West Australian iron ore exports at 2023 high

  • Market: Metals
  • 21/03/23

Iron ore exports from Western Australia's (WA) Pilbara region rose to the highest in 2023 in the week to 18 March, as BHP came back from maintenance and Rio Tinto's supplies hit a three-month high owing to drier weather.

Rio Tinto, BHP, Fortescue and Roy Hill loaded vessels with a combined 18.76mn deadweight tonnes (dwt) of capacity in the latest week, up from 15.24mn dwt in the week to 11 March, according to initial shipping data collated by Argus. The dwt is the maximum capacity of a vessel and overestimates actual shipments by around 5pc.

BHP's loadings returned to average after five weeks of below average performance, following a fatal accident in early February, and Rio Tinto was 19pc above its annual rolling weekly average of 6.61mn dwt.

All firms benefited from a dry week in the Pilbara, although Fortescue's shipments were 7pc below its rolling average. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has forecast a largely dry week ahead, with some storms possible towards the end of the week. There are no tropical cyclones within the BoM's zone.

BHP loaded vessels with 5.73mn dwt of capacity in the week to 18 March, up from 4.38mn dwt the previous week. It has warned that January-June shipments could be disrupted by maintenance on its rail and port infrastructure.

Fortescue's loadings rose to 3.52mn dwt, from 3.46mn dwt in the week to 11 March, but were still below its on-year rolling average of 3.78mn dwt/week. Roy Hill's shipments rose to 1.64mn dwt from 1.17mn dwt and were 31pc above its average after a couple of depressed weeks. Rio Tinto loaded vessels with 7.87mn dwt of capacity, up from 6.23mn dwt in the previous week and at the highest level since mid-December.

China was listed as the destination for 80pc of shipments in the latest week, up from 76pc the previous week but still below the average of around 82pc.

The Argus ICX iron ore was last assessed at $126.55/dry metric tonne (dmt) cfr Qingdao on a 62pc Fe basis on 20 March, down from $133.40/dmt on 15 March but up from a recent low of $79/dmt on 31 October 2022.

Iron ore prices $/dmt

WA iron ore loadings mn dmt

Sharelinkedin-sharetwitter-sharefacebook-shareemail-share

Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

News
16/04/24

Liberty Whyalla blast furnace down after maintenance

Liberty Whyalla blast furnace down after maintenance

London, 16 April (Argus) — GFG Alliance is negotiating with workers at its Whyalla plant in Australia for "short-term" options as its blast furnace experienced operational and technical issues after maintenance work last month. Suppliers of the plant told Argus in late March that the blast furnace was experiencing issues. "Ageing assets like the blast furnace will eventually be retired as part of the Whyalla Steelworks transition to new technologies," a GFG spokesman said. "Plans are being developed to safely continue productivity of the blast furnace and, more broadly, the Whyalla Steelworks, as well as enable a more sustainable future." "GFG remains committed to returning the blast furnace safely to operational use," he added. GFG is a collection of entities including Liberty Steel. Whyalla has a production capacity of about 1.2mn t/yr, with about two-thirds of that cast into billet and sent by rail to GFG's Infrabuild business for processing into longs. Under the agreement between the two plants, payment from Infrabuild to Whyalla can be made before delivery. Infrabuild raised $350mn through a bond sale towards the end of last year at an interest rate of 14.5pc. Meanwhile, Liberty remains in talks with the Czech government over the emissions allowances for its Ostrava site. The Czech Ministry of Environment wants proof that Ostrava will produce again before granting free allowances to the site, and the significant change in its operating rates mean the company may not receive those allowances until June or July — its restructuring plan envisages selling a portion of those allowances in May. The idling of the blast furnace since October, and the stoppage of coking facilities at the site, also impacts the number of allowances that will be granted. Sources suggest coking is unlikely to restart, meaning there will be no allowances granted for the facility, while there is also concern about when the blast furnace may restart. "The EU emissions trading system is a complex system which is designed to avoid interference in the distribution of the allowances and the calculations of the emissions," a Liberty spokesperson said. "This system governs about 11,000 companies across the EU and Liberty Ostrava only expects to be treated in the same way as all the others." By Colin Richardson Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Read more
News

Australian new environment agency to speed up approvals


16/04/24
News
16/04/24

Australian new environment agency to speed up approvals

Sydney, 16 April (Argus) — The Australian federal government announced today it will introduce new legislation in the coming weeks to implement the second stage of its Nature Positive Plan, which includes setting up a national environment protection agency to speed up approval decisions. The planned Environment Protection Australia (EPA) will initially operate within the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water until it transitions to become an independent statutory agency, with "strong new powers and penalties" to better enforce federal laws, the government said on 16 April. The EPA chief will be an independent statutory appointment, similar to the Australian federal police commissioner, so that "no government can interfere" with the new agency's enforcement work. The agency will be able to audit businesses to ensure they are compliant with environment approval conditions and issue environment protection orders to anyone breaking the law. Penalties will be increased, with courts able to impose fines of up to A$780mn ($504mn) or jail terms for up to seven years in cases of extremely serious intentional breaches of federal environment law. EPA will also be tasked with speeding up development decisions, including project assessments in areas such as renewable energy and critical minerals. Almost A$100mn will be allocated to optimise the approval processes, with its budget directed to support staff to assess project proposals and help businesses comply with the law. A new independent body Environment Information Australia (EIA) will also be created to provide environmental data to the government and the public through a public website. EIA will need to develop an online database giving businesses quicker access to data and helping EPA to make faster decisions. It will also need to publish state of environment reports every two years. The government said that an audit ordered by environment minister Tanya Plibersek last year found that around one in seven developments could be in breach of their offset conditions, when a business had not properly compensated for the impact a development was having on the environment, highlighting "the need to urgently strengthen enforcement". The planned new legislation is part of the federal government's reform of Australia's environmental laws including the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Resource project decisions are currently made by the environment minister, with the move to an independent agency will removing any perception of political interference in such decisions, the government said when it first announced the reforms in late 2022. The first stage of the reform was completed late last year with new laws passed to create the Nature Repair Market, with further stages expected to be implemented in the future, the government said. Tight timing Resources industry body the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CMEWA) welcomed the announcement that the federal government will take a "staged approach" to the implementation of the reforms but noted the timing of EPA's implementation was "tight". "We continue to hold reservations about the proposed decision-making model and will continue to advocate for a model that balances ecologically sustainable development considerations and includes the [environment] minister as the decision maker," CMEWA chief executive Rebecca Tomkinson said. The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) said that it had been advocating for the creation of EIA, whose future collated data "will provide greater certainty and reduced costs for both government and project proponents", which "may shave years off project development". But it was cautious about potential "unintended consequences" stemming from more bureaucracy. "Australia has one of the most comprehensive environmental approvals processes in the world and the MCA has been clear about the significant risks of duplicative, complex and uncertain approvals processes pose to the minerals sector, the broader economy and the environment if we do not get this right," it warned. By Juan Weik Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Agriflex to supply phosphoric acid to Lithium Australia


16/04/24
News
16/04/24

Agriflex to supply phosphoric acid to Lithium Australia

Singapore, 16 April (Argus) — Australia-based phosphate rock producer Agriflex has agreed to supply high-quality phosphoric acid to Lithium Australia for its lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) or lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) production. The firms have signed a non-binding initial agreement, which envisages Lithium Australia building a demonstration plant with an estimated capacity of 250 t/yr of LFP or LFMP, potentially in Queensland. The plant will require around 200-300 t/yr of phosphoric acid, Agriflex's parent company Centrex said on 16 April. Lithium Australia will move on to build a commercial plant with an estimated capacity of around 25,000 t/yr of LFP or LMFP if the demonstration plant is successful and following pre-qualification of cathode powders. The commercial plant will need 20,000-25,000 t/yr of phosphoric acid. No timelines were provided, except that the initial agreement will run for a period of 24 months. Agriflex will conduct a study to produce high-quality phosphoric acid with low impurity content in Queensland for supply to Lithium Australia. The two firms are committed to building a battery supply chain domestically in Australia, to provide global battery producers an alternative supply source for LFP and LFMP. By Huijun Yao Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Poland's JSW declares force majeure on coking coal


15/04/24
News
15/04/24

Poland's JSW declares force majeure on coking coal

Warsaw, 15 April (Argus) — Polish coking coal and met coke producer Jastrzebska Spolka Weglowa (JSW) declared force majeure on some of its coking coal contracts and cut its output outlook following a fire at its Budryk mine on 5 April. JSW expects production at Budryk mine — which produces premium hard coking coal, semi-soft coking coal, as well as thermal coal grades — to fall by 400,000t than previously planned as a result of the blaze. The fire affected a long wall located at a depth of 1,290m that was planned for closure, but it forced the evacuation of mines from affected areas, the company said. A fire that broke out at the firm's premium hard coking coal-focused Pniowek mine in December last year will also result in greater production loss than previously expected, JSW said. Output at Pniowek will be down by 450,000t from the 350,000t reduction estimated in December. JSW operates four mines in southern Poland. In the first quarter of this year, JSW produced 2.4mn t of coking coal, representing a decline of about 10pc both on the year and on the quarter. JSW's production of coke reached 830,000t in the first quarter of this year, up by 8pc on the year but down by 5pc from the fourth quarter of last year. Metallurgical coke typically accounts for about three-quarters of JSW's total coke output. Its met coke sales significantly exceeded output, reaching 990,000t in the first quarter of this year. JSW last year produced 10.9mn t of coking coal, down by 1pc on the year, and 3.35mn t of coke, up by 4pc on the year. By Tomasz Stepien Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Japan’s Nippon Steel halts output at Kimitsu plant


15/04/24
News
15/04/24

Japan’s Nippon Steel halts output at Kimitsu plant

Tokyo, 15 April (Argus) — Japan's largest steel mill Nippon Steel has partially suspended production today at its Kimitsu plant in eastern Chiba prefecture because of operational issues. Nippon Steel suspended production at some of its blast furnaces in the plant on the back of operational issues, said the company, without disclosing further details. The suspension is temporary, a company representative told Argus , although it remains unclear when the plant will resume production. Operational issues can come in a variety of forms, the representative added, including the quality of the raw materials. The firm has not disclosed output volumes at the Kimitsu plant. Nippon Steel's overall crude steel output for the April 2023-March 2024 fiscal year is estimated at 35mn t , according to the firm, up by 2.2pc from a year earlier. By Yusuke Maekawa Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more