Capex on advanced mining projects down 4%: ABARE

According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics’ (ABARE) major development projects report for October, 85 projects were at an advanced stage of development at the end of last month – the lowest number in three years and down from 97 in April.In the six months to October, 22 major minerals and energy projects with a capex of $10.8 billion were completed, while 10 projects have progressed to an advanced stage and 31 new projects have been added to the list.“However, given the significant changes in the global economic outlook, there is still the chance that some projects may be deferred, modified or even cancelled,” ABARE acting executive director Karen Schneider warned. “It’s too early to tell at this stage.”Despite this, investment interest remains strong in iron ore with 11 advanced iron ore projects accounting for 18%, or $12.3 billion, of the estimated capital cost of all listed major projects. Five metal mining projects were added to the advanced project list in the six months to October, with a combined capital value of $2.7 billion.The largest projects were Moly Mines’ Spinifex Ridge molybdenum/copper project, valued at $1.3 billion, and Incitec Pivot’s Moranbah Ammonium Nitrate project, valued at $935 million. Others new to the list included the Eucla Basin Mineral Sands (Jacinth and Ambrosia) project, Fortescue Metal Group’s first stage of its Heng Shan iron ore expansion and Atlas Iron’s Pardoo direct shipping ore project.The largest advanced gold project is Newmont and AngloGold Ashanti’s $3 billion redevelopment of the Boddington gold mine in Western Australia.Other gold projects include three smaller developments: Newcrest’s $545 million Ridgeway Deeps mine expansion in New South Wales; Lihir Gold’s $120 million Ballarat East mine redevelopment in Victoria; and Apex Minerals’ $62 million Wiluna mine expansion in Western Australia.Two copper projects are under construction with the more significant one being Oxiana’s $1.1 billion Prominent Hill project in South Australia.In terms of capital costs by state, Western Australia topped the list with $43.8 billion spent on advanced projects with $18.8 billion allocated to mining projects and $2.7 billion for minerals processing. Queensland accounted for $12 billion of total capex on advanced projects with $1.2 billion on mining projects and $2.9 billion spent on minerals processing.

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