Dec 14, 2020

Anglo American to increase investment in Woodsmith to £374m

polyhaliteore
fertiliser
UK
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Increased investment reflects the good progress made on project that is "ahead of expectations"
Increased investment reflects the good progress made on project that is "ahead of expectations...

Anglo American will invest £374 million in the construction of its Woodsmith polyhalite mine in Yorkshire, UK in 2021, after the current year saw strong development progress.

In an investor presentation, Chief Executive Mark Cutifani, announced the company will invest further funds into the Woodsmith project next year, and increase the £224.8 million it had previously committed to spending.

Cutifani said the improved funding commitment reflected the "good progress that was ahead of expectations" and that the increased investment would ‘ensure that critical path elements continue to proceed at the optimal pace and sequence.

The presentation also revealed that the first drive of the 37km tunnel from Wilton on Teesside was nearing the 12km mark and progress was being made on preparing for further mineshaft sinking operations at the Woodsmith Mine site near Whitby – which is expected to being in the coming year.

Simon Cater, Chief Development Officer on the Woodsmith project, adds: “It’s been an incredibly challenging and busy time on the project recently, not least because of the adaptations and safety measures we’ve introduced to make sure that we can work safely during COVID-19. But I am incredibly proud that the whole team has pulled together and enabled us to make such good progress. I’m delighted that we have been able to buck the trend of many businesses and expanded our workforce, providing important opportunities for people in the region in these difficult times.”

The company has made around 150 new hires since it launched a recruitment drive in the autumn, with a further 60 expected to be hired in the coming weeks. Almost three quarters of these new workers have been employed from local areas adjacent to the Woodsmith project in North Yorkshire and Teesside.

The announcement of increased funding is expected to allow the project to recruit an additional 130 construction workers and dozens of additional management and administration roles next year, which will increase the total workforce size to approximately 1,400.

The Woodsmith project involves the sinking of two mineshafts into the polyhalite ore over 1.6-kilometres beneath the surface near Whitby, as well as the construction of the tunnel.

Once the mine is complete, extracted polyhalite ore will be hoisted up the mineshaft and transported underground on a conveyor belt, avoiding any impact on the countryside above. From there, it will be shipped globally and sold to farmers as a natural low carbon fertiliser, certified for organic use.

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Apr 21, 2021

Rio Tinto’s iron ore output falls 2% year-on-year

RioTinto
ironore
Pilbara
covid-19
2 min
World's biggest iron ore producer reports lower quarterly output due to labour shortages and weather issues
Rio Tinto reported lower quarterly iron ore output as wet weather and labour shortages impacted its mine and port operations in Western Australia.
 
Above average wet weather in the mines and workforce availability disrupted maintenance during the quarter, Rio said, while Tropical Cyclone Seroja impacted operations in April, reports Reuters.

 

Iron Ore
 
Production for the quarter stood at 76.4 million tonnes, down 2% from the same period last year.
 
“You’d have to suggest that its a pretty average result. They have not delivered iron ore into a solid pricing environment,” said David Lennox at Fat Prophets in Sydney.
 
“There’s nothing that they can do about wet weather – it may be that they are going to have to live with changing environmental conditions. What will save them is the fact that they have got higher commodity prices generally, especially iron ore and copper.”
 
The world’s biggest iron ore producer shipped 77.8 million tonnes (mt) of the commodity in the quarter ended March 31, up 7% compared with 72.9 mt last year. It maintained its forecast of shipping between 325mt and 340mt of iron ore in 2021.

 

Pilbara
 
Rio has benefited from strong demand for its higher quality Pilbara blend products due to solid margins at China steelmakers as construction activity and steel demand in the first quarter eclipsed 2020 and 2019 levels.
 
China’s renewed focus on cutting steelmaking emissions will likely restrain steel exports in 2021, supporting margins globally, it said.
 
Copper production fell 16% on year ago levels after covid-19 prevention measures limited labour availability in Escondida in Chile.
 
Its Oyu Tolgoi copper shipments have been impacted by Chinese boarder restrictions due to increased cases of covid-19.
 
“We declared force majeure on shipments from 30 March and continue to work closely with authorities and our customers to manage the risk of supply chain disruptions,” it said.
 
“Rio has resumed cross-border concentrate shipments into China on 15 April however, the situation is very fluid with the covid-19 resurgence in Mongolia.”

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