Miners meet production targets

Resources Corner

Australian miners continue to meet their production targets, with the likes of BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI) and Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) among those releasing updates this week. Despite comments this week from RBA Governor Glenn Stevens that resources sector investment is set to decline significantly, Commsec economist Savanth Sebastian says resource states such as Western Australia are consistently outperforming the rest of the nation.
 
Glenn Stevens warns of declining investment
 
In the central bank’s latest monetary policy statement, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens says investment in the resources sector is set to decline significantly. Mr Stevens says commodity prices have declined from their peaks but remain high in historical terms. 
 
Meantime, prices of imports and exports eased over the December quarter but remain stronger over 2013. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported export prices eased 0.5 per cent and import prices eased 0.6 per cent in the December quarter, but both remain higher over 2013. 
 
Commentary
 
Commsec Economist, Savanth Sebastian outlines how Australia’s resource states performed over 2013:
 
“I guess if we look at the indicators across the State of the States it was pretty clear that Western Australia was the premier state. There was no slippage in rankings over the past three months. And if anything we saw that the resource states started to see some sort of level of ascendancy. 
 
The Northern Territory actually leap-frogged the ACT into second spot and then you’ve got the other states and territories sort of bunched in the middle, and then you’ve got a gap towards South Australia and an even bigger gap towards Tasmania, which is really lagging across all the states and territories.”
 
Production reports
 
Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) has warned its full-year iron ore shipments will slip to the lower end of previous guidance due to weather problems. The Pilbara focussed iron ore miner’s quarterly report also revealed it shipped a record 28 million tonnes of iron ore in the last three months of 2013.
 
BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI) has confirmed it expects to reach annual guidance for its Nullagine joint venture with Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) after increasing iron ore output in the December quarter. 
 
Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) has lifted its annual production guidance. The iron ore miner says record shipments and strong prices helped its first half result as it continues to reach milestones at its projects in the North Pilbara region of Western Australia.
 
Gold producer Perseus Mining Limited (ASX:PRU) has improved its December quarter output by 6 per cent and confirmed its full-year production guidance will reach between 190,000 and 210,000 ounces.
 
Contract awards
 
Engineering group Ausenco Limited (ASX:AAX) has scored a contract to work on Bandanna Energy’s Limited (ASX:BND) Springsure Creek Coal project in Queensland. Ausenco will deliver a budget, schedule and project plan to allow Bandanna to finalise the design and capital cost of the project by June 30, 2014.
 
Downer EDI Limited (ASX:DOW) has scored two new contracts in Western Australia from global mining company BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP). The engineer says the $40 million Rail Package contract will be completed in the second half of 2014 and the $60 million Shiploaders 1 and 2 contract will be completed in the first half of 2015.
 
Mining services company Ausdrill Limited (ASX:ASL) has entered into a strategic alliance with Africa-focussed gold explorer Azumah Resources Limited (ASX:AZM). Under the deal Ausdrill will invest $2 million into Azumah and Azumah has appointed Ausdrill as its preferred contract mining services provider. 
 
Board appointments
 
Gold miner Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM) has appointed Francesca Lee as General Council and Company Secretary. Ms Lee has been in the same role at OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL) and its previous companies since 2003.
 
Mining services group AJ Lucas Group Limited (ASX:AJL) has informed the market Phil Arnall will act as its interim CEO as it searches for a replacement for Allan Campbell who has now resigned.