Mining & Resources


China pumps the brakes

China's Premier Li Keqiang.

Phillip Wen 1:10 AM   Leaders are pressing to shift the country's growth model to a more sustainable footing.

SA sets out agenda for nuclear industry inquiry; expert mix appointed

It remains unclear if any biological tests have ever been conducted

Simon Evans 9:15 PM   An expert panel of five people who are a mix of "for and against" the nuclear industry have been appointed as South Australia sets out the agenda and deadline for its royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle.

China coal restrictions dash Whitehaven's hopes for price recovery

The gloomy outlook from Whitehaven is a departure from its stance in January when it said it expected  "a stable to gradual increase in the price for its thermal coal qualities over the next year".

Tess Ingram   Whitehaven Coal has backed away from its optimistic view it can receive increasing prices for its thermal coal this year but, despite this, it will look to increase production.

Santos's revenue plummets 24pc

Santos said its revenue fall was partially offset by stronger domestic gas prices and a weaker Australian dollar.

Quarterly revenue at Santos has collapsed by 24 per cent due to the declining price of oil, but would be worse if not for the falling Australian dollar.

TAS to greenlight pot farming, Capital Mining in deal for first licence


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Sally Rose   Tasmania is set to give the green light for Australia's first legal medical marijuana grower, in what is expected to be the start of a new industry for the state. Capital Mining, a failed explorer with a plan to transform itself as the second ASX-listed cannabis company, has struck a deal that puts it in line to be granted the first license.

Walsh says Rio's focus on low-cost production fundamental

Sam Walsh, chief executive officer of Rio Tinto Group, speaks during a Minerals Council of Australia conference in Melbourne on Thursday.

Amanda Saunders   Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh says the mining giant has to work harder to ensure it maintains the margin it holds over the industry's high-cost producers.

Seven macro impacts of the iron ore plunge

Iron ore is proving volatile.

Stephen Cauchi   A larger budget deficit is just one of the likely repercussions of the recent iron ore slide, JP Morgan says as it joins other banks in lowering its price forecasts for the bulk commodity.

AGL executive reshuffle to cut costs

AGL's new boss has launched a major restructure.

Carrie LaFrenz   New AGL Energy chief executive Andy Vesey has shaken up the organisational structure of the country's largest electricity and gas retailer, leading to the departure of two senior executives.

Fortescue executive salaries under review, no number on job losses

Fortescue's Nev Power: 'The organisational review ... will impact everyone across the business.'

Tess Ingram   Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Nev Power says executive salaries are not safe from the organisational review sweeping the iron ore miner. He also refused to commit to the number of jobs at risk as a result of changes to the company's rostering system.

AGL ends CSG waste water irrigation trial

Critics say the winding up of AGL's irrigation trial prove it to be a failure.

Peter Hannam   Regulators found the water left behind unacceptably high levels of salt and heavy metals.

BHP, Rio ore 'ripping heart out' of Australia: Fortescue

Fortescue chief executive Nev Power said 'the current state of the iron ore industry has been a disaster for everyone'.

Amanda Saunders   Fortescue Metals chief Nev Power has accused arch rivals BHP and Rio of hurting the nation by flooding the market with iron ore, while revealing that it plans to lift export targets in the current financial year.

Iluka Resources reports slow start to the year

Iluka's production and revenue were lower year on year in the three months ended March 31.

Tess Ingram   Mineral sands producer Iluka Resources said the successful restart of its largest synthetic rutile kiln in March reflects a recovery in demand for high-grade titanium dioxide feedstock.

Twiggy's fortune tipped to shrink

If Goldman Sachs' price prediction is realised, Andrew Forrest's Fortescue shares would be worth just under $520 million.

Max Mason   Andrew Forrest's fortune could take a massive hit in the next 12 months, with Goldman Sachs slapping a 'sell' recommendation on Fortescue Metals and downgrading its forecasts for the iron ore price.

Stop obsessing about iron ore: ANZ's Smith

Michael "Mike" Smith, chief executive officer of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ), pauses as he speaks during the Commonwealth Games Business Conference in Glasgow, U.K., on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. With less than two months to go before the Sept. 18 referendum on independence, the pound remains a key area of contention along with Scotland's membership of the European Union, pensions and social security spending. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Michael Smith

Clancy Yeates   ANZ chief executive Mike Smith says the price of iron ore should not be equated with the broader economy's health.

Mount Isa wants uranium mining: business

A worker at the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory.

Mount Isa’s business lobby group has joined the fight for uranium mining in Queensland's north west.

Contractors push Atlas Iron rescue plan

McAleese chief executive Mark Rowsthorn: the company generates half its earnings from providing trucking services to Atlas Iron.

Tess Ingram   McAleese Group chief executive Mark Rowsthorn is fighting for a rescue package for Atlas Iron after pressing the miner's creditors to keep at least one of its Pilbara iron ore mines open.

Abbott government presses states to move on gas approvals

The Abbott government wants to see more CSG development.

Peter Hannam   The Abbott government is stepping up pressure on the states to foster “the responsible development of the unconventional gas industry”, including coal seam gas.

BHP Billiton's dividend plan 'bear trap'

BHP Billiton's commitment to its progressive dividend is being questioned by some shareholders.

Amanda Saunders   BHP Billiton’s commitment to constantly increasing its dividend has been described as a "travesty" and a "bear trap" by one of its shareholders.

AGL gas leak investigated in latest blow to coal seam gas plans

Protestors at AGL's AGM in Sydney last October.

Peter Hannam   AGL’s coal seam gas operations in northern NSW have hit fresh troubles with the NSW Environment Protection Authority launching an investigation into a gas leak earlier this month.

Atlas lenders seek voluntary administration

Atlas Iron's creditors are said to be pushing to swap debt for equity.

Tess Ingram   A group of Atlas Iron's lenders are reportedly pushing for the miner to enter voluntary administration so they can carry out a debt-to-equity conversion.

BC Iron 'won't shy away' from closure

Citi said on Monday the junior producer should mothball its mines at its revised iron ore forecast of as low as $US37 a tonne this year.

Tess Ingram   Under pressure, Pilbara iron ore producer BC Iron said it has no immediate plans to suspend operations but will not "shy away" from doing so if it proves to be in the best interest of shareholders.

Fortescue roster change puts over 700 jobs at risk

Alannah MacTiernan says redundancy packages mean the full extent of WA job losses isn't yet being seen.

Julie-anne Sprague and Tess Ingram   Fortescue Metals Group could slash more than 700 jobs across the Pilbara, analysts say, as it abandons boom time rosters in its latest bid to cut costs amid soft iron ore prices.

'Glad he still has a job': FMG worker roster changes to affect FIFO families

FMG, Twiggy Forrest.

Brendan Foster   'We’ll roll with it' has been the overwhelming consensus of families who will be affected by sweeping roster changes for Fortescue Metals Group workers in the Pilbara.

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Ratings agency indicates downgrades possible for biggest iron ore miners

Fortescue is changing to a two-week on, one-week off roster from a current schedule of eight days on, six days off in WA.

Amanda Saunders and Patrick Begley   Falling commodity prices are threatening the credit ratings of the nation's biggest iron ore miners, with Standard and Poor's signalling possible credit rating downgrades for BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals, just days after Treasurer Joe Hockey predicted iron ore prices could hit $US35 a tonne.

Falling iron ore price threatens Aurizon's rail plans

Aurizon chief executive Lance Hockridge's plans to build a railway in the Pilbara are jeopardised by the drop in the price of iron ore.

Jenny Wiggins   Aurizon's plans to build a new 430-kilometre rail line to Anketell Point in the Pilbara to export iron ore appear increasingly shaky as tumbling prices raise questions over the rail group's existing iron ore haulage contracts

Iron ore crash battering BlueScope in NZ

BlueScope Steel wants major changes to workplace relations.

Tim Binsted   Steel heavyweight BlueScope Steel is burning cash in its New Zealand iron sands business and the operation could lose up to $40 million in 2015-16 if iron ore prices don't recover, Credit Suisse says.

China's Cu-River Mining buys Termite Resources mine

Termite Resources was one of the first companies to go bust in the iron ore price collapse.

Simon Evans   A group of Chinese businessmen have bought the failed Cairn Hill iron ore mine from the liquidator of Termite Resources.

Next commodity boom 'a generation away'

The iron ore price will keep falling, Deltec forecasts.

Vesna Poljak   The next commodities boom is "a generation away" for some key raw materials, Atul Lele, chief investment officer at Deltec, says.

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Fortescue miners to work more as iron ore dives

The world's fourth-largest iron ore producer is changing to a two-week on, one-week off roster from a current schedule of eight days on, six days off.

Fortescue Metals is changing its roster to get more work out of its miners in a bid to slash costs with iron ore prices plunging to new lows.

BHP, Rio ratings on negative watch over iron ore

BHP's A+ rating, Rio's A- and Fortescue's BB+ have been placed on negative watch.

Patrick Begley   Standard and Poor's has signalled credit rating downgrades for BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals and slashed its 2015-17 iron ore forecasts.