Mining News Top 5

ASPERMONT Managing Editor Michael Cairnduff compiles the five most viewed stories on to offer readers a brief of leading industry news from the past week.
Mining News Top 5 Mining News Top 5 Mining News Top 5 Mining News Top 5 Mining News Top 5


For those who want the full story, please follow the links at the bottom of each brief back to, where the associated coverage has been made directly available for your convenience.

Search on for missing copper miner

A SEARCH is underway at Glencore's Mount Isa Mines copper operation in Queensland after a 34-year-old man was reported missing underground.

The worker was last seen underground at 11.30am (AEST) yesterday, and was reported missing at 3.30pm.

Operations have ceased while the search is underway.

"Emergency procedures were activated and we are currently trying to locate the missing person in conjunction with the police," MIM said.

The state's Mines Rescue Service is also assisting the effort.

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MinRes, Aquila call halts over transaction

THE battle for Aquila Resources may be about to get even more interesting after the company and its new major shareholder Mineral Resources called trading halts over a "potential material corporate transaction" this morning.

In separate releases, the companies asked the Australian Securities Exchange to halt their shares until the opening bell on Wednesday.

It comes after MinRes purchased a 12.8% stake in Aquila last week in a bold move to ensure it didn't get shut out of negotiations over the West Pilbara iron ore project.

It is understood MinRes and Aquila had been in talks regarding cooperation on the project since before Baosteel Resources and Aurizon Holdings made a surprise $A1.4 billion cash takeover bid for Aquila on May 5.

The emergence of MinRes on the Aquila register prompted speculation that Baosteel and Aurizon may lift the $3.40 offer price, particularly after MinRes paid $3.75 for a block of 50.2 million shares.

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Lehany to leave St Barbara

STRUGGLING gold producer St Barbara has announced its managing director and CEO, Tim Lehany, will finish up at the end of the month.

The company gave no reason for his departure, but said he would stay until the end of August to help with the transition.

St Barbara said a "structured succession process" to replace Lehany was advanced and it expected to make an early appointment of a replacement.

"An early priority of the replacement will be to consolidate the operational excellence of the Leonora operations and assess and resolve the strategic options for the future of the Pacific operations," St Barbara said.

Lehany oversaw the disastrous $A556 million takeover of Allied Gold in late 2012.

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Speeding tickets for fledgling explorer

MARKET newcomer Fifth Element Resources is unable to explain a 500% rise in its share price since listing nearly four weeks ago.

Shares in the junior explorer closed at $A1.20 on Friday, prompting a price query from the Australian Securities Exchange, the second in its short life.

Fifth Element listed on May 21 at 20c and its first few sessions of trading were uneventful, with little movement and thin volumes.

But on May 27, more than 4.9 million shares changed hands, with the stock rising to 23c.

Since then, shares have been rising steadily, prompting a first query on June 5 when the price hit 68c.

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The clash of Australia's mining and drinking cultures

IT IS well recognised that Australia has a strong drinking culture, with just over 80% of the Australian population stating that they consume alcohol.

For the majority, mixing alcohol and work is reserved for Christmas parties but there is unfortunately a percentage of the population who, either knowingly or unknowingly, go to work with an elevated blood alcohol level, or even a drug reading. And this is when things get dangerous on minesites.

A recent poll conducted by the Australian Drug Foundation across a range of industries found that one in five workers had performed work duties while under the influence of alcohol.

Alcohol and other drugs cost Australian businesses $A6 billion a year in lost productivity and absenteeism, with alcohol use contributing to 5% of all Australian workplace deaths and 11% of accidents.

At a Safety in Action exhibition panel discussion on the issue in Perth last week, Australian Drug Foundation workplace services head Phillip Collins said one of the problems with the way drugs and alcohol were managed was the lack of consistent legislative requirements for companies.

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