The mining giant says lithium demand will grow 25-35% a year for next 10 years. Meanwhile, Pilbara Minerals is cleaning up in the here-and-now as spodumene shortage forces buyers to pay-up for spot cargoes.

Another Eastern States-lite Diggers & Dealers bash kicks off on Monday beneath Kalgoorlie’s big blue sky. Big blue sky perhaps but the weather forecast is not great. Just as well then that the biggest and the best, the mighty west, remains COVID-free because the delegates will need to get up nice and close to rub whatever they can to keep the late night chills at bay.

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Any doubts about battery metals dominating the resources sector for the next decade, and beyond, were washed away this week when BHP and Rio Tinto made overdue expansion moves into nickel and lithium.

Both mining giants have been tinkering around the edges of batteries and energy transition, but they showed their hands when BHP lobbed a bid for control of a Canadian nickel discovery and Rio Tinto giving the go ahead to the Jadar lithium project in Serbia. Fat profits from mining iron ore, and selling coal and oil assets, are funding the shift into energy metals with more to come in the next few weeks with BHP expected to take a bolder step into “green” commodities with a commitment to finish building its Jansen potash project also in Canada.

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With focus now firmly on its Western Australian gold assets, Red 5 has signed a binding agreement to sell its mothballed Siana gold mine and nearby Mapawa project in the Philippines, after almost 20 years of often troubled ownership (report Mining News)

The company will pocket US$19 million cash from the sale, plus the buyer TVI Pacific will pay out a 3.25% net smelter return royalty on production of up to 619,000 ounces. Red 5 estimates that could see it bank a further $36 million, assuming a gold price of $1800/oz.

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It’s early days for Kimberley rare earths player Rarex but a 47 per cent resource upgrade at its Cummins Range project near Halls Creek this week provides a firm base on which it can build (reports The West Australian).

On Monday, the John Young-chaired company unveiled a resource of 18.8Mt at 1.15 per cent total rare earths oxide with some 60 per cent in the indicated category. The resource includes a high-grade zone of 6.5Mt at nearly 2 per cent TREO.

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Junior explorer Trigg Mining has announced a maiden indicated mineral resource estimate for its high-grade Lake Throssell potash project in Western Australia’s northern goldfields region (reports Small Caps).

A drainable resource of 1.9 million tonnes sulphate of potash (SOP) at 4,985 milligrams per litre potassium (or 11.1 kilograms per cubic metre potassium sulphate) has been estimated based on results of recent trench pump trials

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Australian resource and mineral processing technology company TNG (ASX: TNG) has completed a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study for its wholly-owned Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory (reports Small Caps).

The company’s in-house engineering team is now reviewing a front-end loading (FEL-3) report delivered in March

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Kairos Minerals (ASX: KAI) is anticipating a “vast” amount of drill results in the coming weeks with drilling now complete at the Kangan project near De Grey Mining’s (ASX: DEG) 6.8 million ounce gold Hemi discovery (reports Small Caps).

Located in Western Australia’s Pilbara region and 20km south of Hemi, Kairos undertook 133 holes of aircore drilling at Kangan for 5,454m.

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Pilbara Minerals says it is shifting its focus to sell more concentrate into the emerging spot market in response to rising demand from customers, saying it is seeing better prices on the open market than from contract buyers (reports The Australian)

The company said on Wednesday it shipped 95,972 tonnes of lithium concentrate in the June quarter, up from 71.229 tonnes in the previous quarter. Its Pilbara lithium operations produced 77,162 tonnes, marginally down on the previous period.

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