News

Ken Brinsden jokes that he and his colleagues have whiplash after a wild couple of years in the lithium sector (reports MiningNews).

From opening the A$284 million Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum mine in late 2018 to being forced to moderate production in 2019 and 2020 to as little as 30% of full capacity due to poor market conditions, it's been a rocky road for Pilbara. In mid-2020, when lithium market sentiment was at its weakest, Pilbara completed a critical refinancing, replacing a high-interest US$100 Nordic bond with a $110 million senior secured debt facility from BNP Paribas and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation - the first time a lithium company had attracted conventional bank financing.

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Former Orica boss Alberto Calderon has predicted a bright future for gold as a store of value in a world where central banks keep “printing money like there is no tomorrow” (reports The Australian Financial Review).

Mr Calderon is taking the reins as chief executive at AngloGold Ashanti just a month after quitting as boss of Orica. Johannesburg-based AngloGold Ashanti said Mr Calderon would bring two decades of executive leadership experience in the global mining sector to its operations in Africa, the Americas and Australia. The world’s third-biggest gold miner had been on the hunt for a new chief executive since the departure of Kelvin Dushnisky last year.

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Australia's big miners are cheap on a global basis and may drive the S&P/ASX 200 index as high as 8,000 points in the second half of 2021, according to Mike Aked, Director of Research for Australia at Research Affiliates (reports The Australian).

While banks have surged this year because of very low interest rates and the resulting rise in property prices Australia-wide, he says they are expensive on a global basis. "Because our financial companies are expensive on a global basis and our miners are cheap, we would expect that Australian resource companies are much more likely to drive our local market higher over the second half of 2021, to fresh all-time highs over 7,400, possibly rising to as high as 8,000 given the momentum in commodity prices," he says.

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Plus, production challenges in the iron ore game point to prices continuing to beat bearish forecasts, which is good news for the new band of leveraged juniors like Fenix.

The rebound of the lithium sector has been nothing short of spectacular. So much so, it is fair enough for investors to wonder if the recovery from two years of misery when over-supply concerns dominated is all said and done. During that two years of misery, the commentary was that as lithium is abundant, which it is, demand would for ever and a day be comfortably met by the next big expansion, or the next big project.

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One of the great unknowns about Chalice Mining’s exciting Julimar project is whether its proximity to Perth is a blessing or a curse (reports The Australian Financial Review).

The PGE (platinum group element) discovery – which includes nickel, copper, cobalt, gold and palladium –- sits a little more than 70 kilometres north-east of the city in farmland and state forest. Chalice is waiting for permission to drill in the state forest as it tries to establish just how big a deal it has on its hands with Julimar, and if it is of a size that supports one or more mines.

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Growing up on the family property in country Victoria, James Stewart’s favourite pastime involved dismantling toys to understand the mechanics of how they worked (reports The Australian Financial Review).

“When I was five, I was pulling an alarm clock apart and my aunt tried to stop me,” Stewart recalls. “My mum just told her to let me figure out how it works – she knew I wouldn’t stop until I worked it out.” This innate curiosity saw Stewart build his first car at 15 years of age and then his first engine a year later before undertaking a degree in mechanical engineering at Monash University. Fast-forward a number of decades, and the co-portfolio manager of Ausbil’s global resources fund applies the exact same thinking to picking stocks.

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Gateway Mining’s Gidgee gold project in WA is turning up more high-grade results, with infill RC drilling at the Evermore prospect returning coarse visible gold (reports Stockhead).

Highlight results from 10 of the 91 hole 14,311m RC program included: 10m at 2.8g/t from 101m, directly ‘up dip’ of a previously identified high-grade intercept (7m at 11.7g/t from 97m); and 2m at 10.8g g/t from 87m. In addition, the first diamond drill hole results from the six hole 2,550m program returned 1.9 metres at 22.4 g/t, including visible gold:

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Iron ore, coal and oil ore will be the commodity winners when the financial is ruled off next Wednesday. Gold, however, will end flat when looked at over the full 12-months, while copper and other battery metals continue to shape as next year’s winners.

In a nutshell, that’s where we have been in financial year 2020/21 and where we appear to be headed as financial markets say goodbye to a roller-coaster ride dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic and government spending designed to stave off a depression. By this time next year, a different picture will emerge, probably one dominated by the struggle to reel in the excess cash created in reaction to the pandemic which means inflation and interest rates will be one of big issues to watch, with energy transition another.

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