CFMEU Report Says Most Australians have not benefited from the Mining Boom

According to a news report Australians are not seeing enough economic benefits from the country’s once-in-a-century mining boom.


while mining company profits have surged over the past 20 years the share of industry income paid in wages has dropped according to the study commissioned by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.


In addition, it says record mining industry profits have outstripped growth in taxes and royalties.


CFMEU mining division general secretary, Andrew Vickers, says the economic benefits of the resources boom have been highly concentrated.


“Australia as a country and Australians generally haven’t benefited from the mining boom, the unprecedented mining boom we’ve seen over the last ten years,” he said.


“And the alarming thing is just how well companies have done out of it. What tax they haven’t paid compared to what they sprout about themselves paying,” he said.


The CFMEU asked for the mining tax to be changed instead of repealing it.


It wants to a Norwegian-style sovereign wealth fund to be considered to invest the proceeds of the mining boom as well.


LISTEN: Sue Lannin speaks with Andrew Vickers from the CFMEU


“What the report concludes is that this country ought to have a very long, hard but quick look at what the Norwegians have done and that’s a sovereign wealth fund,” Mr Vickers said.


The study contrasts with a recent report commissioned by the Minerals Council, which said the benefits of the mining boom were trickling down to the community.


The Minerals Council report said the mining industry spent $35 billion on community infrastructure and local suppliers in 2011-12 and paid about $21 billion in taxes and royalties.


According to the report, most of the $35 billion was spent on local contractors and suppliers to service mines.


The Minerals Council’s Ben Mitchell has rejected the report and says mining companies have made enormous contributions to the country.


“98 per cent of everything we’ve earned out of Australia has been invested back in Australia to keep operations going,” he said.


“Now, that revenue has to come from somewhere; it’s come from Australian operations, even come from overseas operations coming back into Australia so we have invested massively in Australia over the past ten years.”


Investment Banks Moving To Neutral on Mining Stocks

At least for a few investment banks like JP Morgan Cazenove and Citigroup, the negative tides for mining stocks appear to shifting towards the positive as they have changed their views from bearish to neutral.

JP Morgan Cazenove is still taking a guarded position towards mining stocks but sees companies within the industry aggressively cutting costs which is one of the reasons why mining stocks rise.

Citi analysts stay negative in their short-term outlook of the sector except furthermore observe some positivity in mining stocks in six months.

“We believe that the large miners, such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, are now reaching yield support as they are trading on higher yields than the market,” Citi said.

Eric Lemieux, mining analyst with Laurentian Bank Securities in Montreal, remains bullish on mining stocks, saying that the commodities super cycle has not ended and despite slowdowns in the economy, there is still strong metals consumption.

The hit that commodity prices and miners have taken in 2013 may not necessarily be a bad thing, he said.

“With this downturn, in the scope of things, I think it’s positive for the industry because we did have a period of micro inflation where costs had gone up tremendously in terms of labor and engineering firms; it just overheated,” Lemieux said. “This retreat and decline in commodity prices, although it hurts, there’s some positives here in terms of cost settling down.”

JP Morgan mentioned a bottoming out in Chinese commodity import volumes and Chinese commodity inventories coming off recent highs as a possible catalyst for stronger metals demand.

While it boils down to consumption and a need for commodities for Lemieux.

“If you look at what’s going on in Asia, even though there’s been a slowdown in China, they’re still consuming, they still have to modernize,” Lemieux said. “I have a sense that things will eventually bounce back up.

“I think the end game is that commodities have some way to go and I wouldn’t be neutral,” he added.

Khandeparkar Panel to Investigate More into Illegal Mining in Goa

Helping the government arrest illegalities and prepare a roadmap for future of mining industry in the state is the Goa government-appointed Justice R M S Khandeparkar committee on illegal mining.  He has decided to probe further the illicit tapping of iron ore in Goa.
“The terms of reference of the Committee are very clear. They are not just restricted to findings of Justice M B Shah Committee….It also includes the assistance to the government to decide on future of proper mining in the state,” Khandeparkar said.
The Committee will not only go through the findings of Shah Commission, but will also probe several aspects which were left untouched by them he said.
“The Shah Commission has not been able to do many things because of absence of material on record,” the former High Court judge said.
“Whatever they have left out would also be investigated,” he said.
The state government had informed Khandeparkar Committee to investigate more into the findings of Justice M B Shah Commission.  This has pegged illegal mining in the state to Rs 35,000 crore.
The claim of illegality was refused by the mine owners.  These mine owners had stated that they were not given hearing as a part of natural justice.
Khandeparkar said that he has already approved the first draft of the notice which would be issued for the public asking them to come forward with any information regarding illegal mining in Goa.
He said that everyone would be heard during the course of the investigation by the Committee.

“Whoever wants to be heard would be heard,” he said responding to a question whether mine owners would be called for hearing.
Khandeparkar said the first meeting of the Committee is yet to be held as they are waiting for the infrastructure to be put in place.
“The Committee will decide how to go ahead with the investigations,” he said, adding that there is no deadline set for submitting the final report to the government.
The former High Court Judge, however, said that the committee will continue with its investigation but will wait for the final judgement from SC on the mining matter.


“For forming any final conclusion we should have proper respect for the judiciary (SC),” he said.

Queensland Miners Gives their Word for More Local Content

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) on Thursday listed a local content code of practice that would observe the state’s resources industry strengthen its binds with local contractors.

It was in the state and nation’s long-term interest to support flexible and outcomes-based measures to ‘join the dots’ between the resources sector and local suppliers, QRC CEO Michael Roche said.

“The minerals and energy sector is recognised as underpinning the Queensland economy by providing more than 70 000 direct jobs, and through A$28-billion in local purchases, more than 400 000 indirect jobs.

“However, we’re not resting on our laurels. This code is the right vehicle to pursue the twin goals of facilitating a high level of Queensland content in Queensland resource projects, while maintaining and enhancing the sector’s competitiveness in increasingly tough global markets,” Roche said.

The code presented enhanced opportunities for local industry participation in major projects, allowing resource companies to tailor their approach, based on their individual circumstances, he added.

“It replaces and improves upon the ‘tick-a-box’ regulatory approach embraced by both the previous state government and current federal government using a system built on giving local businesses a ‘full, fair and reasonable’ opportunity to be a supplier to resource projects in Queensland.”

Roche further added that the code adopted a strong “shared responsibility” framework, with the QRC, government, minerals and energy producers and local suppliers working together to deliver on the principle of ‘full, fair and reasonable’ opportunity.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said on Thursday that a new code of practice will see more major resources projects engage local industry suppliers.

He noted that the code would be owned, led and managed by industry and focused on ‘full, fair and reasonable’ access for local industry in all aspects of their projects.

“The benefits to Queensland’s economy of resources and energy investments are potentially huge – the pipeline of projects for environmental approval alone is worth a forecast A$71-billion, plus A$56-billion in liquefied natural gas investment already approved. But the maximum benefit depends on Queensland companies and workforce getting access to major project opportunities.”

Resources projects needed practical strategies to engage local industry if they were going to secure enduring community support, deliver projects effectively and maximise benefits for Queenslanders, the Minister noted.

The code would request proponents to take on practical local content tactics to make certain there was early engagement with Queensland industry, all-encompassing procurement practices and presented for guidance and support for proponents to carry out successful strategies.

It established an implementation framework, and a group of industry stakeholders including suppliers to monitor and refine delivery. Importantly, the code also provides a means to assess progress and report outcomes publicly, Seeney aid.

The project proponents would benefit directly from taking ownership of local content principles he added.

“Wherever local companies rise to the challenge, there’s an opportunity for long-term local supply solutions to their needs,” he said.

He renowned that the state government would do its part in promoting the adoption of the code, in supplier education and helping to position local industry to tender successfully.



Walker Considers to Revise Mining Bill if it means More Jobs in Wisconsin

He would be willing to consider tweaks to last year’s stalled mining bill, as long as the new measure results in actual mining jobs in Wisconsin, says Gov. Scott Walker last Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. Walker also added that the goal of a new bill should be to create jobs. Any changes unrelated to that end would be unproductive. He told reporters after addressing employees at Phoenix Products Company Inc., a Milwaukee Company that makes heavy-duty lights for mining equipment, “We’re going to look to make a series of reasonable changes and improvements if warranted as long as they ultimately lead to a mine in the state of Wisconsin.”


Walker was bordered by a number of Republican state lawmakers. Earlier in the day, Speaker-elect Robin Vos and Majority Leader Scott Suder, who were also flanked Walker, released a statement saying the first bill the will introduce this session will reform Wisconsin’s mining laws. Vos said, “I’m hopeful all the interested parties can come together to protect our environment and make mining reform happen.”


After moderate Republican Sen. Dale Schultz blocked a bill that had cleared the GOP- controlled Assembly, the Legislature couldn’t reach agreement on a mining proposal. Republicans worked last year to help Gogebic Taconite open a huge iron mine near Lake Superior. To make it easier to open an iron ore mine in Penokee Hills Ashland in northwestern Wisconsin, Gogebic Taconite of Hurley had been lobbying for the bill. According to Walker, he thought the Assembly bill would be a good starting point for creating a new bill.


The Republican governor said that the company was prepared to invest $1.5 billion and that the mine would create thousands of jobs. The mining would create about 700 jobs at the mine itself and an additional 2,100 in related jobs. But the company would need scam prevention assurances that regulations would remain consistent, he added that in return. This would create jobs but would also create disadvantages. And they must not forget, scam prevention.


One of the fears is the destruction of the environment. Environmentalists were alarmed that the mine would devastate one of the state’s most pristine regions near Lake Superior. Although they have called for strict guidelines that would ensure the quality of air, water and soil in the area, they could still use some alternative prevention. In relation with this, a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to craft a new version of the bill that Schultz and Democratic opponents could support.


Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca said he wanted to make sure that any new mining bill has bipartisan support. People could start going back to work, but he said the bill needs to broad enough to ensure proper environmental protections as well. “We need to make sure the bill creates mining jobs and also protects our natural resources, as well as our tourism and agricultural economies that are so vital to Wisconsin,” he said in a statement. We just sure hope that they can also find ways of scam prevention and other ways on how to deal with the disadvantages of mining.

Duties of a Boiler Maker and Welders

Boiler Makers are very vital in fact without them the industry would run because basically they are involved in the design, construction, maintenance or repair of different metal products by joining parts using a variety of welding methods, either manually or by using machines making them very significant within the mining and gas industry.  So without them, who will construct these boilers?
Both jobs, Boiler makers and Welders, have basically the same type of job in the industry.  It is usually very involved and dangerous at the best of times.
Boilermakers have two main tasks.  These tasks are frequently engaged in oxy acetylene gas torch set to cut or gouge steel plates and tubes.  Followed by gas tungsten arc welding, shielded metal arc welding or gas metal arc welding to attach and mend the cut sections of tubes and steel plates.
Without these tiny little parts the industry would not work at all, that is how vital their role is.  Parts that are finished are used to complete structures and equipment in the mining industry.  Boiler Makers / Welders may vary their works due to welding specialization, such as custom fabrication, pressure vessel welding, pipeline construction welding, structural construction welding or machinery and equipment repair welding, each have different approach in welding therefore requires different approach from the welder.
Before one can enter a company if one would like to be employed in the mining industry in Australia, one must consider two things in a company they are applying for.  He also might have to acquire specialties in certain fields by working for a company that’s mining a particular surface or a certain underground resource.  There are generally only two major differences in the companies that hire them, the size of the company and the type of material that is being mined.
You might also have to keep in mind that Australian mines have also changes to keep up with the times so many different types of machinery and plant equipment that each job description could vary a lot.  Mining companies needs definitely have changed over time with advancements in technology and also the wide and varied locations, this means that the job of the Boiler Maker / Welder may also change overtime.


Skills one must possess to become a boiler maker or welder:

  • Trade qualification Certificate III in Engineering (Fabrication) obtained through an apprenticeship.
  • Recognition of existing skills, experience or other qualifications.
  • Experience in similar industries, maybe in manufacturing or agriculture. • Enjoy technical work and have commitment to accuracy.
  • Be physically fit and are safety conscious.
  • Team player, have an ability to adapt to shift work and maybe long hours.
  • Willing to work away from home and travel.
  • No skin or breathing allergies.
  • Do not suffer from claustrophobia, which is the fear of confined spaces.


Remember, in any job that you do you will not succeed unless you are happy with it.  If this is what you really want then more likely you are fit for the job


Commodities and Gold Fraud Prevention

Investments in commodities and precious metals can be made indirectly through stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, or derivatives or people can directly buy or sell the commodity or precious metal itself. Commodities may include crude oil, coal, sugar, coffee beans, wheat and other goods.   Precious metals are gold, silver or platinum.  Interest in precious metals has increased in recent years as the price of gold and silver has reached all-time highs. These commodities and gold are bought by investors primarily to hedge against inflation, economic uncertainty, and foreign exchange risk, in the belief that these metals, particularly gold, are repositories of absolute value, whereas paper currencies and securities dominated in such currencies have relative value and are vulnerable to loss.  The high value of gold and commodities lead to easy money for scammers.  It attracts more vigorously of fraudulent activity.  There are many types of common tricks that are actually uncommon to ordinary people.


•          Cash for gold – With the rise in the value of gold due to the financial crisis, there has been a surge in companies that will buy personal gold in exchange for cash, or sell investments in gold bullion and coins. Several of these have prolific marketing plans and high value spokesmen, such as prior vice presidents.  Many of these companies are under investigation for a variety of securities fraud claims, as well as laundering money for terrorist organizations.  Also given that ownership is often not verified, many companies are considered to be receiving stolen property, and multiple laws are under consideration on methods to curtail this.


•          High-yield investment programs – HYIPs are usually just pyramid schemes dressed up with no real value underneath.  Using gold in their prospectus makes them seem more solid and trustworthy.


•          Advance fee fraud – Various emails circulate on the Internet for buyers or sellers of up to 10,000 metric tons of gold.  This is more gold than the US Federal Reserve owns. Often naive middlemen are drafted in as hopeful brokers, and usually mention mythical terms like ‘Swiss Procedure’ or ‘FCO’ (Full Corporate Offer).  The end-game of these scams is unknown, but they probably just attempt to extract a small ‘validation’ sum out of the innocent buyer/seller from their hope of getting the big deal.


•          Gold dust sellers – This scam persuades an investor there is real gold with a trial quantity, then eventually delivers brass filings or similar.


•          Counterfeit gold coins.


•          Shares in fraudulent mining companies with no gold reserves, or potential of finding gold.


•          Gold Party Scam– Gold parties are typically held in people’s homes, at places of worship, and at schools. The hook used to lure you in is the promise of cash for your unwanted gold jewelry, coins, and other items. The buyer tests your gold and pays you cash on the spot (based on the gold’s purity and weight). Sounds like a good deal, right? WRONG!


New report shows an increase in investment fraud scheme.  If someone asks you to engage in big investments and big payment up-front and you are unsure of their identity, be very cautious.  Be extra careful to those people promising you a 20-25% result.  More often than not most promising deals are created just to attract potential victims.

Mining Boom In Its Last Stages?

BHP Billiton’s project rollbacks worth USD50 billion, a significant difference from its formerly active expansion tactic, is now being seen as the latest sign that the worldwide mining boom has come to its end.

The mining company announce that its project to turn the Olympic Dam, the most valuable mineral deposit discovered in Australia, into the biggest ever open-pit mine has been delayed because of an increase in construction expenses. In addition, copper and uranium prices fell along with a strong domestic currency. As a possible solution, BHP is looking into a less expensive design for the mine that is poised to make thousands of employment opportunities. Their Olympic Dam, home to one of the biggest copper deposits and the greatest uranium source, is seen as the flagship project of BHP.

This expansion project concerning the Olympic Dam will probably be the first in a string of changes. A USD10 billion potash mine in Canada and an USD19 billion iron ore port in Port Hedland are both reportedly getting scrapped.

According to Marius Kloppers, BHP chief executive, in such a frail market, the company has to look for a way to maximize the use of the Olympic Dam without spending too much of its capital. Possible alterations in design are focused on open-pit expansion where it seems that the project was postponed for a later date but not totally cancelled.

BHP is going to continue 20 projects where it has already spent USD 22.8 billion though it will not approve new ones until the last quarter of 2013. It has postponed the planned facilities in Australia, Canada and Queensland for scam prevention.

“Disciplined investment throughout the economic cycle has established momentum in our business,” Kloppers said, adding that they are planning to drastically reduce expenses next year and will close unprofitable operations.

Twenty years ago, they are reportedly mulling about selling the petroleum division.


Republican House Passes new Mining Bill

Republicans in the House of Representative have passed a bill that basically exempts silver, uranium, copper and gold mining on federal land from formal environmental assessment, consequently making it more difficult for environmental organizations to oppose new mining operations.


The HR 4402 bill passed the House by a 256-160 margin and was sponsored by Rep. Mark Amodei is the latest in GOP-led House string of favor for the industrial sector.


The bill called National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act was approved by the Republican House with 22 Democrats voting in favor of it after debates that it could be a false pro-people legislation.


According to Republicans, such changes are required to keep the US in pace with the world in terms of mineral production, which is seen as crucial not only to manufacturing industries but also to national security.


This particular bill will grant the government the power to use state assessments instead of the federal environmental review. This review will be limited to fewer number of months and will only be allowed for an extension if both the mining company and the government agreed on one.


Unsurprisingly, this development is greatly supported by mining companies that are vying for access to the US resources.


Its approval of the bill on Thursday will require government agencies to limit their decision-making periods in issuing mining permits to 30 months.


“The whole idea of the National Environmental Protection Act is that there would be an independent review that involves public input, input from all affected interests, and input from somebody who speaks for the land, and somebody who speaks for the trees,” Rep. Rush Holt said.


Seventeen minerals are generally considered as “rare earth” minerals that the bill would supposedly cover. Unfortunately, the bill appears to be vague about the coverage and could also be used on minerals in unrelated sectors.


“The bill we are considering today is so broadly drafted, where apparently sand and gravel and crushed stone are considered rare and strategic, that the majority actually appears to be trying to usher in a new stone age,” Rep. Edward Markey said.


The House approval will send the legislation to the Senate, but it is likely to get ignored. Meanwhile, Black Hawk Mining Bulletin Articles has already expressed its strong opposition against the bill due to its environmental implications.

Silver, Copper Mining could Save Haiti

Haiti’s copper and silver reserves in its hills are now up for an extensive exploitation by a Canadian corporation that has reportedly damaged the neighboring Dominican Republic.


Once this mining plan is authorized while Haiti is under foreign occupation, it could practically leave the country without its ecological, cultural and mineral wealth.


Moreover, concerns surrounding the mining venture have been raised as the operation calls for the construction of a deep-water port in the northeastern part of the country, posing a significant threat to their marine ecosystem.


The biggest water reservoir that is near the mining operations is at constant risk of cyanide contamination, adding to the reports that the firm has been previously accused of destroying Indian archeological sites by using dynamites on mountainsand.


Geologists of the United Nations have documented significant pockets of copper and gold in 1970s but at that time, foreigners were not willing to risk their money in an unstable and corrupt country.


Surprisingly, it was not after the 2010 earthquake that outside investment was encouraged and investors discovered a good opportunity. In fact, just 2 weeks after the catastrophe, a Canadian exploration company purchased all the stocks of the only Haitian company which has full permits in exchange for an area of land, practically appearing as a scam.


Three companies are already considering prospects of mining in Haiti but at present, only Somine has complete concessions to bring the metals out of the area. The said permits for 31 square miles were negotiated in 1996 during the presidency of Rene Preval and which required the company to hire Haitians.


According to the parties interested in the mining prospects:

“What we’re most excited about is that we found some silver which was never really realized before. It’s the first silver discovery in Haiti. Part of the reason why it was never really discovered was that historically there was so much copper prevalent — there’s a lot of outcropping at surface. The people who did the work before did not do much testing, even for gold. The geology is a little complex for a copper porphyry, but in a good way. The surprises that we’re getting are all good ones.”


At the end of the day, if Haiti could have a good administration and honest mining companies, it is still possible for it to move forward, said Black Hawk Mining Bulletin Articles