May 17, 2020

BHP Billiton reconsiders iron ore expansion

Iron ore
BHP Billiton
Rio Tinto
2 min
BHP Billiton reconsiders iron ore expansion
The race to the top just got a little slower forBHP Billiton. The Anglo-Australian company announced on Wednesday it will put the brakes on its planned...

The race to the top just got a little slower for BHP Billiton. The Anglo-Australian company announced on Wednesday it will put the brakes on its planned expansion in iron ore production in favor of conserving cash as commodity prices continue to deteriorate.

The company said deferring capital spending at its inner harbor infrastructure at Port Hedland would enable its proposed 290 million-ton-per-year expansion to be done at a lower capital cost.

“Our focus remains on producing at the lowest possible cost, with Western Australia iron ore unit costs now below US$20 per ton, as we continue to improve productivity,” said Andrew Mackenzie, BHP chief executive.

BHP’s decision to hold off comes at a critical time as rival miners increasingly plead for BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale to cap their production in an effort to stabilize iron ore prices.

• Iron Ore: Rio Tinto Has No Plans to Slow Down

Andrew Hodge, analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said: “BHP’s message is that it wants to conserve capital and it is about value rather than volume.” He added: “Taking some tons out of the market may have a positive impact on prices.”

On Wednesday, forecast for the amount of iron ore BHP plans to produce in the year to the end of June increased to 230 million tons, a 13 percent rise in the company’s guidance from the previous 12 months.

According to Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. and Pacific Investment Management Co., a floor in prices may now be forming.

Surprisingly enough, prices for iron ore rose 5.5 percent to $57.81 per a ton on Friday. 

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Jun 29, 2021

Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations

battery metals
2 min
Vale’s $150mn investment in operations at Thompson, Manitoba will extend mine life by 10 years

Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.

Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel

The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.

“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.

“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”

Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba

Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.

“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.

“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”

The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history.  Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.

“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.

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