News

Plus, strong copper price boosting Stavely’s story and it’s game-on at Colosseum for Dateline.

There is half a dozen or so good sized graphite stocks on the ASX with ambitions to become a producer of the key anode material in lithium-ion batteries. The world will need them too, with broad agreement that a supply deficit will emerge around 2023 as the electric vehicle and the storage of renewable energy revolution hits top gear. Prices for the material are reflecting that, having recently bounced from last year’s drastic lows.

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Another whiff of inflation and hint of rising interest rates stirred financial markets this week, along with a warning of greater risks ahead from two big name investors (and a long-dead economist).

Larry Fink and Jeremy Grantham sang from the same gloomy hymn sheet, which is a favorite of grumpy old men who have seen countless market cycles -- and so too would Adam Smith, if he had not died 231 years ago. Fink is the key man in the threesome because he runs BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund manager. He warned that stimulus spending would create an inflation spike which would be a “pretty big shock” for most people, especially novice investors who have little concept of the value-corroding nature of inflation.

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With a price moving back towards US$20,000 a tonne, nickel has shrugged off the worst of a 20% crash in February and become an investment opportunity where you can follow the money – and “the man” (reports Tim Treadgold on Small Caps).

In the case of nickel, a high value metal ideal for small companies, the man happens to be one of Australia’s richest, the iron ore billionaire, Andrew Forrest, also known as Twiggy. Before the Perth-based entrepreneur made his fortune through the outrageous success of Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG), Forrest was a true believer in nickel, though he failed to make a permanent mark with his Anaconda Nickel.

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Tesla chairman Robyn Denholm says miners, manufacturers and governments must speed up “at an extremely fast pace” the innovation needed to transform Australia from an exporter of fossil fuels into a global new energy superpower (reports The AFR)

In a major speech to the mining industry, Ms Denholm predicted that Tesla would soon consume more than $1 billion a year of Australian lithium, nickel and other critical and rare earth minerals for its batteries and electric motors.

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Greenvale Mining is gearing up to drill its “mighty” Georgina iron oxide-copper-gold project in the Northern Territory (reports MiningNews).

It comes days after BHP formally entered the search for copper in the NT via a A$22 million farm-in and joint venture with Encounter Resources over the Elliott project, northwest of Tennant Creek. Greenvale's Georgina project is east of Tennant Creek. The project comprises seven granted tenements and two under application, covering 4475sq.km.

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Former BHP executive Tony Ottaviano describes his 17 years at the mining giant as an “excellent apprenticeship” for his new role as managing director of aspiring lithium miner Liontown Resources (reports The West Australian).

While the statement might sound a paradox, his rationale is sound. The mechanical engineer, who has also worked in corporate roles at Rio Tinto and Wesfarmers, said companies like BHP endowed employees with lessons on how to deal with scale and complexity. “I’ve got no regrets. I’ve been able to deal with fairly stressful situations which that apprenticeship makes you much better able to handle,” he said.

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A year after securing the bulk of its offtake agreements, and three weeks after starting development of its Coburn mineral sands mine in Western Australia, Strandline Resources has tied off one dangling thread (reports MiningNews).

It has signed a last, binding zircon offtake contract for a premium zircon project with European raw material supplier to the ceramics, glass and refractory industries Mario Pilato, finalising deals for 100% of the production from Coburn. Mario Pilato is expected to take 10,000 tonnes per annum for an initial two years, with the sales price will reference the prevailing US dollar price, and is expected to generate 8-9% of Coburn's annual revenue.

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The Pilbara Minerals founder plans to do it all again. And Liontown’s new MD is embarking on a roadshow of his own to explain the key points of difference around his company’s big WA lithium project.

It is almost six years since Neil Biddle hit the Eastern States on a roadshow for a then-obscure little thing called Pilbara Minerals. Pilbara (PLS) was trading at 5c a share at the time for a market cap of $32 million and it has to be said that Biddle got a lot of confused looks from investors at the June 2015 investor lunches in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Pegmatites? Spodumene? Lithium? Electric vehicle revolution? What was he on about? Pass the bottle.

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