Archive | Iron Ore

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 →

New CEO at IOC in Labrador City as company shuffles management – by Jacob Barker (CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador – January 09, 2017)

‘Organizational changes are an ongoing part of the business,’ a company spokesperson said

There’s been a shuffle in management at the Iron Ore Company of Canada in Labrador City. That’s according to internal documents CBC has obtained laying out “organizational changes.”

The announcement is attributed to new IOC president and CEO Clayton Walker who said he was with the company for 60 days when it was sent out on January 6th. The company’s chief operating officer, Thierry Martel, also signed off on the document.

“We are going to learn from the past and build upon our success,” the document reads. “The first step will be changing the organizational structural to allow us to better engage with our employees and manage our assets.” 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 →

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 →

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 →

Idled Canadian iron ore mine charged with $30K fine over pollution – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – December 21, 2016)

Wabush Mines, an iron ore operation in Canada’s western Labrador that has been shut since 2014, will have to pay a Cdn$30,000 (about $22K) fine for polluting the environment, a Newfoundland and Labrador provincial court has ruled.

The verdict follows the company’s guilty plea last week to offences including failing to perform acute-lethality sampling of effluent and failing to notify an inspector following a deposit out of the normal course of events.

In practical terms, that means Wabush Mines didn’t test the mine’s surroundings to determine whether there was any amount of waste being released that could harm rainbow trout. The company also failed to let an inspector know there was an unusual amount of deposit. All this happened in May 2015. Continue Reading →

No respite for shuttered iron ore miners as rally falls short – by Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – December 21, 2016)

MANILA – While this year’s spectacular rebound in iron ore prices has been a godsend for the world’s biggest miners, it has not gone high enough for smaller, less-efficient producers that still have pits shuttered and equipment idle.

The price of the steelmaking material has nearly doubled in 2016 to above $80 a ton, a boon for miners such as Vale, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto which extract the material at a cost of less than $20 per ton.

But smaller producers from China to Sweden still face hard times as their output costs can be as much as $100 a ton due to lower grades and fewer economies of scale. “Every mine I know remains shut down,” Pan Guocheng, chief executive of mining company China Hanking Holdings Ltd, told Reuters by phone. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto gets little Christmas miracle as bitter rival Beny Steinmetz detained – by James Thomson (Australian Financial Review – December 20, 2016)

It must have seemed like Christmas would never come in the Rio Tinto bunker. The promise of a new, urbane chief executive in Jean-Sebastien Jacques, the tailwind of rising commodity prices and progress on some genuinely exciting growth projects have been completely drowned out by the scandal over allegations of improper payments made five year ago around the controversial iron ore Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.

But it seems the Big Guy in red dropped a little early gift down the Rio chimney on Monday night after news emerged that Rio’s bitter rival, Beny Steinmetz, was detained in his native Israel on suspicion of bribing government officials in Guinea

Barely a week has passed since Steinmetz threatened to take legal action against Rio over the email scandal, writing an incendiary letter to Jacques and Rio chairman Jan de Plessis, and sending it on to the world’s media. Continue Reading →

[Iron Ore] A Geographic Shift in Brazil Mining Leaves a Storied Region Hurting – by Benjamin Parkin and Paul Kiernan (Wall Street Journal – December 20, 2016)

BARÃO DE COCAIS, Brazil—When Brazilian mining behemoth Vale SA closed an iron-ore mine here earlier this year, it turned this working-class town into a case study for a region whose traditional industry is starting to slip away.

For centuries mining has been the lifeblood of communities across Brazil’s southeastern state of Minas Gerais, home to colonial towns with baroque churches and ornate mansions built with mineral wealth. Even today, Minas Gerais remains one of Brazil’s more prosperous states, thanks in large part to the jobs and royalties generated by companies like Vale.

But a hollowing-out has begun, and concerns are growing that this region could one day resemble the U.S. Rust Belt or Appalachian coal country. A thousand miles north, meanwhile, in the Carajás mountains of the Amazon rain forest, Vale is putting the finishing touches on a $14-billion mining complex known as S11D. Continue Reading →

Diamond Magnate Beny Steinmetz Arrested in Guinea Bribery Case – by Scott Patterson and Rory Jones (Wall Street Journal – December 19, 2016)

Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz was arrested Monday on suspicion of bribing government officials in Guinea, Israeli authorities said, widening the fallout from a long-running scandal involving one of the world’s richest iron-ore deposits.

The move is among the most dramatic yet in a saga related to the fierce competition to mine a vast iron-ore vein in Guinea’s Simandou mountain range.

Rio Tinto PLC, which once had the rights to Simandou, last month dismissed two executives and turned over evidence to law-enforcement authorities after emails became public detailing a $10.5 million payment the British-Australian company said it made to a man with close ties to Guinea’s government. Continue Reading →

Vale opens huge new iron ore mine in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest (Reuters U.S. – December 17, 2016)

Brazil’s Vale SA on Saturday inaugurated its biggest mining project ever, lowering costs in a cut-throat market and reasserting its place as the world’s biggest iron ore producer.

The S11D mine in the Amazonian state of Para will add 75 million tonnes of production when it reaches peak output in four years, lifting Vale over Australia’s Rio Tinto, which had rivaled its output after years of stagnation.

Vale Chief Executive Murilo Ferreira said at the inaugural ceremony that the company had staked its future on the giant mining project even as iron ore prices plunged in recent years. Continue Reading →

Morgan Stanley bearish on iron ore, bullish on base metals (Sydney Morning Herald – December 14, 2016)

BLOOMBERG – Base metals win out over bulks as Morgan Stanley’s top picks for next year as President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to spruce up US infrastructure may reinforce demand from China, with the outlook in the US offering potential for what the bank termed as the “American phoenix”.

“Mr Trump’s promise to rebuild US infrastructure is a brand-new upside risk for our commodity outlook,” the bank said in a December 12 report. “Yes, we do believe China is in the mature stage of its 25-year-old materials growth cycle, and that the US may only be at the start of a new one. But the potential exists for a medium-term competitive overlap for selected commodities.”

Metals have rallied 27 per cent in 2016, with the LMEX Index heading for the first annual gain in four years, as consumption in China proved resilient and Trump’s win boosted speculation about the outlook for demand. Continue Reading →

Year’s Best Miner Cliffs Says Trump to Keep Good Times Rolling – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – December 9, 2016)

The head of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. was preparing for a “worst-case scenario” next year. Instead, he got Donald Trump.

Cliffs, the world’s best-performing raw materials producer this year, will probably generate “a lot” of cash, with which it will pay down debt, Chief Executive Officer Lourenco Goncalves said. He assigned President-elect Trump’s focus on infrastructure building and a crackdown on unfair trade as reasons his company and the steel industry are poised for more good times.

Shares of the Cleveland-based company almost quadrupled this year through early November amid signs of improving demand and successful U.S. trade cases against steel imports, which helped boost domestic steel prices. With Trump pledging to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure and to further clamp down on trade cases against countries including China, the shares have surged an additional 69 percent since the election. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto revolution prompts sixth executive exit – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – December 9, 2016)

Rio Tinto has lost the sixth member of its powerful executive committee in the space of nine months, as the revolution under new chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques continues. The latest departure is Hugo Bague, Rio’s “organisational resources” executive whose remit has included the company’s email and information technology systems.

Questions were asked of Mr Bague in recent months after emails showing three former Rio executives discussing a $US10.5 million payment to a controversial adviser in Guinea were leaked on a french website.

Former executive committee member Alan Davies was among those discussing the payment in the emails, and he was sacked for allegedly breaching the company’s code of conduct on November 16. Continue Reading →