Big miners, big problems

AUSTRALIA'S biggest miners are caught in a trap of their own making. Chronic under-investment in exploration has left them exposed to another round of dicey acquisitions. The Metal Detective, By Stephen Bell

Big miners, big problems Big miners, big problems Big miners, big problems Big miners, big problems Big miners, big problems

We might not be at the top of the current commodities cycle but it’s probably not too far off.

So, the mindset of the biggest miners has turned from screwing down costs to looking at how they can grow, or at least maintain production in the next decade.

For Rio Tinto and BHP, sustaining tonnes is not really an issue – they just need to build replacement iron ore mines in the Pilbara.

But, if you dig deeper into their closets, both have problems in terms of growing their asset base after virtually opting out of meaningful exploration in the past decade.

Rio has talked about Jadar lithium in Serbia but we don’t know enough about that to confidently say it will see the light...