Archive | Rio Tinto

China Wealth Fund Joins Fray for $2 Billion Rio Portfolio (Bloomberg News – February 8, 2018)

The Chinese sovereign wealth fund is considering joining the bidding for Rio Tinto Group’s last remaining coal mines, which may fetch more than $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

China Investment Corp. is discussing making a joint offer with Australian private equity firm EMR Capital Advisors Pty, which was among shortlisted bidders for the Hail Creek and Kestrel mines, according to the people.

Suitors are scheduled to make site visits to the operations in Australia’s Queensland state this month ahead of the final bid deadline in March, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto denies Dutch NGO allegation it avoided Oyu Tolgoi tax – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – January 31, 2018)

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Rio Tinto on Wednesday denied allegations by a Dutch non-profit organization that it had avoided paying $700 million of tax to Mongolian and Canadian authorities relating to its giant Oyu Tolgoi copper project.

Rio Tinto is investing about a $1 billion a year at Oyu Tolgoi in the Gobi Desert, where it operates a mine and is building an underground extension that would add approximately 500,000 tonnes of production a year in the next decade.

The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, known as SOMO, alleged in a report that Rio and its Canadian subsidiary Turquoise Hill used so-called mailbox companies in the Netherlands and Luxembourg to avoid $470 million in Canadian taxes and $230 million in Mongolian taxes. Continue Reading →

The Canadian company behind this Mongolian mine has avoided half a billion dollars in taxes, report alleges – by Marco Chown Oved (Toronto Star – January 31, 2018)

A Canadian mining company operating in one of the world’s biggest copper deposits has avoided more than half a billion dollars in Canadian tax over the last seven years, according to a report released Wednesday.

By using a complex network of tax haven subsidiaries and lending money to itself at high interest rates, Turquoise Hill Resources has also deprived the government of Mongolia — where the mine is located — of an additional $230 million (U.S.), states the report produced by the Dutch non-profit SOMO.

“It’s shameless tax avoidance,” said Vincent Kiezebrink, one of the report’s authors. “It doesn’t just affect the world poorest, but also regular people in Western countries as well.” Continue Reading →

Mongolia slaps $155M tax bill on Turquoise Hill’s mine; NGO claims company owes more – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – January 30, 2018)

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. and parent Rio Tinto Group’s ambition to build one of the world’s largest copper and gold mines, called Oyu Tolgoi, in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, has hit a number of stumbling blocks in recent weeks.

Last week, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, the chief executive of Rio Tinto, flew to Mongolia’s capital city to meet with prime minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsuk about how to build “win-win” partnerships.

One looming dispute is the Mongolian government’s claim that Oyu Tolgoi owes an additional US$155 million in taxes — the mine’s second tax dispute since 2014. Continue Reading →

U.S. SEC says Rio Tinto, ex-CEO, ex-CFO must face fraud case – by Jonathan Stempel (Reuters U.S. – January 23, 2018)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The top U.S. securities regulator on Tuesday rejected arguments by Rio Tinto Plc and two former top executives that its civil lawsuit claiming they concealed the plunging value of coal assets owned by the big Anglo-Australian mining company should be dismissed.

In letters filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the Securities and Exchange Commission said its complaint adequately alleged that fraud occurred, and that Rio Tinto, former Chief Executive Thomas Albanese and former Chief Financial Officer Guy Elliott intended to deceive investors.

Rio Tinto responded by referring to its statement in October that it believed the lawsuit was unwarranted and that a court or jury would reject the SEC’s claims. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto builds bauxite expansion option at Amrun – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – January 23, 2018)

Rio Tinto’s $US1.9 billion ($2.4 billion) Amrun bauxite project is being built with foundations to support a much bigger expansion in the future, with the project now more than 75 per cent complete.

Approved by the Rio board in November 2015, the Amrun team will soon award some of the major contracts associated with the project, including for shiploaders, reclaimers and stackers. Amrun will produce 22.8 million tonnes of bauxite per year starting in mid 2019, with 10 million tonnes of that set to replace a nearby mine that is close to retirement.

Rio’s growth and innovation executive Stephen McIntosh said the size of the resource at Amrun could support a more than doubling of production in the future if Rio ever chose to pursue further expansion. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto digs deeper into Mongolia – by Melanie Burton and Terrence Edwards (Reuters U.S. – January 22, 2018)

MELBOURNE/ULAANBAATAR (Reuters) – Global miner Rio Tinto will set up a new office in the Mongolian capital, separate from its giant Oyu Tolgoi project, to focus on exploration and local ties, strengthening its commitment to one of the world’s greatest copper prospects.

Mongolia’s proximity to neighbouring China, the world’s biggest copper consumer, has attracted interest from international prospectors as an anticipated leap in electric vehicle demand and renewable energy would increase consumption of a commodity that already has multiple uses.

But some investors are nervous about the unpredictability of Mongolia’s young democracy and Rio Tinto, which is operating an expansion project at the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia, has had difficult negotiations with the government in the past. Continue Reading →

Great Iron Ore Wave Set to Peter Out as Shippers Hold Steady – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – January 15, 2018)

Rio Tinto Group forecasts its iron ore shipments will remain flat this year or rise by 3 percent at most, reinforcing market sentiment that a wave of new supply is turning into a trickle.

The world’s second-largest exporter expects shipments from Western Australia of between 330 million metric tons and 340 million tons in 2018, the company said Tuesday, confirming guidance published last month. That compares with 330.1 million metric tons recorded last year.

Top exporters “clearly haven’t pushed the envelope too hard” and are showing restraint over additions to supply, Daniel Hynes, a Sydney-based analyst at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said Tuesday in a Bloomberg Television interview. Continue Reading →

Mongolian Copper Corp says to fight government stake repurchase – by Barbara Lewis and Terrence Edwards (Reuters U.S. – January 9, 2018)

LONDON/ULAANBAATAR, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Mongolian Copper Corporation (MCC) said on Tuesday it will fight a decision by the Mongolian government to repurchase its stake in one of Asia’s biggest copper mines for about $400 million after a failed attempt to nationalise it.

Earlier on Tuesday, the government passed a resolution to buy the 49 percent holding, giving Mongolia full state control of the Erdenet mine, following a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court in December against the nationalisation decided by parliament in February 2017.

MCC said no agreement had been reached with the government and it would fight the decision legally.“We will protect our legal ownership rights locally and internationally,” MCC’s Chairman Munkhbaatar Myagmar told Reuters on Tuesday in London. He was is in the city for talks with law firm Omnia Strategy, which is representing the company. Continue Reading →

[Papua New Guinea Mining] Bougainville imposes moratorium on Panguna mine over fears of civil unrest – by Helen Davidson (The Guardian – January 10 2018)

The Bougainville government has enacted an indefinite moratorium on renewing the licence of a controversial mining company over fears it could reignite violent civil conflict.

In December Bougainville landowner groups were called to vote on allowing Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) to renew their mining licence and potentially reopen the Panguna mine, but the vote was split.

“If we went ahead now, you could be causing a total explosion of the situation again,” the Bougainville Autonomous Government (ABG) president, John Momis, told the ABC on Monday. Continue Reading →

Trains, ships, automobiles: The autonomous evolution continues – by Eric Atkins (Globe and Mail – January 3, 2018)

Driverless freight trains are roaring across Australia’s outback, part of Rio Tinto Ltd.’s bid to cut costs and boost efficiencies as it moves iron ore from its mines to the ports.

The mining company ran its first autonomous train in late September, and now runs 60 per cent of its rail journeys in “attendant mode” – a person is in the cab but not in control. Rio Tinto plans to have all its trains in Western Australia operating without crews by next year, assuming it wins the backing of the rail regulator.

The autonomous trains are running 6 per cent faster than conventional locomotives, while reducing maintenance costs and improving safety, said Stephen McIntosh, the Rio Tinto executive in charge of the miner’s growth and innovation group. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto embarks on automation roll-out at Pilbarra iron-ore operations – by Megan Van Wyngaardt ( – December 18, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Mining giant Rio Tinto will expand its fleet of autonomous haul trucks at its iron-ore operations in the Pilbara by more than 50% by 2019, after signing agreements with manufacturers Caterpillar and Komatsu to convert traditional trucks to autonomous vehicles.

A total of 29 Komatsu haul trucks will be retrofitted with autonomous haulage system (AHS) technology starting next year. The project at the Brockman 4 operation is scheduled for completion by mid-2019, allowing the mine to run entirely in AHS mode once fully deployed.

A further 19 Caterpillar haul trucks at the Marandoo mine will also be retrofitted starting mid-2018 for completion by the end of 2019. The retrofit is significant for Rio Tinto as it marks the first time AHS technology has been deployed by the company on Caterpillar haul trucks. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto puts its faith in driverless trucks, trains and drilling rigs (The Economist – December 7, 2017)

FOR millennia, man has broken rocks. Whether with pickaxe or dynamite, their own or animal muscle, in a digger or a diesel truck, thick-necked miners have been at the centre of an industry that supplies the raw materials for almost all industrial activity.

Making mining more profitable has long involved squeezing out more tonnes of metal per ounce of brawn. Now robots, not man, are settling themselves into the driving seat.

Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining firms, is leading that transformation in its vast iron-ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is putting its faith in driverless trucks and unmanned drilling rigs and trains, overseeing them from the office equivalent of armchairs about 1,000km (625 miles) south, in Perth. Continue Reading →

Massive Oyu Tolgoi mine to more than double gold production in 2018 – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – December 7, 2017)

Rio Tinto-controlled Turquoise Hill (TSX:TRQ) is expecting its majority-owned Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia to churn in 2018 more than double the amount of the precious metal forecast for this year, with operating costs dropping about 2.8%.

In an update that went almost unnoticed, the Canadian miner said earlier this week it expected the massive Mongolian mine to produce 240,000 to 280,000 ounces of gold concentrate next year, more than double the 100,000 to 140,000 ounces initially expected for 2017.

The Vancouver-based company also forecast the mine to generate 125,000 to 155,000 tonnes of copper in 2018, slightly less than the 130,000 to 160,000 tonnes predicted for this year. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Indonesia’s Freeport-Rio plan masks longer-term issues – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – December 7, 2017)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Dec 7 (Reuters) – A proposed three-way deal between the Indonesian government, Rio Tinto and Freeport-McMoRan to clean up the ownership of the giant Grasberg copper-gold mine looks like one of those rare situations where everybody wins.

Except that it isn‘t. Certainly all parties may walk away feeling that they have achieved the best outcome, assuming the complicated deal can be pulled off at a price acceptable to all three.

But this ignores the wider picture in which any short-term advantage is likely to be offset by compounding longer-term problems. First, a brief re-cap of what’s at stake. Grasberg is the world’s second-largest copper mine, as well as being one of the five-biggest gold mines, and is further advantaged by having high grades and low costs. Continue Reading →