Archive | BHP Billiton

Iron ore grade war boosts Vale as Evy Hambro exits Fortescue – by Peter Ker(Australian Financial Review – February 28, 2018)

Australian iron ore exporters’ geographic advantage over South American rivals has been largely eroded by China’s growing preference for higher grade iron ore, according to the giant Brazilian miner that stands to benefit most from the trend.

Vale’s claim to now be matching the profit margins on each tonne of iron ore sold to China by the likes of Rio Tinto and BHP comes as Evy Hambro’s BlackRock World Mining Trust confirmed that it had exited Fortescue Metals Group’s share register because of the wider price discounts being applied to Fortescue’s iron ore

The average iron content of Vale’s ore has recently risen to 64.3 per cent with the introduction of the high-grade S11D mine in Brazil’s Carajas region, and the arrival of that mine has coincided with Chinese steel mills paying a premium for higher grade iron ore as they seek to improve environmental efficiency. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-For coal miners, it’s time to exit or get rich – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – February 25, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Feb 26 – It seems coal miners are adopting one of two disparate strategies, either exit the business in a highly visible way to buff up your climate credentials, or sit tight, keep as quiet as possible and rake in the cash.

An example of the public exit from the business is South32 , the Perth-based miner spun out of BHP Billiton which is in the process of selling out of its thermal coal assets in South Africa.

Mike Fraser, South32’s president and chief operating office for South Africa, told Reuters earlier this month that the company was aiming to sell its coal assets because it “did not believe in the commodity.” It would also be better if the coal mines were majority-owned by black investors, Fraser said. Continue Reading →

BHP CEO Will Meet With Activist Elliott to Discuss Demands – by David Stringer and Rebecca Keenan (Bloomberg News – February 20, 2018)

BHP Billiton Ltd.’s top executive will meet with major critic Elliott Management Corp. this week to discuss demands for a business overhaul that the activist group argues could deliver more than $22 billion in value.

BHP’s first-half results missed analysts’ expectations and the shares fell 4.6 percent, on pace for the biggest daily drop since April. The world’s biggest mining company will also canvass other shareholders on the proposal to reorganize as a single company listed in Australia.

While flagging potential risks and costs associated with the New York-based fund’s demands, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie pledged to discuss the issue further. He said he’ll probably say more after meeting with Elliott. Continue Reading →

Future of BHP and Vale’s Samarco joint venture remains uncertain – by James Thomson (Australian Financial Review – January 4, 2018)

The future of BHP Billiton’s stake in the Samarco iron ore joint venture in Brazil is unlikely to be resolved quickly, as the iron ore giant and its co-owner Vale inch towards a restart of the operation.

Reports out of Brazil on Thursday suggested that Brazilian giant Vale and BHP were holding talks on the future structure of the Samarco venture, which has been shut since a deadly dam failure in November 2015.

A Bloomberg report suggested that one option could see Vale acquire Melbourne-based BHP’s half-share and taking full ownership of Samarco. Continue Reading →

BHP misrepresented climate stance, says lobby group the World Coal Association – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – December 20, 2017)

BHP Billiton has been accused of “posturing” and misrepresenting the climate policies of the World Coal Association (WCA) in a controversial review the company has used to justify quitting the lobby group.

BHP said on Tuesday it was likely to cancel its membership of the WCA as a result of “material differences” between it and the WCA’s stance on energy and climate policy.

In justifying its “preliminary” decision to quit the WCA, BHP singled out comments by WCA chief executive Benjamin Sporton in The Australian Financial Review in September, where he endorsed the Turnbull government’s decision to abandon a clean energy target and urged Australian banks to support high-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) coal-fired power stations. Continue Reading →

BHP says likely to quit global coal lobby group – (Reuters U.S. – December 18, 2017)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Global miner BHP Billiton said on Tuesday it has taken a preliminary decision to leave the World Coal Association citing disagreement over climate change, and might also withdraw from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over mining industry rules.

BHP has largely quit mining coal for power plants but is the world’s largest exporter of coal for steel-making. It will seek responses from the World Coal Association over policy differences before making a final decision on whether to pull out in March 2018, it said.

The miner came under pressure from Australian green groups earlier this year to leave any industry associations whose policies did not match the company’s support of the Paris climate accord agreed in 2015. Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton puts Olympic Dam plan on backburner – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – November 28, 2017)

BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, has placed on the backburner plans to increase output from its giant Olympic Dam copper mine in Australia to 450,000 tonnes a year, opting for a less ambitious expansion project.

Ahead of a trip to the mine, the Anglo-Australian group told investors that its preferred development option was a $2.1bn plan that will see output rise from an estimated 150,000 tonnes this year to 330,000 tonnes by 2023.

BHP has talked for years about the potential of Olympic, the world’s third-largest copper deposit, which also boasts significant reserves of uranium and gold. As recently as 2015, the company was talking about the potential to increase production to 450,000 tonnes a year by 2025 by introducing a new heap leaching, or extraction, technology. Continue Reading →

‘500 years’ of resource, BHP makes the case for Olympic Dam expansion – by Darren Gray (Sydney Morning Herald – November 28, 2017)

BHP is eyeing a possible $US2.1 billion ($2.8 billion) expansion of its Olympic Dam underground mine in South Australia, where it says the copper resource is so large it would take 500 years to deplete at the current rate of mining.

Top BHP executives briefed investors and analysts on the global miner’s Olympic Dam operations and hopes for expansion on Tuesday in Adelaide, and confirmed that the so-called Brownfield Expansion (BFX) option at Olympic Dam was likely to be considered by BHP’s board in 2020.

But BHP executives stressed that any expansion at Olympic Dam would be “subject to strict capital allocation framework tests”. Investors and analysts are touring the site this week. Continue Reading →

BHP, Vale inch toward Samarco dam spill settlement – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – November 21, 2017)

BHP Billiton and Brazilian miner Vale have inched closer to a settlement over the multibillion-dollar lawsuits that continue to hang over their Samarco joint venture following 2015’s deadly dam disaster.

While a full settlement appears unlikely to be reached before the end of 2017, the miners have at least agreed with Brazilian prosecutors over the pathway toward a more substantial agreement.

It is now 20 months since federal prosecutors in Brazil lobbed a 155 billion real ($63 billion) claim against the Samarco partners over the damage caused by the collapse of a tailings dam at the iron ore business in November 2015. Continue Reading →

BHP to exit shale within two years, sell nickel assets – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 17, 2017)

World’s largest miner BHP (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT) expects to fully divest its US oil and gas business, which it acquired in a $20 billion deals spree in 2011, and is also seeking a buyer for its nickel business in Australia.

The announcements, made by chief executive Andrew Mackenzie during a conference call with investors and media on Thursday, come on the heels of global fund manager Aberdeen Standard Investments decision to fully support activist investor Elliott Management’s push for widespread structural changes at BHP.

Aberdeen is the third-biggest shareholder in BHP, with a 4.9% holding, just behind Elliott, which has a 5.04% stake in the group. The Anglo-Australian mining giant has been under pressure from Elliott Management to rethink its investment in oil and boost shareholder returns. Continue Reading →

BHP to step up copper exploration, expansions to meet electric vehicles sector’s rising demand – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 1, 2017)

World’s biggest miner getting ready to provide enough copper for the booming electric cars industry.

World number one mining company BHP (ASX, NYSE: BHP) (LON:BLT) plans to step up copper exploration and expansions as it wants to be ready to meet electric vehicles sector’s rising demand for copper.

“We want more copper resources in our portfolio. And we believe the most valuable pathway to achieving this is through exploration, the drill bit,” Danny Malchuk, president of operations at BHP’s Minerals Americas, said at Bloomberg’s LME Week forum on Wednesday.

Unlike most miners, which slashed exploration budgets during the downturn that ended last year, BHP has kept its copper exploration budget steady at an average of $60 million annually over the last four-to-five years out of its overall budget for exploration of around $1 billion, Reuters reports. Continue Reading →

LME WEEK-BHP aims for more copper, oil; steers away from EV minerals – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.K. – November 2, 2017)

LONDON, Nov 2 (Reuters) – The world’s biggest miner BHP’s response to the electric vehicle debate is to hunt for new reserves of copper and oil, while seeking a buyer for its assets to produce battery-grade nickel and steering clear of lithium and cobalt.

Arnoud Balhuizen, chief commercial officer at BHP, has said 2017 marks a “tipping point” for electric vehicles in that they have entered the mainstream of metals demand forecasting. In terms of sales, however, the mass move is further off as hybrids and conventional cars stay on the roads for a transition period.

Balhuizen estimates that shift would be around 2030, which is also when BHP expects demand for oil from light vehicles to peak. Other forms of oil demand, including from industry and heavy goods transport, are likely to be more sustained. Continue Reading →

Biggest Miner Tracking Trucker Brain Waves in Technology Race – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – November 1, 2017)

Truck drivers employed by the world’s biggest mining company are wearing baseball caps and hard helmets with sensors mounted inside to track their brain waves so they can get early warnings of fatigue and cut accidents.

BHP Billiton Ltd. has deployed the technology for 150 trucks at the Escondida copper mine it operates in Chile as part of efforts to boost safety, Chief Technology Officer Diane Jurgens told reporters Wednesday on the sidelines of a mining forum in Melbourne.

The company intends to adopt the method at other sites globally, including its giant iron ore mines in Australia, she said. Continue Reading →

Electric cars driving BHP’s nickel dream – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – October 18, 2017)

BHP has flagged it could double down on its foray into supplying nickel chemicals to the growing electric vehicle market as it looks to capitalise on the “new energy revolution”.

The head of BHP’s resurgent Nickel West nickel division, Eddy Haegel, told The Australian Nickel Conference in Perth yesterday that the company was looking to bring forward stage two of its proposed nickel sulphate processing plant at its Kwinana refinery after being inundated with inquiries from the world’s biggest battery manufacturers.

He also revealed the company was investigating the economic and technical feasibility of moving even further downstream with the potential development of a cathode precursor plant at Kwinana. “The new energy revolution is coming and it will be very good news for our local nickel industry,” Mr Haegel said. Continue Reading →

BHP, world’s largest miner, says 2017 is ‘tipping point’ for electric cars – by Clara Ferreira-Marques and Gavin Maguire (Reuters U.S. – September 26, 2017)

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – This year looks set to be the “tipping point” for electric cars, Arnoud Balhuizen, chief commercial officer at global miner BHP (BLT.L) said on Tuesday, with the impact for raw materials producers to be felt first in the metals market, and only later in oil.

“In September 2016 we published a blog and we set the question – could 2017 be the year of the electric vehicle revolution?” said Balhuizen, a company veteran who runs BHP’s commercial strategy, procurement and marketing from Singapore. “The answer is yes…2017 is the revolution year we have been speaking about. And copper is the metal of the future.”

Europe has begun a dramatic shift away from the internal combustion engine, although, globally, there are only roughly 1 million electric cars out of a global fleet of closer to 1.1 billion. BHP forecasts that could rise to 140 million vehicles by 2035, a forecast it says is on ‘the greener’ end. Continue Reading →