[REPORT] Mining Stimulates Growth with Rise in Exports
The mining industry has been a driving force for Australia’s economic growth figures which grew at 1.1 percent for the three months to March.
According to official national account figures released on Wednesday, the annual growth rose 3.5 percent, the fastest rate in nearly two years and above the average of the past decade. Almost 80 percent of the growth for the quarter was contributed by the mining sector.
During the first quarter of 2014, prices for some of Australia’s most important commodities fell, showcasing the importance of the export growth underway in the iron ore industry.
Five of Australia’s largest iron ore miners, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group, Arrium Limited and Atlas Iron, have significantly increased exports helping push the standard iron ore price down by more than 30 percent.
Another report published on Wednesday showed that Port Hedland, Australia’s largest iron ore port, increased exports by 3.55 percent between April and May, setting a monthly record with over 36 million tons. That number could grow as further as BHP and Fortescue plan to export more in the June quarter.
And while the news sounds hopeful for Australia’s economy, experts aren’t buying it.
According to Deutsche Bank chief economist Adam Boyton, rising exports from a small number of companies won’t solve all of Australia’s challenges. Because exports and resources are not very labor intensive, they do little to support employment and wage growth.
BHP, Fortescue and Rio Tinto have all vowed to continue growing exports for years to come.
The value of iron ore exports should reach $76.8 billion in fiscal 2014, up from $57.1 billion, according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics.
Aside from mining, construction and financial services were the biggest suppliers of growth for Australia.
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.