MNN's Top 10 2014

DOOM and gloom continue to be the biggest drawcards on, with bad news making up all of the best-read stories of the year.
MNN's Top 10 2014 MNN's Top 10 2014 MNN's Top 10 2014 MNN's Top 10 2014 MNN's Top 10 2014

Kristie Batten

The following list contains the Top 10 most-read stories on MNN/MNP this year, excluding Dryblower and other columns:

1. Axe swings on FMG execs (Kristie Batten, December 3)

Earlier this month, Fortescue Metals Group cut a number of senior executives, with development director Peter Meurs to take a two-month sabbatical.

FMG director health, safety and security Isak Buitendag and director, shared services, Peter Thomas left the company, though a spokesman said the changes weren't a result of the tough iron ore market.

"We made the decision to restructure the senior levels of the organisation in a way that will allow us to be even more flexible and adaptive moving forward," he told MNN at the time.

"Reshaping our leadership group will make our business more responsive and innovative, ensuring all areas of Fortescue are as efficient and productive as possible."

Re-read the full story here.

2. Tragedy strikes Buxton MD (Kristie Batten, July 21)

In July, Buxton Resources announced its managing director Anthony Maslin would take indefinite personal leave after the deaths of his three children.

Maslin's children Mo, Evie and Otis and their grandfather Nick Norris were passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 when it was shot down over the Eastern Ukraine.

Maslin later left the role permanently but remains on the board.

Re-read the full story here.

3. ‘Perfect storm' closes in on mining (Justin Niessner, June 6)

The Australian Institute of Geoscientists warned in June that the latest national figures showing a slump in exploration were only part of a triple threat confronting the resources sector.

Already facing the highest level of member unemployment in five years of surveys, AIG said the dramatic slump in on-ground dollars spent on exploration was part of a three-pronged problem for the industry.

"The mining boom is gone and the downturn is now in full swing, our members are increasingly jobless as a result and now we see confirmed officially that the exploration spend itself has suffered a dramatic decline," AIG president Wayne Spilsbury said.

Re-read the full story here.

4. Worker found dead at mine camp (Kristie Batten, September 19)

A contractor was found dead in his room at Saracen Mineral Holdings' Red October mine near Laverton in September.

A police spokesperson confirmed the man was believed to be 45 years of age and the death was not suspicious.

Re-read the full story here.

5. Worker killed at Tas mine (Justin Niessner, January 17)

A Barminco employee died at Copper Mines of Tasmania's Mount Lyell operation in Queenstown, just weeks after two deaths at the site in December 2013.

Tasmanian police confirmed the worker as a 53-year-old man.

The mine was later shut down.

Re-read the full story here.

6. ‘Playboy' CEO accused of embezzling funds (Kristie Batten, April 2)

Australian mining company CEO Aaron Thomas was accused of embezzling more than $US7 million from the iron ore explorer he founded in London, Oakmont Resources.

The New York Post reported that Thomas used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including private jets, a luxury yacht and a $171,000 Tiffany engagement ring for fiance Thaiana Rodrigues.

The lawsuit against him was later thrown out.

Re-read the full story here.

7. Forge sacks 1300 workers (Andrew Duffy, February 13)

Around 1300 workers on power stations and mining projects in Western Australia and Queensland were sacked after Forge Group's fall into administration.

"There is no money to pay the employees and no work to perform," KordaMentha Restructuring partner Mark Mentha said.

Forge slipped into receivership after its financier, ANZ Bank, withdrew support for the company.

Re-read the full story here.

8. Police investigate Tropicana off-duty deaths (Andrew Duffy, June 5)

The death of a Macmahon Holdings worker who had been employed at AngloGold Ashanti's Tropicana mine is believed to be related to another fatality in May.

Police confirm they are investigating both deaths but few details have been released and a spokesperson refused to comment when contacted by MNN.

It is alleged the first worker died after being involved in an off-shift fight at the mine's village on May 19, while reports in the West Australian suggested the second worker had taken his own life.

Re-read the full story here.

9. Worker killed at Gove (Kristie Batten, February 26)

A worker was killed at Rio Tinto's Gove alumina operation in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory in February.

Rio confirmed that the employee was fatally injured while completing routine maintenance work.

Re-read the full story here.

10. ‘Party's over' for iron ore miners (Kristie Batten, November 11)

ANZ Research said iron ore demand was worse than expected and slashed its forecasts, saying prices won't return to above $US100 per tonne.

ANZ head of commodity research Mark Pervan said the "party's over for iron ore" after returning from a marketing trip to China to visit steel mills and traders.

He said the mood was cautious with participants seeing little upside in the near-term and a more muted outlook for the Chinese domestic housing market.

ANZ said the super profits enjoyed by iron ore miners over the past few years were over and the dynamic of large, low-cost producers bedding down market share had come 2-3 years ahead of expectation.

Re-read the full story here.

Meanwhile, other popular topics this year were charges against Ausdrill for a 2010 death; Gold Fields' St Ives discovery; FMG ordered to stop blasting; Cassini's Succoth copper project; and investigations into Tropicana death, which also received many thousands of hits.