News Wrap

IN THIS Morning’s News Wrap: BHP's Olympic Dam mill back in action; South32 facing earnings slide; and BHP-Rio face US political opposition to copper mine.

Lou Caruana

BHP's Olympic Dam mill back in action

BHP Billiton has received some good news in the outback of South Australia, where a crucial mill at the Olympic Dam mine has resumed operations two months earlier than expected, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Svedala mill was shut down on January 28 after an electrical fault damaged a motor coil. BHP advised in February that six months of reparations would be required.

However, the mill, which is the largest of three at the mine, has resumed operation and will start to ramp-up production.

South32 facing earnings slide

South32 faces the spectre of an earnings slump, as the young company ends its first month on the market in the midst of growing pains, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The commodities that looked so promising six months ago now face almighty headwinds, prompting several analysts to warn that earnings will slide by more than 50% if current economic settings persist during the next year.

BHP-Rio face US political opposition to copper mine

Fifteen US Congress members are trying to block a joint Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton $US6 billion ($7.7 billion) copper mine expansion in Arizona, because indigenous Apaches claim the construction would affect sacred land, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Legislation tabled in the US House of Representatives last week seeks to undo a land swap law passed in December. It gave a green light for the Rio-led joint venture Resolution Cooper to take over 980ha of federally protected public land at the Tonto National Forest in southeast Arizona in exchange for parcels of other conservation property.