News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Tinkler agreement close; Gray throws support behind Rinehart mine; and BHP defends iron ore expansion.

Staff Reporter

Tinkler agreement close

Indebted coal entrepreneur Nathan Tinkler looks likely to settle a long­running dispute with former business partner Matthew Higgins over royalties from a Queensland mine, according to the Australian Financial Review.

In the Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday, Higgins’s barrister Douglas Savage SC said there had been “significant discussions” with Tinkler’s legal representative DLA Piper, with the “prospect of resolving the whole dispute within 48 hours”

The dispute centres around Oceltip, which receives royalties from the Middlemount coal mine in central Queensland.

Higgins has accused Tinkler of diverting $1.12 million into the Tinkler family trust, providing misleading financial information and failing to hand over the financial records from the company.

Gray throws support behind Rinehart mine

Resources Minister Gary Gray is following the strong pro-industry lead set by predecessor Martin Ferguson and says getting Gina Rinehart’s $9 billion Roy Hill project off the ground is one of his top priorities, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Gray, who replaced Ferguson following the failed leadership spill in March, said he would help in any way possible to ensure the delayed project was built.

He is expected to assist with worker visas.

“The importance of Roy Hill cannot be overstated,” he said.

“This is a bridge project, it takes mining in Western Australia to the next level the federal government is standing by to help this project come to fruition.”

BHP defends iron ore expansion

BHP Billiton chief financial officer Graham Kerr expects the miner will be able to reveal additional cost savings when it releases its annual results in August, building upon the $US1.9 billion of annualised savings made in the first half, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The company is increasingly focusing on productivity and cutting costs as a way to improve its margins as a fall in commodity prices means its full-year underlying earnings are expected to decline by 22% to $13.3 billion.

Unlike Rio Tinto, which plans to strip $2 billion of costs from its operations this year and $3 billion a year from next year, BHP has not set a specific target.