Ground Breakers: ‘War drones’ and ‘smart mines’ on the wish list of Australia’s richest woman
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Australia’s richest anything Gina Rinehart has already taken the crown for the most eyebrow-raising response to our change of Government, calling on the new Albanese Labor Government to launch ‘war drones’, ‘smart mines’ and a missile defence system to defend the nation’s iron ore resources.
In a post-election interview with the AFR, Rinehart — who probably has the money to pay for the drones and a decent sized militia herself — let loose.
She wants naval maintenance moved north from Fremantle to Cape Preston, near the site of fellow iron ore magnate’s sworn enemy Citic’s Sino Iron mine.
We’ll need to get our maps out later to check where that sits within her long-mooted ‘special economic zone’ for Northern Australia.
But this is the part sure to get the most attention:
“Given the lack of defence in Australia’s north-west, despite it being the powerhouse of Australia’s economy, I also hope that smart mines are urgently implemented in abundance in at least our northern and north-west (and north-east) oceans,” the iron ore magnate was quoted as saying, adding that Australia needed to make itself a ‘prickly porcupine’ as soon as possible.
How will we do this? Less government red tape, Rinehart not at all predictably says.
Other rich mining folk have weighed in. Andrew Forrest, who wants to turn Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) into the world’s largest green hydrogen exporter, congratulated Albanese.
He said he hoped to see “more forward-leaning climate change policy from Australia”.
Miners have had a broadly positive reaction this morning in the immediate aftermath of Albanese’s unseating of Coalition PM Scott Morrison.
All of the iron ore majors were higher, with Forrest’s FMG up almost 3% to lead the materials index to a 1.31% morning gain.
That was partly driven by higher metals prices in China, where the largest cut to the lending rate since 2019 was put in place late last week to drive hopes of property and infrastructure investment once its Covid lockdowns are through.
Mining services provider Perenti Global (ASX:PRN) has avoided a downgrade to its FY22 guidance despite complaints about labour and supply constraints, and the recent death of two employees at its Zone 5 copper mine contract in Botswana.
The former Ausdrill, which mourned the death of its founder and WA mining veteran Ron Sayers this month, said it expects to deliver FY22 revenue of $2.4 billion and EBIT(A) of between $170-175 million.
That compares to previously reported guidance of $2.2-2.4b revenue and $165-185m EBIT(A), initially provided on the basis Covid-19 impacts did not worsen.
The company says it has delayed the release of its long-term strategy, initially pegged for May in the wake of the incident in Botswana.
But Perenti said it did not have an impact on 2022 guidance.
The owner of the 60,000tpa African copper mine, Khoemacau, said the two blasting crew members had moved underground to perform tasks at the Tshukudu section of the operation 140m below surface.
Perenti said an investigation into the tragic fatalities was under way.
“The death of our two colleagues is devastating and our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends and work mates,” Perenti MD and CEO Mark Norwell said.
“We are working closely with our client and authorities to thoroughly investigate this incident and address the findings at Zone 5, and where applicable, across our business more broadly.”