Ground Breakers: Major miners launch $750 million charm offensive in the West
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Major miners led by BHP (ASX:BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), MinRes (ASX:MIN) and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting have launched a $750 million community infrastructure fund in WA, which will initially used to support ‘legacy projects’ in the mining rich state.
The charm offensive in the West comes as miners and the Minerals Council of Australia launch into a PR assault in Canberra to scuttle the Albanese Government’s labour relations law changes and conduct some witchdoctery to ward off the spectre of a potential coal and gas windfall tax.
It also comes after a major blow-up with athletes over sponsorship from mining corporates, which included Rinehart’s decision to pull a $15 million sponsorship offer (later taken up by Tourism Victoria) for Netball Australia after criticism from players.
The WA Government hopes the fund eventually tops $1 billion.
$500m of the initial cash for the fund will come from BHP and Rio, who dig up tens of billions worth of iron ore each year in the Pilbara, with Hancock tipping in $100m and MinRes, Woodside (ASX:WDS) and Chevron on the hook for $50m each.
There are reportedly no tax or royalty concessions involved, meaning the companies involved are doing this all from the goodness of their hearts, we’re sure.
Resources stocks on the ASX have defied bearish commodity moves overnight to move higher this morning, with the materials sector lifting 0.79% and energy stocks up 2.08%, led by 8.17% gainer Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).
Thermal coal prices were at US$343.50t overnight, with coking coal futures down 0.6% to US$258/t amid steel mill closures in Europe and South East Asia.
Meanwhile, concerns China’s Covid restrictions could come back to hammer commodity demand after the country’s “first Covid death” in six months over the weekend saw industrial and base metals fall.
Copper dropped 2.4% to US$7881/t, with nickel down 1.6% to US$24,983/t and zinc off 4.1% to US$2906/t.
Aluminium fell 2.1% to US$2379/t while iron ore ended three weeks of near consistent gains, down 3.6% to US$95.05/t.