Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

Rio’s Prize for Blowing Up Ancient History: $135 Million – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 7, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — A decision by Rio Tinto Group to destroy Aboriginal Australian heritage sites dating back more than 46,000 years delivered about $135 million in extra value to its iron ore division, according to the miner’s top executive.

Rio rejected three other options that would have avoided damaging two rockshelters in Western Australia in order to access about 8 million tons of high-value ore, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques said Friday. The company recorded about $4.6 billion in profits from its iron ore unit in the first half.

“The economic value at the time of the decision, or the net present value, was around $135 million,” when mining plans for the site in the Juukan Gorge region of the Pilbara district were decided in around 2012 or 2013, Jacques told a hearing of an Australian parliamentary committee investigating the blasts. Continue Reading →

Australian miners Rio Tinto and Fortescue post record iron ore shipments as China industrial recovery continues – by Su-Lin Tan (South China Morning Post – July 31 2020)

Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group have joined BHP Group in reporting record shipments of iron ore, the bulk of it to China, as an infrastructure and property construction boom in the world’s second largest economy drives a rebound in steel production.

The companies have reported record earnings on the back of the iron ore shipments, even though exports of other minerals like aluminium and copper remain in the doldrums as the coronavirus pandemic saps global demand.

Australia’s record iron ore exports to China, combined with a surge in shipments of coking and thermal coal, indicate trade in the key industrial ingredients has not suffered because of a diplomatic spat between the two countries. Continue Reading →

New Century, Vale delay nickel mine deal – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – July 28, 2020)

New Century Resources (ASX: NCZ) and Vale (NYSE: VALE) have delayed the deadline for closing the sale of the Brazilian miner’s nickel and cobalt operations on the Pacific island of New Caledonia by 45 days.

The Australian zinc producer entered into a 60-day exclusivity agreement to acquire a 95% stake in Vale Nouvelle Calédonie (VNC), the operator of the troubled Goro nickel-cobalt mine on the French territory, on May 26.

New Century said on Thursday it had made “significant progress” in evaluating the technical and commercial aspects of the transaction, but has not yet finished a definitive binding agreement. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore Boom Generates 700% Gross Profit Margins For Big Miners – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – July 14, 2020)

The iron ore boom powering the profits of the world’s biggest mining companies is showing no sign of fading thanks to stronger-than-expected Chinese steel demand.

Despite multiple forecasts over the past 12-months that the iron ore price was overdue for a fall it has done exactly the opposite, rising this week to a new 2020 high of $107 a ton, up 30% over the past four months.

Given that the biggest miners produce iron ore at a cash cost of around $13/t that latest price implies a gross profit margin, before accounting and other charges, of close to 700%. Continue Reading →

Glencore’s former Ulan coal mine rehabilitated into natural habitat (Australian Mining – July 7, 2020)


Glencore has transformed 52 hectares of the formerly mined land at the Ulan coal operation in New South Wales into a habitat for a diverse range of native plants and animals.

The rehabilitation efforts have been signed off by the New South Wales resources regulator for meeting the agreed completion criteria, having reached an appropriate post-mining state.

Government sign-off means that the Ulan site has reached the completion criteria and that with continued monitoring and maintenance, it will produce a self-sustaining ecosystem. Continue Reading →

Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia amid the rising tide of secessionism in the region – by Vladislav Gulevich (Modern Diplomacy – July 6, 2020)

Modern Diplomacy

Secessionist tendencies in Indonesia’s province of West Papua have recently been attracting a great deal of attention from experts and human rights activists.

The main reason for the international criticism of the Indonesian authorities is human rights violations and the suppression of the fundamental freedoms of the indigenous people of West Papua. In 2018, the United Nations even sent to Jakarta a report on this subject filed by its Special Rapporteurs.

In 2019, the UN once again voiced its concern about the Indonesian authorities’ violent crackdown on the Papuans . Jakarta, however, insists that security forces act strictly in line with the law. Continue Reading →

Tesla is the world’s top carmaker on the back of a tech boost and huge Chinese sales – by Gareth Hutchens (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – July 5, 2020)

It’s a sign of the times. Electric car manufacturer Tesla became the world’s most valuable carmaker last week, overtaking Toyota, despite never having made an annual profit.

In the past 12 months, Tesla shares have surged over 400 per cent to reach a market value of $US210 billion ($302 billion). In July last year, its share price was $US233. Last week, it closed at $US1,208.

According to the financial firm Refinitiv, Tesla is now trading at 69 times its estimated 2022 earnings. What’s behind the eye-watering rally? A broader improvement in the tech sector has helped. Continue Reading →

Nickel Shuffle; Russians Go Home And BHP Moves In – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – July 3, 2020)

An environmental incident in the far north of Russia has confirmed the case for nickel as a metal with strong investment appeal and might also play a role in the world’s biggest mining company, BHP, speeding up the sale of its thermal coal assets.

Linking those seemingly unrelated events are the contentious claims about climate change and the need to ween the world off fossil fuels, replacing coal and oil with alternative energy sources and battery storage of electricity.

The case for nickel has been explored in a number of my recent reports including one early last month headed “Nickel Rush Restarts As Steel And Battery Demand Rises”. Continue Reading →

A Miner Blew Up Ancient Human History. Now An Industry May Pay – by David Stringer, Matthew Burgess and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – June 30, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Scraping away delicately at the reddish-brown earth of northwestern Australia’s vast Pilbara region, a team of archaeologists uncovered a record of life dating back more 40,000 years.

Buried in natural shelters at the base of a cliff were thousands of stone and wooden tools, the sharpened fibula bone of a kangaroo and braided strands of hair.

They worked quickly inside the Juukan Gorge rock shelters to recover the artefacts — and needed to. The team was a salvage squad, sent in with a tight deadline to excavate a site in the path of an encroaching iron ore mine and approved for destruction. Continue Reading →

Opal trade in Coober Pedy stalls as international border closures deplete buyers – by Gary-Jon Lysaght (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – June 28, 2020)

Opal is a precious resource in Coober Pedy and the international market for opals is what helps keep the outback South Australian town going. But international border restrictions have all but stalled that trade.

Coober Pedy is often nicknamed the ‘opal capital of the world’, with its rich quantities of the rare gemstone the reason so many people travel to the outback town.

Some of those travellers arrive from countries like India and Hong Kong to buy opal. The word gets around town that the buyers are here and miners line up ready to sell their stock. Continue Reading →

Australian mineral exports still slated for all-time high – by Esmarie Iannucci ( – June 19, 2020)

PERTH ( – Despite the economic downturn brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, Australian resource export earnings are set to reach an all-time high in 2019/20, the latest Resources and Energy Quarterly from the Office of the Chief Economist has found.

Australia’s resources and energy export values are estimated at a record A$293-billion in 2019/20, a 4.2% increase on the 2018/19 figures.

The latest export estimate was down from the A$299-billion previously estimated, but was still the largest resource and energy export figure in Australian history, the Office of the Chief Economist said. Continue Reading →

Aussie miner Saracen strikes $1.1b Super Pit deal on Kalgoorlie’s Golden Mile – by Jarrod Lucas (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – November 18, 2029)

Australian gold miner Saracen Mineral Holdings has struck a $1.1 billion deal for a 50 per cent stake in Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s famous Super Pit operation.

The deal with Canada’s Barrick Gold finalised in Toronto over the weekend, two months after Saracen privately entered a “competitive” sale process, and was announced to the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday morning.

Saracen estimates it will take more than three years to recover from devastating rock falls, but insists the acquisition will pay off in the long run. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Australia’s mining lobby takes a baby step on climate change – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – June 22, 2020)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, June 23 (Reuters) – Australia’s mining lobby group, the Minerals Council of Australia, long derided by environmentalists as coal-loving dinosaurs, has launched a climate action plan that is probably significant for what it doesn’t say than what it does.

On the surface the council’s report looks reasonable, committing to an ambition of net zero emissions and outlining a series of actions aimed at achieving the goal.

But the document, released on Monday, is short on specifics, with many of the action points and activities couched in vague language that is open to interpretation. An example is the activity point on “supporting adaptation”. Continue Reading →

‘Gushing cash’: iron ore miners a yield favourite – by William McInnes (Australian Financial Review – June 23, 2020)

A soaring iron ore price has made the major iron ore miners an attractive option for yield-hungry investors, with alternatives scarce in the Australian sharemarket.

The investment case for Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group and BHP Group is hard for investors to overlook as dividend cuts and earnings downgrades dominate the rest of the market.

“The major mining companies are in a really strong position,” said Yarra Capital Management’s head of Australian equities, Dion Hershan. “These businesses are literally gushing cash and they have very attractive valuations in a market where it’s really hard to find value. Continue Reading →

China’s Shandong scoops up Cardinal Resources – by Mariaan Webb ( – June 18, 2020)

China’s Shandong Gold Mining has moved to buy another gold junior, with ASX- and TSX-listed Cardinal Resources on Thursday announcing that it had entered into a bid implementation agreement with the Chinese miner.

Shandong has agreed to buy Australia-headquartered Cardinal Resources, which operates in Ghana, for A$0.60 a share in cash, beating the preliminary proposal announced by Nord Gold on March 16 of A$0.45775 a share.

The Shandong offer, which is a 75.5% premium to Cardinal’s 20-day unaffected volume-weighted average price and a 39.3% premium to its 20-day volume weighted average price up to June 18, values Cardinal at about A$300-million. Continue Reading →