Archive | Rio Tinto

U.S. SEC charges Rio Tinto, former top executives with fraud – by Jonathan Barrett and Brendan Pierson (Reuters U.S. – October 17, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

SYDNEY/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday charged mining company Rio Tinto Plc (RIO.L) (RIO.AX) and two of its former top executives with fraud, saying they inflated the value of coal assets in Mozambique and concealed critical information while tapping the market for billions of dollars.

The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also said on Tuesday it had reached a settlement with Rio Tinto under which the company would pay a fine of £27 million ($35.6 million) to settle claims that it breached accounting rules in connection with the Mozambique assets.

The Mozambican coal business, which relied on barging the product down the Zambezi River to port, was acquired for $3.7 billion in 2011 from Riversdale Mining and sold a few years later for $50 million. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto’s Scramble for Africa – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – October 18, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

It would be easy to suppose that the fraud claim against Rio Tinto Group filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is ancient history.

The miner’s Australian shares closed down 0.8 percent on Wednesday, only a slightly bigger loss than arch-rival BHP Billiton Ltd., which slipped 0.5 percent in the absence of a court case.

That would be a mistake, though. Rio Tinto’s scramble for Africa at the peak of the last mining boom may not have been anywhere near as destructive as the one sparked in the 19th century by another ambitious miner, Cecil Rhodes. Still, it carries a stark warning to an industry gearing up for a fresh round of spending as copper bursts through $7,000 a metric ton for the first time since 2014. Continue Reading →

Plans to restart giant Bougainville mine stall as operating rights battle rages – by Jonathan Barrett (Reuters U.S. – October 5, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

SYDNEY, October 6 (Reuters) – Plans to reopen one of the world’s biggest copper mines, shut by a civil war on the Pacific Island of Bougainville in 1989, have run into trouble.

The quarter of a million people of Bougainville are tentatively scheduled to vote on independence from Papua New Guinea in June 2019, and revenue from the reopening of the Panguna mine is essential for the otherwise impoverished island to have any chance of flourishing if it becomes the world’s newest nation.

But there is now a struggle over who will run the mine between Bougainville Copper Ltd – the previous operator now backed by the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Papua New Guinea government – and a consortium of Australian investors supported by the head of the landowners who own the mineral rights. Continue Reading →

Indonesia’s giant copper nationalisation may be good news for Rio Tinto – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – October 4, 2017)

http://www.afr.com/

For the best part of a quarter of a century Rio Tinto has struggled to extract any sort of return from its still accumulating $US2 billion investment in the routinely controversial Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia.

But some sort of pay day seems close at hand. Rio’s 40 per cent share in future production from the mine in the West Papua skies is emerging as a pivotal subject of dispute in the latest tug-of-war between Grasberg’s developer and senior owner, Freeport-McMoRan, and the Indonesian government.

Indonesia’s endgame is to inflate the level of local ownership of Grasberg from 9.36 per cent to a controlling 51 per cent. And, after years of bickering that most recently saw Freeport’s copper export licences suspended for 15 weeks, Freeport’s resistance of that ambition appeared to crack with a late-August agreement between miner and government on the pathway to nationalisation. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto pushes forward with driverless ore train – by Robb M. Stewart (Wall Street Journal/Market Watch – October 2, 2017)

http://www.marketwatch.com/

MELBOURNE, Australia–Driverless trains hauling iron ore across Australia’s arid Pilbara region were meant to transform the mining industry, until the technology proved much trickier than companies expected. But a successful test run by Rio Tinto PLC suggests the automation strategy may finally have shifted up a gear.

On Monday, Rio Tinto said it had completed a pilot run spanning nearly 62 miles with trains operated by individuals in an air-conditioned control room hundreds of miles away. The milestone puts it on track for a late-2018 commissioning of the so-called AutoHaul project, which has been dogged by software problems and repeated delays.
Until now, Rio Tinto’s trains have run about half of the miles across its Pilbara network in autonomous mode, albeit with drivers still on board to oversee operations.

Driverless mining vehicles promise greater efficiency for an industry that continues to target costs even as it pulls out of a tough few years in the wake of a slump in commodities prices. Continue Reading →

[Rio Tinto Copper Mining] Will Bougainville Hold Its Independence Referendum? – by Grant Wyeth (The Diplomat – September 28, 2017)

http://thediplomat.com/

Tensions between Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) have again arisen concerning Bougainville’s independence referendum scheduled for June 2019. PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has informed the national parliament that the criteria established in the Bougainville Peace Agreement of 2001 — which would enable the region to hold a referendum — have yet to be met.

According to O’Neill, the region has yet to establish a solid rule of law, maintain functional government structures, nor has it fully disarmed the island’s militias.  However, the ABG has been arguing for some time that the PNG government has failed to live up to its financial obligations to allow the ABG the resources to fully implement the required conditions.

That the PNG government earlier this year had the power cut to government buildings due to unpaid bills, and lost its vote at the United National General Assembly because of a failure to make its annual contributions, could indicate that the ABG may be justified in its complaints. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto boss lauds B.C.’s clean energy as trade advantage – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – September 26, 2017)

https://www.biv.com/

Kitimat aluminum smelter facing stiff competition from huge production in China

When Gervais Jacques was invited to speak to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade last week about the $6 billion modernization of an aluminum smelter in Kitimat in 2014 and 2015, the context of the discussion was free trade with the U.S. The U.S., after all, is a major customer for B.C. aluminum.

But Jacques’ talk ended up sounding more like a promotion for large-scale hydroelectricity for heavy industry and manufacturing – something Jacques called “the Canadian advantage.”

It was B.C.’s hydro power potential that drew Alcan to B.C. to build the Kemano hydroelectric dam, completed in 1954, and aluminum smelter. It was at the time the largest private investment made in B.C. With a workforce of 1,000, the smelter is Kitimat’s largest employer. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore’s Kings Are Spending Again – by Rebecca Keenan and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 29, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The biggest iron ore producers in Australia are spending as much as $10 billion on mines so they can keep pumping out shipments to China as demand in their biggest customer shows little sign of easing.

Led by Rio Tinto Group, the nation’s top three exporters plan to add about 170 million metric tons of new capacity to replace exhausted mines and are studying investments in infrastructure and equipment to boost export capacity to their long-term targeted rates. Output will rise 9 percent to 843 million tons in 2022, according to Deutsche Bank AG estimates.

Forecasts of a slowdown in China’s steel industry are proving to be misplaced with BHP Billiton Ltd. saying production hasn’t yet peaked and likely won’t do so until the middle of next decade, while steel-making raw materials will continue performing well over the coming 12 months. Iron ore prices are trading near a four-month high. Continue Reading →

As Good as It Gets: Iron Ore Risks a Reversal as China Cools – by Jasmine Ng (Bloomberg News – August 15, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Iron ore in the $70s a ton may be as good as it gets for some time. After rallying hard in June and July, the commodity may see its gains unravel over the second half as steel production in China eases back from a record pace just as global miners pump up volumes.

The robust demand that’s supported gains may fade as steelmakers start to dial back output, according to Capital Economics Ltd., which came out first among forecasters in the second quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Others expecting a drop include Citigroup Inc., Sucden Financial Ltd., Axiom Capital Management Inc. and hedge fund Academia Capital.

“There was some fundamental support for iron ore’s rally, namely strong growth in China’s steel output,” Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics, said by email. “Stocks at China’s ports are now stubbornly high and if, as seems likely, steel production and demand eases back later in the year, then we see iron ore prices coming under renewed pressure.” Continue Reading →

Major Miners’ Battle to Get Into Batteries Steps Up a Notch – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 11, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The world’s biggest miners’ determination to muscle into the burgeoning battery market stepped up a notch with Rio Tinto Group reporting breakthroughs in cracking the technology needed to unlock its giant lithium project in Serbia that could meet 10 percent of global demand.

Tests at a research facility in a converted shipping container in Australia have successfully produced lithium products from samples from the Jadar deposit, the company said Friday. It’s aiming to bring the mine in Serbia into production as soon as 2023 to tap soaring demand for the metal used in batteries for electric vehicles and power storage.

“There has been, through the phases, a number of breakthrough steps,” Simon Trott, Rio’s salt, uranium and borates division managing director, told reporters at the facility in Melbourne. “The key is that we’re producing lithium carbonate that’s to a specification that we are very confident” will meet customer requirements, he said. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto doubles first-half profit, offers record dividend – by James Regan and Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.K. – August 2, 2017)

http://uk.reuters.com/

SYDNEY/LONDON (Reuters) – Global miner Rio Tinto more than doubled its first-half profit buoyed by Chinese iron ore demand and rewarded shareholders with a record interim dividend and $1 billion in share buybacks.

Underlying earnings for the six months to June 30 of $3.94 billion missed forecasts for $4.19 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, but were well above last year’s $1.56 billion following a recovery in iron ore and other commodity prices.

Rio Tinto declared a record-high half-year dividend of $1.10 a share, equivalent to $2 billion, up from 45 cents a share a year ago. The latest buyback comes on top of a $500 million program announced in February. Continue Reading →

Goldman turns bullish on iron ore – for the moment – by Jasmine Ng (Australian Financial Review/Bloomberg – July 28, 2017)

http://www.afr.com/

Goldman Sachs boosted its iron ore forecasts after better-than-expected demand in China raised prices, but warned that it remains bearish on next year amid prospects for plentiful mine supplies and a worldwide glut.

The three-month forecast was raised to $US70 a tonne from $US55, and the year-end target increased by $US5 to $US60, according to a report from analysts including Yubin Fu and Max Layton received on Thursday. Next year, prices are still expected to drop, it said.

Iron ore has surged in recent weeks to top $US70 a tonne on sustained demand from China, the largest user. Steel mills in the country have benefited from rising product prices and strong profit margins after the government shuttered some capacity, and remaining producers are making record volumes. Continue Reading →

[Rio Tinto] How Much for That Fancy Red Diamond? It’s Kind of a Secret – by Micah Maidenberg – New York Times – July 26, 2017)

https://www.nytimes.com/

When the mining company Rio Tinto shows its latest batch of rare naturally colored diamonds — stones with hues of pink, red and even “deep-gray violet” — executives are delighted to go on about their beauty and scarcity.

But details about pricing? That is when the lips draw shut. “It’s quite confidential,” said a laughing Arnaud Soirat, the chief executive of Rio Tinto’s copper and diamond group. Welcome to the exclusive world of the colored diamond trade, a market where the buyer pool is slim, the supply is constricted and a carat can fetch $1 million or more.

On Wednesday, Rio Tinto came to Manhattan to introduce its latest and best colored diamonds, in the start of a tour that will include a stop in Hong Kong and another one in New York. The company’s latest cache, 58 stones, sparkled in glass cases on the 21st floor of a Chelsea skyscraper. With names like the Argyle Liberte and Argyle Isla, the total weight of all the stones was 49.39 carats, suggesting a collective value in the tens of millions — even though they all could fit in a pants pocket. Continue Reading →

Glencore snaps up 49pc of Hunter Valley Operations in $US1bn deal – by Matt Chambers (The Australian – July 27, 2017)

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

UPDATE: Glencore has confirmed it had struck a $US1.139 billion deal to buy 49 per cent of the Hunter Valley Operations coal mines from Yancoal Australia and Mitsubishi.

The deal, which is conditional on approvals and the completion of Yancoal’s acquisition of Rio Tinto’s operating stake in HVO as part of a $US2.69bn deal struck last month to buy all of Rio’s Australian thermal coal, is expected to be completed within six months.

Under the deal, revealed by The Australian this afternoon, Glencore has also agreed to subscribe for $US300 million of Yancoal shares in an equity raising to fund Yancoal’s Rio purchase. Continue Reading →

UK Serious Fraud Office launches probe into Rio Tinto over Simandou – by Frik Els (Mining.com – July 24, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

The UK’s anti-fraud investigating body said Monday it is probing Rio Tinto’s dealings in Guinea involving the giant Simandou iron ore project.

“The Serious Fraud Office has opened an investigation into suspected corruption in the conduct of business in the Republic of Guinea by the Rio Tinto group, its employees and others associated with it,” the SFO said in a statement on Monday.

In November last year Melbourne-based Rio fired two executives involved in the project after an internal investigation uncovered a $10.5m payment in 2011 to a French national acting as a go-between with the West African nation’s government. Continue Reading →