Normal services resumed for BHP Billiton following Cyclone Debbie
Mining giant BHP Billiton has announced that crews and mining staff are returning to work in the Queensland Bowen Basin, following the dissipation of Cyclone Debbie.
The company had shut down operations last week as heavy rain continued to fall from Cyclone Debbie.
The Cyclone, dubbed the “most dangerous” cyclone to hit Queensland since Cyclone Yasi back in 2011, has devastated the Queensland area of Australia for the last few weeks.
In response to this, BHP Billiton, with significant operations in the Queensland Bowen Basin area, was forced to close down operations at The Hay Point Terminal.
BHP Billiton has interests in 11 coal mines in the Bowen Basin through its joint ventures – BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) owns nine mines (seven operational, two in care and maintenance, and the Hay Point Coal Terminal south of Mackay. BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal (BMC) owns two mines.
Following the devastation from the cyclone, BHP Billiton agreed to pledge A$250,000 to provide immediate support to Queenslanders impacted by the cyclone.
The donation, made to the Salvation Army, was dedicated to delivering services and support to communities such as Mackay and Moranbah, which were heavily affected.
“This is far from over for the people of Queensland. Many families have lost their homes and communities continue to be without power. Communications are relying on organisations like the Salvation Army for help,”, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Asset President Frans Knox said.
BMA and BHP Motsui Coal (BMC) employees and contractors have been assisting the local community. The businesses have helped Ergon Energy gain access to areas to clear fallen trees and debris near power network infrastructure and offered use of a helicopter chartered by BMA for Ergon to inspect its network to expedite power restoration for Moranbah.
Back to work
The company officially announced the return to work, with the exception of its South Walker Creek, as crews begin dewatering and preparation geared towards returning to operations.
The Hay Point Terminal is ready to receive coal from the mines and can begin shipping operations once the Harbour Master provides clearance.
The rail network remains offline, with BHP awaiting confirmation from Aurizon to understand timing for resumption of track availability.
“We are updating customers on the current situation and determining potential supply impacts,” the company said in a statement.
We continue to monitor and work through the impacts to production.”
The April 2017 issue of Mining Global is now live!
Get in touch with our editor Dale Benton at [email protected]
Copper, iron ore surge as Chinese investors unleash demand
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.
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.