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Australian investors are likely to notice a wave of media reports about the $90 billion LNG construction industry about to take off in Mozambique...

Over the next few months, Australian investors are likely to notice a wave of media reports about the $90 billion LNG construction industry about to take off in Mozambique. Until now, this massive investment in what will be four world-scale LNG projects has received virtually no coverage in Australia because they do not involve the usual ASX-listed petroleum companies such as Woodside and Santos.

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Upbeat assessment augurs well for what looks like being a much better year for exploration, with Rio pushing ahead with its Antipa JV while juniors Stavely, Chalice, Alkane and Nagambie are among those revving up expectations for the new year.

The about-to-end flood of December quarterly reports from the big and small players in the mining space has confirmed that on the exploration front at least, 2020 is shaping up as something special compared with the hit and miss of previous years. No less than Newcrest (NCM) proved the point on Thursday with its update on drill results from the  Havieron gold-copper discovery, 45km east of its ageing and grade-challenged Telfer gold/copper mine in WA’s Paterson province.

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The coronavirus roller-coaster which drove industrial metals down and gold up is showing signs of slowing...

The coronavirus roller-coaster which drove industrial metals down and gold up is showing signs of slowing, which could be a time for investors to consider a spot of bargain-basement shopping – but there’s no need to rush. Risks remain high and the fear generated by a mutant killer virus is having a real effect on some sections of financial and commodity markets. But if the last virus outbreak, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 is a guide, then a strong recovery is likely.

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While many of its rivals have collapsed, and its Pilgangoora neighbour Altura Mining is in limbo pending debt refinancing, lithium miner Pilbara Mineral continues to stay afloat in the challenging market and position itself for lithium’s expected upswing, though it continues to suffer (reports MiningNews). For the December quarter, Pilbara boosted shipments from 20,044 tonnes to 33,178t quarter-on-quarter, while production eased around 6000t to 14,711t at 5.91% lithium as it continued with its campaign mining and processing.

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Continued consolidation of the gold sector could be a theme for the rest of 2020...

Continued consolidation of the gold sector could be a theme for the rest of 2020, according to the investment arm of Bank of America, which believes there is a wave of mid-tier mergers on the way thanks largely what’s happened at the top end of gold. The bank’s argument revolves around last year’s big North American deals which saw Newmont merge with Goldcorp and Barrick acquire Randgold a double-barrelled process which has also seen a large number of non-core assets sold, including the Kalgoorlie Superpit.

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Plus, Legend’s latest assays fuel hopes of a new nickel-copper find in the Fraser Range and Sprott eyes a golden girl in Kalamazoo

The cooling US-China trade war is a positive for metals and bulk commodities, none more so than for zircon. The trade war was seen as a key factor in the price weakness for the key mineral sand in the back half of 2019. Tied as it is to building and housing activity along with some other sectors, zircon, like copper, is something of a bellwether of global economic activity.

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Welcome back to Prospector’s Diary after a Christmas break that saw a number of significant developments...

Welcome back to Prospector’s Diary after a Christmas break that saw a number of significant developments, and while a trade-war truce might seem to be most important, there are other contenders, including a fall in the value of the US dollar and the overdue return of inflation. Taken collectively, it’s hard to not see 2020 being a good year for resources with a glimpse of what’s to come to be found in a stronger-than-expected price for iron ore, a rising copper price, heavy-duty support for gold and a record high for leading indices which track the Australian stock market.

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Lithium miners have extended recent share price gains on news the Chinese government will slow its planned cuts to subsidies for the electric vehicle industry ...

Lithium miners have extended recent share price gains on news the Chinese government will slow its planned cuts to subsidies for the electric vehicle industry (reports The West Australian). A Chinese official told Bloomberg that handouts to stimulate new energy vehicle sales would not be cut on July 1 this year as they had been last year.

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