[REPORT] Port Hedland Sets New Record with 1.2M Tons of Iron Ore in Single Tide
The largest iron ore port in Australia, Port Hedland, has set a new record. Over the weekend the port shipped 1,270,721 tons of iron ore in a single day, breaking the previous record by more than 160,000 tons.
The new benchmark was accomplished with seven capsize bulk carrier ships all departing on Saturday. The port said it was the first time seven capsize vessels have sailed on a single tide.
According to Treasurer Joe Hockey, the recent fortune of good weather has played a significant role in the high volume of iron ore exports leaving Australia. "It's an extraordinary quarter in March when you don't have cyclones, particularly in Western Australia affecting Port Hedland, so our miners are exporting their socks off, and thank God because it's having a positive impact on our economy," Hockey said.
The record breaking volumes of export are also playing a critical role in Australia’s economy. The market price of iron ore has been on a downhill spiral in recent months, meaning larger mining companies such as BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals need to ramp up production volumes to maintain profit margins.
The port has increased exports by 3.55 percent between April and May, setting a monthly record of 36 million tons. The value of iron ore exports is expected to reach $76.8 billion in 2014, up from $57.1 billion according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics.
Last month Port Hedland faced an uncertain outcome as a possible strike with tugboat workers loomed over Australia’s largest port.
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.