Shares in Pilbara Minerals hit a new record high today on positive sentiment in the lithium market and further growth potential of the Pilgangoora operation in the Pilbara (reports MiningNews).

Pilbara shares reached A$1.58 in morning trade, up 5.7% and giving the company a market value of $4.55 million. Pilbara shares are now up nearly 540% over the past 12 months and 81% since the start of the year. The company was dropped from the S&P/ASX 200 in June last year when its shares traded as low as 24c, but was readmitted in March after sentiment in the lithium sector turned. Late yesterday, Pilbara reported "exceptional" drilling results from its Pilgangoora operation near the historical tenement boundary of the former Altura operation.

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Exploration and discovery news will become more important than ever for investors in Australian resources after this week’s intervention by China in commodity markets followed by another warning from the U.S. that higher interest rates are on the way.

The Chinese plan to sell surplus material from government stockpiles of critical metals such as copper and nickel has had a dampening effect on prices, while the U.S. central bank’s interest rate signal mean that gold faces a tough time. Both of those events at the top of the investment food chain had been widely expected as markets rattled by the Covid-19 pandemic start to normalise, radiating out ripples of uncertainty.

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Boss Energy set to feed investor appetite for near-term uranium producers with release of pivotal feasibility study. Plus, the runaway share prices of Coda and Sovereign show we were on the mark. And Black Canyon prepares to drill

Uranium stands as the coiled spring of the commodities space. At some point, the price of the nuclear fuel is going to take off. That’s the broad expectation out there. Ask around about the commodity to watch in the next 12 months and the answer increasingly comes back as uranium. Maybe so, but the reality is that at $US32/lb (spot), the uranium price remains well below the $US60/lb price considered necessary to incentivise the investment in new supply required to fill the ever-widening gap between supply and long-term demand.

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It gave the world Covid-19 and now it looks like China is giving the world inflation and while some people might not see the connection between Covid and inflation, they are both a threat and an opportunity for investors.

To understand the significance of an inflationary outbreak, you only have to look back 18 months to see how a disease can turn financial markets upside down. Heavy losses at the start and fat profits later. Inflation, if allowed to rise too far, is an equally dangerous infection which destroys the value of certain types of investment (especially cash), but the flipside is that it improves the performance of hard physical assets such as property, gold and other commodities.

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Pilbara Minerals is poised to take annual honours as Australia’s best performing top-200 stock after recovering lithium prices fuelled a four-fold jump in value that has the WA miner on the threshold of becoming a $4 billion company (reports The West)

With just three weeks left to run until June 30, Pilbara is easily the S&P-ASX200’s biggest gainer of the 2020-21 financial year, its shares up 469 per cent. That’s more than double the gains of the next best stocks, wealth platform HUB24, up 196 per cent, and rare earths company Lynas, up 185 per cent. By comparison, the S&P-ASX200 has risen 23.7 per cent over the past year.

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Shareholders of Venturex Resources have overwhelmingly approved a recapitalisation and the election of several highly regarded directors (reports MiningNews).

An extraordinary general meeting was held yesterday in Perth to vote on the recap, worth up to A$58 million, as announced in February, which was approved by roughly 99% of shareholders. Northern Star Resources executive chairman Bill Beament will join the company as executive director on July 1 and will contribute $37.3 million of the recap funds. Beament will subscribe for $8.9 million worth of 8c Venturex shares, which will give him an 18.1% stake in the company.

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Joint venture partners Coda Minerals and Torrens Mining have uncovered intense iron oxide-copper gold (IOCG) alteration with copper-sulphide mineralisation

intense iron oxide-copper gold (IOCG) alteration with copper-sulphide mineralisation while drilling at the Emmie Bluff Deeps target within the Elizabeth Creek copper project in South Australia (reports Small Caps). The first deep diamond hole drilled at the target encountered a sequence of approximately 200m of intensely haematitic and altered sediments and granites, including 50m of moderate-to-intense copper-sulphide mineralisation consisting of chalcocite, chalcopyrite and bornite.

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Kamoa-Kakula in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a rare commodity in the modern resources industry: a high-grade copper mine that one day could produce enough metal to satisfy more than 5 per cent of China’s annual demand (reports Financial Times).

Surrounded by small villages, the mine employs about 7000 workers and has its own road for trucks to carry rock to a nearby smelter. The company is also upgrading a 40-year-old hydropower station on the Congo River to provide electricity to run the mine. The first phase of the $US2 billion ($2.6 billion) project began operating last month, more than four years after the last big copper mine of similar scale, MMG’s Las Bambas, in Peru, came online. A 3-megawatt wind turbine uses up to 4.7 tonnes of copper.

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