Archive for the ‘MONEY’ Category

The world’s top 10 oil and gas companies. Infographic shows

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

The world's top 10 oil and gas companies [infographic]

When North Americans think of oil and gas companies, they often think of the big private sector companies such as Exxon Mobil or ConocoPhillips. However, it is always interesting to look at the sheer size and scope of some of the major government owned (or partnered) oil and gas firms to really see the extent of the industry.
Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Arabian oil and gas giant, is by far the biggest energy company in the world. Saudi Aramco’s biggest field, Ghawar, generates 5 million barrels per day of oil, and the company as a whole makes more than $1 billion per day in revenues. The company’s value has been estimated around $10 trillion – the biggest company in the world. That’s about 15 times the size of Apple.
Gazprom and National Iranian Oil Company also produce 8.1 million and 6.1 million bpd equivalent. Meanwhile PetroChina, only one of three big state-owned oil giants in China, produces 3.9 million barrels each day.
With oil prices at their lowest in five years, it will be interesting to see how all of these companies respond.
ooo
Henry Sapiecha

MEXICAN GOVERNMENT TO FUND RARE EARTH PROJECT

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

THE RARE EARTH FUNDING IN MEXICO BY GOVERNMENT

mexicos-government-to-fund-rare-earth-exploration image www.www-globalcommodities.com

Mexico’s Ministry of Economy will begin funding explorations projects to locate deposits of rare earth metals, a group of elements of increasing importance in variety of industries including green technology, defence systems, consumer electronics, and high-tech applications.

According to country’s Geological Survey (SGM), global demand for rare earths in 2016 will hit 160,000 tons, with China expected to produce up to 80% of that demand, which leaves room for other suppliers, The Economista reports (in Spanish).

The prediction coincides with the latest studies by the US National Academy of Science and the European Union, which have warned the world could soon face a serious shortage of the critical elements.

At the moment about 95% of the world’s rare earths come from the Asian giant, which also imposes export quotas.

Only two rare-earth mines currently exist in other countries. One of them is Lynas Corp’s (ASX:LYC) Mount Weld mine in Australia, and the other one in California, US, owned by Molycorp (NYSE:MCP).

Mexico, the world’s 10th-biggest crude producer, is in the midst of an ambitious programme of reforms proposed by the government last year. These aim to throw open the country’s energy sector for the first time in more than seven decades. They also seek generating cheap energy to fuel local industries.

The country’s mining industry employs about 334,000 directly, with 2 million people employed indirectly, making the sector the country’s fourth largest industry in dollar income, behind cars, oil and electronics.

The country’s mining industry employs about 334,000 directly, with 2 million people employed indirectly, making the sector the country’s fourth largest industry in dollar income, behind cars, oil and electronics.

While the amount of rare earth deposits Mexico may have it is not yet known, the country holds vast underwater reserves of these elements off its west coast. Deep-sea mining, however, is unlikely to replace land-based mining, believe experts, but they add it could alleviate the fear of shortages and challenge China’s virtual monopoly on REE production.

Henry Sapiecha

NEVADA RESIDENTS NEAR A COPPER MINE GET A $20M PAYOUT

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

BONANZA PAYOUT FOR NEVADA RESIDENTS BECAUSE OF COPPER MINE COVERUP

Anaconda-Copper-Mine-300x250

Residents of a Northern Nevada town are $20 million richer after reaching a settlement with a company accused of covering up a leaking World War II-era copper mine, the Associated Press reports.

Seven hundred neighbours of the old Anaconda mine, located about 65 kilometres southeast of Reno, claimed that Atlantic Richfield and its parent BP America had “intentionally and negligently” concealed the extent of chemical leakage into their drinking water.

Atlantic Richfield, which purchased the Anaconda mine in the 1978, acknowledged no wrongdoing in the settlement. It argued that the region has naturally occurring uranium and that there’s no proof that the copper mine caused the contamination.

Residents filed the lawsuit after an EPA investigation determined that uranium, a by-product of the mine, was leaking into groundwater, resulting in “dangerous levels of uranium or arsenic or both” in 79% of wells north of the mine. A US Labour Department review in 2008 also revealed that the clean-up schedule had not been enforced.

The companies will pay $7 million in property damages, $900,000 for a medical monitoring fund and up to $12.5 million to connect water supplies with the city of Yerington’s water distribution system.

In its heyday, Anaconda Copper Mining, the company that originally operated the Nevada mine, was the fourth largest company in the world. Between 1952 and 1978, the mine produced 1.7 billion pounds of copper. It shut down due to low copper prices.

AAA

Henry Sapiecha

fine gold line

WORLDS RICHEST MINING MAGNATE BRAZILS EIKE FUHRKEN BATISTA SUFFERS A $1B LOSS IN VALUE IN THE MARKET

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012


ngcgolf.com - Scientifically Designed Golf Equipment.


Brazil’s Eike Fuhrken Batista takes a $1b hammering on his companys personal fortune

Brazil’s Eike Fuhrken Batista is the world of mining’s richest man and has been on a roll so far this year, increasing his wealth by a third according to Bloomberg data.

But he took a few blows to the body on Tuesday.

After his oil and gas firm OGX – one of five public companies under Batista’s control – disappointed with reserve figures of only 110 million barrels at an offshore well called Tubarão-Azul or Blue Shark the company was beaten down 7.8%.

That decline and a generally bad day on the world’s stock markets meant $1,023,200,000 disappeared from Batista’s personal fortune on Tuesday.

Dockhub

Batista is now down to his last $30 billion and is in danger of dropping out of the top 10 if commodity stocks continue to slide. (The three who could catch Batista  – Wal-Mart’s Walton siblings  – only lost $100 million on Tuesday.)

A much more encouraging find on land by another Batista business could not reverse the steep declines.

CCX, Batista’s coal unit, also announced today that it discovered a 672 million tonnes reserve, making it the fifth largest coal deposit in the world, at San Juan in Colombia.

CCX is being spun off and will list separately on the Sao Paulo exchange on May 25.

Perhaps having a sixth publicly traded entity will help Batista cobble together another billion or so.

dinodirect

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

 

INDIAN RUPEE DIPPED TO A NEW LOW AGAINST THE DOLLAR & RBI ISSUES DIRECTIVES TO GEM & JEWELLERY INDUSTRY

Friday, May 11th, 2012


Surat Diamond Jewellery

GEM & JEWELLERY TRADE IN INDIA AT CRISIS POINT

G & J Exporters hit by RBI Directive Already affected by the rising value of the rupee and slow demand from key markets like US and Europe, gem and jewellery exporters were further hit by the RBI’s directive to convert 50 per cent of foreign currency holdings in all types of Exchange Earner’s Foreign Currency (EEFC) accounts in to rupees.

The RBI move is part of its attempt to stabilise the rupee which dipped to a new low of 53.82 against the dollar this week, and will release an estimated $2.5 bn worth of foreign currency into the market.

While the RBI’s objective cannot be faulted, its methodology can be, particularly the lack of a differential approach towards the foreign currency balances held by different sectors.

Clearly industries dealing in commodities, like gems and jewellery, have different needs from sectors like IT that earn dollars through selling services overseas. Unlike the latter, the former need foreign currency to import fresh raw materials on a regular basis. This is all the more marked for g & j, since virtually all the raw materials are purchased overseas, and value addition is based on the skills of the people involved in the trade.

The exact modalities of ensuring payment flexibility for such sectors can be worked out, but a starting point could be the FIEO proposal, where the limit for sectors like gems and jewellery could be higher than the general limit, say 75 per cent as against 50 per cent for others.

Surat Diamond Jewellery

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

MINING IN WA & QLD AUSTRALIA IS GREAT ON THE SURFACE BUT NOT SO BRIGHT UNDER THE SKIN

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

HEAR THE STORIES OF THE UPS & DOWNS IN AUSTRALIAN MINING TOWNS

GRAHAM Evans has lived in Dampier, on the Pilbara coast, for 43 of his 50 years. As a boy, he rode the school bus with the famous Red Dog, and swam off the beach in a now-vanished children’s enclosure, near where a busy hub for commercial seacraft now sits.

Evans’ livelihood is linked to the resources sector that dominates Dampier and nearby Karratha; his business, Australian Marine Services, runs a fleet of vessels that services the enormous and bustling Port of Dampier, from where 140 million tonnes of iron ore are shipped each year.

Yet Evans is ambivalent about the changes that have followed the boom. Karratha, the dusty town earmarked by the state government to become a 50,000-strong ”City of the North”, is bursting at the seams with its population of 14,000, and a fly-in-fly-out workforce that – at any given time – swells the shire’s population by thousands.

PICTURES MALCOLM HEBERLE 2/12/2011 AGE BUSINESS   Story Ruth Williams.Dennis Wellington, Mayor and retailer, owns a store called Leading Edge Hi Fi, Albany.
Mayor and retailer Dennis Wellington. Photo: Malcolm Heberle

It has meant that, after 23 years in business, Evans has never struggled so hard to find, keep and house workers. In a town where workers are paid as much as $200,000 on a mine or construction site, Evans finds it hard to match the wages and conditions on offer. He has had to buy two extra homes just to accommodate his workers, who would struggle to afford local rents that average about $1500 a week.

They are just some of what he calls the ”little frustrations” that come with living in the midst of a mining boom – at the very top gear of the multi-speed economy.

Meanwhile, almost 2000 kilometres to the south, in the WA coastal town of Albany, Elton Woodhams, 35, is contemplating joining the exodus to the north. Woodhams owns a bobcat business and has just finished building his dream home with wife Katie. But in six years running his own business, he has never experienced a time so quiet. This time last year, he was working flat out, five or six days a week. ”It was busy from day one,” he says. Now, he’s lucky to work one day a week.

PICTURES MALCOLM HEBERLE 2/12/2011 AGE BUSINESS   Story Ruth Williams.Elton Woodham, owner, One Tonne Bobcat. ALBANY W.A.
Albany bobcat business owner Elton Woodham. Photo: Malcolm Heberle

With the Aussie dollar soaring, Albany’s crucial tourism industry is facing greater competition from the cheap lures of Bali, and its farming sector was hit by drought last year. But Albany is also suffering the same malaise as any region not linked to the mining boom. It is firmly stuck in second gear.

When those on the east coast picture the two-speed economy in their minds, they see a nation divided between the mining states and the rest. They see WA and Queensland running at full speed, their residents raking in boom-time wages and their state governments battling to spend an endless stream of mining royalties, as the rest of Australia grapples with the consequences.

But the truth is that the so-called patchwork economy is not neatly divided along state borders. It is a region-by-region, suburb-by-suburb, street-by-street proposition that is having an impact on WA just as dramatically as on the non-mining states.

WA, however, must deal with the extremes of the patchwork economy in a state almost as big as NSW, Queensland and Tasmania combined; that has a voracious need for people and infrastructure up north; a capital city, Perth, that is staggering under the weight of a population influx; and large areas in the south that are falling behind.

Nationally, the two-speed economy shows no sign of dissipating. Growing fears on how the financial tumult in Europe will play out continue to weigh on the minds of Australian consumers and investors; unemployment is ticking up and the high Aussie dollar is taking its toll on local manufacturers. This week, the chief executives of both BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto warned of a gloomy outlook for the world economy due to the ructions in Europe.

In WA, retail sales are stronger, wages are higher and unemployment is lower. Despite their caution, both mining bosses reiterated their faith in the continued growth of the all-important Chinese economy, to which WA’s economic wagon is well and truly hitched. Business investment data out this week showed the continued strength of the boom – mining investment surged 22 per cent over the three months to September 30, and 60 per cent over the year, helping boost wider business investment to its fastest rate on record.

It all looks economically rosy in WA. But there is another story below the surface.

”There’s a resources boom, but there are also sections of the economy that are travelling very slowly,” says Eric Ripper, Leader of the Opposition in WA and a former state treasurer. ”The property market is flat. Every retailer will tell you business is very slow, the tourism industry is struggling, education exports are challenged.

”So the two-speed economy, the multi-speed economy, the patchwork economy is a feature of WA, just as it is a feature of the national economy.”

THE ghost town of Cossack sits on the coast north of Karratha. Once a bustling port and centre of the north-west pearling industry, it was at its peak during the 1880s, when thousands of prospectors shuffled through the port on their way to the newly discovered Pilbara goldfields.

Cyclones, competition from other ports and the end of the gold rush led to Cossack’s decline, and it was abandoned after World War II.

But, from a lookout near the town, one can see the latest mining boom in full swing.

On the horizon, the ore ships – seven or eight or nine at a time – await their turn to dock and take their load from the giant stockpile at Cape Lambert port, owned and operated by Rio Tinto.

Cape Lambert’s 80 million tonne capacity will be more than doubled by 2016, at which point it will overtake nearby Dampier Port. Throw in the area’s other big resource projects in place or coming soon – Woodside’s North West Shelf LNG operation, its forthcoming Pluto project, Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG project in Onslow, and the tens of billions of dollars of others being planned, built or considered – and it becomes clear where the hunger for workers and money is coming from.

For some, this hunger has resulted in big salaries and big living – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work hard and earn sums of money once unattainable. But this hunger is so strong it has also severely warped the local economy.

In Karratha, a housing shortage has pushed up rents on standard four-by-twos to $1800 to $2000 a week. Few can afford to rent in Karratha unless they are housed by their company, or their rent is subsidised. A hotel room costs between $350 and $450 a night, and can be a rare commodity. A toasted cheese sandwich costs $12, petrol is $1.60 a litre.

The new buzzword in Karratha is ”normalisation” – the process by which this dusty boomtown, with its sky-high rents, FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) swagger and lack of amenity, will again be the sort of place where a family can afford to live in a decent house, whether they work in mining or not.

That is not the case now. Not-for-profit organisations are forced to house their staff in caravans, and the shire is facing a problem of people living in cars or shipping containers, or camping illegally. Such people often have well-paying jobs, says Fiona White-Hartig, the newly elected shire president. ”But it’s just not enough to get them into that rental market.”

White-Hartig is also the president of Karratha Emergency Relief Organisation, which provides food and gas supplies to those in financial trouble. ”We can’t keep up with the demand. And they are people that used to be your middle-class kind of people, but they are struggling.”

White-Hartig says the local economy needs to diversify – she is particularly keen to boost the local tourism industry. But no tourist charter boats operate out of Dampier, despite the diving attractions of Dampier Archipelago.

”That’s really a microcosm of what we’re trying to do – by normalising the community the charter boat business can actually afford to live and operate out of there,” says Nationals leader Brendan Grylls, the state’s regional development minister.

How does a state like WA cope with the two-speed economy? Part of the answer lies in Royalties for Regions, under which 25 per cent of the state’s royalties are invested back into regional areas.

The policy came in after the 2008 WA election, when the Liberals needed the Nationals, led by Grylls, 38, to form government. When Grylls first hatched Royalties for Regions in 2006, 25 per cent of the state’s royalties was worth about $375 million. At the election in 2008, it had swelled to about $600 million. Now, it is more than $1 billion. ”This has gone better than I could have ever imagined,” Grylls says.

In the next few years, Royalties for Regions will pump $1 billion into transforming Pilbara towns such as Karratha and Port Hedland into ”modern, vibrant cities”, which Grylls argues will make it easier to attract workers to the north.

In Karratha, frantic work is under way on a host of new community assets – a new youth centre, recreation centre, family centre, and more and more housing.

A half-finished nine-storey tower, complete with crane, dominates Karratha’s skyline. It is the Pelago West, a $97 million, 114-unit luxury apartment development that will have pools and other ”resort-style” accoutrements. There is nothing else like it in Karratha, but it is a sign of things to come.

The developer, Finbar, is selling one-bedroom units in the Pelago for $600,000; the three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments, which averaged $975,000, have sold out.

For a new ”luxury” home in Karratha, these are not bad prices; at the local real estate agent, a basic two-bedroom fibro ”townhouse” is for sale at $459,000 (currently rented at $750 a week), and a modest, two-year-old four-by-two is selling for more than $1 million (currently rented at $1900 a week).

What will be Karratha’s main street, with trees and alfresco dining, is currently an unremarkable thoroughfare. What will be a developed waterfront is now an expanse of red dirt and mangroves. There is no cinema in Karratha, and few places to lunch – at least not alfresco. Vibrancy seems some way off.

When the infrastructure is all built, Graham Evans says, ”it will be a good thing. It should have all been put in place 10 years ago. They waited until there were too many people here before they did it.”

Evans has doubts about whether the long-standing locals are getting a fair share of the boom. ”My opinion is that they feel a little bit left out. You get people who fly in and fly out, they are fed and given housing allowances, but a lot of average people don’t get the big dollars, and the cost of living is still high.”

Pelago West overlooks Warambie Estate, a new development of 100 homes built for ”service workers” employed in government, non-government organisations or local businesses.

The houses are closely packed, identical and tiny – they seem smaller than some of the boats parked next to some Karratha homes. And they are not, strictly speaking, cheap – the rent is between $300 and $500 a week, depending on the number of bedrooms. ”It is still a lot of money, but compare it to $1500 to $2000 a week, that’s quite cheap,” White-Hartig says. ”It is fantastic, but the reality is we could have another 300 and barely scratch the surface of the need.”

It is the oldest town in the shire, Roebourne, that remains its most disadvantaged. Roebourne’s population, 75 per cent of which is Aboriginal, also lives with the high cost of Pilbara living. But it also lives with the legacy of Roebourne’s tragic history – dispossession, oppression, deaths in custody. Alcoholism, domestic violence and poverty linger.

Royalties for Regions has reached Roebourne, and the mining companies are channelling funds into the community.

There are indigenous job programs, and land access agreement between traditional owners and mining companies. The asbestos-ridden shacks of a notorious part of town called ”the village” are being torn down and replaced with new homes. There’s a new youth centre, and on the edge of town, a 400-lot housing development owned by the Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation.

Yet Roebourne’s community organisations struggle to provide services and to keep staff, who are the subject of regular poaching attempts from mining companies. As hard as businesses like Australian Marine Services work to keep staff, non-government organisations like Roebourne’s Yaandina Family Centre have it even harder.

From Roebourne, the distance to policymakers in Canberra feels particularly vast. For 12 years, Yaandina has been trying to raise funds for a new residential aged-care facility in Roebourne – a place where, due to the health and social disadvantages faced by Aboriginal Australians, the ageing process kicks in at 45.

”We hear about this two-speed economy all the time,” says Veronica Rodenburg, Yaandina’s chief executive. ”This is the third speed here. We arguably work in the richest place on the planet, but we work amongst the most incredible levels of poverty and dysfunction.”

THE economic divide between the mining and non-mining parts of WA – the Karrathas and the Albanys – is stark. At the last census, Karratha’s median household income was $2010 a week, while Albany’s was $846 – a gap that is likely to have expanded in the five years since. Karratha’s median house price is $777,500, says the Real Estate Institute of WA. Albany’s is just $365,500.

This year, 800,000 people will pass through Karratha’s airport. At Albany, 57,000.

But there is a tantalising possibility that the mining boom will arrive on Albany’s doorstep. In March, Tasmanian iron ore miner Grange Resources will announce whether it will go ahead with a $2.6 billion magnetite iron ore mine at Wellstead, about 90 kilometres from Albany.

If it happens, it will be huge. The mine will need 600 workers, its own desalination plant and water pipeline, its own power line from the coal generation hub of Collie 300 kilometres away, and a pipeline through which the magnetite slurry will travel to Albany port. Hopes are, understandably, high.

In the meantime, the newly elected mayor, Dennis Wellington, has other plans to bring the mining boom to Albany. He is touting the city as a FIFO base, pointing to its relatively affordable housing – compared with up north – and range of schools.

”One of the things that’s been said about Albany for a long time is that it’s got a lot of potential,” Wellington says. ”But you can’t eat potential, you’ve got to realise on it. And in the next five years we’ve got to realise on our potential.”

Right now, Albany is getting the raw end of the resurgent mining boom. The high dollar is tempting tourists overseas, especially to Bali – just 3½ hours from Perth by plane, compared with a 4½-hour car trip to Albany.

Local retailers cannot remember a time so quiet. Last year, the wheat, sheep and canola farms that surround Albany were hit by a severe drought, hobbling the agricultural sector that accounts for almost half Albany’s economy. A better harvest is expected this year.

The GFC was not kind to Albany, whose local council lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in investments linked to the US subprime mortgage market, sold to it by the now-defunct Grange Securities. The GFC also helped finish off the timber managed investment scheme spruikers Timbercorp and Great Southern, which had big operations in Albany.

And it scuttled plans for a new luxury hotel on Middleton Beach, at a site where the town’s only four-star hotel, the Esplanade, once stood. It was demolished in 2007 to make way for the bigger complex that never eventuated, and the site is now a gaping, weed-strewn patch, protected by a high fence. Locals recently hung socks in the fence in protest at the situation.

Thanks, in part, to Royalties for Regions, Albany has a new entertainment centre and it will soon have a new hospital. But it remains without a four-star hotel – an embarrassing situation for a tourist town.

”If things don’t pick up by January, I’m going,” says Elton Woodhams, the bobcat driver. He loves Albany, but it also has its frustrations – nothing ever seems to get off the ground. But if he and Katie move north, he will lose his hard-won contacts and clients. And they will be adding to one of Albany’s biggest, longest-running problems – the departure of its youngest, brightest and most productive residents. Once, they left to find their fortunes in Perth. Now they travel north to the mines.

According to WA government estimates, Albany’s unemployment rate rose in the three months to March this year from 4.6 per cent to 5 per cent – the highest in at least five years. But with a median weekly household income almost $200 a week below the national benchmark, many of those struggling in Albany are people with jobs.

”Most of my clients used to be low-income earners or people on disability payments or Centrelink,” says Diane Daly, a financial counsellor with Anglicare’s Albany office. ”There has been a big change. We are now seeing couples with families that are both income earners who we would call ‘middle class’, struggling to keep on top of things.”

This year, Melbourne think tank the Grattan Institute cast a critical eye at Royalties for Regions, and other government programs designed to ”kick-start” regions losing out in the patchwork economy.

It questioned the wisdom of investing so much money in ”lagging” regions such as Albany and remote places like the Pilbara, warning of ”significant risks” in the ”very expensive” strategy.

Says Grylls: ”I think they are wrong, and I will use every waking moment of my political career to prove them wrong.”

EVEN as WA is becoming more confident about its new-found economic clout, resentment is growing about what is widely seen as a lack of understanding of its situation in Canberra and the ”eastern states”. The carbon and mining taxes have not helped this perception, nor has the row with the federal government over WA’s move in May to boost state royalties on iron ore.

There is a deep belief that WA is shouldering too much of the burden of propping up the weaker states in the federation, and that it is being deprived of funds it needs to build infrastructure to drive the resources boom.

This financial year, WA received 72¢ in the dollar back from its GST contribution; WA Treasury forecasts WA’s dividend to drop to 33¢ in the dollar by 2014-15 – an amount both sides of WA politics decry.

”That’s money we need to build the infrastructure, to allow the industry that generates the wealth to keep generating the wealth,” says state Treasurer Christian Porter, who wants the issue looked at in the GST review currently under way. Last month, Porter’s update on WA’s economy revealed a $325 million operating surplus, but a $315 million jump in public sector net debt to $12.3 billion. It is a result, Porter says, of the government’s spending on the infrastructure needed to ”keep this kind of growth going”.

There is a parallel between the WA government’s attempts to ”share the benefits” of the boom throughout WA, including with Royalties for Regions, and the federal government’s efforts to spread the mining wealth through measures such as the GST and mining tax.

But take too much money out of WA, the state government cautions, and the national economy will suffer. The loud warning is that if WA cannot keep up with its own boom, investors and mining companies will take their capital elsewhere. ”If that happens … that growth will be lost to the country forever,” says James Pearson, chief executive of the WA Chamber of Commerce. ”It won’t reappear in a marginal electorate in Sydney or the back of Bourke. It just won’t go ahead, because capital is footloose and Australia is by no means the only country with iron ore, coal and natural gas.”

But this argument is hard to swallow on the east coast. Patchwork economy or not, WA currently boasts an enviable set of economic figures. WA Treasury is forecasting the state’s economy to grow by 4.5 per cent this financial year, and by 4 per cent the year after. Australia’s forecast GDP growth rate of 3.25 per cent this year and next looks anaemic by comparison. Unemployment in WA stands at 4.2 per cent, nationally it is 5.2 per cent.

”The bottom line is that the growth is overwhelmingly a good thing,” Porter says. Lower, middle and high-income workers in WA all earn more than their interstate counterparts, he says, an advantage that remains, even taking into account the state’s higher costs of living.

But the state opposition says many West Australians are missing out on the spoils of the boom.

”A resources boom can widen inequality in a society, and societies becoming more unequal, suffer more social problems. I think that’s the danger,” Ripper says.

Ripper was treasurer when the boom took off in 2006, which sparked a damaging real estate frenzy from which Perth is still recovering. ”My judgment at the time was that a boom is not good news for everyone – it can be bad news for a lot of people.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

NOTE-From the editor


All this need for skilled people in the mining sector and there are many people I personally know who have to go through hoops to even get an interview for a job in mining environments.
I get sick & tired of these wingers and poor me attitudes of people in mining environments & bragging about the money they make.
Very competant people with degrees and work/life experience as well as an enthustiastic attitude are having to answer to 18year olds who take job applications and process  them.
They [The 18year old] then assess the applications and qualify the applicants input.
The system is a joke as are these ’18year old ‘ morons appointed to process the applications by some jerk off agency which is barely qualified or experienced.
How degrading is that?  The ‘Lang’ Hancock camp in WA would shudder at the thought.
The mining job industry is a tough seat of the pants environment, but it has been hijacked by ‘job processors’ who allow so many good hard working people to fall through the cracks. We have the people here to fill your needs
Get a grip and reform the mining job assessment process. Sure you want to weed out the incompetant & undesirables but you are doing it at the expense of great people with a lot to offer the mining industry.No wonder your sector is always screaming for more people.
I have no sympathy for you. CHANGE THE PROCESS-DO YOU HEAR ME…?
If you people in the mining scene are serious about getting good people into your work environment then contact me. Henry Sapiecha
You seem to be in different world because you  and I are separated by these ‘agencies’ who have created a niche for themselves in assessing the applications of genuine job seekers.
They [agencies] are necessary but please change the selection criteria and the assessors training or the selection criteria
Another very serious drawback is/are the entities which specialize in extracting high fees for these so called training courses that have to be done @ very high $$$ costs to even get a look in with the mining companys.
The Australian Qld government also is spending millions of dollars on promoting mining jobs and it seems like a total waste of money in that they are feeding us all this crap about jobs available in the mining industry, yet qualified persons are ignored as ‘unsuitable’.
That mine sector talk about getting in overseas workers etc.
You have got to be kidding when we are screaming for work and jobs.
What is it you do not understand????
The delegation of screening mining job applicants is flawed in its structure & application. CHANGE IT…

MINING INVESTMENT IN AUSTRALIA REACHES RECORD LEVELS

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Australian mining investments

reach a new historic record

Cecilia Jamasmie | November 29, 2011 Print Article

Australia’s total investment in the mining & resources industry soared by 30% in the past six months to a record $231.8 billion, according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics latest Mining Industry Major Projects – October 2011 report.

The study, issued today, includes a record 102 projects at an advanced stage of development, including 40 minerals projects, 37 energy projects, 21 infrastructure projects and four mineral processing projects.

“Although uncertainty surrounds the outlook for futures prices in commodities, exploration expenditure is expected to remain high, providing resource prices stay high,” the report says.

Lead author and bureau resources manager Alan Copeland said 93 per cent of the projects involved oil, gas, iron ore and coal and totalled $6.2 billion – just shy of the highest amount on record and double the average of the past 30 years.

Canberra Times reports that the figures come just before Treasurer Wayne Swan issues the mid-year Budget update, which will show the turmoil in Europe has helped strip a further $20 billion from revenue over the next four years. He is expected to reveal further cuts to spending.

Western Australia accounts for around 64 per cent of expenditure on advanced projects with final investment decisions announced for the Wheatstone and Prelude LNG projects in the last six months.

There are now a record 102 minerals and energy projects that have reached a final investment decision.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

ROUGH DIAMOND SELLS FOR $16.5 MILLION

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Gem sells rough for $16.5 million and negotiates

for cut of polished profit

Frik Els | October 25, 2011

close-up of man cutting diamond facets on spinning wheel

London-listed Gem Diamonds announced last Tuesday that it has sold the world’s 14th largest white diamond discovered at its Letšeng Mine in Lesotho two months ago for $16.5 million in cash. Gem will also share in the profit of any polished diamond/s cut from the 550 carat Letšeng Star.

Letšeng is fast-becoming the richest source of large diamonds in the world and without the occasional large diamond find, the Letšeng pipe would probably be a marginal deposit, but the mine, 30% owned by the King of Lesotho, has also yielded  the 478 carat Light of Letšeng that went for $18.4 million in 2008 and two other big diamond rocks.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

GOLD COIN IS THE LARGEST IN THE WORLD & VALUED @ $55,000,000

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

WORLDS LARGEST BULLION GOLD COIN

Australias Perth Mint announced that it minted a one-tonne gold bullion coin that is worth over $55 million.

It is the world’s largest gold bullion coin. The previous record holder was held by the Royal Canadian Mint, which produced its own large coin.

Dimensions of the coin are 80 centimetres wide and over 12 centimetres thick.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

INDIAN FARMERS GET CHEAP BANK LOANS USING GOLD AS SECURITY

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Farmers in India do deals

with banks and

get cheap loans against gold

Indian farmers are queuing up to get farm loans from banks at interest rates as low as 4% using gold as security, as against the 30% interest rates offered by local money lenders.

Author: Shivom Seth
Posted:  Friday , 03 Jun 2011

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MUMBAI

Farmers in India have a new trick up their sleeve, especially those in the southern states of India. Many farmers have found to their amazement that banks are ready to extend loans to the farmer if they tender gold jewellery as collateral. Though the custom is an old and tried one and harboured for several years by local money lenders and non banking financial institutions in smaller villages, what has now got farmers flocking to the nearby bank is the low rate of interest.
“Most farmers have woken up to the fact that they can get a loan, using gold as security, for a low interest rate of just 4%. Farmers currently pay 7% on crop loan. There is an interest subvention clause that most farmers are drawing on these days, ostensibly under the category of farm loan.,” said Chaitanya Shellar of Sonamull Traders, a bullion investment firm.
Several years ago, India’s central bank the Reserve Bank of India asked its member banks to introduce short-term farm loans at an interest outgo of 7%. The idea was to encourage farmers to build on the agricultural acerage.
In 2009, Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget speech announced that the government would pay additional subsidy of 1%, as an incentive to those farmers who repaid their short-term crop loans on schedule. The interest rate for these farmers then had come down to 6%.
This year, in his budget speech, Pranab Mukherjee announced that those farmers who repaid their dues in time would get an interest subsidy of 3%. This has effectively brought down the interest rate of crop loans to 4%.
“Several public and private sector banks are intent on doubling their gold-backed loan portfolio, by extending their lending activity to small and marginal farmers. Some schemes enable the farmers to access loans backed by ornamental gold for a maximum tenure of two years, following which the gold assets of the customer can be rolled over,” said a banking official.
Added another official of Andhra Bank: “These types of loans are beneficial to the customers, who can unlock the value of the gold. And to us, too, because gold always appreciates in value.”
The banking officials pointed out that the interest earnings from farm-lending against gold was modest. Against this, loans against gold to non-farm retail segment are considered to have higher return rates and are associated with less risk of turning into Non-Performing Assets.

Risk averse

It is not a recent phenomenon. Players in the gold loan business have been regularly urging poor families in India to leverage their gold holdings instead of keeping their valuables idle. Analysts insist that the sizeable spread that the company can earn and the low non-performing loans make the business lucrative.
Rather than rely on the local pawn broker or money lender, banks are enticing farmers to a highly secure and trusted lending institution. “Even affluent farmers have a means of accessing short-term cash on personal valuables. Many farmers with significant amounts of gold have a new way to access emergency cash,” said a banker.
The main institutions to provide credit are the state cooperative banks, central cooperative banks, primary agricultural credit societies, land development banks and scheduled commercial banks including regional rural banks.
This has ensured that poor farmers in the remotest corner of India can access farm loans. And can hawk old items of gold as security.
“Many farmers are now using their household gold jewellery as collateral,” confirmed Venugopal Shastri, bullion analyst with a foreign brokerage house. He added that for the bank, shelling out a loan against gold was practically risk-free since banks ensure a significant margin between the loan amount and the value of gold.
Bankers said that most households in the southern states of India have at least some gold holdings, and have been regularly indulging in refinancing of loans against gold. While the banks provide short to medium term loans to farmers, some are even open to converting short-term loans into medium-term ones, when there are problems of recovery due to crop failures or natural calamities.
“Gold, gems and jewellery are allowed as collateral, so the banks can loan more money. Loans allow people to start or expand their businesses, which expands the economy and creates more jobs,” said bullion analyst Ashwin Thanedar.
He added that allowing gold to be used as collateral made sense because many people already buy gold as their savings, preferring it to hard currency or bank savings.
“Since farmers can put their gold down as collateral to obtain loans, they would not need to borrow from local money lenders or pawn shops that charge outrageously high interest. Even J P Morgan Chase allows some of its clients to use the precious metal as collateral,” said another banker, adding that gold was re-establishing its role as a monetary and financial asset in this way.
In the international market, gold rose for the second consecutive day on Thursday, nearing a one-month high, with reports indicating that output in the manufacturing sector in the US hit its lowest level since 2009. Spot gold rose to $1,542.89 an ounce.
In India, at the Multi Commodity Exchange, gold for delivery in August declined by 0.25%, with a business turnover of 1,096 lots. The metal for June delivery lost 0.20% with a business volume of 113 lots.

More competition

Analysts maintain that the gold loans market in India is set to witness more competition with financial institutions and banks entering the lucrative business. Kerala-based Federal Bank is to widen its network of exclusive gold loan branches in various parts of the country. It already has 60 branches in Tamilnadu and Karnataka and is planning to increase its gold loan branches to 350 by the end of the year, said Shyam Srinivasan, managing director of Federal Bank.
Bankers point out that the default rate is much lower for gold loans because Indians do not want to risk losing their family jewellery.
Trading gold for immediate cash is viewed in India as the equivalent of taking out a home equity loan to expand a business or simply to buy more farm machinery. Earlier, local money lenders offered loans against jewellery at interest rates of 30% or more. Gold loans by banks are vastly different, interest rates are lower and the business is regulated.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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