~BHP, the world’s biggest miningcompany, declined as much as 3.5 percent in Sydney, near the lowestlevel since May 2005, as Rio fell as much as 2.9 percent and nickel-to-gold producer Independence Group NL slipped as much as 7.6 percent. Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. has declined 21 percent since the start of the year.
~A measure of returns on commodities lastweek slid to the lowest in at least 25 years amid concern over slower growth in China, the largest consumer of metals to energy. Rawmaterials will likely have to slip further to spur the productioncuts needed to end gluts, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report on Jan. 15. Tumbling energy costs as Iran cranks up supply will help miners to cutcosts, helping them bolster margins as product prices retreat.
~World Mining Index plunged 3.4 percent Friday as all base metalsdropped on the London Metal Exchange, led by zinc. BHP last week flagged a post-tax writedown of $4.9 billion on the value of its U.S. shaleassets amid the decline in oil prices, while Rio said it would freeze salaries for 2016 from the chief executive officer downward on expectations that price pressures will persist. ~ Neal Bhai Reports