Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

BHP cuts 2018 iron ore forecast, cites rail car upload problems – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – April 18, 2018)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – BHP Billiton Ltd cut its 2018 fiscal year iron ore output guidance on Thursday citing issues in its railroad car unloading system, while also slightly raising its copper output expectations given higher production at the Escondida mine.

The miner cut projections for fiscal 2018 iron ore production by 2 percent to between 272-274 million tonnes of iron ore from 275-280 million tonnes due to “car dumper reliability issues.” A car dumper is a machine that unloads bulk cargoes from rail road cars.

Overall, the outcome of the global miner’s third quarter production was balanced as lower iron ore output and eased guidance should be broadly offset by a slight pick up in third quarter copper production and upgraded guidance, said Sydney-based brokerage Shaw and Partners in a report. Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton to produce nickel sulphate next year, eyeing cobalt on battery boom – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – April 18, 2018)

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – BHP Billiton is expanding its business as a supplier of battery minerals at its nickel refinery in Western Australia, planning to start producing nickel sulphate next year and looking at cobalt output as well, a company executive said.

Cobalt and nickel are both critical ingredients for lithium ion batteries, and are expected to see a boom in demand as global automakers transition into producing electric vehicles.

Most of the world’s cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has been beset by governance and human rights concerns. After the DRC, Australia has the world’s second-largest mineral reserves. Continue Reading →

[Australia Coal Mining] Newcastle mine rehabilitation conference hears of industry progress towards ecological best practice – by Ian Kirkwood (Newcastle Herald – April 14, 2018)

THE coal industry knows it has to lift its game on rehabilitation, although good progress was being made, an internationally attended conference on the subject in Newcastle heard this week.

The eighth annual “best practice ecological rehabilitation of mined lands” conference, hosted by the Tom Farrell Institute, was held at Wests New Lambton on Thursday, with inspection tours of the Westside and Donaldson mines taking place the day before.

Institute director Tim Roberts said about 270 people attended the conference, meaning it had doubled its size in attendance over the years. Dr Roberts said the conference delegates were a mixture of rehabilitation specialists, mining company representatives, students and community representatives. Continue Reading →

Excitement as ‘Wits-style’ gold is discovered in iron-ore hub, but geologist urges caution – by Nadine James ( – April 13, 2018)

While there is no doubt that conglomerate gold has been discovered in the Pilbara, the broader understanding of this style of gold mineralisation in the Pilbara remains incomplete and, therefore, any comparisons with the Witwatersrand (Wits) basin are premature, states SRK Consulting geologist Mike Cunningham.

Commenting on the furore surrounding the recent discoveries of conglomerate gold in the Pilbara region, in Western Australia, he notes that some of the excitement is understandable, as the discoveries represent “a new and exciting style of gold mineralisation in a hitherto underexplored part of the country traditionally known for its world-class iron endowment”.

This excitement started in July last year, when Canadian-listed miner Novo Resources discovered nuggetlike gold at the Purdey’s Reward prospect, a joint venture project with Australian miner Artemis Resources. Continue Reading →

Last hurrah for the zinc price – by Frik Els ( – April 12, 2018)

Zinc hit a four month low of $3,135 a tonne on Thursday, down more than 12% from its decade high achieved mid-February.

Rising fears about trade protectionism have taken the shine off most base metals but zinc’s bearish outlook has more to do with new supply; and lots of it.

The metal, mainly used to galvanize steel, has more than doubled since hitting multi-year lows in January 2016 after the shutdown of major mines including Australia’s Century, the Lisheen mine in Ireland and top producer Glencore’s depleted Brunswick and Perseverance mines in Canada. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore Giant Says Miners Have Shut Gates on New Supply – by Perry Williams and Stephen Engle (April 10, 2018)

Global iron ore miners have turned off the tap on adding new production capacity to feed China’s steel mills as the world’s largest customer is already awash with supplies, according to Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.

“The reality is that most of the producers, ourselves included, are not actually looking to grow supply of iron ore into China,” Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said in a Bloomberg TV interview.

“The market is very well supplied and the build-up of inventory at the ports is an indication of that. Nobody is looking at adding new supply into the market.” Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto pays $US5.1bn in taxes and royalties – by Ewen Hosie (Australian Mining – April 10, 2018)

Rio Tinto has released information pertaining to its taxes and royalties paid in 2017. The company paid $US5.1 billion ($6.6 billion) in all, with a notable majority of $US3.8 billion going towards Australian taxes.

Due to how Rio’s payment structure is set up, the company expects to pay an additional Australian tax instalment of $US1.2 billion in June 2018 for the 2017 calendar year. Over half of the company’s resources are in Australia.

Other countries where the operator paid significant taxes include Canada at $US387 million, Chile at $US318 million, Mongolia at $US228 million, South Africa at $US93 million, the United Kingdom at $US81 million, United States at $US78 million and Guinea at $US45 million. Continue Reading →

Vanadium Batteries Need Elon Musk Moment to Kick-Start Market – by Ranjeetha Pakiam (Bloomberg News – April 9, 2018)

Vanadium needs Elon Musk or another big player in the global battery market to get behind the metal in order to share center stage with other energy-storage components such as lithium and cobalt.

“When we get that moment, we’re off to the races,” Vincent Algar, managing director of Australian Vanadium Ltd., said in an interview at a mining conference in Hong Kong. The industry needs a Tesla Inc. or Panasonic Corp. to say “we like vanadium-flow batteries and we want to make them in addition to lithium-ion batteries,” he said.

The world’s biggest lithium-ion battery was installed in record time in Australia last year after billionaire Musk successfully bet he could help solve an energy crisis in the Pacific nation by deploying his Tesla technology to plug a supply gap. Continue Reading →

Welcome to White Cliffs: The outback opal mining town so hot locals live underground to escape the blistering heat and face a 300km trek to the supermarket – but they love the peace and quiet – by Belinda Cleary (Daily Mail Australia – April 8, 2018)

Welcome to White Cliffs, the tiny Australian desert town where people live underground to escape the blistering summer sun. The town is a ‘mixed bag’ according to the locals – there’s everyone from war veterans escaping the horrors of Vietnam and Afghanistan to retired policemen and of course, opal miners who dream of getting rich.

Just 100 people live in the tiny town, which is 1000 kilometres north-west of Sydney and 300km from the nearest supermarket. In summer, the temperature soars to almost 50 degrees, and from above the land appears flat, hostile and unlivable.

Some estimate there are about 50,000 disused holes created by hopeful Opal miners, searching for a rock to seal their fortune – this hope left the land looking similar to the surface of the moon from above. Continue Reading →

BHP says to quit global coal lobby group, stick with U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Reuters U.S. – April 4, 2018)

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Global miner BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) said on Thursday it had made a final decision to leave the World Coal Association (WCA) over differences on climate change but would remain a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

BHP has largely quit mining coal for power plants, but is the world’s largest exporter of coal for steel-making. It said in December it had taken a preliminary decision to withdraw from the WCA, pending a full review.

The miner came under pressure from Australian green groups last year to leave any industry associations with policies that fail to match the company’s support of the 2015 Paris climate accord. Continue Reading →

What anti-Adani protestors can learn from the Jabiluka blockade – by Scott Ludlam (The Guardian – April 2, 2018)

Like anti-Adani protesters today, those who stood up at Jabiluka were attacked. It’s good to remember that people can prevail

ne of Australia’s proudest land rights struggles is passing an important anniversary: it is 20 years since the establishment of the blockade camp at Jabiluka in Kakadu national park. This was the moment at which push would come to shove at one of the world’s largest high-grade uranium deposits. The industry would push, and people power would shove right back.

The blockade set up a confrontation between two very different kinds of power: on the one side, the campaign was grounded in the desire for self-determination by the Mirarr traditional Aboriginal owners, particularly the formidable senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula.

They were supported by a tiny handful of experienced paid staff and backed by an international network of environment advocates, volunteer activists and researchers. Continue Reading →

South Australian geologists to drive a revolution in minerals exploration – by Anthony Dodd (The Lead – April 03, 2018)

A new research centre has been established to help reduce the cost of mineral exploration in Australia in order to boost output.

Replacing the Deep Exploration Technologies CRC, the newly established MinEx Cooperative Research Centre will begin operating in July at the University of South Australia and in Western Australia.

Chief Scientific Officer for the MinEx CRC and John Ralston Chair in Minerals and Resources Engineering at UniSA’s Future Industries Institute, Professor David Giles, said his objective is to enhance the efficiency of minerals exploration nationally.

“In the Australian context, the cost of exploration for new deposits has risen over the past 30 years and our success rate has declined,” Prof Giles said. Continue Reading →

Prairie Mining starts legal action against Poland’s environment ministry (Reuters U.S. – April 3, 2018)

WARSAW, April 3 (Reuters) – Australia’s Prairie Mining said it filed a lawsuit in a Warsaw civil court on Friday against the Polish environment ministry, seeking an extension to the company’s exclusive rights to a mining project in the country.

The news sent the miner’s shares plunging 30 percent in London and 20 percent in Warsaw. Prairie Mining secured in 2015 the exclusive right to apply for a mining concession for the Jan Karski mine in southeast Poland and had until April 2, 2018 to file its application.

The company said in a statement on Tuesday that it had not been able to apply for the concession because it first needs to obtain an environmental permit from local authorities, which it said has been delayed. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto’s Coal Canary Stops Tweeting – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – March 28, 2018)

Prices at Australia’s Newcastle port, the largest export harbor for the thermal coal used in power generation, have held above $90 a metric ton for eight months, the best run since the market peaked between 2010 and 2012, only dropping below that level this week.

Glencore Plc’s energy business — essentially a coal-mining operation with a droplet of oil thrown in 1 — generated as much profit in 2017 as in the previous three years put together, and accounted for a quarter of group earnings. This month is one of the dozen best for coal deal-making activity since the start of 2006, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

That could make Rio Tinto Group’s decision to exit the last of its coal mines seem quixotic at best. While the sales of its Kestrel and Hail Creek mines and Valeria and Winchester South projects will generate about $4.15 billion (enough on paper to leave Rio debt-free), they’ll make it an increasingly iron ore-dependent business. Continue Reading →

RNC mulls selling Aussie mine to focus on massive cobalt-nickel project in Quebec – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – March 22, 2018)

Canada’s RNC Minerals (TSX: RNX) said Thursday it might sell all or part of its Beta Hunt gold and nickel mine in Western Australia to focus instead on its Dumont cobalt and nickel project in Quebec, the world’s largest undeveloped reserve of both metals.

The Toronto-based miner, which acquire Beta Hunt in 2016, said while it has grew the scale of the operation ever since, such asset is now considered to be non-core to RNC, particularly since Dumont’s potential value is significantly greater than the Australian mine’s current worth.

The company, however, did say it would consider other strategic alternatives for Beta Hunt, adding that no decision about the mine future has been made at the time. Continue Reading →