Archive | BHP Billiton

Escondida workers to end strike as they opt for old contract – by Felipe Iturrieta (Reuters U.S. – March 23, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE – The strike at Chile’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, is ending after workers decided to invoke a rarely used legal provision that allows them to extend their old contract, the union said on Thursday.

Hours earlier, talks between the two sides failed, and Escondida, which is operated by BHP Billiton, said it would attempt to restart production. The workers said they would present their decision to the government on Friday and return to work on Saturday.

A swift restart of Escondida, which produced about 5 percent of the world’s copper last year, may bring some relief to the Chilean economy after a strike that has lasted 43 days. But there was little immediate effect on copper prices, with industry experts saying the two sides will still have to tackle major issues in 18 months, when talks must resume. Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton, striking Escondida union to meet Wednesday – by Felipe Iturrieta (Reuters U.K. – March 22, 2017)

http://uk.reuters.com/

ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE – The striking union at BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX)(BLT.L) Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world’s largest, will meet with the company on Wednesday to resume conversations, both parties said on Tuesday night.

In a letter sent to the members of the 2,500-member Escondida union, labour leaders said they would meet with the company in the hopes of putting an end to the 41-day strike, one of the longest in the history of Chilean mining.

A company spokesman confirmed to Reuters that a meeting would take place on Wednesday, adding that the time of the meeting would be coordinated on Wednesday. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore Takes a Battering as Bear Market Engulfs China Futures – by Ranjeetha Pakiam (Bloomberg News – March 22, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Iron ore is getting battered. After rounds of warnings that this year’s rally may be overdone, the raw material is in retreat as doubts gather about the strength of demand in China as steel sells off and record port stockpiles put a spotlight on rising supplies.

In China, futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange sank into a bear market as steel in Shanghai posted the longest run of declines this year, while the SGX AsiaClear contract in Singapore fell for a fourth day. Benchmark spot prices from Metal Bulletin Ltd. extended a loss below $90 a dry metric ton to the lowest since Feb. 9.

“Steel demand in China is clearly robust, but iron ore prices remain very elevated versus fundamentals, and it’s only a matter of time before they normalize to below $60,” Ian Roper, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd., said in an email. “We’ve had a negative view on prices for a while but they’ve held up longer than we expected.” Continue Reading →

Brazil dam disaster lawsuit against BHP Billiton, Vale, suspended – by Paul Kiernan(The Australian – March 17, 2018)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

A Brazilian judge has suspended a nearly $US50 billion ($A65bn) lawsuit against the mining firms responsible for the 2015 Samarco tailings dam disaster, as negotiations between the companies and authorities moved forward.

The decision came as part of a ruling in which federal judge Mário de Paula Franco Júnior approved a road map toward a final agreement between prosecutors and mining companies BHP Billiton (BHP), Vale, and their joint-venture Samarco Mineração.

Brazil’s government, which brought the lawsuit, was not immediately available for comment but in the past has indicated its main concern was reaching a settlement and safely restarting the mine. Continue Reading →

Escondida copper mine in Chile says to restart operations (Reuters U.S. – March 14, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

The Escondida copper mine in Chile plans to restart operations after striking workers again rejected an invitation by controlling owner BHP Billiton to return to negotiations, an executive told reporters late Tuesday.

The world’s largest copper mine will first resume work in two areas of the mine that are unrelated to the current talks, Escondida Mine President Marcelo Castillo said at a news conference in the city of Antofagasta.

The company will then begin to do additional maintenance work, before finally re-establishing mining operations and restarting copper production. “We hope that in some way opportunities for dialogue come about…but with the posture that we saw yesterday (from the union) and that all of you saw yesterday, it’s difficult to be able to hope for a conversation in the short term,” Castillo said. Continue Reading →

Top Iron Miners’ Cash Juggernaut Set to Survive Price Crash – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – March 13, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The world’s biggest iron ore miners will be able to withstand the expected plunge in prices because their race to cut production costs has dramatically lowered the industry’s margin pressure point, allowing them to keep fueling a cash juggernaut that’s revived the mining sector.

More than 90 percent of producers in the global seaborne market can generate profits at a benchmark price of $60 a metric ton, Adrian Doyle, a Sydney-based senior consultant at researcher CRU Group, said by phone. That compares with about 65 percent of suppliers able to avoid losses at the same price point three years ago, he said.

“There have been fantastic cost reductions in a lot of instances,” while producers have also been boosted by lower oil prices, Doyle said. “If we were thinking of a pressure point where we’d start to see a bit of stretching in the industry, previously it would’ve been around $60 a ton, now it’s closer to $50 a ton-to-$45 a ton to stress test everyone but the majors.” Continue Reading →

BHP eyes temporary workers to break strike at Chile’s Escondida mine – by Fabian Cambero (Reuters U.K. – March 8, 2017)

http://uk.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO – BHP Billiton (BLT.L) (BHP.AX) may try to restart production at the world’s No.1 copper mine Escondida in Chile using temporary workers once the strike surpasses 30 days, the company told a local radio station on Wednesday.

If their safety could be assured “there is the option of using contractors’ help to try to get production going” and it will be evaluated day by day, Escondida’s corporate affairs director Patricio Vilaplana told Teletrece in an interview.

Local media reported that the company is considering a two-pronged approach as the strike approaches the 30-day mark on Friday – submitting a new contract offer that deals with some of the union’s concerns, and restarting output. BHP declined to comment. Continue Reading →

Escondida strike turns violent as protesters block roads, battle police (Reuters U.S. March 1, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

The three-week-long strike at Chile’s Escondida, the world’s biggest copper mine, turned ugly on Wednesday when a group of protesters blocked a highway, provoking confrontations with the police.

Escondida’s approximately 2,500 unionized workers began a strike on Feb. 9 after contract talks with mine owner BHP Billiton failed, boosting global copper prices on expectations of tighter supply.

Early Wednesday morning, dozens of protesters, some with shirts, caps and flags bearing the union’s emblem, illegally barricaded the main road that connects the regional city of Antofagasta with the mine. Continue Reading →

Escondida Deal Hopes Fade as Sides Give Contradicting Views – by Danielle Bochove, Laura Millan Lombrana and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – February 27, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Copper traders were left confused over the state of play at the world’s top copper mine: the owner said wage talks had resumed, while the union said striking workers have had no contact with management for a week.

“The good news is that we are back around the table and things are starting to come together in some form of a negotiation,” BHP Billiton Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie told Bloomberg TV on Monday. “Let’s wait and see, and others I’m sure will update you on the progress of those talks.”

While BHP-owned Escondida declined to comment further, the union said a meeting last Monday organized by Chilean labor authorities was the last time the two sides have sat down together. Escondida halted output on Feb. 9 after a month of talks failed to produce a wage accord. Continue Reading →

Coal ‘an attractive business’: BHP Billiton chief Andrew Mackenzie – by Matt Chambers (The Australian – February 23, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

BHP Billiton says Chinese coalmining policy that has reined in production means it could develop more Queensland coking coalmines after three years of focusing on squeezing the most cash it could out of the mines and not promoting their growth.

Speaking to investors last night after delivering a $US3.2 billion ($4.2bn) first-half profit, chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said coal remained an attractive business.

“There is no doubt the Chinese tried to restructure their mining activities in both coals, and indeed in iron ore, through their restructuring of steel,” Mr Mackenzie said. “It has probably made the bulks a little bit more investable than they would otherwise have been.” Continue Reading →

World’s biggest miner hasn’t given up hope for potash – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – February 21, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT), the largest mining company by market capitalization, sees potash as a key commodity in which to base its future growth despite prices are still hovering just above $210 a tonne, less than a half what they were only five years ago.

“Our preference long term is to grow in oil and copper, then possibly potash,” the firm’s chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie said when releasing first half of the year results Tuesday.

BHP seems to be in no rush to advance its massive $2.6 billion Jansen potash project in Canada’s Saskatchewan province. For years the company has been sinking shafts and installing some infrastructure on site, but has not fully committed itself to the project, nor received board approval for the mine. Continue Reading →

BHP to Trump: protectionism will hurt growth, commodity demand – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.K. – February 21, 2017)

http://uk.reuters.com/

U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist stance is likely to erode economic growth over the longer term and therefore demand for raw materials, the chief executive of the world’s biggest miner, BHP Billiton, said on Tuesday.

Mining stocks rallied on expectations Trump’s policies would lead to increased infrastructure spending in the United States and, just before Trump took office, Mackenzie had a meeting with the president-elect, which officials said was productive.

Andrew Mackenzie said it would be good news for the resources sector if Trump could unlock “the challenge of bringing more money into infrastructure”. But he said Trump’s protectionist stance was likely to be bad for growth and therefore ultimately for commodities demand. Continue Reading →

Mining Companies Are Back in the Black – by Scott Patterson and Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – February 21, 2017)

https://www.wsj.com/

Coming out of a punishing downturn, executives are still cautious despite the return to profitability

The world’s biggest miners are profit machines again, cashing in on soaring commodity prices and rewarding investors who stuck with them through a brutal downturn.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest miner by market value, said Tuesday it earned a net profit of $3.2 billion for the second half of 2016 after posting a $5.7 billion loss in the year-ago period. Anglo American PLC, the fifth-largest mining company, reported a net profit of $1.6 billion for all of 2016, a dramatic rebound from 2015, when it lost $5.6 billion.

The solid performance builds on strong results posted by British-Australian miner Rio Tinto PLC, which two weeks ago said it earned $4.6 billion in 2016 following a loss of $866 million in the prior year. Switzerland-based Glencore PLC is scheduled to release 2016 results on Thursday, with analysts widely predicting a return to profit. Continue Reading →

Miners Enjoy Fastest Comeback in a Decade on Surging Profits – by Kevin Crowley and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – February 21, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The speed of the mining recovery is faster than anything that’s been seen in the past decade. BHP Billiton Ltd. and Anglo American Plc on Tuesday reported the biggest profit increases since at least 2007 on deep cost cuts and rebounding metal prices. The earnings exceeded analysts estimates and highlight mining’s dramatic reversal of fortune in the past year.

The industry is coming back from a crisis that forced some of the top metal producers to sell assets, cut costs and rein in spending after years of over-investment. Metal prices have largely recovered from the downturn and several of the biggest mines are profitable, instead of bleeding cash.

“You can see how cash generative this business can be,” Paul Gait, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. in London, said by phone. “I think 2017 is a year of strategic re-positioning and rethinking.” Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton boosts payout on commodities surge – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – February 21, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

SYDNEY – Mining giant BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) rewarded shareholders with a bigger than expected payout on Tuesday, reflecting a growing confidence across the sector as rising commodity prices delivered a cash windfall.

BHP and other miners are basking in a welcome surge in commodity prices on the back of a renewed appetite in China for imported raw materials, with iron ore prices climbing more than 80 percent in 2016 and coal up as much as 300 percent.

However, BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said the company’s No. 1 focus was still on paying down debt, highlighting an uncertain economic and political outlook. “We preferred, on balance, most of it (extra cash) to go toward the strengthening of our balance sheet,” Mackenzie told reporters. “But we were very keen to signal to our shareholders our commitment to strong cash returns.” Continue Reading →