Archive | Iron Ore

Trump touts ‘America first’ policies in Duluth warehouse – by John Myers (Duluth News Tribune – June 20, 2018)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday spent more than an hour in a Duluth harborfront warehouse talking about iron ore and copper mining, trade and his relentless effort to cut government regulations.

In one of his patented “roundtable” discussions, Trump was in friendly territory with about 200 supporters — many of them representing mining, construction and shipping interests — gathered in a spruced-up Lake Superior Warehousing building in the shadow of the Blatnik Bridge.

Trump talked about renegotiating trade deals to put American interests first, and he praised his administration’s efforts to slash government regulations across the breadth of the nation’s economy, including mining. Continue Reading →

Eighty tonnes in a single scoop: Mega-mining iron ore – by Phil Mercer (BBC News/Sydney – June 21, 2018)

It is the rock that has fortified Australia’s recession-defying economy. Iron ore has helped to raise living standards in the country, supercharge pension funds, and bankroll governments. It is the key ingredient of steel, and is Australia’s most lucrative export.

Last year, the trade, mostly to China, as well as South Korea and Japan, was worth 63bn Australian dollars ($45bn; £35bn).

Over the past decade booming export volumes have soared by more than 200%. It is without doubt an economic colossus, and Australia is the world’s largest exporter of iron ore. But given that global iron ore prices have fallen sharply over the past decade, should Australia try to move away from the sector? Continue Reading →

Bust to boom: Minnesota’s Iron Range revives just as trade war looms – by Dee Depass (Minneapolis Star Tribune – June 19, 2018)

HIBBING, Minn. — The taconite mines are back in action, factories are expanding and new stores and restaurants are popping up from Grand Rapids to Silver Bay.

Minnesota’s Iron Range is experiencing an economic revival that seemed unlikely as recently as two years ago, when idled mines and job losses battered the region.

“Obviously the entire economy up here rotates around the mines. So if the mines are doing good, then we all do good,” said Erik Leitz, who with his wife opened the BoomTown Brewery & Woodfire Grill in Hibbing six months ago. A newfound optimism will greet President Donald Trump when he makes his first visit to northern Minnesota on Wednesday. Continue Reading →

Miners’ big spend shows commodities optimism – by Robert Guy (Australian Financial Review – June 18, 2018)

A $2 billion acquisition spree by South32 and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has underscored the more upbeat outlook on commodity prices among industry heavyweights, with the scramble to buy or develop world class assets and infrastructure heating up as the world’s largest miners emerge from years of austerity.

Australia’s largest miners have moved aggressively to stamp their dominance in key commodity markets amid expectations of strong Asian economic growth over the next decade, with South32’s $1.7 billion bid for Arizona Mining heralding its intent to be a bigger player in base metals, while Hancock Prospecting’s bold $390 million bid for Atlas Iron could position Australia’s wealthiest woman as a bigger player in iron ore shipments from Port Hedland.

The big miners are slowly opening their wallets after many years of cost cutting and a focus on improving shareholder returns, as management teams look to replace aging mines, maintain production and lay the foundation for future earnings growth. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Atlas gives Mineral Resources three days to match Rinehart bid – by Staff (Reuters U.S. – June 18, 2018)

(Reuters) – Australian iron ore miner Atlas Iron (AGO.AX) said on Tuesday that it would give Mineral Resources (MIN.AX) three business days to match a buyout offer made from Hancock Prospecting.

Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting and mining services group Mineral Resources are waging a bidding battle for Atlas, which operates in the iron ore rich Pilbara region of Western Australia and has undeveloped tenements.

Hancock had offered A$0.042 per Atlas share, or A$390 million ($289 million) on Monday, substantially more than Mineral Resources’ A$280 million offer made in April. Hancock said last week it had built up a 19.96 percent stake in Atlas. Continue Reading →

Rio spending $2.2bn on iron-ore supply – by Esmarie Swanepoel ( – June 18, 2018)

PERTH ( – Diversified miner Rio Tinto on Monday revealed that it will be spending some $2.2-billion over the next three years on replacement mines for its iron-ore operations in the Pilbara, including initial spending on the proposed Koodaideri, West Angelas and Robe Valley developments.

Rio’s iron-ore CEO Chris Salisbury told investors and analysts that the company’s strategy was to optimise its Pilbara assets to deliver value for shareholders.

“Our iron-ore business delivered $7.3-billion of free cash flow in 2017 and we will continue to maximise free cash flow by pursuing a value-over-volume approach, built on a portfolio of world-class assets that deliver our premium iron ore product, the Pilbara Blend. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Iron Ladies of Mining Tech – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – June 2018)

A digital-technology revolution is rocking the world’s mining industry just as it has seen a symbolic influx of women into executive roles long reserved for men.

Two iron ore projects in Australia demonstrate what’s happening as the world’s biggest mining companies, BHP and Rio Tinto, move closer to committing more than $3 billion each to what Rio Tinto calls “intelligent mining” and BHP “the mine of the future.” Both are about to make radical changes in their most profitable divisions by designing mines without the burden of legacy equipment, some of which hasn’t changed in decades.

Driverless trains and trucks, already being used in a number of projects, will be joined by an array of sensors, radar controls and Wi-Fi systems that will provide the data to control every aspect of work in the Koodaiderie and South Flank mines–all the way through to rail transport and the final stage of ship loading. Continue Reading →

How an Environmental Disaster Changed Brazil’s Mining Industry – by R.T. Watson (Bloomberg News – June 6, 2018)

The future of some of the world’s biggest mining operations remains mired in uncertainty after a fatal dam spill helped transform Brazil’s relatively light corporate scrutiny into a legal minefield.

The 2015 disaster at the Samarco iron-ore mine, which left 19 dead, precipitated a cascade of legal issues and challenges for the still-shut venture owned by Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd.

Mining’s reputation in Brazil was further tarnished this year when an alleged waste-water leak at the world’s largest alumina refinery, owned by Oslo-based Norsk Hydro ASA, led to a court-ordered 50 percent production curtailment. Continue Reading →

China iron ore futures rise on mine closures, but stocks high (Reuters India – June 4, 2018)

BEIJING, June 5 (Reuters) – China’s Dalian iron ore futures edged up on Tuesday, lifted by market concern about tight supplies after a report that Tangshan city plans to shut hundreds of mining companies, although prices remain under pressure from mounting stockpiles at ports.

Tangshan, the country’s No.1 steelmaking city in Hebei province, said it will close 226 mining firms – half iron ore miners – that do not have legitimate licenses as part of efforts to curb illegal mining and cut pollution.

The central government, meanwhile, has sent teams of inspectors to 10 regions to check rectification measures after previous probes uncovered thousands of environmental violations. Some regions have promised to beef up anti-pollution curbs. Continue Reading →

HISTORY ECHOES THROUGH IRON RANGE POLITICS, EVEN IF WE FORGET – by Aaron Brown (Hibbing Daily Tribune – June 3, 2018)

In 1887, the Merritt Brothers and a crew led by Capt. J.A. Nichols discovered rich hematite ore under 14 feet of mud near the future townsite of Mountain Iron. After three years of wading through stinking mosquito swamps, alternating with hellish winter conditions, these men turned hope of discovering the Mesabi Range into reality.

Almost 30 years later, in 1916, Slovenian immigrant Joe Greeni stood in line to find out how much he’d earn in pay that week. He would utter the words “To hell with such wages. We’ve been robbed long enough. It’s time to strike.” Thousands would join him, shutting down all the mines on the Mesabi.

These moments shaped Iron Range history, leading to the Iron Range present. Not because they were successful at first. The Merritts would be undercut by John D. Rockefeller. The IWW strike of 1916 would be broken. Instead, these events reflect the twin human desires for materials and quality of life that still spark political action today. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China opening may spark iron ore to become more like crude oil – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 25, 2018)

SINGAPORE, May 25 (Reuters) – In the relatively short space of the past decade the paper iron ore market has grown from virtually nothing to exceed the physical market, but now the industry is grappling with what comes next.

While the growth in iron ore futures and exchanged-cleared swaps has been impressive, iron ore is still a long way behind other commodity markets, such as crude oil and some agricultural products, where paper trade exceeds physical by large multiples.

There are two main paper markets for iron ore, the well-established Singapore Exchange (SGX) futures and swaps, and the Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE), which up until now has largely catered for Chinese domestic investors. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Iron ore market dynamics are shifting beneath calm facade – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 22, 2018)

SINGAPORE, May 22 (Reuters) – The seaborne iron ore market appears to be in something of a sweet spot currently, with largely steady demand and prices that have been flatlining for the past couple of months.

Of course, another way of saying that a market is enjoying relatively stable and good times is that it’s boring, but in iron ore there is plenty of action bubbling beneath the seemingly calm exterior.

It’s not so much that iron ore prices or volumes are expected to shift dramatically in the coming months, it’s more that structural changes in the world’s biggest importer, China, are re-shaping how the industry works. Continue Reading →

Court’s latest blow to Goa ore mining reflects failures of state – by Nihar Gokhale ( – May 21, 2018)

Dividing line between state and mining lease-holders blurred, High Court of Bombay at Goa said in a recent verdict.

Goa’s iron ore mining scam may seem like an old story. It is. The scam, which captured the national imagination at the turn of this decade with images of red-orange opencast pits in India’s favourite vacation state, was considered done and dusted once the mining was banned in 2012.

In the state elections that year, the Congress government – whose then chief minister is himself an accused in the scam – was defeated by the BJP on the promise of cleaning up mining. And when the Supreme Court in 2014 ordered mining to restart, but in limited quantities and under a fresh leasing regime, the “scam” subsequently went off the radar completely. Continue Reading →

Vale Boss Prefers Giving Away Windfall to Avoid Sins of the Past – by R.T. Watson and Joseph Richter (Bloomberg News – May 18, 2018)

Vale SA, once the most generous dividend payer among major mining companies, may be poised to regain that status with its chief executive officer nearing debt targets and unwilling to hoard cash or rush into deals.

Like others in the industry, the biggest producer of iron ore and nickel cut dividends to defend against a commodity downturn that eroded profit and pushed up debt metrics.

With prices recovering as supply gluts ease, producers are once again rewarding shareholders. In March, Vale approved a plan to begin paying at least 30 percent of earnings before items minus sustaining investments. For the first quarter, that meant $1 billion. Continue Reading →

Congo Billionaire Seeks French Loan to Develop Iron-Ore Railway – by Elie Smith (Bloomberg News – May 17, 2018)

Paul Obambi, a billionaire investor in the Congo Republic, is in talks with French lenders to fund a railway he’s building to export iron ore.

Obambi’s company SAPRO SA is negotiating with “a consortium of banks” to finance the 450-kilometer (280-mile) track that will link the southwestern town of Mayoko to a port at Pointe Noire, he said in a phone interview from Paris on Tuesday.

Construction is expected to start next year and be completed by 2022, he said, without saying how much it would cost. SAPRO operates an iron-ore project at Mayoko acquired from Pretoria, South Africa-based Exxaro Resources Ltd. Continue Reading →