Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

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 →

The Global Iron Ore Crisis: What’s Next in Four Charts – by Krystal Chia and Martin Ritchie (Bloomberg/Yahoo – February 12, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — The global iron ore market is reeling from the sustained and expanding impact of Vale SA’s deadly dam breach last month, which has roiled prices and spurred concerns about a shortage.

Since the initial incident in Brazil in late January, the top producer has announced supply cuts of as much as 70 million tons, although it’s said it will try to offset some lost production.

As the drama unfolds, investors, users and producers are grappling with a host of unknowns, starting with how much supply Vale will actually lose this year and next as executives seek to respond to what’s likely the greatest challenge the company has faced. There are other critical variables too, which will help to influence the direction of prices, which sank on Tuesday for a second day. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Miners must appeal anti-coal landmark court decision – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – February 10, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

You have to admire the collective against coal mining. It sure does know when and how to pick its fights. On Friday, the NSW Land and Environment Court rejected an application by Gloucester Resources to build a three-pit coking coal mine near the central NSW town that named the company.

Left to stand, the decision by Judge Brian Preston would seem to establish precedent because it moves all three categories of carbon emissions to the front and centre of the state’s planning approval process.

This has not so far been the case in NSW or anywhere else in Australia, for that matter, a fact made plain by the victory celebrations that Judge Preston’s odd decision triggered among his fans, old and new, in the climate change lobby. Continue Reading →

PM Adamant Mine MoA Should Benefit Locals (Papua New Guinea Post Courier – February 11, 2019)

https://postcourier.com.pg/

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill told the people of Usino-Bundi on Friday that there would be no new agreements or extension of the memorandum of agreement (MoA) for the Ramu-Nico project in Madang province.

This has now put to rest Madang governor Peter Yama’s continuous request to the government to review the mine agreement and have it benefit his people instead of the original arrangement where there was no benefits detailed.

Mr O’Neill said there were no traces of development in Madang from the mine, but assured the people that the Ramu Nickel mine agreement would be reviewed and changed to suit the people who have suffered. Continue Reading →

Court rules out Hunter Valley coalmine on climate change grounds – by Michael McGowan and Lisa Cox (The Guardian – February 7, 2019)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Judge rejects Rocky Hill mine near Gloucester, NSW, because of its impact on the town and ‘dire consequences’ of increasing emissions

The controversial Rocky Hill coalmine in the Hunter Valley will not go ahead after a landmark ruling in the land and environment court on Friday that cited the impact it would have had on climate change.

Chief judge Brian Preston dismissed an appeal by Gloucester Resources, which was seeking to overturn a New South Wales government decision to reject an open-cut mine because of its impact on the town of Gloucester, north of Newcastle.

The Environmental Defenders Office joined the case last April, arguing on behalf of its client, Groundswell Gloucester, that the mine’s detrimental impact on climate change and on the social fabric of the town should be considered as part of the merit appeal. Continue Reading →