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Australasia News

Straits gets loan extension

1st December 2008 Perth-based Straits Resources has been granted an extension to the maturity of a A$50-million debt facility, the company announced on Monday. The firm's bankers have agreed to extend the maturity to March 31, 2009. 

Waratah Coal agrees to back improved takeover offer

By: Liezel Hill     1st December 2008 Shares in coal hopeful Waratah Coal leapt 20% in Toronto on Monday, after the company announced it had agreed to a revised takeover bid from iron-ore billionaire Clive Palmer's Mineralogy. Mineralogy will now offer C$1,60 a Waratah share, up from an October offer of C$1,41 a share, the company... 

BHP awards A$50m construction project to Macmahon

1st December 2008 ASX-listed construction group Macmahon has been awarded a A$50-million contract for construction work at Port Hedland, in Western Australia, by diversified mining giant, BHP Billiton Iron Ore. The contract formed part of BHP’s recently announced Rapid Growth Projects 5 (RGP5) for the Pilbara... 

Top miners could cut diamond output by 40% - trade 

By: Reuters     1st December 2008 Ructions in financial markets and a slowdown in economies threaten to cut output of rough diamonds by up to 40% by top miners, as banks slow lending and demand weakens, an industry official said on Monday. Freddy Hanard, CE of Antwerp World Diamond Centre, an organisation representing the... 

Mundo Minerals appoints Law as new CEO

By: Esmarie Iannucci     1st December 2008 ASX-listed gold producer Mundo Minerals has appointed Andrew Law as CEO, effective immediately. Law would assume responsibility for the operational aspects of the Engenho gold mine, in Brazil, to complete the production ramp-up to 32 000 oz/y, and manage the operational aspects of brining the... 

Construction at Hidden Valley almost two-thirds complete – Harmony

By: Chanel de Bruyn     1st December 2008 Construction at the Hidden Valley project in Papua New Guinea (PNG), was now about 64% complete, South African gold miner Harmony Gold reported on Monday. In a presentation delivered at the PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference in Australia, Hidden Valley project GM Adam Wright stated... 

Albidon MD Rogers steps down

By: Esmarie Iannucci     1st December 2008 ASX-listed exploration company Albidon on Monday announced that Dale Rogers had resigned as MD. The company stated that, by mutual agreement, it had been decided not to renew Rogers’ contract when it expired. As an interim measure, directors Alasdair Cooke and Paul Chapman had been appointed... 

Norilsk Q3 nickel output rises to 75 067 t

By: Liezel Hill     28th November 2008 The world's number-one nickel miner, Norilsk Nickel, produced 75 067 of the industrial metal in the three months ended September 30, compared with 68 835 t in the second quarter of this year. The Moscow-based company has operations in Russia, Finland, South Africa, Botswana and Australia, and is... 

Uranium restraint ends in February – Neal Froneman

By: Martin Creamer     28th November 2008 Former Uranium One CEO Neal Froneman is looking forward to the day when his uranium restraint of trade falls away in February 2009, the new Gold One CEO tells Mining Weekly. Froneman says that he, personally, cannot become involved in uranium as a business, at this stage, but that Gold One’s... 

Areva gold spin-off La Mancha studies 'Bisha-style' VMS deposit in Sudan

By: Liezel Hill     27th November 2008 La Mancha Resources, the Montreal-based firm that owns gold assets spun off two years ago by nuclear powerhouse Areva, believes it may be sitting on significant polymetallic volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) mineralisation below the pits of its producing Hassai mine, in Sudan. The Hassai... 

Oropa receives positive scoping results from Indonesian gold project

By: Esmarie Iannucci     27th November 2008 ASX-listed gold explorer Oropa on Thursday reported that a scoping study conducted at its 75%-owned Pungkut gold project, in Indonesia, showed that the project had the potential to be develop into a profitable operation. The scoping study was based on a treatment of one-million tons a year,... 

Absorbing Rio Tinto would have doubled gearing to 48% - BHP Billiton

By: Martin Creamer     27th November 2008 Absorbing Rio Tinto would have resulted in BHP Billiton's gearing soaring to 48% compared to 23% when the bid was initially launched, BHP Billiton chairperson Don Argus said on Thursday, two days after terminating what would have been the world's biggest mining acquisition. Argus said that, when... 

Moody's upgrades BHP after Rio bid abandoned

By: Liezel Hill     26th November 2008 Ratings agency Moody's has changed the outlook on the A1 senior unsecured ratings of the world's biggest miner, BHP Billiton, to 'stable', from 'negative', after the resources giant announced that it would drop a hostile takeover bid for smaller rival Rio Tinto. The announcement that the group... 

Albidon secures $16m to develop Zambia nickel project

By: Mariaan Webb     26th November 2008 African nickel-miner Albidon has secured $16-million funding for the development of its Munali project, in Zambia. The Perth-based miner said in a statement on Wednesday that the additional funding would be used to bring its Munali nickel project, near Lusaka, through from commissioning to... 

Xstrata Copper submits Chile enviro study

By: Liezel Hill     25th November 2008 Xstrata Resources' copper unit has submitted an environmental impact study for the El Morro copper project, in Chile, to the local authorities for review. The $2,5-billion openpit mine is expected to produce 2 200 t/d of copper concentrates over a 14-year life. 

OZ Minerals defers new projects, cuts zinc output 20 000 t/y

By: Liezel Hill     25th November 2008 The world's second-biggest zinc producer, Australia's OZ Minerals, will reduce production at its Century zinc mine and defer about A$495-million in capital spending as it adjusts to a new environment of lower metals prices. The company, which was formed earlier this year from the combination of... 

Tawana, De Beers reach interim agreement over Big Hole rights

By: Mariaan Webb     25th November 2008 Australia-based diamond junior Tawana has reached an interim agreement with diamond producer De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) over rights to explore 600 m from the famous Big Hole in Kimberley, in South Africa. Tawana will now be able to start a drilling programme on two targets that it... 

IFM defers sales to China, suspends output at furnaces

By: Mariaan Webb     25th November 2008 errochrome producer International Ferro Metals has suspended production at its two ferrochrome furnaces in South Africa in a response to falling demand, the London-listed company said on Tuesday, International Ferro Metals, which has offtake agreements with Chinese steel maker Jisco and New-York... 

BHP Billiton shares rise, Rio Tinto’s fall as mega $66bn deal is terminated

By: Martin Creamer     25th November 2008 The shares of BHP Billiton rose and those of Rio Tinto fell on the news that BHP Billiton had withdrawn its bid to combine the two giant entities in what would have been a $66-billion deal now and $194-billion six months ago. Despite concurrent negative BHP Billiton announcements of a... 

Norilsk suspends two Australian mines as costs rise, prices fall

By: Liezel Hill     24th November 2008 Norilsk Nickel, the world's biggest producer of nickel and palladium, will put its Waterloo and Silver Swan underground mines, in Western Australia, into care and maintenance, the company announced on Monday. “These mines have been operating under increasing cost pressures for some time and a... 

Australia’s 2008 gold output may fall to lowest level since ’89  

By: Creamer Media Reporter      24th November 2008 Australia's gold production increased by 3% to 56 tons in the September quarter, compared with the previous three-month period, although this was still the third-lowest quarterly output recorded by the country in the past 20 years, mining consultant Surbiton Associates reported on Monday. The... 

Thorium may surpass uranium - ex-Uranium One CEO Froneman  

By: Martin Creamer     24th November 2008 Thorium may in time surpass uranium as a nuclear fuel, says former Uranium One CEO Neal Froneman. While remaining bullish on uranium, the current Gold One CEO says that thorium has a fuel cycle of its own. "You will hear a lot more about thorium from an energy point of view in the... 

Gold hits 5-week high, financial crisis fuels demand

By: Reuters     24th November 2008 Gold jumped to a five-week high on Monday as investors piled in seeking safety from financial uncertainty after the United States unveiled a $300-billion rescue package for banking giant Citigroup. Autocatalyst precious metals platinum and palladium, tracking gold, rose 5% and industrial metal... 

Firestone hires Garth Higgo as CEO

By: Mariaan Webb     24th November 2008 Australian explorer Firestone Energy, which last month listed on the Johannesburg bourse, has appointed Garth Higgo as CEO, with immediate effect. Higgo was previously Anglo Platinum’s group manager for joint ventures (JVs), corporate finance and business development, and later became COO of... 

Q3 gold dehedging shows smallest cut since '06 - GFMS

By: Chanel de Bruyn     24th November 2008 Gold producer dehedging slowed in the third quarter of the year, showing its smallest quarterly cut since the end of 2006, precious metals consultancy GFMS said on Monday. Gold producers cut 2,03-million ounces during the quarter ended September, leaving the global hedge book standing at... 

Central Asia Resources buys sixth project in Khazakhstan

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st November 2008 Australian resources company Central Asia Resources on Friday announced that it had acquired a 90% stake in the Bizhe prospect in Kazakhstan. The acquisition cost of $700 000 would be payable as $200 000 in cash, and $500 000 in Central Asia shares, which were valued at 20c each. The transaction... 

Record demand for gold as investors seek haven from turmoil - WGC 

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st November 2008 The dollar demand for gold has reached an all time quarterly record of $32-billion in the third quarter of 2008, as investors around the world sought refuge from the global financial meltdown, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Friday. This figure was 45% higher than the previous record in the... 

Haulage system at Aquila mine in full development phase – Bounty

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st November 2008 Australia-based thin-seam coal mining specialists, Bounty Industries, on Friday announced that its Stamler continuous haulage system, at the Anglo Coal-owned Aquila mine in Queensland, was in a full development phase. The company said the haulage system was providing throughput which was 20%... 

Pike River to open New Zealand coal mine

By: Creamer Media Reporter      21st November 2008 New Zealand-based coal producer, Pike River Coal, would formally open its underground operations on November 27, as stockpiles started to grow. Pike River began production of hard coking coal from the Brunner seam of the Paparoa Ranges in October, and output was destined to fuel coke plants and... 

Paladin upgrades Malawi uranium project resources base

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st November 2008 Australia-based uranium producer Paladin Energy has announced that infill and extension drilling at its Kayelekera deposit, in Malawi, had added significantly to the estimated resources base, and had increased the estimated life-of-mine. The drilling results also allows most of the resources to... 

Australia’s Grange gets approval for ABM merger

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st November 2008 Australia’s largest magnetite and iron-ore pellet producer, Grange Resources, has been given the go-ahead from the Foreign Investment Review Board to merge with iron-ore producer Australian Bulk Minerals (ABM). The approval satisfies a key condition of the merger, which will catapult Grange into... 

Chinese fiscal stimulation effects anticipated in 2009

By: Martin Creamer     21st November 2008 The effects of Chinese fiscal stimulation can be anticipated “sometime in 2009”, Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese tells Mining Weekly. Albanese, who describes the current global financial situation as a “pause for breath”, says that China is working with a set of macroeconomic tools that most... 

Equinox signs off on Lumwana copper plant

By: Liezel Hill     20th November 2008 TSX- and ASX-listed Equinox Minerals has accepted the handover of the process plant and related infrastructure from the contractor at its Lumwana mine, in Zambia, and expects to produce its first concentrate next week. The engineering, procurement and construction contractor was a joint venture... 

Modder East 'unbelievably profitable', Ventersburg 'really promising' – Gold One  

By: Martin Creamer     20th November 2008 Modder East gold mine on South Africa's East Rand was set to be “unbelievably profitable”, the proposed Ventersburg mine in the Free State was “really promising” and the Tulo prospect in Mozambique could be a “company maker” for the new 500 000-oz/y-in-five-years Gold One, president and CEO Neal... 

Uranio buys Madagascar coal project

By: Mariaan Webb     20th November 2008 Australian uranium explorer Uranio has agreed to buy a coal prospect in the Sokoa basin of Madagascar, from Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) and Oak Nominees. By acquiring Coal of Madagascar (COM) deal, Uranio would also obtain a $3,17-million cash injection, it said on Thursday.  

Aflease, BMA merge to form Gold One International

By: Creamer Media Reporter      20th November 2008 South African gold producer Aflease Gold would merge with Australia's BMA Gold to create an international gold business with a new mine close to production and a portfolio of growth prospects. The miners announced in a joint statement on Thursday that the new company would be called Gold One... 

Kalahari scraps Extract merger over Rio shareholding concern

By: Esmarie Iannucci     19th November 2008 Aim-listed resources company Kalahari Minerals has announced that the potential merger with Australia-based Extract Resources had been terminated. Kalahari Minerals would now pursue other options to increase on its 39,11% stake in the company. The decision was made after diversified mining giant... 

Australian minerals, energy exploration at new record – report

By: Esmarie Iannucci     19th November 2008 Exploration expenditure in Australia’s minerals and energy sector has reached a new record in 2007/8, rising to A$5,5-billion, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (Abare) said in a report. Exploration expenditure during the period was more than twice the yearly average... 

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