Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

Australia’s Mining Hub Needs Workers for Boom Times – by James Thornhill (Bloomberg News – June 20, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Some A$140 billion ($105 billion) in projects in Western Australia’s resources sector may not be fully realized unless the state addresses a chronic shortage in skilled workers, according to a industry group.

From electricians to metallurgists, the industry needs to attract up to 40,000 extra workers over the next two years, according to the report from consultancy Pit Crew, commissioned by WA’s Chamber of Minerals and Energy. The CME called on industry and government to collaborate on ways to combat the shortages.

Rio Tinto Group in its March quarter production report said labor resource availability had disrupted its maintenance work in the state, while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. reported in May that labor constraints had contributed to rising costs at its Iron Bridge growth project in the Pilbara. Continue Reading →

Coal-Loving Australia Rejects Green Hub on Environment Risks – by Heesu Lee (Bloomberg News – June 21, 2021)

(Bloomberg) One of the world’s biggest fossil fuels exporters rejected a proposal to build a massive renewable energy hub over concern about its environmental impact.

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub, which planned 26-gigawatts of wind and solar generation to produce hydrogen and ammonia, would have disrupted tidal movements and impacted the habitats and lifecycle of native species, according to a statement from Australia Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s office.

While scrutiny of mining and energy projects has intensified after the destruction of indigenous sites in Western Australia by Rio Tinto Group, the rejection of the green hub sparked criticism that leaders in Canberra favor fossil fuel projects. Continue Reading →

Empowerment is the key to FMG’s joint ventures – by Sarah Smit (National Indigenous Times – June 16, 2021)


Without the support of Fortescue Metals Group, Nygumarta businessman Ricky Osborne’s business wouldn’t be where it is today.

Mr Osborne owns Jatu Clothing and PPE with his daughters Yvonne Kelly-Osborne and Jummana Osborne. He has supplied clothing and personal protective equipment to the mining company for six of the eight years his company has been in operation.

“One of the most important things for me, and not just for our business, for Aboriginal businesses across the board, is the very strong corporate citizenry push the likes of (FMG chair) Andrew Forrest has promoted to go with Aboriginal people,” he said. “That commitment has had a very significant impact in opening up opportunities for Aboriginal businesses, particularly in WA. Continue Reading →

FMG Billion Opportunities program thriving 10 years on – by Sarah Smit (National Indigenous Times – May 19, 2021)


Balyku woman Elsa Derschow never thought in a million years that she would own a brand new grading machine, but Fortescue Metals Group’s Billion Opportunities program has made that a reality.

Derschow runs Brindabella Resources, a plant hire business servicing FMG’s Cloudbreak mine in the Pilbara, alongside four other female Pilbara Traditional Owners.

The business was awarded a three-year contract this year, tipping Fortescue’s Indigenous procurement program, Billion Opportunities, over the $3 billion mark. Continue Reading →

China ban on Australian coal boosts Indonesian exports – by Emma Connors (Australian Financial Review – June 15, 2021)

Singapore/Jakarta | China’s determination to reduce its consumption of Australian exports has helped increase demand for Indonesian coal, according to the country’s peak industry body.

The Indonesian Coal Mining Association said this week that a mixture of domestic supply disruption in China and politically driven efforts to diversify source markets for coal – mainly coking for steel making – had benefited south-east Asia’s biggest economy.

“Imports by China have strengthened because their domestic [coal prices] are getting more expensive, partly because of bad weather that has disrupted domestic supply and partly due to the factors that are hampering exports from Australia,” said executive director Hendra Sinadia. Continue Reading →

Andrew Forrest’s $100b Congo power play – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – June 13, 2021)

“Fortescue will not work with those who intend to ship in thousands of workers
and ship them out once the project is completed,” he said. “We intend to upskill
the economies that we enter.”

Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest has secured the inside running on developing the world’s largest hydro power project – which alone carries a $US80 billion ($103.8 billion) price tag – and associated port, green hydrogen and green ammonia capability in the troubled Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dr Forrest said Fortescue’s green energy and green hydrogen projects in Africa were not confined to the DRC and included projects in Kenya and Ethiopia, with investors and financiers already indicating a willingness to commit more than $US100 billion.

He put Fortescue’s weight behind the Grand Inga dam project on the Congo on Sunday as part of his ambition to diversify the iron ore miner into a global force in green energy and green hydrogen. Continue Reading →

An Australian iron ore company is shifting to green energy, and Labrador is in its sights – by Rob Antle (CBC News Newfoundland-Labrador – June 11, 2021)

Fortescue has ambitious plans to become carbon-neutral through renewable and hydrogen projects

It may seem like an incongruous initiative: a major Australian company built on iron ore, sending top officials on an around-the-world hunt for green energy opportunities.

They have visited nearly 50 countries, in the midst of a roiling global pandemic. The aim? To lead the global energy transition away from carbon to greener options.

The company has already signed a number of deals to do feasibility studies in other countries, including Brazil, Indonesia and Afghanistan. And that company from Down Under is now eyeing potential opportunities in Labrador. Continue Reading →

Sky-High Coal Prices Won’t Spur New Mines in a Greener World – by Dan Murtaugh, Will Wade, and Eko Listiyorini (Bloomberg News – June 9, 2021)

The highest coal prices in years aren’t enough to spur investment in new mines in the face of heightened efforts by governments and financial institutions to get the world to abandon the dirtiest fossil fuel.

Prices are surging from China to Europe as demand for coal rebounds from a virus-induced hit, and temporary mine outages curtail supply. Yet companies remain hesitant to invest in new projects with financing difficult to come by and question marks over long-term demand.

That’s a boon for miners’ bottom lines but goes against the grain of the typical commodity cycle, where high prices are a signal to increase production and eventually bring the market back into balance. The disruption to normal dynamics underscores how broader environmental goals are changing investment patterns for fossil fuels. Continue Reading →

Deep in Queensland’s coal country, one community is grappling with what the future holds – by Jess Davis (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – June 7, 2021)

As you drive south-west from Mackay towards the small inland community of Clermont, you pass through stunning burnt-orange sorghum crops and past rock formations bursting from the ground before entering deep into coal country.

Convoys delivering giant machinery that takes up both lanes slow the trip down. The machinery is heading towards the open-cut mines that are the lifeblood of these communities. And seemingly never-ending trains rattle on the tracks that skirt the road, carrying the precious black cargo to the port and out to sea.

Some stereotypes hold true; the roads are full of men and women in high-vis orange shirts driving white utes. For the past 35 years, Rhonda Bleakley and her husband have been keeping those utes going from the helm of a petrol station and fuel distributorship in Clermont. Continue Reading →

Inside the battle to own a prized nickel deposit in Ontario’s remote Ring of Fire – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – June 8, 2021)

Wyloo Metals, backed by an Australian iron ore magnate with deep pockets, is looking to buy Noront Resources for its prospective nickel as a carbon transition play

As the world stumbles towards a decarbonized future, moving sideways and planting false steps at times, Luca Giacovazzi says he knows one thing: The transition is good for Northern Ontario’s nickel.

In a story that is still unfolding, in late May, Luca Giacovazzi, head of Australia-based Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd, announced he was prepared to invest roughly $133 million to buy Noront Resources Inc. — the Toronto company that’s spent years trying to develop a new mining district near the James Bay Lowlands of northern Ontario, called the Ring of Fire.

Cut off from all-season roads connecting to the rest of the province, the Ring of Fire has always faced long odds of becoming a mining area. Continue Reading →

Where mining meets rainforest: the battle for Tasmania’s Tarkine – by Adam Morton (The Guardian – June 5, 2021)

Four days before the Morrison government was due to decide the future of a mining development in the takayna/Tarkine, 77-year-old Frits Harmsen planted a camping chair in front of trucks on an unsealed road snaking through Australia’s largest temperate rainforest.

Harmsen, a former French horn player with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, was part of a small band of Bob Brown-endorsed protesters who on Friday began a 19th day attempting to block work by MMG, a majority Chinese-owned minerals company, in Tasmania’s remote north-west.

Up the road, the mining giant was attempting to carry out drilling and other testing for what it hopes will become a much larger project – a new pipeline and waste storage facility near the town of Rosebery. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Asia coal prices surge, but China-Australia dispute means rally is uneven – by Clyde Russell ( – June 7, 2021)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, June 8 (Reuters) – Thermal coal prices across Asia have surged to multi-year highs amid strong demand and some supply constraints, but some types of the fuel have done better than others.

The headline-grabbing rally has been for high-quality Australian thermal coal. The weekly index for 6,000 kilocalorie per kilogramme (kcal/kg) coal at Newcastle Port ARGMCCINDX=ARG, as assessed by commodity price reporting agency Argus, hit $121.40 a tonne in the seven days to June 4.

This was the highest in more than a decade. This grade has now climbed 49% since the end of last year, and 162% from its 2020 low of $46.37 a tonne in September, reached amid the economic fallout from coronavirus lockdowns across Asia. Continue Reading →

Wyloo Metals would put proposed Sault ferrochrome plant under the microscope, if successful in bid for Noront Resources – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – June 7, 2021)

Australian mining investor focused on mining, processing nickel for Ontario’s electrical vehicle manufacturers

The prospective Australian buyer for Noront Resources won’t make any immediate shifts in strategy in the Far North mineral exploration camp should it acquire the Toronto junior mining company. But it will reassess the location of a proposed ferrochrome processing plant slated for Sault Ste. Marie as part of its own independent study.

The head of Wyloo Metals, the Perth-based mining company, is making it clear that the apple of its eye is the high-grade Eagle’s Nest nickel deposit – the lead project in Noront’s mine development pipeline – not so much its chromite prospects.

“The focus is on nickel,” said Luca Giacovazzi in an interview with Northern Ontario Business. The chromite potential in the Far North mineral belt, Giacovassi said, is viewed by Wyloo as more of a “longer term opportunity.”

Privately held Wyloo, a subsidiary of Tattarang, one of Australia’s largest private investment firms, is making a stab at acquiring all of the outstanding common shares of Noront, well beyond the 23 per cent share stake it currently holds as Noront’s largest shareholder.

The company announced its intention in late May to make a $133-million all-cash bid for Toronto-based Noront, the lead mine developer in the remote James Bay region.

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Mining in the Pacific: a blessing and a curse – by Lyanne Togiba and Ben Dohery (The Guardian – June 6, 2021)

Mining is big business in the Pacific. Guardian analysis of trade data can reveal that each year nearly 11m tonnes of fuel and oil (the equivalent of 1100 Eiffel towers) are extracted from the region, 2m tonnes of copper, nickel, manganese and aluminium are mined, and gold worth US$2.6bn is quarried.

But despite the minerals and wealth pulled from the Pacific’s mountains, valleys, oceans and rivers, communities often have little to show for it.

In Solomon Islands, a bauxite mine on Rennell Island has scarred a once-pristine landscape and been the cause of environmental disasters – spills of oil and bauxite into the island’s fishing grounds – while paying zero royalties to the government. Continue Reading →

Tesla chair says mining to underpin potential Australian battery, EV production – by Anthony Barich (SP Global – June 3, 2021)

Tesla Inc. wants to support Australian miners critical to facilitating the country’s involvement throughout the electric vehicle supply chain, including possible EV manufacturing.

Tesla Chairman Robyn Denholm voiced support for the country’s mining sector at a June 2 Minerals Council of Australia event in Canberra, the nation’s capital. Denholm is an Australian who was appointed chair of the Tesla board in November 2018, after joining in 2014.

Denholm said the carmaker expects to increase spending on Australian minerals to more than $1 billion per annum “in the next few years.” Continue Reading →