Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

COLUMN-Chinese go-slow on Australian coal imports may be starting to show – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – March 16, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, March 18 (Reuters) – China’s unofficial go-slow on clearing Australian coal through customs didn’t show up in the first two months of this year, but it may now be starting to have an impact.

Chinese coal traders are reported to have cut back on buying from Australia, the world’s largest exporter of the fuel, after the length of time taken by customs to clear cargoes reportedly doubled to at least 40 days.

The Chinese customs administration said earlier this month that it has made no changes to coal import policies nor its inspection of foreign cargoes, although a foreign ministry spokesman said environmental and safety checks have been stepped up. Continue Reading →

How new investments will drive a rebound in Papua New Guinea’s mining sector (Borneo Post – March 17, 2019)

Borneo Post

A raft of foreign capital investments across new and existing mines in Papua New Guinea are set to boost production and lead to a rebound in government revenues; however, there are concerns proposed legislative changes could hinder activity moving forward.

In December Australian company Newcrest Mining and its partner, South Africa’s Harmony Gold, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PNG’s government over a potential 9.1 billion kinas (US$2.8 billion) investment to develop the Wafi-Golpu mine, a copper-gold asset in Morobe Province.

While the MOU will not immediately lead to progress on the mine, it paves the way for further talks and a possible final agreement that will delineate benefit and revenue-sharing arrangements between developers and local communities. Continue Reading →

Delayed But Looming: The Question of Bougainville Independence – by Grant Wyeth (The Diplomat – March 14, 2019)

https://thediplomat.com/

The referendum for Papua New Guinea’s eastern region is now set for October. How its outcome will be handled remains unclear.

Earlier this month the date of the Bougainville independence referendum was pushed back. Initially — although tentatively — scheduled for June 15, the poll will now be held in October. Under the 2001 peace agreement that followed a decade-long civil war in Papua New Guinea (PNG), it was negotiated that a referendum on the future status of Bougainville would be held prior to mid-2020.

While preparations have been ongoing, it is believed the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC), headed by former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, would have been both financially and structurally struggling to meet the referendum’s requirements by June.

While the delay in the referendum isn’t a great surprise, the exact meaning of the referendum continues to be contested. PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill recently stated that the referendum is nonbinding, and that after the poll is conducted the PNG parliament will debate the results, and ultimately decide on whether Bouganville will become the world’s newest country. Continue Reading →

The huge risks and rewards of [Barrick’s] Papua New Guinea’s Porgera gold mine – by David James (Business Advantage PNG – March 13, 2019)

https://www.businessadvantagepng.com/

The Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea’s Enga Province is a world class gold mine but, as Executive Director for Barrick (Niugini) Ila Temu explains, it is also one of the world’s most difficult mines to operate.

Drainage, breakdowns in the infrastructure and illegal mining are the three challenges Porgera miners and executives face.

But the rewards are also great. Despite the severe obstacles, Porgera’s production in 2017 was about 500,000 ounces of gold and 204,000 in 2018 (with production affected by the Highlands earthquake).

Barrick Gold Corporation’s new President and CEO, Mark Bristow, explained during his recent trip to Papua New Guinea that the future of the Porgera mine is considered promising. ‘When you look at the current plans of Porgera, it has the potential to be able to deliver 500,000 ounces [per annum] for the next 10 years,’ he reportedly said. Continue Reading →

Column: Mixed signals for China steel and iron ore point to prices drifting lower – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – March 12, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – China’s steel and iron ore markets are currently crowded with an overload of information, much of it seemingly pulling prices in opposing directions.

The steel market is having to weigh news of extended output restrictions as part of ongoing efforts by Beijing to lower air pollution, weak vehicle sales, slower economic growth and uncertainty over the trade dispute with the United States.

If that sounds negative for prices, consider the upcoming peak-demand season as winter ends and construction projects kick off, increased stimulus spending on infrastructure and the view that lower output may support a supply-driven price increase. Continue Reading →

Workers put brakes on wrong train in BHP iron ore train derailment – regulator (Reuters U.K. – March 12, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – An emergency crew called out to manually apply handbrakes to a 268-car iron ore train in the Australian outback mistakenly put the brakes on the wrong train, according to a preliminary report into a runaway train derailment last year.

In the incident last November, the BHP Group ore train had to be deliberately derailed after it reached speeds of 162 km/hour (101 mph), destroying two locomotives, 245 ore cars and 2 km (1.2 miles) of track. No-one was hurt.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said on Tuesday the train, carrying iron ore to Port Hedland in Australia’s remote northeast, came to a halt after it lost communication between the front locomotive and a monitor at the train’s rear. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto start-up team to shape future growth – by Luke Housego (Australian Financial Review – March 10, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques says a new internal start-up team that will work across the group’s operations will help shape how the resources giant looks in the decades to come.

“We’ve been around for 137 years – I have no doubt in my mind that the Rio you will experience in 10 or 20 years from now will be very different from the Rio today,” Mr Jacques said.

“Because I’m an old-timer from that perspective – what resonates with me I know will not resonate with my daughters or resonate with the next generation of people who run Rio Tinto.” Continue Reading →

‘Nice and dirty’: Rio’s new mine taps aluminium boom – by Darren Gray (Sydney Morning Herald – March 9, 2019)

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

Construction jobs always involve a few risks, but for the workers who built Rio Tinto’s new $2.6 billion Amrun bauxite mine on Cape York, some of the safety procedures were particularly unique.

The advice to workers was quite snappy, much like the risk sometimes observed in the water or on the riverbanks in the area: always keep at least six metres from the water’s edge, always face the water when near it, and, of course, always carry a big stick.

Because a potential threat, which is also spelt out in large signs at a ferry terminal Amrun mine workers must travel through en-route to work, is of a potential crocodile attack. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Newcrest Mining takes 70 per cent stake in B.C. mine from Imperial Metals – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 11, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

One of Australia’s largest miners is buying a majority interest in a B.C. mine from Imperial Metals Corp. for US$806-million, providing a cash injection for the struggling Vancouver company that is backed by billionaire executive Murray Edwards.

Melbourne-based Newcrest Mining Corp. struck a deal on the weekend for 70 per cent of Imperial’s Red Chris property, a mine that opened three years ago and last year produced 12,000 ounces of gold.

Imperial’s board has been conducting in a strategic review of the business as it tries to get out of financial trouble. In 2014, a catastrophic tailings dam failure forced Imperial to suspend operations at its Mount Polley copper-gold mine in British Columbia for almost a year. Imperial has also dealt with operating problems at Red Chris since it started production in 2015. Continue Reading →

Coal’s Perfect Storm Shakes $50 Billion of Australian Projects – by James Thornhill (Bloomberg News – February 26, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — It’s been a tough few weeks for Australia’s coal industry. First there was a court ruling blocking a new mine on climate change grounds, then one of the world’s largest producers Glencore Plc capped output growth, and finally China was seen to be slowing down Australian imports.

The developments are symptoms of the fuel’s decline and likely signal headwinds for the industry in Australia, the world’s second-biggest supplier of coal used for power generation and steel making, where the government estimates some A$70 billion ($50 billion) of new projects are in the pipeline.

“They’re probably game-changing events from what we once knew of coal,” said David Lennox, a mining analyst at consultancy Fat Prophets. Recent developments should be viewed as part of the fuel’s gradual decline from a position of dominance in the global power mix, he added. Continue Reading →

A big Chinese port bans Australian coal and the dollar falls – by Kirsty Needham and Cole Latimer (Sydney Morning Herald – February 21, 2019)

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

Beijing: The Australian dollar fell 1 per cent on Thursday as news broke that a major Chinese port had banned imports of Australian coal, fuelling fears that diplomatic tensions were hitting Australia’s second largest export.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told Senate Estimates on Thursday night there was no evidence to support claims the slow down in coal imports was linked to diplomatic tensions. But he said Australian ambasssador to China Jan Adams had escalated her representations to the Chinese government.

Dalian Port and Dalian Customs declined to comment to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald after Reuters reported that the port had banned Australian thermal coal imports. Continue Reading →

Deep sea mining threatens indigenous culture in Papua New Guinea – by John Childs (The Conservation.com – February 19, 2019)

https://theconversation.com/

When they start mining the seabed, they’ll start mining part of me.

These are the words of a clan chief of the Duke of York Islands – a small archipelago in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea which lies 30km from the world’s first commercial deep sea mine site, known as “Solwara 1”. The project, which has been delayed due to funding difficulties, is operated by Canadian company Nautilus Minerals and is poised to extract copper from the seabed, 1600m below the surface.

Valuable minerals are created as rapidly cooling gases emerge from volcanic vents on the seafloor. Mining the seabed for these minerals could supply the metals and rare earth elements essential to building electric vehicles, solar panels and other green energy infrastructure. But deep sea mining could also damage and contaminate these unique environments, where researchers have only begun to explore.

The industry’s environmental impact isn’t the only concern. It’s been assumed by the corporate sector that there is limited human impact from mining in the deep sea. It is a notion that is persuasive especially when compared with the socio-ecological impacts of land-based mining. Continue Reading →

Newcrest Mining CEO in no rush to find partner as gold industry consolidates – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – February 18, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The head of the world’s third most-valuable gold company says he feels no pressure to do a sizeable mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transaction, despite larger rivals Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp. striking multibillion dollar deals of their own in recent months.

“Getting bigger for bigger’s sake, I’ve never been a big fan of that,” Sandeep Biswas, chief executive officer of Melbourne-based Newcrest Mining Ltd., said in an interview. “There’s either got to be real synergies, or real technical or other capabilities, where one can enhance the combined entity.”

After about seven years of deep cost-cutting, write-downs and asset sales, there are signs the tide is turning in the beaten down global gold sector. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Welcome to the accidental iron ore boom – by Elizabeth Knight (Sydney Morning Herald – February 13, 2019)

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

Even a month ago it would have seemed fanciful for anyone to suggest iron ore prices would be heading towards $US100 per tonne ($A141.33). But the market dynamics have changed.

Welcome to the accidental mining boom. There is a lot at stake in this latest boom for the profits of BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue not to mention the potential swell to the federal government’s coffers.

Just how meaningful the uplift will be for all involved depends on how long the current boomtime prices are sustained. With futures now hitting more than $US96 commodities experts are scrambling to assess how this will play out. Continue Reading →

The Remote Island Sitting on $58 Billion of Gold and Copper – by Aaron Clark and Dan Murtaugh (Bloomberg News – February 12, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

A mining company claiming interests in copper and gold reserves estimated at $58 billion on the Pacific island of Bougainville said its rights are under threat by efforts to revive the resource sector in the run up to a independence referendum.

At the heart of the dispute is the Panguna mine, which was operated by Sydney-listed Bougainville Copper Ltd. for 17 years before shutting in 1989 amid clashes that killed as many as 20,000 people in the autonomous region of Papua New Guinea.

Now the company, known as BCL, is warning investors that legislation proposed by Bougainville’s government will make significant changes to its mining law, including granting powers to a new British Virgin Island-registered company to take mining leases across the island. Continue Reading →