25 May 2020

The High Court in London today lifted an interim injunction imposed on Argus and its competitor Platts preventing both news organisations from publishing details of price discounts offered in the low-grade iron ore market by Australian mining giant Fortescue Metals Group (FMG).

FMG had applied for the injunction against Argus and S&P Global Platts, asserting that its discount prices were confidential.

In his judgment, Justice Robert Miles wrote: “The Claimants have not established, as required by s.12 of the (Human Rights Act), that they are more likely than not to obtain a permanent injunction at trial. Their application for a continuation of the interim restraining order is dismissed.”

He said: “In contrast to the spot market… the LTC [long-term contract] market is comparatively opaque. The market intelligence and analysis produced by the Defendants assists in providing market participants with intelligence about these markets.”

The judge also added: “There is in my view an important and weighty public interest in the provision of well-informed analysis and data by publications such as those of the Defendants about the iron ore markets. The iron ore market is of enormous economic and strategic importance, second only to the oil markets. The DMTU discount and the similar discounts given by other large producers have, for many years, been a key source of information used by the Defendants in carrying out their analysis.”

Argus Media chairman and chief executive Adrian Binks said: “We are delighted with the judge’s decision. This is an important step forward in this case, which is actually about fundamental press freedoms.”

Argus has been publishing FMG’s discount figures since 2014, with no previous objection from the mining firm. FMG’s prices have also appeared widely on social media.

About Argus Media

Argus is an independent media organisation with almost 1,100 staff. It is headquartered in London and has 26 offices in the world’s principal commodity trading and production centres. Argus produces price assessments and analysis of international energy and other commodity markets and offers bespoke consulting services and industry-leading conferences.

Companies in 140 countries around the world use Argus data to index physical trade and as benchmarks in financial derivative markets as well as for analysis and planning purposes.

Argus was founded in 1970 and is a privately held UK-registered company. It is owned by employee shareholders, global growth equity firm General Atlantic and Hg, the specialist software and technology services investor.

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