Archive | Iron Ore

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

After two collapses, a third Vale dam at ‘imminent risk of rupture’ – by Juliana Ennes ( – June 14, 2021)

A dam holding back mining waste from Brazilian miner Vale is at risk of collapsing, a government audit says.

The same company was responsible for two tailings dam collapses since 2015 that unleashed millions of gallons of toxic sludge and killed hundreds of people in Brazil’s southeastern state of Minas Gerais.

The retired Xingu dam at Vale’s Alegria iron ore mine in Mariana — the same municipality where a Vale tailings dam collapsed in November 2015 in what’s considered Brazil’s worst environmental disaster to date — is at “serious and imminent risk of rupture by liquefaction,” according to an audit report from the Minas Gerais state labor department (SRT), cited by government news agency Agência Brasil. Continue Reading →

How a massive outbreak at Nunavut’s Baffinland mine sent ‘sparks’ of the Delta variant across the country – by Jennifer Yang (Our – June 12, 2021)

On May 2, the Baffinland mine in Nunavut made a troubling announcement: For the first time in the pandemic, COVID-19 was spreading inside its remote northern work camp. What the press release did not say is that at least one worker had tested positive for Delta, a highly transmissible variant never seen before in the territory.

The mine suspended operations, and workers that the company’s contact tracers deemed “low risk” started flying home. But soon after, some of those employees began testing positive — and Nunavut health officials realized the virus had spread further than initially believed.

Today, Baffinland’s Mary River mine is the site of one of Canada’s largest-known outbreaks of Delta, the variant of concern that first emerged in India and is 50 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha variant that fuelled Canada’s third wave. Continue Reading →

An Australian iron ore company is shifting to green energy, and Labrador is in its sights – by Rob Antle (CBC News Newfoundland-Labrador – June 11, 2021)

Fortescue has ambitious plans to become carbon-neutral through renewable and hydrogen projects

It may seem like an incongruous initiative: a major Australian company built on iron ore, sending top officials on an around-the-world hunt for green energy opportunities.

They have visited nearly 50 countries, in the midst of a roiling global pandemic. The aim? To lead the global energy transition away from carbon to greener options.

The company has already signed a number of deals to do feasibility studies in other countries, including Brazil, Indonesia and Afghanistan. And that company from Down Under is now eyeing potential opportunities in Labrador. Continue Reading →

China Fails to Threaten Iron Ore Market as Prices Soar – by Daniel Khmelev (The Epoch Times – June 3, 2021)

Iron ore prices have flourished again despite a downward dive following Beijing’s promise to curb the mineral’s unabated market growth.

Spot prices launched to an unprecedented, all-time high of US$230 per tonne earlier in May, followed by a sharp decline by 20 percent to US$183 two weeks later. However, values once again surpassed US$200 at the beginning of June and currently sit close to US$208.

Australian Minister for Resources Keith Pitt stated in April that rising global iron ore prices came from strong production and demand from China—the world’s largest steel manufacturer—compounded by shortfalls of supply from Brazil, the second-largest exporter of the resource after Australia. Continue Reading →

Greenland officials say Nunavut mine owner hasn’t fully addressed cross-border impacts – by Kevin McGwin (Nunatsiaq News/Arctic Today – May 27, 2021)


An assessment of the potential impact of increased shipping activity in Baffin Bay stemming from a proposed expansion of the Mary River iron mine in Nunavut has been criticized by Naalakkersuisut, Greenland’s self-rule government, for not fully assessing its concerns.

Because the expanded mining activity would impact other countries, Baffinland, the mine’s operator, is required by international law to compile an assessment of the damage it could cause and grant authorities from the affected countries permission to comment on it.

The Baffinland assessment, together with a series of written exchanges between Greenland authorities and the company’s representatives about its contents was released for public consultation in Greenland on May 18. However, Naalakkersuisut underscored that because Baffinland had declined to take Greenland’s concerns fully into account, the assessment could not be considered to be complete. Continue Reading →

Iron ore tycoon pleads with west to mend its relationship with China – by Jamie Smyth (Financial Times – March 24, 2021)

Australia’s richest man has implored politicians to reject Trumpian populism and rebuild the west’s fractured relationship with China to avoid damaging the global economy and environment.

Andrew Forrest, founder of Fortescue, the world’s fourth biggest iron ore miner, accused populist politicians of dividing people, ripping nations apart and destroying humanity’s ability to leave the world in a better place than they found it.

If asked by the Australian government, he would play a role in helping to heal the worst breakdown in diplomatic relations between Beijing and Canberra in generations, he told the Financial Times in an interview. Continue Reading →

This Arctic mine is a warning the world must heed – by Laura Paddison (Wired Magazine – May 26, 2021)

Eric Ootoovak remembers a time when the icy waters north of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic were teeming with narwhals. The mythical-looking sea creatures are woven into the culture of Inuit hunters like Ootoovak, who have caught these marine mammals for millennia, eating their meat, blubber and skin, which are packed with vitamins Inuit rely on to get through the long, dark winters.

“The narwhals used to be abundant, by the thousands, and we don’t see that today,” says Ootoovak, the chair of the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization, based in the Inuit hamlet of Pond Inlet on northern Baffin Island.

Things changed when the huge Mary River open pit iron ore mine started operations on Baffin Island in 2014, bringing dust, trucks and ships. Narwhal numbers dropped off, says Ootoovak, along with fish and seals. Continue Reading →

Iron ore prices hit new record – by Henry Lazenby (Northern Miner – May 12, 2021)

Global mining news

The price for iron ore surged to a record US$237.57 per tonne on May 12 as strong Chinese demand continued to outpace supply.

The record price levels are supported by a continued supply squeeze, with major iron ore producers reporting seasonally lower output in the March quarter, and growing concern over the escalating Covid-19 crisis in India, which could impact the country’s exports of the metal.

“These factors, along with a recovery in ex-China demand, is expected to drive the global seaborne trade balance into a deeper deficit in 2021, with annual prices forecast to average US$153 per tonne,” Ronnie Cecil, principal analyst for metals and mining research at S&P Global Market Intelligence, tells The Northern Miner, although he notes a seasonal rise in Brazilian exports are likely to lower prices in the second half of the year. Continue Reading →

Reformed iron ore miners tipped to pay $65b dividend – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – May 12, 2021)

Rio Tinto and BHP are tipped to pass 95 per cent of the iron ore boom back to shareholders through dividends, as Anglo American and Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong became the lastest multinationals to flirt with the idea of building a new iron ore province in Australia’s mid-west.

Iron ore prices have surged 20 per cent above the 2011 record over the past fortnight and are dragging Australia’s biggest exporter, Rio, into a net cash position just 13 years after it was crippled with debt on the back of the disastrous $US38 billion Alcan acquisition.

Shareholder returns from Rio, BHP and Fortescue will be far more generous than in 2011, when the three miners had big plans to spend on growth and were carrying much bigger debt loads. Continue Reading →

Mary River mine could be mothballed, Baffinland president warns – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – May 4, 2021)


Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s president and CEO Brian Penney says there’s a possibility the company might mothball its Mary River iron mine next year.

Penney explained in an April 30 letter that shareholders are saying they won’t invest any more money because there have been delays securing the approval to expand the operation in northern Baffin Island.

“The letter was sent to all employees and contracting staff,” said Heather Smiles, Baffinland’s manager of stakeholder relations. “This letter is intended from an internal perspective to communicate to our employees on what to expect.” Continue Reading →

Rudd calls for super profits tax on big iron ore miners – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – April 22, 2021)

Iron ore miners are ripping off taxpayers amid buoyant commodity prices and should face the type of levy they successfully scuttled a decade ago, according to former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

Renewed calls for a super-profit tax of the type that triggered Mr Rudd’s political downfall in 2010 came as prices for iron ore surged again to within striking distance of a record.

A breach of the $US193 a tonne record set on February 16, 2011, was “absolutely possible” in the near future, according to NAB’s head of commodity research Lachlan Shaw, with futures prices suggesting there could be further gains on Tuesday evening’s price of $US189.61 a tonne. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore Giants Challenged in Race to Meet Soaring China Demand – by James Thornhill and James Attwood (Bloomberg News – April 19, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — The world’s top two iron ore miners struggled to keep up with strong Chinese demand in the first quarter of 2021, hit by operational challenges and weather disruptions, in a positive sign for prices that are already at decade highs.

Brazil’s Vale SA churned out less ore than expected last quarter after lower productivity at one mine and a ship loader fire, with its recovery from an early-2019 tailings dam disaster proving a little slower than expected. Rio Tinto Group’s shipments were disrupted by wetter-than-average weather at its Pilbara operations in Western Australia.

Benchmark iron ore surged Monday over $180 a ton — the highest since May 2011 — following news that China’s crude steel production jumped 19% last month from a year earlier to near a record. The nation’s output of the alloy is booming at the same time as a pollution crackdown has lifted prices and benefited profit margins at mills. Continue Reading →

‘If not this, then what?’ Nunavut Government in arctic Canada says economy needs controversial mining expansion – by Nick Murray (CBC News/Eye On The Arctic – April 19, 2021)

Deputy minister tells NIRB expansion could also increase access to country food

The government of Nunavut has painted a gloomy picture of the territory should Baffinland’s Phase 2 expansion not proceed.

Baffinland is seeking approval to double its production at its Mary River iron ore mine south-west of Pond Inlet.

The Nunavut Impact Review Board was holding a final series of hearings last week in Iqaluit to consider the Phase 2 expansion proposal. But the hearings were suspended indefinitely on Wednesday following Iqaluit’s first confirmed case of COVID-19. Continue Reading →