Daily iron ore price update (BHP cuts)

Find below the iron ore price table for July 1, 2013:

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Rebar futures were also flat.

In news, BHP has announced accelerated automation in the Pilbara:

BHP Billiton is speeding up the modernisation of its Pilbara iron ore division, with efforts to reduce spending on contractors coinciding with the launch of a high-tech remote operating centre in Perth.

BHP’s iron ore chief, Jimmy Wilson, will open the ”integrated remote operating centre” with WA Premier Colin Barnett on Tuesday, starting an era in which much of the mining and logistics work in the Pilbara will be done from Perth.

The project is designed to keep pace with Rio Tinto, which operates a similar multimillion-dollar set-up at Perth Airport. Roy Hill Holdings is also developing one for its $US10 billion iron ore mine, port and rail project.

Investors will closely watch Mr Wilson’s comments for any guidance on iron ore production, with the company trying to meet its target of producing 183 million tonnes in the 2013 financial year.

Mr Wilson is likely to be quizzed about the future of contractors on BHP’s Pilbara mines, after renewed reports that the company is seeking to bring some contracting work in-house.

That has become a trend in Australia’s coal sector, with BHP, Xstrata and others doing so in a bid to lower costs.

This is the problem with the so-called third phase of the mining boom. It may support growth through productivity and exports but its also sheds labour like its going out of fashion.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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