Resources and mining companies making news include BHP Billiton acquiring more Olympic Dam exploration licenses, gold miners St Barbara and Allied Gold outline merger plans, Rio Tinto announces its first coal shipment from Mozambique, Galaxy Resources receives court approval for its merger with Lithium One and Santos gives a boost to its GLNG liquefied natural gas project.
BHP gobbles up Olympic dam licenses
BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) has acquired more Olympic Dam exploration licenses. Copper Range Limited (ASX:CRJ) has agreed to sell four exploration licenses and five exploration licence applications for $3 million. BHP has bought a number of licenses near its Olympic Dam mine in recent months. The miner’s board will decide whether to approve the expansion of Olympic Dam towards the end of the year.
St Barbara and Allied Gold merger
Gold miners St Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) and Allied Gold Mining Plc (ASX:ALD) have outlined plans to merge in a deal worth about $556 million. St Barbara has offered Allied Gold $1.025 in cash and 0.8 St Barbara shares for every Allied share held, which if approved would see Allied Gold become a subsidiary of St Barbara and Allied Gold de-listed. Both companies believe the deal would create an international diversified gold mining and exploration company with a market capitalisation of about $1 billion.
Rio exporting Mozambique coal
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) has announced its first coal shipment from Mozambique. The global miner has started exporting premium hard coking coal from its Benga Mine, bound for an Indian steel mill. The chief of Rio’s energy division, Doug Ritchie says the shipment is the first step towards Rio becoming a significant supplier of hard coking coal to the seaborne market. The Benga Mine is operated by Rio, the company holds a 65 per cent stake and Tata Steel holds the remaining 35 per cent interest.
Galaxy merger gets green light
Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY) has received court approval for its merger with Canadian lithium and potash exploration and development company, Lithium One. Galaxy, a lithium mining, chemicals and battery company, launched a friendly $109 million takeover in April. Galaxy and Lithium One shareholders endorsed the merger earlier this month, overwhelmingly approving all resolutions. Galaxy says the merger will create a vertically integrated lithium company with Galaxy’s resource base receiving a boost through Lithium One’s $US1 billion Sal De Vida lithium potash project in Argentina.
Santos boosts GLNG budget
Santos Limited (ASX:STO) has given a boost to its GLNG liquefied natural gas project, extending its budget by $US2.5 billion. Santos’ net share of the estimated increase is 30 per cent. The additional capital will ensure there are adequate gas supplies for the project. The cost of the venture is estimated at about $US18.5 billion to the end of 2015. Santos’ chief says it is on track for first LNG in 2015 and this decision will allow GLNG to optimise gas delivery into two LNG trains.
The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) forecasts iron ore exports will increase 10 per cent in the new financial year. Coal shipments are also expected to rise dramatically as companies expand their operations. BREE predicts iron ore exports of 510 million tonnes in the current financial year. Exports of all major minerals and energy commodities are forecast to rise with the exception of aluminium. BREE chief economist Quentin Grafton said, "The increase in export volumes across the majority of commodities reflects recent expansions to mine and infrastructure capacity".