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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pakistan trying to win back World Bank loan Thar coal project

Sunday, 25 Mar 2012

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 Earlier, the World Bank had withdrawn from its commitment of providing USD 30 million in loan for the Thar coal project.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source - The Express Tribune

CBI survey in Janardhana Reddys mine

Sunday, 25 Mar 2012

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

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

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

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

Source - Indian Express

Iron ore ship rents fall to 12 month low

Saturday, 24 Mar 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Source - Bloomberg

Bellzone Mining starts iron ore production in Guinea

Sunday, 25 Mar 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source -