Cape York plan approved
Australia yesterday gave Rio Tinto the go-ahead for a controversial A$1.3 billion (US$1.3 billion) bauxite mine project in western Cape York in a decision environmentalists blasted as “vandalism on a grand scale.” Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke slapped 76 conditions on the project, including on shipping movements through the Great Barrier Reef and steps to protect endangered species such as turtles and dugongs. The project includes building a power station, processing plant, warehouses and workshops, in addition to barge, ferry and ship-loading facilities to extend the life of an existing bauxite mine in the area for 40 more years.
ThyssenKrupp axing jobs
German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp yesterday said it plans to axe 3,000 administrative jobs worldwide as disastrous investments in steel operations overseas tore holes in its balance sheet in the second quarter. ThyssenKrupp, which already announced more than 2,000 job cuts in its European steel operations earlier this year, said that heavy writedowns on new steel mills in Brazil and the US pushed it to book a net loss of 89 million euros (US$116 million) in the period from January to March, compared with a small profit of 29 million euros in the preceding three months.
BHP to slash spending
Global mining giant BHP Billiton has outlined plans to slash capital spending by almost a fifth, with new chief executive Andrew Mackenzie warning the brakes could be applied even further. The world’s biggest miner will cut its capital and exploration expenditure for the 2013-2014 financial year to US$18 billion, from a peak of US$22 billion the previous year, Mackenzie told a mining conference in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday.
Windows Blue preview set
The tweaked version of Microsoft’s operating system nicknamed Windows Blue will be previewed on June 26 and will be a free update for users as Windows 8.1, the company said on Tuesday. The update comes amid a lukewarm reception for Windows 8, an operating system released last year. The move is part of a goal “of delivering continual updates to create a richer experience for Windows customers,” a Microsoft blog post said.
RIM shows off new phone
Research In Motion (RIM) unveiled a lower-cost BlackBerry aimed at consumers in emerging markets on Tuesday, stepping up its efforts to regain market share lost to Apple’s iPhone and Android devices powered by Google’s software. The lower-cost gadget, called the Q5, is the company’s third smartphone to run the new BlackBerry 10 system. The device will be available in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America beginning in July. The company did not disclose prices for the new phone.
Chinese probe Bloomberg
The People’s Bank of China, which manages the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves, is looking into a growing scandal over the access journalists at Bloomberg News had to potentially sensitive data, reports said yesterday. The Chinese central bank is the latest major financial organization to examine the controversy involving the financial news wire, whose terminals are used by officials at many of the world’s most important financial institutions and banks.