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AUSTRALIAN MINING: More bad news than good

AUSTRALIA — Not only Canadian mining companies but others around the world are pulling up their socks, postpo...



AUSTRALIA — Not only Canadian mining companies but others around the world are pulling up their socks, postponing projects and conserving cash. The Australian industry is no exception.

 

First the good news:

 

BHP Billiton has approved its share of the rapid growth project 5 at its 85%-owned iron ore operation in Western Australia. Production will rise by 50 million tonnes to 205 million t/y. The expansion is to be complete in the second half of 2011. Total cost is expected to be US$5.65 billion. (www.BHPBilliton.com)

 

Next, two bits of bad news.

 

OZ Minerals, reputed to be the world’s second-largest zinc miner, is cutting its spending by $440 million in 2009. Savings will come at the expense of the Martabe gold and silver project (A$225 million), expansion of copper capacity in Laos (A$50 million), the Rosebery mine (A$125 million) and the Golden Grove mine (A$20 million). The company is also delaying studies at two Canadian project, and has postponed its Dugald River project beyond 2009. (www.OZMinerals.com)

 

Norilsk Nickel Australia has been forced by economic conditions to put its Waterloo and Silver Swan underground mines in Western Australia into care-and-maintenance. The two mines produced approximately 10,000 tonnes of nickel in the last 12 months. Norilsk’s Black Swan open pit and its Lake Johnston operation are not affected.