News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap:Carmichael unbankable, says Queensland Treasury; X2 set to tussle with Glencore for Rio Tinto thermal coal; and mining majors move back to basics.

Lou Caruana

Adani’s Carmichael mine unbankable, says Queensland Treasury

Australia's largest new coal project, one hailed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a poverty-busting “miracle”, is unbankable in the assessment of Queensland's Treasury, which also has question marks over the development's transparency, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Documents released under Queensland's freedom-of-information laws show officials at the highest level of the Queensland Treasury held grave doubts about Indian mining company Adani's capacity to see through its Carmichael coal mine project in central Queensland even as former premier Campbell Newman was promising taxpayer funds to help establish the mine.

X2 set to tussle with Glencore for Rio Tinto thermal coal

Rio Tinto is hoping to reap more than $U3 billion ($3.9 billion) in a sale of its Hunter Valley coal business, with X2 chief Mick Davis likely to face off with his arch rival and the man many see as the natural owner of the assets, Glencore's Ivan Glasenberg, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Glencore's coal business in the Hunter Valley is right next door to Rio Tinto's operations, and the Swiss giant still has designs on a deal after its attempt last year to execute a joint venture of the two coal divisions in NSW fell flat.

Mining majors move back to basics

It was the year that saw a stunning dual collapse in iron ore and oil prices and a deepening of the malaise in coal – but amid the distress across the industry, Australian mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have emerged looking much fitter than the rest of the pack, according to the Australian Financial Review.

For the two majors, 2015 was the year of doubling down on cost cutting, productivity and simplifying operations. For BHP, the defining moment came in spinning off a $10 billion parcel of unwanted assets into South32.