Archive | Iron Ore

New Soudan mine tours go deep – into geology, that is – by Pam Louwagie (Minneapolis Star Tribune – September 15, 2018)

Geology groupies: Take note. For a limited time, the Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park is offering a new, more scientific walking tour geared toward explaining details about how geologists figured out where and how to extract iron ore from the area.

Guides at the park in northeastern Minnesota bring visitors a half-mile underground in an elevator-like cage. While typical tours then transfer visitors to a train for a ¾-mile ride to a large underground “room” where ore has been extracted, the new tours involve walking there.

“It gives us an opportunity to stop at locations that people on the train are never going to see,” said Park Manager Jim Essig. The new tours emphasize how mines were mapped, he said. Continue Reading →

Vale to automate iron ore mine to improve safety and production – by JP Casey (Mining Technology – September 13, 2018)

The world’s largest iron ore miner Vale plans to operate its Brucutu iron ore mine in Brazil with a fully autonomous fleet of vehicles next year, following a successful trial of driverless technology, to improve production and safety at the operation.

The trial involved the deployment of seven Caterpillar 793F CMD fully-autonomous trucks at the mine for a month, following six years of research and development.

The project cost $62m and the site saw a 26% increase in the volume of ore transported during the trial, results that the company’s ferrous planning and development director Lúcio Cavalli called ‘promising’. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: An Open Letter to the Iron Range – by Mark Dayton (August 28, 2018)

Mark Dayton is the Governor of the State of Minnesota.

Dear Friends,

I am as frustrated as anyone, by all of the setbacks that have delayed completion of the former Essar Steel’s taconite plant in Nashwauk. When I became Governor in 2011, the project had already been plagued by several years of broken promises, missed deadlines, and lame excuses.

After another missed deadline, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gave Essar the legally required notice that we intended to revoke the company’s mineral leases of state lands in Nashwauk. Instead, Essar filed for bankruptcy, which under federal law blocked our actions and transferred control of the project’s future to a Bankruptcy Court Judge in Delaware. We were enormously frustrated by this maneuver; but we had no choice, other than to abide by federal law.

After several months of legal filings, the judge asked for bids from anyone who wanted to buy ownership of the project, pay off existing creditors, finish building the plant, and begin to produce pellets. Continue Reading →

Chinese-Built Port Evokes Dreams of El Dorado in Cameroon – by Pauline Bax (Bloomberg News – August 29, 2018)

A controversial $1.3 billion port in Cameroon will open the region’s iron ore, cotton and other commodities to world markets.

Every day at sunrise, Alain Eko walks half an hour on a footpath cutting through a coastal forest to the edge of what’s to become the biggest deep-water port in central Africa.

Eko, 34, is among hundreds of migrant workers who have pinned their hopes on Cameroon’s most ambitious project since independence in 1960 that’s meant to transform the sleepy fishing town of Kribi into an industrial hub.

Built and funded by China, the project is helping Chinese companies gain a foothold in Cameroon, whose oil-dependent economy used to be dominated by French firms, and eased access to neighboring Chad and Central African Republic. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s Samarco mine unlikely to restart in 2019: BHP – by Marta Nogueira and Brad Haynes (Reuters U.S. – August 21, 2018)

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – There is little likelihood that Brazil’s Samarco iron ore mine, a joint venture between Vale SA and BHP Billiton, will restart operations next year even though it expects to have all of the required licenses, a BHP spokesman said on Tuesday.

The statement confirmed comments made by another BHP official, Bryan Quinn, in an interview with newspaper Valor Economico.

Quinn, an executive in charge of the company’s mineral joint ventures, told Reuters in a separate interview that restarting operations at the disaster-struck mine depends on an agreement with prosecutors on building a new tailing dam system. Continue Reading →

BHP settles US class action over Samarco dam failure for $67 million – by Darren Gray (Sydney Morning Herald – August 9, 2018)

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 →

Rio Tinto considers float of Canadian iron ore business-sources – by Clara Denina (Reuter U.S. – August 9, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – Rio Tinto, the world’s second largest listed mining company, is exploring a public listing of its Iron Ore Company of Canada business, banking and industry sources said, as it focuses on boosting revenue from its flagship Australian assets.

Iron ore, which accounts for most of Rio’s profit and is used in making steel, has provided healthy margins for years but the outlook is uncertain as major buyer China is expected increasingly to rely on recycling rather than importing raw material.

Following a commodity price crash in 2015, Rio put a string of assets on the block, mostly in coal, to decrease its debt load. In iron ore, its push to refocus has meant concentrating on Australia’s Pilbara region, where it has lower costs and higher grades. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Wages, activity pick up in Australia’s iron ore heartland – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – August 8, 2018)

KALGOORLIE, Australia, Aug 8 (Reuters) – New spending by some of the world’s largest iron ore miners is tightening the market for jobs and support services in Australia’s biggest mining region, bringing a sense of optimism after years in the doldrums.

Spending by majors BHP Rio Tinto and Fortescue has boosted confidence throughout the industry, drawing in labour and machines from diggers to drill rigs, said delegates at a mining convention in the outback town of Kalgoorlie.

“This year, the mood is quite buoyant. If Kalgoorlie is going well, then the rest of the industry is going well,” Andrew Broad, chief executive of mining contractor Ausdrill told Reuters on the sidelines of the Diggers and Dealers conference. Continue Reading →

Rio’s $7 Billion Windfall Points to Mining’s Lesson Learned – by Thomas Biesheuvel, David Stringer and Martin Ritchie (Bloomberg News – August 1, 2018)

Rio Tinto Group’s $7 billion pledge to shareholders is the latest sign the world’s biggest miners are resisting the temptation to backslide.

The mining industry has undergone a dramatic makeover since the end of the last commodity boom. Investors and management remain wary of pricey deals after much of the sector got burned by overpaying for assets and few among the largest producers see the need for major new supply growth.

Rio is generating massive amounts of cash even as cost pressures rise, and its low debt levels mean the No. 2 miner has financial capacity to move on acquisitions or projects. For now, it’s holding fire. Continue Reading →

Vale increases profits in second quarter – by Staff (Sudbury Star/Reuters – July 27, 2018)

Vale recorded a second-quarter profit of US$76 million, compared to $16 million a year ago. Despite the improvement, the figure fell far short of a Reuters consensus estimate of $1.265 billion and the $1.590 billion in profit notched in the first three months of 2018.

Reuters said the weaker-than-expected rise in quarterly net income was the result of a big currency hit Vale took, despite higher production.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a good indicator of operating profit, surged 43 per cent to $3.9 billion, matching analysts’ estimates, Reuters said. Continue Reading →

Cleveland Cliffs bullish on iron ore market for Minnesota mines – by Dee DePass (Minneapolis Star Tribune – July 23, 2018)

Cleveland Cliffs CEO bullish on future of state’s taconite, mining industries.

The CEO of Cleveland Cliffs has made one of the boldest statements yet on the resurgence of the taconite industry on Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Lourenco Goncalves — whose company runs Hibbing Taconite, United Taconite and Northshore Mining in Minnesota — said demand for iron ore and a rising price for the mineral has resulted in second-quarter profits quadrupling year over year. He said he expects to see the same results into next year.

“Going forward, we expect 2019 to be a continuation of a great 2018, based on the renewed strength of American manufacturing, the multiyear positive impact of the tax reform implemented in 2018 in the United States, and our strong position as the supplier of iron ore pellets within the Great Lakes region,” he said in a statement. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto posts jump in iron ore output, flags stronger 2018 (Reuters U.S. – July 16, 2018)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Global miner Rio Tinto said on Tuesday that its second-quarter iron ore shipments from Australia rose 14 percent and indicated its annual production would be at the upper end of its guidance.

The miner said it expected iron ore shipments for the year to be at the upper end of its range of 330 million to 340 million tonnes, driven by productivity improvements and fewer weather-related disruptions compared with the same quarter last year.

It had said earlier it did not expect tensions over a global trade war to materially affect steel demand. Each of the four big iron ore miners are expected to log record production in the second quarter, given a ramp up in China’s steel demand in the quarter, Shipbroker Clarksons Platou Securities said. Continue Reading →

Guinea’s mining minister says there will be Simandou deal, talks go on (Reuters U.K. – July 17, 2018)

LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) – Guinea is in constant talks with Rio Tinto and Chinalco to finalise a deal on the Simandou iron ore project, its mining minister said on Tuesday, adding he was confident an agreement would be reached.

Rio Tinto said in October 2016 said it had signed an outline agreement to sell its major stake in Simandou to Chinalco, a move many hoped would revive the long-stalled scheme.

Mines Minister Abdoulaye Magassouba said he was confident a deal would be achieved. He gave no indication of how much more time was needed, but said that as soon as the parties had agreed, the project would be relaunched. Continue Reading →

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

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 →

UPDATE 1-Vale notches record Q2 iron ore, pellet output despite trucker strike (Reuters U.K.  – July 16, 2018)

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 16 (Reuters) – Brazil’s Vale SA achieved record iron ore and pellet production for a second quarter despite a nationwide trucker strike that paralyzed Latin America’s largest economy in May, the miner said in a filing on Monday.

Vale, the world’s top iron ore producer, said iron ore output reached 96.755 million tonnes in the period while pellet output hit 12.838 million tonnes, despite the strike over rising diesel prices.

The pickup came after a slip in iron ore production in the first quarter due to heavy rains, and as a campaign in China to cut pollution boosts demand for Vale’s top-quality iron ore. Continue Reading →