Lynas refuses to risk staff in virus hot spot

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 28 : 27-Nov-20

The US military is providing funding for a rare earths processing plant to be built in Texas under a partnership between Australian-listed rare earths producer Lynas Corporation and US-based Blue Line. The Pentagon wants the plant to be built to end to China’s dominance of "commercial-scale" separation of heavy rare earths materials. However, Lynas MD Amanda Lacaze has told its AGM that the plant could be delayed as it will not built without the involvement of its engineers, and she will not send anyone to Texas while COVID-19 cases in the state are so high. It is estimated that the plant will cost around $US50 million ($68 million).

CORPORATES
LYNAS CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX LYC, BLUE LINE

Iron ore miners dig in for fight over capacity at Port Hedland

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 18 : 23-Nov-20

Iron ore producers Mineral Resources, BHP, Fortescue Metals Group and Hancock Prospecting have been asked to contribute to an independent review to determine the maximum capacity of Port Hedland. The Western Australian government wants the review to be completed by December, and it comes after the mining companies rejected the government’s call for a $10 billion outer harbour to be constructed at Port Hedland. Growth plans outlined by the four companies amount to output of at least 690 million tonnes per annum, while the government believes that Port Hedland’s maximum capacity could be pushed to around 650 million tonnes.

CORPORATES
MINERAL RESOURCES LIMITED – ASX MIN, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, HANCOCK PROSPECTING PTY LTD

Forrest unveils ambitious Fortescue renewables plan

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 & 18 : 12-Nov-20

Fortescue Metals Group has outlined plans to become a major player in the energy sector via a massive investment in renewables. Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest had told the pure-play iron ore miner’s AGM that it will initially aim to produce 235 gigawatts of energy via renewables, as it transition to an "renewables and resources" company. Meanwhile, CEO Elizabeth Gaines has stressed the importance of Australia’s trading relationship with China.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG

BHP joins Baowu to explore green steel

Original article by Jared Lynch
The Australian – Page: 16 : 9-Nov-20

BHP will work with Chinese steel producer Baowu to develop low-carbon technologies for the global steel industry. BHP’s memorandum of understanding with Baowu includes provision for an investment of up to $US35m ($48m) in technologies aimed at reducing the industry’s carbon emissions. However, BHP still expects coking coal to remain a key steel-making input for many years. Coking coal accounted for $US1.9bn of BHP’s earnings in 2019-20.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, CHINA BAOWU STEEL GROUP CORPORATION LIMITED

Turquoise Hill rebels against Rio’s pressure

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 6-Nov-20

Canada-based Turquoise Hill Resources has commenced arbitration proceedings against Rio Tinto over a disagreement regarding financing options for the expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia. Rio Tinto has pushed for Turquoise Hill to finance a cost blowout at the project via a capital raising rather than by taking on additional debt. Rio Tinto has a 50.79 per cent stake in Turquoise Hill.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, TURQUOISE HILL RESOURCES LIMITED

Gina Rinehart’s wealth soars as Hancock Prospecting reports $4b profit

Original article by Nick Toscano
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 5-Nov-20

Hancock Prospecting has reported a 2019-20 after-tax profit of $4bn, compared with $2.6bn previously. The company benefited from the strong price of iron ore during the financial year. Hancock’s iron ore assets include the Roy Hill mine and a 50 per cent stake in the Hope Downs joint venture. Hancock also controls Atlas Iron, which operates the Mt Webber iron ore mine in the Pilbara. Meanwhile, Hancock has paid a maiden dividend of $475m and repaid a $US7.2bn ($10.1bn) debt some four months ahead of schedule.

CORPORATES
HANCOCK PROSPECTING PTY LTD, ATLAS IRON LIMITED

Argyle closes but legend lives on

Original article by Paul Garvey
The Australian – Page: 18 : 4-Nov-20

Production at Rio Tinto’s iconic Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia has formally ended after 37 years. More than 865 million carats of rough diamonds were produced at Argyle during its mine life, while it has accounted for about 95 per cent of global supply of pink diamonds. The mine also ended the De Beers diamond monopoly. It is expected to take about five years to close down the Argyle mine and rehabilitate the site.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, DE BEERS CENTRAL SELLING ORGANISATION

South32 aims for next mine to be carbon-neutral

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 18 : 28-Oct-20

Diversified miner South32 may aim for its new Hermosa mine in Arizona to be carbon neutral from the outset. Initial production at the zinc, lead and silver project is some years away, and South32 MD Graham Kerr notes that it is much easier to build a new mine that is carbon neutral than to retrofit an existing one to solely use renewable energy. South32 has commenced discussions with energy utilities about supplying electricity to the mine, and Kerr says it could potentially be powered completely or almost only via renewables.

CORPORATES
SOUTH32 LIMITED – ASX S32

Critical mineral groups bank on Biden

Original article by Jacob Greber
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 11 : 27-Oct-20

Ioneer’s chairman James Calaway has welcomed indications by presidential candidate Joe Biden that he is supportive of US production of solar panels, electric vehicles and energy storage. Australian-listed Ioneer is seeking to develop a lithium mine in Nevada, and Calaway says the US looks set for a "electrified clean future" if Biden wins the election, with huge implications for the supply of battery materials such as lithium. Biden has stated that he will spend $US2 trillion ($2.8 trillion) on electric vehicle infrastructure and other projects to curb carbon emissions if he is elected, and analysts believe that his plan will spark ongoing demand for copper.

CORPORATES
IONEER LIMITED – ASX INR, DEMOCRATIC PARTY (UNITED STATES)

Whitehaven won’t alter dividend policy despite setbacks

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 26-Oct-20

Whitehaven Coal’s lenders recently agreed to relax its debt covenants after the company sought relief due to a severe downturn in coal prices. However, a condition of that relaxation will constrain the company’s ability to pay dividends until its debt levels fall below certain thresholds. Whitehaven had paid out a record final dividend of $298 million in August 2019, and chairman Mark Vaile says he has no regrets about the payment. He says the company may need to be a bit more conservative about capital management in the future, while he notes that the 2019 payout followed two successive years of record profits.

CORPORATES
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED – ASX WHC