Major miners hitting output milestones

Resources Corner

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) has officially opened its Kings Valley project in the Pilbara. The $US9.2 billion expansion will have a capacity of 40 million tonnes per annum and has enabled Fortescue to increase its production capacity to 155mtpa.
 
Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC)has achieved record March quarter output and sales from its Malaysian refinery and forecast growth ahead. The rare earths producer says its production jumped 47 per cent while shipments rose 84 per as the average selling price rose 5 per cent.
 
Mineral Resources Limited (ASX:MIN) has boosted its estimate for iron ore sales on the back of continuing solid sales volumes achieved in the third quarter. The company now expects to ship between 9.5 million and 10 million tonnes over the financial year.
 
BHP asset speculation grows
 
In the wake of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)flagging the potential divestment of its non-core assets into a new resources company fund managers have weighed in on the hype. Pengana Global Resources Fund, Portfolio Manager Tim Schroeders told FNN the deal should be on the table, but the devil is in the detail in terms of what price BHP can achieve. Days later the mining giant confirmed it will be selling nickel and copper acreage to Cassini Resources (ASX:CZI) who will take control of the acreage in West Musgrave between Western Australia and Alice Springs.
 
Funding & investments
 
Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) has inked a firm long term off-take contract with global commodities trading giant Noble Group. The West African focused iron ore developer says the agreement is a pivotal deal which paves the way for the completion of debt funding.
 
Coal developer Yancoal Australia Limited (ASX:YAL) has secured a $US300million long term debt facility from its major shareholder Yanzhou. Yancoal expects the loan facility will aid the company to fund working capital and capital expenditure.
 
Oil & gas surges forward
 
Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) faces further delays in its entry into the Leviathon offshore gas project in Israel. An MoU was signed in late February between Woodside and the Leviathon Joint Venture Partners to negotiate the sale of a 25 per cent interest in a number of petroleum licences. However the parties did not execute the definitive agreements by the assigned target date and discussions will continue with a view to resolving remaining issues.
 
Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) is moving ahead with the development of its Yolla natural gas field in Bass Strait located off the coast of Victoria. The energy company has now secured a drilling rig from Seadrill Australia for upcoming work on Yolla’s drilling program. Origin Energy is the operator of the BassGas Joint Venture with a 42.5 per cent stake while AWE Limited (ASX:AWE) holds a 46.25 per cent interest.
 
Monadelphous Group Limited (ASX:MND) has scored $250 million of contracts to work on the Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG)-led Australia Pacific LNG Project in Queensland. The engineering group will construct upstream gas processing facilities and compression facilities associated with the projects coal seam gas to LNG project. Monadelphous expects to complete the work in line with Australia Pacific LNG’s schedule to deliver first LNG mid-next year.
 
Gas explorer and producer WestSide Corporation Limited (ASX:WCL)has secured a 20-year deal to sell gas to the GLNG liquefied natural gas plant in Queensland. Managing director Mr Mike Hughes says there is no doubt this contract is a company-maker which will transform Westside into a significant gas producer.
 
Metgasco Limited (ASX:MEL) has responded to a hoax media release which suggested it was going to stop conducting unconventional gas activities in the Clarence Moreton Basin. The gas explorer says there is no substance to the hoax media release and it intends to continue its conventional and unconventional gas exploration and development activities.

Roc Oil Company Limited (ASX:ROC) has scored a production sharing contract for shallow water Block M07 in the Moattama basin, offshore Myanmar. Roc believes M07 offers the potential for exploration lead growth close to producing fields and existing infrastructure. 

Stumbling blocks
 
Energy Resources of Australia Limited (ASX:ERA) has blamed damaged rubber lining on a tank for causing a significant leak at its Ranger mine last year. The uranium producer says the financial and production impact is yet to be determined and the restart of processing operations remains subject to board and government approvals.
 
St. Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) has had its Standard and Poor’s credit rating lowered from B to B-. The gold producer says there is no change to its existing debt arrangement as a consequence of the change.