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Saturday, January 14, 2012

International Coal expands coal footprint in Queensland

Saturday, 14 Jan 2012

It is reported that International Coal has completed due diligence on the acquisition of 100% of Great White Nominees, giving International Coal access to projects that neighbor existing large scale operating mines.

Independent expert analysis indicates that the assets are prospective for coking and thermal coal. International Coal has engaged an independent consultant to develop an exploration program for the coal exploration permit.

Following the exploration program, expected to be conducted over the coming months, International Coal will consider undertaking a drill program to assess the volume and quality of thermal coal deposits at the site.

Significantly, the coal exploration permit and one of the permit applications surround Anglo American's advanced open pit thermal coal mine in Callide.

Of the coal exploration permit applications, one is located in the well known coking coal district of Bundaberg, adjacent to International Coal’s existing Bundaberg project which contains two target exploration coal-bearing units.

Another of the applications is in an emerging region east of Mt Isa, where significant exploration and infrastructure planning is underway.

Terms of agreement

The consideration for the acquisition of Great White Nominees comprises:
1. 2 million International Coal shares;
2. USD 250,000 cash; and
3. 3 million International Coal options valid for five years from January 12 2012 with a strike price of USD 0.35.


International Coal is focused on developing a number of prospective coking coal and thermal coal projects throughout Queensland. This transaction provides further regional diversification of the company assets close to existing large scale operating mines.

In December 2011, International Coal expanded its footprint in the Eromanga Basin with applications for 11 Exploration Permits for Coal in the Eromanga Basin area and the surrounding region in SW Queensland.

These acquisitions show that International Coal is aggressively pursuing prospective EPCs and EPCAs in coal rich Queensland.

(Sourced from

Exxaro reached agreement with s Arnot coalmine workers

Saturday, 14 Jan 2012

Reuters reported that South Africa Exxaro Resources said a planned strike by workers at its Arnot coal mine has been called off after it reached agreement with the union late on Thursday.

More than 1,000 mineworkers had planned to down tools from Friday, protesting employment conditions.

Exxaro is South Africa second-largest coal producer and a major supplier to power utility Eskom.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Mr Martins estimates at least 10 ships wait for Vale Production

Saturday, 14 Jan 2012

Bloomberg cited Mr Jose Carlos Martins Vale head of ferrous and strategy as saying that Vale SA estimates at least 10 ships are waiting for its output which is backlogged because of heavy rain in three Brazilian states.

Vale, the world largest producer of iron-ore declared a force majeure on iron-ore shipments because of the rain.

(Sourced from Bloomberg)

Peabody opens office in Balikpapan

Saturday, 14 Jan 2012

Peabody Energy announced the opening of an office in Balikpapan, Indonesia a seaport city in the East Kalimantan province. The move further expands the company’s presence in the world’s largest supplier of seaborne thermal coal.

Peabody Balikpapan office complements ongoing sourcing and business development activities in Indonesia and supports an office in the capital city of Jakarta. Indonesia is the fastest-growing supplier of thermal coal to both China and India and Peabody is positioning itself to assist local suppliers in moving Indonesian coal throughout the Pacific Rim. The company has secured multiple term offtake agreements from resource-rich East Kalimantan.

Mr Yosef Setiyawan Director of Engineering Indonesia will lead the office and has responsibility for supporting business development and structured transactions. Setiyawan brings extensive experience in mining engineering, technical services and business development from his tenure at BHP Billiton in Australia and Indonesia. He reports to Mr Keith Downham Vice President of Resource Development Indonesia.

Fatality at Energy Coal South Africa - BHP Billiton plc

Saturday, 14 Jan 2012

BHP Billiton Energy Coal South Africa confirmed that an accident took place at its Khutala Colliery near Witbank on 12 January 2012 which unfortunately resulted in the death of one of its employees.

The fatality occurred during the performance of maintenance work on a conveyor belt in the underground operations and the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities.

BECSA has conveyed its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased and is providing support to the bereaved and those affected at the operation. Mining activities at the underground operation have been suspended and the company has commenced an investigation in order to establish the circumstances of the accident.

CSN may declare Force Majeure on iron ore shipments on rains

Saturday, 14 Jan 2012

Dow Jones reported that Brazilian steelmaker and iron ore miner Companhia Siderurgica Nacional SA study the possibility of declaring force majeure on shipments from its iron ore operations in Minas Gerais state, southeast Brazil on heavy rains.

(Sourced from Dow Jones)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Exxaro says reached agreement with mineworkers

Fri Jan 13, 2012

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Exxaro Resources said a planned strike by workers at its Arnot coal mine has been called off after it reached agreement with the union late on Thursday, the company said in a statement.

More than 1,000 mineworkers had planned to down tools from Friday, protesting employment conditions.

Exxaro is South Africa's second-largest coal producer and a major supplier to power utility Eskom.

(sourced Reuters)

Euro coal prices fall USD 1 per tonne with oil and low coal burn

Friday, 13 Jan 2012

Reuters reported that prompt European physical coal prices slipped by around USD 1.00 a tonne recently as utilities sold coal swaps in the face of weak coal burn across most of northern Europe after the warmest winter for 30 years.

Traders and utilities said a USD 1.00 fall in oil prices as risk aversion returned to the market and a rise in oil stockpiles in the US also helped pull coal lower.

One European utility source said "There was a lot of utility selling earlier today, everybody's got too much coal and the burn outside of southern Europe has been poor."

A European trader said "Oil fell, swaps fell and a lot of people backed off as a result."

No fixed price trades were reported.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Growing wealth divide puts globalization at risk

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON (Reuters) - A backlash against rising inequality - evident from the Occupy movement to the Arab Spring - risks derailing the advance of globalization and represents a threat to economies worldwide, according to the World Economic Forum.

Severe income disparity and precarious government finances rank as the biggest economic threats facing the world, according to the group's 2012 Global Risks report released on Wednesday.

The 60-page analysis of 50 risks over the next decade precedes the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting in two weeks' time in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, and paints a bleak picture of an increasingly uncertain world.

Over the past four decades, Davos, which brings together politicians, central bankers and business leaders, has become a byword for globalization. Now confidence about the steady gains from the onward march of the global marketplace is faltering.

Rising youth unemployment, a retirement crisis among pensioners dependent on debt-burdened states and a yawning wealth gap have sown the "seeds of dystopia," according to the report, based on a survey of 469 experts and industry leaders.

For the first time in generations, people no longer believe their children will grow up to have a better standard of living.

"It needs immediate political attention, otherwise the political rhetoric that responds to this social unease will involve nationalism, protectionism and rolling back the globalization process," said Lee Howell, the WEF managing director responsible for the report.

The unsustainable level of government debt in many countries had already been highlighted as a top threat in the previous two WEF risk reports but the chronic nature of fiscal deficits means the issue remains centre stage.

"We're seeing governments kicking the can down the road and not trying to get their hands on it," Howell said.

Since last January, the euro zone's debt crisis has spread and deepened - toppling governments in Greece and Italy - while the United States has lost its triple-A credit rating, after failing to stabilize its debt position.

There will be a greater focus than ever in Davos this year on the failures of the modern market economy, including discussion on the uncertain future of capitalism, a subject that would have got short shrift in the years before the financial crisis.


In an increasingly interconnected world, the WEF report also highlights the risks posed by cyberattacks against individuals, corporations and nations.

"The Arab Spring demonstrated the power of interconnected communications services to drive personal freedom, yet the same technology facilitated riots in London," said Steve Wilson, chief risk officer for general insurance at Zurich Financial Services.

U.S. President Barack Obama's defense strategy this month showed cyber warfare to be a growing focus for governments, while companies got a wake-up call last April when hackers stole Sony Playstation online data for millions of users.

"It's completely mind-boggling how complex the world is becoming and it is hard to understand the risks that come from that," Wilson said.

Other threats identified in the 2012 report include the risk that financial and other regulatory systems designed to safeguard the modern world may no longer be up to the job, as well as rising greenhouse gas emissions and looming water shortages.

Governments and corporations must also stay abreast of a host of "X" factors - emerging concerns with still unknown consequences - such as the risk of a volcanic winter or a major accident involving new technology, such as genetically modified organisms or nanotechnology.

Full report at: here

(sourced Reuters)

Electricity to cost 60 paise per unit more on new coal price formula

Thursday, 12 Jan 2012

Electricity bill could go up by 50 to 60 paise a unit as early as February, triggered by the recent increase in coal prices. Currently, the average cost of power is INR 3 to INR 4 a unit. The average realisation for NTPC in the September quarter was INR 3.3 a unit, up from INR 2.66 last year.

Effective January 1, Coal India switched from the useful heat value based coal grading system to gross calorific value system for pricing coal. This move has not gone down well with power producers, as this will push up the fuel cost. The producers have been raising the issue with the fuel suppliers. Though suppliers claim that migration from the UHV to GCV based system will be revenue neutral, those tracking the sector said that in reality there will be a big increase in pricing without any value addition.

Power generating companies typically use grade E and F coal. The basic price of grade E coal will be INR 880 to INR 1,781 a tonne against INR 730 to INR 1,090 under the old pricing system (data based on ‘Final offer document' of Coal India). For grade F coal, the price will be INR 630 to INR 933 against INR 570 to INR 870 earlier.

Sources privy to the developments told Business Line that utilities have raised the issue with Coal India, which has assured them that if the consumer price gets affected beyond a point, say, higher than 10%, then the mechanism can always be reviewed.

(Sourced from BL)

Vale is yet to sell huge iron ore cargo in China - Report

Thursday, 12 Jan 2012

Reuters quoted traders said Brazilian miner Vale has not yet sold a huge iron ore cargo delivered to China via the maiden voyage of its giant dry bulk vessel to its top market two weeks ago, opting to store the material near a port.

The 388,000 deadweight tonne vessel, Berge Everest which carried 350,000 tonnes of iron ore, docked and unloaded the ore at China Dalian port in late December, ending months of delays in getting the world biggest dry bulk ships into China.

An iron ore broker in Singapore said "It was discharged into a bonded warehouse in Dalian. From Vale's point of view, it's not particularly wise to sell right now given the lackluster demand from Chinese mills."

He said that "There's a lot of material in bonded warehouses across the coast at the moment because of the demand situation."

(Sourced from Reuters)

Chinese iron ore imports in Dec up by 10pct YoY

Thursday, 12 Jan 2012

China Knowledge quoted according to latest statistics released by the General Administration of Customs China, the world largest iron ore importer and steel maker saw its iron ore import rise 10.3%YoY to 64.09 million tons in December last year.

The iron ore import last month reflected a 0.2% decline from November.

In the whole of 2011, the country iron ore import amounted to 690 million tonnes up by 10.9%YoY.

The average import price of iron ore surged 27.1%YoY to USD 163.8 per tonne last year.

The country exports 48.88 million tonnes of steel products in 2011 up by 14.9% YoY and saw its imports of steel products fall 5.2% to 15.58 million tonnes in the corresponding year.

(Sourced from China Knowledge)

China adds 95 million tonnes coal capacities in 2011

Thursday, 12 Jan 2012

China Knowledge cited Mr Liu Tienan Deputy Director of National Development and Reform Commission and director of National Energy Administration as saying that China added coal output capacities of 95 million tons in 2011 with total output in the country 14 major collieries reaching 3.2 billion tons.

Mr Liu also noted China added 90 gigawatts in installed power capacity last year, bringing the country total capacity to 1,050 GW.

In China new and renewable energy industry, the installed hydropower capacity reached 230 GW with 55 million kilowatts of projects under development as of December 31 2011. In the same year, the country added wind power installed capacities of 16 million kW, bringing total wind power capacity to 47 GW. Electricity generated from wind power last year totalled 80,000 GWh soaring 60% from a year earlier.

The installed solar power capacity in China over tripled to 3 GW at the end of last year. In 2012, China aims to add 200 million tons in coal output capacity and 70 GW in installed power capacity.

(Sourced from China Knowledge)

Cash takeover offer by Exxaro for African Iron

Thursday, 12 Jan 2012

Exxaro Resources Limited and African Iron Limited announced that African Iron and a wholly owned subsidiary of Exxaro Resources Limited, Exxaro Australia Iron Investments Pty Ltd have signed a Takeover Bid Implementation Agreement for an off market, cash takeover for all of the shares and listed options in African Iron.

Key points

1. Exxaro is offering AUD 0.51 cash base consideration for each African Iron share

2. Exxaro will increase the consideration to AUD 0.57 cash where Exxaro has a relevant interest in 75% or more of African Iron shares

3. In addition, Exxaro is offering AUD 0.31 cash base consideration for each listed African Iron option. Exxaro will increase the consideration to AUD 0.37 cash where Exxaro has a relevant interest in 75% or more of African Iron shares

4. African Iron largest shareholder, Cape Lambert Resources has entered into a pre bid acceptance agreement with Exxaro in respect of 19.99% of African Iron current shares on issue

5. The African Iron board unanimously recommends that shareholders and option holders accept the Exxaro takeover offer in the absence of a superior proposal

6. Each African Iron director intends to accept the offer with respect to all shares and listed options owned or controlled by them within 6 business days of the offer opening, in the absence of a superior proposal,

7. The offer is subject to only a small number of conditions, namely more than 50% minimum acceptance, no regulatory action, no material adverse change and no prescribed occurrences

8. The base consideration of AUD 0.51 per share represents a 49% premium to African Iron 30 day VWAP of AUD 0.343 and a 76% premium to African Iron 90 day VWAP of AUD 0.289. The increased consideration of AUD 0.57 per share represents a 66% premium to African Iron 30 day VWAP of AUD 0.343 and a 97% premium to African Iron 90 day VWAP of AUD 0.289

9. The base consideration of AUD 0.31 per option represents a 73% premium to the 30 day VWAP of listed African Iron options of AUD 0.179 and a 121% premium to the 90 day VWAP of listed African Iron options of AUD 0.140. The increased consideration of AUD 0.37 per option represents a 107% premium to the 30 day VWAP of African Iron listed options of AUD 0.179 and a 164% premium to the 90 day VWAP of African Iron listed options of AUD 0.140

10. Exxaro will fund the takeover from cash reserves and existing debt facilities, and has already obtained Foreign Investment Review Board and all necessary South African regulatory approvals for the takeover,

11. The offer at the increased consideration of AUD 0.57 per share values African Iron at approximately AUD 338 million on a fully diluted basis

12. The offer will be open for acceptances until 5pm Perth time on 14 February 2012

Dr Ian Burston Independent, Non-Executive Chairman of African Iron said the African Iron Board of Directors has carefully considered the offer by Exxaro and in the absence of a superior proposal, the Board unanimously recommends that shareholders and listed option holders should accept the offer.

Mr Mr Sipho Nkosi CEO of Exxaro Resources Limited said “We are very excited about African Iron’s projects in the Republic of Congo, as they will provide Exxaro with the opportunity to realise its stated ambitions of developing a significant iron ore asset in this rapidly emerging and prospective region.”

Mr Nkosi further added “The African Iron acquisition will enable Exxaro to leverage its bulk commodity and iron ore expertise into the development of the Mayoko project. We have invested a significant amount of time and resources in due diligence on this acquisition including several site visits and meetings with senior members of the Republic of Congo government.”

Vietnam 2015 coal output to rise to 58 million tonnes

Thursday, 12 Jan 2012

Reuters quoted the government said Vietnam aims to raise its coal output to 55 million tonnes to 58 million tonnes in 2015 from an estimated 48.9 million tonnes this year in an effort to meet demand for fast growing electricity production.

The government said late on Tuesday in a plan for coal development that output is projected to rise to more than 75 million tonnes by 2030 thanks to the exploitation of new sites.

Electricity demand is growing at 7% to 10% a year and Vietnam is having trouble ensuring supply.

State utility Vietnam Electricity has said coal will be a major fuel for electricity over the next five years and will account for 47% of power generation by 2020.

The country has a dozen thermal power plants under construction which are expected to start operation by 2015.

Vinacomin the state run coal and mineral group plans to import at least 5 million tonnes of the fossil fuel in 2015 and officially starting imports in large volumes.

A government coal development plan said Vietnam has estimated total coal reserves at 48.7 billion tonnes by 2011.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mozambique families protest against Brazil's Vale

Wed Jan 11, 2012

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Families resettled by Brazilian mining giant Vale in the Tete region of Mozambique protested on Tuesday that the company had failed to keep promises it made to them in 2009.

About 700 families, resettled approximately 60 kilometres away from the Moatize coal mining site, demonstrated against the lack of access to water, electricity and agricultural land at their resettlement Cateme area.

"Many promises made by Vale before they resettled us here have not been accomplished since 2009," said community leader Eduardo Zinocassaka.

Vale refused to comment, saying it had an agreement with the local government, which would release an official comment on Wednesday morning.

The families were resettled between November 2009 and December 2010.

"Last December we sent a document-complaint to the government of Moatize District requesting their official intervention to solve the problems faced by the communities, and as we saw the government's incapacity, we decided to demonstrate," Zinocassaka told Reuters by phone.

(sourced Reuters)

Iron Ore-Spot at 7-week top, Australian miners suspend loading

Wed Jan 11, 2012
* Rio, Fortescue suspend loading ops ahead of cyclone
* China iron ore demand seen rising after Lunar holiday

SINGAPORE, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Spot iron ore prices rose to seven-week highs, spurred by Chinese steel mills building inventories ahead of the Lunar New Year break later this month and expectations prices may climb further after the holiday.News of supply disruption from top iron ore exporter Australia, where miners Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group have suspended loading operations ahead of a cyclone bearing down on the west coast, should also support prices.

Iron ore with 62 percent iron content gained 1.6 percent to $142.30 a tonne on Tuesday, cost and freight delivered to China, its highest since Nov. 23, according to Steel Index .IO62-CNI=SI.
The Australian supply disruption may cause a "near-term tightness in supply", said Rory MacDonald, iron ore broker at Freight Investor Services. But given a lacklustre steel market in China, the world's biggest iron ore buyer, MacDonald saw limited impact on the supply-demand balance from the closure of some of the world's largest iron ore ports in Australia."Whether we see prices gain significantly because of this is another thing altogether, but I don't think it's necessarily going to drive us into another upward cycle that we wouldn't be entering into anyway post-Chinese New Year holiday.

"If it's fairly minimal, then they'll be back on track in 48 hours or so, but if it repeats then obviously we're talking about a different scenario, but we'll have to wait and see," he said.
Traders are relatively upbeat about China's iron ore demand after the week-long holiday that starts Jan. 23, with construction activity seen picking up and on expectations the government will loosen monetary policy to boost the economy. The construction sector accounts for around half of steel demand in China. Iron ore touched a 2011 peak of $191.90 a tonne in mid-February in a rally following last year's Chinese New Year.

"Even as Chinese mills wind down buying activity ahead of Chinese New Year, traders are increasingly taking positions with a view that demand will increase following the New Year holidays in February, and on an expectation that more Chinese policy loosening will be delivered in the next quarter or two,"
Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a note.

Several cargoes of Australian iron ore fines were sold on Tuesday at levels slightly higher than previous deals, surpassing expectations of many participants, Steel Index said. Rio Tinto sold 61.4-percent grade Pilbara fines at around $141.50 a tonne, while BHP Billiton sold 61-grade MAC fines also at $141.50, traders said. BHP also sold 62.7-grade Newman iron ore fines at $145.50 a tonne, traders said.

Shanghai rebar futures and iron ore indexes at 0744 GMT
Contract Change Pct Change
SHANGHAI REBAR* 4224 9.00 0.21
PLATTS 62 PCT INDEX 143.5 0.50 0.34
THE STEEL INDEX 62 PCT INDEX 142.3 2.30 1.64
METAL BULLETIN INDEX 141.42 0.71 0.50

*In yuan/tonne
#Index in dollars/tonne, show close for the previous trading day.

(sourced Reuters)

Euro coal prices dip with oil and utility selling

Wednesday, 11 Jan 2012

Reuters reported that prompt European physical coal prices fell by USD 1 to USD 2 per tonne on Monday in line with weaker oil, as some smaller European utilities started to sell cargoes they would not need due to the mild winter.

Last week the market appeared to have steadied and tight near-term supply of South African coal boosted prices which had slipped during the Christmas and New Year holidays. February South African prices saw a lesser fall of around 50 cents because supply for the first quarter remains tight but there was less visible interest from India for prompt cargoes out of Richards Bay.

One utility source said "The market's looking a bit more bearish because in Europe there been lower coal burn than expected, the winter been mild, it's wet and windy but not cold, China won't be back until the end of January and the shorts seem to have covered."

European trader said "Prices were slightly higher in the morning but have followed oil down.

Ms Emmanuel Fages analyst with Societe Generale said "Coal prices are very clearly linked to oil now."

Traders, utilities and analysts said prices may not slip much further, but unless there is a significant supply disruption such as floods in Australia, fundamentals look weaker than they did a year ago.

They said a trade on Monday morning for a March delivery DES ARA cargo at USD 109.00 a tonne down over USD 1.00 from Friday levels was a bearish sign.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Iron ore shipping costs plunge 47pct amid China slowdown risks

Wednesday, 11 Jan 2012

Bloomberg reported that the cost of hauling iron ore and coal fell to a four-month low, extending this year decline to 47% amid concerns a Chinese economic slowdown will curb steel production, the biggest driver of global shipping demand.

According to the London based Baltic Exchange rates to hire a capesize ship, the largest in the fleet of dry-bulk vessels dropped 6.1% to USD 14,535 a day. That’s less than half the 2011 high of USD 32,889 reached on December 12.

Ms Natasha Boyden an analyst at New York-based Cantor Fitzgerald LP said “Concerns about a Chinese economic slowdown mean that there are real risks to weaker Chinese steel production growth in 2012 which the capesize sector is highly leveraged to.”

According to the exchange which publishes rates for more than 50 maritime routes the Baltic Dry Index a measure of charter costs for four classes of vessels declined 2.9% to 1,308 points. That the lowest level since August 15. The gauge has fallen 25% in 2012, as earnings for the other vessel types also declined while at a lower pace than capesizes.

Cantor Fitzgerald said a surge in new vessels being delivered from shipyards in January will entrench hire costs for the fleet of 1,335 capesize ships at current lows. Rainy weather in Australia and Brazil, the largest exporters of iron ore, also cut shipments amid falling demand ahead of the Chinese New Year shutdown later this month.

According to the most recent data from the World Steel Association China steel production has declined for six straight months falling to 49.8 million tonnes in November.

(Sourced from Bloomberg)

Malawi, Brazil's Vale ink $1 bln rail line deal

Wed Jan 11, 2012

JOHANNESBURG Jan 11 (Reuters) - Malawi said on Wednesday it has signed a $1 billion deal with Brazil's Vale for the construction and rehabilitation of a rail line that will transport 18 million tonnes of coal from Mozambique.

"Vale will invest about $1 billion in Malawi over a period of three years for construction and rehabilitation of the railway line and it is expected to employ 4,500 workers of which 70 percent will be Malawians," Minister of Transport Sidick Mia told Reuters.

(sourced Reuters)

130 billion tonnes of new coal reserves discovered in Xinjiang in 2011

Wednesday, 11 Jan 2012

According to Mr Zeng Xiaogang head of the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources in the Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang, in 2011 a total of 13 new coal deposits were discovered in the region, amounting to an aggregate of 130.7 billion tonnes of new coal reserves.

The total investment in the relevant coal mining projects has reached CNY 9.266 billion.

According to Mr Zeng, in 2011 Xinjiang also discovered 11 large and medium-sized iron ore mines, with total new reserves reaching 300 million tonnes.

(Sourced SteelOrbis)

Vale yet to sell huge iron ore cargo in China-traders

Wed Jan 11, 2012

* Vale cargo stored in bonded warehouse in Dalian
* Shipment may be sold in spot market at discount
* Vessel carried 350,000 tonnes of iron ore

SINGAPORE, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Brazilian miner Vale has not yet sold its first mega iron ore cargo delivered to China two weeks ago, and has instead stored the material near a port for now, traders said on Wednesday.

The 388,000-deadweight-tonne vessel Berge Everest, which carried 350,000 tonnes of iron ore, unloaded at China's Dalian port in late December, ending months of delays in getting the world's biggest dry bulk ships into China.

"It was discharged into a bonded warehouse in Dalian," said an iron ore broker in Singapore. "From Vale's point of view, it's not particularly wise to sell right now given the lacklustre demand from Chinese mills."

"There's a lot of material in bonded warehouses across the coast at the moment because of the demand situation," he said.

Vale may be waiting for Chinese demand to pick up, possibly after the week-long Lunar New Year break in late January, before selling the cargo, traders said.

The world's biggest iron ore miner, hoping to slash shipping costs to China by using a new fleet of mega dry bulk carriers, was not planning to sell the maiden cargo from Berge Everest immediately, said an iron ore trader in Hong Kong.

Vale, which sells about 40 percent of its ore to China, is counting on a fleet of 35 Valemaxes to cut shipping costs and better compete with Australian rivals BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

"Vale just wanted to show its Chinese clients that its vessel can berth in China," he said, adding the cargo is likely to be sold into the spot market, instead of to a single buyer on a long-term contract.

"We're quite sure it's not sold yet. It should be put in the spot market, we're quite confident," said the Hong Kong trader, who sells iron ore to mills in mainland China.


Vale may offer a discount for the cargo of high-grade ore with 65-percent iron content given that it was the first material shipped on its Valemax, he said.

Offering a discount for the cargo could be a "short-term ploy" by Vale to draw customers to its big shipments, said Mark Pervan, global head of commodity research at Australia and New Zealand Bank.

"From a short-term point of view there potentially could be some discount. But they won't want to be doing this on an ongoing basis because it defeats the whole purpose.

"The whole reason for those ships was to try and be competitive against the Australians. So if you're going to be selling it to the market at a big discount, you'll lose any upside from the lower freight cost," Pervan said.

A spokesperson for Vale was not immediately available for comment.

Vale's first megaship cargo to China was forced to turn back in June last year due to the lack of permits . In early December, Vale Beijing, the newest member of the "Valemax" fleet -- 50 percent bigger than most ore carriers and one of the largest afloat -- developed cracks in its hull on its maiden voyage.

The China Shipowners Association has opposed Vale's fleet, worried that the vessels will give the miner monopoly on both the shipping and iron ore markets at China's expense.

The low quality of China's iron ore has made it heavily reliant on imported material, a market controlled by Vale, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton .

A Reuters poll of analysts in mid-December showed China's iron ore imports would jump to a record 720 million tonnes in 2012, with its steel output rising to 728 million tonnes, also an all-time high.

China's iron ore imports rose nearly 11 percent to 686.06 million tonnes in 2011, and traders said firm Chinese demand should keep spot iron ore prices .IO62-CNI=SI, which stood at a seven-week high of $142.30 a tonne on Tuesday, high.

(sourced Reuters)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meghalaya to resumes import of coal from Bangladesh

Tuesday,10Jan, 2012

Import of coal into the Indian state of Meghalaya through Tamabil land customs station resumed on Thursday after its suspension for two weeks.

The decision was taken after a fruitful meeting held between local coal importers and Indian exporters. Import of coal stopped after sudden rise of its price by Indian exporters in the last week of December without prior notice. Indians raised the price of coal from 50 dollars to 60 dollars per tonne. Bangladeshi importers could not accept the sudden price hike by the Indians.

However, three trucks entered Tamabil border check post after the meeting held in the afternoon with the Indian team near zero line, Emdad Hossain president of Coal Importers Group Sylhet, told this correspondent.

President of the Foreign Trade Chamber of Meghalaya, Than Kongla, led the 15 member Indian team while Emdad led the 12 member team of Coal Importers Group, Sylhet.

About 100 trucks remained stranded on the Indian side for days together during the stalemate.


SAIL well prepared for its iron ore requirements - Mr CS Verma

Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012

Steel Authority of India may be staring at delays in its expansion program, but chairman Mr CS Verma said that the company will have an exciting 2012, with a slew of projects.

Excerpts from an interview with ET's Ms Meera Mohanty.

Q - How is SAIL's expansion and modernization program shaping up given the slowdown in the economy?

A - We are starting trials of our cold rolling mill at Bokaro, which should start full fledged commercial production before March. Trial runs for our new sinter plant are already on in Rourkela, which will be commissioned this month. At Burnpur (based IISCO Steel Plant), the sinter plant is ready for trial runs and the coke oven battery will be ready for commercial production before March, by when we also hope to start cold trials of the wire rod mills. We also intend to set up a 5.6 million tonne steel plant in Sindri, UP. By February, we should own the assets of the former fertilizer plant.

Q - But IISCO, once hailed as the trigger for modernization exercise at SAIL, has been delayed.

A - Once we excavated the foundation at IISCO, we discovered that molten material had solidified underneath, which increased our work multi-fold. Excavating that was a Herculean task because of which we fell behind time and faced a cost overrun. There is also very little land at IISCO. I don't think anyone has such a tight layout anywhere in the world for a 2.5 million tonne facility. It is a big task to have 22,000 people working on three shifts, moving so much material around in just 900 acres. On top of it, there is the issue of Jhodabudi, a patch of land of about 27 acres which has become a thorn in the neck. We had paid compensation for the land four years ago, and now the locals are demanding permanent employment. We have taken up the matter with the chief minister and the chief secretary of West Bengal, but the locals have gone to court.

(sourced ET)

Indian coal imports from South Africa slump

Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012

According to Mjunction Services Ltd, India’s imports of coal from South Africa fell in the first 11 months of 2011, while China almost doubled purchases.

India Coal Market Watch, a unit of Mjunction said that India bought 14.39 million tonnes of the fuel from South Africa, down 24% from 18.96 million in the same period a year earlier. Purchases in November fell 21% from the previous year to 1.29 million tonnes.

South Africa’s shipments to China, the world’s biggest coal consumer, rose 88 percent to 12.26 million tons in the first 11 months of 2011, India Coal said in the note. November sales increased more than threefold to 2.84 million.

India’s imports accounted for 25% of the 57.4 million tonnes from South Africa through November last year. According to Bloomberg calculations based on data from Mjunction and the Richards Bay Coal Terminal website. China accounted for 21% of the shipments.

(Sourced from Bloomberg)

CIL buying coal rights in Limpopo province of SA

Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012

Later this month Coal India Ltd will sign an agreement with the Limpopo government in terms of which it will receive mining rights on various coal blocks in that province.

CIL will not acquire mines that are already operational, but rather promising coal blocks where mines will be developed.

Sake24 source said that “CIL had received the blocks entirely free of charge after the Mozambican government asked permission to develop mines there. But they paid us several hundred millions.”

These mines will be developed in partnership with the government of Limpopo which, through a state controlled corporation, will retain a 26% interest in the mines, probably to devolve it to black empowerment partners for CIL to comply with the requirements of the mining charter.

The Sake24 source said that “The Limpopo government has already handed CIL a draft agreement which took many months of negotiation. This will be discussed at CIL’s next board meeting to be held in two weeks’ time. If the CIL board accepts it, a CIL delegation will visit the country during the week of January 21, during which the agreement will be signed and formally announced.”

A senior official in the Limpopo government told Sake24 that the provincial government was acting more as a broker in this transaction worth many hundreds of millions.

Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale a confidant and friend of suspended ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema, apparently last year invited CIL to participate in developing the province’s coal industry.

Last week in New Delhi Mr NC Jha chairman of CIL had said that the board would within the coming weeks consider a proposal in terms of which CIL would receive interests in coal mines in the province. together with the Limpopo government.

(Sourced from Sake24)

S.Africa 2011 Richards Bay coal exports rise 3.3%

Tue, Jan10, 2012

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's coal exports from the Richards Bay terminal rose 3.3 percent to 65.5 million tonnes in 2011, the terminal's data showed on Monday, as improvements on the rail lines leading to the port started to pay off.

State-owned logistics group Transnet has been investing heavily to upgrade its lines and to invest in new wagons and locomotives, but export figures are still far below the coal terminal's expanded capacity of 91 million tonnes.

Coal producers in South Africa including Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Exxaro, Optimum Coal and Xstrata have been eager to export more coal to meet rising demand from India and China but have been limited by bottlenecks on the lines leading to the port.

Last week, South Africa's coal exporters provided a slightly lower 2011 export estimate of 64.6 million tonnes, a rise of 1.9 percent.

Transnet has said it will take until at least 2015 to be able to carry 81 million tonnes to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) each year.

The group also plans to free up an additional 14 million tonnes of capacity on the coal line by moving non-coal cargo to a new line via Swaziland.

Coal producers have begun to look beyond South Africa and explore export routes via Mozambique and Namibia, although the rail links or expansion at the relevant ports are still in the planning stage or would involve higher costs.

Coal stocks at the terminal stood at 3.3 million tonnes at the end of December, RBCT added.

(sourced Reuters)

Pre Chinese New Year iron ore restocking remains limited

Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012

Reuters reported that thin demand for steel is limiting buying interest among the Chinese for raw material iron ore before the week long holiday that starts on January 23.

In the past years Chinese mills have aggressively stocked up iron ore ahead of the annual holiday and lifting spot iron ore prices strongly during the period.

The Shanghai trader said "There's some restocking activity but it's limited. Most of our clients are still hesitating to purchase too much raw material because the steel market is not that encouraging."

Chinese consultancy Umetal said offer prices for imported iron ore in China were mostly steady on Monday with Australian Pilbara fines at USD 139 a tonne to USD 141 a tonne and Yandi fines at USD 126 per tonne to USD 128 a tonne including cost and freight.

Umetal said Indian 63.5/63-grade fines were quoted at USD 145 to USD 147 a tonne.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Iron ore and coal hauling costs fall

Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012

It is reported that Hire costs for the largest ships hauling raw materials such as iron ore and coal fell the most in more than three years as Chinese demand for cargoes weakened.

London based publisher of freight rates on maritime routes that daily rents for capesizes tumbled 18% to USD 17,821 the lowest price since August 30. The drop was the biggest since October 2008. Rates have plunged 46% from the 2011 high of USD 32,889 on December 12.

Mr Richard Lee a freight and iron-ore trader at Barclays Capital in London said falling Chinese imports of iron ore and coal are cutting demand for shipping. Domestic iron-ore prices have declined relative to the cost of foreign cargoes and price caps have reduced the Asian nation purchases of coal.

Mr Philippe van den Abeele MD of Castalia Fund Management Ltd a London-based adviser to a hedge fund trading shipping derivatives said “The drop is being caused by just a complete lack of cargoes at the beginning of the year. It’s becoming a bit of a dock-site as capesizes seeking work gather around trading hubs.”


Port Hedland iron ore shipments rise 9pct in December

Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012

Dow Jones quoted data released by the Port Hedland Port Authority showed that iron ore shipments from Australia Port Hedland rose to 21.4 million tonnes in December an increase of 8.6% from 19.7 million tons in November.

Shipments to China rose to 16.6 million tons in December up by 12.9% from 14.7 million tons from November.

Port Hedland is BHP Billiton main Australian iron ore port. Smaller miners Fortescue Metals Group and Atlas Iron also use it.

(Sourced from Dow Jones)

Rio Tinto offer for Hathor Exploration

Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012

Rio Tinto through an indirect wholly owned subsidiary has now taken up a total of 119,456,310 Hathor common shares representing approximately 93.76% of the outstanding common shares of Hathor on a fully diluted basis pursuant to its offer to acquire all of the outstanding Hathor common shares.

Rio Tinto offer expired at 5:00pm on 6 January 2012. All Hathor common shares validly deposited and not withdrawn before the expiry of the offer have been taken up and payment will be made for such shares within three business days of take-up. Rio Tinto now intends to acquire all outstanding Hathor common shares not tendered to the offer through a compulsory acquisition under the Canada Business Corporations Act.

Rio Tinto also intends to apply to delist the Hathor common shares from the Toronto Stock Exchange as soon as practicable after the completion of the compulsory acquisition.

PNOC EC to bid for 9 oil and coal prospects

Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012

PNOC Exploration Corp plans to apply for at least nine service contracts for the exploration and development of petroleum and coal blocks being offered by the government under the Philippine Energy Contracting Round 4.

Mr Gemiliano Lopez Jr PNOC-EC chairman and CEO disclosed that the company was initially interested in four coal blocks and at least five oil and gas areas in Palawan and Mindanao.

He said that PNOC-EC—the upstream oil and coal arm of state-run Philippine National Oil Co preferred to bid for the blocks that were near the areas covered by its existing service contracts as it was most likely already familiar with these places. The company studies for its existing service contracts usually extended to the adjacent areas.

PNOC-EC, however would continue conducting additional studies for the areas it planned to bid for to ensure that these blocks would fit its

Under the PECR 4, the Department of Energy is offering 15 contracts for the exploration, development and production of prospective oil and gas sites in areas covering 7.92 million hectares in onshore and offshore Cagayan, Central Luzon, northwest Palawan, Mindoro-Cuyo basin, east Palawan and Cotabato.

For coal, the 30 blocks up for auction are located in Quezon, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental

1. Mindoro, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Bohol, Agusan del Norte, Misamis

2. Oriental, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Compostela Valley, Davao

3. Oriental, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, South Cotabato, Sultan

4. Kudarat, Sarangani, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay.

The company planned participation in the ongoing PECR 4 will allow PNOC-EC to fulfil its mandate to explore, exploit, develop, transport, distribute, trade in, import and export oil, gas and other energy resources.

It is also mandated to engage in the search for indigenous sources of energy. Since its establishment, PNOC-EC has undertaken various onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration activities nationwide.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Coal export through port of Newcastle increased by 10pct

Monday, 09 Jan 2012

It is reported that coal exports through the Port of Newcastle increased by about 10% last year reaching about 114 million tonnes. But income from the industry might not be a record with spot or one off sale prices well down on historic highs and lower quality export coal reportedly selling for less than USD 100 a tonne.

Newcastle has three coal loaders. Terminals at Carrington and Kooragang Island are operated by the Rio Tinto and Xstrata-backed Port Waratah Coal Services. A second Kooragang loader owned by the BHP Billiton-backed Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group began shipping in 2010.

Port Waratah publishes its exports but the infrastructure group does not, meaning that the annual Newcastle exports are an estimate based on the amount of coal arriving at the port from the mines.

In its latest monthly report, the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Co-ordinator which oversees the industry said 113.9 million tonnes of coal arrived at the port in the year to December 31. If as much coal left the port as came into it, the infrastructure group’s share of the total would be about 16million tonnes for the year.

The group could only use smaller handy or Panamax class ships until October when dredging of its shipping channels and berths was completed, allowing it to start using the large Cape class ships that dominate the Newcastle coal trade.

The infrastructure group and Port Waratah are expanding their operations and 2012 exports are expected to be substantially above the 2011 total.


Mr Rothschild stokes coal struggle in Indonesia

Monday, 09 Jan 2012

It is reported that Mr Nat Rothschild has gained the upper hand in his power struggle with the Indonesian Bakrie family after side lining their top adviser at Bumi Resources the GBP 1.5 billion valued coal mining concern that they co own.

Credit Suisse which is particularly close to the Bakries has effectively been replaced as one of Bumi brokers by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Although Credit Suisse remains a broker for now, it is expected to exit Bumi within two to three months.

The scion of the Rothschild banking dynasty formed Bumi when the Bakrie family Indonesian coal assets were reversed into his much trumpeted cash shell, Vallar last summer.

Mr Rothschild is cochairman with Indra Bakrie. However by November, Mr Rothschild had fired off a letter to Bumi CEO Mr Ari Hudaya complaining about standards of corporate governance at PT Bumi. Mr Rothschild accused PT of needing a radical cleaning up.

The Bakries countered by describing his comments as immature, hasty, irrational and poorly judged.

The loan and the problems it caused made Credit Suisse seem closer to the Bakries than to Mr Rothschild and it, inadvertently, became part of the row. JP Morgan, the company other broker, has largely stayed out of the conflict and has retained its position.

A source close to the situation said "This whole row has put Credit Suisse in an awkward spot and it's been close to the Bakries for a long time. This is a very logical move."


Key political risks to watch in Mongolia

Mon Jan 9, 2012

ULAN BATOR Jan 9 (Reuters) - Mongolia sits on vast quantities of untapped mineral wealth, the exploitation of which is likely to turn it into one of the world's fastest growing economies over the next decade.

But political uncertainty ahead of parliamentary elections in June 2012 has worried investors, with Mongolia's shaky coalition government under pressure to renegotiate a landmark 2009 investment agreement for the Oyu Tolgoi copper deposit, which is set to begin operations later this year.

The priority for Mongolia is the development of its tiny economy, and foreign investors want to know if the government can create a stable legal environment while handling the pressures exerted by impatient citizens as well as its two giant neighbours, Russia and China.

Following is a summary of key political risks to watch:


The government has now formally given up on its idea of renegotiating the contract for the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, after earlier saying it wanted to look again at a 2009 deal with Ivanhoe Mines, now 49 percent owned by Rio Tinto .

Foreign investors were worried that renegotiating a deal two years after it was first signed would undermine confidence, but Mongolia is under pressure to boost revenues and meet ambitious social pledges made at the last elections in 2008. Some politicians have called for the prime minister to resign over his handling of the Oyu Tolgoi contract.

The controversy over Oyu Tolgoi's ownership has spilled over into another giant mine, the Tavan Tolgoi or "Five Hills" coal deposit.

Mongolia hopes to complete an investment agreement for the project before the end of 2011 as it races to launch a much-anticipated initial public offering, and meet the promises it made to voters. Its chief financial officer said in November it would be listed in London, Hong Kong and Ulan Bator, but the date was unclear.

An initial proposal to hand development rights in the project to China's Shenhua, Peabody of the United States and a Russian-Mongolian consortium was rejected, and the government is trying to devise another deal that will include Japanese and South Korean partners.

What to watch:

-- Progress of new laws through parliament. The Democratic Party said in early January it will withdraw from the coalition government ahead of the elections, leaving several ministerial vacancies.

-- Whether the government can produce an investment agreement for Tavan Tolgoi that will satisfy foreign partners and keep the public happy, and whether it can do it in time.

-- More inward investment. In November, commodities trader Trafigura and private equity investor Origo Partners Plc , formed a joint venture to develop Mongolian coal and iron ore deposits for export.

-- Whether foreign investors will be deterred by Mongolia's less than transparent approval procedures.


Mongolia's dependence on mining has alarmed environmentalists and opposition politicians, and the country is already showing classic symptoms of "Dutch disease", including soaring inflation and high interest rates.

The government is trying to put in place structures that will protect it against fluctuating commodity prices, and is keen to use the proceeds from mining to pay for infrastructure, health and education programmes and develop other sectors.

It is under pressure to spread the wealth, and has already extracted "pre-payments" from foreign firms involved in both the Tavan Tolgoi and Oyu Tolgoi projects in order to give money to the public.

What to watch:

-- How Mongolia uses the proceeds from its mining projects. It has set up education and fiscal stabilisation funds, but it has also promised direct dividends for Mongolian citizens.

-- How it deals with rapid economic change as well as inflation as foreign investment transforms the country's mainly rural economy. The International Monetary Fund warned in November that Mongolia's economic policies are creating inflationary pressures.


Many of Mongolia's 2.7 million citizens are concerned about growing Chinese and Russian influence, and their fears were not allayed by the plan to hand the majority of Tavan Tolgoi's western block to Chinese and Russian interests.

China already dominates Mongolia's economy, buying 90 percent of the country's exports in the first half of 2011.

Mongolia's growing dependence on Russia and China for fuel, power and transportation also poses a major risk to its mining sector. Russia has been known to turn off supply taps, and China is not averse to closing crucial railway links.

Mongolia also depends on Russia's railway network to fulfil plans to deliver coal to Japan and South Korea.

What to watch:

-- Will efforts to ease dependence on China merely increase Russia's hold, and vice versa? Is the Chinese market for coal and other minerals its only option in the short term?

-- How will the government handle growing nationalist sentiment, and fears about the role of foreign firms and workers.

(sourced Reuters)

Steam coal prices rise on weekend on short covering

Monday, 09 Jan 2012

Reuters reported that prompt physical coal prices rose by 50-75 US cents a tonne on Friday as players covered short positions and Indian buying showed signs of picking up after several months of a lull.

Traders and utilities in Europe short of Colombian tonnes due to delays to shipments from two of the country biggest exporters, Drummond and Prodeco have been seeking replacement cargoes helping to bolster DES ARA prices.

Suppliers said the gap between South African physical prices and API4 coal swaps has narrowed substantially, enough to tempt Indian trade buyers back into the market.

Traders and utilities said South African coal supply for January is extremely tight, exporters. Almost nothing is available now for January and shrinking volumes for February.

They said the unusually high size of this prompt bid a bid or offer for more than a cape worth is almost unheard of versus the offer for only part of the tonnage sought is the best visible indicator of the market tightening.

Indian cement and sponge iron makers have this week bought several prompt South African cargoes and are seeking more, but the power sector is still squeezed between fixed electricity tariffs, strong coal prices and the weak rupee.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Update on Vale Mocambique coal mining and exports

Monday, 09 Jan 2012

According to figures given during a visit to the mine by Mozambique Prime Minister, coal mining company Vale Moçambique a subsidiary of Brazilian group Vale until December had mined 620,000 tonnes of coal.

According to Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias reported, of that amount Vale Moçambique has already exported 140,000 tonnes which were transported from Moatize to the port of Beira on the Sena railroad.

As part of his visit to Tete province, Prime Minister Mr Aires Ali visited the Vale facility where he learned about operations at the mine which has been mining and exporting coal since last year.

Mr Ali also visited the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Facility in the town of Songo where he received a document about the current operations of the company and the projects to modernise the facility from its board of directors.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

NMDC drops acquisition plan for Tacoa coal mine in US

Sunday, 08 Jan 2012

The Indian Express reported that NMDC has dropped the takeover bid for Tacoa coal mine in the US owing to the high accident rates and adverse geological conditions there.

This development comes soon after the company dropped its bid for the Vince coal project in Russia and the Greystone iron ore mine in Brazil.

The NMDC board, after extensive deliberations on December 2, shot down the proposal to acquire the Tacoa mine for USD 90.74 million. The directors observed that legal consultants hired for due diligence have advised against the acquisition bid as the mine has definite legal issues.

In addition, the reserves do not meet the guidelines of the concerned US agencies and have not been estimated through scientific mining methodologies. The board also expressed the apprehension that NMDC is a known iron ore mining firm and has no expertise in mining coal.

The Board observed that “As per the diligence reports, several companies have previously mined coal from Tacoa’s leased property and the adjacent one. However, it was observed that each company experienced financial loss as a result of encountering adverse geological conditions, as Tacoa has, and ceased their operations.”

In view of the adverse mining conditions and high accident rates, the board expressed its objections to the takeover bid.


Resume iron ore exports to Japan - Foreign Secretary

Sunday, 08 Jan 2012

India’s foreign secretary Mr Ranjan Mathai has sent an SOS to commerce secretary Mr Rahul Khullar suggesting that he send a team to Tokyo to promptly conclude talks on the Long Term Agreement that fixes ore prices for five years and resume exports.

In his letter, dated December 30th, Mr Mathai underlined the urgency by referring to the assurances given by Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh to his Japanese counterpart Mr Yoshihiko Noda at their recent bilateral summit.

Mr Mathai said that on July 7, the cabinet had cleared the LTA’s renewal and exports by Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation.

He added that “Our iron ore exports to Japan though small has connected us historically and has been the foundation of the present day diversified and intense bilateral trade and economic relationship. The delay in finalizing the LTAs by India has been viewed with concern by the Japanese side.”

The Japanese premier raised the issue with Dr Singh on December 28 during his recent visit to India. He assured his Japanese counterpart that we will address their concern.

As per the existing LTA between NMDC and these nations which expired on March 31 last year each year the PSU supplied 2.3 million tonnes of iron ore to Japanese steel mills. This stopped in February 2011.

The steel ministry had expressed a view that the exports should not be allowed as the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Income Tax Department had raised objections. The CAG had questioned the rationale behind exporting iron ore when local demand for it was on the rise. The I T department criticised NMDC for selling at long term prices instead of spot prices and losing substantial revenues.


Cement companies may firm up on new coal pricing

Sunday, 08 Jan 2012

The cement industry, which witnessed a round of price cuts last month, is now facing additional cost pressure from Coal India’s new pricing mechanism. CIL shifted to a pricing based on gross calorific value in line with global norms, from its earlier grading on useful heat value. The result has been a rise in prices.

Cement companies are expecting the increase in fuel cost to be around INR 8 to INR 10 a bag (50 kg), though analysts say it should be around INR 3 to INR 4 a bag.

Mr HM Bangur MD of Shree Cement said that “Things will be clear next week, when the new bills come from Coal India. We expect a rise of INR 8 to INR 10 a bag. We will then determine how much we need to pass on.”

The sector consumes about seven to eight million tonnes of coal annually. Mr HK Vaidya chief general manager sales and marketing of CIL said that “Normally, the sector uses higher grades of coal, like C and D. With the GCV regime in place, our average price rise is 10-15 per cent. For the cement sector, I think the impact may be a bit higher.”

A senior official of the Cement Stockists and Dealers Association in Mumbai said that “Manufacturers have not communicated any rise in prices, but we are expecting these to rise from January 15. The impact of the change in pricing method (of CIL) would differ for companies, but as much we have gathered, it will be a substantial increase in cost prices.”

Mr Shailendra Chouksey whole time director of JK Lakshmi Cement said that “The impact on pricing would be anywhere between INR 8 and INR 10 a bag. One will pay much higher; in fact, it will double our expense, as the pricing would increase by 20 to 30% and in some cases by 50%.”

Australia Newcastle thermal coal declines 1pct to USD 114 per tonne

Sunday, 08 Jan 2012

Bloomberg reported that Power station coal prices at Australia Newcastle port an Asian benchmark fell 1% in the week ended today.

According to the globalCOAL NEWC Index coal prices at the New South Wales port decreased to USD 114.30 per tonne from USD 115.47 the previous week.

Xstrata Plc the world largest exporter of power station coal, BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Group are among mining companies that ship coal through Newcastle.

(Sourced from Bloomberg)