News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Mining business conditions hit 14-year low; Rio Tinto to hold Oyu Tolgoi talks with Mongolia; and Rio rail line will displace 10,000.

Lou Caruana

Mining business conditions hit 14-year low

Business conditions in the mining sector have hit a 14.5-year low, thanks to slowing Chinese growth and the winding down of the mining investment boom, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Businesses in almost all industries were more confident in the September quarter in the wake of the federal election, but that confidence has yet to filter through to actual business conditions, which remain subdued, according to the National Australia Bank quarterly business survey.

Mining became much more confident in the quarter but still remained the least optimistic industry overall, the survey said.

“Mining business conditions continued to deteriorate with the index falling to the lowest level in 14.5 years,” NAB economists said.

Rio Tinto to hold Oyu Tolgoi talks with Mongolia

Rio Tinto and the Mongolian government are set to meet again to break the impasse over the $5.2 billion underground mine development at Oyu Tolgoi, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Major works on the second underground stage of Mongolia’s Oyu Tolgoi copper mine were delayed by Rio due to a stalemate over the required project financing package after it emerged the country’s parliament needed to approve the deal.

While the open pit portion of the mine continues to ramp up, Rio and the Mongolian authorities have been unable to agree to a financing package since works were delayed in July this year.

Rio rail line will displace 10,000

RIO Tinto's $$20.8 billion Simandou iron ore project in Guinea will see more than 10,000 people relocated to make way for a railway to move the raw material to the coast, raising potential issues over who will be responsible for their wellbeing.

The extent of the relocations was revealed yesterday by Rio iron ore counsel Philip Edmands in a talk to a resources and energy law association conference.

“We need to move in excess of 10,000 people and there is a patchwork quilt of titles that have to be acquired,” Edmands told the AMPLA conference in Adelaide yesterday.