News Wrap

SAFETY record under scrutiny after third death in Pilbara; Leighton buys out Indian partner in $112 million deal; and asset write-downs loom for gold miners.

Lou Caruana

Safety record under scrutiny after third death in Pilbara

A third fatality in three years at Fortescue Metals Group's Pilbara iron ore operations has prompted a rare intervention from the Western Australian regulator and raised questions among investors about the company's safety record, according to The Australian.

The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum exercised rarely used powers yesterday to issue special directions aimed at tightening safety procedures throughout Fortescue's mining network following the latest safety incident.

Leighton buys out Indian partner in $112 million deal

Leighton Holdings has bought out its partner in an Indian construction venture for $US99 million ($A111.8 million), giving it full control of its Indian arm as urbanisation and infrastructure spending gathers pace there over the next few years, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, the company said the transaction, which will be recognised in this financial year, would see Leighton’s net profit after tax take a $70 million hit.

The firm said its underlying NPAT would not be affected and would remain in the forecast range of $520 million to $600 million.

The transaction was expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year, Leighton added.

Asset write-downs loom for gold miners

The gold mining sector is braced for asset write-downs and a sharp fall in the amount of reserves in the ground after the precipitous drop in the price of the metal this year, according to the Australian Financial Review.