Diamonds are not forever

Resources Corner

Resources and mining companies making news include Rio Tinto reviewing its diamond business, Aquila says IP Coal has reached a resolution with Vale Australia, Atlas Iron inks a deal, Falcon Minerals is awarded a drilling grant by the Queensland State Government and Flinders Mines is granted a mining lease. And analysts cast doubt on the Federal Government’s plan to generate $10.6 billion in revenue over the first three years of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax.
 
Rio Tinto: Diamonds maybe not forever
The world’s third largest miner, Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO, NYSE:RIO) is reviewing its diamond business with a potential to divest its interests. Rio is considering whether a change in ownership structure could create more value. Rio operates three diamond mines including Argyle in Australia, Diavik in Canada and Murowa in Zimbabwe. The miner also has an advanced diamond project in Bunder, India. Rio says the process may take some time and it’s committed to business as usual in the meantime.
 
Resources News
Analysts have cast doubt on the Federal Government’s plan to generate $10.6 billion in revenue over the first three years of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax. According to The Australian, Goldman Sachs and UBS expect BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP, NYSE:BHP)will pay $443 million in the next fiscal year, while rival miner Rio Tinto Limited  (ASX:RIO, NYSE:RIO)  will pay a minimum of $454 million on its Hamersley iron ore unit in Western Australia which would drop to zero after three years. The report says projected revenues will likely take a further hit with softening commodity prices, a strong Australian dollar and higher costs.
 
Aquila reaches resolution 
Coal explorer Aquila Resources Limited (ASX:AQA) says its wholly owned subsidiary, IP Coal Pty Ltd has reached a resolution with Vale Australia. The two parties were in dispute over their rights to the Isaac Plains coal mine. IP Coal has agreed to enter into a lifting agreement with Vale Australia effective until June next year. Aquila had placed its shares in a trading halt pending a resolution with Vale for the Isaac Plains coal mine.
 
Atlas Iron buys $33M Haoma tenements 
Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) has inked a deal to acquire the remaining rights on the Daltons tenements that it does not already own from Haoma Mining NL (ASX:HAO). Atlas says it will pay $33 million for the remaining 25 per cent of the iron ore rights to the Daltons Joint Venture tenements, part of the Mount Webber project in Western Australia. The consideration is made up of $10 million in cash and $23 million in Atlas shares. The Mount Webber project is expected to be brought into operation as part of Atlas’ plan to boost production to 12 million tonnes per annum by June next year.
 
Falcon Minerals awarded drilling grant
Gold and base-metal explorer Falcon Minerals Limited (ASX:FCN) has been awarded a drilling grant by the Queensland State Government as part of the Greenfields 2020 Collaborative Drilling Initiative. Falcon has been awarded a maximum of $72,000 or half the direct drilling costs. Drilling is expected to commence in early May.
 
Managing director Ron Smit said, “The contribution and support from the Queensland State Government is greatly appreciated as mineral exploration beneath thick cover is challenging and expensive.”
 
Flinders Mines mining lease
Flinders Mines Limited (ASX:FMS) has been granted a mining lease for its Pilbara Iron Ore Project. The project is located close to rail infrastructure and is adjacent to world class deposits owned by Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO, NYSE:RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG).
 
Melissa Beaumont Lee