News & Media

10 April, 2020

Australian Newsletter - Issue 621

IRON ORE ‘MOST AT RISK OF MAJOR DISRUPTION’ DUE TO CORONAVIRUS: DELOITTE
Source: Salomae Haselgrove (Australian Mining)
Deloitte has tipped big miners to be in a much better financial shape compared to the 2008 global financial crisis and the last commodity market downturn in 2015 once the coronavirus pandemic subsides. The statement is from its Impacts of COVID-19 on the Mining Sector report, which predicts the drop in the global economy due to the coronavirus to be “as severe, if not more, than the GFC.” Access economics partners David Rumbens and James Campbell-Sloan noted iron ore as the commodity at most risk of major disruption in Australia. This is due to the sheer remoteness of the majority of the nation’s iron ore supply in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. “In Australia, keep a close eye on iron ore developments,” Deloitte urged.  FULL STORY

EXOTIC PEST WORM SPREADS TO THREE STATES
Source: Cheryl Goodenough (The Transcontinental)
An exotic pest with the potential to decimate crops overnight has been detected in three states since it was first found in Australia three months ago. Authorities have found the fall armyworm larvae in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. The larvae was first found on the northern Torres Strait islands of Saibai and Erub in January. It was then detected on Australia's mainland for the first time in February at the Cape York Peninsula town of Bamaga. Now it's been detected more than 2300 kilometres south at Bundaberg, a Queensland Department of Agriculture spokesperson confirmed.  FULL STORY

SHELL AND PARTNERS POSTPONE AUSTRALIA’S CRUX GAS PROJECT
Source: Jessica Jaganathan (businesslive.co.za)
Due to the collapse in energy orders and prices, Shell is delaying its final investment decision in the LNG unit. Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday that its Australian unit and joint venture partners have decided to delay a final investment decision (FID) on the Crux gas project in offshore Australia that was initially planned for 2020. The Crux project is one of several globally that have been delayed in recent months following the collapse in energy prices. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand had been hitting record highs until recently thanks to appetite from China and India as they diversify away from dirtier coal-power generation, but the crash in oil and gas prices has caused major LNG exporters to put off gigantic new facilities or expansions of existing projects.  FULL STORY

RESOURCES STILL DRIVING QLD EXPORTS
Source: Esmarie Iannucci (miningweekly.com)
While coal and mineral exports continued to drive the Queensland economy in the 12 months to February, the resources sector has warned that the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic would be felt in the future. The Queensland government on Wednesday revealed that exports during the 12 months to February reached A$83.3-billion, with coal exports counting as the largest non-confidentialised export at A$35.1-billion. Other mineral exports contributed more than A$8.3-billion in value during this period. During the 12 months under review, China remained the state’s largest export destination, with A$28.6-billion worth of exports, while Japan was the second-largest destination, with A$11-billion worth of exports.  FULL STORY

COAL POWERS AHEAD FOR QLD
Source: Lou Caruana (Australian Mining Monthly)
COAL remains Queensland’s most important export commodity with $35 billion in international sales over the 12 months to February according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data.
Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane said the latest ABS figures demonstrated the ongoing strength of the sector leading into the COVID-19 outbreak and its essential value to the state's economy. Overall, Queensland's resources propelled the value of the State's exports to $83.3 billion over the 12 months.  FULL STORY

PORT OF TOWNSVILLE SOURCES PAVERS LOCALLY FOR NEW TERMINAL
Source: Kim Ho (Infrastructure Magazine)
The Port of Townsville’s $30 million crane and cargo container terminal has marked a new milestone in sourcing specialised industrial pavers from local suppliers. Due to the weight of heavy machinery and shipping containers at the new facility, 100mm pavers are needed to provide a strong durable working surface, whilst allowing efficient repair of any localised damage. Port of Townsville General Manager Infrastructure and Environment, Marissa Wise, said, “Typical industrial pavers generally do not have the required density to withstand the weight of stacked containers and the constant movement of large machinery on the terminal pad which will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”  FULL STORY

NORTHERN CATTLE TRADE SAILS INTO BUSY SHIPPING PERIOD
Source: James Nason (beefcentral.com)
Cattle shipments are continuing to navigate through the logistical challenges created by the COVID-19 restrictions and a slowdown in consumption being experienced in major South East Asian markets.
Industry representatives and commercial operators have been working around the clock to adjust to rising restrictions to port access and various border closures in recent weeks, but with cooperation from State and Federal Governments the trade has kept moving as it enters its busiest time of year. With new season cattle supply coming forward several vessels have either loaded in recent days or are scheduled to load in coming days at Townsville, Darwin, Broome and Wyndham.  FULL STORY

PORT BOTANY STEVEDORE EXPOSES WORKERS TO CORONAVIRUS AND HIDES POSITIVE TEST
Source: MirageNews.com
Container terminal operator Hutchison Ports withheld coronavirus information from their workforce while allowing the site to operate after they knew of a positive COVID-19 test result. The positive worker had undertaken six shifts in the terminal since March 24. A second case has now been revealed amongst the terminal workforce. Despite these cases, Hutchison refuses to share potential exposure and contact information with the workforce or the union, further risking workplace and community transmission due to company inaction. The Maritime Union of Australia described the situation as surreal and the company as blind to the world and current social reality.  FULL STORY

NSW POLICE RAID RUBY PRINCESS AT PORT KEMBLA TO SEIZE EVIDENCE FOR INVESTIGATION
Source: Lisa Wachsmuth (IllawarraMercury.com.au)
NSW Police have raided the Ruby Princess docked at Port Kembla on Wednesday night, seizing the ship's black box and other evidence as part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Specialist detectives from Strike Force Bast boarded the ill-fated ship around 7pm on Wednesday as part of the investigation into the docking and disembarking of the vessel in Sydney on March 19. As well as seizing evidence, the detectives spoke with the ship's captain and crew members.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIA'S PORT HEDLAND IRON ORE EXPORTS TO CHINA JUMP BY 22 PCT IN MARCH
Source: Melanie Burton (Nasdaq.com)
Australia's Pilbara Port Authority said on Wednesday that iron ore exports to China jumped 21.6% to 40.43 mln tonnes in March from the month earlier. Exports from the world's biggest iron ore export hub stood at 33.26 million tonnes in February when China typically imports less due to its Lunar New Year holidays. Iron ore miners in March shipped out the third highest volumes since January 2019.  FULL STORY

PORT OF TAURANGA CEO SPEAKS TO SELECT COMMITTEE
Source: Sunlive.co.nz
Port of Tauranga CEO Mark Cairns Wednesday discussed the impact of COVID-19 with the Epidemic Response Committee with a particular focus on the movement of freight from the port. While New Zealand is in a declared State of Emergency, hearings of the Epidemic Response Committee chaired by Tauranga MP Simon Bridges can be watched live on Parliament TV. Live footage of the committee's videoconferences are available free to air on Freeview channel 31. Viewers of the live stream feed have been experiencing some frustration with 'freezing' glitches during the coverage. Simon acknowledges the technical problem and thanks participants and viewers for their patience. The live streams began on March 31.  FULL STORY

CORONAVIRUS: SHORTAGE OF SHIPPING CONTAINERS COULD HURT EXPORTS
Source: Matt Shand (Stuff.co.nz)
Allowing non-essential cargo to sit in shipping containers as part of the coronavirus response could disrupt the supply chain for essential items, the Road Transport Forum warns. Chief executive Nick Leggett is calling on the government to allow all freight to be classed as an essential service to allow shipping containers to be unpacked and added back into the export supply chain. Currently, essential goods are permitted to be freighted but Leggett says non-essential goods are being left loaded in containers due to the Covid-19 response.  FULL STORY

NEXT STEPS FOR NEW ZEALAND
Source: Scott Berman (Dredging and Port Construction)
From Otago in the south to Auckland in the north, New Zealand is investing in ports across its two islands in line with projected growth. A port relocation dilemma, dredging, shifting operations to newly reclaimed land, constructing wharf decks, creating an artificial reef, and future-proofing are among the issues and actions that make up a dynamic port scene in New Zealand. Altogether, these activities present an overarching dynamic: ports are changing to meet new contingencies, serve growing markets, and develop business opportunities in the country. The Ports of Auckland might be the site of the largest port infrastructure project of all.  FULL STORY

DREDGING CONTINUES IN NZ AMID COVID-19
Source: Charlie Bartlett (Dredging and Port Construction)
In a development prompted by the onset of global pandemic COVID-19, New Zealand’s Eastland Port is continuing to undertake weekly dredging operations using its owned-and-operated suction hopper dredger Pukunui. The regular removal of sediment to maintain access to the port has been deemed a matter of national importance, maintaining the export of wood to various international customers, and the dredger will be operating to this end whenever weather permits over the next few weeks; meanwhile the vessel’s crew will be maintaining social-distancing principles for the duration of their stints on the vessel, Eastland Port said in a statement.  FULL STORY

INTERISLANDER TERMINAL PREFERRED FOR WELLINGTON MULTI-FERRY BERTH
Source: rnz.co.nz
Wellington's Interislander terminal has been named the preferred location for a single, multi-user ferry terminal. CentrePort's shareholders - the Greater Wellington and Horizons regional councils, want development to push forward on the Interislander site at Kaiwharawhara, after it scored best out of four possible central sites. Currently the Interislander and Bluebridge ferries dock in different places. Greater Wellington has been working on the proposal for a multi-user ferry dock for the past two years, with support from Bluebridge, KiwiRail, CentrePort, Wellington City Council and NZTA.  FULL STORY

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