Archive | Iron Ore

Iron ore has further to fall to knock out unconventional supplies – by Clyde Russell (Daily Mail/Reuters – April 28, 2017)

SINGAPORE, April 28 (Reuters) – Now that the euphoria of iron ore’s all too brief rally has evaporated, the question the market is grappling with is what is a fair price level for the steel-making ingredient.

Spot iron ore prices in China <.IO62-CNO=MB> ended Thursday at $66.42 a tonne, down 30 percent from the 17-month peak of $94.86 reached on Feb. 21. The problem for industry participants is how to wrestle with the factors that have driven, or are likely to drive, prices for the rest of the year.

The traditional method of looking at the supply-demand balance and assessing the cost of marginal supply does provide a starting point. But if there is one thing that the market has learnt in the past year, it’s that the main driver of the market is policy decisions in China, and how participants react to them. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-Brazil’s Vale slumps as ore price outlook, profit disappoints – by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Marta Nogueira (Reuters U.K. – April 27, 2017)

Shares in Vale SA slumped the most in two weeks on Thursday, as executives signaled lackluster trends for iron ore prices this year and investors reacted to a first-quarter profit miss with disappointment.

Preferred shares, world No. 1 iron ore producer Vale’s most widely traded class of stock, shed as much as 4 percent. The decline thwarted a recovery in the stock that had made gains this week on expectations Vale would report a near record quarterly profit.

On a results conference call, company executives said supply and demand of the main ingredient for steel look balanced, helping prices stay at $70 reais per tonne or less. In February, Vale’s head of ferrous minerals Peter Poppinga expected prices hovering around $80 a tonne this year. Continue Reading →

Vale’s first quarter profit lower than expected as rains hurt iron ore output – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 26, 2017)

Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE), the world’s No.1 iron ore miner, logged Thursday net income for the first quarter that missed estimates, reflecting the impact of heavy rains that hampered output in the so-called northern system, which groups the Carajás, Serra Leste and S11D mines in northern Brazil, as well rising financial expenses.

The Rio de Janeiro-based company reported a net income of $2.5 billion, no less than a billion off the average consensus estimate of $3.325bn in profit. It was, however, the largest since the first quarter of 2014, according to Vale.

The miner had already announced a production record in iron ore of 86.2 million tonnes for the January-March period, which it credited to the ramp-up of its massive S11D mine in Pará, and the Itabirito project, in Minas Gerais. Continue Reading →

Cliffs reports loss, but increased iron ore sales – by John Myers (Duluth news Tribune – April 27, 2017)

Cliffs Natural Resources lost $30 million in the first quarter of 2017, saying it spent more on efforts to reduce its debt and improve its long-term corporate health. The $30 million loss included a $72 million cost for restructuring debt in February. The company has cut its debt to about $1.6 billion compared to $2.5 billion at this time last year.

The company’s first quarter adjusted EBITDA — earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization — was $92 million, up 156 percent over last year. EBITDA is considered a good measure of a company’s current operational health.

Cliffs reported consolidated revenues of $462 million, up 51 percent from last year, due to increased sales and higher prices. The company’s U.S. iron ore pellet sales volume in the first quarter of 2017 was 3.1 million long tons, a 63 percent increase when compared to the first quarter of 2016 as a result of increased demand by its customers — domestic steel producers. Continue Reading →

Iron ore to slide below $US50 in 2018, says Westpac’s Justin Smirk – by Jasmine Ng (Bloomberg/Australian Financial Review – April 25, 2017)

Iron ore is destined to retreat back below $US50 a tonne next year as supplies go on rising, according to the top forecaster, who warned that weakening prices will probably encourage the sale of inventories.

The raw material will drop to average $US62 in the third quarter and $US59 in the final three months of this year before falling through 2018 to a low of $US41, said Justin Smirk, senior economist of Westpac Banking Corp. Westpac placed first in predicting prices in the first quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Iron ore was whipsawed last week after hitting a near six-month low as investors weighed signals of strength in the largest user China, including steel output at a record in March, against prospects for rising supply. Top miners including Brazil’s Vale are bringing on new capacity, bolstering seaborne sales, at the same time that miners in China have been reviving production. Smirk said that there’d been a huge ramp-up in Chinese supply. Continue Reading →

Vale’s iron ore output just hit another record – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 20, 2017)

Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE), the world’s No.1 iron ore miner, said output of the steelmaking material hit a fresh record high in the first quarter as its massive S11D mine in the Amazon continued to ramp up.

The Rio de Janeiro-based company said iron ore production jumped 11% to 86.2 million tonnes in the January-March period, compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

The figure however, was 6.7% lower than total iron ore output of 92.386 million tonnes in the prior three months, and the company said it might restrain supply even further in coming months to support prices if necessary. For now, however, the mining giant reiterated its output guidance for the year of between 360 million and 380 million tonnes of seaborne. Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto at risk in Donald Trump’s steel crackdown – by John Kehoe (Australian Financil Review – April 21, 2017)

Australian iron ore producers BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are at risk of becoming collateral damage in US President Donald Trump’s move to stamp out the “dumping” of cheap steel by foreign producers such as China.

President Trump ordered the Commerce Secretary to prioritise an investigation into whether steel imports into the US “threaten to impair national security”, by drawing on an obscure provision in a 1962 trade law.

The move opens up a path for the Trump administration to potentially impose tariffs on subsidised steel from a broad range of countries that Australia exports the steel-making ingredient iron ore to. Continue Reading →

Cliffs CEO headlines Duluth mining conference – by John Myers (Duluth News Tribune – April 19, 2017)

Lourenco Goncalves had engineers and company executives laughing in their chairs at a mining conference Wednesday with his one-liners and brutally honest opinions of his competitors, but he said he’s deadly serious about trying to gain control of the former Essar Steel project in Nashwauk.

Goncalves, CEO of Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources, says his company’s is the only serious offer for the former Essar Steel Minnesota project that may go up for auction in a Delaware bankruptcy court next week.

Goncalves was speaking to the annual conference of the Minnesota chapter of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Continue Reading →

Arbitration hearing on QIA-Baffinland royalties dispute starts April 18 (Nunatsiaq News – April 18, 2017)

Inuit org alleges mining company in breach of Mary River IIBA obligations

A long awaited arbitration hearing aimed at resolving a complex dispute between Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association over advance royalty payments for the Mary River project got started April 18 in Vancouver before a three-person panel, the QIA has announced in a release.

In a statement of claim filed Aug. 26, 2016, the QIA alleged that Baffinland, under their Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for Mary River, owed them, at that time, at least $6.25 million in advance payments.

Under the Mary River IIBA, Baffinland has already made advance payments to QIA—against future royalties— worth a total of $20 million: $5 million on the date the IIBA was signed, $5 million after the water licence was received, and $10 million after making their final construction decision. Continue Reading →

Iron ore price collapse wipes billions off top mining stocks – by Frik Els ( – April 18, 2017)

The Northern China import price of 62% Fe content ore plunged 5% on Tuesday to a six-month low of $61.50 per dry metric tonne according to data supplied by The Steel Index. The price of the steelmaking raw material is now down by more than a third over just the last month.

The knock-on effect on the market value of the world’s top iron ore miners have been dramatic with world number four, Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group, a pure play iron ore producer, hardest hit. FMG stock has lost more than 23% of their value over the last month and the Perth-based firm is now worth US$15.6 billion on the ASX following a 7.5% drop in Tuesday trading.

World number one Vale is down 16.1% over the same period knocking $8.5 billion off the Rio de Janeiro-based company’s market capitalization. Diversified giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton between them have given up $19 billion between them since the iron ore price peak mid-March. Continue Reading →

Soros Calls $10 Billion Steinmetz Mine Suit a ‘Frivolous’ Stunt – by Jesse Riseborough and Franz Wild (Bloomberg News – April 18, 2017)

George Soros hit back at allegations that he supported a defamation campaign that resulted in Israeli mining magnate Beny Steinmetz being stripped of rights to one of the world’s most lucrative mineral deposits.

Soros funded law firms, transparency groups, investigators and government officials in the West African nation of Guinea in a coordinated effort to ensure BSG Resources Ltd. lost the rights to the Simandou iron ore deposit in April 2014, BSGR said in a complaint filed Friday in Manhattan federal court. Companies controlled by Steinmetz allege the actions of the Soros-funded groups cost them at least $10 billion.

“The allegations in BSGR’s lawsuit are frivolous and entirely false,” Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros, said in an emailed statement. “The lawsuit is a desperate PR stunt meant to deflect attention from BSGR’s mounting legal problems across multiple jurisdictions.” Continue Reading →

BHP-Vale Mine Restart Hinges on Deal With Small-Town Mayor – by R.T. Watson (Bloomberg News – April 13, 2017)

A 34-year-old mayor of a small Brazilian city stands between a giant mine and its plans to resume operations after a disastrous dam collapse.

By refusing to sign off on the use of river water, Leris Braga is delaying permit approvals that would allow the BHP Billiton Ltd.-Vale SA iron venture to rehire thousands of workers and start generating cash again for debt repayments. While that makes Braga a villain for bondholders and unemployed locals, he says he’s only trying to get the company to meet its responsibilities.

“The city of Santa Barbara isn’t going to receive one cent,” he said in an interview from his offices in the more than 300-year-old mining town. “I’m not trying to make some exchange for the document they need.” Continue Reading →

Iron ore’s price slump gathers pace – by Daniel Palmer (The Australian – April 13, 2017)

Iron ore has slumped below $US70 a tonne for the first time since November 7 as it extended a losing streak to five days.

In the latest session, iron ore for immediate delivery to the Port of Tianjin in China tumbled 6.3 per cent to $US67.90 a tonne, from $US72.50 in the prior session, according to the Steel Index.

Another closely watched price source — Metal Bulletin — plunged 8.5 per cent to $US68.04, with the heaviest drop in a year taking it to the lowest mark since November 8. Continue Reading →

Alderon offers $1 million for part of Wabush Mines to use as tailings disposal for Kami – by Andrew Topf ( – April 9, 2017)

Part of the Wabush Mines complex in western Labrador may be running once again, albeit in a less glorified form that when it was Canada’s third largest iron ore mine.

Last week Alderon Iron Ore Corp., (TSX:IRON) a Vancouver-based iron ore junior, said it made a binding offer to purchase assets related to the Scully Mine in Wabush, for the purpose of disposing tailings produced from its flagship Kami project, as described in a preliminary economic assessment (PEA).

Part of Wabush Mines, Scully Mine began operating in 1965, with iron concentrate railed to a pelletizing facility in Pointe Noire, Quebec, for shipment to Europe and throughout North America. Before it closed in 2014, a victim of low iron ore prices, Wabush Mines was Canada’s third largest iron ore operation, with an annual capacity of 6 million tonnes. The site since then has been tied up in regulatory proceedings. Continue Reading →

Iron ore slides below $US80 mark – by Timothy Moore (Australian Financial Review – April 4, 2017)

The price of iron ore has extended its recent retreat, amid unrelenting negative sentiment about inventories of the steel-making raw material in China and demand for steel in the nation.

Iron ore slid 1.3 per cent to $US79.36 a tonne on Monday night, extending its pullback from its February 21 high of $US94.86 to more than 16 per cent. It’s now at its lowest since January 9; it ended 2017 at $US78.87 a tonne. China’s futures markets were closed due to a public holiday.

“Traders are now concerned about the physical capacity at ports and their ability to hold any additional iron ore if the current pace of increases continues,” ANZ said. Continue Reading →