OPINION: China’s Evergrande mess is spreading and hurting big mining companies. The iron ore and steel party is over – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – September 22, 2021)


A 40-second video made in August in the southern Chinese city of Kunming provides a graphic account of the country’s housing bubble. It shows controlled explosions turning 15 apartment towers into rubble. They were built seven years ago and never occupied.

Since then, China’s housing woes have been exposed by the liquidity crisis at Evergrande, the world’s most indebted housing developer. The company’s shares are in freefall – they are down more than 85 per cent in the past year – and S&P Global Ratings said a default on bond payments is “likely.”

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Mining stocks carnage as iron ore, copper prices fall – by Staff (Mining.com – September 20, 2021)


Iron ore extended its slump below $100 a tonne and copper prices dropped in New York on Monday as China stepped up restrictions on industrial activity and fears about the collapse of the country’s largest property developer intensified.

According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $92.98 a tonne, down 8.7% from Friday’s closing. Prices have collapsed about 60% since hitting a record in May, and are below three figures for the first time in more than a year.

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The coup in tiny Guinea matters at a geopolitical level. The US-China ‘cold war’ is a race for strategic dominance of commodities – by Tom Fowdy (RT.com – September 7, 2021)


Tom Fowdy is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.

The impoverished country is rich in essential metals that Beijing desperately needs. So was the military takeover by a former French legionnaire with ties to America a plot by the usual Western suspects?

The West African nation of Guinea has just experienced a military coup. Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, with an elite segment of troops, has overthrown the government of Alpha Conde and seized power, a move that has been condemned by the African Union and China, with the latter demanding that the president be released.

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Guinea coup rattles iron ore and bauxite markets, stokes economic uncertainty – Elliot Smith (CNBC.com – September 7, 2021)


A military junta claimed to have seized control in the West African country of Guinea and detained President Alpha Conde, casting uncertainty over key bauxite and iron ore supplies.

The coup, carried out on Sunday by an elite special forces unit led by 41-year-old Col. Mamady Doumbouya, is the latest in a series of power grabs in the region over the past year, including in nearby Mali and Chad.

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Iron ore rush creates mining boomtown in Brazil (Financial Times – August 15, 2021)


Finding a place to stay is not so easy these days in the Brazilian mining town of Itabirito.

Hotel rooms are scarce and rents have climbed, say locals, as outsiders descend on the hilly settlement in search of their fortunes — or maybe just a steady wage — from the iron ore deposits found in this tropical region of green valleys and streams.

Prices for the steelmaking ingredient have rallied over the past year, turning the modest town of about 60,000 people into a hotspot of the global commodities boom.

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No Bar on Illegal Miners as Goa Set to Resume Mining – by Ayaskant Das (News Click – August 15, 2021)


Less than seven months before the Goa Assembly elections in February 2022, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government has paved the way for the formation of a state-owned mineral development corporation which will have the right to grant mining leases to any entity.

The Goa Mineral Development Corporation Bill, 2021, was passed amidst an Opposition walkout on July 31. The Pramod Sawant government passed the Bill following a July order of the Supreme Court that had dismissed the review petitions of the Goa government and Vedanta Limited against its February 2018 order that had ruled against the state’s decision to renew 88 mining leases.

The Bill doesn’t bar miners whose leases were cancelled by the SC for illegal iron ore mining from bidding.

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Chinese iron ore demand slips as steel curbs bite – by Michael Smith (Australian Financial Review – August 19, 2021)


China’s iron ore imports have fallen for the fourth consecutive month by volume, in the latest sign that Beijing’s restrictions on steel output are sapping demand for Australia’s most valuable export commodity at a time when Scott Morrison is betting on a quick economic recovery.

China’s demand for iron ore is also being clouded by growing concerns about the impact of its worst COVID-19 outbreak since early last year, inflationary pressures and a slowing manufacturing sector on its economic recovery.

While analysts attributed earlier decreases to supply issues from Australia and Brazil, they said on Monday that the latest trade data indicated the Chinese government’s directive to lower steel production was starting to filter through to iron ore volumes.

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China escalates plans to crush Australian iron ore industry – by David Llewellyn-Smith (News.com.au – July 28, 2021)


On Tuesday on the Australian Stock Exchange, large iron ore miners drove prices to record highs.

This feat came about because of two factors. Iron ore is trading just off record highs and the Australian dollar is much lower than it ever has been during such previous booms. This has led to record fat margins for miners.

But, even as this trade hits new highs, there are clear signs that good times are on notice. Indeed, China is determined to crush iron ore prices in both the short-term and the long, and there are good reasons to conclude that it will succeed sooner rather than later. There are three reasons why.

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BHP pulls out in front as Rio Tinto flounders – by Rachael Knowles (National Indigenous Times – July 22, 2021)


BHP is leading the pack in iron ore mining as its competitor Rio Tinto continues to reel from fractured relationships with Traditional Owners in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Rio Tinto has seen a steep decline in their iron ore shipments from the Pilbara, with the mining giant reportedly having shipped 76.3 million tonnes in the June quarter, 12 per cent less than the same period in 2020.

The miner also reported total production was down 5 per cent for the first half of this year. With Rio Tinto behind the eight ball, BHP reported their sellings at $US158.15 a tonne in the first half of the year, ahead of Rio Tinto’s $US154.90 a tonne.

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Brazil Prosecutors Target Final Samarco Dam Settlement This Year – by Mariana Durao (Bloomberg News – July 22, 2021)


(Bloomberg) — A final settlement between Brazilian authorities and the Samarco iron-ore venture can be reached this year, bringing legal certainty to owners Vale SA and BHP Group six years after a devastating tailings dam collapse.

That’s according to federal prosecutor Carlos Bruno Ferreira da Silva, who said in an interview that the final reparation value is yet to be defined and will be based on independent technical studies.

Silva, who is leading talks on behalf of prosecutors, pointed to a document signed by the parties that estimates talks to last about four months from June 22, the last four weeks of which would be focused on a final draft. Authorities and company officials have been meeting weekly.

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Fortescue produces first-ever green iron ore – by Nickolas Zakharia (Australian Mining – July 7, 2021)


Fortescue Metals Group has produced high-purity green iron ore and trialled ammonia-powered freight as part of its Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) renewable energy and industry initiative.

The initiative aimed to test if there was 100 per cent green energy to manufacture green iron and steel, fertiliser and cement.

According to FFI chief executive officer Julie Shuttleworth, trialling hydrogen, ammonia and battery technology was successful in powering the company’s trains, ship engines, haul trucks and drill rigs.

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China’s new front in the trade war with Australia — Africa – by Ian Verrender (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – July 4, 2021)


The end came as a bitter finale to a decades-long tale of intrigue and tragedy. High up in the mountains straddling the border between Cameroon and the Republic of Congo, Perth-based mining minnow Sundance Resources saw its future extinguished amidst accusations of deceit and corruption.

After more than six months of wrangling and threats of legal action with the Congo government, Sundance boss Giulio Casello discovered to his horror that his former partner, an Australian-domiciled company with Chinese government links, had snared his company’s major asset.

Working in tandem with another Beijing-linked group, it had snared the rights to develop one of west Africa’s most promising iron ore deposits, the Mbalam-Nabeba project which has been Sundance’s main focus for more than 15 years.

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Australia’s Mining Hub Needs Workers for Boom Times – by James Thornhill (Bloomberg News – June 20, 2021)


(Bloomberg) — Some A$140 billion ($105 billion) in projects in Western Australia’s resources sector may not be fully realized unless the state addresses a chronic shortage in skilled workers, according to a industry group.

From electricians to metallurgists, the industry needs to attract up to 40,000 extra workers over the next two years, according to the report from consultancy Pit Crew, commissioned by WA’s Chamber of Minerals and Energy. The CME called on industry and government to collaborate on ways to combat the shortages.

Rio Tinto Group in its March quarter production report said labor resource availability had disrupted its maintenance work in the state, while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. reported in May that labor constraints had contributed to rising costs at its Iron Bridge growth project in the Pilbara.

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Empowerment is the key to FMG’s joint ventures – by Sarah Smit (National Indigenous Times – June 16, 2021)


Without the support of Fortescue Metals Group, Nygumarta businessman Ricky Osborne’s business wouldn’t be where it is today.

Mr Osborne owns Jatu Clothing and PPE with his daughters Yvonne Kelly-Osborne and Jummana Osborne. He has supplied clothing and personal protective equipment to the mining company for six of the eight years his company has been in operation.

“One of the most important things for me, and not just for our business, for Aboriginal businesses across the board, is the very strong corporate citizenry push the likes of (FMG chair) Andrew Forrest has promoted to go with Aboriginal people,” he said. “That commitment has had a very significant impact in opening up opportunities for Aboriginal businesses, particularly in WA.

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FMG Billion Opportunities program thriving 10 years on – by Sarah Smit (National Indigenous Times – May 19, 2021)


Balyku woman Elsa Derschow never thought in a million years that she would own a brand new grading machine, but Fortescue Metals Group’s Billion Opportunities program has made that a reality.

Derschow runs Brindabella Resources, a plant hire business servicing FMG’s Cloudbreak mine in the Pilbara, alongside four other female Pilbara Traditional Owners.

The business was awarded a three-year contract this year, tipping Fortescue’s Indigenous procurement program, Billion Opportunities, over the $3 billion mark.

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