Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

Australia Sees Jobs Boom in West as Resources Comeback on Cards – by Michael Heath (Bloomberg News – July 17, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Employment jumped and the labor force swelled in Australia’s western mining heartland, offsetting job losses in every other state, suggesting forecasts of a resource investment revival might be coming to pass.

In Western Australia, 13,800 jobs were added in June, the participation rose 0.3 percentage point and unemployment fell almost half a percentage point to 5.8%, data from the statistics bureau showed in Sydney Thursday. In contrast, New South Wales, the economy’s growth driver in recent years and Australia’s biggest state, shed 17,400 positions.

“The pickup in full-time hiring in Western Australia may be a sign that the trough in resource investment may soon come to an end,” said Tamara Mast Henderson, an economist at Bloomberg Economics. Continue Reading →

Steel mills to the rescue as Rio’s iron mines hit four-year low – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – July 16, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

Strong Chinese steel production is papering over cracks in Rio Tinto’s flagship iron ore division, where production over the past six months slumped to the lowest level in four years.

Rio’s Australian iron ore mines provided just 93 per cent of the iron ore shipped by the company in the three months to June 30, forcing Rio to draw down 5.7 million tonnes of stockpiled iron ore. Those stockpiles were worth almost $1 billion based on the $US119.25 per tonne that iron ore was fetching on Monday.

The weak statistics published by Rio’s most important division on Tuesday only bolster expectations that 2019 will be the first year since the turn of the century that Rio’s Australian iron ore exports will fall sequentially. Continue Reading →

The world’s biggest diamond mine is closing, which means gem prices are likely heading higher – by David Stringer and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News/Finance – July 12, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Argyle is best known as the source of about 90 per cent of the world’s prized pink diamonds

The world’s biggest diamond mine ⁠— famed more for the fistful of coveted pink and red gems it yields each year than being a major producer of lower-quality stones — is being shuttered by Rio Tinto Group after almost four decades. Rivals from Russia to Canada hope that can help turn around the beleaguered industry.

Rio’s Argyle mine in remote Western Australia has transformed the sector since 1983 when the operation began supplying gems for both ends of the market. RBC Capital Markets and Panmure Gordon are among brokers, banks and competitors forecasting the closure could kick-start prices that have waned since 2011, according to PolishedPrices.com, an industry data provider.

Production at Argyle, about 2,600 kilometres (1,600 miles) northeast of the state capital Perth, is scheduled to end before the end of next year after finally exhausting its supply of economically viable stones, said Arnaud Soirat, Rio’s head of copper and diamonds. Continue Reading →

BHP Is Latest Giant Miner to Plan Exit From Thermal Coal – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – July 11, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — BHP Group is moving ahead with plans to exit thermal coal, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest move by the world’s biggest miners to retreat from the dirtiest fuel.

BHP is looking at options to divest the business that includes assets in Australia and Colombia, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the development has not been made public. There’s no guarantee the company will go ahead with a sale, the people said.

The decision demonstrates how growing climate-change pressure from investors and regulators is reshaping the future of extractive industries. Continue Reading →

BHP Eyes 11 New Iron Ore Mines Over the Next 50 to 100 Years – by Rebecca Keenan (Bloomberg News – July 11, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

BHP Group, the world’s largest mining company, says it could build up to 11 more iron ore mines over the next 50 to 100 years in the mineral-rich Pilbara region of northern Australia.

The Melbourne-based miner has signed an agreement with Western Australia’s government to streamline environmental approvals for its long-term iron ore plan. Approval time frames for new mines could be cut by up to 50%.

BHP and rivals are benefiting from a booming iron ore market amid strong Chinese demand and supply disruptions from Brazil to Australia. Prices have skyrocketed 65 percent this year, hitting the highest level in more than five years. Benchmark spot ore prices last traded at $119.50, according to Mysteel Global. Continue Reading →

Indian billionaire defends controversial coal mine in Australia (Business Times – July 10, 2019)

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/

THE Indian billionaire behind the controversial Carmichael coal mine in Australia is hitting back at criticism the endeavour will be both unprofitable and too dirty.

In an interview in New Delhi, Gautam Adani took aim at two major faults opponents have flung at the development: that the mine’s low-quality coal won’t earn enough money to justify his US$2 billion investment, and that the world must abandon the fuel in favour of renewable energy to avoid catastrophic climate change.

“If the project wasn’t viable, we wouldn’t have pursued it,” said Mr Adani, whose net worth of US$9.6 billion makes him India’s sixth-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. “Renewable energy is good for the nation, but it can’t meet our baseload power needs.” Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Iron ore price peak may be near as Australia, Brazil exports recover – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – July 4, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, July 4 (Reuters) – There are tentative signs that the supply crunch that has driven iron ore prices to their highest in more than five years is starting to ease, although the market is still some way from returning to balance.

Shipments from the two major exporters, Australia and Brazil, show a recovery in June, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Refinitiv.

For the whole of June, Australia exported 76.8 million tonnes, down slightly from May’s 77.9 million. But measured by daily average, June’s exports of 2.56 million tonnes were actually above the 2.51 million achieved in May. Continue Reading →

Canada, U.S. gain as India cuts dependence on Australian coking coal – by Sudarshan Varadhan (Reuters U.S. – June 25, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Shipments of coking coal from the United States and Canada rose to a sixth of all Indian imports of the fuel during the year ended March 2019, as steelmakers in the coal guzzling country look to cut their dependence on Australia.

Australia’s share in India’s coking coal market fell to 71%, or 36.91 million tons, during the year ended March 2019 from about 88% three years ago, India coal ministry data reviewed by Reuters showed. The United States and Canada had a 5.6% share of the market three years ago.

Regular interruptions in India’s main supplier over the last few years, including a flood in a major coal producing region in February and a cyclone which tore into Queensland in 2017, have caused worries about major supply disruptions in India. Continue Reading →

[Bougainville/Copper] Mining Hopes for Independence – by Geoff Hiscock (U.S. News – July 1, 2019)

https://www.usnews.com/

A copper quarry helps fuel Bougainville’s hopes for separation from Papua New Guinea, a move that would resonate across the Pacific.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — THE Pacific island of Bougainville is moving a step closer to potential independence from Papua New Guinea as preparations begin for a long-promised referendum later this year.

Whether it can survive as a stand-alone nation is a key question for its 250,000 inhabitants, and for other separatist movements in the Pacific. The future course of the island could ripple across the region, as the question of Bougainville’s independence will touch on a complicated mixture of business concerns, environmental worries and geopolitical interests stretching from Australia and New Zealand to China, Japan and the United States.

It’s an outsized international role for Bougainville, which lies 900 kilometers (560 miles) east of the Papua New Guinea mainland. The roots of the referendum stem from a bitter inter-clan and separatist conflict that ran from 1988 to 1997, fighting that claimed between 10,000 and 20,000 lives through a combination of violence, disease, poverty and dislocation. Continue Reading →

Rare earths opportunity for PM – by Tony Boyd (Australian Financial Review – June 28, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

Rare earths should be a topic of conversation when Prime Minister Scott Morrison has bilateral meetings with US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 Summit in Osaka over the next two days.

A discussion about rare earths has two distinct advantages for Morrison. First, it’s an opportunity to remind Trump and Abe of the increasingly important economic contribution Australia is making to the reliable and affordable supply of these strategic minerals to the US and Japan through Lynas Corporation.

Second, it’s an opportunity to draw the alignment between the economic benefits of the free trade between the three countries and the mutual geopolitical interest the US and Japan have in securing supplies of products critical to the technology, automotive and military industries. Continue Reading →

Soaring iron ore and gold prices boost WA’s economic outlook – by Frances Bell (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – June 24, 2019)

https://www.abc.net.au/

A predicted “mini gold rush” in Western Australia, combined with skyrocketing iron ore prices, is renewing optimism about the state’s long-subdued economy.

The price of gold in Australian dollars has reached a record high, hitting $2,000 an ounce for the first time last week. The precious metal also broke through $US1,400 ($2,014) an ounce for the first time in almost six years.

“Psychologically it’s a very important level to have broken through,” Katana Asset Management portfolio manager Romano Sala Tenna said. He said the price increase was fuelled by demand from central banks, which were buying gold as a store of value, as countries such as the US and China diluted their currencies. Continue Reading →

Lynas optimistic about rare earths boom (Australian Mining – June 24, 2019)

https://www.australianmining.com.au/

Lynas Corp has updated its 2025 growth plans, detailing a positive outlook on the rare earths market and regulatory issues in Malaysia.

The shareholder update emphasised the boom of rare earths in response to “global macroeconomic issues”, including the United States-China trade war that led to increased interest in Australian companies as the US looks to diversify supply sources.

It also reported that despite short term increases in the market, including prices for neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) increasing by 40 per cent over the past 60 days, the company “remains focussed on longer term trends.” Continue Reading →

OPINION: Enormous lithium waste dump plan shows how shamefully backward we are – by Emma Young (Sydney Morning Herald – June 24, 2019)

https://www.smh.com.au/

We are all – well, all of us who are privileged enough – existing on a spectrum somewhere between “concerned” and “downright panicking” about human impact on the environment.

We look forward to the day our economy transitions to 100 per cent renewable energy, the sun and wind power our homes and lithium batteries store this energy to be used when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. But here’s the rub: the lithium used to make these batteries must be torn from underground, just like oil, gas and coal.

Western Australia holds some of the world’s richest known lithium deposits and now has an emerging industry to process that lithium here, not just ship it to China as previously done. It’s part of a plan to make us more than just the world’s quarry; a bigger player in an industry promising big money, and bring jobs and industry to the South West. Continue Reading →

The Winners and Losers From Surging Iron Ore Prices – by Michael Msika (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – June 21, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — In the world of metals and mining, sometimes it’s better to sell the raw product rather than the finished one.

This seems to be a lesson for investors who chose to hold shares in ArcelorMittal rather than Rio Tinto Group this year. Despite nagging trade tensions and fears about global growth, Rio is up 30% in 2019, while the world’s biggest steelmaker has dropped 16%.

Global diversified miners have rewarded investors with record payouts and benefited from soaring iron-ore prices due to the supply concerns that followed Vale SA’s dam disaster in January. At the same time, Chinese mills have continued to set new production records, consuming more of the steelmaking ingredient. Continue Reading →

Column: Australian resource companies are becoming renewable energy believers – by Clyde Russell (Reuters India – June 20, 2019)

https://in.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – It’s not quite yet a flood but Australian resource companies are increasingly embracing renewable energies into their mining and natural gas operations even in the face of a federal government that veers toward climate scepticism.

Among recent developments are moves by Rio Tinto to convert its iron ore trains to hybrid power, the commissioning of a solar power plant at an oil and gas facility operated by Santos in South Australia state, and battery storage being integrated into ConocoPhillips’ liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Darwin.

There are several other projects being undertaken or in place already, and it seems that momentum is growing among companies to look at ways of reducing the use of fossil fuels in mining and oil and gas operations. Continue Reading →