News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Pain for coal not over yet, says Rio; Clive Palmer restrained from suspending Sino Iron project; and Thundelarra hits court to salvage investment.

Lou Caruana

Pain for coal not over yet: Rio

Rio Tinto energy boss Harry Kenyon-Slaney has warned that Australia’s coal sector will continue to face tough conditions and more cost-cutting if it is to compete with global players, according to The Australian.

Opening the new Kestrel coal mine in Emerald, Queensland, Kenyon-Slaney said the latest cycle had been one of the toughest he had witnessed in his career.

“It comes on the back of unprecedented boom times and the reality is beginning to sink home that we have to, in this country, get our costs down to improve the productivity of these businesses,” he said.

“There is a long way to go if we are going to compete with the major producers elsewhere in the world.”

The coal expert said Australia had a wonderful history and skills base. He believed the coal industry could return to the position it had enjoyed in other cycles.

Clive Palmer restrained from suspending Sino Iron project

Citic Pacific has won an injunction to stop mining magnate Clive Palmer immediately suspending operations and terminating its mining rights at the $7 billion Sino Iron project in the Pilbara, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The Supreme Court of Western Australia granted Citic the injunction this week, about three months after Palmer’s Mineralogy threatened to suspend operations because Citic had failed to pay a disputed outstanding royalty debt of less than $300,000.

Citic is owned by the Chinese government.

In his published decision, Justice James Edelman said Mineralogy should “be restrained. . . from purporting to suspend or terminate the multi-billion dollar project based on its default notice”

Thundelarra hits court to salvage investment

Thundelarra chief executive Tony Lofthouse has spent much of this week in Western Australia’s Supreme Court as his company chases rights to a sought after exploration property near Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa copper and gold mine, near Meekatharra, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The property in dispute, mining lease M52/597, is a rectangular patch of land that actually sits inside the tenements held by Sandfire in the region. Going by the adage that “the best discoveries are made in the shadow of the mine’s head frame”, it’s a good spot to be exploring.

When Thundelarra announced an intercept of 18 metres grading 8.37% copper from drilling at the Red Bore prospect on the property in mid-2010, there was some excitement that the company might have discovered a deposit to rival DeGrussa.