News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Falling price to force more coalmine closures; Clive Palmer backs dying firm; and Rio begins refinery shutdown.

Lou Caruana

Falling price to force more coalmine closures

Queensland can expect more mine closures as coking coal prices fell to a six-year low last week in a still oversupplied market, according to The Australian.

The head of the world's biggest non-government coalminer, Peabody Energy, said despite mine closures last year, some Australian mines were still losing cash and would probably not see the year out.

Clive Palmer backs dying firm

A West Australian mining company being bankrolled by federal MP Clive Palmer is down to its last $74,000 and appears to be losing confidence it will be able to raise the $4 billion needed to build an iron ore project in the Pilbara, according to The Australian.

The parlous state of Australasian Resources’ finances was revealed in cash flow statements sent to the Australian Securities Exchange confirming the company was being kept afloat only by cash injections from Palmer's private vehicle Mineralogy, which has a 70% stake.

Rio begins refinery shutdown

Mining giant Rio Tinto will begin shutting down its alumina refinery today on the Gove Peninsula in Arnhem Land, in a five-month operation that is expected to see the plant mothballed by August, according to The Australian.

The first wave of about 90 redundancy notices was distributed last week. All but about 350 of the roughly 1500-man workforce is scheduled to go or be redeployed, with potentially devastating consequences for northeast Arnhem Land.

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