Archive | Iron Ore

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 →

Top-grade iron-ore may spike to $100/t – by Krystal Chia (Bloomberg News – July 16, 2018)

SINGAPORE – High-grade iron-ore may spike to $100 a metric ton as China intensifies a clampdown on pollution by restraining industrial activity, adding further momentum to a trend that’s reshaped the global market in recent years and driven buyers in Asia’s top economy to seek out better-quality material.

After sinking in March, top-quality ore with 65% iron content gained every month, hitting $91/t on Friday, and keeping it in positive territory this year even as global trade frictions mounted, according to

In contrast, benchmark 62% ore has flat-lined in the $60s, and is down 14%. The divergence has exploded the gap between the two. Continue Reading →

Robot Trains Are Slashing Mining Costs in Australia’s Outback – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – July 13, 2018)

Snaking through Western Australia’s Outback, a driverless train has made the first autonomous delivery of iron ore from a Rio Tinto Group pit to a coastal port, as the No. 2 miner looks to reap the benefits from a $940 million plan deploying the world’s biggest robots.

The maiden 280-kilometer (174 mile) journey was completed Tuesday carrying a cargo of 28,000 metric tons and by the end of the year almost all of Rio’s 200 locomotives used to transport the steelmaking ingredient through the Pilbara region will travel without a driver.

It’s an extension of a step change that’s already using driverless trucks and autonomous drills on remote mine sites and moved scores of jobs to operating centers in city-based office blocks. Continue Reading →

When Rio Tinto Met China’s Iron Hand – by Kit Chellel, Franz Wild and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – July 13, 2018)

In 2010, four employees of the mining giant were jailed and accused of stealing commercial secrets. Today, the company is more reliant on China than ever.

For eight years, Stern Hu rose every morning at 6 a.m. in Qingpu Prison near Shanghai. He and the dozen men who shared his cell would blearily pull on their blue-and-white-striped uniforms and line up in front of their bunks for the day’s first duty: greeting the guards. “Good morning, officer!” they’d shout. “Thank you for taking care of us, officer!”

Everyone in Brigade No. 8, the foreign prisoners unit, knew Hu. The quiet 61-year-old stood a head taller than the rest. Chinese-born, with an Australian passport and a shock of white hair, he’d been a star at Rio Tinto Group, one of the world’s largest mining companies, before being sent to prison in 2010 for stealing trade secrets and taking bribes. The Chinese government said his actions had cost the country’s steel industry as much as $100 billion.

To the members of Eight Brigade, Hu was also the guy who ran the library. After a breakfast of rice gruel with a spoonful of pickled vegetables, he’d take his post at a small desk next to some bookshelves at one end of the common room. Continue Reading →

Japan’s Mitsui may raise its stake in Vale: executive – by Yuka Obayashi and Yoshiyasu Shida (Reuters U.S. – July 6, 2018)

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co (8031.T) may boost its stake in Brazil’s Vale SA (VALE3.SA) if other shareholders sell part of their holdings, a senior executive said, giving it greater influence over the iron ore giant’s management.

Several Brazilian pension funds and BNDESPar, the investment arm of state development bank BNDES have been considering the sale of part of their stakes in Vale, equating to about 3 percent of the miner’s shares in total and worth up to 8 billion reais ($2 billion).

Buying an additional stake was “an option”, Yukio Takebe, Mitsui’s senior executive managing officer who oversees the energy and metals business, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore Slides to Seven-Month Low as Trade War Fears Mount – by Krystal Chia (Bloomberg News – July 5, 2018)

Iron ore’s starting to buckle after a series of warnings that prices are set to drop amid rising global supply, and as investors fret about the potential impact of escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

Benchmark spot ore eased to $62.50 a ton on Thursday, the lowest since November, according to Mysteel. In Singapore, SGX AsiaClear futures sank as much as 1.5 percent to $62.88 a ton, the cheapest since April 9, while the contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell almost 4 percent this week.

Since retreating into a bear market in March, iron ore has held in a narrow range in the mid-$60s as investors weigh robust steel production in top user China against prospects for increased mine supply. Continue Reading →

Rio and BHP to win from China’s blue-sky wars – by Matthew Stevens(Australian Financial Review – July 5, 2018)

China has moved to further embed pollution controls across a broader sweep of its industrial landscape in a move that reinforces the shared view of Australia’s biggest miners that price premiums being earned by quality iron ore and coal are now enrichingly structural.

A new three-year action plan announced on the official government website more than doubles the number of major cities targeted for pollution with the migration of the regime south beyond the provinces that surround Beijing to the Yangtze delta and Shanghai.

Confirmation of reforms that were first flagged towards the end of last winter’s successful blue-skies campaign acts as reinforcement of BHP’s planned changes to the Pilbara product mix and of Rio Tinto’s pursuit of mining capacity flexibility that will allow it to best respond to China’s increasingly seasonal raw-materials demand pull. Continue Reading →

Stern Hu release: Here’s why the former mining executive was convicted in China (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – July 4, 2018)

Australian citizen and former Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu has been released from jail after nine years in detention in China. It’s a long time since the former head of the mining company’s iron ore team in Shanghai was convicted, so here’s a refresher on the case.

When was Mr Hu arrested and convicted?

Mr Hu and three of his Chinese colleagues were arrested in 2009 during contentious iron-ore contract talks between top mining companies and the steel industry in China. The next year, they were convicted of accepting bribes totalling about $14 million and stealing trade secrets. Mr Hu was given a 10-year sentence, which was reduced for good behaviour.

What did we find out during the case? Continue Reading →

Jean-Sebastien Jacques is redesigning Rio Tinto for the new world order – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – July 1, 2018)

Jean-Sebastien Jacques is a leader well-suited to the now routine tempests of the Trump era. If there is a theme consistent through the fluid narrative of his opening years as Rio Tinto chief executive it is that the practices of the past are now no guide to the needs of the present and future.

Jacques is not prepared to take anything for granted – free trade, social licence, the way we work, trust in sovereigns or the relationships between corporations and the social orders it inhabits.

Rio’s boss was at his free-speaking, free-thinking entertaining best before an audience gathered for that annual oddity, the Melbourne Mining Club’s London dinner. Jacques subsequently garnered headlines by once again warning that miners faced a return of double-digit inflation. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Atlas Iron backs billionaire’s buyout offer – by Byron Kaye and Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – June 28, 2018)

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian iron ore miner Atlas Iron (AGO.AX) on Friday endorsed a A$390 million ($287 million) buyout from billionaire Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, taking the mining heiress closer to securing two key shipping berths in the west of the country.

A subsidiary of Rinehart’s company launched an unconditional cash bid for the miner last week, trouncing a A$280.2 million scrip offer made in April by Mineral Resources (MIN.AX) and prompting that company to cancel its bid.

A successful bid could open the door for Rinehart to develop two more berths at Port Hedland that are alongside her existing operations, as Hancock Prospecting moves into the next stage of expansion at its Roy Hill iron ore mine. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-China’s iron ore imports stay robust even as steel risks mount – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – June 28, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, June 28 (Reuters) – China’s imports of iron ore appear headed for their strongest month this year in June, but the risks of a slowdown in the second half of 2018 are mounting.

Seaborne imports in June of the steel-making ingredient were 88.9 million tonnes by the 27th of the month, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity Forecasts.

With three days of unloading left, it’s likely that June imports will exceed the 91.1 million tonnes captured by the shipping data in May, and possibly exceed the official customs number of 94.1 million reported for last month. Continue Reading →

MINING TAKES CENTER STAGE – by Jerry Burnes (Mesabi Daily News – June 27, 2018)


DULUTH — President Trump brought his “America First” brand of politics with him to Duluth, where the iron mining industry found the friend it expected when he was elected into office a year and a half ago.

Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs have faced broad criticism from business groups over global trade war concerns, but on Minnesota’s Iron Range, are widely popular. His decision in December to reinstate mineral leases to Twin Metals Minnesota, which is prospecting an underground copper-nickel mine near Ely, drew praise from industry advocates.

Trump held a roundtable with Iron Range community and business leaders, miners and industry advocates on June 20 in Duluth and made a proclamation at the following rally that promised to throw out a federal land withdrawal, which Trump said were minerals placed “under lock and key” by the Obama administration. Continue Reading →

[Minnesota Mining] TAKING THE FIGHT OUTSIDE – by Angie Riebe (Mesabi Daily News – June 27, 2018)


When Cindy Stene drives across the Iron Range these days, she becomes rather emotional. During a recent trip from Grand Rapids to Ely to Gilbert and back, “I had tears in my eyes — seeing all the signs that have sprung up,” she said.

She’s talking about “Iron Range Proud” yard signs. Displayed prominently under the word “PROUD” is the hashtag: #fight4miningMN. Stene and 12,000 of her closest friends have been fighting that fight together now for a good year and a half.

Though she lives in Grand Rapids, Stene’s family has called the Ely and Babbitt areas home. And she, along with Joe Baltich, owner of Red Rock Wilderness Store and Northwind Lodge near Ely, joined forces to get the ball rolling on a fight that’s improtant to so many. Continue Reading →

[Minnesota Mining] ‘IT IS A HISTORY WORTH TELLING’ – by Leah Ryan (Mesabi Daily News – June 27, 2018)

SOUDAN — “If you haven’t been [to the Soudan Underground Mine] it is one of the three or four drop-to-your-knees outstanding experiences you can have at a state park,” said Erika Rivers, director of State Parks and Trails at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

June 7 was the ribbon cutting of the new campground at Vermilion State Park, in the same area as Soudan Underground Mine State Park. “The camping opportunity here with the mine will create a historical learning experience,” said Minnesota Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook. “It is a history worth telling.”

“The Soudan Underground Mine is one of the most awesome places in the state of Minnesota,” said Parl Manager Jim Essig. “It showcases the heritage of the people of the Iron Range. Plus, it is a lot of fun,” Essig couldn’t help but adding with a genuine smile. Continue Reading →

Forrest targets Rinehart in new twist in Atlas war – by Brad Thompson(Australian Financial Review – June 26, 2018)

Andrew Forrest has taken off the gloves and come out swinging in his billionaire brawl with Gina Rinehart over control of Atlas Iron.

Mr Forrest dramatically escalated the dispute when NCZ Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of his Fortescue Metals Group, turned to the Takeovers Panel with a series of explosive allegations in relation to Atlas and a $390 million takeover bid from Mrs Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting and its subsidiary, Redstone.

The move represents the official declaration of war in the long-standing hostilities between the two Perth-based Rich Listers, who briefly saw eye-to-eye in 2010 during the campaign against Kevin Rudd’s resource super profits tax. Continue Reading →