Jul 17, 2015

Iron ore looks to keep its place among top commodities

Eric Harding
2 min
As was recently written in our sister site Mining Global, Australian miners have recently rejoiced as the...

As was recently written in our sister site Mining Global, Australian miners have recently rejoiced as the price of iron ore increased nearly 10 percent.

The commodity rebounded after a 10 percent drop just one day earlier, making it the largest single-day fall and rise ever in a 48-hour period. Mining giant BHP Billiton went up nearly three per cent, while its competition Rio Tinto saw a 2.32 per cent increase and Fortescue Metals rose 1.68 per cent.

RELATED TOPIC: [INFOGRAPHIC] How the Mining Industry Can Hold Onto Its License to Operate

This latest development will have a big impact on revenue for both Australia and China, as Australia is the world’s largest supplier of iron ore—which is key to making steel—while China is the Aussie’s top customer.

Meanwhile, Citigroup Inc. reduced its iron ore and coal predictions earlier this year, in a signal that other commodities are driving the energy industry.

This comes after BHP and Rio each had a low-cost output in 2014 that created a large supply of iron ore while growth in China slowed down considerably.

RELATED TOPIC: How Off-Grid Energy is Helping Reduce Costs in the Mining Sector

Now with reduced oil prices, shipping costs have lowered the rate of bunker fuel that reduces the cost of moving iron ore from Brazil and Australia to China.  In the process, this will make the impact of lower iron ore prices on producers much easier to deal with.

Over the past year, the price of oil has fell by about 50 percent, with the largest cutback in spending from oil companies has been the fall in the amount of U.S. oil rigs.

However, the decrease in the price of oil is bad news for both iron ore and aluminum, as it lowers the level producers export out in an oversupplied market.

RELATED TOPIC: Foreign investors get serious about renewables in India

Increased supply in recent months along with a decrease in Chinese demand has had iron ore on a steady decline. Even with the latest 10 percent spike, the majority of smaller Aussie miners will still be producing at a loss, forcing many cut costs.

Meanwhile, Rio Tinto believes the long-term market for iron ore is stable and will continue to produce a good amount of revenue in Australia. After providing its second-quarter operations review, Rio noted iron ore production and shipment increased compared to 2014 despite unseasonal, severe weather in Western Australia that included two tropical cyclones that lost about seven million tonnes.

However, the iron ore market needs to prove its stability moving forward in order to remain relevant among the world’s top commodities.

Click here to read the latest edition of Energy Digital!

Share article

May 13, 2021

All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only UK regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil

Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.

Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.

According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.

“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."

He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."

North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).

The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.

Share article