The current outlook of Iron Ore prices in Australia
Australia’s iron ore export volumes are forecast to increase by 8 percent and reach 851 million tonnes in 2016-17, that’s according to the Department of Industry’s September 2016 quarterly outlook.
Total earnings from exports are expected to increase to $54 billion, which is $5 billion more than the previous forecast as a result of the persistently high prices in the September quarter.
That being said, the iron ore price is actually forecast to decline later this year, averaging at an expected 6 percent lower in 2014 at around $45 a tonne.
Through July and August this year there was an unexpected rally in the price of iron ore to an average of $54 a tonne. Because of the rally, forecasted iron ore price has been revised up to $49 per tonne for 2016 but the price is still expected to decline, with the 2017 forecast at $47 a tonne for 2017.
The higher iron ore prices have been attributed to a stronger demand from China’s steel sector, which in turn is underpinned a resurgence of the Chinese construction sector.
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Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
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.