News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s wrap: resources growth coming only from cost blowouts; mining-related boom fading; and BHP bid to keep iron hand on costs.
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Leighton Contractors mining coal at the Peak Downs site in the Queensland Bowen Basin

Lou Caruana

Resources growth coming only from cost blowouts

Cost blowouts are now the only source of growth in the resource pipeline, with no new projects being commissioned in the past three months while the number of deferrals and cancellations has risen, according to The Australian.

There has been a sea change in the outlook for resource development that far exceeds the short-term change in the pricing for Australia's key commodities.

Mining-related boom fading

Deloitte Access Economics says the mining-related construction boom will peak in 2014 and business investment is set to become a spent economic force by the following financial year, according to the Australian Financial Review.

In its latest Investment Monitor report for the September quarter, Deloitte argues the first leg of the mining boom has passed and the second construction leg is nearing its peak.

The report, which follows 872 projects worth $20 million or more, found their value rose by $6.2 billion, or 0.7%, over the June quarter and 3.7% over the year.

BHP bid to keep iron hand on costs

BHP Billiton’s new iron ore chief Jimmy Wilson has targeted more job cuts and a boost in labour productivity to revitalise its iron ore business now that boom-time “scarcity pricing” has passed, according to the Australian Financial Review.

In his first interview since taking over as iron ore president in July, Wilson said BHP needed to focus on driving costs lower following the downturn in the iron ore price.

Wilson said the goal was for BHP to increase its volumes without boosting its headcount at the same rate, even though iron ore has rebounded to $US121 a tonne.

BHP cut about 200 iron ore jobs after the sharp plunge in the price of the steel feedstock to less than $90 a tonne in August and September.

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