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Mining & Resources

China's dirty coal ban causes waves

BRIAN ROBINS 12:15am To its critics it has confirmed their views - and to its investors it is all a monumental media beat-up.

Santos calls manufacturers to invest in onshore gas

Santos says more gas would be available now if manufacturers had invested more in the sector over the past decade.

PETER KER Santos says manufacturers can help avoid the looming gas crisis by investing in more supply

Mining

AngloAmerican boss sees coal mines closing at a rate of one a fortnight

The market is in oversupply and

Amanda Saunders AngloAmerican chief Mark Cutifani says he expects metallurgical coal mines will be mothballed at a rate of one every two or three weeks until enough supply has fallen out of the beleaguered sector to drive a price recovery.

Energy

'Nothing off the table' as NSW faces gas shortages

Natural gas burns on a kitchen stove

Angela Macdonald-Smith The New South Wales government says "nothing is off the table" in its desperate bid to stave off potential shortages in gas supplies.

Energy

AWE's onshore gas find tipped as Western Australia's biggest in decades

The Senico-3 gas find is located close to existing pipeline infrastructure.

Angela Macdonald-Smith Local oil and gas player AWE has claimed what may be Western Australia's largest onshore gas discovery since the 1960s.

Buybacks

Iron ore slump seen as no bar to Rio, BHP buybacks and higher dividends

There's plenty of scope for shareholder returns as miners reduce investments in marginal projects, according to a large institutional investor.

Iron ore's slump to a five-year low won't prevent the world's two biggest miners, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, returning cash to investors via higher dividends and buybacks, a resources fund manager said.

Resources

China coal ban to put more pressure on struggling mines

Coal mining at Musswellbrook in the Hunter Valley, an area that will likely be hit hard by new Chinese regulations.

Peter Ker and Brian Robins with Philip Wen, Beijing At a time when large parts of the industry are not making any money, coal producers may be faced with heavy additional costs to meet China's tougher environmental controls on coal imports.

Reserve Bank warns of housing bubble risks as Treasurer Joe Hockey dismisses fears

Joe Hockey speaking at the Bloomberg News forum in Sydney.

Mark Mulligan and Stephen Cauchi The Reserve Bank of Australia has again expressed disquiet about the risks of an overheating housing market, putting it at odds with Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, who on Tuesday again played down talk of a property bubble.

Coal industry's turn to feel the effects of Chinese downturn

Brian Robins dinkus

BRIAN ROBINS Last week it was iron ore. On Tuesday it was coal's turn, with the Chinese government tightening regulations that, while forcing out lower quality imports, will help to protect its domestic coal miners.

Resources

Arrium may have to close down operations

mining truck

Tim Binsted Arrium may have to ask shareholders for more cash and consider closing or halting some of its steel and mining operations despite launching a $756 million equity-raising, analysts say.

Resources

Australian export risk on China dirty coal ban

A tourist with a protective mask takes a selfie at the Bund under heavy haze in Shanghai.

BRIAN ROBINS A large portion of Australia's coal exports to China could be at risk from a Chinese government decision to block imports of lower-quality "dirty" coal from 2015.

Energy

China bans dirty coal to fight pollution

Air pollution has become a huge issue in China's major cities.

China has banned the sale and import of coal with high ash or sulfur content in a move to promote cleaner coal and improve the nation's air quality.

Resources

Fortescue chief Nev Power gets hefty pay rise despite share slump

Raking it in: Nev Power earned $3.8 million during the 2014 financial year.

PETER KER Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Nev Power has been granted an 11.1 per cent pay rise, as the iron ore miner moves to reward the man who has overseen its near tripling in export volumes.

Resources

Hancock extends deadline for GVK on Galilee Basin purchase

Deadline moved: GVK executive Sanjay Reddy.

Amanda Saunders Hancock Prospecting has granted an open-ended extension to its Galilee Basin partner, India’s GVK, on the $US560 million owing on a deal struck three years ago, which underpins one of the country’s biggest undeveloped coal projects.

Arrium's $754m equity raising vital to ease debt burden as iron ore prices fall

Elizabeth Knight Dinkus Dinkus

ELIZABETH KNIGHT The $754 million equity raising by iron ore and steel group, Arrium is being hailed by some as prudent and by others as desperate. The truth lies somewhere in between. The reality is the company that has been carrying too much debt on its balance sheet really didn’t have a choice.

Arrium puts its hand out despite August dividend

Arrium chief executive Andrew Roberts.

Tim Binsted Arrium chief executive Andrew Roberts has defended the steel and mining group's decision to declare a dividend last month after a collapse in iron ore prices pushed Arrium into a $754 million capital raising to shore up its stretched balance sheet.

Energy

Coal prices feel the heat as China mulls import ban

Coal mining is facing job cuts.

MISA HAN Iron ore isn’t the only major Australian export item to have tumbled this year – coal has also been on a roller-coaster ride as Chinese demand decreases.

Mining

Rio Tinto and Mongolia settle Oyu Tolgoi mine tax dispute

Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi project.

PETER KER Construction of the second stage of the Oyu Tolgoi mine is expected to start within six months.

Resources

Arrium to raise $754m on back of iron ore price plunge

The renounceable issue has been  priced at 48c, a steep 26 per cent discount to its last traded price.

BRIAN ROBINS Steel maker Arrium has taken a dim view of its near term prospects, turning to shareholders for $754 million via an onerous one-for-one share issue coupled with a large placement.

Police close in on Leighton bribery allegations

Leaked emails have provided new insight into the controversy.

Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker Federal police probing alleged bribery by Leighton Holdings are finalising a brief of evidence to present to prosecutors.

Gas industry's depreciation formula a 'licence to print money'

Michael West dinkus Dinkus

MICHAEL WEST Notwithstanding the confected hysteria from the gas lobby over the impending "cliff" in gas supply, it is now clear that it is demand for gas that is dropping sharply, not supply.

Whitehaven Coal investigated over phantom appointment of green group to oversight panel

Maules Creek dispute: A green group was surprised at its nomination to an oversight committee.

PETER HANNAM The NSW Department of Planning is investigating the seemingly phantom appointment by Whitehaven Coal of an environmental group to a compulsory oversight committee for its $767 million Maules Creek open-cut coalmine.

M&A

Profits could make BHP's NewCo a takeover target

BHP's nickel assets are being spun out as part of NewCo.

David Stringer and Andre Janse van Vuuren BHP Billiton's spinoff of discarded assets is forecast to deliver investors a two-thirds uplift in earnings - a prospect that may also tempt predators.

Mining

Gina Rinehart says cut red tape 'urgently' to counter iron ore slump

The government needs to act to help reduce the costs placed on Australian miners, who are reeling after iron ore prices plunged to a five-year low, the mining billionaire says.

MAX MASON Mining magnate Gina Rinehart is urging the Australian government to cut red tape as the mining sector grapples with iron ore prices plummeting to a five-year low.

China aims high for carbon market by 2020

Promethean task: reducing China's carbon footprint.

China's national carbon market is likely to regulate 3-4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020 and be worth up to 400 billion yuan ($72 billion), a government official said on Thursday, which would make it twice as big as the EU market, currently the world's biggest.

Blue and red US states going green on energy policy

Californian wind farms: support from both sides of US politics for renewables.

Wendy Koch Politically "red" and "blue" US states are increasingly turning green as they push energy efficiency and renewable power to save money and protect the planet, says a report today with prominent bi-partisan support.

Credit

Glencore announces surprise debt debut

Sally Rose and Jonathan Shapiro The Australian arm of multinational mining giant Glencore surprised investors on Thursday by announcing a debut deal to tap the local debt capital market for about half a billion dollars.

Mining

Roy Hill chief unworried by iron ore price but coy on break-even

The countryside near Roy Hill in the Pilbara.

Tess Ingram Roy Hill Holdings chief executive Barry Fitzgerald says the falling iron ore price isn't of concern to Gina Rinehart's $10 billion venture, but he has refused to reveal the break-even cost of the project.

Listings

BHP moves to ease UK backlash over spin-off

Arguing his case: BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie plans to win over UK investors over the company's controversial plan not to list NewCo in London.

James Chessell BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie is preparing a visit to the United Kingdom seeking to win over investors frustrated that the resources giant's $15 billion demerged company will not be listed in London.

Energy

NSW staring at severe gas shortage, warns Ian Macfarlane

NSW could face acute gas shortages within a few years.

BRIAN ROBINS NSW will face huge gas shortages within a few years and sharp increases in wholesale prices because of the lack of progress in accessing reserves, federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has warned.

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