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Australasia News

Nautilus awards more contracts

By: Liezel Hill     3rd November 2008 Nautilus Minerals, the company that plans to mine the ocean bed for copper, gold, zinc and silver, has awarded three key contracts for mining equipment, the firm announced on Monday. Oil and gas suppliers based in Houston, Texas, have been awarded fixed-price contracts to supply equipment which... 

'Loads and loads' of gold acquisition opportunities – Harmony CEO

By: Martin Creamer     31st October 2008 There were currently ‘loads and loads’ of gold-company acquisition opportunities, which would be considered once debt levels were lowered, Harmony Gold CEO Graham Briggs said on Friday. Briggs said that Harmony had been looking at assets on which to do due diligence studies in the past six... 

Barrick eyes acquisition prospects amid 'amazing' share declines

By: Liezel Hill     30th October 2008 Barrick Gold, the world's biggest gold-miner, is looking at opportunities to buy rivals or their assets cheaply, after the financial crisis and fears over weakening demand for commodities led to “amazing” declines in valuations, CFO Jamie Sokalsky said on Thursday. “We continue to look at just... 

Firestone Energy lists on JSE

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     30th October 2008 ASX-listed explorer Firestone Energy’s secondary listing on the JSE would allow the Australian company to use its shares for the acquisition of South African assets, it said on Thursday. Firestone Energy, which plans to develop two Limpopo coal projects in partnership with black-empowered Sekoko... 

Gold production 'in crisis' – AngloGold Ashanti CEO  

By: Martin Creamer     30th October 2008 Gold production was “in crisis” and a gold price of $900-to-$1 000/oz was needed to arrest the downward trend, AngloGoldAshanti CEO Mark Cutifani said on Thursday. Cutifani said that the world had seen a decline in the production of gold across the globe in the last seven years, and that the... 

Barrick earnings drop 26% on impairment

By: Liezel Hill     30th October 2008 Barrick Gold, the world's largest bullion producer, posted third quarter net income of $254-million, 26% lower than a year ago, after the company wrote down its interest in LSE-listed Highland Gold. Before one-time items, net income was $351-million, compared with $354-million a year earlier. 

Tawana makes new board appointment

By: Esmarie Iannucci     30th October 2008 JSE-listed Tawana Resources has announced the appointment of Nonkqubela Mazwai to the board of directors. Mazwai is one of the principal shareholders of Tawana’s black economic-empowerment partner Seven Falls Trading 155, and was previously employed at the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME). 

Newmont, AngloGold hike Boddington cost again

By: Liezel Hill     29th October 2008 The world's second and third-biggest gold producers by volume, AngloGold Ashanti and Newmont Mining, have increased the capital cost estimates for their Boddington project, in Australia, for the second time this year. Denver-based Newmont now expects its 66,67% share of project costs to be... 

Newmont hopes to turn market mayhem to advantage

By: Liezel Hill     29th October 2008 Denver-based gold major Newmont Mining may delay some projects because of turbulence in financial and commodities markets, but the company also sees opportunities to benefit from the current environment, president and CEO Richard O'Brien said on Wednesday. Gold equity valuations have shrunk... 

Rio Tinto chairperson Paul Skinner will step down end-'09

By: Liezel Hill     29th October 2008 Diversified-miner Rio Tinto will begin a search for a new chairperson, after Diversified-miner Rio Tinto has begun a search for a new chairperson, after Paul Skinner indicated that he will step down after his current term ends in December next year.  

Gold Fields sees higher quarterly output, eyes acquisitions

By: Esmarie Iannucci     29th October 2008 JSE-listed gold producer Gold Fields was likely to reach its short-term production target of one-million ounces in the March quarter, CEO Nick Holland said on Wednesday. The company, Africa’s second-largest gold producer, produced 798 000 oz in the September quarter, which was down 7% on the... 

Newmont Q3 earnings fall on lower sales, higher costs

By: Liezel Hill     29th October 2008 Denver-based Newmont Mining posted a 51% decline in net income for the third quarter, to $196-million, after copper and gold sales missed expectations and costs rose. Newmont sold 1,28-million ounces of gold during the quarter, at an average cost of $480/oz, compared with sales of 1,33-million... 

Gold price of $1 000/oz possible in 2009 – Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland 

By: Martin Creamer     29th October 2008 A higher gold price was on the way with $1 000/oz possible in 2009, Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland said on Wednesday. “I still remain firmly of the view that we are going to see a higher gold price. I still believe we could see $1 000/oz during 2009,” Holland told Mining Weekly Online. 

Rio Tinto to build new $228m power turbine in Quebec

28th October 2008 Diversified-miner Rio Tinto will spend $228-million on a new 225-MW turbine at the group's Shipshaw power station, in Saguenay, Quebec. The project is expected to be completed by December 2012.  

Paladin names acting CFO after recently appointed Glossop quits

By: Esmarie Iannucci     28th October 2008 JOHANNESBURG ( - TSX-listed energy company Paladin Energy has elected to replace its recently appointed CFO, Ross Glossop, with Mark Bolton as of November 17. Botlon would act as CFO in a temporary capacity. 

Inmet earnings slide on costs, base-metals decline

By: Liezel Hill     28th October 2008 Base metals miner Inmet Mining recorded a 35% fall in profit for third-quarter profit, to C$75,06-million , from C$114,84-million a year earlier. The company blamed the decrease in net earnings on lower zinc and copper prices, higher costs and foreign exchange losses recognised on a US-dollar... 

Aquarius names Höll as AQPSA MD

By: Esmarie Iannucci     28th October 2008 JSE- and ASX-listed platinum producer Aquarius Platinum has appointed Hugo Höll as the MD for its South African operating subsidiary, Aquarius Platinum South Africa (AQPSA). Höll was previously the group manager for projects and transformation at AQPSA, as well as the GM of the Everest mine,... 

Aquarius posts loss, closes shaft as PGM prices fall

By: Esmarie Iannucci     28th October 2008 Platinum producer Aquarius Platinum reported a September quarter loss of $21,5-million, after platinum-group metal (PGM) prices fell by more than 50% in the three-month period. CEO Stuart Murray said on Tuesday that production and costs improvements could not offset shrinking revenue and... 

Sylvania to transfer exploration assets to partner

By: Liezel Hill     27th October 2008 Aim- and ASX-listed platinum producer Sylvania Resources will sell its interests in three prospects to Great Australian Resources (GAR), the firm announced on Monday. Sylvania, which produces platinum from chrome tailings, owns a 13,8% stake in ASX-listed GAR, and has identified the firm as its... 

Coal of Africa says SA projects to start production within two years

By: Esmarie Iannucci     27th October 2008 ASX-listed coal producer Coal of Africa (CoAL) will still be able to bring its Mooiplaats thermal coal project and the Makhado and Vele coking coal projects, in South Africa, into production within the next two years, despite challenging global economic conditions, said MD Simon Farrell. He... 

Firestone Energy’s secondary listing on JSE approved

By: Esmarie Iannucci     27th October 2008 The JSE on Monday approved the secondary listing of ASX-listed mineral exploration and mining company Firestone Energy. The company would start trading on Thursday, under the abbreviated name Firestone. 

Australia rules BHP, Rio must share rail infrastructure

By: Esmarie Iannucci     27th October 2008 Diversified miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto must allow third parties access to their rail infrastructure in west Australia, the government ruled on Monday. Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan ruled that third-party access to BHP Billiton’s Goldsworthy line and Rio Tinto’s Hamersley and Robe lines,... 

Aquarius owns 100% of SA operating assets, concludes BEE deal

By: Mariaan Webb     27th October 2008 Midtier platinum producer Aquarius Platinum has concluded the final phase of its black economic-empowerment transaction, and would now own 100% of its South African operating subsidiary, Aquarius Platinum South Africa (AQPSA), the ASX- and JSE-listed miner said on Monday. Empowerment partner... 

Peabody doubles share buyback plan to $1bn

By: Liezel Hill     24th October 2008 NYSE-listed coal-miner Peabody Energy has doubled the size of its share repurchase programme, and will now buy back stock worth $1-billion, the company announced on Friday. The repurchase programme, which was first approved in 2005, does not have an expiration date and can be abandoned at any time. 

Uranio buys Australian uranium project from Paladin

24th October 2008 Australian uranium explorer Uranio on Friday announced the 100% acquisition of ASX-listed Paladin Energy’s Ponton uranium project, in Western Australia. With the acquisition, Uranio said it had consolidated its ground position and uranium potential in the Ponton region, which was adjacent to the... 

West African Diamonds battered by financial storm – Teeling

By: Esmarie Iannucci     24th October 2008 The 2008 financial year has been a “tumultuous” period for diamond junior West African Diamonds, as the miner, like many of its Aim-listed peers, has been battered by the financial storms engulfing the world, chairperson John Teeling said on Friday. “Share prices have been quartered or... 

Ivernia pares staff to cut costs

By: Liezel Hill     23rd October 2008 TSX-listed Ivernia, which is waiting for approvals to restart its Magellan lead mine, in Western Australia, will retrench 18 employees, mainly from the mine site, the company announced on Thursday. The decision to reduce payroll costs was a response to the global financial turmoil, and was aimed... 

SA clears BHP-Rio merger, but says Coega project must be sold

By: Christy van der Merwe     23rd October 2008 South Africa’s Competition Commission has recommended the approval of the proposed merger arising from BHP Billiton’s hostile takeover bid to acquire Rio Tinto, but only if it sells the Coega aluminium smelter project. In its recommendation for approval to the Competition Tribunal, the... 

TWP’s project pipeline up 60% to R140bn

By: Esmarie Iannucci     23rd October 2008 With a project pipeline valued at R140-billlion, up R52-billion from a year before, TWP Holdings was now the largest engineering service provider in Africa, the JSE listed group said on Thursday. In its interim results for the six months ended August 31, the company stated that the board was... 

Uranium One finally throws in the towel at Dominion

By: Liezel Hill     22nd October 2008 TSX- and JSE-listed Uranium One on Wednesday announced what many observers have suspected for some time now would be inevitable – the company's recalcitrant Dominion project, in South Africa, will be placed on care and maintenance while the miner considers looking for a buyer or closing the... 

Better SA rail and output lift manganese despite power cuts – BHP Billiton

By: Martin Creamer     22nd October 2008 Record production at South Africa’s Hotazel manganese operation in the Northern Cape as well as increased South African rail and port capacity helped BHP Billiton to increase its manganese production in the latest quarter in spite of using 10% less power, the company said on Tuesday. “The South... 

Australia’s Riversdale looking to start SA growth project early ’09

By: Christy van der Merwe     22nd October 2008 ASX-listed Riversdale Mining on Wednesday said that the development project of the Ngwabe block at the Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC), in South Africa, has been approved, and that negotiations were under way to start the project in the first quarter of 2009. In the company’s quarterly... 

$1,4bn SA energy coal projects heading for production – BHP Billiton

By: Martin Creamer     22nd October 2008 The two combined-value $1,425-billion coal projects BHP Billiton was developing in South Africa were both "on schedule and within budget" for initial production in 2009 and 2010, the world’s largest diversified mining company said on Tuesday. Releasing its quarterly report on exploration and... 

Rio Tinto eyes H1 start on Argentina potash project

By: Reuters     22nd October 2008 Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto, one of the world's largest diversified miners, plans to start construction on a $3,5-billion potash mine in Argentina in the first half next year, a government source told Reuters. Directors for Rio Tinto were due to meet with Argentine President Cristina... 

DiamondEx sells first diamonds from Botswana project

21st October 2008 Emerging Botswana diamond producer DiamondEx has undertaken the sale of its first parcel of diamonds that comprised more than 10 000 ct, recovered during the commissioning and start up phase. The diamonds were being presented for viewing in Gabarone during this week, following a viewing in Antwerp. 

Freeport-McMoRan profit slumps, revises plans

By: Liezel Hill     21st October 2008 Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold's third-quarter net income fell to $523-million, a decline of 32,5% from a $775-million profit reported a year earlier, as a result of falling copper prices. During the three months ended September 30, Freeport realised an average copper price of... 

Refined copper deficit was 54 000 t in Jan to July – study group

By: Liezel Hill     20th October 2008 Global consumption of refined copper exceeded supply by 54 000 t between January and July this year, according to preliminary data from the International Copper Study Group (ICSG). This compares with a deficit of 89 000 t during the same period a year earlier. 

Waratah asks shareholders to reject Mineralogy's bid

By: Liezel Hill     20th October 2008 Coal hopeful Waratah Coal, which plans to build a coal mine, railway and port in central Queensland, has recommended that shareholders reject an unsolicited offer for a controlling stake in the company from iron-ore billionaire Clive Palmer's Mineralogy. Mineralogy earlier this month offered to... 

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