Archive | International Media Resource Articles

BHP Billiton set to reap benefits of favoured status with Donald Trump – by Robert Gottliebsen (The Australian – January 13, 2017)

Suddenly almost everything is going right for the world’s largest mining company, Australia’s BHP. Not only is cash pouring into its coffers because of higher iron ore, oil and coal prices but, thanks to CEO Andrew Mackenzie and his team, much lower costs mean profits will skyrocket at a rate well above the estimates of most analysts.

In the past BHP would have been expected to shower shareholders with dividends but now the company is among an elite group of non-US companies—-it has been chosen by president-elect Donald Trump to help “make America great again”.

I do not think Australia and even BHP fully comprehend the US potential being opened up for the Big Australian. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Indonesia rocks the nickel market (again) – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – January 13, 2017)

Jan 13 Almost exactly three years ago Indonesia rocked the global nickel market by banning the export of unprocessed minerals. At the stroke of a presidential pen the flow of nickel ore feeding China’s massive stainless steel sector was cut off.

Now Indonesia has done it again, this time by part reversing that ban. The London Metal Exchange nickel price initially slumped 5 percent on the news to a four-month low of $9,660 per tonne before recovering to $10,275 at the Thursday close.

The tremors have spread to the equities market with the shares of Australia’s nickel producers and Indonesia’s own PT Vale Indonesia experiencing similar turbulence. Continue Reading →

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 →

South Africa: 1 700 Workers Start Strike 2.4km Below Harmony Mine (All Africa – January 12, 2017)

About 1 700 miners refused to return to the surface of Harmony Gold’s [JSE:HAR] Kusasalethu mine in the West Rand on Wednesday, with the miner saying they have embarked on an illegal sit-in.

“Harmony Gold confirms that around 1 700 employees are participating in an illegal sit-in at the company’s Kusasalethu mine near Carletonville,” the company said in a statement.

“The sit-in started on Wednesday, January 11 when employees chose not to return to surface at the end of the morning shift. “No formal demands have been made by the participating employees. Continue Reading →

Coal Recovery Too Good to Resist for World’s Biggest Shipper – by Fitri Wulandari and Eko Listiyorini (Bloomberg News – January 13, 2017)

Indonesia will exceed its coal production target for another year as miners cash in after prices recovered from a five-year collapse.

The world’s biggest exporter will produce about 489 million metric tons this year, 18 percent above the government-mandated target, according to energy ministry forecasts. That’s up from last year’s output estimated at 434 million tons and would be at least the third year in a row that the nation has produced more than it planned.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy has been trying to cap its coal output in an attempt to preserve resources for future generations of Indonesians. That’s proving a challenge as resurgent prices tempt producers to maximize output from new and existing mines to meet demand at home and abroad. Continue Reading →

Nickel smelters consider suing Indonesia after ore export ban U-turn – by Wilda Asmarini and Fergus Jensen (Reuters U.S. – January 13, 2017)

JAKARTA – A major Chinese investor in Indonesia’s smelter industry said on Friday it was considering legal action and would put on hold its expansion plans in the country, after the government abruptly reversed a ban on the export of nickel ore and bauxite.

Indonesia’s government faced a sharp industry backlash after it unveiled sweeping new rules on Thursday allowing the export of nickel ore and bauxite under certain conditions. The policy change was a blow to Indonesia’s smelting industry which took off after the country banned mineral ore exports in 2014 to spur higher-value processing.

Virtue Dragon Nickel Industry, a unit of China’s De Long Nickel Co Ltd, and other smelter operators are jointly reviewing legal steps against the Indonesian government, Virtue Dragon’s general manager Rudi Rusmadi told Reuters by telephone. Continue Reading →

Goldcorp sells Mexico mine in $438 million deal, focus on core assets – by Susan Taylor (Reuters U.S. – January 12, 2017)

TORONTO – Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) agreed to sell its Los Filos mine in Mexico to Leagold Mining Corp LMCh.V in a deal valued at $438 million on Thursday, as the world’s No. 3 gold miner by market value focuses more squarely on core assets.

Goldcorp, which put Los Filos on the block last year under a push to prioritize its biggest and best mines, said the transaction will help it grow net asset value per share and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.

Under the transaction, Vancouver-based Goldcorp will get $279 million in cash, $71 million in Leagold shares and tax receivables worth about $88 million. Shares of Goldcorp, which separately announced the $18 million cash sale of its Cerro Blanco project in Guatemala to Bluestone Resources (BSR.V) on Wednesday, nudged about 1 percent higher on Toronto and New York exchanges at mid-session Thursday. Continue Reading →

[Lithium Mining] Harsh desert climate in Chile is one place that literally helps to power the world – by Neil Vorano ( – January 11, 2017)

You can see the road we’re going down with electric cars; though they still only make up a very small percentage of all the vehicles in North America, their sales are growing. And you only need to look at the hype surrounding the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt and, a little later, the Tesla Model 3, to see how people are getting behind this technology. Continue Reading →

Indonesia eases export ban on nickel ore, bauxite – by Wilda Asmarini and Bernadette Christina Munthe (Reuters U.S. – January 12, 2017)

JAKARTA – Indonesia introduced new rules on Thursday that will allow exports of nickel ore and bauxite and concentrates of other minerals under certain conditions, in a sweeping policy shift from the key global supplier.

The broad changes cover areas including permit extensions, which can now be applied for up to five years in advance of expiry, and rules on divestment.

The changes also require nickel and bauxite miners to dedicate at least 30 percent of their smelter capacity to process low-grade ore, defined as below 1.7 percent nickel or below 42 percent aluminum. Continue Reading →

Trumponomics Divides Investors as Gold ETF Flows Diverge – by Luzi-Ann Javier (Bloomberg News – January 10, 2017)

Gold is splitting the investment community down the middle.

Take the flows into and out of exchange-traded funds. Money has been draining out of SPDR Gold Shares, the world’s largest gold-backed ETF used by big institutional investors, each week since Nov. 11. But iShares Gold Trust, a smaller rival favored by individuals investing lesser amounts for themselves, has seen back-to-back weekly inflows.

Large mutual, pension and hedge funds are chasing better returns in rallying U.S. stock markets thanks to President-elect Donald Trump’s pro-growth policies. Retail investors including iShares Gold holders are returning to gold amid renewed concern that Trump protectionism will restrict global trade and growth.

Those concerns were shared by more than two-thirds of traders surveyed by Bloomberg News last month, who forecast prices will gain this year as political uncertainties drive demand for haven assets including bullion. Continue Reading →

Diamonds forever: Will Israel stay away from Congo? – by Daniel Brett (Al – January 11, 2017)

Building an empire in Congo

“Nothing happens in Congo without Dan Gertler and Gertler can do nothing without playing the Israeli card,” said an advisor to an international mining conglomerate. But the net is tightening around the Israeli billionaire mining magnate who dominates the economic life of the resource rich but economically impoverished Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Israeli mining magnate has been fundamental in the Kabila family’s control of the DRC over the past two decades. But the 42-year-old billionaire, who was the inspiration of for the movie Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is now under international scrutiny over corruption.

Meanwhile, his main Congolese ally, President Joseph Kabila, is clinging on by his fingertips to power. The fragile situation in the Central African rentier state threatens to drag the Israeli security establishment into a renewed conflict to defend the billionaire’s interests. Continue Reading →

Essar Conglomerate Faces $1 Billion Lawsuit From Minnesota Unit – by Jacqueline Palank and Jacquie McNish (Wall Street Journal – January 11, 2017)

Essar Steel Minnesota accuses parent of hindering iron-ore mine, processing plant

A new lawsuit seeks more than $1 billion in damages from Indian conglomerate Essar Group for alleged misconduct related to a stalled Minnesota iron-ore mine and processing plant.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Essar Steel Minnesota LLC in its chapter 11 case, outlines “a myriad of damaging actions” parent company Essar Global Fund Ltd. allegedly took with respect to the subsidiary.

These alleged actions “exacerbated ESML’s cash starved financial position” and included transferring millions of dollars to affiliated companies not working on construction of the Minnesota mine, for “absolutely no value” in return. 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 →

Mining’s Next Big Boom – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – January 11, 2017)

Here’s something to give a fresh shot in the arm to copper, the second-best-performing base metal over the past three months: the prospect of strike action at its biggest pit.

Management at BHP Billiton Ltd.-run Escondida in Chile have rejected union demands for a 7 percent pay rise and 25 million peso ($37,300) bonus, and talks are ongoing ahead of a vote by workers on a final proposal Jan. 24, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.

As Gadfly argued in September, the risk of industrial action is one of the major supply-side factors supporting copper at the moment. Escondida accounted for about 1.2 million metric tons of mined copper in 2015, so any stoppage could sharply tighten a market that Bloomberg Intelligence estimates will see a 453,000-ton surplus this year. Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton chiefs meet Donald Trump in New York – by Daniel Palmer (The Australian – January 11, 2017)

BHP Billiton’s most prominent executives have met with Donald Trump in New York just two months after the company warned the US president-elect to back away from a 45 per cent trade tariff on China.

The controversial policy was flagged through a heated election campaign that saw Mr Trump consistently hit out at Beijing. At BHP’s meeting with Mr Trump and vice president-elect Mike Pence were chief executive Andrew Mackenzie, chairman Jac Nasser and chief legal counsel Geoff Healy.

In a brief statement, the mining giant said the discussions had been “productive” but declined to elaborate on the specific details of the talks. Continue Reading →