael Woodley vowed to launch a compensation claim against the iron ore miner.

“We believe strongly they are liable for what they’ve been doing for the last eight years on our country, mining without our … prior and informed consent,” Mr Woodley told the ABC. In his decision, Justice Steven Rares pointed to the presence of the Yindjibarndi in the area well before European settlement and the fact there were important cultural sites near the Fortescue mine. Continue Reading →

[Australia] Top Mining Nation Readying Fresh Investment Wave as Prices Rally – by Matthew Burgess and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – July 17, 2017)

(Bloomberg) — Mining companies in Australia, the world’s biggest exporter of iron ore and coal, are poised to approve fresh investments in projects, driven by rallying commodity prices and the need to replace depleting deposits, according to global equipment supply giant Komatsu Ltd.

“They’re looking at new fleets of equipment,“ Sean Taylor, chief executive officer of Komatsu’s Australian unit, said in an interview in Sydney. The miners have to reinvest in output “because otherwise they can’t maintain production at the levels that they’re at,” he said.

Australia’s commodity exports are set to hold above A$200 billion ($155 billion) over the next two fiscal years and there’s a pipeline of about A$25 billion of projects approved for construction, according to government estimates. The Bloomberg Commodity Index has advanced more than 12 percent since slumping to a quarter-century low in January 2016. Continue Reading →

Vale’s future in New Caledonia uncertain (Radio New Zealand – July 18, 2017)

New Caledonia is facing the possibilty of unprecedented job losses because of the continued low nickel price. The Brazilian company Vale is reassessing its commitment to running the Goro plant in the south of New Caledonia’s main island on which thousands of jobs depend.

Jamie Tahana asked Walter Zweifel what has triggered the concern.

WALTER ZWEIFEL: The low nickel price has been like a dark cloud over the entire nickel sector for years now, with losses being run up by all the three main operators. What sent the alarm bells ringing is the announcement by Vale’s new CEO Fabio Schvartsman in Brazil at the start of this month that it was reviewing its operation in New Caledonia. Vale runs a global network of mines and mining-related businesses which make it the world’s top iron producer. However Vale has been bleeding money in New Caledonia where it is reported to have lost $US1.3 billion in the past three years.

JAMIE TAHANA: What are the options that are being discussed? Continue Reading →

Mining giant in radical program to fight suicide (Makay Daily Mercury – July 17, 2017)

ANGLO-Swiss mining giant Glencore is establishing an Australian beachhead in the fight against suicide with a radical program already under way in the historic mining town of Clermont, southwest of Mackay.

Glencore, along with the NSW Coal Services Health and Safety Trust, is a driving force behind Mates in Mining, which encourages workers to ask each other a confronting question still regarded as taboo: “Are you contemplating suicide?” The program fuses together workers, unions and employers in tackling an issue that’s at crisis proportions among men working in construction and mining.

Glencore is backing the charity, which is soon to be rolled out across the nation, while other mining companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto have in-house programs to deal with the issue. Continue Reading →

Deep Sea Mining and the Controversial Solwara 1 Project in Papua New Guinea – by Peter Neill (Huff Post – July 11, 2017)

Peter Neill is the Director of the World Ocean Observatory.

It has been some time since we’ve reflected on the issue of deep sea mining — the search for minerals of all types on the ocean floor.

We have seen already how marine resources are being over-exploited — over-fishing by international fisheries being the most egregious example, mining for sand for construction projects and the creation of artificial islands, the exploitation of coral reefs and certain marine species for medical innovations and the next cure for human diseases based on understanding and synthesis of how such organisms function.

The Deep Sea Mining Campaign, an organization based in Australia and Canada, has been following the saga of Solwara 1, proposed by Nautilus Inc. for offshore Papua New Guinea that continues to seek financing year after year since 2011. Continue Reading →

Al Gore to PM: ‘Malcolm, don’t build the mine’ – by Nick Whigham ( – July 11, 2017)

FORMER United States Vice President Al Gore has a message from our Prime Minister: “Malcolm, don’t build the mine.” He is, of course, referring to the government’s plan to allow Indian mining conglomerate Adani to build a mega-mine in North Queensland known as the Carmichael coal mining project.

Mr Gore is in Australia ahead of the release of An Inconvenient Sequel, the follow up to his Oscar-winning 2006 documentary on global warming. The movie follows Mr Gore as he travels the world giving his famous power point presentation and meeting politicians while championing the need for renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels.

When asked by if he’d ever tried to persuade the Australian government from pursuing the controversial mining project, he seized the opportunity. “Well if he’s watching, Malcolm don’t build the mine,” he said. “That’s a direct way to do it.” Continue Reading →

Tesla wades into Australia’s battle over energy future – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – July 10, 2017)

LAUNCESTON, AUSTRALIA – There is a lot more riding on Tesla Inc’s deal to install the world’s largest grid-scale electric battery in Australia than whether Elon Musk can meet his bold commitment to finish within the 100-day deadline.

Under an agreement made public on July 7, Tesla must deliver the 100 megawatt (MW) battery within 100 days of the contract being signed, or the government of South Australia state won’t have to pay the electric car, clean energy and space exploration company.

On the surface, this is a deal aimed at providing back-up electricity to South Australia, a state that has been plagued by blackouts since it closed coal-fired power plants and moved to being powered mainly by renewables such as wind, and to a grid connection to neighboring Victoria state. Continue Reading →

Tesla to build titanic battery facility – by Dennis Normile (Science Magazine – July 7, 2017)

Tesla announced today that it will build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery system to store electricity in Australia. The 100-megawatt installation—more than three times as powerful as the biggest existing battery system—will be paired with the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, operated by the French renewable energy company Neoen, in a deal with the state of South Australia. The Tesla battery should smooth out the variability inherent in sustainable power generation schemes.

“Cost-effective storage of electrical energy is the only problem holding us back from getting all of our power from wind and solar,” says Ian Lowe, an energy policy specialist at Griffith University in Nathan, Australia, near Brisbane.

The Tesla system, he says, will “demonstrate the feasibility of large-scale storage.” It might also win over skeptics who doubt that renewables can match the dependability of conventional fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, says Geoffrey James, a renewable energy engineer at University of Technology Sydney. Continue Reading →

Australia cuts resources export revenue forecast on iron ore outlook – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – July 6, 2017)

Australia has revised down the value of its resources and energy export earnings in the year to end-June 2017 by 4.6 percent, or nearly A$10 billion ($7.6 billion), due largely to falling prices for iron ore, its most valuable export.

The downward revision to A$205 billion mainly reflects an earlier than expected decline in iron ore prices since the previous forecasts were published three months ago, the Department of Industry, Science and Innovation said.

Iron ore, Australia’s top source of export revenue, should average $62.40 in calendar 2017, down from an earlier forecast of $65.20, the department said. Iron ore has averaged about $74 a tonne so far this year, implying prices will continue to deteriorate in the second half. The price was last quoted at $63.28 a tonne. Continue Reading →

BHP’s New Chairman Expected to Drive a ‘Radical Shift’ – by Jasmine Ng (Bloomberg News – July 5, 2017)

BHP Billiton Ltd.’s new chairman is about to shake things up at the world’s largest mining company, according to Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd., which says that Ken MacKenzie will probably undertake a full-scale review of assets and strategy, and may demerge the petroleum business.

“Despite management’s reluctance to change at this stage, we believe that BHP is about to experience a radical shift in strategy, driven by the arrival, effective Sept. 1, of the new chairman,” analysts including Paul Gait said in a note.

MacKenzie used to run a packaging business, and his “detachment from the mining sector makes him, we believe, inevitably far more objective on the best direction BHP should take from now on.” BHP has been the target of an activist investor campaign in recent months spearheaded by Elliott Management Corp., which has rounded on management decisions that the fund claims have destroyed about $40 billion in value. Continue Reading →

Mount Isa Super Basin hosts the world’s largest zinc deposits – by Tony Raggatt (Townsville Bulletin – July 4, 2017)

THE country north of Mount Isa has the potential to deliver the world’s next big zinc mine with huge benefits for Townsville in jobs and manufacturing, according to a Western Australia explorer.

Pursuit Minerals Ltd, currently listed on the Australian sharemarket under the name Burrabulla Corporation, has successfully raised $6 million to begin a two-year search in the Mount Isa Super Basin.

The area hosts the largest concentration of zinc deposits on the planet and is in the same area of the now depleted Century zinc mine mothballed last year. Continue Reading →

Vale says loss-making New Caledonia nickel operations under review (Reuters U.S. – July 3, 2017)

Brazil’s Vale is reassessing its loss-making New Caledonian nickel operations as part of a wider review of low performing assets after new Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman took charge last month, a spokesman said.

“Under the leadership of our new CEO, Vale is reviewing all assets and operations, with low-performing assets an area of particular focus. Vale New Caledonia is part of that review,” spokesman Cory McPhee told Reuters by email.

“The nickel price today is languishing at around $9,000 a tonne with no indication of recovery in the near-term. This has forced us to reassess all areas of the nickel business, including our operations in New Caledonia, which continue to lose money at these prices.” Continue Reading →