Archive | Australia/New Caledonia/Papua New Guinea Mining

Mitsubishi kisses thermal coal goodbye, sells Aussie mines – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – December 18, 2018)

Mitsubishi Corporation is selling its interest in two Australian thermal coal mines for A$750 million ($539 million) to its joint venture partners Glencore and Sumitomo Corp., in a move that marks the end of its involvement in upstream fossil fuels.

The company, which is Japan’s biggest trading house, will sell its 31.4% stake in the Clermont coal mine to GS Coal, the 50-50 joint venture between Glencore and Sumitomo, and its 10% stake in the Ulan coal mine to Glencore.

The Swiss miner and commodities trader said the deal value was $530 million. Glencore noted it would only spend $130 million, mainly on the Ulan asset, while GS Coal will use its own funds for the Clermont stake. Continue Reading →

Building Fortune Heir Tim Roberts Picks A Lithium Winner – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – December 17, 2018)

Tim Treadgold has been writing about the mining and oil industries for more than 40 years.

Tim Roberts, one of the heirs to a multi-billion dollar fortune left by his builder father, the late John Roberts, has enjoyed his first significant win in the Australian mining industry thanks largely to the U.S.-based specialty chemical maker, Albemarle Corporation.

Through a private company, Kingfisher Capital, Roberts last month paid $21 million at an average price of $10.60 for slightly more than two million shares in Mineral Securities, a mining and engineering services company of which he was appointed a director two years ago.

Until making that investment Roberts owned just 6997 shares in Mineral Resources which mines iron ore and lithium as well as having a division which builds mineral processing plants. Continue Reading →

COMMENT: Idea from Down Under needs to come Up North – by Marilyn Scales (Canadian Mining Journal – December 13, 2018)

The Australians have a practical and forward-thinking idea: Hire military veterans to meet the looming labour shortage in the mining sector.

Veterans are highly trained and bring diverse skills and talents to the job. Many have a difficult time transitioning to civilian employment when they leave the army, navy or air force. The fact that a few can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and may have trouble holding down jobs leads to high unemployment rates.

An examination of the problem, entitled “Veteran Employment Report,” has just been published by the WithYouWithMe group that deals with re-integrating former military personnel into civilian life. The report shows that veteran unemployment in Australia is about 30.2% – five times higher than the national average! Underemployment – the inability to find work that matches their skills or that pays as much as when they were in the military – is also high at 19%. Continue Reading →

‘My hands are trembling’: Andrew Bell holds Royal Nickel’s US$16,000 rock of gold (Business Network News – December 11, 2018)

A massive gold discovery at its Australian mine has transformed base metal player Royal Nickel into a gold exploration company. BNN Bloomberg’s Andrew Bell takes a look at the high-grade gold rocks recovered from the company’s Beta Hunt operation with Royal Nickel CEO Mark Selby.

For a great article on the discovery of those gold samples by Financial Post’s mining reporter Gabriel Friedman:

RNC Minerals CEO Mark Selby, holding gold samples from Australia, with his wife, son, parents and sisters at the Toronto Royal Ontario Museum reception on December 11, 2018.

Continue Reading →

Harmony to secure Wafi-Golpu mining permit by mid-2019 – by Allan Seccombe (Business Day – December 11, 2018)

Harmony Gold and its partner signed an agreement with the Papua New Guinea government to clear the way to secure a mining permit by the middle of 2019 to start the Wafi-Golpu copper and gold mine.

Harmony and its partner, Australia’s Newcrest Mining, released an updated feasibility study in March 2018 showing the cost to bring the mine into commercial production would be about $2.8bn. The mine would produce an average 202,000oz of gold and 130,000 tons of copper a year.

Securing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the companies and the Papua New Guinea government gives a solid timeframe for the work that needs to happen to complete the permitting process and result in the issuance of a special mining lease by the end of June 2019. Continue Reading →

ASIA INSIGHT: A small island gets caught in China’s Pacific power game with West – by Fumi Matsumoto (Nikkei Asian Review – December 11, 2018)

SYDNEY — A small island has found itself caught in the escalating battle for influence in the South Pacific. On both economic and diplomatic fronts, Papua New Guinea’s autonomous region of Bougainville has become a key piece in the game between Beijing, on one side, and the U.S. and its allies on the other.

With Bougainville holding one of the world’s largest untapped deposits of copper, Chinese and Western companies are weighing the prospects for reopening its Panguna copper mine — closed since a vicious civil war broke out in 1989. The island is also set to hold an independence referendum on June 15, potentially creating a new country that could vote in international forums such as the United Nations.

John Momis, president of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, told the Nikkei Asian Review that Chinese businesspeople raised the matter of investing in the mine on a visit to PNG ahead of last month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in the capital, Port Moresby. Continue Reading →

Adani: thousands protest across Australia against Carmichael mine – by Staff (The Guardian – December 8, 2018)

Thousands of protestors campaigning against Indian mining giant Adani’s controversial Queensland coalmine have taken to the streets in major cities across Australia to call on the government to stop it going ahead.

Protesters marched in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns on Saturday, just a week after 15,000 school students demonstrated against government inaction on climate change. It follows the announcement last month by Adani it would self-finance the controversial project after scaling back its size and scope.

The coal project is being downsized from a 60-million-tonnes a year, $16.5 billion mega-mine to a more manageable 10-to-15 million tonnes a year costing around $2 billion. In Brisbane, hundreds of protestors gathered outside Adani’s headquarters to voice their opposition to the project. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto iron ore boss Chris Salisbury says the public doesn’t trust miners – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – December 9, 2018)

His comments came days after an EY survey of 250 mining executives found more
than half now considered licence to operate the biggest risk to their businesses
amid rising nationalism, changing community perceptions of mining operations and
the impact of automation on the workforce.

Rio Tinto iron ore boss Chris Salisbury says the mining industry has a trust problem with the Australian public as the company continues to put a heavy emphasis on shoring up its social licence to operate and pushes towards an autonomous future. The 30-year industry veteran said Rio Tinto, along with other miners, needed to change and adapt to ensure its future was as strong as its past.

Mr Salisbury said he agreed with critics calling on miners to be more diverse, inclusive and progressive, but said many observers wouldn’t even know that Rio Tinto contributed $42.7 billion to GDP, or 2.5 per cent of Australian economy, last year and paid $5 billion in tax and royalties.

“In an industry that is built on the goodwill and trust of governments and communities, we need to positively engage with our neighbours and the broader community to tell our story better,” he said. Continue Reading →

Gina Rinehart: “Don’t call me an heiress” – by Andrew Hornery (Sydney Morning Herald – December 8, 2018)

Gina Rinehart ranks as the richest Australian ever, owns vast swathes of the continent, directly and indirectly employs tens of thousands of her fellow countrymen, has homes around the globe, travels in an $80 million private jet, is instantly recognisable across the land, has been the subject of a television mini-series and several bestsellers as well as having the ear of the Prime Minister.

Just don’t ever call her an “heiress”. I innocently made this incursion recently, only to be swiftly dealt with by Rinehart’s team of “communications specialists”, one of whom wrote to inform me she was hardly of the ilk of Paris Hilton.

Rinehart was disputing the term “heiress”: “When Lang Hancock passed away his estate was bankrupt, which is publicly available information. “In addition, Hancock Prospecting which he’d largely sold out of was in an extremely bad financial situation at time of his death in March 1992 with the few remaining assets under threat of litigation or heavily mortgaged. Tenements to Roy Hill were not in the company when Lang was alive – these were acquired after his death.” Continue Reading →

Vale doubles down on nickel ahead of EV revolution – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – December 7, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – Vale, the Brazilian mining giant built on supplying the world’s steel mills with iron ore, is now betting on the electric vehicle (EV) revolution to turn its nickel division around.

“We believe in this revolution to come,” Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman told analysts at the company’s investor day presentation in New York this week. The use of nickel in lithium ion batteries will translate into at least 500,000 tonnes of extra demand by 2025, according to Vale, which is planning to play a leading role in meeting the additional need for high-grade metal.

However, to do so, it will have to turn around its troubled New Caledonian operations, a task described by Schvartsman as “maybe our biggest challenge”. It will also have to gamble that Chinese players led by the Tsingshan steel group don’t make the technological breakthrough that would allow them to convert nickel ore straight into battery-grade nickel. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s Vale to pump $500 million into nickel mine, ends partner quest – by Rodrigo Campos (Reuters U.S. – December 4, 2018)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Brazilian miner Vale SA (VALE3.SA), the world’s top nickel producer, plans to invest $500 million in its struggling New Caledonia nickel mine on its own after previously vowing to find a partner for the venture.

Vale’s decision to invest in the project alone, from 2019 to 2022, reflects the company’s new understanding of the importance of an expected surge in electric vehicle (EV) sales, Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman said on Tuesday.

“The decision to continue on our own was made because (New Caledonia) could be a very important part of strategy to supply nickel especially given the EV revolution,” he told journalists after Vale’s investor day presentation in New York. “We thought initially that we could have a partner but it was in a moment when we had no clarity on the incoming EV revolution.” Continue Reading →

Bougainville’s tinderbox threatens to reignite – by Alan Boyd (Asia Times – December 4, 2018)

An independence referendum and unresolved issues over the rich Panguna copper mine threaten to tilt Papua New Guinea’s tumultuous autonomous island back to civil war

Foreign mining companies are jostling for exploration rights on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville ahead of a crucial independence vote next year that some fear could revive tensions that sparked a civil war that killed 20,000 in the 1980’s.

The island will need mining royalties to maintain a viable economy if the referendum backs independence, but unresolved issues over the Panguna copper mine are still a sensitive point with traditional landowners. Villagers shut the pit down in 1989, triggering the previous lethal conflict.

The referendum is the culmination of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which formally ended the decade-long bloody civil war. It will take place as the US and Australia aim to work closely with Papua New Guinea to develop its Lombrum Naval Base to counterbalance China’s growing maritime influence in the region. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto approves $3.5b iron ore mine in the Pilbara – by Cole Latimer, Hamish Hastie & Nathan Hondros (Sydney Morning Herald – November 29, 2018)

Mining giant Rio Tinto has approved a $US2.6 billion ($3.5 billion) investment in its futuristic Koodaideri iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The mine will be one of Rio Tinto’s most heavily automated operations, featuring robotic trains and advanced analytics as well as 3D reconstructions of the operation to help train new miners in simulated conditions.

“Koodaideri is a game-changer for Rio Tinto. It will be the most technologically advanced mine we have ever built and sets a new benchmark for the industry in terms of the adoption of automation and the use of data to enhance safety productivity,” Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto leads copper charge into Western Australia’s Paterson region – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – November 26, 2018)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A hive of mine exploration activity is underway in a remote corner of Western Australia’s Great Sandy Desert, led by Rio Tinto Ltd, which has boosted its holdings 10-fold in the little explored Paterson province in the past year.

Rio’s interest in the area – flagged by its application for nearly 30 exploration licenses – has sparked a stampede into adjacent lots by other explorers, who see Rio’s aggressive activity as an indicator of a highly promising find.

Interest was further intensified by the global mining giant’s recent application to build an airstrip in Paterson – roughly halfway between Perth and Darwin, indicating it’s in for the long haul. Continue Reading →

Pedal to metal at booming Australian gold mines – by Ben Harvey (The West Australian – November 25, 2018)

Australia’s latest gold rush has maintained its momentum, with the 81 tonnes produced in the three months to the end of September just a few thousand ounces shy of the previous quarter.

Analysis by mining consultants Surbiton Associates shows the quarter’s production was six tonnes more than a year ago, pushing Australia’s annual output comfortably above 300 tonnes and earning export income of $16 billion. China remains the world’s most prolific gold miner, accounting for 440 tonnes last year.

“Overall, (Australian) production is remarkably stable, despite the ups and downs at individual operations,” Surbiton director Sandra Close said. “If gold output is maintained at current levels in the December quarter, output for the full calendar year 2018 will remain at a near-record level. Continue Reading →