News Wrap

IN this morning’s News Wrap: Links to China good for economy, says Mackenzie; Syrah to spin off $A20M mineral sands operation; and BG calls for bids in asset sell-off.

Lou Caruana

Links to China good for economy, says Mackenzie

BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie is pressing Australian leaders to work toward the maximum degree of free trade with China, playing down concerns over security and questions about whether Australia is growing too dependent on its giant trading partner.

As politicians from Canberra continue to negotiate a free-trade pact with Beijing, Mackenzie said Australia should go as far as possible to accommodating the nation’s biggest trading partner, which last year swallowed up close to 40% of its exports, mainly commodities.

“I think it’s a positive step, unquestionably, to more intimately tie Australia to the main market for resources going forward,” Mackenzie said. “I look for politicians to be skilful about how they think about getting things done which have longer-term benefits.”

Syrah to spin-off $20m mineral sands operation

Syrah Resources is set to spin-off its Tanzanian mineral sands assets into a listed $20 million vehicle that would be gifted to shareholders, as it moves to focus on its more lucrative graphite and vanadium project, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Melbourne-based Syrah is planning to demerge its mineral sands assets to form a new company called Jacana Minerals, through an in-specie distribution to existing shareholders, which it will put to them in a vote in August.

Bell Potter Securities will run the deal.

BG call for bids in asset sell-off

British gas giant BG Group is seeking indicative bids for its Queensland gas pipeline assets, with four parties likely to bid for the $2.5 billion of infrastructure assets related to its Queensland Curtis Island LNG (QCLNG) project, according to The Australian.