Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

Roxby Downs, the town built to service BHP’s Olympic Dam mine, celebrates 30 years – by Sarah Tomlinson and Patrick Martin (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – November 18, 2018)

The town of Roxby Downs in South Australia’s far north is so young, it has never buried a single local resident. Nestled on hot red sand 563 kilometres from the creature comforts of Adelaide, Roxby Downs officially opened on November 5, 1988 to service BHP’s Olympic Dam mine — one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Now 30 years old, the town boasts a pool, numerous sporting facilities, a supermarket, jewellery store, theatre and gallery, community radio station, and even an old video chain store that has been converted into a community hub for the many young families who occupy the town.

It also has its own rugby team, The Barbarians, whose success is only hampered by distance and the availability of having other teams to play. The young town even has a cemetery, but as Roxby Downs residents come from far and wide, they are laid to rest elsewhere — only pets inhabit this cemetery. Continue Reading →

WA’s newest lithium mine officially opens, with plans to expand already in motion – by Hamish Hastie (Sydney Morning Herald – November 16, 2018)

The lithium train shows no sign of slowing in WA as the state’s newest mine officially opens, with plans already in motion to expand the Pilbara operation. The first shipment from Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project left the mine on October 2 but was officially opened by WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston on Friday.

Located 120 kilometres south of Port Hedland, the mine will produce 330,000 tonnes of lithium a year and about 300,000 pounds of tantalum. The Pilgangoora project’s workforce peaked at more than 800 during construction, but now there are about 200 operational staff on-site and in Perth.

The opening comes just more than four years to the day the first hole was drilled and is one of the fastest major lithium developments in recent history. Plans are already underway to expand the mine. Continue Reading →

Queensland mine laws would leave more than 200 voids across the state – by Ben Smee (The Guardian – November 13, 2018)

Mine rehabilitation laws expected to be passed by the Queensland parliament this week would allow coalminers to leave more than 200 voids as pockmarks on the state’s landscape.

In recent days the mining sector, in a campaign backed by both the Queensland Resources Council and the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, has piled pressure on the government to delay the legislation and ensure new regulations would not be retrospective.

The laws would place additional requirements on newly approved mines, requiring areas such as voids and waste ponds to be rehabilitated in most cases. But the state has repeatedly said those laws would not be applied to existing mines or rescind previously approved environmental management plans. Continue Reading →

BHP to meet iron ore commitments despite train derailment: CEO – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – November 8, 2018)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Global miner BHP Billiton will meet its iron ore commitments to customers despite a supply disruption after it had to derail a runaway ore train in Western Australia, Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said on Thursday.

The miner suspended its rail operations after the incident on Monday that wrecked track and left a locomotive and wagons upturned nearly 120 km (75 miles) south of Australia’s iron ore export hub of Port Hedland.

Asked whether BHP would invoke force majeure, Mackenzie told media after the company’s annual general meeting in South Australia that he did not expect the miner would let down any of its customers. Continue Reading →

Tata Steel comes shopping for coal security – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – November 6, 2018)

Having failed very recently to acquire the security blanket of Australian metallurgical coal mines, global steel giant Tata Steel is promoting the need for a forum with Australian governments and miners to more productively align the central Queensland coal system with India’s surging raw materials needs.

An executive delegation from Tata, led by relatively new chief executive TV Narendran, landed in Brisbane on Monday with proposals that aim to take its relationship with Australian suppliers to a new level, moving it from its currently transactional standing to something more symbiotic.

It is understood that Tata management continues to investigate its ownership options in Australian coal after recent efforts to acquire projects or buy into joint ventures have come to nought. As one source told The Australian Financial Review, Tata has either been “outbid or beaten to the punch” in a number of recent sale processes. Continue Reading →

Nickel and No to Independence: New Caledonia Sticks to France – by Scott Tibballs (Nickel Investing News – November 6th, 2018)

Nickel Investment News

The French Territory of New Caledonia has voted to remain with the Fifth Republic, returning a 56 percent ‘no’ vote on becoming an independent state.
New Caledonia is the world’s third-largest nickel supplier with an annual output of 210,000 metric tonnes.

Mining and smelting is the backbone of the territories economy and would be the basis of the economy of a potentially future independent New Caledonia — a possibility still on the cards as the Noumea Accords signed in 1998 promised three referendums.

For the small pacific territory though, independence from Paris — which provides subsidies — would mean being exposed completely to the volatile nickel price, which has haunted miners in recent years. Continue Reading →

New Cold War arrives in Papua New Guinea – by Alan Boyd (Asia Times – November 6, 2018)

Australia outpaced China for a deal to develop PNG’s Lombrum naval base, a strategic facility that will bolster Canberra’s power projection in the South Pacific and South China Sea

Australian naval vessels have arrived in Papua New Guinea to protect leaders at a summit of Pacific Rim nations next week, giving a foretaste of the newly elevated defense relationship between the two neighbors.

Defense officials confirmed that Australia’s helicopter docking ship HMAS Adelaide is now off Papua New Guinea’s capital of Port Moresby, accompanied by two patrol boats. They will provide security for cruise ships tethered in the harbor that will house delegates to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathering.

Australian special forces troops have been in Papua New Guinea for two months preparing security measures around facilities for the November 17-18 summit, which will be attended by US Vice President Mike Pence, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of 18 other countries. Continue Reading →

The parallel universes of thermal coal – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – November 4, 2018)

The parallel universes of thermal coal have rarely been in more confounding focus. In one cosmos we have arguably the most financially literate of the anti-fossil-fuel lobby, the IEEFA, mounting an apparently data-filled argument that the home of Australian thermal coal, the Hunter Valley, is now on track to “terminal decline as markets transition away from coal”.

Then, in a galaxy far, far away, there is Glencore, which over two years has spent $US3.4 billion ($4.7 billion) adding thermal and coking coal projects to what was already Australia’s single biggest coal mining business.

On the very same day last week that the IEEFA called out a tipping point in the decline and fall of coal, Glencore offered up a similarly data-fuelled prediction that coal demand in Asia was actually set to double by 2040 and that demand for the quantities and qualities of the little black rock that only Australia can produce would rise disproportionately to the general growth curve. Continue Reading →

BHP derails 268-car Pilbara iron ore train which travelled 92km without driver – by Peter Milne (The West Australian – November 5, 2018)

BHP deliberately derailed a runaway Pilbara iron train carrying 268 wagons early today after it travelled 92km across the Pilbara without a driver. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said about 4am the driver of a loaded ore train travelling from Newman to Port Hedland alighted to inspect a wagon.

The bureau said the train, consisting of four locomotives and 268 wagons, started to run away without the driver and with no one on board, travelling for 92km. BHP then stopped the train by deliberately derailing it at a set of points about 120 km from Port Hedland.

A BHP spokeswoman said no one was injured and the Pilbara miner has suspended all train operations. “We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation,” she said. Continue Reading →

China’s boulevard to nowhere: The battle for influence in APEC’s Pacific host – by Jonathan Barrett and Colin Packham (Reuters Canada – November 3, 2018)

If the region – pivotal in the Pacific battles of World War II – is
a strategic treasure, PNG is one of its jewels. It controls large
swaths of ocean, is rich in mineral resources and is close to both
U.S. military bases on the island of Guam and to Australia.

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Workers are putting the finishing touches on a Beijing-funded boulevard designed to showcase Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) capital to visiting world leaders at this month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Critics say the six-lane road – complete with wide, illuminated footpaths – is emblematic of a regional power play whereby donor countries vie for influence with show-stopper gifts, even as deeper problems plague the Pacific nation.

Australia, PNG’s traditional partner and a close Washington ally, is lifting aid and has plowed more than A$120 million ($86.5 million) into APEC, seeking to keep its sway over its neighbor. Continue Reading →

New Caledonians vote down independence to stay part of France – by Charlotte Antoine (CTV News – November 4, 2018)

The Associated Press – NOUMEA, New Caledonia – A majority of voters in the South Pacific territory of New Caledonia chose to remain part of France instead of backing independence Sunday, a watershed moment that led French President Emmanuel Macron to promise a full dialogue on the archipelago’s future.

Final results had 56.4 per cent of the voters who participated in the referendum deciding to maintain ties with the country that has ruled New Caledonia since the mid-19th century and 43.6 per cent supporting independence, the high commissioner’s office said.

“I’m asking everyone to turn toward the future to build tomorrow’s New Caledonia,” Macron said, speaking from the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris. “The spirit of dialogue is the sole winner.” Continue Reading →

‘We live in misery’: New Caledonia’s indigenous people fight for independence from France – by Kim Lévy and Prianka Srinivasan in Thio (The Guardian – November 1, 2018)

As the country prepares for a referendum on 4 November, the scars of colonisation are still raw

Just over 16,700km from Paris, on the edge of the southwest Pacific Ocean, lies a little piece of France. In New Caledonia, locals eat croissants for breakfast, crêpes for lunch and in the afternoons play pétanque in shady city squares. They drive on the right, speak fluent French and the outskirts of the capital Nouméa are dotted with hypermarchés.

But this far-flung outpost of Gallic life might not be officially French for much longer. On Sunday, residents of the cluster of islands will vote on their future in an independence referendum. For the locals of mining town Thio, which lies two hours east of Nouméa, that moment cannot come soon enough.

Thio was once the shining jewel of France’s Pacific colonial project. The state-run mining company, SLN, began its operations there in 1880, less than three decades after New Caledonia became an overseas territory of France. Continue Reading →

We won’t wake up tomorrow as Microsoft, but how will we pioneer the mining industry into the 21st Century? – by Jean-Sébastien Jacques, CEO Rio Tinto Group (IMARC Conference Melbourne, Australia – October 30, 2018)

“But I hate to tell you, our industry is one of the least trusted on the
planet. And unfortunately, it is a mainstream idea. You only have to take
a look at how mining is portrayed in the Avatar movie. What the heck?
And it makes me sad – or, depending on the day, mad.”

“And you know what, we need to use 21st century channels to communicate.
Today, who you are on social media is who you are to stakeholders.
That’s how they know us. So the culture we project online is incredibly important.”

“It is essential to make mining an attractive industry for the employees
we have now and those that we need to attract to thrive going forward.
The war for some of our talent is going to be fought with the likes
of Google, Facebook and other industries.”

**Check against delivery**

It’s great to be here in Melbourne to open IMARC. This is an important event, at an important time.

As an entire industry, we need to transform to stay relevant in the 21st century. There is absolutely no doubt about it, we have a long, proud history. But as we gather here today, we have a great chance to focus on our future.

Let’s open our minds to how we re-invent our industry, but before I say more let me acknowledge that we meet today on the lands of the traditional owners, the Wurundjeri people. Our industry works with Indigenous groups from the Pilbara to the far corners of Mongolia, and I would like to thank all of our
partners and Traditional Owners for making what we do possible. Continue Reading →

‘One of the least-trusted on the planet’: Rio chief’s stark warning to miners – by Nick Toscano (Sydney Morning Herald – October 30, 2018)

Mining companies need to work harder to “change the barbecue conversation” and start restoring the level of public trust in the industry, says the head of Australian mining giant Rio Tinto.

“Mining is absolutely vital and this won’t change anytime soon,” Rio Tinto’s chief executive, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, will tell an industry conference on Tuesday. “But, I hate to tell you, our industry is one of the least-trusted on the planet.”

In an address to be delivered to the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne, Mr Jacques says it is a crucial time in the development of the mining industry – a time when protecting the environment is more important than ever, when technology is disrupting traditional processes, and when a lack of trust in business is creating even more questions about the benefits of the corporate sector, “including mining and the contribution we make”. Continue Reading →

Climate change and renewables driving new mining boom, mining chief says – by Cole Latimer (Sydney Morning Herald – October 30, 2018)

The mining industry is addressing climate change head-on as it prepares for a new boom driven by renewable energy demand, a global mining council chief says.

The mining industry has been under fire following a recent UN report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said Australia must limit and eventually phase out its thermal coal mining to help fight rising global temperatures.

The mining industry and Australian government pushed back, saying mining has a long role to play in the country. Continue Reading →