Hot on the heels of a bumper year for WA’s Southern Ports, the Pilbara Ports Authority has announced a record 752.4 million tonnes throughput. For the fourth year running, the combined Pilbara Ports increased their output to a staggering $164 billion in export value. The 2022/23 financial year saw this figure increase by 3% on the previous, despite facing challenges in the form of production issues, tight labour conditions and higher raw material costs.

The arrival of Tropical Cyclone Ilsa in April also saw Port Hedland shut down for three days. Far from satisfied, Pilbara Ports chief executive officer Samuel McSkimming said the Authority would seek expansion through several new infrastructure projects.

“Progressing infrastructure projects at the operational ports of Port Hedland, Dampier, and Ashburton would enable an increase and diversification of trade,” Mr McSkimming said. “To facilitate demand, we’re embarking on several projects, including building new multi-user wharves at Port Hedland and Dampier.”

To support the energy transition alongside WA’s climate goals, ​​Lumsden Point in Port Hedland will assist in exporting battery metals while also allowing the import of renewable energy infrastructure like wind turbines and blades. “Our Dampier Cargo Wharf Projects will include the construction of a new wharf in support of the multibillion-dollar Perdaman Urea project, a link bridge and existing wharf upgrades, which will equip the Port to handle more trade, reach international urea markets,” Mr McSkimming added. 

Over 43% of global iron ore and 7.5% of global LNG departed through Pilbara Ports in the financial period. The result included 17,500 vessel movements, equalling at least 48 daily movements across four operational ports.

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Rio Tinto and Giampaolo Invest in Recycled Aluminium

Rio Tinto will pour $700 million into the manufacture and marketing of recycled aluminium products.

Under a joint venture with Giampaolo Group (GG), one of North America’s largest fully-integrated metal management companies, the partners hope to meet the surging demand for low-carbon aluminium as the energy transition takes shape.

Rio is now set to acquire a 50% stake in Giampaolo Group’s wholly-owned Matalco business, subject to the usual closing adjustments.

Matalco at a glance:

  • A leading producer of high-quality recycled aluminium billet and slab products
  • Operates six facilities in the United States and one in Canada
  • Produces approximately 900,000 tonnes of recycled aluminium per annum.

Another GG subsidiary, Triple M Metal, will be responsible for the supply of recyclable feed material. At the same time, Rio will be responsible for the sales and marketing of Matalco products following a transition period. Recycled aluminium is predicted to account for over half of the United States’ demand by 2028.


Australia Achieves “Superpower” Status in Critical Minerals

President of BHP’s Americas division, Rag Udd, has labelled Australia and Canada as the “superpowers” of natural resources needed to accelerate decarbonisation.

Udd made the comments at the Australia–Canada Economic Forum in Toronto earlier this month, while also highlighting the opportunities for both nations to increase the development of critical minerals while extending trade ties and increasing collaboration. 

“On a global scale, Canada and Australia are relatively small economies,” Mr Udd said. “Nonetheless, we are superpowers when it comes to natural resources, absolute superpowers, and the world is going to need the resources and the expertise we have to advance decarbonisation, to drive forward the energy transition and to be able to feed a growing world population.”

“If we can collaborate more when it comes to simplification around regulation, predictable fiscal regimes, adoption of new technologies and how to make more efficient processes and systems. I think Canada and Australia can play a key role in supercharging the economies of the Indo-Pacific by leveraging the joint expertise we have built up in the natural resources sector,” he added. 


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