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Saskia Pickles

Saskia Pickles worked as a journalist at Business News from June 2013 to March 2016. 

FMG lowers production costs

Shares in Fortescue Metals Group lifted today after it reported an 11 per cent cut in production costs and flagged further reductions. For more on FMG, Tim Treadgold's opinion column (see below) outlines reasons why mining giant BHP Billiton should buy the iron ore miner.

Sparks expected on NW power

A dispute between privately owned Alinta Energy and Horizon Power hangs over state government plans to overhaul the north-west’s unregulated electricity network.

Day of the drones dawns

Costing between $40,000 and $100,000, the drones Paul Deuchar sells and trains people to fly are more than just expensive toys.

Solar plan for Fremantle business

Global business ET Solar has revealed it is in confidential talks with a Fremantle business to set up a nine-megawatt rooftop solar photovoltaic system.

Atlas Iron admits selling at a loss

Atlas Iron is targeting further savings after revealing it sold iron ore at a loss during the December quarter, selling for an average price of $63 per tonne compared to an all-in cash cost of $66 a tonne.

Kleenheat fuels gas market battle

In just its second year in the tightly held retail gas market, Wesfarmers’ Kleenheat brand has stirred up intense competition among business customers.

Murray engineering growth strategy

Cost cutting may be the order of the day across the resources industry, but mining services provider Murray Engineering is marching to the beat of its own drum – hiring at its Pinjarra headquarters and opening a larger Kalgoorlie office.

Oil juniors in fee dispute

Junior oil explorers angered by a sudden increase in government tenement fees are close to forming an alliance to fight the fee changes, including a 700 per cent increase for some onshore tenement fees.

More power to Tesla

Not everyone can afford a luxury electric Tesla vehicle, starting around $100,000, but the launch of the US brand in Australia this month is expected to impact on Western Australia's emerging electric vehicle market, according to the local branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association.

Subsea drones seek global footprint

A business led by Northern Star Resources chairman Chris Rowe has capitalised on cost cutting by oil and gas companies to position itself among the world’s elite commercial operators of underwater drones.

Resources sector not dead, just resting

The free-falling iron ore price has hit the state’s coffers hard this year, but one of the state’s most respected resources authorities is pragmatic about the future, given the cyclical nature of the commodities sector.

New advice on fracking released

Community interest in the controversial practice of fracking has prompted Western Australia’s environmental watchdog to issue advice on how it will assess shale and tight gas proposals.

Country Health in South Hedland move

Western Australian Country Health Service plans to build a residential development in South Hedland have cast doubt on a neighbouring private project from which the state government has recently withdrawn support.

FIFOs stay on the fringe

BHP Billiton’s plans to renew the lease on its fly-in, fly-out camp on the outskirts of Newman, rather than take up existing empty housing in the town, has prompted a chorus of dissent from Pilbara-focused property groups.

Subcontractors stranded by collapse

Mining giant Rio Tinto has been caught up in a financial bind after a contractor working on one of its Pilbara projects collapsed owing an estimated $14 million.

Technology takes eco-tourism off-grid

Mackerel Island Tourist Resort, off the coast of Onslow, has begun powering itself from one of Australia’s largest off-grid solar power station.

Engineers positive about FLNG

The peak national body for engineers has revealed a strong desire among its members in Western Australia to be engaged in the industry’s nascent floating liquefied natural gas developments.

Changes afoot for FIFO flights

There's a good reason Perth Airport seems overrun with people in hi vis - even as the resources sector stalls and new projects are shelved - with flights to key industry destinations still dominating air traffic.

Shell backs WA energy research group

Shell Australia has become the third major petroleum producer to partner with Western Australia’s leading energy research group, in a move that is expected to provide a host of opportunities for local input and collaboration on the $12 billion Prelude floating liquefied natural gas project.

Explorers trade iron ore tenements

The depressed iron ore price is prompting “gun shy” Padbury Mining to increase its tenement asset base, snapping up a hematite and magnetite deposit owned by Radar Iron.

Exploration boost takes new direction

Western Australia’s subdued resources exploration sector is set to receive a new boost in the form of a digital map for explorers to better target mining and petroleum discoveries.

Pilbara business goes off-grid

One of Western Australia’s largest solar power providers is set to take a Pilbara-based corporation off-grid after striking a deal that provides electricity and battery storage at a commercially competitive rate to Horizon Power.

EPA labels Yilgarn mine proposal 'environmentally unacceptable'

In its latest push for greater conservation in mining regions, the Environmental Protection Agency has classified a proposed Mineral Resources iron ore project in the Yilgarn as 'environmentally unacceptable'.

Row impedes NW transformation

The state’s investment in Finbar’s Pelago property development may have become the subject of recent controversy, but some in Karratha’s small business community are in no doubt that the strategy is good for the Pilbara.

Climate policy prompts SEA exit

Western Australia’s clean energy sector is undergoing a shakeup after the state’s premier lobbying organisation announced it was closing and would be replaced by a WA chapter of the Clean Energy Council.

Calibre Group softens earnings outlook

Engineering firm Calibre Group has forecast a gloomier than expected outlook for its business due partly to depressed iron ore and coal prices.

CTI Logistics keeps growing Hazelmere base

CTI Logistics has bought 67,000 square metres of land adjacent to its Hazelmere warehousing and distribution centre, in a private deal believed to be worth just under $19 million.

NRW stands firm against Samsung C&T

NRW Holdings chairman Ian Burston has told shareholders the contractor will not be "jerked around by anybody" after revealing it is in a dispute over its largest project at Roy Hill.

Saleem weighs funds options

The success of Perth technology company Track’em has attracted plenty of interest from investors, but founder Kashif Saleem says he hasn’t ruled out taking the business public.

Hard slog ready to pay off

A unique partnership is slowly transforming life on the open road.

Blue Tongue takes east-west approach

Not long after Melbourne-based Blue Tongue was launched in 2001 its founder, Tully Young, recognised that Western Australia had a transport industry skills shortage – so he moved himself and almost half his business to Perth.

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Karratha gas plant breakdown

Western Australia’s biggest and most productive gas production facility suffered an equipment failure early this morning.

Unpoliced safety statistics questioned

The resource sector’s safety record has been brought into doubt after a contractor was crushed while working at a liquefied natural gas plant and hospitalised, but the incident was not recorded as a lost-time injury.

Perth businessman to run for lord mayor

Engineer, entrepreneur and restaurateur Michael O’Hanlon has declared he will run for the position of Perth lord mayor at the October election, based on an ambitious three-point economic plan for the city.

City of Perth axes CEO

City of Perth chief executive Gary Stevenson has been sacked, three years into a five-year contract, following a horror year for the council.

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Synergy boss ups ante on energy reform

Synergy chairman Lyndon Rowe has mapped out a detailed agenda for energy market reform, saying there would be catastrophic consequences if the government did not tackle market players with vested interests.

Perth gets modular building factory

A UK company has joined forces with a Perth projects and contract management group to set up the state’s first manufacturing business dedicated to modular building.

Coles, IGA complete store swap

Independent grocery group Metcash is set to finalise its first store swap in Western Australia with supermarket giant Coles.

Female tradie business to expand to Perth

An all-female plumbing business, the Plumbettes, is set to expand its operations from its Brisbane base into Western Australia.