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Mining & Resources

Lihir project remains a drag on Newcrest Mining

Newcrest said the revised plan was part of its desire to find growth through low-cost operations.

Amanda Saunders Australia’s biggest gold miner, Newcrest Mining, continues to be plagued by its troublesome Lihir project in Papua New Guinea, with analysts concerned there is little sign of a turnaround.

Mining

Up to 300 jobs to go at BHP's Olympic Dam mine

iron ore

Simon Evans Up to 300 jobs will go at BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam mine in northern South Australia, as the company slashes costs.

Energy

'Big oil' cuts $25 billion spending within hours to shield dividends

Focussing on dividends, the energy giants try to keep investors on board until the oil price rebounds.

Bradley Olson and Joe Carroll The first major oil companies to report earnings amid the worst oil crash since 2009 all pledged to protect shareholder payouts even as they announced more than $US20 billion ($25.7 billion) in spending cuts in a span of five hours.

Energy

Shell shelves Arrow LNG project in Queensland

Shell is slashing spending plans after the slump in oil prices.

Angela Macdonald-Smith Shell’s global chief executive Ben van Beurden has declared that the company’s proposed greenfield Arrow liquefied natural gas project in Queensland is “off the table” as the oil giant slashes capex in the wake of the oil price slump and gives priority instead to its North American LNG projects.

Mining

Whitehaven planning more cost cuts ahead of market uplift

Whitehaven posted a net loss of $77.9 million for the December half, as the decline in the Australian dollar failed to offset ongoing weak coal prices.

BRIAN ROBINS Whitehaven Coal has flagged further cost reductions as it struggles to return to break even amid the sustained downturn in the coal market.

Fortescue running at full speed, but can we bet on iron ore?

Elizabeth Knight Dinkus Dinkus

ELIZABETH KNIGHT Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals is running at full speed, chasing the falling iron ore price with cost reductions.

Giant Shenhua Watermark coal mine in the Liverpool Plains approved

Shenhua gets the nod for its Watermark coal mine.

PETER HANNAM The NSW government has been accused of “signing the death warrant for the Liverpool Plains” after the Planning Assessment Commission approved the $1.2 billion Shenhua Watermark open-cut coal mine for the region.

Mining

Orica promises to reward shareholders in tough times

Orica chairman Russell Caplan fuelled expectations Orica will reward shareholders with either a special dividend or share buybacks.

Tim Binstead Orica chairman Russell Caplan warns there is no short-term relief in sight for Orica’s struggling mining customers.

Resources

Fortescue protects its margins, but debt continues to rise

As good as done and dusted: BC Iron can now compulsorily buy the rest of Kerry Stokes' Iron Ore Holdings.

PETER KER The iron ore miner is rapidly cutting costs in a bid to remain profitable.

Oil

Goldman Sachs, Barclays predict oil's recovery to be a way off

Even with a recovery in the price of oil to $US65 a barrel there is still sustained pressure on higher-cost players.

MAX MASON Those hoping for a quick recovery in the price of oil might end up being disappointed, with Goldman Sachs and Barclays forecasting the slump to continue for much of 2015.

Resources

Fortescue still profitable despite iron ore slide

A remote-controlled mining truck loaded with iron ore at the Fortescue Solomon iron ore mine in the Sheila Valley in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

PETER KER 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.

PanAust beats guidance but hints at writedowns

PanAust is the latest miner to take the knife to its cost base.

PETER KER A 24 per cent slide in copper prices over the past year could result in more miners reporting asset writedowns next week.

AGL faces delays, additional conditions after BTEX chemicals detected

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

PETER HANNAM 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.

Earnings

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 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 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.

Shares

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.

Mining

Bradken takeover talks halted

mining

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.

Resources

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.

Mining

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.

Mining

Lachlan fold close to yielding another mine

Woodlawn

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.

Mining

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.

Oil

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.

Resources

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.

Mining

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.

Energy

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.

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