Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

COLUMN-Australia’s shock election shows killing coal mining is no sure thing – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 19, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 19 (Reuters) – While Australia’s opposition Labor Party is the obvious loser from the weekend election, the anti-coal environmental lobby suffered probably a bigger blow and will need to re-think its strategy to end mining of the polluting fuel.

The conservative Liberal Party-led coalition is likely to have pulled off one of the great political escapes by returning to office for a third term, confounding polls and pundits who thought Labor was a near certainty to win the May 18 election.

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison may not secure an outright majority in the 151-seat lower house of parliament, results indicated that Labor, led by former unionist Bill Shorten, would have no chance of victory. Continue Reading →

Mining magnate aims to be kingmaker after Australian election – by Melanie Burton and Jonathan Barrett (Reuters U.S. – May 17, 2019)

MELBOURNE/SYDNEY (Reuters) – A billionaire who built his own Jurassic Park and promises a replica Titanic may hold the balance of power in Australia’s parliament if his populist campaign wins enough votes in Saturday’s general election.

Clive Palmer, whose slogan “Make Australia Great” echoes U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, has spent tens of millions of dollars on a campaign aimed at disaffected voters in a country where casting a ballot is compulsory.

The unprecedented spending in an Australian election could help the businessman capture a powerful bloc in the upper house Senate, analysts say, and force a new government to seek his help to pass legislation. Continue Reading →

The lithium industry needs a $17b injection to meet 2025 demand – here come the deals – by Angela East ( – May 15, 2019)

Corporate deals in the lithium industry are heating up at a time when there is a predicted multi-billion-dollar cash injection needed to ramp up supply to meet rapidly growing demand.

One expert says at least US$12 billion ($17.3 billion) needs to be invested in new lithium projects by 2025 if the industry is to have any realistic hope of matching supply with demand.

US lithium expert Joe Lowry told delegates at the Latin America Downunder mining conference in Perth that the ‘Big Four’ global lithium producers – SQM, Albemarle, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium and Tianqi – could not alone meet 2025 lithium demand. Continue Reading →

Australia’s St. Barbara to acquire Canada’s Atlantic Gold in $722-million deal – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – May 16, 2019)

Australia’s St. Barbara Ltd. is buying Canada’s Atlantic Gold Corp. in a friendly transaction worth $722-million – more evidence of a resurgence in deal-making in the global gold sector. Vancouver-based Atlantic owns and operates a small but very profitable gold mine in Nova Scotia.

St. Barbara is paying $2.90 a share for Atlantic, about a 40-per-cent premium to the Tuesday closing price. In addition, shareholders will receive the equivalent of 5 cents a share in a spin-off company that will hold Atlantic’s equity stake in Velocity Minerals Ltd., a small development stage company.

St. Barbara is funding the deal through a mix of cash on hand and proceeds from an equity issue. In an interview, Atlantic’s chief executive officer Steven Dean said there was “a good deal of interest from a number of parties,” but that St. Barbara’s offer, which was almost all-cash, was particularly compelling. Continue Reading →

Australia’s St Barbara snaps up Canada’s Atlantic Gold for $536 mln – by Melanie Burton (Reuters Canada – May 14, 2019)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian gold miner St Barbara said on Wednesday it will buy smaller Canadian peer Atlantic Gold Corp for C$722 million ($536 million), marking a second overseas acquisition for cashed-up Australian producers.

St Barbara’s C$2.90 a share cash offer represents a 39% premium to Atlanta Gold’s closing price on Tuesday in a deal that analysts said opened up growth options, but could lead to a call on capital and crimp dividends.

“Buying an unknown asset in a new country which itself potentially requires a fresh injection of capital… could present an additional barrier for some investors,” said RBC Capital in a report. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-BHP to keep Nickel West, Rio looks to Jadar lithium for battery boom (Reuters Africa – May 14, 2019)

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – Global miner BHP will hold on to the Australian nickel operations it previously put up for sale, while Rio Tinto is working on copper and lithium projects as the mining industry bets on demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The biggest mining companies say they are well positioned to provide the metals needed for the shift to EV technology, although they acknowledge the political risks and environmental issues in some of the countries where the best supplies are found.

Nickel is in demand to allow cars to travel further on a single charge. Using more nickel also cuts costs by reducing the use of expensive cobalt, a mainstay of current EV batteries. Continue Reading →

[Australia] The Land Where Coal Remains King – by Jason Scott (Bloomberg News – May 7, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — For Ann Taylor, the idea that Australia’s colossal coal industry should be tamed is risible. Taylor is mayor of a council in Queensland state that already hosts 26 mines. She wants more added from the nearby Galilee Basin, a coal-rich area about the size of the U.K. that, if fully developed, could more than double Australia’s exports of the fuel.

“We’re absolutely pro-coal mining and proud of it—that’s why we’re here,” Taylor said in her office in Moranbah, a town of 8,000 people that owes its half-century existence to the industry. “There’s a lot of life left in coal.”

Coal is Australia’s second-largest income generator after iron ore, and many lawmakers welcome efforts to boost an industry that brings in A$60 billion ($42 billion) a year. None more so than Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who as the country’s treasurer two years ago brandished a lump of coal in parliament, taunting lawmakers from the opposition Labor party that they were scared of the fuel because they favored more cuts to carbon emissions. Continue Reading →

Column: Iron ore tugged between Brazilian supply shock, Trump’s trade war – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – May 7, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – Iron ore prices look increasingly caught between the bullish reality of lower supply from Brazil and the bearish possibility of weaker demand if President Donald Trump carries out his threat to ramp up his tariff war against China.

The price action in the wake of Trump’s Twitter threat on Sunday to ramp up tariffs on $200 billion of imports from China to 25 percent was indicative of iron ore’s dilemma.

Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, the most liquid market for the steel-making ingredient, dropped in early trade as investors fretted that the trade talks between the United States and China had been effectively derailed. Continue Reading →

Adani refuses to commit to size of ‘scaled-down’ Carmichael coalmine – by Ben Smee (The Guardian – May 7, 2019)

Adani has refused to commit to the size of its “scaled-down” Carmichael coal project and is still pursuing final approvals based on plans for a 60m-tonne megamine in central Queensland.

The Queensland government has confirmed that while Adani announced last year it intended to build a much smaller mine, the Indian company has filed no formal plans on that basis. Instead, the state is assessing Adani’s key environmental management plans on the assumption the project would produce up to 60m tonnes of coal a year.

When the company’s groundwater plan was assessed by the federal government, the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia provided expert advice that recommended Adani commit to a particular mine plan, or to producing a set amount of coal. Continue Reading →

Vale’s latest legal blow boosts iron ore stocks – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – May 7, 2019)

Australia’s booming iron ore stocks are tipped to stay higher for longer in the wake of the latest blow to Brazilian producer Vale’s plan to reopen mines that were shuttered in the wake of the tragic Brumadinho tailings dam collapse.

Vale was forced to suspend work at its 30 million tonne-a-year Brucutu mine on Monday after a Brazilian court overturned an earlier ruling that it could reopen.

The ruling from the higher court came as Vale said it expected sales of iron ore and pellets to be at the low to mid-end of previous guidance of 307 million tonnes to 332 million tonnes in 2019. Continue Reading →

RPT-Wesfarmers’ soft bid for Kidman spotlights lithium’s financing issues – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – May 5, 2019)

MELBOURNE, May 3 (Reuters) – Wesfarmers Ltd’s bid for Australia’s Kidman Resources undervalues the lithium miner, analysts said on Friday, reflecting the financing difficulties the sector faces even as electric car makers warn of raw material shortages.

Wesfarmers offered a 47 percent premium for Kidman, which is developing the Mount Holland project in Western Australia through a joint venture with battery chemicals maker Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM).

But even that offer, which valued the company at A$776 million ($543 million) or A$1.90 per share, undervalued the company, said analysts at J.P. Morgan and Canaccord Genuity. Continue Reading →

U.S, allies propose financing for power plant for Papua New Guinea gold mine – by Colin Packham (Reuters U.S. – May 6, 2019)

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The United States and a group of Pacific allies are proposing to finance a power plant to kick-start the Wafi-Golpu mine in Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s largest untapped gold resources, two sources familiar with the plan said.

The proposal would be the first to be funded by a partnership of the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan that pledged to support electricity projects in Papua New Guinea (PNG) during the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit held in November in the capital of Port Moresby.

The countries promised to fund projects to provide electricity for up to 70 percent of the PNG population by 2030, a centerpiece of efforts to undercut Chinese influence in the Pacific. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Australian mining mourns the gentlest of its giants – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – May 2, 2019)

On Wednesday morning, Australia lost one of its greatest citizens. Sir Arvi Parbo died at his home in Vermont South in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. He was 93.

The last time I chatted to Sir Arvi at any length he was shrouded in sheaves of paper. The ageing mining knight was coursing through drilling data offered to him by one of his family of Western Mining Corporation proteges.

The geological data revealed nothing to me. But the great man’s eyes flitted from line to numerical line, drawing knowledge from data as they danced past the numbers. As he flipped back the last interlinked page of print out, he smiled encouragingly and said: “We still have a long way to go then.” Continue Reading →

Wesfarmers bets on electric cars with $544 million bid for Australian lithium miner Kidman – by Tom Westbrook and Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – May 1, 2019)

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian retail conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd offered A$776 million ($544 million) to buy lithium miner Kidman Resources Ltd on Thursday, its second bid in two months to deepen its exposure to high-tech minerals.

The offer, which has the backing of Kidman’s board and major shareholders, was pitched at a 47 percent premium to Kidman’s last closing price and the stock soared to just below the A$1.90 offer price at the start of trade.

For Wesfarmers, which last year sold out of coal mining and in March bid A$1.5 billion for rare-earth producer Lynas Corp Ltd, it is its firmest bet yet on future demand for raw materials behind products from electric cars to wind turbines. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Poor April for global seaborne coal exporters masks overall resilience – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 2, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 2 (Reuters) – Coal exporters suffered a poor April with seaborne volumes dropping from the previous month amid slack demand, but the overall picture for the industry so far this year isn’t quite as gloomy as it may appear.

April is not traditionally a strong month for coal demand as it falls between the winter and summer power demand peaks – declining seaborne volumes are to be expected. It’s also worth noting that the world’s top coal exporters have managed to boost shipments on a year-on-year basis, not just in April but also for the first four months of the year.

The strength in export volumes so far in 2019 hasn’t been matched by prices, with benchmark Australian thermal coal trending weaker since reaching a seven-and-a-half-year peak of $119.74 a tonne in July last year. Continue Reading →