News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: business blasts skilled visa changes; $70m coking coal float a litmus test; and Rio Tinto's Canada ore assets may be divested.

Staff Reporter

Business blasts skilled visa changes

Resource industry employers have warned the government that any extra complexity or cost imposed through changes to the temporary worker program will jeopardise $650 billion of projects on the drawing board nationally, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor said on Saturday that the 457 visas would be tightened to ensure they were used only to address genuine skills shortages and ensure local workers were getting a fair go.

Employers will have to demonstrate they are nominating a position where there is a genuine shortage of workers. Compliance and enforcement powers will be boosted to stop employers rorting it.

$70m coking coal float a litmus test

A planned initial public offering would allow Riversdale Resources to develop the $47 million Grassy Mountain deposit in Canada’s Alberta province, which it acquired in January, and a project in Alaska, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The new Riversdale will be one of the few listed pure-play coking coal hopefuls, alongside companies such as Bathurst Resources, Cokal and Aspire Mining.

The deal will be a litmus test for the broader IPO market. Bankers are pinning their hopes on a $60 million to $70 million raising by Riversdale helping to buoy investor sentiment, which will help other floats in the 2013 pipeline.

Rio Tinto's Canada ore assets may be divested

Rio Tinto's $US1.7 billion Canadian iron ore assets may fall under the gaze of new chief executive Sam Walsh as he implements a more aggressive stance on sales of non-core or under-performing assets, according to The Australian.

Walsh, when asked specifically about the potential sale of the Iron Ore Company of Canada and whether it was considered a core asset, did not rule out a sale.