News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: resource sector spending yet to bottom; WA iron ore forecast may be revised; and Australian lead mining caused early Antarctic pollution.

Lou Caruana

Resource sector spending yet to bottom

Pressures on companies servicing the mining and energy sector are showing few signs of easing after laboratory testing operator ALS revealed a sharp profit fall as it moved to boost cashflow following recent acquisitions, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The underlying net profit after tax for the six months to the end of September would be about $74 million, 26.5% below the $100.7 million of a year earlier, it told shareholders at Tuesday’s annual general meeting. This drove its shares down 6.7%.

If sustained, this would be the second year of falls after the 28% drop in the underlying net profit in the year to March.

WA iron ore forecast may be revised

The West Australian government will wait three months before reviewing its iron ore forecasts even though weak prices could cost it more than $1 billion in revenue, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Senior iron ore executives and analysts think the state government has been too optimistic by forecasting a $US122 a tonne spot price this year. The government is forecasting an average price of $US120 next year.

The price has fallen 29% this year to about $US95 a tonne as global supplies swell, in part to the expansion of mines in West Australia’s Pilbara region. The price traded at $US89 a tonne last month, the lowest price since September 2012.

Australian lead mining caused early Antarctic pollution

The first lead pollution in Antarctica occurred as a result of industrial emissions more than 20 years before explorers reached the South Pole, scientists have discovered, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Norwegian Roald Amundsen became the first man to set foot on the pole in December 1911 – followed a month later by Britain’s Captain Robert Scott – but the international team have proved that pollution from industry in southern Australia arrived at the end of the 19th century.

Data from 16 ice cores collected from all over the frozen continent show that lead concentrations peaked in 1900 and remained high until the late 1920s, with brief declines during the 1930s and 1940s when the Great Depression and the Second World War took place.