Archive | BHP Billiton

Aussie iron miners struggle to keep pace with Vale – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – October 16, 2018)

Australian iron ore miners have struggled to keep pace with Brazilian miner Vale, with BHP and Fortescue expected to follow in Rio Tinto’s footsteps by reporting softer exports of the steelmaking ingredient in recent months.

Rio confirmed on Tuesday that maintenance disruptions and the death of an employee had contributed to weaker than expected iron ore exports in the three months to September 30, and data from Port Hedland suggests its tenants (BHP, Fortescue, Roy Hill, Mineral Resources and Atlas Iron) exported six per cent less iron ore in the period compared to the previous quarter.

BHP is scheduled to confirm its iron ore exports on Wednesday morning, with RBC predicting its Australian division shipped 72 million tonnes in the three months to September 30. Continue Reading →

BHP doubles stake in promising Ecuador copper project – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.K. – October 15, 2018)

MELBOURNE – (Reuters) – The world’s biggest miner BHP on Tuesday nearly doubled its stake in SolGold Plc, bolstering its position against top shareholder Newcrest Mining as it eyes SolGold’s promising Cascabel copper-gold project in Ecuador.

BHP, which bought in to SolGold just six weeks ago, has paid almost $60 million (£45.6 million) to increase its holding to 11.2 percent, not far off the 14.5 percent stake held by Newcrest, Australia’s biggest listed gold miner.

The mining giant has described Cascabel as a high-quality copper exploration project, while Ecuador is seen as a highly perspective region with geology similar to top copper producer Chile. Continue Reading →

BHP sees major copper demand boost from China’s widening belt and road – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – October 3, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – China’s overseas expansion will spread over land that is home to more than half the world’s population, potentially boosting copper use by 1.6 million tonnes, or roughly 7 percent of annual demand, major miner BHP said on Thursday.

BHP has analysed the impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a network of overseas construction projects, on commodity demand on the basis of a database it constantly updates.

It said China’s overseas expansion plan covered 115 partners across Eurasia, parts of Africa, Latin American and Oceania, up from 68 countries or regions it cited in a previous blog post in September last year. Continue Reading →

BHP ditching ‘Billiton’ from its name, trims CEO pay rise – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – September 18, 2018)

World’s largest miner BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT) is rolling out the second phase of a $10 million rebranding campaign launched last year, which may see it become dropping “Billiton” from its name an attempt to emphasize its Australian roots.

Documents released Tuesday to the Australian Securities Exchange, show the miner will ask shareholders at the annual meeting in October to vote to rename the company as BHP Group.

The rebranding, the first since BHP used the late actor Bill Hunter 30 years ago in its “Big Australian” promotion, can also be seen as an effort to regain public trust after the damage to the firm’s image caused by the November 2015 dam burst at its Samarco joint-venture in Brazil. Continue Reading →

Andrew Mackenzie is keen for the long haul at BHP Billiton (Financial Times – September 10, 2018)

After BHP Billiton announced results last month, its chief executive Andrew Mackenzie paused to reflect. “We have made BHP a much simpler, stunningly simple company,” he said as the miner declared a record final dividend.

Once the Anglo-Australian group completes the sale of its onshore US oil business later this year, Mr Mackenzie will preside over a company focused on just four commodities — copper, iron ore, coking coal and offshore oil — and 13 operated assets.

That’s very different from the company he took charge of in 2013, which had interests in 41 projects across 13 countries and six continents. But any suggestion that now might be a good time to step down is quickly dismissed by the Scotland-born geologist, who says he has many more ideas to improve the company. Continue Reading →

BHP buys into Ecuador copper project with $35 million SolGold stake – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – September 4, 2018)

(Reuters) – Global miner BHP (BHP.AX) has struck a deal to pay $35 million for a 6.1 percent stake in SolGold (SOLG.L), giving it a share in the promising Cascabel copper-gold project in Ecuador after an earlier attempt failed.

SolGold’s share price leapt around 17 percent as the market took BHP’s acquisition as a vote of confidence in the project, while BHP shares (BLT.L) slipped one percent by 1330 GMT.

BHP’s Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said the investment provided exposure to a high quality copper exploration project in Ecuador, a “highly prospective” location. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s Samarco mine unlikely to restart in 2019: BHP – by Marta Nogueira and Brad Haynes (Reuters U.S. – August 21, 2018)

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – There is little likelihood that Brazil’s Samarco iron ore mine, a joint venture between Vale SA and BHP Billiton, will restart operations next year even though it expects to have all of the required licenses, a BHP spokesman said on Tuesday.

The statement confirmed comments made by another BHP official, Bryan Quinn, in an interview with newspaper Valor Economico.

Quinn, an executive in charge of the company’s mineral joint ventures, told Reuters in a separate interview that restarting operations at the disaster-struck mine depends on an agreement with prosecutors on building a new tailing dam system. Continue Reading →

BHP’s Costs Crash Diet Is Running Out of Steam – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – August 20, 2018)

Going on a crash diet seems great while you’re shedding the pounds. The problem is sticking with it for the long term.

That’s what seems to be happening to the world’s miners, which have spent the years since the commodity boom peaked in 2011 holding down salaries, eking out efficiencies and extracting the highest-quality parts of their deposits to keep costs in line with deflating prices.

The cycle looks to be turning, though: Controllable cash costs at BHP Billiton Ltd. rose by $1.24 billion in the year through June, the company reported Tuesday, mainly because of declines in oil and gas fields, operational problems at two coking coal mines and issues around processing costs at two copper mines. Continue Reading →

Breakingviews – Copper-bottomed BHP can now dig into bigger issues – by Clara Ferreira-Marques (Reuters U.S. – August 20, 2018)

SINGAPORE (Reuters Breakingviews) – A copper-bottomed BHP can now dig into some tougher matters. The mining titan has reorganised its portfolio and, as full year results unveiled on Tuesday show, repaired its balance sheet.

Cash flows are near record levels last seen seven years ago. That means the board and boss Andrew Mackenzie can turn their attention to pricklier strategic issues including whether to stick with oil, gas and potash.

It has been a rocky ride for the $125 billion company. Business-cycle booms and busts are partly to blame, but bad decisions are, too. Moving into shale energy at the height of the fracking boom was one. Continue Reading →

U.S. Will Lose From Trade War as Flows Shift, Top Miner Says – by David Stringer and Rishaad Salamat (Bloomberg News – August 21, 2018)

The U.S. risks losing out from its curbs on trade as rival nations including China will seek to do more business with each other, BHP Billiton Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie warned as the head of the world’s largest miner stepped up his criticism of rising protectionism.

“There’s a lot of countries in the world that want to trade more with each other, now that it looks like the U.S. wants to trade less with them,” Mackenzie said in a Bloomberg Television interview, citing discussions with global trade ministers.

“China will absolutely look to walk in that area and look to find exports with other people,” he said after BHP reported earnings. Continue Reading →

Chile braces for potential strike at Escondida copper mine – by Antonio De la Jara (Reuters U.S. – August 13, 2018)

Aug 13 (Reuters) – Chile’s copper industry on Monday braced for the announcement of a potential strike at the world’s biggest copper mine, Escondida, as government-led mediation is expected to close by day’s end.

Escondida’s union and the mine’s owner, Anglo-Australian firm BHP , have until Monday evening to agree to a contract deal in tense negotiations that have been closely watched by other miners and international markets.

The negotiations have been held under tight wraps, but a union source told Reuters that “all will be known today” about negotiations at Escondida, which last year produced 925,400 tonnes of copper, almost 17 percent of the country’s total. Continue Reading →

BHP settles US class action over Samarco dam failure for $67 million – by Darren Gray (Sydney Morning Herald – August 9, 2018)

Mining giant BHP has agreed to settle a US class action claim relating to the Samarco dam failure of 2015, which triggered Brazil’s worst environmental disaster, and agreed to pay the plaintiffs $US50 million ($67.3 million).

The agreement comes with no admission of liability. It remains subject to approval by a US court. Melbourne-based lawyers acting for BHP investors in an Australian class action against the miner over the dam failure are watching the US legal developments with interest.

Brett Spiegel, a lawyer for the Melbourne-based law firm Phi, Finney, McDonald which filed the Australian class action in May in the Federal Court, welcomed the news from the US. Continue Reading →

Cat Calling, Whistling and Groping Greet Women in Mines of Chile – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – August 8, 2018)

Despite efforts pushing for gender equality, the Chilean mining industry, slow to change, is still notoriously inhospitable to women.

The first time Karen Requena entered the cafeteria at BHP Billiton’s massive Escondida mining operation in northern Chile, she couldn’t help feeling countless eyes fixed on her body as she walked across the vast hall.

“It can’t get worse than that,” she thought. Then as Requena looked for a place to sit, the noise started. Thousands of men began banging their knives and forks against their plates. The pace of the deafening clattering picked up as she searched for an empty seat.

That’s how it went day in and day out at the world’s largest copper mine. It was 2012, and Requena was working 10-day shifts as an Escondida safety officer for BHP Billiton contractor Villatol. Soon she began eating in her room alone. Continue Reading →

BHP boosts nickel mining, exploration investment amid electric vehicle boom – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – August 6, 2018)

KALGOORLIE, Australia (Reuters) – Global miner BHP is plowing more investment into nickel mine development and exploration in Western Australia, seeking to secure its own supply of a key material in batteries needed to meet booming demand for electric cars.

BHP is building what is expected to be the world’s largest battery-grade nickel sulphate plant on the outskirts of Perth and is boosting output to be “as self-sufficient as possible”, asset president Eduard Haegel, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Diggers and Dealers mining conference in Kalgoorlie.

Nickel is in increasingly hot demand in new battery technologies that mean cars can travel further on a single charge. Using more nickel also cuts costs by reducing the amount of expensive cobalt, a mainstay of current electric vehicle (EV) battery technology. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-BHP, Rio deals show lack of options beyond shareholder returns – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – July 31, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, July 31 (Reuters) – Two recent deals by the world’s two biggest mining companies both looked positive for shareholders, but also underscore the challenges facing major commodity producers.

BHP Billiton last week agreed to sell its U.S. shale oil and gas assets for $10.5 billion, while Rio Tinto appears on track to exit its troubled investment in the giant Grasberg copper and gold mine in Indonesia for about $3.5 billion.

Both deals were generally well-received by investors, largely because they resolve long-running sores for the mining giants and will likely result in a return of the proceeds to shareholders. Continue Reading →