Archive | BHP Billiton

Rio Tinto, BHP, Vale tipped to report strongest ever quarterly iron ore exports – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – July 15, 2018)

https://www.afr.com/

The world’s three biggest iron ore miners are expected to confirm the industry’s strongest ever quarterly export figures this week, helping to explain recent weakness in prices for the bulk commodity.

Big miners have exercised restraint in both supply and rhetoric in recent years in a bid to calm fears the iron ore market could be flooded with supply, but port statistics suggest the miners’ inexorable export growth reached new heights in the three months to June 30.

Brazilian miner Vale is expected to announce record quarterly production of 96.3 million tonnes when it kicks off reporting season early on Tuesday morning Australian time, and Rio Tinto is expected to report strong numbers of its own several hours later. Continue Reading →

Labor talks at BHP’s Escondida mine in Chile enter ‘home stretch’ – by Dave Sherwood and Antonio De la Jara (Reuters U.S. – July 6, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Labor negotiations at BHP Billiton Plc Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world’s largest, are entering into the final three weeks before a 30-month contract expires at the end of July.

The closely watched talks come little more than one year after failure to reach a labor deal at the sprawling deposit led to a 44-day strike that jolted the global copper market.

BHP and the union have reached agreement on about one-fifth of the “points of interest,” raised by either party, according to an internal union document seen by Reuters that summarized progress in negotiations during the month of June. Continue Reading →

Rio and BHP to win from China’s blue-sky wars – by Matthew Stevens(Australian Financial Review – July 5, 2018)

https://www.afr.com/

China has moved to further embed pollution controls across a broader sweep of its industrial landscape in a move that reinforces the shared view of Australia’s biggest miners that price premiums being earned by quality iron ore and coal are now enrichingly structural.

A new three-year action plan announced on the official government website more than doubles the number of major cities targeted for pollution with the migration of the regime south beyond the provinces that surround Beijing to the Yangtze delta and Shanghai.

Confirmation of reforms that were first flagged towards the end of last winter’s successful blue-skies campaign acts as reinforcement of BHP’s planned changes to the Pilbara product mix and of Rio Tinto’s pursuit of mining capacity flexibility that will allow it to best respond to China’s increasingly seasonal raw-materials demand pull. Continue Reading →

Samarco could reach partial deal with Brazil prosecutors on Monday – by Marta Nogueira (Reuters U.S. – June 25, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Samarco, a joint venture between Brazilian miner Vale and Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton, could reach the second phase of a settlement with Brazilian prosecutors over a 2015 environmental disaster on Monday, a federal prosecutor said.

The mining disaster, Brazil’s worst on record, was caused by the bursting of a tailings dam and killed 19 people. Samarco’s operations have been suspended since then.

“This deal we are negotiating is aimed at perfecting the governance system of (a prior agreement), creating reports and damage assessments and empowering those affected,” Brazil’s federal prosecutor for the case José Adércio Sampaio said, without offering details. Continue Reading →

Miners’ big spend shows commodities optimism – by Robert Guy (Australian Financial Review – June 18, 2018)

https://www.afr.com/

A $2 billion acquisition spree by South32 and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has underscored the more upbeat outlook on commodity prices among industry heavyweights, with the scramble to buy or develop world class assets and infrastructure heating up as the world’s largest miners emerge from years of austerity.

Australia’s largest miners have moved aggressively to stamp their dominance in key commodity markets amid expectations of strong Asian economic growth over the next decade, with South32’s $1.7 billion bid for Arizona Mining heralding its intent to be a bigger player in base metals, while Hancock Prospecting’s bold $390 million bid for Atlas Iron could position Australia’s wealthiest woman as a bigger player in iron ore shipments from Port Hedland.

The big miners are slowly opening their wallets after many years of cost cutting and a focus on improving shareholder returns, as management teams look to replace aging mines, maintain production and lay the foundation for future earnings growth. Continue Reading →

Why Arizona Mining executives want to cash out early from one of the world’s top 5 mining projects – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – June 19, 2018)

http://business.financialpost.com/

In one of the largest mining deals this year, the board of directors of Arizona Mining Corp., which is developing a zinc, lead and silver mine near the U.S.-Mexico border, agreed to a $1.8 billion buyout by Australia’s South32 Ltd.

The all-cash bid of $6.20 per share represents a roughly 50 per cent premium on Arizona’s Friday’s trading price — which has hovered around $4 for most of the year. The Vancouver-based company’s stock surged 48 per cent to $6.13 on the news in Toronto on Monday. South32 was down 1.6 per cent in Sydney.

The deal comes as the prices of zinc, silver and lead have been sliding, while trade tensions mount, casting doubt on global economic growth. Continue Reading →

Australia’s South32 bids $1.3 billion for rest of Canada’s Arizona Mining – Staff (Reuters U.S. – June 17, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s South32 Ltd has bid $1.3 billion to take full control of Arizona Mining, offering a hefty premium for the Toronto-listed firm which is developing zinc, lead, manganese and silver assets.

The offer of C$6.20 per share was pitched at a 50 percent premium to Arizona’s last close and implies a total equity value for Arizona Mining of $1.6 billion, South32 said in a statement. The Australian firm already holds a 17 percent stake in Arizona.

The directors of Arizona Mining, which owns the Hermosa Project in Arizona near the border with Mexico, unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favor of the transaction, South32 said. Continue Reading →

Escondida Union to Copper Investors: Bet on Quick Wage Deal – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – June 7, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The world’s largest copper mine probably will avoid a repeat of last year’s prolonged strike as the two sides reign in expectations, according to a union leader.

The main union at Escondida in Chile presented its demands to owner BHP Billiton Ltd. on Friday, and the company has until the weekend to deliver its counteroffer. The two sides are scheduled to sit down for talks next week with the current contract expiring on July 31.

“If I was an investor, I would be betting on this being resolved quickly,” union spokesman Carlos Allendes said in an interview in Santiago on Wednesday. “Numbers show that, at the end of the day, a strike is no good for the company because they lost more than we did.” Continue Reading →

How an Environmental Disaster Changed Brazil’s Mining Industry – by R.T. Watson (Bloomberg News – June 6, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The future of some of the world’s biggest mining operations remains mired in uncertainty after a fatal dam spill helped transform Brazil’s relatively light corporate scrutiny into a legal minefield.

The 2015 disaster at the Samarco iron-ore mine, which left 19 dead, precipitated a cascade of legal issues and challenges for the still-shut venture owned by Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd.

Mining’s reputation in Brazil was further tarnished this year when an alleged waste-water leak at the world’s largest alumina refinery, owned by Oslo-based Norsk Hydro ASA, led to a court-ordered 50 percent production curtailment. Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton to be sued by investors over dam collapse that caused Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster – by Ben Chapman (Independent – May 16, 2018)

https://www.independent.co.uk/

BHP Billiton faces legal action from shareholders who say the mining giant misled them over safety measures at a dam in Brazil which broke, killing 19 people and causing Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster.

When the Fundão dam broke in 2015, waste from an iron ore mine operated by Samarco, a joint venture between BHP and its partner Vale, devastated the local area in Minas Gerais state.

A red wave of clay, sand and water polluted miles of river, killing aquatic life, leaving hundreds of people homeless, and flowing out to sea. Australian law firm Phi Finney McDonald now plans to sue the multinational, which is listed on stock markets in London, Sydney and Johannesburg, on behalf of investors. Continue Reading →

Biggest Miner Says China’s Shift to Quality Iron Ore Will Hold – by David Stringer and David Ingles (Bloomberg News – May 7, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest miner, forecasts reforms in China’s steel sector will continue to hand an advantage to suppliers of higher-quality iron ore and coking coal as consumption of the alloy keeps growing well into the next decade.

Steel mills are likely to retain about two-thirds of the improvements in margins seen since a push began in China in late 2015 to reduce excess capacity and meet more stringent environmental standards, Chief Commercial Officer Arnoud Balhuizen said Monday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

“This drove — and is driving — a continuous demand for higher-quality raw materials,” which has resulted in wider spreads between premium and lower-grade iron ore and coking coal, Balhuizen said. “We think these price differentials will be sustained — for at least two-thirds of what we have seen last year.” Continue Reading →

BHP cuts 2018 iron ore forecast, cites rail car upload problems – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – April 18, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – BHP Billiton Ltd cut its 2018 fiscal year iron ore output guidance on Thursday citing issues in its railroad car unloading system, while also slightly raising its copper output expectations given higher production at the Escondida mine.

The miner cut projections for fiscal 2018 iron ore production by 2 percent to between 272-274 million tonnes of iron ore from 275-280 million tonnes due to “car dumper reliability issues.” A car dumper is a machine that unloads bulk cargoes from rail road cars.

Overall, the outcome of the global miner’s third quarter production was balanced as lower iron ore output and eased guidance should be broadly offset by a slight pick up in third quarter copper production and upgraded guidance, said Sydney-based brokerage Shaw and Partners in a report. Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton to produce nickel sulphate next year, eyeing cobalt on battery boom – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – April 18, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – BHP Billiton is expanding its business as a supplier of battery minerals at its nickel refinery in Western Australia, planning to start producing nickel sulphate next year and looking at cobalt output as well, a company executive said.

Cobalt and nickel are both critical ingredients for lithium ion batteries, and are expected to see a boom in demand as global automakers transition into producing electric vehicles.

Most of the world’s cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has been beset by governance and human rights concerns. After the DRC, Australia has the world’s second-largest mineral reserves. Continue Reading →

BHP strikes potash as Jansen shafts reach 940 metres – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – April 6, 2018)

http://thestarphoenix.com/

One of the world’s largest mining companies has struck potash in Saskatchewan. Five years after committing $2.6 billion to sink a pair of kilometre-deep shafts at its Jansen mine project, BHP confirmed that drilling crews reached potash deposits 924 metres below ground late last month.

While the multibillion-dollar mine has yet to be sanctioned by the Anglo-Australian mining giant’s board, Giles Hellyer, the company’s vice president of potash operations, said reaching potash was a “significant milestone.”

“Shaft sinking is technical and complex,” Hellyer said in an emailed statement. “The ongoing sinking and completion of the shafts over the next couple of years will help us reduce the development risk of this greenfield project and give us access to what we believe is one of the world’s best undeveloped potash resources.” Continue Reading →

Relations Sour at Giant Copper Pit With Automation Looming – by Laura Mllan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – April 9, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Just as labor tensions ease at BHP Billiton Ltd.’s giant Escondida mine, the copper industry has another iconic mine to worry about.

Relations between the world’s largest copper producer, Codelco, and unions in its Chuquicamata division have reached the lowest point in years as the mine transitions from open pit to an underground model that will use more automation and employ fewer workers.

The five unions representing more than 5,000 workers at Codelco’s oldest open pit are threatening to dial up protests. They say the Chilean state-owned company is transitioning to underground without a prior agreement with unions on retirement plans, contracts and other benefits. Continue Reading →