Archive for July, 2010


Friday, July 30th, 2010


This section is based on information contributed by Geoscience Australia and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) (September 2006).

Note: Values are given in Australian currency unless otherwise stated.


Maps 16.23, 16.24 and 16.25 show selected mines and deposits – map 16.23 covers gold and diamonds; map 16.24 covers bauxite, coal, iron ore, manganese ore and uranium; map 16.25 covers base metals and mineral sands.

16.23   SELECTED=


Bauxite, alumina and aluminium

Bauxite is a heterogeneous naturally occurring material from which alumina and aluminium are produced. The principal minerals in bauxite are gibbsite, boehmite and diaspore (which has the same composition as boehmite but is denser and harder). Bauxite is the ore from which alumina (aluminium oxide) is extracted while aluminium is produced from smelting alumina.

Australia’s aluminium industry is a large integrated industry of mining, refining, smelting and semi-fabrication, which is of major economic importance nationally and globally. Its EDR of bauxite (5.8 gigatonnes (Gt)) provide a world class resource base for the industry, which comprises five bauxite mines, seven alumina refineries, six primary aluminium smelters, twelve extrusion and two rolled product (sheet, plate and foil) mills. In 2005 Australia was the largest producer of bauxite and alumina. The Australian aluminium industry directly employs over 12,000 people.

Production in 2005 totalled 60.0 Mt of bauxite, 17.7 Mt of alumina and 1.9 Mt of aluminium (ingot metal). Compared with 2004 these represented an increase of 6.0% for bauxite, 7.3% for alumina and no change for aluminium.

In 2005, the Queensland Government called for expressions of interest in the development of the Aurukun Bauxite Project. The objectives for the development of the Aurukun resource include its development as a source of bauxite for a new alumina refinery in Queensland. The $US1.3b expansion plans for the Gove alumina refinery in the Northern Territory are progressing. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2007 and will lift the refinery’s capacity from 2.1 Mt to around 3.8 Mt per year.


Black coal is a solid rock formed from brown coal after greater heat and pressure have been applied. Black coals are distinguished by rank and may be sub-bituminous, bituminous or anthracite. Black coal is primarily used for electricity generation and the production of coke, which is integral to the production of iron and steel. Black coal is also used as a source of heat in the manufacture of cement and food processing. Brown coal is a less matured form of coal. It has a high ‘in situ’ moisture content (up to 60%) with a correspondingly low heating value. It is highly susceptible to spontaneous combustion. Brown coal is used widely for power generation, is made into briquettes, and can be converted to liquid or gaseous fuels.

Although coal mining occurred in all states in 2005, New South Wales and Queensland produced over 96% of all black coal (anthracite, bituminous and sub-bituminous coals) and Victoria produced all the brown coal (lignite). Australia’s EDR of recoverable black coal is 39.2 Gt, which is about 5% of total world EDR making Australia’s holdings the sixth largest in the world. EDR of recoverable brown coal is 37.4 Gt, which gives Australia the largest holding in the world and accounts for 24% of world EDR. All EDR is located in Victoria and about 89% is located in the La Trobe Valley.

Australia’s coal production and exports have risen strongly over the last two decades. Production of black coal increased in 2005. Output of saleable black coal at 303.0 Mt was 1.7% higher than in 2004 and made Australia the world’s fourth largest producer. Brown coal production reached 67.2 Mt in 2004-05. Australia was the world’s fifth largest producer of brown coal with about 8% of production.


Copper occurs in various forms. It can occur naturally in its pure state (native copper) but is principally mined as chalcopyrite. Copper is one of the most important and widely used metals of modern society due to its properties of:

  • high electrical and heat conductivity
  • ductile and malleable
  • resistant to corrosion
  • ability to form alloys with other metals.

These properties enable copper to be used in a wide range of applications. The largest use of copper is in the electrical industry where copper wire and cable account for about half of the world’s copper production. Other major markets are the motor vehicle and construction sectors. Copper is also an integral part of the expanding information technology sector and is used in the manufacture of computers, mobile phones, fax machines and televisions.

Major Australian copper mining and smelting operations are at Olympic Dam (South Australia) and Mt Isa (Queensland), with smaller projects in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. Australia’s EDR of copper is 41.4 Mt giving it the world’s second largest holding of copper EDR with 8% of the total.

Mine production of copper in 2005 was 921 kt of contained copper, 7% higher than in 2004 (860 kt). Queensland dominates Australian production with 399 kt (largely from Mt Isa) followed by South Australia with 213 kt (all from Olympic Dam). The remaining production occurred in New South Wales (190 kt), Western Australia (90 kt) and Tasmania (30 kt). As a producer, Australia ranks fifth, with 6% of world output, after Chile (36%), the United States of America (8%) and Indonesia and Peru (both 7%).


Diamond is composed of carbon, and is the hardest known natural substance, but a sharp blow can shatter it. Diamonds occur naturally but are extremely rare compared with other minerals. Diamonds are thought to form deep in the earth at high temperatures and pressures and are carried to the surface or near surface by volcanic rocks in narrow cylinder-like bodies called ‘pipes’. A large proportion of industrial diamonds are manufactured, and it is also possible to produce synthetic diamonds of gem quality. Uses for diamond include jewellery, computer chip manufacture, drill bit facing, and stone cutting and polishing.

Australia produced 30.7 million carats (Mc) of diamond in 2005, making it the world’s second largest producer of diamond by weight after Russia, with Botswana and Congo (Kinshasa) ranked third and fourth respectively. It is the second largest producer of industrial-grade diamond and the third largest producer of gem/near gem diamond after Botswana and Russia.

Australia’s EDR of gem/near gem diamonds is 124.2 Mc and industrial diamonds 129.2 Mc. These are both more than double the EDRs for 2004 as a result of the decision to proceed with underground mining at Argyle and a related upgrade of around half of the mineral resource to ore reserves based on the results of a comprehensive feasibility study. Australia’s EDR of industrial diamond is ranked third in the world, with 21% of world EDR.

The majority of Australian production was from the Argyle mine in the Kimberley region of Western Australia which produced 30.5 Mc of mostly industrial and near gem diamonds in 2005. Argyle production was 48% higher than in 2004 despite mining constraints within the deepening open pit.


Gold has a range of uses but the two principal applications are as an investment instrument and in the manufacture of jewellery. Secondary uses, in terms of the amount of gold consumed, are in electronic and dental applications.

Gold resources occur and are mined in all Australian states and the Northern Territory. Australia’s EDR of gold is 5,225 tonnes, the second largest in the world after South Africa.

Australian gold production in 2005 (reported by ABARE) was 263 tonnes. This level of production makes Australia the second largest producer in the world after South Africa. The Super Pit at Kalgoorlie in Western Australia was the largest producer with an output of nearly 26 tonnes (just over 0.8 million ounces).

Iron ore

Iron ore is the source of primary iron for the world’s steel industries. Over 97% of iron ore production occurs in the Hamersley Basin (Western Australia). Small production also comes from elsewhere in Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales. Australia’s EDR of iron ore is 16.4 Gt which is about 10% of world EDR. Western Australia has almost all of Australia’s EDR with about 92% occurring in the Pilbara district. Australia has the fifth largest iron ore holding in the world.

Australia’s production of iron ore in 2005 (reported by ABARE) was 261.4 Mt, which was 17% of world output, making Australia the world’s third largest producer after China and Brazil.

Manganese ore

About 90% of the world’s production of manganese is used in the desulphurisation and strengthening of steel. Other uses include the manufacture of dry batteries, as a colorant, and as an ingredient in plant fertilisers and animal feed. Manganese ore was mined in the Northern Territory and Western Australia in 2005. Production reached 3.9 Mt, 14% of world output, making Australia the third largest producer in the world. Australian production is from three mines – Woodie Woodie (Western Australia) and Groote Eylandt and Bootu Creek (both in the Northern Territory). Australia’s EDR of manganese ore, at 143 Mt, is 12% of world EDR, fourth largest in the world.

Mineral sands

The three main minerals mined from Australian mineral sands deposits are the titanium-bearing minerals rutile and ilmenite and the zirconium-bearing mineral zircon. Rutile and ilmenite are used mainly in the production of titanium dioxide pigment. A small portion, less than 4% of total titanium mineral production and typically rutile, is used in making titanium sponge metal. Zircon is used as an opacifier for glazes on ceramic tiles, and is used in refractories and the foundry industry. Production in 2005 was from Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.

Australia’s EDR of ilmenite is 214.9 Mt of which 59% is in Western Australia, 25% in Queensland and the rest in New South Wales (7%), Victoria (6%) and South Australia (3%). Australia accounts for 19% (the second largest holding behind China at 35%) of the world’s EDR of ilmenite. Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria together hold over 97% of Australia’s 20.5 Mt EDR of rutile, which, at 40% of world EDR, is the world’s largest.

EDR of zircon is 32.9 Mt, with Western Australia and Queensland holding just over 68%. In world terms, Australia’s EDR is 43% of the total and is the largest holding by any country.

Although Australia has substantial EDR of mineral sands, Geoscience Australia estimates that some 17% of ilmenite, 28% of rutile and 25% of zircon EDR is unavailable for mining. They are in areas quarantined from mining that are largely incorporated into national parks. Deposits in this category include Moreton Island, Bribie Island and Fraser Island, Cooloola sand mass, Byfield sand mass and Shoalwater Bay area (Queensland) and Yuraygir, Bundjalung, Hat Head and Myall Lakes National Parks (New South Wales).

In 2005 Australia produced 2.03 Mt of ilmenite, 177,000 tonnes of rutile, 55,000 tonnes of leucoxene and 426,000 tonnes of zircon. The bulk of Australia’s rutile and zircon production is exported compared with about 35% for ilmenite. The remaining ilmenite is upgraded to synthetic rutile. Australia was the world’s largest producer of ilmenite, rutile and zircon (with 23%, 47% and 40% of world output respectively) in 2005.


Australia’s EDR of nickel increased by 6% to 23.9 Mt in 2005. Western Australia has the largest nickel resources, with over 90% of total Australian EDR. Australia holds the largest share of the world’s EDR, with 37%.

Australian mine production of nickel in 2005 increased by 1% to 189,000 tonnes, all from Western Australia. The value of all nickel products exported was $3.5b. Australia was the world’s third largest producer, accounting for 13% of estimated world nickel output.


Australia is the world’s largest producer of tantalum in the form of tantalum concentrates. Australia also has the world’s largest stock of tantalum resources, principally in its deposits at Greenbushes and Wodgina in Western Australia.

Australia has the world’s largest EDR of tantalum at 52,000 tonnes. This is approximately 95% of world EDR.


Australia has 716,000 tonnes of uranium in Reasonably Assured Resources recoverable at costs of less than US$40/kilogram of uranium – this is the world’s largest resource and represents 37% of world resources in this category (OECD Nuclear Energy Agency & International Atomic Energy Agency, 2005). Almost all of Australia’s total resources are in six deposits:

  • Olympic Dam (South Australia) which is the world’s largest uranium deposit
  • Ranger, Jabiluka and Koongarra in the Alligator River region (Northern Territory)
  • Kintyre and Yeelirrie (Western Australia).

Three uranium mines operated in 2005 – Ranger open cut, Olympic Dam underground mine, and the Beverley (South Australia) in situ leach operations. In 2005 Ranger produced 5,906 tonnes of uranium oxide, Olympic Dam 4,335 tonnes and Beverley 977 tonnes for a total of 11,218 tonnes, 6% higher than for 2004. Australia, with approximately 23% of world uranium production in 2005, is the world’s second largest producer after Canada (28%). While there are a number of undeveloped deposits in Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland, uranium mining is only allowed to occur in the current three mines in the Northern Territory and South Australia.

Exports of uranium oxide in 2005 were a record 12,360 tonnes, valued at $573m. Exports are controlled by Australian Government bilateral safeguards agreements, which are designed to ensure that Australia’s uranium is used only for electricity generation and is not diverted to any military purposes. Importing countries must be signatories to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safeguards arrangements and have entered into an agreement with the Australian Government to adhere to safeguard obligations for exporting uranium.

Australian mining companies supply uranium under long-term contracts to electricity utilities in the United States of America, Japan, European Union (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Belgium and Finland), Republic of (South) Korea and Canada.

Zinc, lead, silver

Zinc is the 23rd most abundant element in the earth’s crust. The construction, appliance and vehicle manufacturing industries use large amounts of zinc, mainly as coatings on steel beams, sheet steel and vehicle panels in the automotive industry.

The widespread occurrence, relatively simple extraction, and combination of desirable properties have made lead useful to humans since at least 5000 BC. In deposits mined today, lead (in the form of galena) is usually associated with zinc, silver and sometimes copper, and is extracted as a co-product of these metals. More than half of the lead used comes from recycling, rather than mining. The largest use is in batteries for vehicles and communications.

The relative scarcity, attractive appearance and malleability of silver has made it suitable for use in jewellery, ornaments and silverware. Its extensive use in coins throughout history has declined over the past 40 years. In Australia, the 1966 fifty-cent piece was the last coin in general use to contain silver (80% silver, 20% copper). Silver is mined and produced mainly as a co-product of copper, lead, zinc, and to a lesser extent, gold. Today, photographic paper and film, followed by the electronics and jewellery/tableware industries are the most important users of silver.

Australian EDR of zinc is close to 42 Mt, with Queensland holding 62%. The Northern Territory, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania also have zinc EDR.

Australia’s EDR of 23.8 Mt of lead is 32% of world EDR. Queensland has 60% of total Australian EDR. Other holdings are in the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania.

EDR for silver in 2005 was 44 Kt, with Queensland having the largest share at 67.5%. Other holdings occur in South Australia (12.5%), Northern Territory (11.3%), New South Wales (5.0%), and Western Australia (2.5%) with the remainder in Tasmania and Victoria.

Australia has the world’s largest EDR of zinc (18% of the world) and lead (32%), and the second largest EDR of silver (16%).

Mine production of zinc, lead and silver in 2005 was 1.37 Mt, 767,000 tonnes and 2,407 tonnes respectively. Production was higher for each commodity compared with 2004, with zinc up 33,000 tonnes, lead up 90,000 tonnes and silver up 170 tonnes. In production, Australia ranks second for lead and zinc after China and fourth for silver after Peru, Mexico and China. Cannington (Queensland) is the world’s largest and lowest cost silver and lead operation and produced almost 288,000 tonnes of lead and 43.9 million ounces of silver in 2005. Century (Queensland) had the largest zinc output at 501,000 tonnes.


Map 16.26 shows significant locations of oil and gas production and includes oil and gas production locations, oil and gas pipelines and oil refineries.


Crude oil and condensate

In 2005-06 production of total crude oil and condensate from the North West Shelf (off Western Australia) and the Gippsland Basin (Victoria) accounted for 41% and 19% respectively of total Australian crude oil and condensate production. The North West Shelf was the major producer of condensate during 2005-06 with 79% of total Australian production sourced from that region.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG)

LNG production has in previous years been solely from the North West Shelf Venture but in February 2006 production commenced from the LNG plant in Darwin (Northern Territory). Australian LNG production in 2005-06 was 12.38 Mt. Export earnings from LNG in 2005-06 were $4.4b, an increase of $1.2b on 2004-05.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)

LPG is a valuable co-product of oil and gas production and petroleum refining. The major constituents of LPG are propane and iso and normal-butane, which are gaseous at normal temperatures and pressures, and are easily liquefied at moderate pressures or reduced temperatures. Operations involving LPG are expensive in relation to other liquid fuels because LPG has to be refrigerated or pressurised when transported and stored. LPG is an alternative transport fuel for high mileage vehicles in urban areas, as well as a petrochemical feedstock and domestic fuel.

In 2005-06 the major producers were the Gippsland Basin and the North West Shelf accounting for 41% and 46% of total production respectively.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Copper miners have struck gold

A HUGE copper deposit discovered on the Yorke Peninsula is expected to lead to a jobs boom for the Ardrossan region, a minerals exploration company predicted yesterday.

The Hillside project between Port Julia and Ardrossan is globally significant, in the top 25 per cent of existing and undeveloped open-pit copper projects, explorer Rex Minerals said.

“This is a significant boost to Yorke Peninsula,” Rex chief executive Steven Olsen said.

“We already have 20 staff plus the drilling crew there but you obviously could get into the hundreds of people employed (once a mine is developed).

“In the space of only six months, dedicated resources drilling has seen Hillside emerge as a great discovery.

“Ongoing drilling success could soon show that Hillside is one of Australia’s largest copper projects behind Olympic Dam and Mt Isa.”

Rex yesterday announced its first estimate of the Hillside deposit according to industry-accepted standards.

It told the stock exchange it had an inferred resource equal to 700,000 tonnes of copper and 650,000 ounces of gold, based on drilling results from one third of the site.

Hillside’s target is now up to 2.3 million tonnes of copper and annual production estimates could go beyond those produced by OZ Minerals’ $1.2 billion Prominent Hill mine in the state’s north.

South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy chief executive Jason Kuchel was cautiously optimistic about the potential.

“They still have a way to go,” he said.

“Most people want to get a mine life of more than 7-10 years  …  certainly it’s shaping up to be a very promising resource.

“We’re talking about 100 jobs during construction and probably at least several hundreds of jobs during the operation of the mine,” he said.

Proximity to roads, ports, power and the city would cut mine development, making it a “win-win” for the company and communities on Yorke Peninsula, Mr Kuchel said.

Mr Olsen said most of the copper and gold found at Hillside was only 10m below the surface – making the deposit well suited to shallow, large-scale, low-cost bulk mining.

Rex was now exploring the potential of leaching copper oxide closer to the surface to generate cash to fund further development which it plans to do alone.

“It’s not really necessary (to seek a funding partner). Owning the project 100 per cent has been a core focus for us,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rex had $31.5 million in cash to continue drilling its targets over the next 18 months to further hone its resources estimates.

It would go to its shareholders for further funding down the track. Shareholders were delighted with the news, sending shares 15 per cent higher before they settled at an 8 per cent premium, up 14c to $1.81.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Coobina chromite mine set to re-open

PETER KLINGER, The West Australian July 29, 2010, 12:46 pm

Gennadiy Bogolyubov
Supplied / Unknown ©

Ukrainian billionaire Gennadiy Bogolyubov is poised to reopen the Coobina chromite mine in the Pilbara, creating 120 jobs for an operation that could generate about 2.5 per cent of the world’s supply of the stainless steel ingredient.

The billionaire, who picked up Coobina as part of his $1.2 billion takeover of Consolidated Minerals in late 2007, expects the resumption of mining at Coobina will cost about $6 million.

Coobina, east of Newman, is Australia’s only chromite mine.

Chromite is a key ingredient in ferrochrome and sought after in stainless steel for its corrosion-resistant characteristics.

The Coobina open pit mine has been on care and maintenance since 2008 when the global financial crisis triggered a collapse in stainless steel production. About 20 people have remained on site to work on the crushing and beneficiation plant, with another 100 needed to support the reopening of the mine by October.

Mr Bogolyubov expects Coobina to produce up to 450,000 tonnes of chromite a year, equivalent to about 2.5 per cent of an annual world supply estimated at 18 million tonnes.

The chromite products – lump, chips and fines ore – will be trucked to Port Hedland for shipping to markets in Asia and Europe.

Coobina’s reopening comes as ConsMin’s main undertaking, the high-grade Woodie Woodie manganese mine about 400km south-east of Port Hedland, prepares for a 25 per cent boost to annual production levels to 1.2 million tonnes.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Big Narrikup dairy up for sale in WA

RACHEL DONKIN, The West Australian July 21, 2010, 7:13 am

Ravenhill Dairy marketing manager Rhys Ravenhill with some of the milkers at Narrikup.
Danella Bevis / Danella Bevis ©

Thirsty? How about a glass or two of milk? Milking cows a plenty.

Graham and Jan Ravenhill produce eight million litres of the white stuff at their dairy farm at Narrikup, near Mt Barker, which they have decided to put on the market as their three sons forge their own paths in business.

But the couple will leave a little bit of themselves behind when they walk away from the operation.

After setting up at Narrikup with a handful of cows 19 years ago, Ravenhill Dairy now lays claim to being the third-biggest operation in the State, with the 950ha farm’s 1100 cows producing 2.5 per cent of all milk produced in the State (about 320 million litres).

WA accounts for about 170 of the more than 10,000 dairy farms across the country, which together produce enough product to give Australia the title of the world’s second-biggest dairy exporter.

Although about 50 per cent of the milk produced at Ravenhill is exported through the Challenge Dairy Co-operative, the business also has a retail presence, the result of a decision six years ago to establish a processing plant and branch out into branded products.

Ravenhill Dairy milk – the family also tried its hand at yoghurt but it proved less profitable – can now be bought across the counter at most retail outlets in the Albany region.

The Ravenhill name has been linked to milk since 1925, when Graham’s grandfather began a small dairy near Walpole.

But with their three sons ready to head in different directions – Bevan is a dairy farmer in his own right, Ken is focused on cropping and Rhys will pursue interests outside agribusiness – the Ravenhills say they are now looking forward to trying out the ‘nine-to-five’ existence that is so familiar to city folk.

The family declined to discuss the sale price.
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Chevron signs KOGAS

as new Wheatstone customer

AAP July 20, 2010, 7:42 am

Chevron has found more gas off the WA coast.
Via Bloomberg / SUPPLIED ©

The Korea Gas Corporation has signed a 20-year agreement worth billions of dollars to purchase liquefied natural gas from the $25 billion Wheatstone gas project off the North-West coast.

US oil giant Chevron Corporation, the operator of the project in Ashburton North, said its Australian subsidiaries had signed a Heads of Agreement with KOGAS.

The new agreement will boost the likelihood of the Wheatstone project getting final approval, slated for next year.

KOGAS, the largest LNG buyer in the world, will purchase 1.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG from Wheatstone for 20 years.

The company also signed an agreement to acquire a five per cent stake in Chevron’s Wheatstone field licenses and in the Wheatstone project LNG and domestic gas processing facilities.

KOGAS’ LNG purchase together with its equity participation will see KOGAS take delivery of about 1.95mtpa of Wheatstone LNG.

State One Stockbroking energy analyst Peter Kopetz estimated the deal with KOGAS would be worth about $20 billion over its 20 year life, based on previous deals announced.

He said such a move would boost the chances of the gas project getting final approval.

“I think Wheatstone now has contracted about 80 per cent of its LNG,” Mr Kopetz said.

Tokyo Electric Power Company last year signed Australia’s biggest energy deal, with a deal worth an estimated $90 billion to take 4.1mtpa of Wheatstone gas during the next 20 years.

KOGAS has previously signed a deal with Chevron for 1.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG from the Gorgon gas project offshore from WA.

Chevron has not disclosed the value of the latest deal.
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Australina richest people &

Gina Rinehart second richest Aussie

NEALE PRIOR, The West Australian May 26, 2010, 1:00 pm

Gina Rinehart second richest Aussie
WA News / Steve Ferrier ©

Booming iron ore production and prices have made Gina Rinehart the second richest Australian and the nation’s richest woman with an estimated worth of $4.75 billion, according to a wealth list to be published by a business magazine.

Ms Rinehart, the heiress of prospector Lang Hancock, has enjoyed a $1.3 billion rise in her estimated wealth billion as she enjoys more than $200 million in annual royalties from Rio Tinto’s Pilbara mining operations and her cut of profits from her Hope Downs joint venture with Rio.

The BRW Rich 200 list estimates that Angela Bennett, the daughter of Mr Hancock’s late business partner Peter Wright, is Australia’s second richest woman with a fortune of $2.09 billion built on the half share of the Hancock-Wright royalty stream enjoyed by the Wright heirs.

BRW has Westfield shopping centre boss Frank Lowy as Australia’s richest man with an estimated fortune of $5.04 billion, taking the top spot from late cardboard mogul Dick Pratt’s son Anthony with $4.6 billion.

The Lowy fortune was estimated to have risen by $700 million over the past year, while Visy cardboard heir clocked up a relatively humble $300 million increase in wealth.

WA iron ore boss Andrew Forrest was listed as having a fortune of $4.24 billion – up from $2.38 billion last year, when the shares of his Fortescue Metals Group were still reeling from the effects of the global financial market shake down.

But in an illustration of how fleeting share market fortunes can be, the value of his stake in Fortescue has plunged by around $500 million over the past fortnight and he was probably worth only a relatively humble $3.6 billion yesterday.

BRW lists construction and building products mogul Len Buckeridge as the third richest West Australian with an estimated wealth of $2.24 billion, up from an estimated $1.95 billion last year.

Australia’s richest people on BRW magazine’s Rich 200 list:
1. Frank Lowy $5.04 billion property

2. Gina Rinehart $4.75 billion resources

3. Anthony Pratt $4.6 billion manufacturing

4. Andrew Forrest $4.24 billion resources

5. Harry Triguboff $4.2 billion property

6. James Packer $4.1 billion media, investment

7. Clive Palmer $3.92 billion resources

Youngest: Nathan Tinkler, 34, $355 million resources, racing

Oldest: David Mandie, 91, $263 million property

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Chinese likely to be circling

Aussie targets

KATE EMERY, The West Australian June 1, 2010, 7:21 am

Paladin Energy is a company likely to be on China's radar because its biggest assets are overseas. Pictured is the company's Langer Heinrich uranium project in Namibia.NO COPYRIGHT / Paladin Energy ©

A sinking Australian dollar, global equity jitters and a surge in Chinese foreign reserves have put Australian acquisitions back on China’s agenda, analysts say.

Paladin Energy, PanAust and Aquarius Platinum top the list of takeover targets, according to Citigroup analysts. They say miners with offshore assets will be sought after because those with local projects could be hurt by the resource super profits tax and or adverse Foreign Investment Review Board rulings.

“Just as the GFC gave China an opportunity to bid for mining assets with little competition, we expect the global risk reduction sell-off and collapse in the Australian dollar to once again provide an opportunity,” Citi analysts said in a note to clients.

The Citi report echoes industry speculation that the proposed tax could hand Chinese interests a greater slice of Australian resources as other sources of funding dry up.

Chinese foreign exchange reserves surged to $US2.4 trillion in March, up 25 per cent year-on-year. On Citi’s numbers, it is estimated about 70 per cent of that is in US dollars, with the balance mostly in euros and Japanese yen.

The Australian dollar has fallen more than 9 per cent from this year’s high of US93.51¢. It closed yesterday at US84.78¢, down from Friday’s close of US85.09¢.

Paladin, PanAust and Aquarius were named at Citi’s top targets because they all own overseas assets, have no major potential blocking shareholder and are mining commodities that China is expected to be seeking: uranium, copper and platinum respectively.
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Sundance looks to partners for Mbalam

The West Australian June 2, 2010, 11:43 am

Don LewisWA News / Guy Magowan ©

Sundance Resources has upgraded the resource at its Mbalam iron ore project in West Africa by 93 per cent to 415 million direct shipping ore tonnes after declaring a maiden inferred resource of 200 million tonnes for its Nabeba North deposit.

The company said further resource upgrades at Nabeba in Congo were expected to extend direct shipping ore production beyond 10 years.

Sundance is targeting annual production of 35 million tonnes for at least 25 years.

The company said it expected to complete its definitive feasibility study later this year with construction expected to begin next year.

It said it would now turn its attention to securing project financing targeting major steel mills and infrastructure providers interested in build-operate-finance packages.

Sundance chief executive Don Lewis said the rapid exploration success at Nabeba strengthened what was already a robust proposition for global investors and potential partners.

“The (Mbalam) project direct shipping ore resources are near-surface and high grade, supporting a low-cost mining and processing operation… ,” he said.

“The time is right for strategic partners to join this world class project.”
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Conquest makes offer

for North Queensland Metals

The West Australian June 3, 2010, 8:50 am

Jake Klein
Kalgoorlie Miner / Kellie Lewis ©

UPDATE 12.20pm: Conquest Mining has announced a $58 million takeover offer for North Queensland Metals in a bid to expand its landholding in the State and join the ranks of gold producers.

Under the cash and scrip bid, the company will offer NQM shareholders half a Conquest share and 10 cents cash for every share they hold, valuing the company at 29 cents a share, a 29 per cent premium to yesterday’s closing price of 22.5 cents.

It also represents a 37 per cent premium to the volume weighted average share price (VWAP) of the company over the past month.

Conquest said NQM’s major shareholder, non-executive director Don Walker, supported the offer and had signed a pre-bid acceptance agreement covering his 19.9 per cent shareholding in the company.

NQM holds a 60 per cent interest in the Pajingo gold mine near Charters Towers while Conquest owns the nearby Mt Carlton project with reserves of more than 1.15 million ounces of gold equivalent.

Conquest executive chairman Jake Klein said the combined company would be better placed to increase exploration expenditure at Pajingo and attract and retain high quality people.

“NQM shareholders will benefit initially from the significant up-front offer premium and are expected to benefit over the longer term as value is unlocked by combining the complementary assets and capabilities of Conquest and NQM,” he said.

He said the case for combining the two companies was compelling because it would deliver value to NQM shareholders more rapidly and in excess of that achievable by NQM alone.

Conquest said if the offer was successful, it would have about 453 million shares on issue and former NQM shareholders would own 22 per cent of the combined company.

Conquest has made the offer conditional upon it securing 90 per cent of NQM’s issued capital.

North Queensland Metals urged shareholders to take no action until its board had considered the offer and provided a recommendation.

Shares in North Queensland jumped 4.5 cents, or 20 per cent, to 27 cents by 12.15pm after hitting an earlier peak of 29 cents.

Conquest shares were off 1.5 cents, or 3.95 per cent, to 36.5 cents

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Galaxy gets nod for plant in China

The West Australian June 4, 2010, 10:04 am

Iggy TanKalgoorlie Miner / Supplied ©

Emerging lithium producer Galaxy Resources has secured a construction permit for its Jiangsu lithium carbonate plant in China.

Galaxy said the permit from the Jiangsu Province Administration Bureau for Industry and Commerce represented the final milestone of the approvals process for its lithium carbonate project.

Galaxy managing director Iggy Tan said the company had already begun bulk earthworks, roadworks, plant foundation piling, site utilities and concrete padding.

“There is still site preparatory work to complete before full construction activity commences on site,” he said.

Galaxy shares were off one cent to $1.04 at 10am.
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha