News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Minerals Council tied up in red and green tape; Atlas Iron fears Brockman block to Pilbara rail; and MMG still hungry for big resources acquisitions.

Lou Caruana

Minerals Council tied up in red and green tape

The Minerals Council of Australia has called on governments to stop reviewing red tape and start cutting it, after releasing a study showing regulation has only increased over the past seven years, according to the Australian Financial Review.

And a pre-election survey by the Australian Industry Group found industrial relations amendments to boost productivity are the number one issue for business, closely followed by reducing red tape and regulatory duplication.

Environmental and economic consultant URS was commissioned by the peak mining industry body to conduct an audit comparing approvals laws in 2006 and today, and found a large number of changes.

The MCA audit gives details of six new pieces of legislation, six replacement acts, more than 60 sets of amendments to approvals laws and another 50 sets of additions and amendments to subordinate legislation, regulations and practice.

Atlas Iron fears Brockman block to Pilbara rail

Atlas Iron is concerned efforts by fellow iron ore junior Brockman Mining to gain access to Fortescue Metals Group’s Pilbara rail network may stymie its own attempts to clinch a haulage deal, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Atlas’s opposition to the West Australian government granting Brockman access to Fortescue’s rail line was confirmed yesterday, when its submission to the state’s Economic Regulation Authority was released.

The submission, penned by commercial director Mark Hancock, warned applications such as Brockman’s may have implications for Atlas’s ability to secure rail access through direct commercial negotiations with Fortescue.

MMG still hungry for big resources acquisitions

Chinese government-backed mining house MMG says it continues to enjoy a mandate to acquire assets in the resources sector, with recent weakness across the industry opening up opportunities priced “closer to the bottom of the market”, according to The Australian.

Amid growing market concern in the west about China's ongoing appetite for resources, MMG – which is substantially owned and backed by Chinese state-owned entity China Minmetals Corporation – said it continued to enjoy access to funding from China for its acquisition strategy.