News

Drilling carried out by RareX last year has paid off with a 47% increase in overall resource tonnage at its Cummins Range rare earths project in Western Australia’s Kimberley region (reports Stockhead).

Resources at the project now stand at 18.8 million tonnes grading 1.15% total rare earth oxides (TREO) that includes 0.23% neodymium and praseodymium plus 0.14% niobium oxide. The inclusion of niobium for the first time is significant as the metal used for lightweight high-strength steel alloys currently commands a price of US$92.65 per kilogram, or about three times the basket price of Cummins Range rare earths, making it a potentially valuable by-product.

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Showers of cash from the big boys of iron ore over the next few weeks will increase investor interest among smaller players in Australia’s most profitable mining industry (reports Tim Treadgold on Small Caps).

BHP (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG) are expected to unleash monster dividend payments when they report half and full year profit results inflated by record prices for the steel-making material.

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9th July 2021

A near doubling in the price of Iluka Resources (ASX: ILU) and a sharp upward move by Astron Corporation (ASX: ATR) has restored investor interest in titanium minerals and zircon, but before buying into one of Australia’s oldest mining industries it is wo

What’s driven Iluka up from $4.50 at this time last year to $8.60 is a combination of improved demand for what it mines, the potential to add rare earths to its product range, and trouble in the African mineral sands industry. Astron, a much smaller company, has outperformed Iluka with a 150% share price rise from $0.20 at the start of the year to $0.51 thanks to a corporate reorganisation which will see it quit a Chinese mineral processing business so it can focus on the Donald project in central Victoria.

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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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Perth-based explorer Trigg Mining (ASX: TMG) has moved closer to progressing its wholly-owned Lake Throssell sulphate of potash project in Western Australia with the completion of a critical lake trenching and test pumping program (reports Small Caps)

Brine pumping trials from test trenches at the project have demonstrated the abstraction potential of the lake surface aquifer, which would be the target for initial production from a trench network. The trials aimed to determine the drainable porosity (specific yield) and hydraulic conductivity properties for the upper section of the aquifer. Two test trenches (each 100m long) and seven test pits were distributed across the current resource, each comprising a small pumping trench up to 9m long and an adjacent monitoring pit.

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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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Iron ore last year, nickel and titanium minerals this year (so far) with the connection being commodity price increases caused by supply disruption – with shortages and “outages” an investment theme likely to be as significant as demand.

Iluka Resources was the major beneficiary in Australia from this week’s big event, the closure of the world-class Richards Bay titanium minerals processing centre on South Africa’s east coast. The loss of supply from Richards Bay drove Iluka shares to a 10-year high of $9.27 before the stock settled at $8.89, up 73c (9%) over the week.

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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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