Archive | Iron Ore

Communities resist Baffinland and Ottawa’s push for public hearings – by Thomas Rohner (CBC News North – August 6, 2020)

Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation says if a Nunavut regulator further delays its Mary River Mine expansion it would cause “extreme prejudice” against the company and be a “breach of procedural fairness,” according to documents filed on the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s public registry.

The board recently released a suggested schedule of meetings over the next three months to address the company’s Phase 2, which includes using rail lines to transport ore within Baffin Island.

The mine is about 100 kilometres from Milne Inlet on north Baffin Island. Those meetings, which have been suspended since March due to COVID-19, must occur before a public hearing can happen. Continue Reading →

Australian miners Rio Tinto and Fortescue post record iron ore shipments as China industrial recovery continues – by Su-Lin Tan (South China Morning Post – July 31 2020)

Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group have joined BHP Group in reporting record shipments of iron ore, the bulk of it to China, as an infrastructure and property construction boom in the world’s second largest economy drives a rebound in steel production.

The companies have reported record earnings on the back of the iron ore shipments, even though exports of other minerals like aluminium and copper remain in the doldrums as the coronavirus pandemic saps global demand.

Australia’s record iron ore exports to China, combined with a surge in shipments of coking and thermal coal, indicate trade in the key industrial ingredients has not suffered because of a diplomatic spat between the two countries. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto Gets Closer to Building Game-Changer African Iron Mine – by David Stringer and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – July 29, 2020)

Rio Tinto Group is accelerating work toward potential development of the giant Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, as half-year earnings showed the steel-making ingredient dominated the second-biggest miner’s profits.

There’s been a longstanding question mark over Rio’s stake in the massive African deposit. For years, a cast of owners including Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz and authorities in the West African nation fought over rights to develop Simandou.

Even with those disputes now settled, Rio must decide whether it’s prepared to spend the large amounts needed to extract and transport the super-rich ore from its part of the project. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore Boom Generates 700% Gross Profit Margins For Big Miners – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – July 14, 2020)

The iron ore boom powering the profits of the world’s biggest mining companies is showing no sign of fading thanks to stronger-than-expected Chinese steel demand.

Despite multiple forecasts over the past 12-months that the iron ore price was overdue for a fall it has done exactly the opposite, rising this week to a new 2020 high of $107 a ton, up 30% over the past four months.

Given that the biggest miners produce iron ore at a cash cost of around $13/t that latest price implies a gross profit margin, before accounting and other charges, of close to 700%. Continue Reading →

North: New Inuit benefit agreement worth $1B over life of Mary River Mine – by Beth Brown (CBC News North – July 7, 2020)

Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association have a new agreement for Inuit oversight of the Mary River Mine. Officials from both groups say it will be worth more than $1 billion over the life of the iron ore mine.

Announced Monday, the Inuit Certainty Agreement was signed on June 16. It’s been in the works since an environmental review of the mine’s production and rail expansion ended abruptly last fall, says PJ Akeeagok, president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

The new, legally binding agreement clears up most technical concerns that previously left the Baffin Inuit organization unable to support the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s hearing for the phase-two expansion, which would increase production at Mary River. Continue Reading →

A Miner Blew Up Ancient Human History. Now An Industry May Pay – by David Stringer, Matthew Burgess and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – June 30, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Scraping away delicately at the reddish-brown earth of northwestern Australia’s vast Pilbara region, a team of archaeologists uncovered a record of life dating back more 40,000 years.

Buried in natural shelters at the base of a cliff were thousands of stone and wooden tools, the sharpened fibula bone of a kangaroo and braided strands of hair.

They worked quickly inside the Juukan Gorge rock shelters to recover the artefacts — and needed to. The team was a salvage squad, sent in with a tight deadline to excavate a site in the path of an encroaching iron ore mine and approved for destruction. Continue Reading →

History preserved: Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority turns restored structure over to city – by Jackie Jahfetson (The Mining Journal – July 1, 2020)

MARQUETTE — Driving west into Marquette along U.S. 41, passers-by come across a stone structure that resembles an igloo on the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.

Were those curious aware at one time the kiln was used to burn wood into charcoal which fed blast furnaces that converted iron ore and limestone into pig iron during the late 19th century?

After the last of the 43 Carp River kilns collapsed in a heavy wet spring snowstorm in 2016, the historical sandstone structure has been resurrected and was officially turned over to the city of Marquette Monday during a ceremony. Continue Reading →

Vale reopens Itabira but pandemic threats persist – by Reese Ewing (Australian Financial Review – June 23, 2020)

Sao Paulo | Vale’s Itabira mine is back up and running this week after the Brazilian mining giant convinced local health authorities that new measures would contain the spread of COVID-19 among its workers.

The mine was producing 2.7 million tonnes a month before a local court in the state of Minas Gerais this month shut it down for almost two weeks on reports that 200 workers had tested positive for COVID-19.

Vale got clearance late last week to resume operations after clarifying its safety protocols and amending some of its policies. The miner estimates it lost about 1 million tonnes of output over the 12-day shutdown, but again stuck by its revised 2020 guidance of 310-330 million tonnes. Continue Reading →

ArcelorMittal considers sale of Canadian assets – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – June 22, 2020)

ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, is evaluating the potential sale of its infrastructure assets in Canada, where it has the largest and most profitable iron ore operation, as it seeks to cut debt by divesting non-core businesses.

The facilities the company may put on the chopping block include a 420km-long railway servicing the 24 million tonnes-per-year Mont-Wright iron ore mine in Quebec, reports.

Selling either the entire ArcelorMittal Infrastructure Canada (AMIC) unit, or a stake in it, would help the Luxembourg-based firm achieve its target of reducing net debt to $7 billion from $9.5 billion currently. Continue Reading →

‘Gushing cash’: iron ore miners a yield favourite – by William McInnes (Australian Financial Review – June 23, 2020)

A soaring iron ore price has made the major iron ore miners an attractive option for yield-hungry investors, with alternatives scarce in the Australian sharemarket.

The investment case for Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group and BHP Group is hard for investors to overlook as dividend cuts and earnings downgrades dominate the rest of the market.

“The major mining companies are in a really strong position,” said Yarra Capital Management’s head of Australian equities, Dion Hershan. “These businesses are literally gushing cash and they have very attractive valuations in a market where it’s really hard to find value. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Gold and iron ore are doing equally well. Their miners are not – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – June 15, 2020)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, June 15 (Reuters) – Gold and iron ore are the standout commodities so far this year, but the performance of their respective miners are far more divergent – and weighted in favour of the precious metal.

Spot gold closed at $1,729.67 an ounce on June 12, up 14% since the end of last year. Meanwhile benchmark 62% iron ore for delivery to China MT-IO-QIN62=ARG, as assessed by commodity price reporting agency Argus, was at $104.45 a tonne, a gain of 14.6%.

If the year-to-date performances are very similar, the underlying drivers of iron ore and gold are quite different. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto chief says sorry for sacred caves blast; Australia starts inquiry – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – June 11, 2020)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques on Friday apologised for distress caused by Rio’s destruction last month of two ancient and sacred Aboriginal caves in Western Australia, pledging full cooperation with an Australian government inquiry.

“We are very sorry for the distress we have caused the PKKP in relation to Juukan Gorge and our first priority remains rebuilding trust with the PKKP,” Jacques said in a statement, referring to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people.

With state government approval, the world’s biggest iron ore miner destroyed two caves at Juukan Gorge that had previously contained evidence of continual human habitation stretching back 46,000 years as part of its Brockman mine expansion in the iron-rich Pilbara region. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Iron ore’s rally built on as yet unrealised Brazil supply fears – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – June 11, 2020)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, June 11 (Reuters) – Iron ore’s ongoing run above $100 a tonne is begging the question as to how long a price rally can sustain on fear of an event that is yet to present itself in the evidence.

The surge to a 10-month high on June 8 of $105.75 a tonne in spot iron ore for delivery to China MT-IO-QIN62=ARG, as assessed to by commodity price reporting agency Argus, was largely built on market concerns that shipments from number two exporter Brazil would be hit by coronavirus shutdowns at mines.

The price has eased slightly since the high to end at $103.85 a tonne on Wednesday, but it has been above the $100 level on seven of the last nine trading days. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore Blasts Past $100 After Pandemic Forces Brazil Mine Halt – by James Attwood and Krystal Chia (Bloomberg News – June 8, 2020)

(Bloomberg) Iron ore futures surged above $100 a ton after Brazil’s Vale SA was ordered to suspend operations that account for about a 10th of its output after workers contracted Covid-19, boosting concerns surging cases will disrupt other mines in the top shipper after Australia.

The ruction is the latest supply shock to hit the global market over the past 18 months, following a dam burst at a Vale mine in 2019 that roiled prices as well as weather-related disruptions this year.

Iron ore could hold above $100 for the next two months, Morgan Stanley said, although it cautioned that a surplus and lower prices were still expected in the final quarter. Higher prices will benefit Australian majors BHP Group, Rio Tinto Group and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-The more exposure to China the better for metals post-coronavirus – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – June 2, 2020)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, June 2 (Reuters) – The contrasting fortunes of the prices of industrial metals inside and outside of China serves to illustrate two trends as the Asian region starts to emerge from coronavirus lockdowns.

The first is that the recovery is uneven and likely to remain so, and the second is that the more exposed to China the commodity is, the greater the likelihood it outperforms those metals that are not.

The best example is iron ore, the steel-making ingredient of which China accounts for two-thirds of the global seaborne trade. Continue Reading →