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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tata Steel and Dyesol produce world’s largest dye-sensitized photovoltaic module

June10, 2011

One of the world's largest steel producers, India-based Tata Steel Group, announced on June 10 that it has produced the world's largest dye-sensitized photovoltaic module in association with Dyesol, a global solar technology company.

Manufactured at Tata Steel's Shotton site in North Wales, UK, the module is over three meters in length and approximately one square meter in area. According to Tata Steel, this achievement represents an important step in the development of large-scale micro energy generation capability within infrastructure. Produced as a single length of coated steel rather than separate cells connected together, the breakthrough will lead to development of a manufacturing process that can produce long roofing panels with an integrated dye-sensitised photovoltaic function.

Following the successful completion of the first three years of their joint development project in June this year, Tata Steel and Dyesol recently announced that they will be increasing the number of personnel at the Shotton site from 30 to 50 as the project moves into the pre-industrialisation phase. (sourced steelorbis)

Tags: UK , Tata Steel , Europe , European Union , manufacturing

Essar Group raises iron ore pellet capacity at US plant

Sat,June11, 2011

India's Essar Group has increased the planned capacity of an iron ore pellet plant in Minnesota from 4 million metric tons (mt) to 7 million mt-the plant is expected to be operational by 2012.

Added capacity at the pellet plant will ensure sufficient supply of the steelmaking raw material to Essar's steel plant in Canada, Essar Steel Algoma. This is good news for Essar Steel Algoma, which recently reported a C$285.9 million (US$293.7 million) net loss in fiscal 2011, largely due to higher raw material costs.

Raising the capacity of the pellet plant will also leave excess iron ore available for Essar to sell on the open market.

sourced steelorbis

Tags: iron ore , USA , Canada , India , Essar , raw mat , Indian Subcon , South Asia , North America , steelmaking , production

Rhino Resource Partners acquires Elk Horn Coal Company

June11, 2011

Lexington, Kentucky-based Rhino Resource Partners LP, which operates steam and metallurgical coal properties throughout the US, announced Friday that it has acquired the Elk Horn Coal Company, LLC for approximately $120 million in cash. Total annual production from Elk Horn’s various coal properties has averaged about 3.2 million tons over per year over the last five years. Elk Horn also has numerous coal deposits that it has not yet explored which Rhino Resources plans to develop in the near term. (sourced steelorbis)

GoM on coal to meet again on July 2

Saturday, 11 Jun 2011

The Group of Ministers on coal today decided to collect all the data about projects that are being affected due to coal production issues and would meet again on July 2.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters after the meeting that "The GoM will meet again on July 2. Decisions (on a boarder basis) are likely to be taken at that time.”

The panel, set up in February to sort out tussles between ministries on the environmental norms affecting projects, especially in the coal sector, met for the third time today. The GoM's meetings in February and April were inconclusive.

Mr Jaiswal said that "In principle, it was decided that by July 2, the entire data should be collected. (Data) on pending as well as upcoming projects (related to coal) and expected production from these projects would be gathered (by next meeting).”

He added that according to him, a lot of issues such as ways to raise coal production and fulfill power generation requirements were discussed at today's meeting. He said that "However, no decision was taken.”

Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who is part of the 12 member GoM expressed optimism that issues related to coal would be resolved. He said that "We have set a (power capacity addition) target of 80,000 MW in the 12th five-year plan... If we don't get enough coal, there could be a reduction in the target. As of now, we have not (reduced the target).”

(sourced from PTI)

Powmex Steel reopens after three months

Saturday, 11 Jun 2011

Powmex Steel a unit of Graphite India Ltd at Titlagarh in Bolangir district resumed production today after being shut down for three months following the death of its Deputy General Manager due to labour unrest.

Meanwhile an amicable settlement has been reached between the striking workers and the company management facilitating reopening of the plant.

The company has agreed to pay additional INR 900 per month to the contractual workers and INR 1,900 per month to the permanent workers following intervention of the state labour department.

All the pending cases between the workers and the company will be settled amicably and steps will taken at the earliest to pay the arrear salaries to the workers for the last 3 months.”

Mr Pushpendra Singh Deo state labour and employment minister said that besides, the company will provide additional medical insurance coverage and incentive up to INR 500 per month to the workers depending on the production and sales.

Mr Gopal Srinivasan executive director of Powmex Steel said that “We are ecstatic about the reopening of the company as the livelihood of 550 families depends upon the company.”

(Sourced from BS)

JSPL coal washery under MoEF scanner - Report

Saturday, 11 Jun 2011

ET reported that the union environment ministry has asked Jindal Steel & Power Limited to respond to allegations that the company has built its coal washery at Raigarh in Chhattisgarh without obtaining prior environmental clearance from the ministry.

According to a notice filed by Mr Ramesh Agarwal of Jan Chetana, a non governmental organization, JSPL has built an 800 tonnes an hour coal washery at Tamnar near Raigarh.

The matter concerning Jindal Steel & Power's washery was considered in the April meeting of the environment ministry's Expert Appraisal Committee that was convened to consider thermal and coal mining projects. While considering Jindal Steel's application for the captive pithead coal washery, the Expert Committee asked JSPL's stand on allegations that the washery didn't have prior clearance.

JSPL spokesman said construction of the coal washery had been started after obtaining consent to establish from the Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board.

However, an environment ministry official said that as per schedule 2 (a) of a September 2006 notification, which brings coal washeries under the ambit of Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 1994, a coal washery must also have an Environment Clearance from the MoEF first.

It is mandatory under environment norms that Environmental Clearance is sought before building a coal washery due to the extent of their impact on environment. While the ministry of environment & forests can approve washeries of more than 100,000 tonnes capacity, state boards could clear smaller ones. (sourced from Times Internet Limited)

India iron ore mining mess - Ban sought on transport of iron ore

Saturday, 11 Jun 2011

Samaj Parivartana Samudaya which has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court against illegal mining in Bellary district has urged the government of Karnataka not to allow transportation of iron ore of 99 mining companies on which a fresh survey ordered by the forest bench of the SC is underway.

Speaking to reporters Mr SR Hiremath of SPS said that while the survey of all 99 mining companies was yet to be completed, the government allowed three companies Hothur Traders, HG Ranganagouda, and VS Lad & Sons to transport ores, buckling under pressure from the companies.

Further, he said that the order was withdrawn within two days after the matter came to the notice of SPS following which it took up the matter with the director of mines and geology.

Stating that no such permission should be given henceforth till the survey is completed Hiremath also questioned the seriousness of the state government in curbing illegal mining.(sourced from BS)

JSPL remains in pursuit of Rocklands Richfields

Saturday, 11 Jun 2011

BS reported that Jindal Steel & Power Limited has made a renewed attempt at acquiring Australian coal miner Rocklands Richfields.

As per report, JSPL has increased the price and extended the deadline 10 days before it was to expire, of its open offer to shareholders.

JSPL, on May 26, increased its offer price for the shares to USD 0.3 per share from USD 0.25. The company also extended the deadline for the open offer date from June 6 to June 20.

However, the increased offer price of USD 0.3 per share is below the price at which the shares are traded currently.

Jindal, before the start of the offer, held 14.5% of Rocklands. The company did not divulge whether it managed to get hold of more during the open offer.

Rocklands, meanwhile, has been vehemently trying to ensure its investors do not tender their shares to JSPL’s open offer. The company asked its shareholders to reject the deal in a letter dated April 21 when Jindal made the first offer. (sourced from BS)

JSW Steel to merge Ispat Industries - Report

Saturday, 11 Jun 2011

ET citing sources with direct knowledge reported that JSW Steel has begun merger talks with Ispat Industries which will give huge tax benefits of close to INR 2500 crores to the merged entity.

JSW Steel owns around 49% stake in Ispat and is in the process of restructuring its INR 7000 crores debt for it to exit the Corporate Debt Restructuring. Soon after Ispat is out of CDR, the merger process will be put on the fast track while the talks have already begun.

Sources said that Mr Vinod Mittal who owns 26% stake in Ispat could hold less than 5% stake in the merged entity of JSW Steel. The merger of Ispat Industries with JSW Steel could be at a swap ratio of 4:1 based on the market cap, though the valuations are being worked out currently.

Experts said that JSW Steel will want to merge the companies to get full management control on Ispat's operations and to make use of the tax benefits which Ispat has accumulated by way of carry forward accumulated losses. The accumulated losses are around INR 8000 crores which could have the tax savings of close to INR 2500 crores. (sourced from ET)

Friday, June 10, 2011

US Petcoke Exports set for record year

Friday, 10 June 2011 18:00

Coal cargoPart of the shortfall from the coal shortage in Australia earlier this year has been made up by supplies not only from other countries but by other fuel types. This put pressure all

along the supply chain and some unusual shipments were seen. In addition it meant that knock-on effects eventually impacted on fuels that were not directly related to the steel making industry. For example US exports of petcoke in the first quarter grew by some 16% as compared to 2010. But within that overall growth figure shipments to Japan (the largest overseas destination for US petcoke – Mexico being the largest overall) grew by over 45% as importers scrambled to seek alternative energy supplies.

In total exports from the US in Q1 reached 8.1 Mt making it by far the world’s largest exporter of petcoke and potentially set on course to see a new world record tonnage this year of 32-35 Million tonnes. Most affected will be ships in the Supramax/Panamax range providing a useful boost to demand. With the main regional market for US petcoke being Europe, which currently is taking one-third of total tonnage (some 8 Mt in 2010 and an annualized 11 Mt this year), Atlantic business could be supported further giving welcome support to owners.

Source: ICAP Shipping

China imports 330kt coal from S. Africa in May

Friday, 10 June 2011 18:00

coal-shipment-China took 330,000 tonnes coal from South Africa in May, down from 500,000 tonnes in Apr, exporter sources said recently.Currently, South African and Colombian coal are at the bottom

of Chinese buyers' shopping lists for imports because the delivered costs are significantly higher than for Pacific region coal, exporters said.
China may start buying South African coal again if imports of higher-grade material for blending rise so much that Australia cannot meet the need but this may not happen for months, if at all, traders said. source Reuters

Four East China ports ally with ROK largest port

Friday, 10 Jun 2011

It is reported that four ports in east China Shandong Province signed a strategic alliance with the largest port of the Republic of Korea recently in Qingdao.

As per report, the alliance is jointly formed by Shandong Qingdao Port, Yantai Port, Rizhao Port, Weihai Port and the ROK Port of Busan that aim to build a shipping and logistics center in northeast Asia.

The five ports agreed that they would mutually provide prompt and effective services for freight and passengers. They will also promote transit transport via the development of the Eurasian continental bridge and boost the links between bonded areas in Shandong and Busan Free Trade Zone.

With the agreement, the five ports will focus on the development of automobile freight transportation via sea and land, as well as the development of luxury cruises.

The five ports would utilize technologies involving low carbon emissions and information to reduce operational costs. The five ports signed a frame agreement for strategic alliance in November 2010, with the hope to integrate mutual logistics cooperation.(sourced from Xinhua)

China HRC export prices to South Korea weak

Friday, 10 Jun 2011

It is reported that Chinese steel mills have tried to raise the quotes of hot rolled coil for South Korean market for August delivery. It’s known that China export quotes of HRC for August delivery would be at around USD 725 per ton CFR up by USD 10 per tonne to USD 15 per ton in comparison of USD 715 per ton CFR for July delivery.

However, it’s said that the prices were unfavorable for South Korean buyers due to weak demand in South Korean market. (sourced from

Baosteel cuts July steel product prices

Friday, 10 Jun 2011

Reuters reported that leading Chinese steelmaker Baoshan Iron and Steel will cut prices for July delivery of its major products by CNY 100 per tonne to CNY 200 per tonne.

It said in an announcement on its website ( that prices of hot rolled products would be cut by CNY 200 compared with June, while cold rolled steel prices would fall by CNY 100.

The company's pricing moves usually set the tone for the industry as a whole, and other mills are likely to follow suit as domestic steel demand begins a seasonal decline in the second quarter.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Iron ore firm signs agreement with Innu


ANGLESEY Mining’s Canadian joint venture Labrador Iron Mines Holdings has signed an agreement with the indigenous Innu nation.

Under the life-of-mine agreement, LIM, which is 33%-owned by Anglesey, has agreed to a number of measures for the Nation Innu Matimekush-Lac John of Schefferville, Quebec.

The Innu claim rights to land in Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, including various sites where LIM’s iron ore projects are located.

The measures agreed to include employment, training, contract opportunities and financial benefits, including some community infrastructure projects. LIM has also agreed to take certain social and environmental protection measures to mitigate the impact of its projects on the Innu and their traditional activities.

John Kearney, LIM’s chief executive said: “This agreement is a very significant step for LIM and for the Innu community of Matimekush-Lac John, paving the way for the development of a project that will provide opportunities for the local community at Schefferville, and particularly its youth, and will at the same time protect the environment and Innu traditional and cultural activities.”

“LIM recognises that its iron ore projects may have an impact upon the Innu of Matimekush and their traditional lands, and has agreed to take positive steps towards developing a respectful relationship with MLJ in recognition of these impacts.” (sourced walesonline)

Magnetite iron ore miners will be forced to pay full royalty rates

Friday, 10 Jun 2011

It is reported that Magnetite iron ore miners will be forced to pay the full royalty rate as the WA Government moves to avoid a repeat of the costly concessions enjoyed by mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto for decades.

With Mines and Petroleum Minister Mr Norman Moore expected to make a decision within months on the rate magnetite miners will pay for the ore they export, it is understood the Government is set to impose the full 5% impost. The decision would come despite efforts by the fledging magnetite sector to win concessional rates of between zero and 3.5% for the first few years of production and collect hundreds of millions of dollars a year in extra revenue.

Although the Government has remained vague on the amount of money the tax would generate forecast production from WA's three leading magnetite players suggests a rate of 5% would be worth up to USD 350 million a year based on a magnetite price of USD 150 a tonne.

CITIC Pacific Sino Iron project in the Pilbara will be WA first mine to produce magnetite concentrate when it begins exporting this year. Two other China led magnetite ventures, Gindalbie Metals' Karara in the Mid West and Grange Southdown near Albany are tipped to come on stream next year and 2014 respectively.

Mr Moore was unavailable for comment. It is understood the Government is resisting industry calls for concessions because it wants a better deal for taxpayers than achieved under historical royalty breaks for BHP and Rio. The Government is also believed to be nervous that Canberra may scoop up the money through company tax while the Commonwealth Grants Commission could penalise WA for not taxing enough.

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies said it hoped the Government would reconsider its position. (sourced from

Reuter update on iron ore producers and projects in Africa

Friday, 10 Jun 2011

Reuters reported that Africa has the potential to become a major iron ore exporter after 2020 if countries manage to solve their infrastructure and political challenges.

Below is a list of major projects.

1. Australian Sundance Resources is in talks with potential partners to develop its Mbalam project. First output is foreseen by the end of 2014 ramping up to 35 million tonnes.
2. Afferro Mining is looking at developing its estimated 1 billion tonnes iron ore resources at Nkout.

Congo Republic
1. Zanaga Iron Ore seeks to develop a project seen producing 45 million tonnes of concentrate at full capacity. Xstrata owns a majority stake in Zanaga operating unit.
2. Sundance plans to spend USD 600 million to develop its Nabemba mine expected to produce 21 million tonnes from 2014.
3. Equatorial Resources is developing two iron ore projects which its says are have significant scale potential.

1. The Belinga project is a focus of Gabon policy to diversify away from oil. Awarded to China CMEC in 2006, the project stalled. Gabon said last year it would review the deal.

1. A JV of Rio Tinto and Chinalco listed unit Chalco plans to develop the Simandou deposit with first shipments seen by mid-2015. The JV targets initial production of 70 million tonnes per year, with estimates for potential future output reaching up to 170 million tonnes.
2. Brazil's Vale spent USD 2.5 billion on a stake in BSG Resources to be able to build the Simandou-Zogota mine. The mine will start producing at a rate of 2 million tonnes per year in 2012, ramping up to 50 million by 2020.

Ivory Coast
1. India TATA Steel signed a deal in 2007 with Ivorian state miner SODEMI to develop deposits at Mount Nimba.

1. Liberia signed a deal with BHP Billiton to allow it to explore and develop a potential USD 3 billion project.
2. ArcelorMittal restarted work on its USD 1.5 billion Mount Nimba project which was stalled last year.
3. Afferro is in partnership with Russia's largest steelmaker Severstal to develop the Putu iron ore resources recently estimated at 2.4 billion tonnes.

Indian-owned firm Sahara Mining plans to produce 50,000 tonnes per month at its Tienfala project.

1. State-owned miner SNIM produced 10.2 million tonnes in 2009. SNIM is developing the Guelb II project which it expects to add 4 million tonnes to its annual output.
2. Xstrata bought 76% in junior miner Sphere Minerals which has interests in three projects in Mauritania. Sphere holds 50% of the Guelb el Aouj project. An early blueprint calls for a mine capable of producing around 7 million tonnes of ore annually, though the partners are studying ways to increase that to as much as 30 million tonnes.

ArcelorMittal restarted work last year on its USD 2.2 billion Faleme project which was suspended in 2009.

Sierra Leone
1. African Minerals plans to start production in the fourth quarter from its Tonkolili project. Phase I is expected to produce 12 million tonnes per year. The next two phases are expected to boost output by 23 million tonnes a year and 45 million per annum respectively.
2. London Mining is developing the Marampa project, with initial production expected to start later this year at a rate of 3.6 million tonnes. A Phase 2 expansion will produce up to 16 million tonnes of concentrate from the remainder of the Marampa ore body over 25 years.
3. Sable Mining bought an 80% stake in Red Rock Mining, a Sierra Leone firm which holds a 50 year lease over the Bagla Hills iron ore deposit.

South Africa

1. Kumba Iron Ore a unit of Anglo American produced 43 million tonnes of ore last year and plans to up output to 53 million by 2013 and 70 million by 2019.
2. ArcelorMittal South Africa is in talks to buy a mine which could supply between 2 and 3 million tonnes.
3. Junior explorer Motjoli Resources seeks partners to develop the Cascades project in South Africa Mpumalanga province. Initial output is set at 6 million tonnes a year ramping up to 20 million at full production.
4. Midwinter Resources is working on its Northern Lights project, seen to be able to produce high quality concentrates.

India Essar has signed a deal with Mozambique to build a 20 million tonne iron ore terminal at Beira port with feedstock coming from Zimbabwe Ripple Creek mine. Ripple Creek is owned by Essar and Zimbabwe government. Essar also intends to develop the Mwanesi iron ore project which it said had a multi billion tonne resource potential. (sourced from Reuters)

Northland/Kiruna Wagon developing special iron ore railcar

Northland Resources, which is bringing the Kaunisvaara iron ore mine in Sweden is working with Kiruna Wagon to develop railcars to move its iron ore concentrate.

Friday , 10 Jun 2011

LUXEMBOURG - Scandinavian iron ore mine developer, Northland Resources has announced the commencement of cooperation with Kiruna Wagon to develop a railcar specially designed to meet the demand for handling the high-grade iron ore concentrate from Northland's Kaunisvaara mine.

The aim of the cooperation is to develop a railcar which meets the requirements of Northland and the national transport agencies in Sweden and Norway. The iron ore deliveries from Kaunisvaara are expected to begin first quarter 2013 and in total Northland will need of maximum of 220 railcars.

Northland is a development-stage mining company with a portfolio of iron ore projects in northern Sweden and Finland. The Company's Kaunisvaara Project will exploit magnetite iron ore deposits, feeding a single, multi-line processing facility in Sweden. The process yields a very high-grade, high-quality magnetite iron concentrate. The Company is also preparing a Definitive Feasibility Study for the Hannukainen Iron Oxide Copper Gold Project in Kolari, northern Finland.

The Kiruna Wagon consortium was founded in 2004 to manufacture the new generation ore wagons for LKAB, with a capacity of up to 100 metric tonnes. Today the company Kiruna Wagon is owned by Nybergs Mekaniska Verkstad and Rönnqvist & Wettainen and has developed, manufactured and repaired ore wagons for LKAB and Boliden.(sourced Mineweb)

Essar, Mozambique Agree to Build 20 Million-Ton Iron Ore Terminal at Beira

Jun9, 2011 |By Robert Brand

Essar Group, with interests from steel to communications, said it’s agreed to build a 20 million metric ton a year iron ore terminal in Mozambique amid surging demand for the steelmaking ingredient from China and India.

The terminal, at Beira in central Mozambique, will ship surplus output from the company’s Mwanezi and Ripple Creek mines in neighboring Zimbabwe, Firdhose Coovadia, resident director for the Middle East and Africa, said at the Africa Iron Ore Conference in Cape Town today.

Essar, based in Mumbai, is boosting its reserves of iron ore and coal, both key ingredients for steel, after prices jumped on increased demand from Asia. Iron ore has gained almost threefold since 2008, while Morgan Stanley last month forecast a “buoyant pricing environment” for coal for most of the next five years.

In May, Essar agreed to buy a 54 percent stake in Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Co., a steelmaker which hasn’t operated since 2004 because of mounting debts and ageing equipment. Essar plans to invest $750 million reviving the company, it said on May 9.

Essar may also build a 20 million ton a year coal terminal at Beira to export excess production, Coovadia said. It may buy or “participate” in two additional coal mines in Zimbabwe, he said, without commenting further.
Rising Steel Output

“The mines will first serve the steelmaking operations, after which we’ll look at export potential,” he said, declining to comment on the likely cost of the projects.

Zisco, as the Zimbabwean steelmaker is known, will start producing steel within about 12 to 15 months of the deal closing, which is expected within a “couple of weeks,” Coovadia said. The mill will initially produce at an annual rate of about 500,000 tons before eventually boosting output to about 1.2 million tons, he said.

Essar may also build a further “greenfield” iron ore port north of Beira, Coovadia said. “The new port is a thought at this stage, and will depend on potential demand.” (sourced Bloomberg)

Union hails Rio Tinto agreement for iron ore rail workers

Friday,June 10, 2011 From: AAP

A MAJOR union has announced a breakthrough with mining giant Rio Tinto after striking a deal over a collective agreement for iron ore rail workers in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) says it is the first such union agreement with Rio Tinto in the region for 18 years.

The union says that after 18 months of negotiation, a new collective agreement for around 400 rail workers was reached.

CFMEU mining division WA Secretary Gary Wood, who led the negotiations, said it was a significant breakthrough and achievement on behalf of the workers and brought fairness back to the workplace.

Mr Wood said the union had to overcome WorkChoices first and then take Rio Tinto to Fair Work Australia to confirm the right to bargain on behalf of workers.

``Rio Tinto workers will now be treated with respect in their workplaces and have won the right to bargain collectively with their employer in regards to their workplace conditions.

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``For the past 18 years, train and car drivers in the Pilbara have been refused this right and have faced corporate hostility when attempting to engage their employer collectively,'' Mr Wood said.

When asked if this meant other Rio Tinto workers in the Pilbara might come under union coverage, Mr Wood said the agreement showed that collective arrangements could bring benefits to employees, including a right to be represented on terms and conditions.

Clearly the legal structures that have been provided for through Fair Work Australia have been followed by both parties in relation to the agreement.

We see that the laws are there and the laws are there to be followed and we don't see any change in that going forward.''

Mr Wood said the agreement was achieved because of the Fair Work Act and the determination of rank and file members to unite in support of their collective rights.

Workers are expected to sign off on a final agreement before the end of the month.(sourced Perthnow)

Australian company moving into the big iron ore league in Sweden

The rapid accumulation of iron ore projects in Sweden's mining heartland of Kiruna for West Perth-based Scandinavian Resources gained another significant notch this week.

Friday , 10 Jun 2011
By Ross Louthean

PERTH - Scandinavian Resources Ltd. (ASX:SCR) has now acquired the Ekstromsberg and Tjarrojakka iron ore projects, about 45 kilometres from Kiruna inside the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden which chairman Damien Hicks said adds 250 million tonnes of iron ore to the company's portrfolio.

"It's my opinion that SCR is now firmly entrenched in Europe's number one iron mining district through its strategic land position and quality portfolio of iron resources," he said.

The new projects were acquired by subsidiary Kiruna Iron AB (KIAB) from Swedish company Grangesberg Iron AB and gives KIAB a large package of licences with established resources and reserves in the Kiruna region.

This includes large deposits, near the Kiruna mining and processing complex owned by LKAB, that Scandinavian acquired late last year from Anglo American Corporation and Rio Tinto, including the advanced Rakkuri project, only 3 km from Kiruna. LKAB's Kiruna iron ore mine is one of the world's largest underground mining operations.

Scandinavian has maintained a strong drilling programme on its properties in the Kiruna district, including Rakkuri which, on acquisition, had an inferred 87.7 Mt at 33.2% Fe and an exploration target of a further 25-35 Mt in the 25-36% Fe range.

Hicks said the company will continue drilling to increase its global resource base, with aim of reaching 1Bt by 2012/2013. Phase one of this work has been completed and a JORC resource update was scheduled by the end of next month.

The company said an analysis of the Scandinavian Resources peer group -- Northern Iron (ASX), Northland Resources (TSX-V), Beowulf Mining (AIM) and Dannemora Mineral AB suggests Scandinavia was getting on the radar.

Back in March the president of LKAB, Lars-Eric Aaro, addressed the European Parliament in Brussels concerning raw materials from the Barents region of Scandinavia, pointing to the need to improve and expand infrastructure, streamline application processes for environmental permits, and the need to reduce raw material imports into Europe.

Scandinavian Resources is looking at a blueprint that would see it developing deposits in the 50-100 Mt range in the Kiruna district and transporting them to the port of Narvik in Norway.
(sourced Mineweb)

Iron Ore-Key indexes rise for 3rd day, gains seen capped

Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:46am GMT
* China May iron ore imports up 0.8 pct, June seen down

* Chinese restocking ore but in modest volumes

By Manolo Serapio Jr

SINGAPORE, June 10 (Reuters) - Spot iron ore prices extended gains on Friday as key indexes rose for a third straight session with Chinese steelmakers slowly boosting stockpiles.

"We are seeing restocking but not by a huge amount. I think unless we see a strong recovery in steel prices, iron ore prices will not be moving much," said Henry Liu, regional head of commodity research at Mirae Asset Securities in Hong Kong.

"If you don't have clear picture about the price trend, you won't increase your inventory too much."

In a sign Chinese steel demand may falter next month, leading Chinese steelmaker Baoshan Iron and Steel said on Thursday it will cut prices of its key products for July by 100-200 yuan ($15-30) per tonne.

Shanghai rebar futures were little changed at 4,854 yuan per tonne by 0531 GMT.

Iron ore imports by China, the world's No. 1 consumer of the steelmaking ingredient, rose a marginal 0.8 percent to 53.3 million tonnes in May from the previous month, data showed on Friday.

Traders expect imports to fall in June along with the seasonal weakness in China's steel market during the summer along with the risk on steel output from the state's power rationing seen lasting through September.

Australian 62 percent Newman fines were offered at $176-$178 a tonne, including freight, on Friday, up from $175-$177 the previous day, said Chinese consultancy Umetal.

Indian ore with 63.5 percent iron content was quoted at $178-$180 compared with $177-$179 on Thursday, Umetal said.

"Because the whole Chinese economy is cooling off, we're not going to see steel prices surge," said Mirae Asset's Liu.

"Construction remains a bright spot that's why we're seeing some support for long products and that's boosting iron ore prices a bit. But that is subject to the government's tightening policy."

China has been tightening credit, including repeated increases in cash reserve requirements for banks and hikes in interest rates, in a bid to tame inflation that is running near a three-year high.

Key iron ore indexes, based on Chinese spot prices, rose for a third day on Thursday after losing around 6 percent last month.

The Steel Index's 62 percent benchmark .IO62-CNI=SI rose 90 cents to $172.60 a tonne and Metal Bulletin's similar gauge .IO62-CNO=MB gained 75 cents to $171.99.

Platts own 62 percent index IODBZ00-PLT was steady at$173.75.

Prices of forward swaps mostly rose on Thursday.

The Singapore Exchange-cleared June contract edged up 67 cents to $173.50 a tonne, July added 66 cents to $173.08 and August climbed 59 cents to $172.42.

($1 = 6.477 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Ed Lane, sourced Thomson Reuters)

Badal bats for coal allocation for thermal projects

Friday, 10 June 2011
By Vinod Kumar Gupta

CHANDIGARH: Prakash Singh Badal Chief minister of Punjab has sought coal allocation from Ministry of Coal for 700 MW unit no. 3 of Rajpura thermal project being executed by L& T.

Chief Minister has mentioned in his letter that the Rajpura Thermal Project deserves a higher priority for coal linkage as the option of using imported coal, coal from e-auction sources or commercially mined coal is not available due to the large distance from coal fields as well as ports. Moreover L&T has reputation of timely execution of projects.

It may be mentioned that Central Electricity Authority has not recommended the project for early clearance of coal linkage as the company has not passed the bench mark specified by the authority.

. Badal has stated in his letter that early recommendation for grant of coal linkage will facilitate construction activities, thereby, resulting in early commissioning, L&T has already submitted its application for grant of 4 million tons per annum of F-grade coal linkage in July last year. Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) joined hands to add another 700-mw power capacity to the Rajpura Power Plant .under MOU route. The present capacity of the Rajpura plant is 2100 MW (3x700mw).Earlier two units of 700 MW each were awarded under competitive bidding.

Earlier in March Punjab government had requested Ministry of Coal for allocation of coal blocks in Jharkhand to the PSPCL, for three of its upcoming thermal projects, namely the 2540 MW Gidderbaha Thermal Project being executed by NTPC, , 500 MW GNDTP Ext-II and 500 MW GHTP Stage-Ill,.. The coal blocks in question are the Pachwara (South), Babupara –North Kanakpura and Rautpara –North Karanpura, all located in Jharkhand? PSPCL has already coal blocks in Pachwara (central) which is near to coal blocks being sought by PSPCL.

Punjab Government maintains that the allocation of coal blocks will help in mitigating the power shortages in coming years. The new power projects, once realized, will add to the economic growth of not only Punjab, but also the country. To fuel its ambitious capacity addition, PSPCL will require mineable reserves of 1200 to 1500 million tons.

The thermal projects now under execution are 4 units of 660 MW each at MW Talwandi Sabo Thermal Project, 3 units of 700 MW each at Rajpura Thermal Project and 4 units of 660 MW each at Gidderbaha Thermal Project. Moreover extensions to existing projects at Bhatinda and Lehra Mohabbat are also been planned by PSPCL. Punjab State Power Corporation has requested the coal ministry for allocation of a suitable coal block under the government dispensation route with minimum 508 million tones extractable quantity of good quality coal with ash contents less than 34% preferably open cast mine of grade D/E & as per CEA norms.
(sourced Punjab Newsline)

Alpha Natural Resources: Buy This Met Coal Leader After a 30% Sell-Off

June 9, 2011
By Stone Fox Capital

In January, Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) soared to a 52-week high around $68. Since then the stock has cratered some 30%. During that time frame, ANR snatched up Massey Energy (MEE) and now controls the largest domestic metallurgical reserves, enough to become the third largest in the world. (See The New Met Coal Powerhouse.)

So why has the stock been hammered from those January highs to the lows today around $46? Difficult to tell in this fickle market. The deal with MEE closed recently and the stock has just plunged during June. Maybe a bunch of MEE holders have dumped the stock upon the conversion to ANR shares. If so, this is the ultimate buying opportunity.

Domestic met coal player Walter Industries (WLT) has seen a dip but the stock remains much closer to the January peak even though WLT is a much more volatile stock.

According to analyst estimates, ANR trades at a lowly forward PE of 7.5. The company has upside potential to those numbers as it consolidates and improves the operations of MEE. Plus the companies expect to see synergies of $150M in 2012 adding significantly to earnings.

Sure China has slowed and the Japan disaster has impacted auto production which is a major user of steel and hence met coal. Look for the coal sector including ANR to see a bounce as auto production gets back to normal by month's end. Not to mention that Japan now needs to import more coal with the shutdown of nuclear reactors. ANR is perfectly positioned to supply the export market with thermal coal as well.

The technicals are weak with the stock trading below the 200ema, but the stock is very attractive when it bottoms out whether today or next month. WLT has huge support at these levels and would provide a good entry for anybody wanting diversification in the sector.

Just remember that while WLT gets a lot of publicity for being the leading domestic pure play on met coal, ANR will have a reserve base over 3x that of WLT (1.3 Bt compared to 385 Mt). The market tends to focus too much on production numbers and not enough on reserves. ANR has a huge opportunity to increase production.

Japan must rebuild and it will need to make a lot of steel. (sourced Seeking Alpha)

SCCL eyes 30% underground coal mine productivity improvement

Friday, 10June 2011

By Ajoy K Das

KOLKATA ( − India’s oldest coal miner Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) will focus on increasing productivity from existing underground mines by at least 30% to cope with dwindling growth opportunities in its mining hinterland.

The company also plans to diversify into thermal power generation, leveraging its experience in giving consultancy services to coal-based power projects in India.

Government-owned SCCL has submitted a production plan for 2012 to 2017 to India’s Coal Ministry, outlining its plans to increase yearly output from 52-million tons to 57-million tons.

The company would increase underground mining production by nearly 30% to 15.5-million tons a year by 2017, from around 12-million tons a year at present, while opencast output would rise only marginally to around 41.5-million tons a year from 40-million tons a year.

SCCL, the second-largest Indian coal miner after Coal India Limited, operates 13 opencast and 42 underground mines in the Godavari River Valley, in southern India. The Godavari River Valley basin is estimated to have a coal reserve of 8.79-billion tons along a single stretch of 350 km.

“I am expecting tougher days for coal operations in days to come. Therefore, I expect after four to five years, profits from coal operations to be very tight,” SCCL chairperson and MD, S Narsing Rao said.

SCCL will now focus on improving the contribution of underground mining and output per man shift as the company has almost reached a plateau in coal extraction and it is unlikely to report more than one-million to 1.5-million tons of incremental growth a year going forward, Rao said.

He attributed this to the restrictive and difficult geo-mining conditions of the Godavari Valley coalfields, known for deep forest reserves, lot of faults, poor grade coal and steep gradients.

The company had done as much as it could to control production costs. With 85% of underground mining costs fixed and 15% variable, SCCL said it would focus on mechanisation in underground mines to improve productivity.

SCCL plans to take up two long-wall mining projects at Adriyala, near Ramagundam, and Bhoopalapally, in the Warangal district, with capacity of 3.5-million tons a year and 2.5-million tons a year, respectively, with production starting within the next two years.

To diversify into power generation, the company will be looking at projects to construct coal pithead-based power generating plants, either through joint ventures or on its own, depending on access to virgin coal blocks that could be developed as captive sources of coal for the power plant. To mark a beginning, the company is considering construction of a 2 x 600 MW power project in Adilabad district in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

To pursue other diversification projects, SCCL has entered into an agreement with Carbon Energy, headquartered in Queensland, Australia, to collaborate in technologies for surface coal gasification, coal-bed methane and underground coal gasification projects.

Edited by: Mariaan Webb,sourced Miningweekly

Turkish firm to generate power from Thar coal

June 10, 2011

KARACHI: The Sindh government and a Turkish company have signed an agreement for generating electricity from Thar coal.

Under the agreement, which was signed at the Chief Minister’s House the other day, Turkish firm Colakoglu Investment would produce 600 megawatts of electricity from coal in the first phase through an investment of $1 billion.

The MoU documents were signed by Thar Coal and Energy Department Director General Abdul Majeed Pathan and Hayder N Colakoglu of the Turkish company.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said the provincial government was fully committed to overcoming power shortage and with the help of Thar coal reserves, the province would generate maximum electricity.

He said Sindh had already allotted eight blocks of Thar coalfield to different companies while two more were being provided to other companies for feasibility studies and exploration work.

Shah said thousands of megawatts would be produced with the help of coal, which would revitalise the economy of the country in general and Sindh in particular.

He said a large area still remained to be explored, of which one block was being given to the Turkish company which would conduct exploration work after a detailed study. The company will submit its feasibly report with details of coal deposits and proposed installation of power plants.

He said Engro Corporation was also working on a power generation project of more than 1,000 megawatts, with an investment of $3 billion. “When the development work is completed, not only Sindh, but the whole country will reap its fruits,” he said.

Colakoglu Investment CEO Hayder N Colakoglu, giving details of the company’s businesses, said it was operating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, had a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant, a 400-megawatt gas-fired power plant and gold, copper and chromate mines as well as ventures in banking. He said his company intended to make maximum investments in the energy sector.

Earlier, Thar Coal and Energy Department Secretary Aijaz Ali Khan highlighted efforts of the provincial government for development of coal reserves and increase in power generation.
(sourced The Express Tribune)

New UK Coal boss completes strategic review

Friday 10 June 2011

TROUBLED mining group UK Coal told shareholders production has continued in line with its expectations, nudging its shares up.

New executive chairman Jonson Cox told investors at the Doncaster-based group’s annual meeting that he has completed a strategic recovery review and started implementing it.

The former managing director of Yorkshire Water was appointed in January and pledged to weed out “deep-rooted” problems and cut debt. Shares rose 3.3 per cent to 39.5p yesterday.

Investors backed all resolutions at the group’s annual meeting yesterday, but three per cent of votes, some 4.5m shares, were cast against its remuneration report. Another 12.6m shares were withheld.

The group’s annual report revealed former chief executive Jon Lloyd received a £435,000 pay-off when he left the group in November. The remuneration report also revealed finance director David Brocksom’s total pay packet increased from £271,000 in 2009 to £321,000 in 2010.

Mr Cox will receive a £350,000 salary, which will not be reviewed until 2012. He could also be in line to earn 2.8m new shares.

His recovery plan involves stabilising mining production at Daw Mill in the West Midlands, Thoresby in Nottinghamshire and Kellingley, near Knottingley, in West Yorkshire.

He also wants to overhaul safety standards, cut costs and embark on a “more robust and reliable commercial strategy”.

UK Coal has been unable to capitalise on soaring coal prices because it is tied to selling coal at lower prices. Forced to spend millions on upgrading its mines, it has reported three years of consecutive losses, totalling £269.3m.

Mr Cox has also pledged to overhaul working patterns and pensions. Earlier this year he revealed plans to close UK Coal’s final salary pension schemes, and has also cut its salary tie to retail price inflation, which would have cost it £5m. It hopes to shave £12m from its budget this year.

He said the group’s land division, Harworth Estates, continues to sell surplus land. Contracts have been exchanged to sell 764 acres of farming land to housebuilder Taylor Wimpey for £10m, a price which could rise depending on development. The land was worth £12.6m in December.

It has sold land worth £33.6m since January, which will go to paying down debt.(Yorkshirepost)

India’s New Plants to Use South Africa Coal, India Coal Says

Jun 10, 2011 12:13 PM GMT+0530
By Dinakar Sethuraman

New power plants in India may opt for high-calorific value South African coal instead of lower grade Indonesian supplies, India Coal Market Watch reported, citing an unidentified official from a South African mining company.

Supplies of the fuel in India are inadequate and there are infrastructure issues, the industry newsletter said. The higher energy content of South African coal enables utilities to import less and tackle logistics concerns, it said. India Coal Market Watch is published by Kolkata-based mjunction Services Ltd., an online trading company. (sourced Bloomberg)

Colombia Passes Plan to Distribute Oil, Coal Tax Revenue

Jun 10, 2011 2:41 AM GMT+0530
By Heather Walsh and Andrea Jaramillo

Colombia’s Congress passed a law to modify distribution of taxes on commodities to allow a greater swathe of the nation to benefit from rising revenue.

The law enables provinces that don’t produce oil and coal to receive more funding for investments, Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry told reporters today in Bogota.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said after taking office last year that the change will help the government finance construction of roads, ports and technology projects and accumulate savings. Colombia is South America’s largest producer of coal and its third-largest supplier of oil.

The government will earmark 10 percent of the tax revenue for technology and innovation projects, Santos said in May.

Government inroads against guerrilla groups have improved security in the Andean nation, luring investors including billionaires Eike Batista and Carlos Slim, whose Grupo Carso SAB stepped into Colombian oil exploration this year.

Colombia may produce 1.7 million barrels of crude and natural gas a day in 2020, “closing in” on Brazil, South America’s second-largest producer after Venezuela, Energy and Mines Minister Carlos Rodado said in an interview in April. (sourced Bloomberg)

Euro Coal-Jly S.African trades at API4 minus $3/T

Jun10, 2011

* S.African discount to index doubles on poor demand

* S.African prompt fixed price bids slump $3-5 to $112-$115

* Coal swaps stay robust bolstered by strong oil

* China buys 6,000 kc/kg Russian prompt cargoes

LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) - Lack of demand for prompt South African spot coal is finally starting to be reflected in physical prices, traders and utilities said on Thursday.

Coal swaps held firm, however, bolstered by strong oil prices. Swaps have helped prop up physical values despite daily weakening fundamentals.

This has been most noticeable in the increased number of trades at deepening discounts to the API4 index, most recently a trade on Thursday for a July cargo at $3.00 below index, sold by a utility to a trader.

On Wednesday, prompt South African prices had fallen to $1.50 below index.

South African prices have hovered either side of $120.00 a tonne for the past few months, a price plus freight which has been uncompetitive and has prompted Indian, South Korean and European buyers to seek coal from other origins.

"South African is the unwanted problem child of the coal market today," one trader said.

"There's a lot of coal around in Europe, and nobody anywhere wants South African coal at these prices. Whoever bought the July cargo at $3.00 under index was probably only covering an existing short position; it doesn't reflect real demand," a major utility source said.

The increasing discounts to the index were an attempt by sellers to move coal, which was proving tough to sell at $118-120.

South African prices are going to have to fall closer to $110 before fresh buying emerges from India, which has steered clear of South African coal for several months, or China, which is evaluating South African versus Australian, Russian and U.S. delivered prices.

Chinese end-users have in the past week bought a few standard Russian coal cargoes of 6,000 kc/kg quality at prices of up to $134 a tonne delivered [ID:nLDE75818M].

This high-grade coal is likely to be blended with the substantial low-energy sub-bituminous imports already bought from Indonesia by Chinese power plants, traders said.

"It makes sense for Russian to be one of the cheapest good quality coals to be sold into China, because the freight is so low but the quantity is small. It's a drop in the ocean. Everybody's got too much coal," another utility source said.

Fixed-price South African cargoes have yet to trade sharply lower, although downward pressure is increasing, but bid levels did fall steeply on Thursday to $112-$115.00 a tonne, a drop of $3-5.

Offers remained firm at close to $120.00 a tonne.

Active bidding and offering by one major utility in both the DES and Richards Bay markets has been a price-supporting factor for many months but is increasing the disconnect between weak fundamentals and visible fixed prices for physical material, traders, brokers and utilities said.


A July loading South African cargo traded at $3.00 below the API4 index.

An August South African cargo traded early on Thursday at $1.45 below API4.

A September South African cargo traded at $1.15 below API4 via brokers.

A September South African cargo traded at $121.25.

A June delivery DES ARA cargo traded at $122.50, little changed.


A June South African cargo was bid at $112.00 with no offer against it.

A July South African cargo was bid at $115.50 and offered at $119.75.

An August loading South African cargo was offered at $120.95, down $1.00.

A July DES cargo was both bid and offered at $125.00 a tonne, up $2.00.

(Reporting by Jackie Cowhig, editing by Jane Baird, sourced Thomson Reuters)

JFE, Nissan Motor to agree on steel price hike - Nikkei

June 10 (Reuters) - JFE Holdings Inc's unit JFE Steel Corp and Nissan Motor Co are expected to agree on hike of 13,000 yen ($163) per ton in steel sheet prices for April-September, compared with previous six months, the Nikkei business daily reported.

The talks are expected to wrap up before industry leaders Nippon Steel Corp and Toyota Motor Corp that usually set the benchmark for other firms, the daily said.

Steel sheet prices last went up sharply with a nearly 20,000 yen hike for the first half of fiscal 2010. They are seen rising about 15 percent this time around but are still expected to come in below JFE's all-time high of slightly more than 100,000 yen a ton for fiscal 2008, Nikkei said.

Steelmakers are expected to see the cost of materials to make one ton of steel during the period to rise between 13,000 yen ($163) and 15,000 yen ($188) from the previous six months, which they hope to pass on, the Nikkei said.

The hike in steel sheet prices is expected to increase the auto industry's overall procurement costs for the product by about 120 billion yen ($1.50 billion) on the year this fiscal year, based on previous-year order data from the Japan Iron and Steel Federation, the daily said.

Prices for steelmaking materials as well as automotive steel sheet were negotiated annually until fiscal 2009. But with quarterly pricing introduced for steel materials in fiscal 2010, steel sheet price negotiations began being held every six months, the report said. ($1 = 79.945 Yen) (sourced Thomson Reuters)

Coal GoM to fast-track 8 projects, big firms to gain

June 10, 2011, 0:02 IST

New Delhi:The group of ministers (GoM) on coal, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, decided at its third meeting today to speed up clearances for eight critical infrastructure projects on a priority basis.

The eight projects, which will get priority treatment for clearance of coal blocks attached to them, belong to top corporate houses, including Adani, Reliance, Aditya Birla Group and Essar.

“Investments running in thousands of crores have already been made in these projects. This was the main decision of the GoM in today’s meeting,” said a senior official close to the development. The decision was in line with the recommendations of a committee appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier to take up these eight power sector projects on a priority basis.

“While some investments have been made in these blocks, a majority of the investments has been in the end-use projects,” the official said. To take a final call on the fast-tracking of the clearance process for stranded projects, the GoM decided to meet for the fourth time on July 2.

The Adani Group has sought forest clearance for Lohra West and Lohra Extension blocks to set up a power plant of 3,300 Mw at Tiroda in Maharashtra. It has already invested around Rs 7,000 crore in land acquisition and placed orders for equipment. It has also signed a power purchase agreement with the Maharashtra government.

The Aditya Birla Group has sought faster forest clearance for the Mahan coal block, jointly allocated to Hindalco, its flagship company, and Essar Power. While Essar is developing an independent power project, Hindalco is building a captive power plant. The block falls in the no-go area, and substantial investments have already been made. In fact, the end-use projects are ready for commissioning.

Another coal block the GoM decided to recommend for faster clearance, is Chhatrasal, linked to the 4,000-Mw Sasan ultra mega power project (UMPP), being set up by Reliance Power. The project requires an investment of close to Rs 20,000 crore. It is scheduled to start generation by January 2013. The concept of no-go area for forest clearance did not exist when the government had invited international bids for the Sasan UMPP in 2006. The 12-member panel was set up this January after the environment ministry’s no-go policy barred mining in heavily forested areas.

According to the coal ministry, 203 coal blocks, linked to power projects, with a production capacity of 130,000 Mw, have been stuck in no-go areas. Overall, investments worth Rs 40,000 crore have already been made in end-use projects in the power, steel and cement sectors, which have links with captive blocks in the no-go areas.

The panel’s other members include Coal Minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal, Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Steel Minister B P Verma, Road Transport Minister C P Joshi, Law Minister Veerappa Moily, Mines Minister Dinsha Patel, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. (sourced Business Standard)

China imported iron ore stocks rise 1 pct in week ending June 10

Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:48am GMT

 BEIJING, June 10 (Reuters) - Stockpiles of imported iron ore at major Chinese ports rose by almost 1 percent this week to a
new high of 93.43 million tonnes, according to data from industry consultancy Mysteel.
 Indian inventories rose 3.8 percent this week, while shipments from Australia and Brazil also inched up slightly.
Imports from the three countries made up 78 percent of the total.
 According to preliminary customs data released on Friday,imports of iron ore stood at 53.3 million tonnes in May, up 0.8
percent on the month, but traders expect shipments to show a decline in June.
Following is a table showing iron ore port stock movements in the last seven days.  

Country of origin Stocks (mln T) Change (%)
Total 93.43 + 0.99
Australia 35.18 + 0.6
Brazil 21.86 + 0.05
India 15.75 + 3.8
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Chris Lewis) 

Sherwin Iron upgrades Fe content at Roper River iron ore project

June09, 2011 15:11:43 (GMT+2)

On June 8, Autralia-based iron ore exploration and development company Sherwin Iron Limited (Sherwin Iron), which owns 100 percent of the 4,000 km2 Roper River iron ore project in Australia's Northern Territory, announced on June 8 the results of the detailed metallurgical development testwork undertaken at metallurgical testing consultants Nagrom, with the assistance of Australia-based engineering and project delivery firm Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) and based on the oolitic ironstone from the Roper River iron ore project.

The results of the test program indicated a higher concentrate yield of 65 percent can be achieved, compared with first-pass testwork yield of 55 percent. Test work confirms Roper River ore can be comfortably upgraded to a highly marketable product grading 60-62 percent Fe. Testing will now be expanded to ore from other sources at Roper River.

Sherwin Iron is an emerging iron ore company which has a current resource of 107 million mt from its initial exploration activities with an exploration target of 400-500 million mt of 40-48 percent Fe from two of its five tenement areas.(sourced steelorbis)

Tags: iron ore , Australia , raw mat , Oceania , mining

Raises stake in Australian coal miner Resource Generation by 4.8% to 14.8%

Friday, Jun 10, 2011, 1:15 IST
By Sumit Moitra | Agency DNA

Kolkata: CESC, the power utility from the RPG group stable, is hungry for coal as it works on a fast pace to execute new coal-based power plants at a time when country’s principal supplier of coal, Coal India, is floundering in keeping up supplies.

The company has decided to import 1 million tonne of coal over the next two years to augment its requirement primarily sourced from its own domestic mines and from Coal India, an official of CESC told DNA.

“We have just floated expression of interest for our requirement of imported coal for the next two years,” he said.

CESC’s coal mining subsidiary, Integrated Coal Mining that owns captive coal mine at Burdwan in West Bengal meets half of CESC’s total coal requirement of about 6 million tonnes a year. The balance is met through supplies from Coal India.

“With Coal India raising prices of quality grades significantly we are now looking at imports which we are hopeful of doing at competitive rates,” the official said.

About 20% of CESC’s total coal requirement consists of grades A & B varieties, prices of which were raised by a sharp 150% in February while another round of hike for lower grades of coal is in the offing in September when Coal India goes for wage hike for its huge workforce.

“For us, landed cost of imported coal would be competitive in the current scenario,” the official said.

To raise coal availability, CESC will also be participating in domestic coal block auction by the government expected shortly. Within the next two years CESC would be commissioning 600 mw capacity at Chandrapur in Maharastra while by 2016 600 mw each at Haldia in West Bengal and at Dumka in Jharkhand apart from 1320 mw at Dhenkanal in Orissa would go on stream, significantly pushing up CESC’s coal requirement.

Overseas, CESC has control over quality bituminous coal in South Africa belonging to a mine of Australian stock exchange-listed mining company Resource Generation Ltd.

CESC acquired 10% holding in August 2010, and on Tuesday, it picked up another 4.8% via subsidiary Bantal Singapore Pte Ltd.

“By raising our stake we have revised our coal offtake pact with them. From an earlier right to 37 million tonne over 20 years, we will now have access to 139 million tonne over a period of 38 years,” the official said. (sourced DNA)

Coal mafia don arrested

Jun 10, 2011, 02.26am IST
By Debajyoti Chakraborty Debajyoti Chakraborty , TNN

ASANSOL: Long-wanted coal mafia don, Jaswant Singh Upal, alias Kale Singh, was arrested by Asansol police from a dhaba along NH-2 in Ningha area in the wee hours of Thursday. He was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days by the additional chief judicial magistrate's court in Asansol which rejected his bail petition. After a bloody shootout in the coal belt just days ago, chief minister Mamata Banerjee reportedly submitted a list of the area's mafia dons to director general of police Naparajit Mukherjee and asked him to arrest them. Of late, 12 coal mafia dons have been arrested by various police stations in Asansol. But Kale Singh's name topped the list of dons in the area.

Police said Kale Singh has been charged in three cases, one each in Jamuria, Asansol North and Asansol South police stations. He has been arrested under sections 379,411,413,414,120B, 30(2) of the Indian Penal Code. Burdwan SP Humayun Kabir claimed that police has been following his movements for the past few days.

Kale Singh shot to fame overnight when he handed over a cheque for 1.11 lakh to former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee last year, breaching Bhattacharjee's Z plus security cover. That was at the foundation stone laying ceremony of Sir Rasbehari Ghosh College in Ukhrid of Khondoghosh on October 10, 2010. After the Trinamool Congress raked up a political storm over it, ADG (law and order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha had sought a report about Singh from then Burdwan SP Rajaram Rajsekharan.

Burdwan district judge Ishan Chandra Basu had, on November 3 2010, rejected Kale Singh's bail plea in an illegal coal mining case at Bonbishnupur mouza in Asansol North police station of September 8, 2010. Despite a warrant and severe pressure from the Election Commission against him, Kale Singh managed to evade arrest all this while. In fact, he was trying to change his political colours just before the polls to run his illegal coal mining empire smoothly.

A team comprising Jamuria OC Bikash Dutta and Asansol North OC Sudip Dasgupta went to Amritsar to arrest Kale Singh who managed to escape. He was staying in his dhaba-cum-bar at NH-2. In Ningha, Kale Singh runs his own transport agency --- Upal Transport. About a decade ago, Kale Singh came to Asansol from Amritsar as a helper of a truck and joined the illegal coal mining racket after the death of his brother.

"We are happy that Kale Singh has been arrested at last. All these arrests of coal mafia dons have been taking place over the past few days due to instructions from chief minister Mamata Banerjee," said Jitendra Tewari, chairman of Asansol Municipal Corporation.

As law and order has deteriorated in Burdwan since January this year, the chief minister has created a new DIG post at Durgapur exclusively for the Asansol-Durgapur industrial belt. Tough and honest IPS officer Ajay Nanda is set to join as DIG (Durgapur) within the next few days and his primary job will be to control illegal coal mining and scrap iron rackets active in the state's biggest industrial belt. The chief minister feels that it is difficult for the Burdwan SP to control law and order in the Asansol-Durgapur belt from the district headquarters 80 to 100 kilometres away. (sourced TOI)

China coal imports in May up 20.7 pct from April

Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:02am GMT

* Australia, Indonesia coal attractive as domestic prices rise
* June imports could top 16 million tonnes - trade estimates (Adds details)
By Fayen Wong

BEIJING, June 10 (Reuters) - China's coal imports totalled 56.88 million tonnes in the first five months of the year, down 16.6 percent from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said on Friday.

Customs did not give a figure for May, but previous data show January-April imports totalled 43.48 million tonnes, implying that 13.4 million tonnes were imported in May -- a 20.7 percent rise from 11.1 million tonnes in April, and up 21.8 percent from a year earlier.

China had a bigger appetite for imports in April, with momentum picking up further in May as rising domestic prices made buying from overseas, especially from Indonesia and Australia, a cheaper alternative.

For a table of China preliminary May commodity trade data, click:

Imports for June are poised to rise further and could top 16 million tonnes, according to some trade estimates, as domestic prices soared to a 2-1/2 year high and power plants boost run rates to cope with peak summer demand that will stretch on until August.

Domestic thermal coal prices climbed for a 12th week to above $130 per tonne, as utilities nationwide steadily stepped up orders to prepare for peak summer demand, keeping prices at a 2-1/2 year high and opening opportunities for higher imports.

The customs office did not give a breakdown of imports. More detailed data is due to be released later this month. (Editing by Chris Lewis, sourced Thomson Reuters)

BHP Billiton may face strike action in Australia

9 June 2011 10:39:44 (GMT+2)

Stephen Smyth, chairman of the Department of Mine and Energy of Queensland, Australia, has stated that mine workers in Australia have voted for a big strike though the Australian Coal Miners Union is expected to continue to talk to BHP Billiton and BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA). This would be the first big strike in the country in the past 10 years.

Mr. Smyth also stated that the workers would not launch the strike before the last day of negotiations on June 10.

4,000 workers at the seven mines in Bowen Basin, Queensland owned by BMA have requested improved working conditions and higher salaries. A BHP Billiton official commented that BMA is still carrying out negotiations with union representatives on a new labor agreement.(sourced steelorbis)

Tags: iron ore , Australia , BHP , raw mat , Oceania , mining

Proposed, existing capacity for US coal exports

Jun 9, 2011 4:25pm GMT

June 9 (Reuters) - U.S. coal exports are surging and, with pressure on domestic consumption from environmental regulation and cheap, cleaner-burning natural gas, coal companies are
looking to expand capacity to ship to Asia and elsewhere.

Developing countries are building dozens of coal plants to provide power to electricity-deprived populations. They also need construction steel, the manufacture of which requires special metallurgical coals, and some of the best are in the United States.

U.S. coal exports have bounced between 3.6 and 13.7 percent of U.S. coal mined in the past 50 years. Analysts say exports could reach 200 million short tons a year, or about 20 percent of U.S. production, if trends hold.

Here is a list of proposed U.S. coal export facilities that, if all go through, could initially boost U.S. export capacity by 54.5 million short tons a year and ultimately as much as 129.5 million tons annually. Some face stiff opposition from environmental advocates.

Below that is a list of existing export capacity.


* Burnside Bulk Terminal; Mississippi River, 60 miles (95 km) west of New Orleans, Louisiana; operator, Impala Warehousing, unit of Trafigura [TRAF.UL]; capacity planned up
to 11.5 million short tons per year.

* Port of Morrow; Columbia River near Boardman, Oregon; coal throughput Ambre Energy, which acquired an option to lease land; capacity planned unavailable.

* Gateway Pacific Terminal; Whatcom County, Washington;operator, SSA Marine; coal throughput, Peabody Energy (BTU.N: Quote), 24 million short tons per year.

* Millennium Bulk Logistics, Longview, Washington; owners Ambre Energy and Arch Coal (ACI.N: Quote); 5 million short tons a year initially, eventually up to 80 million.

* Corpus Christi, Texas; operator Port of Corpus Christi, coal throughput Cline (CMK.TO: Quote) of Canada; 2 million short tons a year.

* Houston, Texas; Kinder Morgan (KMP.N: Quote) Bulk Terminal, operator Kinder Morgan; source of coal throughput undisclosed;2.2 million short tons a year.

* Ridley Terminal, Prince Rupert, Alberta; coal throughput Arch Coal, 2.75 million short tons annually for Arch.

TOTAL PROPOSED ADDED CAPACITY: At least 54.5 million short tons initially, up to 129.5 million eventually.


State/Terminal Max nameplate capacity 2010 exports (mln short tons)
Maryland (Baltimore)

CNX (CNX.N: Quote) Marine** 12.0 10.6

Chesapeake* 4.0 3.2

Virginia (Hampton Roads)

Lamberts Pt (NSC.N: Quote) ** 30.0 15.5

Pier IX* 14.0 7.3

DTA* 20.0 14.0

South Carolina (Charleston)

Shipyard River 2.5 n/a


IMT (down for repair) 18.0 2.1

U.S. United* 17.0 n/a

IC Rail Marine (CNR.TO: Quote) 4.0 2.1

Lower Mississippi River Mid-river transloaders

Associated Terminals Variable

Cooper/Consolidated Variable

St. James Stevedoring Variable

Alabama (Mobile)

McDuffie 12.5 8.9
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Westshore Terminal*** 26 n/a

TOTAL EXISTING: 160***** 63.7****

* Includes domestic U.S. movements

** Mostly exports coal for steel-making
*** Mostly Canadian coal miner tonnage
**** Excludes US exports to Canada
***** Nameplate, actual said to be lower

Sources: Ports, terminals, stevedoring companies
(Reporting by Bruce Nichols; Editing by Dale Hudson)

Coal and iron ore to be moved out of Chennai Port Trust

Friday, 10 Jun 2011

Mr GK Vasan union shipping minister indicated that coal and iron ore would be moved out of Chennai Port Trust as the Centre attached utmost importance to people's welfare.

Commenting on the Madras High Court order that called for moving dirty cargoes to Ennore Port, Mr Vasan said that Secretary of Shipping will be meeting the Chennai Port officials in this regard soon. Thereafter, a decision would be taken.

Addressing the seafarers and port officials at the launch of India's first cruise ship, Mr Vasan said that after the shifting of dirty cargoes, Chennai Port would become a clean cargo transhipment centre in the East Coast that would handle containers, cars and cruise. As the process would affect the livelihood of several hundreds of Port employees, the views of all the stakeholders would be taken into consideration.

Mr Vasan also said that an official announcement regarding the commencement of ferry services between Tuticorin and Colombo would be made in the next 10 to 15 days. “It is a long-felt dream of the people. The Ministry of Shipping is taking all steps to launch the services at the earliest. (sourced from

Steel producers in WB to meet CM for coal

Friday, 10 Jun 2011

The Statesman reported that steel industrialists in West Bengal will urge the chief minister Ms Mamata Banerjee to distribute coal blocks among them.

Of the six blocks received from the ministry of coal, the former Left Front government had allotted three blocks to JSW Bengal (reserve 755 million tonnes) and two blocks to Jai Balaji industries (reserve 449 million tonnes) forcing other steel manufacturers to import coal from Australia and Indonesia.

This has caused a sharp rise in the production cost. The industrialists alleged that despite repeated requests the former chief minister Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and the industries minister Mr Nirupam Sen refused to change this policy.

Interestingly both the companies are yet to start production and construction of plants has not started. The former Left Front government, particularly Mr Bhattacharjee and Mr Sen favored JSW and Jai Balaji industries by allotting them coal blocks in Burdwan district.

In 2007 JSW bagged coal reserves at Kulti (210 tonnes), Sitarampur (210 tonnes) and Ichhapur. Jai Balaji got Jaganathpur A (273 tonnes) and Jaganathpur (176 tonnes) taking the total to 449 metric tonnes. JSW was to manufacture 10 metric tons of steel per year and power generation would be 1600 MW. Jai Balaji is to produce five tons of steel per year, three tons of cement and 1215 MW power. Steel manufacturers said that the two agencies WBIDC and WBMDTC which were supposed to decide eligibility criteria of competing industries to receive coal blocks became mere puppets in the hands of Mr Nirupam Sen. (sourced from The Statesman)

Port Hedland May iron ore shipments jump 15 percent

Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:32am GMT

SYDNEY, June 10 (Reuters) - Iron ore shipments from Australia's Port Hedland, one of the world's largest export terminals, jumped 15 percent to 18.21 million tonnes in May from 15.88 million tonnes in April, data released by the port authority showed on Friday.

Shipments to China, the ports biggest destination, rose to 12.53 million tonnes in May from 11.21 million tonnes a month earlier.

BHP Billiton is the port's biggest user followed by Fortescue Metals Group Ltd . (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Ed Davies, sourced Thomson Reuters)

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Thursday, 09 June 11

The Jakarta Post, a leading English news paper in Indonesia reported that, PT Indika Energy Tbk, an integrated energy company, is targeting to increase its coal production up to 31 million tons this year from 29.1 million tons in 2010, says an executive.

Indika president director Arsjad Rasjid said by looking at the first quarter’s production of 7.6 million tons worth US$62.5 per ton, he was upbeat that the company could reach the target by year end.

“In the first quarter we can reach around 24.6 percent of this year’s target, so we are very optimistic we can achieve the target,” Arsjad said at the company’s public expose on Wednesday.

He said that 80 percent of the 31 million tons was already ordered under contracts, while the remaining 20 percent would be sold on
the spot.

Arsjad added that 70 percent of the total production would be exported to various countries such as India, China and Korea, while the remaining 30 percent would be sold in the domestic market.

The Indonesian Coal Mining Association (APBI) said Indonesian coal miners expected to produce 340 million tons this year, an increase of 23 percent from 275 million tons in 2009. Twenty percent of that amount — around 70 million tons — will be allocated to fulfill domestic demand, while the remaining 80 percent will be exported.

Indika Energy director Azis Armand said the company had 651 million tons of proven coal reserves and 1.4 billion tons of potential coal reserves.

“The proven reserves have been recognized in four or five areas and we will acquire more areas to increase the proven reserves,” said Arsjad, adding Indika planned to increase its production capacity up to 50 million tons in 2012.

Indika Energy puts its strategic investments in the areas of energy resources, energy services, energy infrastructure, contract mining, coal transport and logistics, and power generation.

The company posted Rp 772.7 billion ($90.5 million) in net profits in 2010, a 6.5 percent increase from Rp 726 billion in 2009. The growing profit resulted from a total revenue of Rp 3.7 trillion, up 51.4 percent from 2009’s Rp 2.4 trillion, according to data released Wednesday.

The company will pay dividends of about Rp 385.3 billion or about 50 percent of last year’s profit, Azis said. He added that the company had declared final dividends payment of Rp 135.4 billion or Rp 26 per share, together with Rp 249.9 billion interim dividends paid in November 2010. (drs)
Source: The Jakarta Post and coalspot

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S.Africa Transnet iron ore line expansion on track

Wed Jun 8, 2011 11:21am GMT

CAPE TOWN, June 8 (Reuters) - South Africa's logistics group Transnet [TRAN.UL] is on track to expand its iron ore and manganese rail line to an annual capacity of 60 million tonnes from 47 million by 2012/13, its head said on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Brian Molefe said a further expansion of the line, which transports the two commodities from mines to the export terminal at Saldanha, is possible by 2017.

It is likely that this second phase expansion to 92 million tonnes will include private investment.

"We are proceeding with it. It is unlikely that we will not get private investment, but we are quite determined to get capacity to 92 million tonnes by 2016/17," Molefe told Reuters on the sidelines of an iron ore conference. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Writing by Agnieszka Flak, sourced Thomson Reuters)

Chinese crude steel output in 2011 seen at 699 million tonnes

Thursday, 09 Jun 2011

According to data issued by the China Iron and Steel Association, d
Daily output of crude steel in China in the last 11 days of May fell by 3.46% compared with the previous 10 days, reaching 1.915 million tonnes.

The figure would amount to almost 699 million tonnes if calculated on an annualized basis, compared to 627 million tonnes of output in 2010.

CISA deputy secretary general Mr Li Xinchuang had predicted at the end of May that full year output in 2011 is likely to stand at 680 million tonnes. (Sourced from Reuters)

Miners scour Australia for iron ore finds far from BHP, Rio

Thu Jun 9, 2011 2:52am GMT

* New iron ore prospects emerge in Australia
* Aims are to rival Rio Tinto, BHP mines, feed China
* Small miners join forces
* Stocks of small miners up by average 53 pct in year to March 31
By Bruce Hextall and James Regan

SYDNEY, June 9 (Reuters) - Australian prospectors are scouring remote outback locations for new sources of iron ore to rival the big western lodes dominated by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton , spurred on by China's swelling appetite.

Analysts expect most of Australia's iron ore to keep coming from Western Australia's Pilbara region, the world's single largest deposit, which is seen producing about 400 million tonnes this year.

But new entrants are reworking old geological maps, lobbying for more ports and exploring new ground hundreds or thousands of kilometres from the Pilbara.

Despite some inroads, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have shown an unwillingness to share rail haulage lines and ports they spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing over the past four decades, leaving many known deposits in the Pilbara stranded and worthless.

At the same time, Chinese willingness to help fund work on new projects is overcoming past obstacles to development far from the established mining camps.

Chinese steel production continues to grow, with estimates approaching 680-700 million tonnes in 2011, UBS said, from 627 million tones produced in 2010.

"It's in the interest of the Chinese for these new provinces (deposits) to crop up, though not necessarily in the interest of BHP and Rio Tinto," said Pieter Bruinstroop, a mining analyst for Intersuisse in Melbourne.

"If you look at what happened in the 1960s and '70s when the Japanese were investors in raw materials in Australia to get them up and going, you can see the similarities," Bruinstroop said.

Japanese industrials played an integral part in funding early iron ore and coal mine projects in Australia in the decades following World War II, frequently providing capital in exchange for supply guarantees or equity stakes.

One of the largest investments of this kind, the BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance in coal mining, is still intact.

Iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI sells for about $170 a tonne and hit record high prices of around $190 a tonne in February, well above the average cost of production for miners.

According to Resource Capital Research, a basket of 59 Australia-listed junior iron ore mining companies, with a combined market capitalisation of A$37.9 billion, rose on average by 53 percent over the 12 months to March 31, 2011 versus a 3.3 percent decline in the S&P/ASx 200 index of leading Australian companies .

A consortium of small-capped firms along with Chinese steel giant, SinoSteel, are tying up ground in eastern Australia's New South Wales state with the aim of opening a new iron deposit.

It is a big task but not impossible, according to Andrew Woskett, the spokesman for a group of companies seeking to develop the region as a fresh supplier of iron ore.

The alliance comprises Australian-listed Carpentaria Exploration , Havilah Resources , Minotaur Exploration , Royal Resources and U3O8 and private companies Sinosteel, Bonython Metals Group and Wentworth Metal Group.

Each company hopes to identify iron ore deposits within the Braemar iron formation that stretches from Broken Hill, the outback mining town where BHP has its roots, for 250 km into South Australia state. The southern edge of the deposit is only around 150 km from the coast.

Woskett said there was potential throughout the Braemar Iron Formation for 20 to 40 billion tonnes of mineable deposits containing magnetite, a primary form of iron ore.

"There's great potential as the furthest deposits are only 400 kilometres (250 miles) from the coast and the rail is currently underutilised," said Woskett.

"There's already the capacity to pump 10 million tonnes down the railway but ultimately there is an opportunity to increase that," he said.

Some A$17 billion has been earmarked in Western Australia and A$24 billion nationally to build new ports to handle the projected growth in exports.

"It will happen if the Chinese want it to happen," said Bruinstroop. "If the major consuming steel producers want to participate in these projects, they will get developed."

In South Australia state, WPG is gearing up to mine ore suitable for immediate shipping from its Peculiar Knob project under development.

U.S.-based Genesee & Wyoming has signed a five-year rail haulage agreement with WPG to transport 3.3 million tonnes of ore a year, expected to start in the second quarter of 2012.

Nearby, IronClad Mining is preparing to export ore from its Wilcherry Hill mine at an initial rate of 4 million tonnes a year starting in 2012. The project is an 80-20 percent joint venture between IronClad and Trafford Resources .

Further west, Murchison Metals expects to export iron ore from the fledgling midwest region in late 2014 or early 2015.

Murchison and Mitsubishi Corp are equal joint venture partners in Oakajee Port & Rail project, which is developing a deep water port 1,000 km south of the Pilbara to initially ship 45 million tonnes of iron annually.

The Western Australian state government has already agreed to extend a funding deadline to facilitate the project.

The two companies also are partners in Crosslands Resources Ltd, which is mining iron ore at the nearby Jack Hills deposit.

The new deep water port is being designed to include an extensive rail component to link the region's remote and scattered iron ore deposits to the Indian Ocean. It is expected to cost more than A$3 billion to construct and would be available for commercial shipping in 2014.

The new port would handle iron ore from the mid-west province under development about 1,200 km south of the Pilbara.

Gindalbie Metals is counting on the port being built to maximise production from its Karara mine to around 30 million tonnes a year by 2020 in partnership with Angang Steel Co of China.

"Work on the Karara Project is moving very rapidly with approximately 1,300 people working on the construction of the processing plant, mining operations and all of the supporting infrastructure such as the rail spur, high voltage power line, water pipeline and port," Gindalbie Managing Director Tim Netscher said

China's Sinosteel Midwest also has signed up to use the port.

Rail operator QR National is spending A$200 million on new locomotives and equipment to haul Gindalbie's iron ore.

Worldwide, there is potential for an additional 500 million tonnes of new iron ore supply over the next five years, UBS said in a client note on Wednesday, compared to 2.1 billion tonnes of global production in 2010. (Editing by Ed Davies and Michael Urquhart, sourced Thomson Reuters)

Australia union: no plans for wider strike at BHP-Mitsubishi coal mines

Thu Jun 9, 2011 3:57am GMT

* Sporadic work stoppages, but no strike plans at BHP-Mitsubishi coal mines-union
* Concerns include role of non-union staff
* BHP-Mitsubishi urges union workers to rethink action (Adds details, quotes)

SYDNEY, June 9 (Reuters) - Around 3,500 union workers at Australia's BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance, the world's biggest producer of metallurgical coal, plan several work stoppages next week but are not planning wider strike action at this stage, a union official said.

The workers plan several six-hour work stoppages next week but also plan to continue negotiations with the BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi owned joint ventured on June 21-22 over a new enterprise agreement, Steve Smyth, Queensland president of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union said on Thursday.

"At this stage all we plan are stop-work meetings, not full strike actions," Smyth told Reuters. "These stoppages are for the purpose of talking to our members en masse," he said.

The unions have given notice of stop work meetings scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday at the Norwich Park, Blackwater, Gregory Crinum, Goonyella, Saraji and Peak Downs mines.

Union workers at the Broadmeadow colliery already hold separate agreements with the alliance and will not participate in the stoppages, according to Smyth.

Smyth said he expects the stoppages to have some impact on production but could not say to what degree.

Smyth said workers will look to reopen talks over the role of non-union contractors, who outnumber union staff.

BHP Billiton in a statement said BMA did not intend to replace employees' jobs with contractors and urged workers to rethink their stoppage plans.

A spokeswoman for BHP Billiton declined to discuss any contingency plans BMA may be considering in the event of industrial action.

Disruptions to the mines could impact the Australian economy adversely -- the mines have a combined production capacity of more than 58 million tonnes per year, with nearly all of their output shipped overseas for steel production.

Coal is Australia's largest export and exports of metallurgical coal accounts for A$24.5 billion of the nation's A$202.17 billion in total goods exports last year, according to government data.

Queensland state lost up to 30 million tonnes of coal production when monsoon rains and a cyclone battered the eastern seaboard between November and February, exacting a high financial toll on the national economy.

The drop, equivalent to 15 percent of annual output, has curbed economic growth and exacerbated a worldwide shortfall of coal. (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Balazs Koranyi, sourced Thomson Reuters)