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Saturday, January 22, 2011

India’s ICVL to Outbid Rio Tinto for Riversdale, Chairman Says

By Pradipta Mukherjee and Rajesh Kumar Singh -

Jan 22, 2011
India’s government plans to offer more than Rio Tinto Group’s A$3.9 billion ($3.9 billion) bid to buy Australia’s Riversdale Mining Ltd., Chairman C.S. Verma said.
International Coal Ventures Ltd., a group of Indian state- run metal and energy companies, will decide on a price for the Sydney-based coal company with mines in Mozambique at a board meeting in New Delhi on Jan. 27, Verma said in an interview in Kolkata today.
Rio Tinto, which offered A$16 a share, said yesterday it received unconditional approval from the Australian Treasurer to buy Riversdale. sourced:bloomberg

Buyers forced to swallow price rises from suppliers

21 January 2011 sourced By Lindsay Clark

Manufacturers will continue to pass on the rising cost of raw materials to buyers, business research has found.A survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) showed there are a growing number of firms increasing prices to purchasers against a backdrop of increasing production and demand.

The study of 394 manufacturers in the UK found 32 per cent had seen output grow over the past three months, while 16 per cent said that it had fallen, giving a balance of plus 16 per cent. This was driven primarily by growth in export orders, at plus 13 per cent, with domestic demand rising more modestly at plus 9 per cent.

Manufacturers have raised output prices markedly during the last quarter, the January Quarterly Industrial Trends Survey said. While domestic prices rose at plus 13 per cent of firms, exports were plus 14 per cent. Both the figures represent the biggest difference between firms since October 2008. Price increases are expected to accelerate sharply over the next three months. A balance of plus 31 per cent of firms expect domestic prices to rise while plus 34 per cent see export prices increasing. The number of firms expecting to increase export prices is the highest since January 1995.
The figures support evidence the increasing costs of raw materials is being passed down through the supply chain.
Ian McCafferty, CBI chief economic adviser, said: “Production has been boosted this quarter by a strengthening in both domestic and overseas demand and, over the next three months, companies expect further growth, driven by another rise in export orders.
“But manufacturers have come under intense pressure to pass on rising costs: they have increased prices markedly in this quarter, and expect to raise them at an even faster pace over the next three months. This will drive further inflationary pressure in the wider economy.”

Australian floods push up coal price

22 January 2011
Angeline Albert

BHP Billiton has reported a 30 per cent drop in coal production between October and December last year due to flooding in Queensland in Australia.In its half-year report, the mining firm said: “Queensland coal production was significantly affected by the persistent rain and flooding that impacted the Bowen Basin in the December 2010 half-year.”

The Bowen Basin in Queensland is the largest coal reserve in Australia and the region accounts for around 56 per cent of the world's exports of coking coal, an essential ingredient in steel manufacturing. The company reported a 24 per cent decline in the production of coking coal in the third quarter, which ended on 31 December.
The report said the heavy rainfall that persisted for much of the late last year “significantly restricted” coal removal. “When combined with disruption to external infrastructure, we expect an ongoing impact on production, sales and unit costs for the remainder of the 2011 financial year.”

But BHP Billiton added its coal sales benefited from a “healthy level of inventory that was held across our supply chain at the commencement of the quarter”.
Spot prices for coking coal having risen above $300 a tonne (£187) this week. Contracts signed before the floods priced the commodity at $225 (£140) a tonne, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“As a direct impact of the floods, coal prices have moved rapidly higher, with some estimates indicating that coking coal prices could triple in the short term,” said Australian bank Westpac’s chief economist Bill Evans in a statement.

Iron Ore-Spot prices eye $200/T, indexes at record

* Indian ore offers steady at $188-$190/T-Mysteel
* Chinese buying likely to extend to next week

(Adds Shanghai rebar futures at record)
By Manolo Serapio Jr

SINGAPORE, Jan 21, 2011 (Reuters) - Iron ore spot prices in Asia remained strong on Friday and looked set to hit $200 a tonne soon, buoyed by demand from top buyer China and fewer high-grade cargoes.
The rally that began at the start of the year lifted key price indexes to record levels on Thursday and traders say the momentum could extend to at least next week before the Chinese week-long Lunar New Year holiday starts.
Chinese New Year kicks off on Feb. 2.
"There's not much high-grade cargo available and that's the reason why prices are rising," said an iron ore trader in Singapore.
"And the Chinese have no option so the buying activity will continue until next week. If supply remains tight when they are back from holiday, prices will continue rising."
Iron ore supply has been tight, with fewer cargoes out of Brazil due to rainy weather and Indian exports hampered by logistical problems and a ban on shipments from its Karnataka state since July.
Brazil and India are the world's second- and third-largest exporters of the steelmaking material. Chinese imports from the two countries fell in 2010.
Table on China's iron ore and steel trade:
Rising prices of iron ore as well as coking coal, another ingredient in producing steel, after floods hit top supplier Australia have pushed up Shanghai rebar futures to a record level for a fourth time in a week, although volumes have steadily fallen from November.
The most active May rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose as high as 4,956 yuan a tonne, before closing at 4,950 yuan, up 0.7 percent.
SWAPS FALL Indian ore with 63.5 percent iron content was being offered at $188-$190 a tonne, cost and freight delivered to China, on Friday, steady from the previous day, said Chinese consultancy Mysteel.
"My company has decided to save some material for selling after the (Chinese New Year) holiday and we have stopped offering now as we can't see any signals for prices to ease," said a Beijing-based iron ore trader.
"It seems prices will hit $200 per tonne soon."
The Platts 62 percent iron ore index IODBZ00-PLT hit a record of $186.50 a tonne on Thursday, while the Steel Index 62 percent benchmark .IO62-CNI=SI also touched a record of $185.40.
Global miners including Brazil's Vale , the world's biggest iron ore producer, use the Platts index to decide prices for quarterly contracts, which analysts say are likely to rise again in the second quarter after an estimated 7-8 percent hike in January-March.
But a sharp decline in forward swaps on Thursday suggested prices could ease in the near term.
The Singapore Exchange-cleared February contract dropped 1.9 percent to $177.38 a tonne and March fell 2.8 percent to $172.38. (Additional reporting by Ruby Lian in SHANGHAI; Editing by Ed Lane, souced reuters)

Australia govt: 20 pct of qtr coal exports lost to floods

* Gov't forecasts 20pct of Australia's quarterly coal exports lost to floods
* Around 7 pct of cotton plantings also lost
* Cockatoo, Aquila make headway at coal mines leave force majeure in place (Wraps ABARES data, Rio Tinto, Aquila)
By James Regan

SYDNEY, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Australia's devastating floods, which shut mines and damaged rail lines, could cut coal exports by around 15 million tonnes, or 20 percent this quarter, even as collieries show signs of recovery, the government's commodities forecasting agency said on Friday.
Coal ports in hardest-hit Queensland state escaped severe damage, but are still operating well under capacity as a result of lower coal receivals, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) said.
ABARES estimates flooding due to monsoon rains that started in November could lower coal export earnings by A$2.0 - $2.5 billion ($1.97-billion-2.47 billion) during the quarter to March 31.
"Coal production at affected mines has been reduced because of a number of factors, including flooded pits and difficulties in removing the water, and a lack of access to mine sites because of flooded roads," it said.
Australia was forecast to export 160 million tonnes of metallurgical coal and 158 million tonnes of thermal coal in fiscal 2011, according to ABARES.
Cockatoo Coal and Aquila Resources on Friday partially resumed operations in hardest Queensland state as floodwaters continued to recede.
But in the aftermath of one of Australia's worst natural disasters on record, mining companies say operations are still far from normal: Vital rail corridors linking mines with export terminals are only slowing being reactivated and force majeure -- a legal let-out enabling miners to break sales contracts without penalty -- remain in place across Queensland.

Aquila, which mines 2.8 million tonnes a year of metallurgical and thermal coals from its Issac Plains mine in 50-50 partnership with Brazil's Vale warned it would still take some time to resume full operations. Cockatoo Coal said mining at its Baralaba operations would not start before February.
The Baralaba mine suffered some of the worst damage during the flooding after a levy protecting the lode collapsed sending a torrent of water into the pit.
Flooding at other mines -- most concentrated in the inland Bowen Basin -- was restricted to rainwater.
"Whilst all equipment is in working order, resumption of full production rates will take some time while dewatering of the site is completed, Cockatoo said.
It only expects to restart mining in February once pit dewatering provides improved access.
"A phased program of dewatering/mining is then expected to continue for several weeks as the mine returns to planned production capacity (about 150,000 tonnes per quarter)," Cockatoo said.
Suppliers of pumping equipment needed to empty water from the mines have said they will be hard-pressed to meet demand and environmentalists are concerned the water may pose health risks.
The flooding has been blamed on rains triggered by a La Nina Pacific weather pattern that has devastated huge areas of the eastern seaboard.
Rio Tinto RIO.L> this week said its Queensland coal mines were operational but still constrained and left its force majeure declaration in place. .

BHP Billiton , the world's largest supplier of sea-borne hard coking coal via a joint venture with Japan's Mitsubishi Corp , is bracing for lower production over the next six months in the aftermath of the flooding, which trimmed December quarter output by a third.
The flooding has driven contract prices for coking coal as high as $225 per tonne for the first quarter of 2011, compared to $209 per tonne in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Spot prices have shot up to more than $350 per tonne and consultants Wood Mackenzie said prices could reach $500.
This will mean higher second-quarter contract prices, based on average daily spot prices over the previous three months.
But a quicker-than-expected return to production would likely end the upward trajectory in coal prices, according to Patersons Securities analyst Andrew Harrington.
"This happened after flooding in 2007/08 caused the price to go up and then fall back," Harrington said.

ABARES also estimated flooding cut agricultural production by at least A$500 million to A$600 million in 2010/11.
It said the winter harvest, including wheat, barley and canola, in most of the flood-affected regions was either complete or near completion before the recent flooding.
But a wet harvest means Australia, usually the world's fourth biggest wheat exporter, could see more than 10 million tonnes of wheat downgraded in quality to low quality milling wheat or feed wheat. A wet growing season means a near record 26 million tonnes of the grain could be harvested nationally.
ABARES also estimated that around seven percent of Australian cotton plantings, valued at A$150 million in 2010-11 was destroyed and a further 2 percent were at risk if the crops did not have the opportunity to dry out.
The 2010/11 Australian cotton harvest could be 3.95 million bales, 8 percent below an earlier estimate but the July to June year harvest would still be a record, exceeding the 3.52 million bales harvested in 2001/02, Rabobank said in a report last week. (4.4 bales equals 1 tone)
The wet weather in Queensland has had a limited impact on other mineral and energy commodity production concentred further north of the coalfields
The one notable exception was Rio Tinto declaring force majeure at its Boyne Island aluminium smelter. Force majeure was lifted on Friday after road and rail access to the port of Brisbane was restored .
(Additional reporting by Bruce Hextall and Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Ed Davies, sourced Reuters)

Top 10 steel producing countries in 2010, China, Japan, United States, Russia, India...

Saturday, 22 Jan 2011

















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India slips to fifth spot in global crude steel production in 2010

Saturday, 22 Jan 2011

According to the latest release from worldsteel, India’s crude steel production in 2010 reached 66.8 million tonnes, an increase of 6.4% on 2009.























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Nippon, Toyota may OK 1 pct steel price hike - Nikkei

Jan 22, 2011 (Reuters) - The world's fourth-biggest steelmaker, Nippon Steel Corp (5401.T: Quote), and Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote) are likely to agree on an around 1 percent increase in steel prices for the second half of fiscal 2010, the Nikkei reported, citing sources close to the negotiations.
The figure is much smaller than the roughly 25 percent jump for the first half of the year, the business daily said.
After falling earlier in the October-March period, iron ore and coking coal prices are on the rise again and steelmakers have thus sought to pass the higher costs to carmakers and other major customers, the paper said.
Faced with deteriorating margins on vehicle exports, Toyota demanded a price cut, arguing that steelmakers costs for importing raw materials are declining due to a stronger yen, the Nikkei said. (Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed in Bangalore)

China adds 53 million tonnes crude steel production in 2010

Saturday, 22 Jan 2011

According to the latest release from worldsteel, China’s crude steel production in 2010 reached 626.7 million tonnes, an increase of 9.3% on 2009.
China’s share of world crude steel production declined from 46.7% in 2009 to 44.3% in 2010.























2010 P




In million tonnes (Source -

Global steel output rises to record

Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:06pm GMT
* Asia drives steel production growth
* Western economies lag behind Asia
* China share of global production falls

By Silvia Antonioli

LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Global crude steel production touched a new record in 2010, driven by growth in emerging regions and improving manufacturing in the developed world, although the construction sector remained gloomy.
Global production rose 15 percent to 1.414 billion tonnes in 2010 from 1.327 billion in 2008 and 1.229 billion in 2008, according to data released by the World Steel Association on Friday.
"The production data is better than people could expect in the aftermath of the crisis in 2009," said Anthony de Carvalho, administrator on the steel committee at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD).
"The economic stimulus programmes (undertaken by governments) indirectly helped the steel industry. But many countries are still below pre-recession levels."
Asia and other developing countries drove the growth and reached record production levels, while output in Western economies lagged behind 2008's levels as growth remained fragile and the construction sector was hit hard, analysts said.
Production in China, the world's largest steel producer, rose 9.3 percent to 626.7 million tonnes on the previous year, but its share of global production fell to 44.3 percent from 46.7 percent in 2009.
Analysts said China's growth was strong but hampered by electricity cuts in the last part of 2010, analysts said.
"China had problems trying to meet environmental requirements," said Peter Fish, managing director at MEPS, a steel information provider.
"But the Chinese could not grow 20 or 30 percent like some other countries, because in 2009, when everyone else took a dip, China didn't."
Chinese steel production is expected to grow but at a slower rate in 2011, closer to 5 percent versus 7-8 percent growth in India, Fisher forecast
As China's economy grows, the authorities are likely to turn to monetary policy to contain inflation, and this could affect steel demand, according to analysts.
"We do think that a tighter monetary policy in China will slow down steel consumption and this will start to kick in in the second half of 2011," said Chris Houden, analyst at CRU.
Japan, the world's second-largest steel producer, enjoyed 25.2 percent growth in 2010 to 109.6 million tonnes versus 2009. Its exports have got a boost from growth in neighbouring economies such as China and Korea, according to De Carvalho.
EU and U.S. steel production grew rapidly but from a lower base. Production in the European Union grew by 24.6 percent to 172.9 million tonnes and in the United States by 38.5 percent to 80.6 million.
These countries are still struggling with overcapacity, analysts said.
"(Capacity) utilization is picking up from low levels, but the question is: Will producers keep production low to get price increases?" said UBS analyst Andrew Snowdowne.
While steel production in emerging economies will continue to grow to record levels, it may take developed countries a few more years to go back to pre-crisis levels given the fragile state of their economies, analysts said.
(Reporting by Silvia Antonioli; editing by Jane Baird,

Rio and Aquila resume operations after Queensland floods

Saturday, 22 Jan 2011
Reuters reported that miners Rio Tinto and Aquila Resources have resumed some operations in Australia's flood ravaged Queensland state as waters receded and the region's vital mining and metals sector slowly returned to work.
Rio Tinto terminated force majeure at its Boyne Island aluminium smelter as it could resume transportation while Aquila restarted production at its Isaac Plains coal mine, a joint venture with Brazil's Vale.
But Queensland's coal industry, which suffered losses of over USD 2 billion according to some estimates, is still far from normal and Aquila warned it would still take some time to resume full operations while Cockatoo Coal said mining at its Baralaba operations would not start before February 2011.
Aquila said that "Whilst all equipment is in working order, resumption of full production rates will take some time while dewatering of the site is completed. Force Majeure remains in place on a number of sales contracts."
Australia accounts for around two-thirds of the world's coking coal exports and Queensland share is around 90 percent of that figures.
Gladstone Port, Queensland's second largest coal export port, earlier this week said it would take until the end of March 2011 for exports to return to normal while mining services companies said it could take three to six months to pump out all the water in mining pits.
(Sourced from

QR National struggles to recover coal network

Saturday, 22 Jan 2011

As floodwaters gradually recede, the impact on Queensland's coal network customers and tonnages including the cost of recovery is yet to be fully assessed.
While Freight Rail provider QR National said that there is progress on the recovery efforts across the company’s operations, total coal tonnages across the QR National coal network, which is used by both QR National and Pacific National trains, is expected to continue to be impacted over coming weeks.
QR National said that the Moura coal line was opened to traffic last week and the Blackwater network is now targeted to re open late this week, following a detailed track inspection.
The company said that “The Newlands line to Abbot Point Coal terminal near Bowen continues to operate. This system has remained open throughout and while it operated at reduced railings in December it has recovered well in January.”
QR National said that “The Goonyella network into the ports of Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point, south of Mackay, is also still operating, despite being closed from 24 to 30 December following the derailment of a Pacific National train near Yukan. The network is currently working at around 70 percent capacity due to reduced coal availability.”
QR National said that “The Blackwater network that feeds into the port of Gladstone is expected to re open this week, following a detailed inspection and assessment of flood damaged track.”
It said that “The system has been closed since December 27. QR National has mobilized resources, both people and equipment, to ensure repairs are completed efficiently. On current estimates, services are expected to resume on the line as early as Thursday (20 Jan), pending no significant rain and recovery operations proceeding as planned. It is planned that services would be available from Burngrove (near Blackwater) east from that time, and then progressively to mines located on the (northern) Gregory branch from the weekend (22/23 January).”
QR National said that “Precise dates for resumption of services for the Minerva and Rolleston mines are yet to be determined."
In southern Queensland, QR National said that it is unable to operate services west of Brisbane because of flooding and damage to the rail line on the Toowoomba Range following a landslide on 10 January.
Mr Lance Hockridge MD of QR National said that “QR National is awaiting further advice from the network owner, Queensland Rail, on the extent of the damage to infrastructure and likely timeframe for restoration of the track.” He added that “We are unable to provide services to coal customers, west of Brisbane and to grain and general freight customers in south-west Queensland.”
QR National's general freight services along the North Coast Line to locations beyond Gladstone to Cairns are not able to operate because the line remains cut by floodwaters at Rockhampton. This is expected to continue through this next week.
(Sourced from

FIRB approval of Riversdale Mining takeover by Rio Tinto

Saturday, 22 Jan 2011
Rio Tinto has received unconditional approval from the Australian Treasurer to acquire up to 100% of Riversdale Mining Limited.
Rio release said “Accordingly, as stated in the notice submitted to the Australian Securities Exchange, the condition to the takeover offer relating to this approval has been fulfilled. A copy of this notice is available at”
The offer is scheduled to close at 7.00 PM Sydney time on 18 February 2011, unless extended or withdrawn.

Grange Resource expects more price for iron ore

Saturday, 22 Jan 2011
Magnetite iron ore exporter Grange Resources expects to secure a 20% jump in prices this quarter to USD 180 a tonne.
Grange, which mines at the Savage River project in Tasmania, received USD 150 a tonne last quarter for its iron ore pellets, which require more processing and generally receive a USD 50 a tonne premium to the iron ore fines mined in Western Australia's Pilbara region.
The Perth based miner said costs at Savage River in the three months to the end of December jumped 43% to USD 91.37 a tonne because a previously announced rockslide meant it produced less from worse quality ore than in the previous quarter.
Quarterly pellet production slipped to 442,427 tonnes from 640,000 tonnes the previous quarter.
Higher prices kept revenue from falling too far, with the company reporting USD 89.2 million of sales, down from USD 97 million in the previous quarter. However, the stock market was squarely focused on the price outlook for iron ore, pushing Grange's shares 10c higher to 90c and pushing the company's market value past $1 billion for the first time since October 2008.
Grange is also investigating the bigger Southdown magnetite project near Albany in WA.
At Southdown, Grange has increased the scope of its project to one that will be able to produce 10 million tonnes of magnetite concentrate a year, which is about four times the size of Savage River.
Following a pre feasibility study finished last month, the company has also decided it will require a desalination plant to provide water to treat the increased production.
The increased size, from 7 million tonnes previously and the desalination plant will increase the capital cost from previous estimates of USD 1.9 billion but the company is not releasing the new estimates. (Sourced from The Australian)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Madhya Pradesh Power to import 400000 tonnes of steam coal

Friday, 21 Jan 2011

Madhya Pradesh Power Generating Co is seeking to import 400,000 tonnes of non coking coal for two projects in central India. The company, based in Jabalpur in central Madhya Pradesh state, requires suppliers to deliver 250,000 tonnes to its Satpura Thermal Power station at Sarni and 150,000 tonnes to its Sanjay Gandhi Thermal Power station at Birsinghpur.
The power producer is seeking coal of gross calorific value of 6,300 kilocalories a kilogram and with ash content of 10 percent. Bids are to be submitted by January 31 and deliveries are to begin in the fourth week of February. (Sourced from Bloomberg)

Indonesia coking coal miner Borneo's 2010 net profit at $177 mln

Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:59am GMT

JAKARTA Jan 21 (Reuters) - PT Borneo Lumbung Energi and Metal , Indonesia's only listed coking coal miner, reported 2010 full year net profit at $177 million with coal sales volume of 1.65 million tonnes, said Geroad Jusuf, the firm's corporate secretary, on Friday.
This was a turnaround from a 99.8 billion rupiah ($11 million) loss in 2009.
(Reporting by Fathiya Dahrul; Editing by Neil Chatterjee, sourced Reuters)

Legend restarts iron ore drilling at Cameroon mine

Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:39am GMT

YAOUNDE Jan 21 (Reuters) -
Australia's Legend Mining has resumed a drilling programme at its Ngovayang iron ore concession in Cameroon after it was suspended last year due to rain, the firm said on Friday.
Legend said in September it would have to suspend the 5,000 metre drilling programme for at least three weeks after heavy rain. The Ngovayang project is one of three iron ore developments under way in Cameroon, which is keen to to diversify its oil and cocoa-driven economy.
The others are the 35 million tonnes per annum Mbalam project developed by Sundance Resources in the south-east of the country and African Aura's Nkout prospect north-west of Mbalam. (Reporting by Tansa Musa; editing by David Lewis, sourced Reuters)

Vale SA to invest RM14b in iron project

Friday, Janurary21, 2011
Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore producer, will invest about 14 billion ringgit ($4.6 billion) on its proposed trans-shipment project in Malaysia’s Perak state, Zambry Abdul Kadir, the state’s chief minister said in a telephone interview today.
“They have already completed the land acquisition and are expected to start construction work around July and the entire project will be done in phases,” said Zambry. The investment may be over a period of about 10 years, he said. -- Bloomberg

Australia Fortescue-BC Iron JV to load first iron ore on rail in Jan

Singapore (Platts) --21 Jan, 2011

Australia's Fortescue Metals Group said Friday it expects to load the first train of iron ore by the end of January from its joint venture with BC Iron, the target of a complete takeover by a Hong Kong mining company. "Fortescue looks forward to loading the first ore train using iron ore from its joint venture with BC Iron shortly," said Cameron Morse of FD, a public relations firm engaged by Fortescue.
BC Iron's board of directors on Friday recommended shareholders to accept a bid by Hong Kong-listed Regent Pacific Group to buy the remaining shares of BC Iron it does not own for A$3.30($3.26)/share, valuing it at A$345 million. Regent now holds 19.9% of the company. BC Iron's 50:50 joint venture with Fortescue, the Nullagine project in Australia's Pilbara region, will use the latter's infrastructure at Christmas Creek to rail its ore to Port Hedland for export. Mining started in November 2010 and the first shipment will take place in the first quarter of 2011, it said. BC Iron plans to export 1 million mt by June, when it expects to mine at a rate of 3 million mt/year.

Jindal Steel to export 1 mn tonnes of Bolivian iron ore in 2011

21 Jan, 2011, 11.16AM IST,IANS

LA PAZ: India's Jindal Steel & Power plans this year to export 1 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate from Bolivia's El Mutun mine , the firm said.
Exports will begin in March now that some problems that had slowed development of the mine near Puerto Suarez - a town close to the Brazilian border - have been overcome, Jindal Bolivia's communications manager, Eduardo Prudencio, said.
"Exports will begin in March. They'll be the first iron-ore exports from Bolivia. One million tonnes will be exported during the year," Prudencio said.
The information was confirmed by Jindal's managing director, Naveen Jindal, who arrived in the eastern Bolivian province of Santa Cruz a few days ago to inaugurate construction of the firm's offices in Puerto Suarez, Prudencio added.
Among the projects scheduled for this year, Jindal will continue repairing a 100-km road to connect El Mutun with a canal linking the Paraguay and Parana rivers, as well as with a major river port that will provide access to the Atlantic Ocean.
Also on tap will be construction of one of six plants at a steel complex in Puerto Suarez that will process 50 per cent of the ore from the mine, which holds a total of 40 billion tonnes of mineral reserves.
Naveen Jindal promised authorities and civic leaders in that town that the company will invest $600 million over the next two years and that steel production in Bolivia will begin in 2014, Prudencio said.
A 2007 contract with President Evo Morales' government gave Jindal the right to mine roughly half of El Mutun, with the company pledging at that time to invest a total of $2.1 billion in the project.
Jindal initially promised to invest $600 million over three years but the company had only spent $12 million through the first quarter of 2010, saying that it lacked sufficient land for its operations.
Bolivia's Mining Ministry fined Jindal in April 2010 over the investment delays by collecting the company's $18 million performance bond.
Jindal's problems have been "overcome" and it will furnish a new performance bond in the coming days, Prudencio said Wednesday. sourced: EconomicsTimes

ndia Coal Imports May Fall

JANUARY 20, 2011

NEW DELHI -- India's coal imports may fall this financial year after extreme weather conditions in main producing countries pushed up global prices, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said Thursday.

International coal prices have surged in recent months because of heavy floods in Australia's Queensland region that have disrupted mining activities at a time when demand from Asian importers such as China and India remains strong. India imported 44.28 million tons of thermal coal and 23.46 million tons of coking coal in the last financial year that ended March 31, 2010.
JANUARY 20, 2011

The South Asian nation is likely to face a shortage of 83 million tons this financial year as local output of 573.42 million tons lags demand of 656.31 million tons. Lower-than-estimated imports could hurt electricity generation while surging prices may hurt earnings at cement, power and steel companies.

The power ministry had fixed an import target of 35 million tons of coal this financial year. The utilities imported 16.12 million tons until December-end, the Central Electricity Authority's website showed.

The agency said generation at coal-based power plants rose 3% from a year earlier in the April-December period to 387.91 gigawatt-hours, but missed the government's target of 406.51 gigawatt-hours mainly due to coal shortages.

According to the globalCoal website, the price of thermal coal rose to $136.30 a ton at Australia's Newcastle port for the week ending Jan. 14, from $129.90 a ton the previous week.

Mumbai-based Kotak Securities Ltd. said in a Jan. 11 note that the price of Australian coking coal has surged 32% year-on-year to $230 a ton.

Australia supplies two-thirds of the global market in the premium hard coking coal used in blast furnaces, and the Newcastle port is the world's biggest thermal coal export terminal.

Minister Jaiswal also said the ministry may consider raising domestic coal prices after July.

"Coal India Ltd. is due to finalize its next wage revision by then. So the quantum of the rise will be dependent on the burden of the wage revision on the company," he said.

State-run Coal India, which accounts for more than four-fifths of local production, is free to fix coal prices but in consultation with the government.

sourced:The Wall street Journal, by Saurabh Chaturvedi & Rakesh Sharma

Australia's BC Iron agrees $341 million bid by Regent Pacific

Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:02pm GMT

* Cash offer a 4pct premium to last trade

* Regent says no change to BC Iron management, strategy

* Consolidated Minerals biggest shareholder (Adds detail)

SYDNEY, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Australia's BC Iron has recommended a cash takeover offer from major shareholder Hong Kong's Regent Pacific Group in a deal valuing the company at A$345 million ($341 million).

Regent, which is BC Iron's second-largest shareholder with a 19.87 percent stake, is offering A$3.30 cash per share. The offer is a 4 percent premium to BC Iron's last trading price of A$3.17.

BC Iron's biggest shareholder is Consolidated Minerals, owned by Ukrainian billionaire Gennadiy Bogolyubov's Palmary Enterprises.

BC Iron and Regent's shares were placed in a trading halt on Wednesday pending the transaction. BC Iron's core asset is its Nullagine coal project, a 50-50 joint venture with Fortescue Metals .

"Regent Pacific is seeking to be a long term player in both the growth and development of BC Iron and the Australian iron ore sector," Regent Pacific Chief Executive Jamie Gibson said, adding there were no plans to change the target's current management or strategy.

The venture plans to utilise Fortescue's transport facilities at its Christmas Creek iron ore mine, 50 kilometres south of Nullagine, to rail ore to Port Hedland for shipping to overseas steel mills.

Iron ore is currently being stockpiled and the first shipment from Port Hedland is expected in the first quarter of 2011 -- four years after BC Iron listed on the Australian stock market. The company plans to export 1 million tonnes by June 2011 and then operate at an annual rate of 3 million tonnes.

Under the terms of the partnership, Fortescue buys BC Iron's share of the iron ore at the "mine gate" and assumes responsibility for shipping and marketing.

Fortescue is already operating at an annual rate of 40 million tonnes and is looking to boost that to 55 million this year.

Spot iron prices are trading at their highest level since April 2010.

($1 = 1.012 Australian Dollars)
(source: Reuters, Reporting by Michael Smith; editing by Balazs Koranyi)

Australia's Aquila restarts Issac Plains mine after floods

Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:12pm GMT

SYDNEY Jan 21 (Reuters) - Australia's Aquila Resources said production has restarted at its Issac Plains metallurgical and thermal coal mine following recent flooding in Queensland state.

However, force majeure remained in place on some sales contracts as resumption of full production will take some time while waters are pumped out, Aquila said.

The mine is a 50-50-joint venture between Aquila and Brazil's Vale
(source:Reuters, Reporting by James Regan; editing by Balazs Koranyi)

Russian steelmaker MMK bags approval under Kyoto Protocol for EAF project

Friday, 21 Jan 2011

The Russian Ministry of Economic Development has approved the Joint Implementation project for arc furnace steelmaking at Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works.

The project has been implemented in accordance with the rules of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

As a result Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works has received project investor status and is entitled to receive Emission Reduction Units as provided for by the flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol.

Joint Implementation mechanism, as defined in Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol, gives Annex I countries the chance to invest in projects that reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in any other Annex I country as an alternative to reducing emissions domestically. After approval of projects by designated state authorities of such countries so called Emission Reduction Units are issued for actually achieved and verified emission reductions. Such ERUs can be sold in the international carbon market. Implementing the project will provide MMK with additional revenues that will improve the economics of the project and partly compensates for the project’s costs.

During 2004 to 2006 Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works conducted a major reconstruction of its smelting facilities. The modernization project involved a complete switch to continuous steel casting and the replacement of open-hearth production methodology with state of the art electric furnace steelmaking. The project has significantly increased the production capacity of Russia largest metallurgical enterprise. By replacing the outdated open-hearth furnace technology the companys capacity to produce high quality electrical steel has increased from 2 million tonnes to 4 million tonnes.

At the same time the project will reduce the emissions of CO2 one of the main greenhouse gases causing the ‘greenhouse effect’ by 7 million tonnes during 2008-2012 which is the largest reduction rate achieved in the Russian metallurgical industry. The implementation of the project is a very important event for the Russian steel industry as it has increased the company’s competitive position in the domestic and foreign markets. The project has also significantly reduced the energy consumption for steel production and lowered the emissions of pollutants.

MMK’s partner in the Joint Implementation project is Carbon Trade & Finance which will act as the buyer of all generated ERUs and provider of project development services. MMK expects to receive additional revenue of approximately EUR 70 million from the sale of ERUs in 2011-2013. The funds will be used to repay the project-related loans and to further finance the company’s modernization program up to 2013.
sourced: steelguru

Pakistan plans outsourcing PSM management - Mr Bijarani

Friday, 21 Jan 2011

The Nation reported that Pakistan government is planning to outsource the management of Pakistan Steel Mills with an aim to improving the mills' overall performance.

Mr Mir Hazar Kahn Bijarani federal minister for industries and production said that "The expected measure would not only boost the assets’ quality of the PSM, but also to enhance its productive capacity."

Mr Bijarani said that a total of 10 foreign companies have shown interest to provide the required outsourcing service for the cash strapped PSM.

He added that "We will from a technical committee to evaluate the offer likely to be made by the interested companies."

(Sourced from

Steel shipment continues on upward trend in US and Canada

Friday, 21 Jan 2011

According to Metals Activity Report, US metals service center steel shipments for 2010 rose by 20.6% YoY above those of 2009 to nearly 35.7 million tonnes, while in Canada, steel shipments rose by 15.3% YoY to about 5.67 million tonnes.

Year over year shipments of steel products from US metal centers rose by 25.6% in December 2010 to about 2.82 million tonnes. Inventories at the end of December of 7.71 million tonnes were 25.6% YoY above those of a year ago and, at current shipping rates, represented a 2.7 month supply.

Canadian metals service centers shipped 380,800 tonnes of steel products during December 2010 or 18.1% more than during the same month in 2009. Canadian steel inventories at the end of December of nearly 1.4 million tonnes were 34% YoY above year earlier levels and equal to a 3.7 month supply at current shipping volume.

The Metals Activity Report, based on data from metals service centers in the United States and Canada, is produced by the Metals Service Center Institute and a third party econometrics and strategy firm, McCoy, Scott & Co.

Japanese crude steel out put in 2010 to highest in 43 years

Friday, 21 Jan 2011

Japanese crude steel output in 2010 jumped by 25% to nearly 110 million tonnes, the biggest rise in 43 years.

Crude steel output in December totalled 9.17 million tonnes, up 2.5%YoY for a 14th consecutive YoY rise. From the previous month, December output rose 2.1% MoM due in part to an extra day compared with November.

Officials at the Japan Iron and Steel Federation traced the rebound to greater demand from Japanese carmakers, whose sales received a boost from the subsidy buying program for environmentally friendly cars.

They also said exports to overseas markets, such as China and Southeastern Asian countries, remained robust.

(Sourced from Kyodo News)

JSPL to export Bolivian iron ore in March - Report

Friday, 21 Jan 2011

State run daily Cambio reported that India's Jindal Steel and Power is due to start exporting iron ore concentrate from Bolivia's El Mutun in March.

The report, without specifying when the comments were made, quoted Mr Naveen Jindal vice CMD of JSPL as saying that “Beginning iron ore exports toward the end of March will be an important milestone.”

The state run newspaper also reported Jindal as saying that El Mutun should start producing steel by 2014.

Mr Jindal had told Reuters earlier this month that the company plans to invest USD 280 million in el Mutun in 2011 and said it will export up to a million tonnes of iron ore in this first year of operations.

The USD 2.1 billion iron ore and steel project in eastern Bolivia has been plagued by delays amid accusations by Bolivia's leftist government that the company was running behind schedule. A 40 year contract gives Jindal the right to mine about half the El Mutun site, which is believed to contain some of the world's largest reserves of iron ore, though said to be of medium grade quality.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Ispat Industries to be renamed as JSW Ispat Steel - Report

Wednesday, 19 Jan 2011

PTI reported that the Mittal brothers, Mr Promod and Mr Vinod Mittal, the promoter directors of Ispat Industries would continue on the board even after majority interest in the company goes to JSW Steel.

BL reported that Ispat Industries Ltd is set to be renamed as JSW Ispat Steel and become a joint venture between JSW Steel and Kolkata based Mittals.

Mr Vinod Mittal on the sidelines of EGM to seek shareholders approval for allotment of 45% stake in the company to JSW Steel said “Both Promod and I would continue on the board as non executive directors.”

Mr Mittal said the board strength has gone up to 15 with induction of JSW Steel vice CMD Mr Sajjan Jindal and joint MD & CFO Mr Seshagiri Rao and two other independent directors in the company.

He said "JSW has option to increase their strength on board and it can be recasted three months later.”

Mr Anil Sureka ED of IIL said that out of the fresh equity of INR 2,157 crore infusion, around INR 600 crore would be utilized to reduce the existing debt of INR 6,500 crore till September 2011 and rest INR 5,900 crore would be refinanced.

He added that “Another INR 600 crore would be utilized to meet financing of the ongoing projects and the rest around INR 950 crore would be meant for working capital.”

(Sourced from PTI and BL)

Posco steel project issues to be resolved soon

TNN, Jan 21, 2011

NEW DELHI: Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Thursday his South Korean counterpart that the issues delaying the Posco project in Orissa would be soon resolved.

South Korean trade minister Kim Jon-Hoon, who is in India to take part in the India-Korea bilateral meet, said on Thursday that both countries should work together to find a solution if there are any environmental concerns.

"There are certain issues. I am sure whatever the glitches are, will be removed. The necessary clearances will come and the remainder issues will get settled," Sharma said.

Jong-Hoon said the $12 billion Posco steel project would usher in development in India and create more jobs. "We don't have to disregard the importance of this Greenfield investment which can create a great deal of jobs in India and a great deal of value for Indian industry," Hoon told reporters.

"The site where we are trying to set up the steel mill is not in my mind forest area," he said.

Posco had signed an agreement with the Orissa government in 2005 to set up a 12 MTPA steel project but the plans are facing environmental hurdles.
Read more at The Times of India

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Karnataka iron ore export ban likely to go

Thursday, Jan 20 2011

The state government had in July 2010 banned the export of iron ore after reports of rampant illegal mining in the mineral-rich Bellary-Hospet region emerged

New Delhi: The iron ore export ban in Karnataka might be lifted soon after the Supreme Court on Thursday gave the state government a two-week deadline to put in place its mechanism to curb illegal mining.
The state government had in July 2010 banned the export of iron ore after reports of rampant illegal mining in the mineral-rich Bellary-Hospet region emerged.
“Let them export under supervision,” said the bench led by Justice R.V Raveendran.
“Stop illegal mining, but you cannot ban exports forever,” the court said to the government’s counsel.
The state government said Lokayukta’s report named several companies who are contesting the ban in court.
MSPL, the largest private mining company in the region, said it was not named in the Lokayukta’s report and using that as a pretext to ban them was unfair.
The government sought more time from the court saying it was ”doing a complete overhaul” of the laws governing the mining and transportation of ore.
By nikhil.k source :

Sichuan Hongda bags coal and iron ore mines in Tanzania

Wednesday, 19 Jan 2011

Reuters reported that China's Sichuan Hongda Co Ltd will invest USD 3 billion in a coal fired power plant and two iron ore mines in Tanzania.
Mr Chrisant Mzindakaya chairman of state run National Development Corporation told Reuters that “The Chinese firm was picked from a long list of bidders as the preferred investor after winning an international bidding process. We are now negotiating final details before a contract can be signed.”
Mr Gideon Nassari MD of NDC told reporters “Our aim is to have the contract signed next month in order to pave the way for the actual implementation of the projects.”
The investment involves construction of the Mchuchuma integrated coal mine and thermal power station and an iron ore mine in Liganga.
NDC said the projects would be implemented in a joint venture with the Chinese investors under a public-private partnership.
Financial details of the investment projects were yet to be confirmed.
Mchuchuma, located 800 kilometres west of Dar es Salaam, has identified reserves of 536 million tonnes of coal. The investment in the coal mine would also involve construction of a 600 MW coal-fired power plant.
NDC said early studies indicated that the Liganga area was rich in iron, vanadium and titanium minerals. Reserves are estimated to be between 200 and 1,200 million tonnes, with 45 million already proven through drilling.
Tanzania, Africa's fourth largest gold producer with reserves of uranium, nickel and coal, passed a new mining law last year requiring the government to own stakes in future mining projects and mining companies to list on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.
Other bidders included Nava Bharat (Singapore) Pte Ltd, STX Corporation of South Korea, US power company AES Corporation and India's Sarda Energy & Minerals Ltd.
Sourced from Reuters

Adriana Resources and WISCO ink iron ore deal

Wednesday, 19 Jan 2011
Reuters reported that Adriana Resources reached a joint venture agreement with a unit of China Wuhan Iron and Steel Co Ltd in the latest in a series of deals in Canada's iron mining sector.
WISCO will pay CAD 120 million for a 60% stake in a joint venture company to develop Adriana Lac Orelnuk and December Lake iron ore properties in northern Quebec and help with future financing costs.
WISCO will also receive shares representing a nearly 20% stake in Adriana though a private placement. Although the deal was announced after the close of Canadian markets recently, Adriana shares on the TSX Venture Exchange had jumped more than 17% during the day before they were halted pending a news announcement.
News reports began circulating in November that Adriana and Wuhan, China third largest steel producer were in talks.
Wuhan currently owns a 19.2% stake in Consolidated and has offtake agreements with the miner. Adriana needs about CAD 6 billion to develop its Lac Otelnuk project in the same region.
Mr Peter Campbell Jennings Capital analyst of the project's steep price tag said "Iron ore is all about infrastructure and their deposit is quite a distance away from anything."
Chinese steel mills, consuming around 70 percent of seaborne ore, have been keen to invest in foreign ore resources to better control prices.
Sourced from Reuters

Industry: Great Lakes cargo shipping way up in '10

JANUARY 19, 2011, 6:19 P.M. ET, Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Shipments of bulk cargo such as iron ore on the Great Lakes jumped by one-third last year, a hopeful sign for a region battered by the recession, an industry spokesman said Wednesday.
The Lake Carriers Association credited a gradually healing economy for the increase in waterborne transport of coal, limestone, sand and other raw materials. But the dramatic statistical improvement in 2010 also reflects the industry's dismal showing the previous year.
"We obviously have a ways to go," said Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for the association, which represents 18 companies that operate 55 U.S.-flagged vessels on the Great Lakes.
The ships hauled 88.7 million tons of dry bulk freight last year, up from 66.5 million tons in 2009, an increase of 33.4 percent.
The biggest improvement was in iron ore for the steel industry, which shot up 75 percent — from 24 million tons in 2009 to 42 million tons last year.
"The steel industry is still a very important barometer of our economic health," Nekvasil said. "It's the basic material of so many things in our life — autos, refrigerators, washing machines, the frames of office buildings and malls."
Despite the uptick, overall cargo tonnage for 2010 was about 10 percent below the average for the previous five years. Bulk shipment totals regularly exceeded 100 million tons annually before plunging in 2009, when iron ore transport hit its lowest level since 1938.
"Our industry was in a pretty depressed state," said Dale Hemmila, a spokesman for Cliffs Natural Resources, which manages two iron ore mines in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and three in Minnesota. "We certainly have seen a big improvement since then."
Coal shipments totaled 21.5 million tons, a 4.1 percent increase over 2009 — but nearly 13 percent below the previous five-year average.
Similarly, limestone loads were up 19.6 percent in 2010 but were nearly 18 percent below the five-year average.
Limestone demand has lagged with a construction slowdown in the region, while coal shipments have been affected by the Ontario government's push to phase out coal-fired power plants, Nekvasil said.
Shipments of salt on the lakes rose about 10 percent last year, while cement and sand totals dropped.
Shipping on the upper lakes ended for the winter on Wednesday with closure of the Soo Locks, which elevate and lower vessels between Lakes Huron and Superior. They will reopen March 25, said Steven Rose, operations chief with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Sault Ste. Marie.
Source: Associated Press and the wall street journal

Venus Metals Corporation Limited (ASX:VMC) Identified Large Additional Magnetite Iron Ore Exploration Targets At Yalgoo Iron Ore Project

Perth, Jan 20, 2011 (ABN Newswire)

Venus Metals Corporation Limited (ASX:VMC) are pleased to announce the results of evaluation of magnetic data and field mapping of the Yalgoo Iron Ore project, which has identified further large open pittable magnetite exploration targets in addition to the JORC Compliant Inferred Magnetite Iron Ore Resource of 443.9 Million Tonnes at Bilberatha Hill (refer ASX nnouncement 16th December 2010).
A number of separate target areas have been defined for drill testing within the company lease areas.
Exploration Target Potential:
- Tonnage Range: 150 - 300MT
- Fe Range: 30% - 35%
10,000m of RC Drilling is schedule to commence in February 2011 and the results of the scoping study are anticipated in early February.

About Venus Metals Corporation Limited
Venus Metals Corporation Limited (ASX:VMC) current projects consist of the Yalgoo Iron Ore Project which is located within the Murchison mid west region of Western Australia which is an emerging multi-billion dollar Chinese and Japanese iron ore investment province. The Yalgoo Project is subject to a formal farm-in agreement with HD Mining & Investment, a subsidiary of Shandong Provincial Bureau or Geology & Mineral Resources (SDGM) involving an $8m sole spend by HD Mining to earn a 50% interest in the Iron Ore Project. Once the joint venture is formed if Venus Metals elects not to contribute it will receive a 4.5% gross iron ore royalty from any production from the Yalgoo Iron Ore Project.
The company also has 3 super projects being Argyle North, Telfer North and Tropicana East projects. The focus of the super projects is for the discovery of world class deposits within concealed parts of the lower proterozoic orogenic belts which host the majority of Australia’s giant ore bodies including Argyle (diamonds), Telfer (gold), Olympic Dam (iron oxide copper gold), Broken Hill (base metals) and Mt Isa (base metals, IOCG).
source: abnnewswire

Consolidated Thompson takeover bid worth $4.9B

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 5:33 PM ET

Cliffs Natural Resources said Tuesday it has agreed to buy Montreal-based Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines for about $4.9 billion in cash.
Cleveland-based Cliffs is offering $17.25 per share in cash in a deal that has the support of Consolidated Thompson's directors and senior executives.
Consolidated Thompson operates the Bloom Lake open-pit mine, shown in August, in Quebec, near the border with Labrador. (Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines) Consolidated Thompson operates the Bloom Lake open-pit iron mine in Quebec, near the border with Labrador, and two adjacent development properties.

Its shares closed up 16 cents at $13.38 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The deal was announced after the close.
Cliffs said in a release it has signed an agreement with the company's largest shareholder, Wuhan Iron and Steel of China, which supports the offer. Wuhan owns nearly 19 per cent.
With files from The Canadian Press

Iron ore solid but floods hit BHP Billiton coal

Rebecca Le May From: AAP January 20, 2011 4:28PM
Billiton has smashed its half-year and quarterly iron ore production and shipment records.
Rival mining giant Rio Tinto also this week reported it had set records in iron ore production.
BHP Billiton's Australian shares were down 92 cents, or 2 per cent, at $45.13 at 1533 AEDT.
But this did not necessarily mean investors were unimpressed with BHP Billiton's first-half production report, which was in line with expectations, CMC Markets market analyst Ben Le Brun said.
Mr Le Brun said BHP Billiton's London-listed shares were down overnight amid concern about the impact of the floods on the miner's coal production.
IG Markets research analyst Ben Potter said weak commodity price leads overnight had also dented BHP Billiton shares today.
BHP Billiton said it produced 33.6 million tonnes (Mt) of iron ore in the three months to December 31, up 5 per cent on the September quarter.
Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.This took first half output to 65.6 Mt, a 5 per cent increase on the prior corresponding period.
Shipments of iron ore from its flagship West Australian operations rose to an annualised rate of 148 Mt per annum during the December quarter.
BHP Billiton is pursuing plans to lift Pilbara output to 240 Mtpa by 2013.
Persistent rain in the December quarter saw Queensland coal production fall by 30 per cent from the September quarter, while sales were down 15 per cent.
"Heavy rainfall that persisted for much of the December 2010 half year has significantly restricted overburden removal," the miner said.
"When combined with disruption to external infrastructure, we expect an ongoing impact on production, sales and unit costs for the remainder of the 2011 financial year."
The impact of Queensland's extreme weather continued to be assessed, and BHP Billiton confirmed it had declared force majeure over the majority of its Bowen Basin products, including Goonyella Riverside, Peak Downs, Norwich Park, Gregory Crinum, South Walker and Blackwater.
BHP Billiton said it remained confident in the fundamentals of its core products amid supply side constraints that have been exacerbated by weather-related disruptions in Australia, Colombia and South Africa.
"Robust growth in developing economies remains the primary driver of commodity demand and further positive signs are emerging in the United States following the Federal Reserve's ongoing efforts to stimulate the economy," the company said in a statement.
BHP Billiton also on Thursday said it had approved increased capital spending on the Esso-operated Kipper and Turrum petroleum projects in the Gippsland Basin off Victoria's coast.
BHP Billiton's contribution to the Kipper project has risen to $US900 million, up from a December 2007 forecast of about $US500 million.
The Kipper facilities, which were originally slated to be completed this year, are now expected to be completed in calendar 2012.
BHP Billiton will now spend $US1.35 billion on Turrum, compared with a mid-2008 estimate of $US625 million.
Turrum was previously expected to start-up in 2011, but is now forecast to be completed in 2013.
BHP Billiton's petroleum production in the six months to December 31 last year was flat compared to the previous corresponding period, with output totalling 80.3 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Permit delays in the Gulf of Mexico caused a deferral of production well drilling, the company said, while there was a decline in seasonal petroleum demand in eastern Australia.
Strong liquefied natural gas production at the North West Shelf joint venture in Western Australia was offset by severe flooding in Pakistan, where
BHP Billiton began exploring for gas in the mid 1990s.
The company said it expected production volumes for the 2011 financial year would be in line with the 2010 financial year.
Base metals production was higher in the half year compared with the corresponding prior period, except for zinc, which was down 27 per cent.

Japanese steam coal contract may reach USD 145 per tonne in 2011- Macquarie

Thursday, 20 Jan 2011

According to an analyst report released, major Japanese utilities may be forced to pay nearly 50% more than a year ago for their largest annual thermal coal contracts as floods in Queensland push prices higher.
Macquarie Research in the report said that the price for the key Japanese fiscal year thermal coal contract could settle at USD 145 per tonne, up from USD 98 per tonne for the same contract last year.

A USD 145 per tonne price would be well over the record seen in 2008, when prices spiked due to flooding in Queensland and the annual contract settled at USD 125 per tonne.
Mr Hayden Atkins an analyst with Macquarie Research said that "The supply disruptions are severe ... by the end of February, we think spot pricing will be quite a bit higher and that's when contracts will be negotiated.”
Contracts generally settle around spot price levels, often with some premium built in for supply security.
The Japanese thermal coal contract, which runs from April 1 through March 31 of the following year, is a benchmark for other coal deals and is typically negotiated between Xstrata and large Japanese utilities including Tokyo Electric Power Co, Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc and Chubu Electric.
Supply issues are not limited to Australia, with other major coal producers also hit by weather that has disrupted production. Mr Atkins said that "There are problems in Colombia, Richards Bay (in South Africa) is running low on stocks and it's still rainy season in Indonesia.”

Many coal analysts are still in the process of updating their forecasts for the Japanese fiscal year contract, with informal estimates varying widely from USD 120 per tonne to USD 140 per tonne.
Japan is Australia's largest thermal coal buyer as well as the country with the largest demand for seaborne thermal coal globally.

Sourced from Reuters

Fangchenggang imported iron ore prices hold stable

Thursday, 20 Jan 2011

It is reported that spot price of imported iron ore in Fangchenggang port remains steady today. Currently, 63.5% Brazilian coarse fines is quoted at CNY 1330 per tonne to CNY 1350 per tonne.
Mainstream iron ore varieties at Fangchenggang port, such as Brazilian and Australian iron ore fines are mainly held by big traders. Most of these products are offered at high prices. Recently, market transactions slow down, as steel mills reduce the usage rate of imported iron ore in face of expensive iron ore prices.
Besides, impacted by passenger transport during the Spring Festival, railway loading capacity is generally insufficient. Only a few big steel plants maintain normal delivery. This also constrains end demand.
Southwest areas are hit by snow weather recently. According to some steel mills, steel sales are not so satisfactory currently. Despite the high price, actual trades are rather sluggish.
Sourced from

All Odisha Steel Foundation criticizes Orissa Mining Corporation over irrational pricing

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bhubaneswar: Convener of All Odisha Steel Foundation (AOSF), PL Kandoi has identified “irrational pricing” of iron ore by the Odisha Mining Corporation, extortionist pricing by transport cartels, non-allocation of mines to the steel units as promised in the MoUs signed by the State Government in spite of most units meeting all the criteria, 50 times hike in water tax and the move of Gridco to raise the price of power as the factors that are pushing over 350 units to closure.

These units need urgent attention by the Government so that they are saved from shutdown, he said at a Press conference here on Tuesday. Kandoi said the commitment made by the Government in December last to sort out their ore sourcing problem within 30 days has not been met.
He rued the inaction of the Government and the indifference of the Chief Minister as exemplified by his reluctance to even meet an AOSF delegation to present their problems, while lakhs of employees of the units and their family members are faced with a bleak future because the units are not going remain operational much longer.

Kandoi brushed aside the declaration made recently by the State Government to reserve 60 per cent of the ore produced in the State for small and medium units as inconsequential because its effectiveness would be felt after a few years while the units are not likely to survive beyond a few months. He demanded that the units be given their own mines as promised by the Government in the MoUs.

Chhattisgarh mini steel plants demand package to shut down

Sourced By Business standard by R Krishna Das

Kolkata/ Raipur December 6, 2010, 0:22 IST Mini steel plants in Chhattisgarh are demanding packages, ironically, not for survival but for closure of their units that have been passing through worst-ever crises.

The 175- odd mini steel plants in the state are on the verge of closure. But industrialists are helpless to shut down the units. They require paying the minimum electricity charges even if the unit closed down production and fail to consume even a unit of power.
A mini steel plant paying an electricity bill of Rs 50 lakh per month when on full scale production will be required to pay Rs 12 lakh every month as fixed demand charges even if it failed to consume a single unit of power, state's sponge manufacturers association President Anil Nachrani said.
The minimum charge is applicable on the industrial units that come in the category of High Tension (HT) consumers as per the Electricity Act. The industrials are demanding that the fixed demand charges levied at Rs 310 per kilovolt amperes (KVA) kilovolt amperes should be curtailed to Rs 155 per KVA.
The state government would have to incur a huge loss of over Rs 180 crore if the charge was curtailed to half, state's energy secretary Aman Singh told Business Standard. "Still, the state government is examining the plea of the industrialists before taking any decision to announce package," he added.
The steel makers are demanding package from the state government to bail out from the present crises. According to Nachrani, 50 of the 175 mini steels plants have already closed production while the remaining have curtailed production by 50 per cent.
The conversion loss while making finished goods and high price of iron ore had been the reasons for plunging the steel plants in Chhattisgarh into deep crises. "The finished goods are not getting reasonable price as compared to the conversion (production) cost," Nachrani said.
Industrialists are willing to close down the units if the state government curtails the electricity charge. They believe that if they fail to earn (by continue with the production), it is wiser not to bear the loss by paying electricity charges.

Steel and sponge iron units demand rationalisation of power tariff

Courtsey by BS Reporter
Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar January 20, 2011, 0:16 IST

The small and medium sized steel plants and the sponge iron units in Orissa, currently grappling with the problem of steep prices of raw materials, have called for rationalization of the power tariff. They have demanded that the power tariff for these industrial users be reduced by half.
Addressing media persons here, P L Kandoi, president of the All Orissa Steel Federation said, “The power tariff for the industrial users which now stands at Rs 3.75 paise per unit is going to be raised to Rs 4.25 paise per unit from April 1 this year. The state government is going for an abnormal hike in power tariff and the units are not in a position to operate at such a high tariff. Our demand is that the power tariff should be reduced by half. The Madhya Pradesh government has brought down the power tariff for industries to Rs 1.55 per unit and there is no reason why the Orissa government cannot do the same.”
The All Orissa Steel Federation has also pointed out that the water tariff, which has been increased by 30 times recently by the state government, is also unbearable for these units. To make matters worse, the water cess is payable even if the plant is closed or water is partly used.
The federation is also sore over the exorbitant costs of ore transportation in the state.
"The ore transportation cost in Orissa is much higher compared to other states. For example, the cost of transportation of ore from Keonjhar to Kalinga Nagar is Rs 1100 per tonne while from Daitari to Paradeep is Rs 1500 per tonne. The state government should ensure that there is no exploitation in logistics cost”, Kandoi added.
Another area of concern is the inadequate availability of raw materials and the steep hike in prices of iron ore and chrome ore.

Tata steel pursue Canada ore deal

Calcutta, Jan. 19:

Tata Steel has paid Canadian $600,000 to New Millennium Capital Corp to extend a deadline to conclude an exclusive deal to invest in two multi-billion-dollar iron-ore mining projects in the Quebec-Labrador region of Canada.
New Millennium, a Toronto Stock Exchange-listed mining company, owns two of the world’s largest underdeveloped magnetic iron-ore deposits called Labmag and Kemag. Tata Steel owns 27.2 per cent in the listed parent firm and another 80 per cent in a small project other than Labmag and Kemag.
The Indian firm has been holding exclusive talks with New Millennium to develop these two low-grade ore deposits but could not conclude the deal.
Koushik Chatterjee, chief financial officer of the Tata Steel group, said the company was evaluating the proposal and would come up with more details by the end of February.
It is likely that the Tata Steel board will approve a binding agreement with New Millennium within six weeks.
Labmag and Kemag contain 3.5 billion tonnes and 2.5 billion tonnes of proven and probable reserves with 29.3 per cent and 31.3 per cent ferrous content, respectively.
According to Chatterjee, Tata Steel wants Canada’s New Millennium and Australia’s Riversdale to start production and commence supply to the firm’s European business, formerly called Corus. The two projects are likely to involve multi-billion-dollar investments.
Tata Steel meets 50 per cent of its coking coal requirement and the entire iron-ore need for its domestic business from captive sources.
However, for operations in the UK and the Netherlands, the company has to buy the key raw materials.
Riversdale will start supplying coal from Mozambique later this year, while New Millennium will commence ore supply within two years. The Tatas have an 80 per cent share and 100 per cent offtake right in a DSO (direct shipping ore) project of New Millennium having deposits of 64.1 million tonnes with 58.8 per cent ferrous content.
Meanwhile, Tata Steel’s FPO, which opened today, saw foreign investors such as Blackstone, Fidelity and GIC of Singapore bidding eight times more than the amount allocated under the anchor investor quota. Sourced:The Telegraph

Tata Steel-SAIL JV to get coal mine blocks soon: Tata

19 Jan, 2011, 05.17PM IST,PTI

KOLKATA: The S&T Mining Company, a 50:50 joint venture between Tata Steel and Steel Authority of India , is set to get coal blocks soon.
''The JV with SAIL on coal assets is well on track and the company is expected to get coal blocks shortly in eastern region,'' Tata Steel chief financial officer Kaushik Chatterjee told PTI.
In 2008, both the companies formed a JV to acquire and develop coal mines in India.
Tata Steel is striving hard for raw material security both in India and abroad for its European operation.
In India, the company has around 50 per cent of its captive coking coal requirement and 100 per cent that of iron-ore.
sourced:Economic Times

Indian steel makers in race for Afghan mines

Thursday, 20 Jan 2011

PTI reported that leading private and state run steel firms including TATAs, Essar and SAIL are among the 14 Indian companies that have evinced interest in developing the Hajigak mines, containing an estimated 1.8 billion tonnes of iron ore, in Afghanistan.

The war torn country had invited an Expression of Interest to develop the mine, which it said is a part of its huge proven reserves worth an estimated USD 3 trillion.

Mr S Vijay Kumar mines secretary told PTI that "Fourteen Indian companies including TATA Steel, SAIL, Essar, NMDC and RINL have responded to the EoI floated by the Afghan government to develop its Hajigak mines.”

He said “These companies may bid for the assets up for offer in consortia or may go it alone in the upcoming auction. They will take a call in this regard after the Afghan government announces the modalities for the bidding round.”

Afghanistan had invited EoIs for multiple exploration concessions falling within the Hajigak mines. The last date for submission of EOIs was January 13. The Afghan government had said the selected bidder will be granted the concessions under Afghan Mineral Law.

Sourced from and PTI

TATA Steel to double investments in European operations - CFO

Thursday, 20 Jan 2011

TATA Steel is set double its yearly investments in its European operations to increase productivity over the next couple of years.

The company made the announcement a day before its follow on public offer hits the markets.

Mr Koushik Chatterjee group CFO of TATA Steel said that "Our focus in Europe is on restructuring. We have been investing GBP 200 million annually so far. We will raise this amount to GBP 400 million to GBP 425 million per annum."

He said that investments would be both for improving productivity and other initiatives for TATA Steel Europe.

Mr Chatterjee added that the company's overall capital expenditure would be between USD 2 billion to USD 2.5 billion annually for the next 2 to 3 years. The money spent will be utilized for capacity expansion and other related expenses.

He said that TATA Steel hopes to raise about INR 3,500 crore through the follow on offer. Part of the money raised from the FPO will be used to reduce the company's USD 10.7 billion debt.

Mr Chatterjee said that "Around INR 1,000 crore of debt will be written off through this fund raising. These measures will enable us to effectively re balance the debt."

Sourced from BL

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Severstal NA wins patent infringement lawsuit against ArcelorMittal

Wednesday, 19 Jan 2011
Severstal North America announced that it has achieved a favorable decision in a patent infringement lawsuit brought against SNA by ArcelorMittal France and ArcelorMittal Atlantique et Lorraine.
The patent concerns some of the technology used in the production of aluminum coated, boron bearing carbon steel, the end use for which is predominantly in high-strength automotive applications.
As a result of the decision, which was reached in a Delaware U.S. District Court on January 14th 2011, Severstal is able to sell this aluminum coated, boron bearing carbon steel effective immediately.
In anticipation of this decision, Severstal indicated that it has already developed the necessary expertise to provide the aluminum coated boron bearing carbon steel per the specifications of the automotive manufacturers.
Mr Sergei Kuznetsov CEO of Severstal International said “We are very pleased with the verdict in this matter. We have complete confidence in our ability to produce and sell these products, and we are looking forward to better meeting the needs of our automotive customers as a result of this decision.

ArcelorMittal to reopen Georgetown steel mill

Wednesday, 19 Jan 2011
It is reported that, by this time next week, the ArcelorMittal Steel Mill in Georgetown will produce steel for the first time in about 18 months.
As per report, last week, the mill fired up its furnaces and started making small batches of steel as test runs for the nearly 264,000 tonnes of wire rod expected to come out the mill annually, based on market conditions. That's about 480,000 tonnes less than the mill is capable of producing, but workers are optimistic the mill will remain open.
Mr Mark Mercer said that he had pretty much given up on the idea that the mill would reopen. He had been working at the mill for about 21 years when it closed in July 2009 because of a lack of orders. But he said he feels sure the mill will stay open for more than a few years.
He added that "If they were going to just run it for a few more years they would have just patched it up. But I've never seen so much done. They are spending a lot of money. It's really looking good."
Mr Donald Davis, a mill employee for about 11 years, said that he had faith all along that the factory would reopen. He added that "I was just waiting for it to open back up. I got my letter about two weeks ago, and it was exciting."
Mr Davis said that now he is just waiting for that steel to come through. And the Georgetown community is waiting to see what impact the mill's reopening will have on its economy.
Mr Wayne Gregory director of Georgetown County Economic Development said that "It will be substantial." He added that it will take time before area unemployment numbers show the impact of the mill's reopening but it definitely has a strong impact.
Georgetown's most recent unemployment rate stood at 11.7%. But taking the mill's 187 employees out of the unemployed category and back into the work force would bring that rate to about 11%.
Mr James Sanderson local president of United Steelworkers Union said that the mill is working up to filling those 187 positions. He said there are between 10 and 15 open positions at the mill that have to be filled. He added that "We took in over 700 applications for those jobs. ArcelorMittal is now in the process of sorting through applications."
When the mill closed, it had almost 250 employees, but Mr Sanderson said approximately 35 people retired and a few decided not to come back to work.
Mr Howard said that those who did not come back to work are missed. But he said he is so happy to be back. It's like a family away from home.
Sourced from

Indian Iron ore sold at $188.50/T, highest since Feb 2008

By Manolo Serapio Jr

SINGAPORE, Jan 19, 2011 (Reuters) - Key iron ore price indexes were on track to hit record highs on Wednesday, with spot prices closing in on $200 a tonne, aided by strong Chinese buying ahead of the Lunar New Year and persistent worries over tight supply.
Rising prices of steelmaking materials like iron ore as well as coking coal, after floods ravaged top producer Australia, drove Shanghai steel rebar futures to a record high for a third time in less than a week.
High-grade Indian ore was sold in the spot market this week at $188.50 a tonne, including freight, a level not seen since spot prices hit a record around $200 in February 2008.
Indian ore with 63.5 percent iron content was being quoted at $192 a tonne on Wednesday, said an Indian trader in Orissa.
"The way buyers are buying, the price will touch $200 although exporters in India are becoming cautious on how long the prices can be sustained," he said.
With global steel demand shaky, iron ore spot prices which have rallied since the year started, could be prone to a correction soon with some buyers from No. 1 importer China turning cautious as prices approach record highs, traders said.
"There's underlying fear that iron ore prices are going up a bit too fast," said a physical iron ore and steel trader in Singapore.
"I don't see end-users jumping to buy steel so I don't know how these prices can be sustained," he said, adding traders are dominating iron ore purchases instead of steelmakers, suggesting the rally is driven by speculative activity instead of real demand.
The outlook for the global steel sector is stable with the worst behind the industry after the economic downturn, although recovery is still relatively slow and not expected to accelerate, Standard & Poor's lead analyst Andrey Nikolaev said on Tuesday.
The most active rebar futures in the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose to a contract peak of 4,941 yuan per tonne on Wednesday, as raw material prices climbed. It closed at 4,931 yuan, up 0.4 percent.