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Mining & Resources


Fortescue still profitable despite iron ore slide

PETER KER 10:36am Fortescue Metals Group has beaten analyst expectations for iron ore exports and believes it will escape asset writedowns at its half year financial results next month.

AGL faces delays, additional conditions after BTEX chemicals detected

In a bind: AGL's Gloucester CSG operations face twin probes.

PETER HANNAM 5:41pm AGL's coal seam gas ambitions in the Gloucester area have been dealt a double blow with the launch of two government investigations into the detection of toxic BTEX chemicals in flowback water from two of the company's four wells.


Oil to deliver a big hit to BHP earnings, says UBS

Every $US1 drop in the price of oil costs BHP $US500 million.

Amanda Saunders 3:58pm Oil prices will cut BHP Billiton’s earnings by up to 14 per cent over the next three years, according to UBS.

Universities flunk climate readiness test

Sydney University scored a

PETER HANNAM 1:21pm Australian universities are failing the climate readiness test, with few institutions factoring global warming risks into their investment portfolios, according to a new survey.

NSW government suspends AGL's CSG operations in Gloucester

Gloucester Valley: AGL's CSG project has been suspended.

PETER HANNAM The Baird government has suspended AGL's operations at its pilot coal seam gas field in northern NSW pending the result of an investigation launched on Wednesday, Energy Minister Anthony Roberts said.


Lynas shareholders facing wipe-out on poor outlook

Lynas corp logo.

BRIAN ROBINS Shareholders in troubled rare earths producer Lynas Corp might be wiped out unless its weak cashflow improves, because it faces heavy loan repayments in the year ahead, UBS has warned.


Bradken takeover talks halted


Jenny Wiggins Mining services group Bradken has blamed volatility in the global commodity and financing markets for the collapse of takeover talks with private equity suitors.


Shake-up sends OZ Minerals from Melbourne to Adelaide

The relocation could see a major shake-up of staff at OZ, with chief financial officer Andrew Coles set to stand down from the company after 12 years of service.

PETER KER The South Australian Government will also look for ways to help bring infrastructure support to OZ's Carrapateena project.

AGL suspends CSG drilling near Gloucester after chemical find

AGL has halted its CSG operations in Gloucester.

PETER HANNAM The NSW Environment Protection Authority has criticised AGL for a lack of transparency and launched a "full investigation" after the energy giant disclosed it had detected banned BTEX chemicals in water samples taken at its pilot coal seam gas field in the state's mid-north.


Lynas shares slump on weak prices, poor cashflow

Lynas has closed much of its Australian administration, which has been shifted to Malaysia.

BRIAN ROBINS Shares in troubled rare earths miner Lynas Corp dived on Tuesday after the company warned the improvement in cashflow will not be sustained.


Lachlan fold close to yielding another mine


BRIAN ROBINS The Lachlan fold, which extends through much of southern NSW and into Victoria and which hosts much of the minerals resources of the two states, is close to yielding another mine, this time at the site of the former Woodlawn base-metals mine near Canberra.

University of Melbourne study says plummeting gas demand casts doubt on coal seam gas plans

The government has cited the potential gas shortage as reason to fast-track CSG construction in the Narrabri area, NSW.

NICOLE HASHAM Warmer winters and rising gas prices will halve demand for gas in NSW homes and businesses over the next decade, potentially debunking industry claims that coal seam gas fields must urgently be tapped.


Fortescue shares dive by 10 per cent as iron ore price plunges to five-year low

The value of Fortescue Metals chairman Andrew Forrest's stake has shrunk by $3.3 billion in the last 12 months.

James Thomson Shares in iron ore miner Fortescue Metals plunged 10 per cent on Tuesday morning, pushing the stock to its lowest point since early 2009.


AllianceBernstein’s Vadim Zlotnikov predicts steady oil price rebound

The price of Brent oil, which is regarded as the most widely used international benchmark for crude contracts, has more than halved since July.

Bianca Hartge-Hazelman Just as fresh supply concerns continue to keep global oil prices lower, one investment strategist is going where few are prepared to.

Shifting ground water levels add to AGL's CSG doubts

Coal seam gas operations near Gloucester in November.

PETER HANNAM AGL has attributed large fluctuations of groundwater levels at its coal seam gas monitoring bores near Gloucester to the effects of sampling but water experts say more information is needed before interference with the water table can be ruled out.


Oil and gas industry 'needs $US170 billion cut in costs'

Large-scale corporate M&A deals are more likely than at any point since the late 1990s.

Angela Macdonald-Smith The global oil and gas industry needs to cut costs by at least $US170 billion to avoid an increase in net debt, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie.


Alcoa of Australia refuses to be tempted by bauxite boom

The ALCOA plant

PETER KER Rising demand for Australian bauxite has not tempted Alcoa of Australia to join the export rush.


Tumbling oil prices could mean $30b hit for Australia's LNG exports

Tumbling oil prices could temper the bonanza expected from LNG exports.

Angela Macdonald-Smith The dive in oil prices could wipe more than $30 billion from Australia’s export bounty from liquefied natural gas in 2017-18, gouging a huge hole in revenue compared to the projections of just a year ago, according to Westpac economists.

Energy-hungry India doubles down on coal

India's coal demand shows no sign of retreating.

Annie Gowen In the hilly Singrauli region of northern India, animals feed on ash-covered grass, smoke stings the eyes and burns the throat, and the reservoir is foul with toxins such as mercury and arsenic. Even the breakfast eggs are grey.

Mining jobs lost as Australian iron ore mines close

iron ore

PETER KER High-cost mines are starting to close as the iron ore price slump persists.


Santos shares jump on record sales report, but writedowns loom

Santos shares, which have lost over 40 per cent of their value since early September, jumped as much as 5.8 per cent to $7.85 in early trading on Friday, their highest for almost three weeks.

Angela Macdonald-Smith A warning of writedowns has cast a shadow over a bumper quarterly report for Santos, reminding investors of the pain to come as a result of the dramatic dive in global oil prices.


Jobs lost as iron ore miners stumble

Caterpillar Inc. 793F autonomous haul trucks transport iron ore from the Kings mine site at Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s Solomon mining hub in the Pilbara region, Western Australia, on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. Fortescue, Australia's biggest issuer of junk-rated mining bonds, is targeting investment-grade status as strength in iron ore prices lets the company cut its debt burden

PETER KER The muck is starting to hit the fan in Australia’s iron ore industry, where companies reported more than $3billion in asset writedowns this week, along with the probable loss of more than 500 jobs.

EPA clears AGL and Transpacific over Hunter wastewater shipments

Controversial: A CSG pilot well near Gloucester.

PETER HANNAM The NSW Environment Protection Authority has found AGL and its contractor Transpacific Industries were not in breach of pollution licence conditions despite ignoring demands it avoid discharging water from fracked coal seam gas wells into Hunter Water’s sewage network.


BHP Billiton will scale back its US shale oil and gas operations and report multimillion-dollar impairments

BHP Billiton's Atlantis South oil and gas project, in the Gulf of Mexico. Oilfield services company Schlumberger said it was expecting the oil and gas industry to reduce spending on exploration and production in 2015, and employee numbers would need to fall in lockstep.

PETER KER The Australian miner looks set to trim capital spending even further in the wake of sliding prices for oil, iron ore, coal and copper.


Santos looking for investor into Narrabri coal seam gas venture

While energy stocks have been hammered by the sharp dive in the oil price, their share prices suggest investors aren't expecting crude will stay this cheap forever.

Angela Macdonald-Smith Santos is negotiating with gas ­buyers, manufacturers and international companies as it seeks to sell about 30 per cent of its proposed $2 billion Narrabri coal seam gas venture in NSW.

Former environment employee blasts miners' dominance in NSW

A former OEH employee says miners have too much sway in the state's planning decisions.

PETER HANNAM Key departments in the Baird government have “been captured in a big coal and gas rush” that has run roughshod over environmental protection measures, according to a former state ecologist.

China cuts energy intensity almost 5 per cent in 2014

Pollution is regularly at harmful levels to health in big Chinese cities.

China beat a key energy efficiency target in 2014, cutting its energy intensity by 4.8 per cent from a year earlier, the State Council said on Tuesday, as it tries to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.


Oil slump forces BHP to cut shale; faces up to $US250m in impairments

Rig numbers in the US shale division would decline by as much as 40 per cent by the end of June.

PETER KER BHP Billiton has responded to the oil price slump by scaling back operations in its US shale division, and flagged the prospect that the petroleum division could wear impairments of up to $US250 million.

Citic facing billion-plus in impairments on Palmer project

Sino Iron's magnetite project has also been in trouble.

PETER KER Citic Limited warns that falling iron ore prices will force multibillion dollar impairments on its Australian assets.

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