News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Rio Tinto considers Mount Pleasant coal mine sale; coal is cheaper than water in China; and PM moves to end ‘legal sabotage’ of mining projects.

Lou Caruana

Rio Tinto considers Mount Pleasant coal mine sale

A potential Indonesia buyer has expressed interest in Rio Tinto’s stalled Mount Pleasant thermal coal project in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley and may also be circling other parts of the portfolio, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Citi analysts estimate capital expenditure required to get Mount Pleasant up and running would be $US1 billion to $1.5 billion, having cut its capex forecasts from $1.8 billion only a month ago.

Coal is cheaper than water in China

The price of coal in China has fallen so dramatically it is far cheaper than water, according to the Australian Financial Review.

As both coking and thermal coal prices hit new record lows in China on Tuesday, the outlook for Australia's other major export, iron ore, has also worsened.

The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) said further cuts in steel production should be expected over the next six weeks, as steel consumption fell at an annual rate of 5.2% in July, its worst result on record.

PM moves to end ‘legal sabotage’ of mining projects

Court action by environmental groups designed to “sabotage” mining projects in Australia would be banned under a plan by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, according to the Australian Financial Review.

In a bid to increase pressure on Opposition leader Bill Shorten and shift the political focus back to jobs, Abbott said the government would restrict those who can pursue litigation by changing the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act so that only people directly affected by mining projects can challenge the projects in the courts.

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