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Monday, April 2, 2012

Australian coking coal suppliers Vale and AMCI to pay damages to SAIL

Monday, 02 Apr 2012

Economic Times reported that Delhi High Court has dismissed the plea of two Australian coal firms, Vale Australia Pty Ltd and AMCI Pty Ltd, against an International Court of Arbitration's order to them for payment of about USD 159 million as damages to the SAIL.

Justice S Muralidhar upheld the March 10th 2011 ICA's arbitral award for payment of over USD 152 million as damages to the Steel Authority of India Ltd with an interest of over USD 6.8 million over it.

The ICA had also asked the two firms to pay additionally 80% of the SAIL's legal costs, including USD 320,000 as expenses and USD 160,000 as costs paid by the Indian public sector company to the tribunal.

The court said that "While it may be possible to argue that another view is also possible, that by itself does not constitute a valid ground for a court to interfere (in a foreign award) under section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. Consequently, this court is unable to find any error in the quantification of damages by the tribunal. All objections by Vale and AMCI to the award of March 10, 2011 passed by the tribunal are rejected with costs of INR 100,000 each to be paid by them to SAIL within four weeks.”

The dispute between the parties arose when Vale and AMCI failed to meet the SAIL demand of total 1 million tonnes of coking coal in 2007, under a long term agreement of April 23rd 2007 between them. The two companies managed to supply only 246,539 tonnes and a balance of 753,461 tonnes of coking coal remained to be supplied.

The matter was presented for dispute resolution in March 2009 before the ICA, which agreed with SAIL's contention that there was a breach of the LTA by the two Australian companies.

Source - Economic Times

Manila may award bulk of 38 coal projects in 5 months

Monday, 02 Apr 2012

The Philippines received 68 bids for 38 coal exploration projects on Friday and said it could award more than half the contracts within the next five months, as it aimed to cut imports of costly fossil fuels and secure energy supply.
Bidders at the country's fourth, and biggest, tender for prospective coal blocks included Philippine miners Benguet Corp and Semirara Mining Corp., the country's biggest coal producer.

Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug told reporters at the opening of sealed bids for the tender that "We obviously have attracted a lot of investors, and the list includes new parties.”

Mr Layug said that there were no bidders for a few sites. Most of the prospective coal blocks are located on the mineral rich provinces on the southern Mindanao island.

Mr Layug said winning bidders would receive two year contracts to explore for coal and 23 year operating contracts if successful.

Foreign ownership of coal projects in the Philippines is limited to 40%.

The government estimates the Philippines has a total coal resource potential of more than 3 billion tons, mainly thermal coal used for power generation.

Source - www.abs-cbnnews.com

Protest against iron ore operation of Vale in Malaysia

Mon,02 Apr2012

About 100 members of Jaringan Aktivis Alam Sekitar Perak JAASP, an environmental non governmental organization, staged a demonstration against the operation of an iron ore processing company, Vale SA, in Teluk Rubiah, Seri Manjung near here.

They claimed the operation had destroyed the environment in the area.

It is also reported that 4 Socialist Party of Malaysiamembers were detained by the police in Perak on their way to a protest against Vale’s iron ore processing plant in Lumut. They were released an hour later, after police took down their personal details and mobile numbers.

Vale is spending RM 4 billion in the first phase of the project, which will handle 30 million tonnes of iron ore yearly once completed in 2014.

The hub in Lumut, Perak will be able to accommodate Chinamax carriers, which are 400,000-tonne iron ore vessels that will cut freight costs for Vale.

Source - Bernama and The Malaysian Insider

Bangladesh eyeing Indonesia for Coal

Monday, 02 April 2012

The high level executives of Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) of Bangladesh is visiting Indonesia this week to study on coal sourcing, transportation and handling of coal for coal based thermal power plant in Khulna (660 MW), Chittagong (660 MW) and Maheshkhali (8320 MW LNG and coal combined) under Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).

The team is planning to study and access of coal handling facilities and transportation system of coal from Indonesia and planning to import 19.5 million metric ton of coal per annum.

“BPDB is in Indonesia this week after visiting Australia to identify potential coal exporters from Indonesia, assess their capabilities and their willingness as well as to identify probable modalities to export coal to Bangladesh”, said Shankar of KIECOAL, who are facilitating BPDB’s visit to Indonesia.Link

The study team comprising of the officials from the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Power Development. The joint study team will be headed by Tapos Kumar Roy, additional secretary of Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources during Indonesian Visit.

“We are also in touch with several coal producers Indonesia to introduce BPDB,” Shankar added.

The team also planning to visit a coal mine in South Kalimantan prior to leave Indonesia.

(sourced coalspot.com)
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pakistan trying to win back World Bank loan Thar coal project

Sunday, 25 Mar 2012

The Express Tribune reported that the federal government is preparing a report for the World Bank to show that coal is a least cost option and convince the bank to re engage itself in the Thar coal and energy project. Earlier, the World Bank had withdrawn from its commitment of providing USD 30 million in loan for the Thar coal project.

Mr Ayaz Soomro Sindh Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister said that the World Bank in a sudden and abrupt move told the government in November 2009 that it was not in a position to continue with the Thar coal and power project because of environmental reasons.

Mr Soomro who was responding to queries on behalf of Chief Minister Mr Syed Qaim Ali Shah who also heads the Coal and Energy Department said that the Sindh government then approached the federal government asking it to take up the matter with the World Bank.

Mr Soomro accepted that though MoUs had been signed with different companies over the last 5 to 7 years, no company could start coal mining and power production. Reasons behind this were non serious attitude, dearth of infrastructure, lack of incentives, low coordination between provincial and federal governments and failure to resolve tariff and coal pricing issues.

He said that the government had entered into joint ventures with Engro Group, China based Global Mining Company and others in four blocks of Thar. In addition to these, the provincial government has created Sindh Coal Development Fund with PKR 5,000 million for injecting its share of equity.

Mr Soomro said that for financing, a joint venture project has been included in the list of projects under the Pakistan and China Energy Working Group which will meet on April 15th 2012.

He said that work had started on a transmission line and constructing other infrastructure, including roads. About constructing railway lines in Thar Pakistan Railways in collaboration with the Thar Coal and Energy Board had given task to Pakistan Advisory Consultancy Services, a subsidiary of railways, to conduct a feasibility study for laying railway tracks up to the Thar coal field.

He added that an amount of PKR 21.9 million has been allocated in the budget. The government had already declared the Thar coal field as a special economic zone and a project of national security.

Source - The Express Tribune

CBI survey in Janardhana Reddys mine

Sunday, 25 Mar 2012

The Central Bureau of Investigation conducted a survey on Thursday in former minister and mining baron Janardhana Reddy’s Associated Mining Company based on the alleged transportation of 320,000 tonnes of iron ore in five days (March 18-23, 2010).

A team headed by CBI Superintendent of Police Subramanya Rao conducted the survey along with a group of engineers from Singareni Coal Mines, Andhra Pradesh. Apparently, the CBI official arrived at Hospet on Wednesday night and had surveyed the mining areas under AMC on Thursday.

Recently, the CBI collected information from the Department of Mines and Geology about illegal mining. Based on this information, the CBI conducted the survey.

The CBI team along with Reddy’s close aide and personnel assistant Mehfuz Ali Khan, visited the stock yards in Hospet and Sandur. On Thursday, the CBI with the help Department of Mines and Geology and forest department officials surveyed the area till evening.

Source - Indian Express

Iron ore ship rents fall to 12 month low

Saturday, 24 Mar 2012

Returns for Capesize ships that haul commodities including iron ore and coal plunged to the lowest in 12 months as Chinese steel production slows and raw material prices fall.

According to the Baltic Exchange, a London based provider of freight costs on 29 dry bulk routes, daily returns for Capesize vessels fell to USD 4,881 on March 20th 2101. That’s the lowest price since March 2 last year.

Oslo based investment bank RS Platou Markets AS said that “A full blown recovery to match our yearly average target of USD 13,000 a day remains an uphill battle.”

Capesizes are the largest vessels in the Baltic Dry Index, a broader measure of costs to transport commodities. The gauge advanced for a 19th session, the longest winning streak since it rose for 23 days in June 2009. The index rose 0.6% to 884 as charter rates for three of the smaller ship classes tracked increased, figures from the exchange showed.

Panamaxes, the biggest ships that can navigate the Panama Canal, advanced 1.4% to USD 8,037, the longest winning streak in five months, according to the exchange. Supramaxes, about 25% smaller, added 2.7% to USD 10,340. Handysizes, the smallest ships in the index, rose 1.7% to USD 7,915, the highest rate in more than nine weeks.

Source - Bloomberg

Bellzone Mining starts iron ore production in Guinea

Sunday, 25 Mar 2012

Iron ore production and stockpiling at Bellzone Mining's For├ęcariah joint venture project in Guinea has begun following the maiden blast on the Yomboyeli Central ore body on March 22nd 2012.

The maiden blast consisted of 213 holes and it is anticipated that this will provide more than 30,000 tonnes of run of mine (ore for processing through the installed crushing and screening plants.

The maiden blast has provided a data set that can be analysed and the blasting process will be evaluated and refined on an ongoing basis to ensure production is maximised over time.

The initial tonnes will be used for wet commissioning of the crushing and screening plants and will be stockpiled as product at the mine site ahead of haulage to the port, pending the issue of the mining permit by the government of Guinea.

When the permit is received, the product will be trucked to the port and stockpiled in preparation for barge loading, which is anticipated to be by the end of April.

Production operations will be progressively ramped up to achieve the design capacity of 4 million tonne per annum over a six month period, with first shipment scheduled for early June 2012.

Source - StockMarketWire.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Steam coal prices stable as China growth worries weigh

Wednesday, 21 Mar 2012

Reuters reported that prices of prompt physical steam coal were largely unchanged again on Tuesday with coal lacking clear direction from fundamentals but macro factors such as China growth worries could start to erode prices, utilities and traders said.

PRICES

A May South African cargo was bid at USD 103.50 and offered at USD 104.25, unchanged.

A June South African cargo was bid at USD 104.50.

An April DES ARA cargo was bid at USD 90.00 and offered at USD 96.00, down USD 3.00 on the bid but unchanged on the offer

A May DES ARA cargo was bid at USD 95.00 and offered at USD 98.50, little changed

Bids and offers were again too far apart to trade and both buyers and sellers were uncertain of the market's strength.

No fresh trades were reported.

One European trader said “Everybody's trying to figure out how to make money in this market, which is barely moving, so for some to make a slim margin on U.S. coal to Asia is better than nothing or almost nothing.”

They said “More fixed price trades, a term contract settlement price between Australian producers and Japanese utilities and some resumption of Chinese buying would give the market a sharper picture of coal's value.”

The fundamental situation in the coal market has not significantly changed for months, Societe Generale said in a research note on Tuesday.

Global coal prices are heavily dependent upon whether China imports on a large scale or not and this in turn depends on whether domestic coal is cheaper than imports.

Source - Reuters

ArcelorMittal Liberia reaches 1 million tonne iron ore mark

Wednesday, 21 Mar 2012

ArcelorMittal announced the shipment of the 1 millionth tonne of DSO iron ore from its Liberia mining operations.

The vessel will sail from the Buchanan terminal to its customer in China.

Production has been operating at an annualized rate of 4 million tonne per annum since late 2011 and the company is now in commercial ramp up phase with trials cargoes being dispatched to global steel mills.

Mr Rajesh Goel CEO for ArcelorMittal Liberia said “It gives me great pleasure to announce the first one million tons ore shipment from Liberia. We are only at the beginning of our operational development in Liberia which includes significant growth plans in cooperation with the Liberian government and our local communities.”

Prior to commencing mining in Liberia, ArcelorMittal invested USD 800 USD in the rehabilitation of the railroad, port, and infrastructure around the mine in Yekepa, while building its in country capacity.

Source - Allafrica.com

China coal prices may ease further and boon for power

Wednesday, 21 Mar 2012

Reuters quoted a top Chinese power company executive said China thermal coal prices are likely to ease further this year as the country economic growth slows, a good sign for the world second largest power industry.

Mr Wang Yu Jun chief executive officer of state run power producer China Resources Power Holdings Co Ltd said spot thermal coal prices in China have fallen sharply and the trend would continue as demand weakens.

He said that China benchmark spot coal prices with a heating value of 5,500 kilocalories per kilogram have declined to the current CNY 765 per tonne from more than CNY 800 at the end of last year.

He added that "It is mainly because China GDP growth has slowed substantially since the last quarter. We believe coal prices will fall this year."

Mr Wang said "If this year's GDP growth is in line with what the government has just forecast, I think this year's fall in coal prices will be rather big."

Chinese Premier Mr Wen Jiabao announced earlier this month that the government had cut the nation growth target to 7.5% for 2012 versus the longstanding goal of 8% annual growth in a move anticipated by investors expecting more focus on economic rebalancing and defusing price pressures.

A coal price fall will be boon to China power sector, which predominantly relies on coal for generation and cannot freely pass on fuel costs to end-users.

Source - Reuters

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Export of iron ore through MMTC

Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012

Mr Jyotiraditya M Scindia minister of state for commerce and industry, said that under the extant Foreign Trade Policy, export of iron ore with Fe content 64% and above (except iron ore of Goa & Redi origin) is under the State Trading Regime through MMTC Limited.

However, the feasibility of nodal agency operation, as an interim measure, to cover exports of most grades of iron ore as an accounting procedure is under examination, to enforce legitimacy and tighter regulation of iron-ore exports and compliance with mining regulations. Procedures for end-to end monitoring of mineral movement (from mining stage to end-use/export) and mandatory registration of and reporting by all stakeholders would help to establish the traceability of the ore thereby ensuring that it is sourced through legal mining operations.

To ensure domestic availability of iron ore, Government has raised the ad-valorem export duty on iron ore lumps and fines to 30% and imposed differential railway freight on iron ore meant for export.

Source - PIB


Indonesia forces miners into new deals

Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012

BHP Billiton and Newcrest will be forced to renegotiate their long standing mining leases under controversial new divestment laws in Indonesia.

A senior official in Indonesia's Department of Mines and Energy has confirmed that all companies without exception, must implement the new policy under which foreigners cannot own more than 49% of a mining project in the country.

But the details of the divestment for projects operating under existing contracts are subject to negotiation.

The regulation, which was signed by the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, last month but only published last week, has caused turmoil in the global mining industry as companies that have billions in assets try to work out what it means.

The divestment must start taking place after a mine has been in production for five years, and be complete after 10 years.

BHP and Newcrest have both stated recently that they expect to be unaffected by the new rules, despite holding majority stakes in Indonesia's Indomet and Gosowong mines respectively.

But Mr Sujatmiko a senior adviser to Thamrin Sihite, the director-general of mines and energy, told BusinessDay that even existing miners working under older leases, called contracts of work, would be required to divest.

Mr Sujatmiko said that "In the case of contract of work like PT Nusa Halmahera Minerals [Newcrest's Gosowong project] and Coal Contract of Work like Indomet Project-BHP group, applying [the law] will depends on result of renegotiation between Government and company.”

"To adjust those contracts, government and companies [are] doing renegotiation now and agreement hasn't happened between both parties to date."

Source - www.watoday.com.au

Transnet delivers wagons to Mozambique

Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba marked the shipping of the last 98 of the 200 wagons and spare parts designed, engineered and manufactured in Transnet Rail Engineering's facility in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape.

The wagons, which were built for global mining giant Rio Tinto, will be carrying coal from the company's coking coal mine at Moatize in Mozambique's Tete province to the port of Beira.

The wagons and two containers with spare parts were railed from Transnet Rail Engineering's Wagon Business at Uitenhage about 23km from Port Elizabeth to the Port Elizabeth harbour where they were loaded on the MV Thorco Sunrise SW cargo vessel, which departs for Mozambique on Friday.

Gigaba said that "This is a particularly proud moment for us not only because of the significance of this achievement but because of the stringent standards we imposed on ourselves to satisfy our customer. The design, development, prototyping, industrialization and starting production of this new wagon were accomplished in less than five months an impressive lead time by any international standards."

In line with Transnet's commitment to the competitive supplier development program, 85% of the raw materials and components used to manufacture the wagons were sourced locally or built in-house. Only the draw gear and a few specialized components were imported.

Chief executive Brian Molefe said that "A total service solution is key to our customer satisfaction strategy. For this reason and to maximize the life-cycle of the wagons and to ensure a low total cost of ownership, we will be sending our experts to train and supervise local staff in the maintenance of these wagons in Mozambique.”

The wagon business at Uitenhage specializes in manufacturing, conversion, heavy repair and upgrading of railway wagons for domestic fleets. It supplies wagons to the east coast intermodal operators of Tanzania and the west coast mines of Ghana.

Source - www.businesslive.co.za

Vale to reopen Carajas iron ore rail track

Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012

Bloomberg reported that Vale SA said that it will reopen operations at a railroad that transports production from the world’s largest iron ore mine after an accident lowered shipments by 300,000 tonnes.

It said “Vale has taken all the necessary measures to restore the railway traffic.”

Vale said “Traffic at the Carajas railroad in northern Brazil will resume and the expected iron ore shipment loss is relatively small. The company may be able to offset the loss by increasing shipments from other ports such as Tubarao, Ilha de Guaiba and Itaguai.”

Vale shut the Carajas railroad after part of a bridge it was building next to the railroad collapsed March 16 when 7 workers suffered light injuries.

The railroad links the Carajas mine with the Ponta da Madeira port in Brazil’s northeastern state of Maranhao, from which Vale exports iron ore to clients as far away as Asia. Vale produced a record 109.8 million tonnes of iron ore in Carajas last year, or about 34% of its total output.

Source - Bloomberg