Archive for the ‘IRON STEEL’ Category

Large coal and iron ore reserves found & proved up in Iran

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

vintage map showing the Middle East, including Iran

Two large coal and iron ore reserves have been discovered in Iran, according to a top official.

The claim by Mehdi Karbasian, Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade, was reported on Tuesday in the country’s state media, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). Karbasian, who is also chairman of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) told IRNA that 200 million tons of iron ore reserves and 120 million tons of coal reserves respectively were discovered in the Sangan mine, in the eastern province of Khorasan Razavi, during the first half of the current Iranian calendar year, which begins within a day after March 21 of the Gregorian calendar.

The discovery adds to “huge reserves of high-quality iron ore in the country’s central Lut Desert” found last year, according to IRNA.

More detail was provided on Sangan in a paper given at a tailings waste conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2011, which studied tailings disposal options at the mine:

The Sangan iron ore deposits form part of the east-west trending Kuh-e-Taleb mountain range, and in the Khorasan-Razavi Province in north-eastern Iran (Figure 1). The deposits lie approximately 300 km south of the city of Mashhad, 30 km west of the Afghanistan border and some 18 km north-east of the Sangan town. The deposits can be accessed from Mashhad via two separate ways, one via Torbat Heydariyeh and the other via Torbat Jam.

Iran was the 10th largest iron ore producer in 2012, according to the USGS, when it extracted 28 million tons of the steelmaking ingredient. reported the same year that while there is no formal ban on the iron ore trade with Iran, ranking sixth in terms of exports, shipping firms and traders in Europe nevertheless are balking at the financial and political risks in dealing with the country, considering US-led sanctions over its nuclear program.


Friday, July 4th, 2014


A deal between the Guinea government and Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) regarding the Simandou iron ore development was inked on Monday.

The deal with Anglo-Australian giant and its partner – China’s Chalco together with the World Bank – sets out conditions for the associated infrastructure for the ambitious $20 billion project.

A sticking point in the negotiations was the route and funding of a railway to get the Simandou area ore to port.

Monday’s agreement calls for a new 700km railway across the country to Conakry, Guinea’s capital in the north, at a conservatively estimated cost of $7 billion, Reuters reports:

It would also need a deep-water port at Morebaya costing a further $4-billion, and support infrastructures estimated to cost a minimum of $2.5-billion, documents seen by Reuters showed on Monday. The port and railway would eventually be expanded to handle up to 100-million tonnes of minerals a year.

Because of the economic benefit to the impoverished West African nation Guinea this route was chosen in stead of a much shorter and cheaper railway to the deep Buchanan port in neighbouring Liberia to the south. The developers will operate the infrastructure for thirty years whereafter ownership reverts to Guinea.

Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh said in a speech recently that “the infrastructure that brings Guinea’s natural resource wealth to global markets can do so much more for the country,” pointing out that once Simandou is fully operational, it will contribute an estimated $7.6bn to the Guinean economy each year, dwarfing the amount of aid payments the country receives.

Guinea is home to some of the richest and easily exploitable iron ore fields outside of Australia’s Pilbara region and top producer Vale’s Brazilian home base.

Initially scheduled for next year, even with the new deal in place initial exports is doubtful for this decade. Monday’s deal committed the partners to producing a feasibility study within little over a year, another more than two-half-years for financing and production within a decade.

guinea-railway-africa-liberia-conakry-simandou-buchanan image

Simandou would by itself be the world’s fifth-largest producer

Rio acquired the rights for the vast mountain deposit hosting some of the world’s highest-grade ore more than 15 years ago.

Rio Tinto is developing the southern part of Simandou and has already spent more than $3 billion building open pits, but the scale and scope of the development had been placed in doubt by the fall in the price of iron ore and a looming supply glut.

At full production Simandou would export up to 95 million tonnes per year – that’s a third of Rio’s total capacity at the moment – and would catapult Rio past Vale as world number one.

Simandou would by itself be the world’s fifth-largest producer behind Australia’s Fortescue Metals and BHP Billiton.

The northern part of the Simandou concession was held by BSG Resources and Brazilian giant Vale (NYSE:VALE), but the Guinea government withdrew the mining permit in April, accusing BSGR of obtaining its rights through corruption in 2008.

Rio Tinto has filed its own lawsuit against both Vale and BSGR for what it qualifies as a “steal” of its previously-owned concessions.

Fellow Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton has decided to pull out of the country and is in the process of selling its stake in a nearby iron ore project called Nimba.

Henry Sapiecha

Weak ore prices, high costs cause Labrador Iron Mines to cease operations

Friday, July 4th, 2014

labrador-iron-mines-halts-operations-on-weak-ore-prices-high-costs image

Falling global iron ore prices and the need to cut costs have forced Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd. (TSX:LIM) to halt operations at its mines for the year.

Reporting its results for the fiscal year ended March 31, the company said 2014 will have to be a “development year,” with major efforts focus on its flagship Houston Mine, located near Schefferville in the western central part of the iron-rich Labrador Trough, one of the most prolific iron ore producing regions in the world.

The project, expected to start production in April 2015, is still subject to completion of financing and the negotiation of major contracts.

Desjardins Securities analyst Jackie Przybylowski said in a research note that the firm could start work on the Houston Mine this summer but it would have to raise $20-million to do so.

“We see a low probability that the company will raise the required funds in the next few years,” Przybylowski wrote.

houston-mine-location map image

Labrador Iron said it is also looking to lower costs by renegotiating with major contractors and suppliers, and has already put in place savings initiatives in various areas including mining equipment rates, rail car leasing rates and corporate and administration costs.

Savings initiatives have already been put in place in several areas, including mining equipment rates, fuel procurement, aviation services, hydroelectric power, rail car leasing rates and corporate and administrative costs.

Even directors’ fees have been waived.

Hard sell

Iron ore mining in the Labrador Trough region of Canada has been a hard sell recently, but the Quebec government’s commitment of up to $19.2 million ($Cdn 20 million) for a feasibility study on a new rail link that would connect mines in the area to ports, may be about to change that.

While the 1000-kilometre-long area —home to one of the world’s largest high-quality iron-ore deposits— seems attractive to miners, investors are understandably wary of the region right now.

While the 1000-kilometre-long area —home to one of the world’s largest high-quality iron-ore deposits— seems attractive to miners, investors are understandably wary of the region right now.

There still are uncertainties in the market, such as current prices sinking close to two-year lows and the fact some miners have been either shelving projects in the region or having difficulties selling them.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) said mid-February that it was postponing an expansion of its Bloom Lake mine in the region, while Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) failed to find a buyer for its 59% stake in Iron Ore Company of Canada, or IOC.

Shares in Labrador Iron Mines were down almost 10% to 0.0950 at 12:05 pm ET.

Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Ausdrill contract win to generate A$75 million

over three years in Fortescue’s iron ore

and it goes undergroundInternational Mining

Ausdrill has received a Letter of Intent from Fortescue Metals Group for the award of a mining services contract at Fortescue’s Solomon iron ore project, located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Sunday, March 27th, 2011

BHP plans $US10b expansion

March 25, 2011

BHP Billiton will spend nearly $US10 billion ($9.89 billion) to expand iron ore operations and energy and metallurgical coal projects in Western Australia.

The world’s biggest resource company will spend $US6.6 billion in an iron ore project expansion in Western Australia, $US2.5 billion to expand three metallurgical coal projects in Queensland and $400 million on an energy coal project in NSW.

BHP shares initially rose 0.5 per cent on the news, but slipped in morning trade and were recently down 0.5 per cent at $44.51. Rival Rio Tinto rose 0.6 per cent.

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The company said it and its partners would spend $US7.4 billion to develop the Jimblebar mine and rail links, to further develop Port Hedland and to build ore blending facilities, taking the annual iron ore capacity to 220 million tonnes.

BHP Billiton’s president of iron ore, Ian Ashby, said the intention was to develop the port capacity so that the company could fill its 240 million tonne per annum allocation in Port Hedland’s inner harbour.

‘‘We have intentionally overbuilt the ore handling facilities at Jimblebar and expect to incrementally grow mine production to ensure that our port and rail systems are operated at full capacity during this debottlenecking program,’’ he said in a statement.

BHP Billiton said first production from the Jimblebar mine was expected in early calendar 2014.

A total of $US3.4 billion will be spent on the Jimblebar mine, including buying rolling stock, with initial capacity of 35 million tonnes per annum, with embedded options to expand to 55 mtpa.

A further $US2.3 billion, including BHP Billiton’s share of $US1.9 billion, will be spent on Port Hedland, adding two berths and shiploaders and other works.BHP Billiton and its partners will spend $US1.7 billion on the port blending facilities and rail yards.

The Melbourne-based company also approved spending $US2.5 billion ($A2.47 billion) on three coking coal projects in the Bowen Basin in central Queensland. BHP’s share is half of the total $US5 billion to be spent on the expansion.

BHP Billiton metallurgical coal president Hubie van Dalsen said the company had a deep pipeline of expansion projects to develop its large reserves of metallurgical coal.

‘‘Our strategy is to rapidly progress development of these projects to capture the increasing demand we see for hard coking coal,’’ he said.

BHP Billiton said the projects would add 4.9 million tonnes of annual mine capacity to the Daunia operation and a new mining area at Broadmeadow.

In a third statement, BHP Billiton said it would spend $US400 million to expand Hunter Valley Energy Coal in NSW, to increase coal production by four million tonnes per annum to about 24 million tonnes per annum.

‘‘The emergence of demand for coal in the key growth markets allows us to get product to market quickly, ahead of further coal preparation plant expansions,’’ BHP Billiton Energy Coal President Jimmy Wilson said.

BHP Billiton is cashed up after reporting a new Australian record first half net profit in February of $US10.524 billion ($A10.41 billion) for the six months to December 31.

BHP Billiton stocks rose 51 cents to close at $44.71 on the ASX yesterday.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, November 19th, 2010

Fortescue approves $8.5b

Pilbara expansion

Barry FitzGerald
November 19, 2010 – 12:02PM

Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals has given the go-ahead for an $US8.4 billion ($8.5 billion) expansion of its Pilbara iron ore operations.

The expansion from 55 million tonnes to 155 million tonnes-a-year is to be financed by bank or bond market debt facilities, cash reserves and cash flow from operations.

‘‘I would anticipate that we would take on an additional $US4 billion of debt to see us fund the expansion,’’ chief financial officer Stephen Pearce said.He said funds would be raised well in advance of the company’s requirement for capital spending.

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The final mix of external debt and cash flows will depend on iron ore price movements. At present, the Pilbara iron ore producers are enjoying boom time prices of more than $US150 a tonne for the steelmaking raw material.

The cost of the expansion – at an effective $US84 per annual tonne – is a lower cost than most analysts think is possible. The biggest Pilbara iron ore producer Rio Tinto recently said $US130 a tonne for new capacity was now the case in the Pilbara.

“This decision will enable Fortescue to leverage its existing infrastructure and its massive land holding across the Pilbara to exponentially increase product sales within key markets of Asia, Europe and Australia,” Mr Forrest said.

“After years of planning for the next phase of development, the depth of management experience and breadth of construction and operational expertise will enable Fortescue to rapidly achieve its growth ambitions within a sector that is underpinned by an extraordinary demand profile,” Mr Forrest added.

Iron ore is already Australia’s biggest export earner. Exports in 2010-11 have been estimated by ABARE at $47.7 billion. At current prices, the additional production Fortescue is targeting is alone worth $15 billion.

Pilbara iron ore production is also immensely profitable, with costs for the big three producers – Rio, BHP Billiton and Fortescue – coming in at less than $US30 a tonne. Iron ore, along with coal, is subject to the Federal government’s mining tax.

Fortescue was 1 cent lower in recent trade.

with AAP

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


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

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

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

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