News

The mining chief driving Western Australia’s next major lithium project has shot down the prospect of soaring prices spurring an oversupply, arguing several challenges exist in getting new mines up overseas, while COVID-19 is hitting productivity and lifting wages (reports The Australian Financial Review).

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Emerging lithium producer Liontown Resources has awarded Metso Outotec a A$10 million contract for the design, fabrication and delivery of the semi-autogenous grinding mill for the Kathleen Valley lithium project in Western Australia (reports MiningNews).

The 5.5 megawatt facility will have a 7.9m diameter and 4.4m effective grinding length, accommodating base production of 2.5 million tonnes per annum, as well as the planned expansion to 4Mtpa in year six of the mine plan. The SAG mill is one of several critical long-lead items identified for early award and represents the largest single piece of equipment required to be purchased for the project by size, value and lead time.

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Nuclear energy generation is growing again (writes Boss Energy MD Duncan Craib in The Australian Financial Review).

Political stability makes Australia a doubly attractive uranium fuel supplier. The world is decarbonising and Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to capitalise on the inevitable surge in global uranium demand that will accompany it.

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Disruptions in Kazakhstan, where ongoing unrest may add to pre-existing operating risks such as the COVID-19 pandemic, could be a "significant catalyst" for the uranium market, Canadian uranium company Cameco has said (reports World Nuclear News).

Kazakh uranium producer Kazatomprom has said it will meet all delivery deadlines.

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Industrial metal markets are marching higher again, as production outages and shrinking inventories revive worries about global supplies of some of the key building blocks of the economy and the green-energy transition (reports Bloomberg).

Metals from aluminum to zinc surged in 2021 after the pandemic hit production at mines and smelters, wreaked chaos in global logistics networks, and sparked a boom in demand. In both copper and tin, London Metal Exchange inventory levels collapsed in squeezes that drove spot prices to records in wild trading.

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Micro-cap explorer Traka Resources rose on drilling results that paint a picture of the potential at its Mt Cattlin gold-copper project in Western Australia (reports MiningNews).

Reverse circulation drilling at the Plantagenet prospect intersected mineralisation at the southern end of a 1km-plus soil geochemical and structural trend. Results included 4m at 5.1 grams per tonne gold, 0.39gpt silver and 0.03% copper from 37m, including 1m at 11.5gpt gold, 1.28gpt silver and 0.1% copper; 4m at 15.07gpt gold, 1.28gpt silver and 0.1% copper from 61m, including 1m at 57.4gpt gold, 0.41gpt silver and 0.02% copper; and 4m at 18.52gpt gold, 1.4gpt silver and 0.05% copper from 14m, including 2m at 34.35gpt gold, 1.95gpt silver and 0.03% copper.

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It's game on in the WA nickel sector as investors wait for Forrest and BHP to declare their hands. Plus, Sprott slaps big buy target on Centaurus, Macquarie says Boss is the way to play uranium theme and Coda prepares to put a resource under the tree

Western Areas (WSA): IGO has plugged its future nickel production hole by securing an endorsement from Western Areas (WSA) for a $1.1 billion/$3.36 cash takeover, a 35% premium to WSA’s undisturbed share price of $2.48 before discussions between the pair were first revealed on August 18. Or has it? The market immediately carried WSA to $3.42, an 18c or 5.56% hike on the day. Clearly punters are betting that it is not all over just yet, with talk on the potential for the likes of BHP or Andrew Forrest to make a late play for WSA.

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Lethargy ruled on the Australian stock market this week as investors started to pack up for the Christmas trading break, though not before placing fresh bets on a handful of battery metal stocks while casting a wary eye over gold miners as higher official

Lithium led the way in the battery sector, though this time with a relatively new player, Kalamazoo Resources, doing best with a rise of 3.5c to 38c after announcing an exploration deal with Chile’s lithium champion SQM over an exploration project in WA’s Pilbara region. Though only a grass roots undertaking, the Kalamazoo deal near the historic gold mining centre of Marble Bar is significant because of SQM’s reputation as a major producer of the metal and its 50% stake in the rapidly developing Covalent joint venture in the south of WA with Australian conglomerate, Wesfarmers.

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