Tag Archives: Miner

Mineral sands miner Iluka to slash jobs

Updated February 21, 2013 13:44:03

The mineral sands miner Iluka Resources says its full-year profit has fallen by a third and it is planning on cutting up to 200 jobs.

The company made $363.2 million after tax last year.

That is down 33 per cent on its 2011 profit.

In an effort to reduce its production costs, the company says as many as 200 positions within its Australian operations will be made redundant.

Iluka’s managing director David Robb says staff were aware that job cuts were on the cards when prices for its products dropped last year.

He says job losses will mainly be felt by contractors and he is confident of getting the workers back when prices improve.

The company announced in January, that its mineral sands mine near Eneabba in the state’s mid west, will remain idle until economic conditions improve.

Iluka is the largest zircon producer in the world and the second biggest producer of the high grade titanium dioxide minerals.

The majority of the company’s production operations are within Australia, including WA, Victoria and South Australia.

It also has mining and processing operations in Virginia in the United States.

Topics: mineral-sands, company-news, wa

First posted February 21, 2013 12:07:38

Miner Rio Tinto reports annual loss

A train loaded with iron ore travels towards the Rio Tinto Parker Point iron ore in western Australia Record iron ore production did not prevent Rio Tinto making a big loss in 2012 Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has reported a big full-year loss after writing down the value of its coal and aluminium businesses.

The company made a $3bn (£1.93bn; 2.24bn euros) net loss for the year to 31 December 2012, compared with a $5.83bn profit the year before.

In January, Tom Albanese resigned as chief executive after the company had to take a $14.4bn hit on the value of poorly-performing acquisitions in 2012.

He has been replaced by Sam Walsh.

In a statement, Mr Walsh said the company would have “an unrelenting focus on pursuing greater value for shareholders” under his leadership, and would aim to make cumulative cash cost savings of $5bn by 2014.

“Looking ahead, we see the positive momentum in the fourth quarter of last year being sustained into 2013 with Chinese GDP growth returning to above 8% in 2013″, he said.

“We expect market uncertainty and price volatility to persist as long as the structural issues in Europe and the United States remain unresolved.”

Record iron ore production and shipments contributed to underlying earnings of $9.3bn, enabling the company to increase its full-year dividend by 15% to 167 cents a share.

Andrew Harding has replaced Sam Walsh as iron ore chief executive, while Jean-Sebastien Jacques is taking over as chief executive of the copper division.

Miner ‘up-beat’ about coal find near Bundaberg

A mining venture says it is ramping up its exploration, after high-quality coking coal was discovered near Bundaberg in southern Queensland.

International Coal, which is backed by Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Coal, has found the deposits about 50 kilometres from the city.

It is carrying out further exploration work to discover how much coal is in the ground.

International Coal CEO Glenn Simpson says more work needs to be done, but the signs are positive.

“It’s going to take two to three months for the results to come back, so as soon as things are done we will make an announcement to the market,” he said.

“We are very happy with the seam thicknesses that we have got, particularly in Bundaberg with those coal quality results and the company looks forward to a good continuing relationship with the community.”

He says it is yet to find out how much coal is in the region.

“We are very up-beat about the result, it is a positive story, that hard coking coal result is as good as it gets,” he said.

“We have got a lot more results to come back yet but this result is a very pleasing one for us.

“It’s about 50 kilometres from Bundaberg, look we are in early stages of exploration so there is a fair way to go yet before we actually get to planning a whole industry around it but it is positive news for Bundaberg for sure.”

Topics: coal, mining-industry, mining-rural, bundaberg-4670, gladstone-4680, rockhampton-4700

First posted February 08, 2013 11:11:11

Miner can pump contaminated water into river

Mining company Vista Gold has been given the go-ahead to discharge water contaminated with toxic metals into the Edith River in the Northern Territory.

The company wants to reopen the Mount Todd mine, about 50 kilometres north of Katherine, but must first empty three retention ponds filled with water containing cadmium and copper.

It needs to empty the ponds in order to begin operations.

Under the discharge licence, Vista Gold will only be allowed to release water when the Edith River is flowing at a sufficient rate.

Territory Mining Minister Willem Westra Van Holthe says this will ensure the contaminated water is safely diluted.

“‘I am satisfied that the work that is being done by Vista Gold, by the Environment Department, the EPA, and Mines and Energy, means that there will be little or no impact whatsoever on the Edith River,” he said.

Mr Van Holthe says water in the river will continue to meet drinking water guidelines and the discharge will help reduce the risk of uncontrolled events.

“Either we leave water in situ and allow big rainfall events to cause uncontrolled discharges, which would cause enormous environmental harm, or we take charge of the matter and allow water to be put into the Edith River system in a controlled fashion that prevents environmental damage,” he said.

Topics: mining-industry, mining-environmental-issues, katherine-0850, darwin-0800

First posted February 06, 2013 16:01:28

Midwest mineral sands miner cuts 65 workers

Mid West mineral sands miner Iluka Resources has announced 65 workers at its Eneabba mine will be made redundant.

The company says there has been a significant slump in demand, with sales down more than 50 per cent compared to the previous financial year.

The job cuts will take effect in March when the company puts the project in “idle mode” due to a significant decrease in demand for their product.

Iluka’s Robert Porter says economic conditions have been difficult and it is not yet clear if the operation will reopen.

“It’s not a formal closure as such as it is an idling,” he said. “In effect this operation has been idled in the past and recommenced.

“Obviously determination as to whether Eneabba recommences and when that may be, will be some time into the future I imagine.”

Mr Porter says a host of factors led to the decision.

“We’re seeing the adverse effects on demand in terms of global economic conditions, lack of confidence or fragile confidence by our customers and customers down stream of us or downstream of our customers have had inventory they’ve had to sell before they would reorder.”

Topics: mineral-sands, eneabba-6518, perth-6000

S Africa miner to cut 14,000 jobs

Striking platinum miners march near the Anglo-American Platinum mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, 5 October 2012 South African mining was hit by wave of wildcat strikes last year Anglo American Platinum has said it will cease production at four mine shafts in the Rustenburg region of South Africa, which could lead to the loss of almost 14,000 jobs.

The world’s biggest platinum producer said lower demand for the precious metal and higher costs meant the shafts were unprofitable.

Amplats said it proposed to create 14,000 jobs to balance the cuts.

Last October, the company fired 12,000 workers after a strike over wages.

It said at the time that weeks of illegal strikes had cost it 700m rand ($80m; £50m) in revenue. The workers were reinstated three weeks later following negotiations with unions.

A number of South Africa’s miners were hit by a wave of wildcat strikes in which miners and officials were killed.

Lower profits

On Tuesday, Amplats said it had reviewed its entire business in response to a “number of structural changes” in the industry.

“The platinum business has attractive underlying fundamentals, but we are facing tough decisions to restore profitability to our operations,” said chief executive Chris Griffith.

“We must evolve to align the business with our expectations of the platinum market’s long-term dynamics and address the structural changes that have eroded profitability over time.”

The company said the restructuring would save 3.8bn rand by 2015. This could affect 14,000 jobs, it said, 13,000 of which would be in the Rustenburg area.

Any employees or communities affected by the changes would be provided with “a comprehensive package of support”.

Mr Griffith said the restructuring would help create a “sustainable, competitive and profitable business” that would be in a better position to “continue substantial investment [and] provide more secure and stable employment”.

WA miner slashes jobs citing commodity price fall

Posted November 22, 2012 17:31:00

A miner in Western Australia’s Mid West has slashed part of its work force, citing the current economic climate as one of the factors for the cuts.

At least 80 workers have been made redundant at MMG’s Golden Grove mine, about 450 kilometres north-east of Perth.

MMG’s Ted Woodruff says the company is undergoing a business restructure and as the site’s new open pit mine is now completed, the full workforce at Golden Grove is no longer required.

“Redundancies are only one part of it, the restructure is designed to improve the operation costs of Golden Grove and obviously, while it’s not the main reason, there are ongoing cost pressures and the decline of commodity prices has certainly had some influence,” he said.

MMG mines zinc, copper and precious metals.

Topics: mining-industry, geraldton-6530

Miner set to pump waste water into river system

Updated November 15, 2012 13:55:22

The owners of a gold mine in the Top End say they expect to begin releasing treated waste water into a river system in the new year.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Territory’s Environment Protection Authority says miner Vista Gold will soon be issued with a new Waste Discharge Licence.

The tainted water was treated by adding about 1,000 tonnes of limestone to one of the Mount Todd mine pits.

Vista Gold chief executive Fred Ernest says the process will remove almost all of the aluminium, copper and iron in the water.

There may still be traces of manganese and cadmium in the discharged water, which will be diluted.

The licence will allow the company to release 11 gigalitres of treated waste water into the Edith River during the wet season.

Mr Ernest says treatment of the water began three weeks ago and it could be released early next year.

“The results are very encouraging,” he said.

“We have seen an increase in the pH in the … top 40 metres of the pit.

“Things are progressing a little bit faster than what we had expected.”

The plan is part of a $6 million project to re-open the mine, about 200 kilometres south of Darwin, which closed 15 years ago.

The mine is predicted to hold about four million ounces of gold.

Topics: mining-environmental-issues, mining-industry, gold, katherine-0850, darwin-0800

First posted November 15, 2012 13:43:20

NT miner slugged as China takeover bid tanks

Posted October 30, 2012 16:13:19

Shares in a minerals exploration company with a major project in the Northern Territory have taken a dive after the collapse of a takeover bid.

Western Desert Resources (WDR) has a portfolio of projects in the Territory, including its planned flagship Roper Bar iron ore operation.

Last month, the WDR board supported a conditional takeover offer, subject to due diligence, made by Chinese company Meijin Energy Group.

Meijin has not given a reason for not going ahead with the proposed acquisition, which was worth $435 million, or $1.08 a share.

The take-over offer had been hailed as a return of appetite for Australian miners, amid falling commodity and share prices.

The move surprised the minerals explorer, which released a statement describing it as “unfortunate”.

WDR says it remains committed to the development of the Roper Bar iron ore project.

It says it expects mining to commence by May next year.

Shares in Western Desert Resources slumped almost 25 per cent, to 66c, after the Meijin announcement.

Topics: mining-industry, takeovers, nhulunbuy-0880, darwin-0800

Miner in court over sacred site desecration claims

Posted November 08, 2012 16:39:59

A mining company has faced the Darwin Magistrates Court over the alleged desecration of an Aboriginal sacred site in the Northern Territory.

The Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority has made eight charges against manganese miner OM Mining, alleging three counts of desecration and five counts of damage and causing distress at a sacred site.

The charges relate to operations of the miner at the Bootu Creek manganese mine, 170 kilometres north of Tennant Creek, in the period from March to October last year.

It is alleged that mining around, and adjacent to, the sacred site, known to Aboriginal custodians as “Two Women Sitting Down” led to considerable damage to the site.

Being found guilty of desecration of an Aboriginal sacred site incurs a penalty of $274,000 per instance.

The parties will return to court for a three-week hearing in March.

Topics: indigenous-culture, mining-industry, tennant-creek-0860, darwin-0800

Miner says Alpha coal delay claims exaggerated

Updated October 31, 2012 10:06:28

The backers of a major coal project in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland have denied reports mining has been delayed by a year for financial reasons.

The GVK-Hancock Alpha coal project aims to export 32 million tonnes annually through an integrated mine, rail and port operation starting in 2016.

Paul Mulder from GVK Resources says financial backing is due to be locked in by late 2013 but the exact month has always been flexible.

“A couple of months ago we were forecasting March to June 2013 and now we’re forecasting September 2013,” he said.

GVK Resources says it has very good relations with affected landholders

Mr Mulder says it is working well with locals.

“The media that’s come out of the local area has been very good because we have very good relationships,” he said.

“They’ve been working with us, they understand the vagaries of sometimes mega project development, that … things come up that you need to address.

“The important thing is having that close relationship with them.”

Topics: company-news, mining-industry, mining-rural, community-development, regional, regional-development, federal—state-issues, alpha-4724, mackay-4740, rockhampton-4700

First posted October 31, 2012 10:05:10

Cancelled BHP plans a win for Qld copper miner

Posted October 31, 2012 10:36:54

A company exploring for copper in central Queensland says it has received a boost from BHP Billiton’s decision to cancel expansion plans in South Australia.

Diatreme Resources has received $8 million from Chilean company Antofagasta Minerals to explore a corridor just south of Clermont, north-west of Rockhampton.

Chairman Tony Fawdon says investment confidence has increased because BHP’s Olympic Dam expansion would have made copper prices fall.

“It would have [had] a big effect on copper,” he said.

“Since that’s happened it means that the copper supply is still in demand and will be for many, many years to come, so in that sense copper seems to be a good mineral to be in.”

Mr Fawdon says supply and demand factors in the copper industry are in its favour.

“There’s still going to be a shortage of copper overall and it’s still being used in vast amounts in Asia and later in parts of Africa and South America, so in terms of supply it’s still slightly constrained,” he said.

Topics: copper, mining-industry, mining-rural, clermont-4721, mackay-4740, rockhampton-4700

Bauxite miner on track to reach exploration targets

Posted October 22, 2012 09:38:43

Mining company Cape Alumina says it has now discovered an estimated 200 million tonnes of bauxite during exploration on far north Queensland’s Cape York.

The company is working on several projects on the western Cape and holds exploration permits in the region covering 1,900 square kilometres.

Cape Alumina spokesman Neville Conway says the results to date are promising.

“We’ve got an exploration target of 400 million tonnes and we’re halfway there,” he said.

“We’re hopeful that the other tenements will reach the resources to get us to that 400 million tonne target but we’ll just have to wait and see.

“It’s a funny game, exploration – sometimes exploration pays dividends and sometimes they don’t, but we’re confident of getting to the 400 million tonnes.

“We’re halfway there and we’ll keep going.”

Topics: bauxite, community-development, regional, regional-development, weipa-4874, cairns-4870

Miner wants to barge ore up river

Posted October 22, 2012 18:00:00

A Northern Territory river popular with recreational fishers could be used to transport minerals to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Sherwin Iron has staked out thousands of square kilometres in the Roper region, about 500 kilometres south-east of Darwin.

It says it has identified enough iron ore to be able to export up to 6 million tonnes of high-grade mineral every year, until at least 2025.

The company is in negotiations to transport iron ore to the Territory’s rail line and then to the Darwin Port.

But Sherwin Iron has also completed a scoping study on exporting the mineral through the Gulf of Carpentaria, where it would barge the mineral 130 kilometres along the Roper River to an offshore point.

In its latest annual report, the company identifies exporting through the Gulf as its preferred option.

The Northern Territory Mines and Energy Minister says he is aware of the plan to barge iron ore along the Roper River.

Willem Westra van Holthesays the company will need to avoid wrecks and obstacles in the river.

“All the issues that have been raised about impediments in the Roper River and wrecks and things like that, rock bars that have to be passed, will be a part of an environmental impact statement,” he said.

“So if Sherwin Iron do decide that they would like to proceed down that path that will naturally have to form a part of all the approval process that we will be looking at very, very carefully.”

Topics: mining-industry, darwin-0800

Corruption claims dog miner investing in Australia

Updated October 18, 2012 06:32:35

An Indian mining and infrastructure giant investing billions in Australia is fighting allegations of corruption at home.

While last week’s conditional sale of Cubbie Station sparked heated debate over Chinese investment in Australia’s natural resources, there has been much less scrutiny of the investment dollars pouring in from India.

Adani Enterprises has invested billions in coal deposits in Australia and is also a principal sponsor in OzFest, a cultural festival opened this week by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in New Delhi.

Adani is one of India’s largest and fastest growing mining and infrastructure conglomerates; its rise has been spectacular and controversial.

One of Adani’s most profitable assets is the Mundra Port and special economic zone in north-western India.

The port project has been plagued by legal challenges, and earlier this year India’s high court halted construction at a number of sites, finding Adani had failed to obtain environmental clearances and development was illegal.

Investigators have also raised concerns about some of the company’s dealings with politicians and officials.

Anti-corruption campaigner, former supreme court justice Santosh Hegde last year, as his final act as Karnataka state ombudsman, released a report into the theft of iron ore by numerous companies which cost the state $3 billion in royalties.

Justice Hedge’s report found Adani Enterprises acted corruptly in the illicit transportation of iron ore in excess of the permitted quantity.

“Adani used to come and pick up iron ore from various ports and during one of the investigations by my team they found out that nearly five lakhs (500,000 metric tonnes) of iron ore was illegally transported and kept in the port there,” he said.

“When we looked into it – certain emails sent from Adani’s local office – we found that certain payments were made at a given point in time by the office in Karva to certain officials and others.”

Justice Hegde’s report says officials of port departments, customs, police, mines, local politicians and others all received bribe money from Adani Enterprises.

The conglomerate’s founder, Gautam Adani, declined 7.30′s requests for an interview, but the company’s Australian chief executive, Harsh Mishra, says Adani Enterprises has always acted in accordance with the law.

“[Adani Enterprises] never had an opportunity, did not pay bribes, no rationale or reason to pay bribes,” he said.

“What is the commercial logic of such an order?”

Justice Hegde says it is more profitable to break the law than to follow the law.

“Those that follow the law find it very difficult to compete with those in the same trade,” he said.

Adani Enterprises plans to transplant the model it uses in India and build integrated mines, railways and ports in Queensland’s Galilee Basin to feed its Indian power stations.

If the projects gain environmental clearance, the scheme will become one of the world’s largest integrated coal supply systems.

Ms Gillard met Mr Adani as well as other business leaders during her New Delhi visit and says Australia has no issue working with Adani Enterprises.

“These are just allegations, we don’t deal in allegations,” she said.

The Government says investment on this scale will help double two-way trade to $40 billion over the next four years.

Topics: mining-industry, business-economics-and-finance, corruption, law-crime-and-justice, government-and-politics, qld, australia, india

First posted October 17, 2012 21:17:50

Another Qld coal miner to cut 400 jobs

Updated October 16, 2012 14:59:47

A central Queensland coal mining company has announced it will cut more than 40 per cent of its workforce to try and cope with declining market conditions.

Ensham Resources says the workforce at its open cut operations near Emerald, west of Rockhampton, will be cut from 900 to 500.

It says the vast majority of the cuts will be contract positions.

It is the third coal company to announce cuts this week.

Ensham Resources spokesman Peter Westerhuis says more jobs could go if market conditions do not improve.

“We’ve reduced production by 40 per cent from a little over five million tonnes to only three million tonnes this year,” he said.

“At this point in time our forecast for next year is to stay at the current level of three million tonnes, but as I said before, if conditions continue to deteriorate then we’ll have to have another review of those decisions.”

Mr Westerhuis says the vast majority of the job losses will be contract positions.

“Up until this point we’ve probably lost about 150 and between now and the end of the year it’s going to result in a further reduction of 250 people,” he said.

“We’re having to reduce our output and confine our operations to lowest cost mining areas.

“Sadly in addition to having to stand down and immobilise equipment, we’re having the knock-on effect of personnel reductions.”

Topics: coal, mining-industry, company-news, community-development, mining-rural, regional, regional-development, emerald-4720, rockhampton-4700

First posted October 16, 2012 13:48:52

Miner defends Indigenous training efforts

Posted October 09, 2012 09:35:42

Rio Tinto Alcan says it is exceeding its obligations to support local Aboriginal communities in Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula.

The company has celebrated 10 years of its Indigenous traineeship program.

The Wilderness Society has criticised the company’s mining operations, saying they are of little economic benefit to neighbouring Indigenous communities.

However, the company’s general manager of Weipa operations, Jo-Anne Scarini, says more than 100 of the trainees have transitioned into permanent positions or apprenticeships in the past decade.

“There’ll always be people who like to criticise,” she said.

“It certainly is a requirement of our Indigenous land use agreement … however, we well exceed the requirements in that agreement in terms of the participation rate and in terms of the investment that we make in training.”

Topics: indigenous-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander, company-news, community-development, regional, regional-development, vocational, adult-education, weipa-4874, cairns-4870

Miner revives Cape York bauxite project

Updated October 03, 2012 12:35:34

A mining company says it will restart work on a major bauxite mine and port project on Queensland’s western Cape York Peninsula.

The Pisolite Hills project involves mining part of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.

The Queensland Government is planning to repeal Wild Rivers restrictions on the Cape, which prompted the company two years ago to put the project on hold.

Cape Alumina says it will restart technical studies and negotiations with traditional owners after the new State Government declared the mine a “significant project”.

Cape Alumina managing director Graeme Sherlock says it will support more than 1,700 jobs and involve “best practice” environmental management.

“We’ve been committed by the Government that it’s going to be given a fair go,” he said.

“They’re going to look at getting the balance right – the balance between economic development and environmental protection.

“The main reason the project was put on hold previously was really due to an arbitrary decision made by the previous government that wasn’t based on science.”

Topics: bauxite, mining-rural, mining-industry, public-sector, company-news, weipa-4874, cairns-4870

First posted October 03, 2012 12:29:53

Miner seeks water extraction from Top End river

Updated October 08, 2012 16:24:09

The Northern Territory Environment Protection Agency has issued an assessment report on a mine that would extract more than a billion litres of water a year from a Top End River.

Mining company Australian Ilmenite Resources is hoping to mine ilmenite, a black titanium oxide used for pigments in paint, paper and plastic and also in the aeronautical industry.

It is proposing a strip mine on land between Mataranka and Ngukurr.

The company would need to extract about 1.5 billion litres of water a year through a 12 kilometre pipeline from the Roper River.

It would need to do this for the 20-year life of the mine so that it could process the mineral and then truck it to Darwin.

The EPA says a lack of information in the company’s public environment report has hindered comprehensive assessment of the risks of the mine.

But it says the project can proceed without unacceptable impacts as long as that information is provided.

Topics: mineral-sands, ngukurr-0852, mataranka-0852, darwin-0800

First posted October 08, 2012 13:18:24