News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Mining missing out on China’s money; BHP Billiton set to expand Pilbara iron ore operations; and Sandfire royalty payments under government scrutiny.

Lou Caruana

Mining missing out on China’s money

Industry experts say a new model is needed to deal with the friction in the business relationship between Chinese investors and Australian resources projects, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Failed investment ventures, project specific problems and a failure to appropriately communicate Australia’s desire for Chinese investment have made investors from the Asian powerhouse more wary of investing in Australian resources.

Australia China Business Council president Ian McCubbin says traditionally Chinese investors have sought to establish greenfields projects, either on their own or in joint ventures with Australian companies.

BHP Billiton set to expand Pilbara iron ore operations

BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie says iron ore prices are unlikely to climb back above $US100 a tonne but the company is readying to spend an extra $US3.25 billion ($3.5 billion) to bring more ore on to the market in a bigger-than-expected expansion of its West Australian mines, according to The Australian.

Sandfire royalty payments under government scrutiny

Sandfire Resources’s DeGrussa copper project in Western Australia could be facing the potential of higher royalty fees after the state’s minister for mines, Bill Marmion, used the project as an example of glitches in the current mining royalties rates system, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The company and the government have been splitting hairs over the appropriate royalty level for the company’s direct shipping ore for more than 18 months, but Marmion breathed fresh air into the debate this week when he said the government’s current review of mining royalty rates would be addressing “anomalies” such as DeGrussa.

“There is one bizarre bonus [in the current system] for Sandfire’s Degrussa,” Marmion said.

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