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  • Tue, Oct. 25, 4:38 AM
    • "Samarco continues to explore options to restructure its debt," according to a statement the from iron ore mining joint venture owned by Vale (NYSE:VALE) and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP).
    • The company just missed its second bond payment for October, but has 30 days to remedy the situation, as it deals with the fallout from suspending its operations following last year's dam disaster.
    | Tue, Oct. 25, 4:38 AM | 5 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 20, 2:21 PM
    • Brazilian federal prosecutors file homicide charges against 21 people in connection with last year's catastrophic Samarco tailings dam collapse that killed 19 people.
    • The people charged include current and former officials of Vale (VALE +3.1%) and BHP Billiton (BHP +0.1%) and their Samarco joint venture, among them former Samarco CEO Ricardo Vescovi, Vale’s current iron ore director Peter Poppinga, and five Vale and BHP officials who sat on Samarco’s board in recent years.
    • In addition to the criminal case, Brazilian federal prosecutors in May filed a civil lawsuit against Vale, BHP and Samarco seeking 155B reais ($49B) in damages.
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 2:21 PM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Oct. 20, 10:49 AM
    • BHP Billiton's (BHP -1.5%) nickel business, which had faced closure after failing to attract a buyer, now is spending $2M/month on improvements and making headway to extend operations through the next decade, the president of BHP's Nickel West mining and processing unit says.
    • "There are signs that this year could finally be the turning point for nickel," the exec says, as nickel prices have climbed 17% and global demand rose 6.1% over the eight months through August, led by an 8% gain in China and strong gains in India and China.
    • The BHP Nickel West boss also hints at a potential return to the development of the promising but as-yet unexploited Yakabindie mine, stalled for years because of its $1.1B price tag; the mine is believed to hold 350K metric tons of nickel, ~20% of annual world demand.
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 10:49 AM
  • Thu, Oct. 20, 8:41 AM
    • BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) Chairman Jac Nasser says he will not seek re-election as its chairman at next year’s annual shareholder meeting.
    • Nasser says he had planned to announce his retirement last year but stayed because of the Samarco tailings dam disaster.
    • A global search will begin to find a replacement for Nasser, who before becoming BHP's chairman in 2010 had climbed to the top at Ford, where he became known as "Jac the Knife’’ for his cost-cutting prowess.
    • BHP -0.7% premarket.
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 8:41 AM
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 7:20 PM
    • BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) reports iron ore production fell 6% Y/Y to 57.6M metric tons in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with 61.3M metric tons a year earlier, which included output from the halted Samarco joint venture.
    • BHP's copper division is off to a slow start to the new fiscal year due to the recent state-wide power outage in South Australia, delivering 355K metric tons of copper vs. an expected 410K; Olympic Dam's production fell 26% Y/Y to 41K metric tons, leaving it well behind the pace required to hit its targeted 200K metric tons this financial year.
    • BHP says it remains on track to meet its FY 2017 production guidance for iron ore of 265M-275M metric tons vs. 257M metric tons a year ago, although guidance for Olympic Dam is under review.
    • Problems at the Cerro Colorado copper mine in Chile also is is expected to reduce production in the December quarter.
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 7:20 PM | 7 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 2:41 PM
    • BHP Billiton (BHP +2.2%) is higher after Jefferies analysts say the company's energy business should enjoy a boost from rising oil prices and its mining assets are "underappreciated."
    • A Fed rate hike could depress commodity prices in the short term, but the firm foresees a recovery in Q1 2017 from seasonal factors and a dividend increase next year.
    • BHP boasts some of the highest quality assets in the global mining industry, Jefferies says, and unlike most other miners, "BHP has significant organic growth optionality as a result of the quality and scale of its resources. We estimate that there is at least $18B of potential value from long-term growth within the BHP portfolio."
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 2:41 PM
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 10:58 AM
    • BHP Billiton (BHP +2.2%) is rejecting claims of tax evasion in Australia by pointing to $58B in taxes and royalties paid in the country over the past decade.
    • Last week, former Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan accused BHP of funneling sales through its Singapore marketing hub to help lower its tax bill by "well over" A$1B.
    • “There is now no question that BHP has been gaming the system," Swan says, to which CEO Jac Nasser responds, "If we were avoiding tax, clearly we're no good at it."
    • Nasser says BHP’s average tax rate over the last decade including royalties is 40%, and that the company paid $85B in taxes and royalties globally over the period.
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 10:58 AM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Oct. 13, 12:18 PM
    • Iron ore heavyweights Rio Tinto (RIO -3.4%) and BHP Billiton (BHP -3.5%) are sharply lower following the news that Chinese exports fell by a more than expected 10% and imports dropped by a more than anticipated 1.9%.
    • Also down substantially are the likes of Freeport McMoRan (FCX -6.5%), U.S. Steel (X -5.7%), Teck Resources (TCK -5.4%), Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF -5%), Anglo American (OTCPK:AAUKF, OTCPK:AAUKY) and Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY).
    • Also, Rio and BHP are downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup, which cites the impact of slack China commodities demand after the country's monetary stimulus and supply restrictions have driven a surge in bulk prices in 2016.
    | Thu, Oct. 13, 12:18 PM | 9 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 10, 8:47 AM
    • Australian miner SolGold says it rejected BHP Billiton's (NYSE:BHP) $30M offer for a 10% stake in the company plus an additional $275M proposal linked with acquiring a 70% stake in the unit managing the Cascabel copper-gold project in Ecuador.
    • SolGold, which owns an 85% stake in the Cascabel project, says it prefers a $33M financing proposal from investment fund Maxit Capital and Newcrest Mining (OTCPK:NCMGF).
    • SolGold's board says the BHP offer is highly conditional and implies a significant discount to SolGold's current trading price and the other financing deal.
    | Mon, Oct. 10, 8:47 AM
  • Wed, Oct. 5, 7:51 AM
    • BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) reaffirms its commitment to its U.S. shale business, predicting the unit will generate more cash than conventional oil within five years as oil markets improve.
    • In his first major presentation since replacing Tim Cutt as BHP's petroleum president, Steve Pastor is bullish about the potential of the U.S. shale unit, and says that "while currently well supplied, underlying fundamentals suggest both oil and gas markets are improving more quickly than our minerals commodities.:
    • BHP currently has just one rig working in the Permian shale, but Pastor says the company has access to more than 1B boe in the Permian and expects it to produce 150K bbl/day within the medium term.
    • BHP also says it will decide within six months on its investment in the BP-operated Mad Dog 2 oil and gas project in the Gulf of Mexico; BHP has a 24% stake in Mad Dog, and its share of constructing the second phase is expected to come in at ~$2.5B.
    • BHP +0.7% premarket.
    | Wed, Oct. 5, 7:51 AM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Oct. 4, 12:30 PM
    • Australia’s top iron ore producers BHP Billiton (BHP +0.6%), Rio Tinto (RIO -0.8%) and Fortescue Metals (OTCQX:FSUMF) shipped less than expected in the past three months, jeopardizing their ability to meet full-year guidance, Macquarie analysts say.
    • Data from Western Australia’s key iron ore terminals indicate exporters moved combined cargoes totaling ~209M metric tons during Q3, compared with a forecast of 216M tons by Macquarie, which cuts its forecasts for shipments in the quarter for BHP, Rio and Fortescue by a respective 2%, 3% and 6%.
    • Macquarie says Rio likely will miss its FY 2016 shipments guidance of 330M tons by ~3M tons, while BHP could struggle to achieve the upper range of its Pilbara production forecast of 265M-275M tons amid a rail maintenance program and as it commissions a crusher at the Jimblebar complex.
    | Tue, Oct. 4, 12:30 PM | 2 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 3, 4:50 PM
    • The P-E consortium headed by Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO) is the clear front-runner to purchase Anglo American's (OTCPK:AAUKF, OTCPK:AAUKY) Queensland metallurgical coal assets and now is in exclusive talks, Australian Financial Review reports.
    • APO reportedly is working in a consortium with Pennsylvania coal exporter Xcoal Energy Resources, the largest U.S. exporter of coal.
    • A BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) alliance with Mitsubishi and U.S.-based Coronado Coal have not yet pulled out of the race for the assets, according to the report.
    | Mon, Oct. 3, 4:50 PM
  • Mon, Oct. 3, 12:58 PM
    • Fortescue Metals (OTCQX:FSUMF) CEO Nev Power dismisses concerns about oversupply in the iron ore market, taking the view that a prolonged commodity crash is finally giving way to a cyclical upturn.
    • "There is stability in demand in China, and most of the new large volume supply has already come on to the market," Power tells Financial Times, adding that some forecasters are overestimating the speed at which new supply would materialize.
    • The CEO says long-term iron ore demand and price would be determined by Chinese economic policy and the rate of growth in emerging economies across Asia, and that “the demand side will be much more important than new supply.”
    | Mon, Oct. 3, 12:58 PM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Sep. 29, 8:02 AM
    • A massive blackout in South Australia forces BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) to suspend production at its Olympic Dam copper mine to divert back-up power to maintain essential operations at the site.
    • BHP does not yet know when operations will resume at the mine, which produced 203K metric tons of copper in FY 2016, or ~13% of company-wide output; the company also says it is too early to know if it would seek legal protection from supply obligations under a declaration of force majeure.
    • The outage also halted Oz Minerals' (OTCPK:OZMLF) Prominent Hill mine, which is expected to produce up to 125K metric tons of copper in concentrate this year, as well as Nyrstar's (OTC:NYRSF) 185K metric tons/year Port Pirie lead smelter.
    | Thu, Sep. 29, 8:02 AM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Sep. 27, 4:22 AM
    • Brazil's Samarco, which suspended operations in November after a fatal dam disaster, did not make an interest payment on a $500M bond that was due yesterday.
    • It will now have a 30-day grace period to make the payment.
    • The news could spell trouble for co-owners Vale (NYSE:VALE) and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP), which have already discussed a potential debt restructuring for the operation.
    | Tue, Sep. 27, 4:22 AM | 4 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 26, 11:53 AM
    • Brazil and Australia, the world’s two largest iron ore exporters, each will add ~100M metric tons of supply through the end of the decade, boosting the global glut and hurting prices, Citigroup says.
    • Shipments from Brazil will expand to 480M tons in 2020 from 371M this year, as Vale (VALE +0.2%) gets set to start a four-year ramp-up of its S11D project, and shipments from Australia, including BHP Billiton (BHP +1%) and Rio Tinto (RIO -0.1%), will rise to 934M tons from 835M, hiking the surplus to 56M tons in 2018 from 20M this year, Citi says
    • However, Citi also forecasts the global surplus likely will start to shrink after 2018, dropping from 56M tons that year to just 8M in 2019, andestimates price-induced curtailments would total ~150M tons in 2018 and more than twice that figure in 2020.
    | Mon, Sep. 26, 11:53 AM | 9 Comments