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Mining & Resources

Shifting ground water levels add to AGL's CSG doubts

PETER HANNAM 12:15am 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 12:15am 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

mining, western australia

PETER KER 6:00pm The aluminium maker is enjoying a 17 per cent fall in the Australian dollar

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 5:34pm 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 8:12am 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.

Resources

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.

Resources

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.

Resources

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.

Resources

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.

Resources

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.

Resources

Sirius shares soar on another discovery

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

PETER KER The nickel aspirant has struck gold in Western Australia.

Mining

Rio Tinto ramps up sales ahead of dividend day

Rio Tinto

PETER KER Rio Tinto production results show the miner exceeded expectations for iron ore production and sales.

AGL unable to monitor CSG fracking chemical in Gloucester project

Flowback: Opponents of AGL's CSG plans say environmental controls are not being enforced.

PETER HANNAM The Baird government has been accused by Labor of trashing environmental safeguards by granting AGL permission to frack coal seam gas wells before monitoring had been approved.

ExxonMobil, Oil Search and Santos inch closer to PNG LNG expansion

ExxonMobil's new LNG tanker Papua, custom-built for its PNG LNG venture.

A third processing unit at PNG LNG could be approved in 2017.

Resources

Expansion at PNG LNG a step closer

ExxonMobil's new LNG tanker Papua, custom-built for its PNG LNG venture.

PETER KER A development decision on a third train at PNG LNG should happen before December 2017.

Mining

Rio Tinto to reveal sales are up, but chief Sam Walsh expects a 'tough' year

Rio chief Sam Walsh sent an email to staff last week urging them not to be “distracted” during what was set to be a “tough” 2015.

Amanda Saunders Rio Tinto is tipped to reveal it has sold more stockpiled iron ore than expected on Tuesday, to bolster its balance sheet ahead of a highly anticipated round of cash returns next month.

Coal companies lock up large regions of NSW

Prize land: Mining at Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley.

PETER HANNAM Almost a quarter of freehold land in the Muswellbrook Local Government Area and large chunks of other parts of northern NSW are now owned or occupied by coal companies, a survey of land records by Lock the Gate shows.

Oil rout to prompt changes in BHP's US arm

BHP logo

PETER KER BHP's shale contractor in the US has started preparing for spending cuts.

Adani's Galilee coal mine faces fresh legal challenge

Reef risks should have been considered in new coal mine approval, green group says.

A central Queensland green group has initiated a legal challenge to the largest coal mine in Queensland.

Resources

Woodside cutting investment despite record sales as oil slump bites

The collapse in oil prices is also contributing to as much as $US400 million in write-downs that Woodside flagged for its assets for the full-year.

Amanda Saunders Woodside Petroleum has advised it is set to cut capital investment this year after the plunge in crude oil prices, despite reporting record sales for the full year.

Mining

Safety concerns hit Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill iron ore mine

Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill mine has been served two prohibition notices in response to a number of serious incidents reported in the past year involving cranes and elevated working platforms.

Julie-Anne Sprague and Tess Ingram Western Australia’s Department of Mines and Petroleum is investigating serious safety concerns at Gina Rinehart’s $10 billion Roy Hill iron ore mine.

China orders more regions to cut coal consumption to curb pollution

Air pollution is a major issue in many Chinese cities.

China's state planning agency has ordered the city of Shanghai and the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Guangdong to draw up plans to reduce coal consumption in a bid to improve air quality, according to a policy document released on Wednesday.

US to curb methane emissions from oil, gas production

Barack Obama has moved on emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

President Barack Obama's administration unveiled rules on Wednesday to slash US methane emissions from oil and gas production by as much as 45 per cent from 2012 levels by 2025, in its latest move to solidify the Democratic president's credentials on climate change.

Commodities

Copper joins commodity price plunge, World Bank tips lower global growth

Copper ended 2014 near five-year lows.

Vesna Poljak, Greg Earl and Peter Ker The price of copper plunged to a more than five-year low on Wednesday, as the metal joins iron ore and oil as victims of the commodity price crash, drawn out by a fresh blow to global growth.

Resources

Rio Tinto goes head to head with receivers over Forge bonds

KordaMentha partner Scott Langdon says Forge is claiming $50 million in works completed over the five contracts, plus the return of $100 million of bonds.

Amanda Saunders Rio Tinto is facing a fight with receivers of collapsed mining services firm Forge Group to keep $100 million in bank bonds the mining giant called down on terminating a string of contracts days after the company fell over.

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