Archive | BHP Billiton

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

https://www.reuters.com/

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)

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

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)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

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)

https://www.reuters.com/

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)

https://www.reuters.com/

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 →

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 →