May 17, 2020

Leighton Holdings CEO Arrested; Could Jeopardize the Future of a $5B Coal Mine in India

Leighton Holdings
Raman Srikanth
Thiess Minecs India Priva
2 min
CEOs Arrest Could Jeopardize the Future of a $5B Coal Mine in India
Australias largest construction company, Leighton Holdings (ASX:LEI), is in hot water this week after their CEO was arrested on charges of cheating and...

Australia’s largest construction company, Leighton Holdings (ASX:LEI), is in hot water this week after their CEO was arrested on charges of cheating and criminal breach of trust. The arrest could cost the company a multimillion contract to develop and operate a $5.5 billion coal mine in India.

According to police sources, Raman Srikanth, chief executive of Leighton Holdings’ Theiss mining subsidiary in India, was arrested in relation to ongoing civil proceedings filed by Hyderabad-based Roshni Developers Private Limited in Singapore. Thiess Minecs India Private Limited is presently working on a coal mining project at Pakri Barwadih near Hazaribagh town in Jharkhand. The $5.5 billion coal mine is being developed for state-owned NTPC Ltd.

"Our teams went to Kolkata and arrested him. He has been remanded to judicial custody. It was a court directed case based on a complaint by Roshni Developers. We are investigating the case further," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Madhapur Zone) Kanthi Rana Tata said. 

According to sources, Roshni Developers filed a private petition in a local court alleging that Thiess Minecs has resorted to criminal breach of trust and cheating by violating the agreement both the partied had entered in 2010. Representatives of Roshni Developers had alleged Thiess Minecs did not abide to their contractual obligations with regard to tapping a coal mine near Hazaribagh.

"By believing that they would get the sub-contract from Thiess, the owners of Roshni Developers had spent Rs 185 crore on the mining project. However, Roshni Developers alleged that after getting the contract from NTPC to develop the mine, Thiess Minecs cheated them by not giving sub-contract," the inspector said.

Since the arrest, the future of the Pakri Barwadih coal mine is in jeopardy as NTPC Ltd. issued a notice to terminate the contract, which was awarded to Thiess Minec in 2010.

Shares of Leighton Holdings closed at AUD 19.8, down 1.25 per cent from the previous close in the Australian Securities Exchange. 

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May 6, 2021

Copper, iron ore surge as Chinese investors unleash demand

Iron ore
3 min
Iron ore broke $200 a tonne for the first time, while copper approached a record high as Chinese investors unleashed fresh demand following May holiday

The reopening of major industrial economies is sparking a surge across commodities markets from corn to lumber, with tin climbing above $30,000 a tonne for the first time since 2011 on Thursday.

In the wake of mounting evidence of inflation fuelled by higher raw materials prices, investors are also increasingly focused on when the U.S. Federal Reserve might start throttling back its emergency support.


Many banks say the rally has further to run, particularly for copper, which will benefit from rising investment in new energy sectors. Copper is at the highest in a decade, fueling bets it will rally further to take out the record set in February 2011. Steel demand is surging as economies chart a path back to growth just as the world’s biggest miners have been hampered by operational issues, tightening ore supply.

“The long-term prospects for metals prices are ‘too good’ and point to higher prices in the next few years,” said Commerzbank AG analyst Daniel Briesemann. “The decarbonization trends in many countries, which include switching to electric vehicles and expanding wind and solar power, are likely to generate additional demand for metals.”

Trading house Trafigura Group and several major Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. expect copper to extend gains.

Copper rose as much as 1.6% to $10,108.50 a ton on the London Metal Exchange before trading at $10,080 as of 4:07 p.m. in London.


Iron Ore

Benchmark spot iron ore prices rose to a record, while futures in Singapore and China climbed.

The boom comes as China’s steelmakers keep output rates above 1 billion tons a year, despite a swath of production curbs aimed at reducing carbon emissions and reining in supply. Instead, those measures have boosted steel prices and profitability at mills, allowing them to better accommodate higher iron ore costs.

Spot iron ore with 62% content hit $201.15 a ton on Thursday, according to Mysteel. Futures in Singapore jumped as much as 5.1% to $196.40 a ton, the highest since contracts were launched in 2013. In Dalian, prices closed 8.8% higher.

Erik Hedborg, Principal Analyst, Steel at CRU Group commented: “Recent production cuts in Tangshan have boosted demand for higher-quality ore and prompted mills to build iron ore inventories as their margins are on the rise. Iron ore producers are enjoying exceptionally high margins as well, around two thirds of seaborne supply only require prices of $50 /dmt to break even.”


Still, some analysts including Commerzbank’s Briesemann expect a short-term correction as metals become detached from fundamentals. There’s also a risk that China could engage in policies that may cool demand for iron ore and copper.

The metals rally has boosted concerns about short-term Chinese demand. Some manufacturers and end-users have been slowing production or pushing back delivery times after costs surged, while weaker-than-expected domestic consumption has opened the arbitrage window for exports.

Tin climbed as much as 2% to $30,280 a ton on the LME, boosted by rising orders for the soldering metal. Tin is at the highest since May 2011, with a 48% gain this year making it the best performing metal on the LME.



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