North Australia Digest – 16/01/2013

by 16 January 2013

The Australian

Rio Tinto has flagged more job cuts at Australian coalmines as depressed prices and high cost make continued cost cutting necessary. The big miner is expected to log its worst half year profit in three years next month. Rio chief Tom Albanese said the business was performing well despite volatile markets, but a cost-cutting program that began last year would continue. “Across the group we are taking action to roll back unsustainable [...]

North Australia Digest – 21/12/2012

by 15 January 2013

The Australian Financial Review

Federal Labour MP Andrew Leigh’s comments predicting a rise in commodity prices could drive the federal budget in to surplus have been rejected by WA Premier Colin Barnett. Mr Barnett said the resource rich state could not support the entire economy, despite an 80 per cent rise in iron ore prices since last year. “Let’s go back a little bit. September, October, the federal government was running around, including Wayne [...]

North Australia Digest – 14/01/2013

by 14 January 2013

The Australian

A recent surge in iron ore prices has not been enough to lift profits beyond levels needed to trigger the mining tax, meaning that for the second straight quarter revenue from the controversial impost will remain at zero. BHP Biliton, Rio Tinto, Xstrata and Fortescue Metals have all confirmed they will make no payment when due next week. The developments are likely to renew the political fight over the design of the [...]

North Australia Digest – 11/01/2013

by 11 January 2013

The Australian

Key economic figures show the Chinese economy is recovering at a rate exceeding market expectations.  China’s trade surplus rose sharply last month, with export growth more than quadrupling from November, to 14.1 per cent, while imports rose by 6 per cent in a sign of increasing domestic demand. The figures add to the evidence that Australia’s largest trading partner – and key buyer of iron ore and coal – is emerging [...]

North Australia Digest – 10/01/2013

by 10 January 2013

Here is a digest of the major stories that have impacted Northern Australia over the past three weeks.

The Australian

A major new survey commissioned by SBS shows most Australians believe the mining industry saved the economy during the global financial crisis and has even played a role in shaping the national identity. Despite this, many of those questioned felt foreign investment and the use of overseas workers should be limited. (02/01/13)

Rio Tinto [...]

North Australia Digest – 21/12/2012

by 21 December 2012

The Australian

Metallurgical Corporation of China is putting a $3 billion iron ore project in Western Australia on hold and will pull its staff out of Perth by the end of next month – effectively closing its Australian office – as soaring costs and delays have led to low performance at the project. Zhang Jiabin, an analyst at, said MCC had “been hit persistently by high labour and development costs”. A number of [...]

North Australia Digest – 19/12/2012

by 19 December 2012

The Australian

A “high-level advisory report” to Australia’s energy and resources ministers warns that restrictions on shipping uranium could hinder the country from becoming a major supplier of the resource. Although Australia has the world’s largest uranium stocks, it is producing and exporting well below its potential as capital and operating costs rise more rapidly than elsewhere in the world. “Duplicative and unnecessary environmental assessment processes, restrictions on accessing ports to ship uranium and [...]

North Australia Digest – 18/12/2012

by 18 December 2012

The Australian

Iron ore prices have risen to a five-month high as China’s leadership change gives confidence to a rebound in demand for the commodity. On Friday, benchmark iron ore prices at Chinese ports jumped to $US129.30, their highest price since July. Prices are still below the $US150-a-tonne averages that were seen last year. The rise is only expected to be medium-term as new supply from Australia continues to come onto the market [...]

North Australia Digest – 17/12/2012

by 17 December 2012

The Australian

The results of the upcoming election in Japan could have major implications for Australia’s uranium sector. The Liberal Democratic party – who, according to recent polls, are likely to take office – has been campaigning on a platform far more nuclear-friendly than its rivals, raising the hopes of many Australian uranium miners and explorers who are keen to see Japanese demand for uranium increase. The managing director of uranium explorer Deep Yellow, [...]

North Australia Digest – 12/12/2012

by 12 December 2012

The Australian

The Northern Territory government is hoping to finalise an agreement with gas company ENI today which is said to be “critical” to keeping Rio Tinto’s loss-making aluminium refinery open, potentially saving up to 1400 jobs. The proposed deal would see the Northern Territory government sacrifice around 30 per cent of its domestic gas to power the refinery, putting pressure on the company to keep the plant running. Its closure could cost the [...]