30 April 2020
The Monthly Mining News Roundup - April
Western Australia obtains record resources sales
Western Australia has earned $167.3 billion in resources sales for the 2019 calendar year, according to statistics from the state's Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety (DMIRS). The sales saw a 28 per cent increase from 2018 ($130.3 billion), which has largely been from iron and gold production. Iron ore has thrived in Western Australia after $97.7 billion of the material was sold, accounting for 76 per cent of overall mineral sales in Western Australia last year.
BHP extends contract with Babylon Pump and Power
BHP has extended its power generation contract with Babylon Pump and Power for the Mining Area C operations in the Pilbara, Western Australia. Babylon has supplied and installed power generation equipment at the Mining Area C surplus water pipeline project since October 2018. The contract will run for a period of one year and is expected to contribute around $1.1 million in revenue to Babylon.
St George Mining reports strong exploration
Western Australian nickel and gold explorer St George Mining has reported strong exploration results from the Paterson project in Western Australia. St George completed an airborne magnetic survey which identified prominent magnetic features that represented key stratigraphic units and granite extrusions. These discoveries are similar to those that are known to host major precious metals and base metal discoveries in the region, the company stated.
Sandfire's DeGrussa at a full capacity despite guidance withdrawal
Sandfire Resources has continued to operate the DeGrussa copper-gold mine at full capacity, with production in line with previous output despite withdrawing its 2020 financial year guidance. The Western Australian company produced 17,936 tonnes of copper and 9352 ounces of gold during the March quarter, a slight decline from 18,258 tonnes of copper and 10,723 ounces of gold in the December period. Sandfire has introduced coronavirus measures to boost social distancing across work sites and in transit; extended sick and compassionate leave for its employees; and enhanced communication of health and wellbeing programs.
Gold Road remains on track for 2020 production guidance
Gold Road Resources has kept a steady hand during the COVID-19 crisis, with stable production targets and a healthy financial position recorded in its March 2020 quarterly report. After adopting an early response to the pandemic, Gold Road has been able to proceed with its core activities, specifically at the Gruyere join venture (JV) project in Western Australia. The Gruyere JV project, conducted in parternership with Gold Fields' Gruyere Mining Company, saw 1.9 million tonnes of ore processed for the quarter with a recovery rate of 94.1 per cent for 59,585 ounces of gold produced.
Mineral Resources iron ore production increases
Mineral Resources (MinRes) has experienced a climb in iron ore production during the March quarter, thanks to a ramp up at the Iron Valley operation in Western Australia. MinRes produced 1.68 million wet metric tonnes of iron ore at Iron Valley, a jump from 1.39 million wet metric tonnes in the previous quarter. This guided MinRes’ total iron ore production to a 3 per cent hike compared with the December quarter, to 3.4 million wet metric tonnes.
Mining exports drive Australian trade
An increase in Australia’s resources export revenue has underpinned a 29 per cent improvement in the value of Australia’s goods exports in March compared with the previous month. Based on preliminary estimates for Australian international merchandise released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), exports of goods increased to $36.1 billion in March 2020 from the revised February 2020 merchandise trade estimate of $28 billion. The increase in March was predominantly driven by a $4.7 billion (20 per cent) increase in the value of exports of non-rural goods.
BHP explores options to increase iron ore export capacity
BHP is exploring options with stakeholders to increase its licensed iron ore export capacity from Port Hedland to beyond 290 million tonnes a year. The mining giant is focussed on reaching 290 million tonnes per annum in the medium term and is making the necessary improvements across its supply chain to reach this goal. This has provided options to increase future productivity, subject to market conditions.