Mining & Resources


BHP's growing pains give Rio edge in a buyer's market

Junior iron ore miners are struggling.

Peter Ker 12:15 AM   In the battle of the big miners, analysts believe Rio Tinto's growth pipeline gives it an edge over BHP Billiton

Top miners wrestle with $202b of debt

"The debt pigeons are coming home to roost at many heavily indebted mining companies," analysts at Investec wrote in a note.

Jesse Riseborough and Thomas Biesheuvel   The mining industry's ability to cope with near record levels of debt is looking increasingly ugly to investors.

Icahn takes 8.5pc of Freeport-McMoRan

Icahn, 79, rebranded as an activist investor and outspoken shareholder advocate after gaining fame as a corporate raider in the 1980s.

Beth Jinks   Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed a new activist stake in Freeport-McMoRan, the largest publicly traded copper producer.

Coal price seen below $US50

"Demand is falling everywhere, yet production is still rising in a lot of places," said Thomas Pugh, an economist at Capital Economics.

Alessandro Vitelli   ​Coal may drop below $US50 a metric ton this year as a supply glut combines with a slide in emerging market currencies.

Base metals post best rally in two years

Zinc for delivery in three months climbed 3.6 per cent to settle at $US1752 a metric ton at 5.51pm on the London Metal Exchange.

Luzi Ann Javier   Investors who stayed bullish on industrial metals are finally being rewarded for their optimism.

Synergies ensure Glencore's coal appetite stays strong

Glencore chief Ivan Glasenberg's appetite for coal remains undimmed, despite poor prices for the bulk commodity Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Peter Ker   Glencore has paired with family owned coal miner Bloomfield Group to buy Vale's Integra mine.

Gold profits glisten in bright FY15

Northern's Star Bill Beament says return on equity is "the ultimate measure" of success.

Tess Ingram   Rivals in the local gold space Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining have booked twin underlying net profits for the full year of just over $100 million after seizing on structural changes in the sector to cut costs and pursue growth opportunities.

Think BHP's rating is safe? Think again

BHP's 52 per cent drop in underlying earnings underscores the challenges chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie faces as he trims capital spending and debt to try to reassure bond investors and ratings companies.

Benjamin Purvis and David Stringer   The plunge in commodity prices is putting BHP Billiton's credit rating at risk as its earnings have been halved.

Seven's Stokes eyeing "fourth pillar"

Ryan Stokes echoed similar sentiments expressed by Wesfarmers chief executive Richard Goyder​ last week, who said the downturn hurting its industrial and resources operations would also deliver potential acquisitions.

Tess Ingram   Seven Group boss Ryan Stokes says depressed market conditions will create buying opportunities that will allow him to add a "fourth pillar" to his burgeoning conglomerate.

Newcastle joins fossil fuel sale push

The home of coal will divest from the big banks if they keep funding fossil fuel projects.

Amanda Saunders   The city council vows to dump holdings in the big four banks if they keep funding fossil fuels projects.

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Hard times strike for contractor to big oil and top miners

WDS Limited went into a trading halt on Wednesday pending an announcement about a "contractual issue".

Peter Ker   A contractor to some of Australia's biggest energy and mining companies was in financial distress on Wednesday.

Iron ore price slide kills BC Iron dividend

BC Iron has scrapped dividend payments for 2015.

Tess Ingram   Pilbara iron ore producer BC Iron has scrapped dividend payments for the 2015 financial year after the volatile iron ore price pushed the miner to a net loss.

BHP's 'once in a lifetime' dividend

BHP Billiton chief Andrew Mackenzie has vowed to maintain the company's generous dividend despite weak commodity prices.

Peter Ker   BHP shares have soared 6 per cent higher in London as investors react to the miner's extraordinarily high dividend yield.

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BHP Billiton steps up drilling cost cuts at US shale business

Andrew Mackenzie, BHP CEO.

Angela Macdonald-Smith   BHP Billiton has further ramped up its cost-reduction targets for its petroleum shale business in the US as it relentlessly drives to improve productivity in a gloomy oil price market.

Once-proud mining city Ipswich goes cold on coal

Councillors in Ipswich, a city built on coalmining, say there's no future for mining in the area.

Melissa Grant   The birthplace of Queensland coalmining has declared it won't support new mine operations and expansions.

Newcastle, world's biggest coal port, moves to curb fossil fuel links

Newcastle's council voted to curb its links to banks that back the fossil fuel industry.

Peter Hannam   Newcastle, home to the world's biggest coal export port, has voted to curb its links to banks backing the fossil fuel industry in a move described by a dissenting councillor as taking the city "back to the Stone Age".

UN conference will bring consensus: BHP

"I think we can build a very profitable and successful company in a world that commits itself more strongly to limit the temperature rise to 2 degrees.": BHP chief Andrew Mackenzie.

Peter Ker   BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie says he expects some level of consensus to emerge when world leaders gather in Paris in November for the United Nations climate change conference.

Can You Read China? Mining bosses disagree

BER02:BERDSK,RUSSIA,16JUL00 - Parachuting instructor Sergei Prusov jumps from a helicopter as he teaches a group of cosmonauts above the Siberian city of Berdsk July 15.  Parachuting is a part of the cosmonaut training programme that prepares and accustoms participants for extreme situations.   waw/str REUTERS

Thomas Biesheuvel   Mining giants are "cosmonauts who completely forgot about gravity," says one senior analyst.

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BHP cuts forecast for China peak steel output by 15pc

Weaker domestic consumption prompted China steel mills to seek overseas buyers, sending exports 27 per cent higher to 62.13 million tons in the first seven months.

Jasmine Ng and Jesse Riseborough   ​Steel production in China will peak at less than 1 billion metric tons, according to a new forecast from BHP Billiton.

BHP Billiton posts worst profit in 11 years

BHP Billiton was pummelled by lower prices for commodities in the year to June.

Peter Ker   BHP Billiton has maintained its 'progressive' dividend policy, despite full year profits sliding to their lowest point in more than a decade.

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BHP keeps the faith with China

BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie and chairman Jac Nasser believe China will grow "a little" slower than before but is managing the transition of its economy well.

Peter Ker   BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie slaps down Glencore boss Ivan Glasenberg's China comments.

The commodity collapse in eight graphs

The iron ore price has been fairly stable since the start of August.

Peter Ker   Miners don't wear helmets just for safety while underground, they wear them for times like this.

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Controversial Hunter Valley coalmine extension clears approval hurdle

Threatened ground: Horses at the Coolmore Stud in the Hunter Valley.

Peter Hannam   Is this the "beginning of the end" for horse breeders in the Hunter Valley?

5 things to watch in BHP result

The $US6.5 billion question being asked ahead of BHP Billiton's full-year results on Tuesday afternoon is how the miner will protect its annual progressive dividend in the face of a painful commodity price rout.

Amanda Saunders   The $US6.5 billion question is how BHP Billiton will protect its annual progressive dividend in the face of a painful commodity price rout.

Fortescue defends payout as profit dives

Mining regions are experiencing higher rates of mortgage arrears, Fitch Ratings says.

Peter Ker   Fortescue defends decision to spend more than $60 million on dividends while it has $US7.2 billion of net debt.

South32 warns of tough times to come

South32 is planning for commodity prices to remain low for several years.

Peter Ker   South32 chief executive Graham Kerr has warned the mining sector to expect more tough times ahead, with commodity prices expected to remain low for several years.

Boart boss bites the dust

Richard O'Brien: "I leave with my head held high and I think everyone that has worked for me should feel the same way knowing there is more work to do."

Tess Ingram   Boart Longyear is on the hunt for a new chief executive after the departure of Richard O'Brien following a private equity-led recapitalisation of the mining services group.

Gold not the only safe haven

The Japanese yen is seen as the main competitor to gold.

Stephen Cauchi   Currencies such as the yen, the euro, the US dollar, government bonds and even the VIX volatility index are finding favour with investors

Twiggy gets $20m payday

Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest remains confident in the company he founded.

Peter Ker   Fortescue Metals Group has continued paying dividends despite slumping iron ore prices and a huge debt challenge, in a move that has made its chairman Andrew Forrest about $20 million richer.

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Big Santos CSG desalination plant gets nod without details

Santos' CSG field at Narrabri will have to dispose of a lot of waste water.

Peter Hannam   The Baird government has been accused of making a "reckless" decision to give conditional approval for a coal seam gas desalination plant one of its own agencies said could pose a "significant environment risk".