News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Abbott asks for more Chinese investment; Rio gifts $C19m Canadian copper stake to charities; and Padbury close to Oakajee deal.

Lou Caruana

Abbott asks for more Chinese investment

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has raised the prospect of China investing heavily in Australian infrastructure during a meeting with its Premier, Li Keqiang, arguing both countries will benefit from increased foreign investment as a consequence of a free-trade agreement, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Australia is likely to offer China the same deal as it gave Japan and South Korea – an increase in the foreign investment scrutiny threshold from $248 million to $1.08 billion for a private entity.

Abbott relayed to Premier Li that Australia needed Chinese money to help build roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

In return, China would have to allow increased Australian investment, especially in the areas of financial services, banking, education, health and aged care, as well as increased access to agriculture.

Rio gifts $C19m Canadian copper stake to charities

Rio Tinto has taken the unusual step of donating its stake in an American copper deposit to two charities, completing its withdrawal from one of the mining world’s most environmentally controversial projects, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Rio held a stake of 19% in Northern Dynasty, a Canadian mining company whose main asset is the Pebble project in Alaska. Pebble is one of the world’s largest known undeveloped copper resources, but its development is mired in disagreement because of concern over its potential effect on salmon stocks in the northern US state.

The US Environmental Protection Agency said a month ago that it would investigate whether fisheries in the region could be protected. The investigation stops any award of environmental permits for the mine in the meantime, and could lead to a permanent block on the project by the EPA.

Padbury close to Oakajee deal

A private company formed by Padbury Mining and backed by a major investor will fund the $6 billion Oakajee port and rail project in Western Australia, breathing new life into the mothballed project that was once in the sights of the Chinese and Japanese, according to The Australian.