News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Chinese miner looks set to grab Tinkler's share of Whitehaven; Coalition pressures Labor on MRRT; and Rio tipped to beat 2012 iron ore guidance.

Lou Caruana

Chinese miner looks set to grab Tinkler's share of Whitehaven

Investors reacted cautiously on Monday to renewed speculation that Chinese miner Shenhua Group could move to buy former billionaire Nathan Tinkler's stake in Whitehaven Coal, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

News agency Reuters reported that Tinkler's main lender, Noonday, an arm of US hedge fund Farallon Capital, was in talks with Shenhua and an unidentified Japanese firm, about the sale of Tinkler's 19.4% interest in Whitehaven.

The stake was worth $675 million at yesterday's closing price of $3.43, up 4c or 1.2%.

Tinkler's debts to Farallon, including principal and accumulated interest, are believed to amount to about $700 million and are secured against his stake in Whitehaven.

Coalition pressures Labor on MRRT

The Coalition will use a parliamentary vote to try to force Treasurer Wayne Swan to reveal how much has been raised by the Minerals Resource Rent Tax, which some analysts believe may not generate any money in its first year of operation, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey and assistant Treasury spokesman Mathias Cormann said Prime Minister Julia Gillard had promised monthly revenue updates but no official update had been provided in the first six months of the tax.

They said they would use Parliament to get the figure.

Rio tipped to beat 2012 iron ore guidance

Rio Tinto is expected to beat its iron ore guidance for 2012 when it reports fourth-quarter production on Tuesday, as the world's number two producer and its rivals press ahead with expansion plans just as a revival in Chinese demand drives up prices, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Australia's two other major producers, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group, are also set to post strong quarterly performances when they report later this month.

Rio shrugged off worries over the resilience of Chinese demand by sticking to aggressive expansion plans, while FMG also resumed a stalled project after prices picked up.