Archive | BHP Billiton

Dozens of Rio tailings dams would be high hazards if they failed – by Darren Gray (Sydney Morning Herald – June 12, 2019)

https://www.smh.com.au/

Dozens of Rio Tinto tailings dams around the world would generate a “high” hazard if they were to fail, according to an audit of the global miner’s tailings dams.

The audit, released late on Wednesday, reveals just over 40 of Rio Tinto’s tailings storage facilities are deemed to have at least a “high” hazard consequence in the event of a failure, including three that were assigned a “very high” rating.

The three deemed “very high” are all outside of Australia, with one in Chile, one in Brazil and the other in Canada. Mining companies have faced intense scrutiny of their approach to tailings dams after the devastating collapse of a dam in January at Vale’s Brumadinho iron ore mine in Brazil. Continue Reading →

Potash producer Nutrien eyes expansion as BHP ponders entry – by Rod Nickel (Reuters Canada – May 28, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Canada’s Nutrien Ltd, the world’s biggest producer of potash fertilizer, said on Tuesday that it was evaluating whether to expand its annual production capacity by 5 million tonnes after 2023, around the time that metals miner BHP Billiton is considering a move into potash.

In a presentation to investors in Toronto, Chief Executive Chuck Magro said the additional capacity would consist of expansions to existing Canadian mines during the next decade.

Nutrien currently has some 5 million tonnes of idled potash capacity due to soft prices in recent years. Continue Reading →

Global miner BHP plans to expand nickel output amid battery boom (Reuters U.S. – May 21, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Global miner BHP Group on Wednesday said it plans to expand its nickel sulphide operations amid an expected boom in demand for the material in electric vehicle batteries.

But the company is not looking to produce main battery ingredient lithium as it sees such output having slimmer profits.

Speaking at a strategy briefing on long-term asset allocation, BHP Chief Financial Officer Peter Beaven said growth in nickel could come from either exploration or acquisitions. Continue Reading →

BHP admits it ‘over-invested’ in Jansen mine – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – May 15, 2019)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

However, the company’s CEO told investors this week, it still considers the project east of Saskatoon ‘attractive.’

BHP “over-invested” in its massive Jansen potash mine, currently under construction east of Saskatoon, the Anglo-Australian company’s chief executive told investors this week.

However, Andrew Mackenzie said during a mining conference in Barcelona, BHP still considers the project “attractive” even though no final decision about its future has been made.

BHP has committed around US$3.9 billion to the project, but Mackenzie confirmed this week that it remains “uncertain” when the company’s board will make a decision about whether to proceed further. Continue Reading →

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

https://af.reuters.com/

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 →

Big Four miners languish amid demand, ESG, capex concerns – by Barbara Lewis and Simon Jessop (Reuters U.S. – May 8, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s biggest diversified miners have yet to see their share prices reflect their role as providers of the minerals needed for a shift to a low-carbon economy.

Mining companies provide minerals such as cobalt used in electric vehicle batteries and copper for increased electrification, and the sector’s balance sheets are in rude health.

Still, many investors are wary. Concerns include the demand outlook from China, the world’s biggest consumer of metals; the sector’s history of wasting shareholders’ money on mergers and acquisitions that never deliver returns; and a patchy record on environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) issues. Continue Reading →

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

https://uk.reuters.com/

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 →

BHP faces $5 billion claim over 2015 Brazil dam failure – by Kirstin Ridley and Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – May 7, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP is facing a landmark, $5.0 billion damages claim in England for being “woefully negligent” in the run-up to a 2015 dam failure that led to Brazil’s worst environmental disaster, a lawsuit alleges.

The claim, which will be largest group action to be heard in England, was served on the miner on Tuesday on behalf of 235,000 Brazilian individuals and organizations, including municipal governments, utility companies, indigenous tribes and the Catholic Church, according to law firm SPG Law.

BHP spokesman Neil Burrows said the miner intended to defend itself against the proceedings, brought in the north western English city of Liverpool. Continue Reading →

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

https://www.afr.com/

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 →

Digging up Broken Hill’s mining and union history which tells of life and death underground – by Gayle Ball (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – April 25, 2019)

https://www.abc.net.au/

For mine workers in Broken Hill buried in the city’s cemetery, “accidentally killed” was an all-too-frequent epitaph. The headstones at Broken Hill’s cemetery tell the story not only of the city’s colourful history, but the progression of workers’ rights.

Broken Hill’s union movement is widely celebrated as playing a pivotal role in securing better working conditions, as well as the eight-hour working day.

Local historian Christine Adams led a tour during this year’s Broken Hill Heritage Festival focusing on graves which highlighted the city’s union and mining past. More than 800 men were killed on silver, lead and zinc mines in the city. Continue Reading →

BHP to cut over 700 jobs, including in Singapore: Report (Strait Times – April 8, 2019)

https://www.straitstimes.com/

Mining giant plans to axe white-collar jobs as early as next week to streamline operations

MELBOURNE – The world’s biggest miner, BHP Group, is poised to cut over 700 white-collar jobs, The Australian newspaper reported, adding that the process could start as early as next week.

Last week, BHP chief financial officer Peter Beaven revealed plans of cuts of up to 20 per cent to his 900-strong finance team at an internal town hall meeting, the newspaper said.

BHP’s technology group will also face cuts in workforce as part of a restructuring that could see up to 30 per cent of its 2,000-strong Australian and Singapore workforce leave the group, the report said. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Iron ore prices shift structurally higher on Vale woes – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – April 2, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

HONG KONG, April 2 (Reuters) – Iron ore prices in China reached a record high on Tuesday as market participants wrestled two dilemmas, namely the likely temporary weather-related disruptions from Australia and the rather more serious safety outages in Brazil.

A major tropical cyclone hitting the main producing and shipping areas in the world’s largest iron ore miner was always likely to boost prices, and indeed, markets largely responded as expected.

Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rose 4.2 percent on Tuesday to reach 665.5 yuan ($99) a tonne, the most since the contract starting trading in 2013. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore Thunders Higher as Mine Dams Closed, Exports Collapse – by Krystal Chia (Bloomberg News – April 3, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Iron ore’s supply-driven rally picked up pace on Wednesday, with futures topping $90 a ton, amid increasing concern the crisis at Brazil’s Vale SA will be drawn out as regulators ordered dozens of dams to be shut.

Futures for benchmark material rallied as much as 4.1 percent in Singapore, while spot ore climbed to a two-year high and the contract for high-grade ore extended gains above $100 a ton. Barclays Plc raised price forecasts on expectations for a global deficit.

The seaborne market has been roiled this year after top producer Vale suffered a dam breach in January, spurring mine suspensions and concerns there’ll be a shortage. Continue Reading →

Australian miners see some impact from two cyclones, clean up begins – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – March 25, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Mining giants Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals said their Australian operations had suffered some impact after two cyclones hit the country over the weekend, with clean up starting on Monday in the wake of the storms.

Cyclone Veronica has been weakening after battering Australia’s northwest, while further east, Cyclone Trevor was downgraded to a low pressure system on Sunday.

Businesses affected included those in the iron ore export hubs of the Pilbara region, as well as Rio Tinto’s bauxite operations in Weipa to the east. Continue Reading →

Why Rinehart, Forrest, BHP and Newcrest are sweet on Ecuador – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – March 25, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

The mining executive who prepared the ground for a tenement tug-of-war between BHP and Newcrest in Ecuador is convinced a lot more copper and gold will be found in the exploration hot spot.

Malcolm Norris, who secured the Cascabel tenement a decade ago while calling the shots at SolGold, said it was no surprise that Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting had also taken a shine to Ecuador.

Mr Norris, now the chief executive of ASX-listed junior explorer Sunstone Metals and chasing the third major copper-gold discovery of his career, said Cascabel might turn out to be big enough for both BHP and Newcrest. “I think it is a very big system and the resource that have been drilled so far, that’s not the end of the story. There’s more to come, I’m sure,” he said. Continue Reading →