Archive | Iron Ore

LANG HANCOCK: Clash of the dynasties: Pilbara’s role as kingmaker for nation’s wealthy makes it a risk worth fighting over – by Aja Styles (Sydney Morning Herald – October 19, 2020)

The legal war being waged by Wright Prospecting over Pilbara iron ore tenement Hope Downs, coupled with its acquisition of Rhodes Ridge, has the capacity to reshape Western Australia’s mining landscape for generations to come.

Edith Cowan University business lecturer Tom Barratt says Wright’s improved riches could allow it to become more active in a region that has produced the nation’s biggest mining heavyweights.

Wright Prospecting is chasing a 25 per cent stake in the Hope Downs 4, 5 and 6 mining tenements – currently split 50/50 between Hancock Prospecting and Rio Tinto – as well as half the royalties from Hope Downs 1, 2 and 3. Continue Reading →

Clash of the dynasties: Legal showdown looms over Lang Hancock’s multi-billion dollar iron ore tenement – by Aja Styles (Sydney Morning Herald – September 3, 2020)

The end game in a historic feud over Western Australia’s iron ore throne looks set to begin as the Pilbara’s biggest mining dynasties prepare to clash in the Supreme Court.

The historic showdown will unearth the 1960s business dealings of late mining magnate Lang Hancock relating to the multibillion-dollar Hope Downs iron ore tenement in what is shaping up to become the state’s biggest civil court case.

On the one side is Mr Hancock’s daughter and the richest woman in Australia, Gina Rinehart, coupled with her company Hancock Prospecting. On the other are the heirs of Mr Hancock’s business partner, Peter Wright, and the descendants of a third Pilbara mining pioneer, Don Rhodes. Continue Reading →

Baffinland plans further expansion at Nunavut’s Mary River: report – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – October 14, 2020)

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. is likely planning a further expansion of its Mary River iron mine that would see iron ore shipments through its Milne Inlet port increase to 18 million tonnes a year.

That information is contained in a credit report on Baffinland, prepared by Moody’s Investors Service, dated June 2020 and obtained by Nunatsiaq News.

“Baffinland plans to expand the Mary River mine to a capacity of 18 Mtpa [18 million metric tons, or tonnes],” says the report, which repeatedly refers to a “Phase 3” expansion. Continue Reading →

Why Rio Tinto and China are at loggerheads (The Economist – October 10, 2020)

China does not like to feel jealous of Japan. But in the case of iron ore it has plenty to envy. Back in the 1960s, when Japan was building up its steel industry, the world’s supply of the stuff was so fragmented that Japan could play off producers in Australia and Brazil against each other.

China, now the world’s biggest steelmaker, does not have that luxury. Though it imports 70% of the world’s iron ore, most of this comes from three companies that in the intervening six decades have become titans.

They are Rio Tinto and BHP, two Anglo-Australian firms, and Vale, a Brazilian one. They have brought about consolidation in the industry. They benefit from high barriers to entry. None is keen to undercut the other two. That puts them in a far stronger position vis à vis Chinese customers than their predecessors were with the Japanese. Continue Reading →

Rio Needs More Than a Safe Pair Of Hands – by Clara Ferreira Marques (Bloomberg/Financial Post – September 28, 2020)

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Rio Tinto Group may choose to play it safe in its next choice of chief executive officer. With Jean-Sebastien Jacques heading for the exit after the destruction of a sacred Aboriginal site, Australian politicians are also piling on pressure for a local to be given the role.

The mining giant should resist the temptation of an old-school solution. Jacques’s successor will certainly have to rebuild Rio’s credibility after the spectacular failure at Juukan Gorge.

Repairing frayed community and government relations will be among the first tasks. It won’t be enough to pick a veteran technocrat for CEO, though, as miners did after the mistakes of the last boom. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto promised to respect indigenous people. It has a chance to in the U.S. – by Lauren Redniss (Washington Post – September 22, 2020)

Earlier this month, the Anglo-Australian mining conglomerate Rio Tinto announced its chief executive, Jean-Sébastien Jacques, and two other top executives would step down as the company reckons with its decision last May to bulldoze ancient rock shelters in Australia’s Juukan Gorge to gain access to iron ore.

For the Indigenous Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, the rock shelters were sacred sites. Archaeologists have found evidence of 46,000 years of human presence at the gorge.

In June, Rio Tinto issued an apology. But pressure from Indigenous groups and Rio Tinto’s shareholders pushed the company to take a stronger stand. Continue Reading →

Igloolik leaders say Inuit face barriers in Nunavut mine environmental review – by Beth Brown (CBC News North – September 15, 2020)

A day and a half into meetings on a proposed expansion at Mary River Mine in Nunavut, community participants say they face barriers that limit the full participation of Inuit.

“Every intervener in this process has lawyers and advisers. We were the only ones that are lacking,” said Igloolik mayor Merlyn Recinos, adding that federal funding given to communities to help them hire specialists isn’t enough.

In response to Recinos, a representative from Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) said that applications from communities were not “robust” enough to justify the amount of participant funding they requested from the Treasury Board of Canada. Continue Reading →

Marine life, mineral disputes remain as Nunavut mine hearings resume (CBC News North – September 14, 2020)

Ten months after an abrupt adjournment, discussions on the expansion of a mine on Baffin Island is set to resume.

The Nunavut Impact Review Board is reconvening its meetings to assess an expansion at the Mary River Mine in the northern Qikiqtaaluk region in Nunavut.

The mine is about 176 kilometres southwest of Pond Inlet. It’s one of the most northern mines in the world, according to the Baffinland website. Continue Reading →

Executives to Step Down After Rio Tinto Destroys Sacred Australian Sites – by Livia Albeck-Ripka (New York Times – September 11, 2020)

DARWIN, Australia — The caves, set deep in a desert gorge, had yielded a treasure trove of artifacts tracing Aboriginal people’s long history in Australia: a 28,000-year-old kangaroo bone sharpened into a blade; a 4,000-year-old plait of human hair believed to have been worn as a belt.

Underneath the caverns sat millions of dollars’ worth of high-grade iron ore, in a country where mining is king.

In May, the minerals giant Rio Tinto decided to blow up the caves to get at the riches below. But on Friday, it became clear that Australia’s most powerful export industry had met a force it could not bulldoze: the global movement for racial justice. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto CEO, iron ore boss step down over Juukan Gorge cave scandal – by Gerard Cockburn and Rebecca Le May ( – September 11, 2020)

Rio Tinto has succumbed to the pressures of a shareholder revolt over its scandalous decision to destroy ancient Indigenous heritage sites in Western Australia, with its chief executive and two other top corporates stepping down.

In an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange on Friday, Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said he would leave “by mutual agreement” but remain in the top job until a successor was found or March 31, whichever was earlier.

Iron ore chief Chris Salisbury has stepped down immediately but will be paid until December 31 when the head of corporate relations Simone Niven will depart after “completing an orderly transition of her responsibilities”. Continue Reading →

North Baffin Inuit form new group to raise concerns about proposed mine expansion – by Meagan Deuling (Nunatsiaq News – September 3, 2020)

Leaders from five communities on northern Baffin Island are unifying as the North Baffin Group in the hope of having their concerns heard by a mining company and by an organization that is supposed to represent their interests.

If their concerns aren’t heard, the group warns Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. that its operations at the Mary River iron ore mine will not continue.

“This information has been the same since Baffinland started—work with the Inuit, you will succeed. If you try to work alone, you’re going belly up,” said Eric Ootoovak, the chair of the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization. Continue Reading →

Friedland’s Nimba iron ore project to get World Bank backing – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – August 31, 2020)

The World Bank is said to be mulling an $135 million investment in the proposed Nimba iron ore mine in southeastern Guinea, which is owned by Canada’s High Power Exploration (HPX), a privately-held company founded my mining mogul Robert Friedland.

The move by MIGA, the bank’s agency for foreign investment, would help HPX deal with potential political risks associated with the mine’s exploration phase, including the completion of key studies preceding Nimba’s construction and operations.

MGA’s involvement could prove crucial for both the Guinean economy and the local biodiversity, Africa Intelligence reports. Continue Reading →

Fortescue Opens Talks With Afghanistan on Nation’s Mining Riches – by Eltaf Najafizada and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 21, 2020)

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. has held talks with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani on potential mining sector opportunities in the nation, which has struggled to accelerate development of an estimated $1 trillion worth of minerals deposits.

Ghani and the company’s chairman Andrew Forrest held an Aug. 6 video conference over potential investment in iron ore and copper resources, and the billionaire miner is scheduled to visit Kabul in October for further talks, according to Qadeer Khan Mutfi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum. Continue Reading →

Perfect Storm To Keep Blowing Into Next Year For Iron Ore Miners – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – August 11, 2020)

A perfect storm of reduced supply and rising demand which has driven the price of iron ore to more than $110 a ton is forecast to keep blowing into next year.

Despite repeated forecasts that the price of the steel-making material is overdue for a correction the latest reading of the iron ore market is for the price to be higher for longer thanks largely to supply and demand effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Brazil, one of the world’s biggest iron ore producers, has seen its mining industry buffeted by the public health crisis which has crimped exports while China, the biggest consumer, has lifted imports to meet high demand caused by government economic stimulus to counter the effects of Covid-19. Continue Reading →

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 →