News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Taxpayers fund $A110M loan to venture run by BHP, Rio Tinto; Fortescue fall prompts Andrew Forrest to splash out; and juniors jump at chance in Mongolia.

Lou Caruana

Taxpayers fund $110M loan to venture run by BHP, Rio Tinto

Australian taxpayers will lend $US100 million to a mining joint venture run by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto in Chile, under the latest funding deal by Australia's controversial Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The loan to two of Australia's largest and most profitable companies is being made despite recent criticism of EFIC by the Productivity Commission. It advised the corporation to focus more on small exporters who were unable to secure finance rather than wealthy multinationals.

It also comes at a sensitive time for the Abbott government, which has denied financial assistance to companies such as Alcoa and Holden, amid its campaign to “end the age of entitlement”

Under the terms of the latest loan, the $100 million will be lent to a holding company called Minera Escondida Limitada, which is 57.5% owned by BHP and 30% owned by Rio. Japanese companies Mitsubishi and Nippon Mining own the rest.

Fortescue fall prompts Andrew Forrest to splash out

Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest has spent almost $A5 million buying more shares in Fortescue Metals, reinforcing his faith in the outlook for the company amid a turbulent market for iron ore, according to The Australian.

Regulatory filings released yesterday showed Forrest spent $4.9 million to buy one million Fortescue shares between Monday and Wednesday last week, when the company was being sold down heavily on iron ore jitters.

Juniors jump at chance in Mongolia

Mongolia -- a landlocked country in central Asia -- boomed as the resources cycle peaked but just as quickly as the investment flooded in, it flowed out as the government radically changed the rules, according to The Australian.