News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Tough job for miners to hire more women; Port Hedland iron ore exports up 33%; and NSW to test interest in Port of Newcastle sale.

Lou Caruana

Tough job for miners to hire more women

Resources companies face a daunting task meeting the 10-year target of women holding 50% of senior jobs and board seats set by the Business Council of Australia, according to The Australian.

Companies that draw heavily on engineering disciplines, which are still graduating small numbers of women, may be hard pressed to meet the targets, the business lobby group’s president, Tony Shepherd, said.

“I think it’s tough,” he said. “The number of women doing engineering is not proportionate. It’s pretty low.”

Two of BHP Billiton’s 13 directors, 11% of the top 366 senior employees and 15% of the 1500 managerial staff are women.

Port Hedland iron ore exports up 33%

Port Hedland Port Authority’s iron ore exports have risen 33% year on year to 28.9 million tonnes as Western Australian based iron ore producers ramp up production.

Australia’s busiest port released its October cargo statistics yesterday showing iron ore exports were flat month on month, but had grown over a 12-month period as BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals and Atlas Iron all boosted production of the steel-making commodity.

Cargo exports from Port Hedland, which account for about 20% of the global seaborne iron ore market, totalled 29.3Mt including manganese ore, salt and copper.

The spot iron ore price has surprised the market on the upside, trading at $US135.8 a tonne on Tuesday and $US133/t on average over the past two months.

NSW to test interest in Port of Newcastle sale

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird is confident the state can receive $700 million for Port of Newcastle’s 98-year lease, after receiving advice that Australian superannuation funds and Asian commodity houses should lead the bidding for the coal terminal, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Baird announced Port of Newcastle’s privatisation after a scoping study from investment bank Morgan Stanley recommended the government move quickly to capitalise on investor demand.

“The analysis was there will be a lot of interested parties,” Baird said. “Certainly among the domestic superannuation funds there is a lot of interest and globally, too.”

Baird said he considered $700 million to be “fair value” for the port, and he hoped the auction would be able to meet or exceed that mark.