Mining & Resources


Nightmare start for commodities, further pain ahead

Australia's iron ore industry faces another commodity price crunch.

Vesna Poljak 5:30 PM   The resources sector has experienced a torrid start to the 2016 financial year and it looks like the relief rally in iron ore was a false one.

BHP completes South32 sale

BHP Billiton has been gradually selling down a 1 per cent stake in South32.

Peter Ker 5:30 PM   There is one less seller in the market for South32 after BHP Billiton completed a sell-down of unwanted shares in the new company.

'Disappointing' nickel to rise 20%: Goldman

Prices of the metal used to make stainless steel will gain about 20 per cent over the next six months to $US14,000 a metric ton as the market heads toward a deficit next year, Goldman predicts.

Bloomberg News 4:04 PM   Goldman Sachs sees nickel rising by the end of the year. Just not as high as the bank originally thought.

BP cuts more Australian jobs

BP's recent strategy change for its downstream assets in Australia and New Zealand has prompted the cuts.

Peter Ker 3:37 PM   Barely 16 months after it "disestablished" 300 Australian jobs, oil and gas giant BP is cutting its Australian staff again.

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Minnows hit back against BHP, Rio

In the calls, WA residents have been asked whether BHP and Rio have too much influence over the State Government and the Commonwealth Government, and whether they pay enough money in royalties and tax.

Amanda Saunders 1:22 PM   Australia's struggling iron ore juniors are hitting back over the brave new normal in prices that threatens to crush their businesses by running push polling in the heartland of Western Australia against BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

Rinehart versus Rio Tinto set for round three

Gina Rinehart ... The High Court is expected to hear appeals by her and Angela Bennett against Rio Tinto and Sinosteel in Perth during August.

Peter Ker 12:00 PM   Gina Rinehart's legal brawl with Rio Tinto over royalties is set for a third bout in the High Court next month.

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Gold's lustre lost as it languishes near three-month low

Gold sank for four straight quarters through June 30, the longest stretch since 1997.

Luzi Ann Javier 9:04 AM   ​Gold's fallen so far out of favour that even as Greece lurches closer to a possible exit from the euro, investors are shunning the metal known for being a haven.

Iron ore bear market roars back with 5% plunge

A rebound in Chinese port stockpiles hurt the outlook for prices as the biggest miners increase production and demand slows.

Jasmine Ng 5:06 AM   Iron ore has shed another 5.4% after a rebound in Chinese port stockpiles hurt the outlook for prices amid rising production and slowing demand.

AGL takes $603m hit on gas business

The stalled expansion of the Camden coal seam gas project south of Sydney has been formally cancelled, but the Gloucester project will continue.

Angela Macdonald-Smith 8:06 PM   AGL Energy will continue to pursue the controversial Gloucester coal seam gas project in New South Wales, after a review of its gas business that has triggered more than $600 million in writedowns.

Predators and prey in mining M&A

Oz Minerals CEO Andrew Cole says the company is doing due diligence on four potential acquisitions.

Tess Ingram 6:52 PM   OZ Minerals is being touted by Citi as the Australian miner most likely to make a counter-cyclical acquisition, with South32 and Iluka Resources both possessing the capability of becoming predator or prey.

Planning rule change gives hope to Bulga, other communities facing big mines -

Alan Jones joins protesters against the Rio Tinto mine.

Peter Hannam and Sean Nicholls 12:00 AM   The Baird government will restore a balance between economic and environmental considerations for major mining projects in a move that has cheered communities such as Bulga in the Hunter but sparked alarm within the industry.

Ex-DPMC secretary calls for lobbying law overhaul

john menadue afr magazine 020812 photo jessica hromas
john menadue

Lisa Cox 12:15 AM   Labor and Liberal Party figures hired to make the case for Australia's largest coal project show why Australia's lobbying laws need an overhaul, says a former secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Iron ore price slump drives down Rio, Fortescue shares

Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest owns a third of the Pilbara miner and his paper wealth has taken a battering since iron ore prices started to fall off a cliff in 2014.

Amanda Saunders 5:38 PM   Fortescue Metals Group shares sank to their lowest level in six years on Monday, while rival Rio Tinto fell to a two-year low, after iron ore prices retreated to $US54 ($71.87) a tonne.

Independence expected to make more acquisitions

Independence Group chief executive Peter Bradford has indicated the company will look at increasing its exposure to gold.

Tess Ingram   Independence Group is yet to complete its acquisition of Sirius Resources but the company remains under the eye of analysts, who expect the Perth-based miner to re-enter the deal-making fray.

China Moly plumps for $US2 billion acquisition

CMOC has targeted copper in recent years.

Peter Ker   Acquisitive miner China Molybdenum Company may be about to emerge as a rival for BHP Billiton in the race for Barrick's Zaldivar mine, after declaring its intention to complete a $US2.15 billion acquisition

Iron ore price slump puts heat back on juniors

The Fortescue Solomon iron ore mine in Western Australia's Pilbara region.  Analysts expect iron ore to sell for $US52.16 a tonne in 2015.

Tess Ingram   Australia's iron ore junior producers have worked hard to cut costs in the face of the plummeting price, but will it be enough?

Flinders Mines shareholders voice concerns over Todd option agreement

Flinders Mines shareholders want certainty, says FMS United.

Tess Ingram   A group of Flinders Mines shareholders is rallying against the option New Zealand's Todd Corporation wants to purchase over the company's flagship iron ore project, ahead of an expected vote on the option agreement in August.

Adani hires political operatives to make its case

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani.

Lisa Cox   The Indian mining company behind Australia's largest new coal development has hired influential figures from both sides of politics to convince governments of the benefits of its mine in Queensland.

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Employers scanning their workers' minds

The growing use of SmartCap comes as 'wearable technology' becomes increasingly popular in the retail space, with items like Fitbit allowing users to measure their heart rate, movement and sleep quality.

Peter Ker   Data from caps worn by workers is used to alert them when they are likely to fall asleep.

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Anglo American facing China coal rejection

China's new testing regime for imported coal has already forced one shipment to be sent back to Australia.

Philip Wen   Anglo American's coal mines in the Hunter Valley produced the coal that was turned back from Chinese ports earlier this year, say Chinese sources.

Coal waste clean-up of river to take 'many weeks', EPA says

Polluted gully downstream of the Clarence colliery.

Peter Hannam   The collapse of a wall of coal waste at the Clarence Colliery into part of the Wollangambe River is expected to take "many weeks" to clean up, the NSW Environment Protection Agency said.

Fortescue headed towards marginal producer status

Analysts say Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals is at risk of becoming 'the most significant size marginal player'.

Amanda Saunders   Fortescue Metals Group could become the marginal producer among the big miners after Brazil's Vale brings its new mega expansion online next year.

Iron ore plunges 6% as Aussie exports surge

The surge in cargoes from Australia and from Brazil, which reported that June's shipments were the highest this year, may hurt prices that rallied in the second quarter.

Iron ore exports from Port Hedland have climbed to an all-time high, helping to drive down the price of iron ore.

Probe into coal mine over waste spill into Wollangambe River

The Wollangambe River in the Blue Mountians.

Peter Hannam   A spill of coal waste and water has affected the Wollangambe River.

Rio boss says women need more confidence

"You do need to recognise that gentlemen do stretch the facts a little bit."

Belinda Tasker   Women just aren't confident enough in the workplace when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder, the mining chief says.

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US giant raises bid for Four Mile uranium mine

US nuclear giant General Atomics has lifted a buyout bid for the rest of the Four Mile uranium mine to $71.3 million.

Simon Evans   United States nuclear giant General Atomics has lifted a buyout bid for the 25 per cent of the Four Mile uranium mine in northern South Australia that it doesn't already own. It has resulted in shares in Alliance Resources rocketing by almost 50 per cent after the $71 million offer was lobbed.

Rio Tinto chief hits out at critics

"There also seems to be a view that you can talk markets into submission or bend reality to suit your will.": Rio Tinto boss Sam Walsh.

Jesse Riseborough   The chief executive officer of Rio Tinto Group rejected criticism of the biggest mining companies for the oversupply that's put iron ore producers from Australia to Sierra Leone out of business.

China rejects Australian coal over quality

Australia's coal sector is concerned that China's quality testing is being misused to favour its own struggling coal industry.

Amanda Saunders   China has been rejecting Australian coal cargos that don't pass new import quality restrictions, and the local industry is concerned that the testing is being misused to favour China's struggling coal industry.

Queensland Labor backs Adani coal project

Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt says doubts raised over Adani's mega-mine relate to the previous administration.

Lisa Cox   The department led by Queensland's former deputy premier Jeff Seeney pushed a proposal to help fund Australia's largest coal project, freezing the departments of the Premier and Treasurer out of the process.

Sundance Resources offloads infrastructure piece of $US4.6bn project

The Cameroon government will seek to finance and build the infrastructure for Sundance Resources' flagship iron ore project.

Tess Ingram   The multi-billion rail and port component of Sundance Resources' $US4.6 billion Mbalam-Nabeba iron ore project has been offloaded to the Cameroon government, leaving the company to focus on swiftly securing about $US1 billion to bankroll the iron ore development.