Feb 17, 2018 Last Updated 2:08 PM, Feb 15, 2018

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Australian female labour force participation reaches record high

Australian female labour force…

AusBN - Australia’s female labour force participation rate reached a ...

South Australia to help fund green hydrogen-fuelled power plant

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AusBN - The government of South Australia will help fund one of the largest...

Queensland wind farm project to create 200 construction jobs

Queensland wind farm project t…

AusBN - A recently approved AUS$200 million wind farm project in North Quee...

Barrick sells Cowal gold mine to Evolution

AusBN – Mid-tier miner Evolution Mining (ASX: CAH) is set to become Australia’s second-largest gold producer with the purchase of Barrick Gold’s (TSX, NYSE: ABX) Cowal gold mine.

The world’s number one gold miner sold its New South Wales-based mine for US$550 million as part of an effort to cut its $13 billion debt by $3 billion before the end of the year.

Barrick has now sold six mines since 2012, five of which were in Australia, and holds only one remaining gold asset in the country: a 50% stake in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit.

The Canadian miner is also looking to sell its Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea and a stake in the Zaldivar copper mine in Chile, among other assets.

In a statement, Barrick co-president Kevin Dushnisky said: “The sale of Cowal is consistent with the strategy we have outlined to create long-term value for our owners, making a significant contribution to our debt reduction target while further focusing the geographic footprint of our portfolio.”

Once the transaction completes by October, Evolution’s production rate will overtake that of Australia’s current second-largest gold producer, Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST).


BG takes control of Queensland LNG plant

AusBN – BG Group (LSE: BG) subsidiary Queensland Gas Company (QGC) has begun commercial operations at the Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) plant after assuming control of Train 1 from its builder Bechtel Australia.

Train 1 began production in December 2014, making QCLNG the first LNG facility in the world to be supplied by coal seam gas.

Since then, a total of 16 LNG cargoes have been shipped from the plant and construction begun on Train 2, due to begin operations in the third quarter of 2015.

In a statement, BG Group CEO Helge Lund said: “We are pleased to be taking operational control of QCLNG following its successful start-up and commissioning over the past six months.

“The cargoes from Train 1, along with those from Train 2 when it starts up later this year, will add flexibility to BG Group’s LNG portfolio.”

With both Train 1 and Train 2 fully operational, QCLNG is expected to produce around 8 million tonnes of LNG per year.

The facility comprises five components: the gas field, LNG plant, swing basin, channel and shipping operations, and a pipeline that BG has just sold to APA Group for around US$4.5 billion.


Australia reaches compromise on RET

AusBN – After two years of debating the country’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), the Australian government and opposition have agreed on a compromise.

This is to set the RET at 33,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) by 2020 without a formal two-year review.

The coalition government originally called for a review of the RET because it thought the 41,000 GWh target legislated by the previous Labor government was too high.

It wanted to reduce the RET dramatically and impose a formal two-year progress review, but the Labor opposition refused to let the RET drop below 33,000 GWh.

The two sides agreed to lower the RET to the minimum level and to replace the formal review with annual statements on cost and progress from the Clean Energy Regulator.

“The reporting system is really all we wanted,” said industry minister Ian Macfarlane, in a statement that some critics saw as contradicting previous statements.

“What we wanted were credible facts and figures provided to the government of the day that indicate where the scheme is.”

As a result of the RET being lowered, Australia will aim to build just 5,500 megawatts of large-scale renewable energy rather the 8,500 megawatts planned previously.


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