News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Rio Tinto flags interest in uranium exports to India; ASIC review of overseas miners frustrates industry; and Santos considers ditching assets.

Lou Caruana

Rio Tinto flags interest in uranium exports to India

Rio Tinto has shown interest in selling Australian uranium to India in coming years, but it remains to be seen whether the company will still be producing the nuclear fuel in Australia by then, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Speaking in India overnight, Rio CEO Sam Walsh said India loomed as an attractive market for Australian uranium producers once agreements over the use of the material were finalised.

“Once all those steps are in place, clearly there is an opportunity for us and Australia here,” Walsh said.

ASIC review of overseas miners frustrates industry

Senior mining industry executives say a crackdown by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on companies promoting “risky” offshore assets is unreasonable and could further damage the struggling sector, according to the Australian Financial Review.

ASIC plans to review corporate documents released by locally listed mining and exploration companies, amid concerns many are not meeting Australian corporate law standards.

The regulator is concerned local investors could be exposed to foreign corporate corruption and poor legal protections when investing in companies that haven’t properly communicated the risks of their projects, or have acted outside Australian law.

Santos considers ditching assets

Santos CEO David Knox has signalled that asset sales are under active consideration as the oil and gas producer deals with the hit to its business from the slumping oil price, with transactions likely to provide better results than some in the market expect, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Knox said that despite the weak oil price depressing valuations – and analysts warning of potential asset write-downs – valuable deals were still to be done.

“The skill in asset sales is to sell assets [that] are more valuable to other players than they are to yourself and I still believe that’s the situation,” Knox said. “We do have assets that are more valuable in other people’s hands than they are in ours.”