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Australasia News

Australian Minister plans to approve Xstrata zinc mine proposal

By: Esmarie Iannucci     22nd January 2009 Australia’s Environment Minister Peter Garrett plans to approve the proposal by diversified mining group Xstrata to expand its McArthur River Mining (MRM) zinc project, as well as the diversion of the McArthur river. “Following a thorough assessment of the information provided to the former... 

Moto hikes indicated resource to 11,3Moz at DRC project

By: Liezel Hill     21st January 2009 TSX- and Aim-listed Moto Goldmines has increased the estimated resources in the indicated category to 11,3-million ounces at its Moto gold project, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The resource estimate now also includes 11,2-million inferred resources, the company reported on Wednesday. 

Aflease gets shareholder approval for BMA merger  

By: Esmarie Iannucci     21st January 2009 The shareholders of JSE-listed gold company Aflease on Wednesday approved the company’s proposed merger with Australia-based BMA Gold, to form Gold One. Aflease would now have to discuss the merger with its bondholders, as well as get final approval from South African competition authorities. 

BHP Billiton announces cutbacks, to shed 6 000 jobs

By: Chanel de Bruyn     21st January 2009 Diversified miner BHP Billiton, which employed just over 100 000 people worldwide, would cut about 6 000 jobs at a number of operations by end June, the miner announced on Wednesday. “We believe as a result of the changes to production or investment decisions announced today we are likely to... 

Rio Tinto Alcan announces further 6% cut in output

By: Liezel Hill     20th January 2009 Diversified miner Rio Tinto will reduce aluminium production from its Alcan unit by another 6% and cut about 1 100 jobs, in a move to conserve cash in light of falling prices and demand. “Our goal is to align production with customer demand and reduce our operating costs as much as possible,”... 

Braemore study confirms viability of Oz nickel project

By: Esmarie Iannucci     20th January 2009 Nickel and platinum processor Braemore Resources on Tuesday reported that a detailed scoping study of its Leinster nickel tailings project, in Western Australia, confirmed the project viability, at an average production rate of 12 500 t/y. Preliminary results also indicated low operating costs... 

RBC cautious on base metals, bulk commodity stock outlooks

By: Creamer Media Reporter      20th January 2009 Equity researcher RBC Capital Markets on Tuesday recommended that investors in the mining sector “exercise caution in an extended economic recession”. RBC was cautious on base metals and bulk commodity stock outlooks, in an environment where developed and emerging market economies were expected... 

Cape Lambert searching for iron-ore investment opportunities

By: Chanel de Bruyn     20th January 2009 Despite the tough economic conditions, ASX- and Aim-listed mining development company, Cape Lambert Iron Ore, is still looking for investment opportunities. The company said in a report detailing the progress it had made in the quarter ended December 31, that it was continuing to evaluate... 

Troy Resources postpones gold mine closure as prices pick up

By: Esmarie Iannucci     20th January 2009 ASX and TSX-listed Troy Resources has decided to extend the life-of-mine of its Sandstone gold operation, in Western Australia. The Sandstone operation, which had been processing low-grade ore stockpiles, was due to close in February, however, with the increase in the gold price, the economics... 

Clough signs $250m contract for Indonesian project

By: Creamer Media Reporter      20th January 2009 ASX-listed engineering, procurement, and construction company Clough has signed a contract to mine the Santan Batubara coal concession, in Indonesia. The contract is worth an estimated $250-million. The coal concession is owned by joint venture (JV) company PT Santan Batubara, a 50:50 JV between... 

Norilsk Nickel expects revenue to fall to $8bn

By: Esmarie Iannucci     20th January 2009 The world’s biggest producer of nickel and palladium, Norilsk Nickel, expects its revenue for the 2009 financial year to drop to $8-billion, a company spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday. During the first half of 2008, the company reported revenue of about $8,3-billion, and total revenue for the... 

Albidon restructures Zambia nickel project to reduce costs

By: Esmarie Iannucci     20th January 2009 Africa-focused base-metals-miner Albidon has suspended the development of the northern decline at its Munali nickel project, in Zambia, as the current nickel price environment did not warrant the capital expenditure on the project. The Perth-based company explained that only lower grade mining... 

Crusader quadruples Brazilian iron-ore resource

By: Esmarie Iannucci     19th January 2009 Minerals exploration-company Crusader Resources on Monday stated that the indicated and inferred resource for its Posse iron-ore deposit, in Minas Gerais in Brazil, had quadrupled to 36-million tons, at an average grade of 43,5% iron. The estimate was more than four times the previous estimate... 

GBM boosts Victorian gold resource base by 76%

By: Esmarie Iannucci     19th January 2009 ASX-listed resource company GBM Resources on Monday stated that its inferred resources at its Malmsbury gold project, in central Victoria, had been increased by 76%. The inferred resource for the Leven Star prospect increased from 59 000 oz to 104 000 oz of gold. 

Redbank shifts focus to high-grade exploration

By: Esmarie Iannucci     19th January 2009 ASX-listed copper producer Redbank Mines will be placing its copper mining and treatment operations on care-and-maintenance during 2009, and will focus on exploration. The company said on Monday that it had earmarked A$2,5-million for its initial exploration programme of its Northern Territory... 

CoAL to start Mooiplaats underground production at end Q1

By: Chanel de Bruyn     19th January 2009 Production from the underground mining portals at the Mooiplaats thermal coal project, in the Ermelo coalfield, would start by the end of this year's first quarter, coal development company Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) said on Monday. Reporting on the company's progress in the quarter ended... 

Alliance pays $1m towards initial development of uranium project

By: Esmarie Iannucci     19th January 2009 ASX-listed uranium and gold producer Alliance Resources has paid more than $1-million towards the cost of developing the first stage mining area at Four Mile joint-venture (JV) uranium project, in South Australia, it said on Monday. Alliance holds a 25% stake in the JV, with the remainder being... 

Barrick looking at 'a lot' of M&A opportunities: new CEO Regent

By: Liezel Hill     16th January 2009 The world's biggest gold-miner, Toronto-based Barrick Gold, is looking at a wide range of acquisition opportunities, said president and CEO Aaron Regent, who stepped into the position on Friday. The company's corporate activity team is “very active” on the merger and acquisition side, he said.  

PanAust to press ahead with expansion plans in Laos

By: Esmarie Iannucci     16th January 2009 ASX-listed mining company PanAust would apply a “cautious and responsible” approach to expenditures, including decision on the timing of capital development commitments and exploration, the copper and gold producer said on Friday However, it remained committed to progressing capital efficient... 

Bauxite Resources publishes resource for W Australian project

By: Esmarie Iannucci     16th January 2009 ASX-listed Bauxite Resources on Friday stated that its maiden North Darling range project, in Western Australia, hosted an inferred resource of 18,2-million tons of bauxite. The maiden resource represents a significant step forward for the company in achieving its Stage 1 objective of exporting... 

IFC injects $5m into Mozambique iron-ore project

By: Creamer Media Reporter      16th January 2009 An iron-ore exploration project owned by Australian junior miner, Baobab Resources, in the Tete province of Mozambique, has been given a $5-million boost that would sustain the miner's local workforce during the global financial crisis. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is a... 

Xstrata urges govt decision, or Australian zinc mine may close  

By: Esmarie Iannucci     16th January 2009 Global diversified mining group Xstrata on Friday called for an immediate decision by the Australian Federal Environment Minister to prevent the closure of the McArthur River Mining (MRM) zinc operation, before the end of the month. Xstrata Zinc Australia COO Brian Hearne said that the current... 

GFMS says $1 080/oz gold possible this year

By: Liezel Hill     16th January 2009 Highly-respected metals consultancy GFMS expects gold prices to range between $750/oz and $1 080/oz in 2009, executive chairperson Phillip Klapwijk said in Toronto on Thursday. The top end of the range would imply a new high for the metal, which Klapwijk said would not surprise him. 

GFMS says gold could scale new all-time high by end-June

By: Liezel Hill     15th January 2009 Investment demand for gold will push prices for the yellow metal to a new historical high during the first half of this year, predicts precious metals consultancy GFMS. Several months of “rocketing” demand, mainly in Europe and North America, had been masked by heavy fund redemptions as... 

New Australian cobalt discovery could be one of world’s top producers

By: Chanel de Bruyn     15th January 2009 The Mount Thirsty cobalt/nickel/manganese project, in Western Australia, had the potential to become one of the world's top cobalt producers with a net present value of A$450-million, ASX-listed exploration and mining company Barra Resources announced. The miner said in a statement on Thursday... 

Rio Tinto reports 18% drop in Q4 iron-ore output

By: Chanel de Bruyn     15th January 2009 Diversified miner Rio Tinto’s fourth-quarter global iron-ore production output was down 18% on the fourth quarter output for 2007, which was “in line with expectations”, CEO Tom Albanese said on Thursday. This followed a 10% reduction in output at the Pilbara operations, as announced by the... 

Leng named new Rio chairperson, Skinner to retire in April

By: Liezel Hill     14th January 2009 Diversified-miner Rio Tinto has named Jim Leng as chairperson of the board, to replace Paul Skinner, who will retire from the group's boards on April 20. Leng is currently deputy chairperson of India's Tata Steel and chairperson of the steelmaker's European unit. 

Rio slows underground development Argyle diamond mine – contractor

By: Esmarie Iannucci     14th January 2009 ASX-listed mining contractor Macmahon has reported that diamond producer Argyle Diamonds, a wholly owned subsidiary of diversified giant Rio Tinto, intended to slow down its underground development activities at the Argyle mine, in North East Australia. Macmahon stated that its contract with the... 

Copper likely best of base metals this year – Scotia's Mohr

By: Liezel Hill     14th January 2009 Copper will likely outperform other base metals this year, Scotiabank vice-president economics and commodity market specialist Patricia Mohr said on Tuesday. She is forecasting a copper price of $1,30/lb for 2009, and between $1,30 and $1,40/lb in 2010. 

Aflease raises R38m on 'advantageous terms' for Modder East gold project

By: Martin Creamer     13th January 2009 Johannesburg-listed Aflease Gold had raised an additional R38-million towards the funding of the Modder East gold project on South Africa’s East Randon “very advantageous terms in extremely difficult market conditions", Aflease CEO Neal Froneman said on Tuesday. Froneman said that the... 

Rio delays automated train programme in Australia

By: Esmarie Iannucci     13th January 2009 Diversified giant Rio Tinto has decided to postpone work on its Western Australian iron-ore Automated Train Operations (ATO) programme, estimated to be worth about $371-million. The ATO project was designed to bring greater efficiency to the company’s iron-ore rail operations, as Pilbara... 

Chirundu JV to decide on Zambia uranium study in Q2

By: Esmarie Iannucci     13th January 2009 ASX- and Aim-listed Albidon and joint-venture partner (JV) Africa Energy would decide in the second quarter of 2009, whether or not to restart the bankable feasibility study (BFS) at the Chirundu uranium project, in Zambia. Albidon said on Tuesday that it would take about six months to complete... 

Cameroon govt gives go-ahead for new $160m iron-ore port - Sundance

By: Martin Creamer     13th January 2009 The Cameroon government had given the go-ahead for the development of a new $160-million export terminal to serve an emerging iron-ore province that extended beyond Cameroon into neighbouring Congo and Gabon, Australian iron-ore company Sundance Resources said on Tuesday. ASX-listed Sundance... 

Xstrata restructures Mt Isa zinc/lead operations to secure long-term future

By: Esmarie Iannucci     13th January 2009 Global diversified mining group Xstrata would put Handlebar Hill zinc operation on care-and-maintenance, and would suspend the planned upgrade of the Pac Rim crushing system, it said on Tuesday. The Handlebar Hill mine would be closed on February 12. 

Base-metals-miner Oz Minerals shuts Australian mine

By: Esmarie Iannucci     13th January 2009 The world’s second-largest zinc producer, Oz Minerals, on Tuesday announced that it would put the Scuddles mine, at its Golden Grove operations in Western Australia, on care-and-maintenance. The company stated that operating costs would be reduced by about $15-million, and zinc production for... 

Jacynthe Côté will replace retiring Evans as Alcan chief

By: Liezel Hill     12th January 2009 Diversified miner Rio Tinto has named Jacynthe Côté as CEO of its Alcan aluminium unit, replacing Dick Evans who will retire on April 20. Côté is currently president and CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan's primary metal division.  

Exxaro says JV partner files for US bankruptcy protection

By: Esmarie Iannucci     12th January 2009 JSE-listed diversified-miner Exxaro’s titanium minerals joint venture (JV) partner, Tronox, has filed for a Chapter 11 relief, under the US Bankruptcy Code. Exxaro and Tronox are JV partners in Tiwest, the world’s largest integrated titanium minerals production and manufacturing company.  

IGC finalises merger terms with Nkwe Platinum

By: Esmarie Iannucci     12th January 2009 Australian platinum exploration company International Goldfields (IGC) has finalised its terms for the proposed merger with emerging platinum producer Nkwe Platinum. In 2008, Nkwe Platinum signed an option for the exclusive rights to negotiate a transaction with IGC to acquire its South African... 

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