Orion Minerals has struck a long-awaited draft $US87 million ($124m) funding deal for its Prieska zinc-copper project in South Africa (reports The West Australian).

The stream funding from Canadian streaming and royalty finance company Triple Flag Precious Metals will be advanced against the delivery of future gold and silver by-product production from the mine. The funding is conditional on the mine development being fully-funded, finalisation of an executable mine plan and necessary South African regulatory approvals.

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Calidus Resources has defied WA’s tight labour market and cost inflation to bring its Warrawoona gold project in the Pilbara into production (reports The West Australian).

The Dave Reeves-led company announced on Friday it had poured first gold from Warrawoona near Marble Bar after delivering the $120 million project on time and budget. Calidus joins the ranks of Australian gold producers less than five years since the company’s debut on the ASX.

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Just weeks out from the ousting of long-time directors Terry Topping and Bruno Seneque, the new team in charge at junior explorer Kairos Minerals has wheeled out some big guns to help run the gold and lithium explorer (reports MiningNews).

Moto Goldmines founder, geologist, and deal-maker Klaus Eckhof has signed on as non-executive chair, while ex-Perseus Mining and Placer Dome geologist Dr Peter Turner will commence as the explorer's A$325,000 per annum managing director later this month. The new blood has an impressive pedigree that investors will be hoping gives Kairos a shot in the arm.

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Plus, newly-listed Maronan born with a polymetallic spoon in its mouth, Alicanto’s stunning silver-lead-zinc hit is almost 1oz-gold equivalent and Calidus set to pour first gold any minute.

Gina Rinehart is set to share in a Eureka! moment of sorts towards the back end of the year when Catalyst (CYL) releases a maiden resource estimate for its virgin Four Eagles gold discovery beneath Murray Basin sediments north of Bendigo. It is a Eureka! moment because the hunt for new gold deposits beneath cover to the north of where the 22 million ounce Bendigo goldfield “daylighted” has been going on for more than 10 years, without a resource estimate being made by Catalyst, or anyone else.

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Interest rates rose in the U.S. and Australia this week as expected, but so did the stock market, gold, copper, and most other commodities, which was unexpected, and perhaps an interesting case of premature enthusiasm.

What could have started with a period of excess caution in the lead up to the rate rises was quickly replaced by a global exhalation of “phew, that wasn’t so bad,” without many people looking a little further down the track at a river of rate rises to Christmas and beyond.

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Shares in Bellevue Gold firmed after the company expanded its gold inventory ahead of a reserve upgrade, life of mine update and a project optimisation study for its namesake project near Leinster (reports The West Australian).

The Steve Parsons-led company said on Wednesday its mineral resource had grown to 9.8 million tonnes at 9.9 grams per tonne gold for 3.1 million ounces up from 3Moz at 10g/t. Meanwhile Bellevue’s indicated resource had increased to 4.6Mt at 11.2g/t gold for 1.7Moz from 1.4Moz at 11g/t.

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PolarX (ASX: PXX) has identified visible mineralisation in all holes drilled to date at the Star Canyon prospect within its Humboldt Range gold-silver project in Nevada (reports Small Caps).

The company commenced a 3,000m reverse circulation campaign two weeks ago targeting bulk-tonnage, low-to-moderate grade mineralisation at the northern end of the project. Ten holes have been drilled to date for a total 1,500m to test a coherent gold-in-soil anomaly concealed under thin soils to the north and south, and open and untested beneath cover. Star Canyon sits within a broader anomaly measuring 2,300m in length and 900m in width and grading more than 30 parts per billion gold. All holes encountered variably altered and mineralised limestone.

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While interest rate sentiment may be putting some pressure on the gold price, the appropriately named chief investment officer for Lowell Resources Funds Management, John Forwood, believes the outlook is more positive than many think (reports MiningNews)

Speaking at RIU Sydney Resources Round-up, Forwood suggested inflation would have to be at 10% and nominal interest rates at 3% for the gold price to be under seriously genuine threat. He further suggested markets may be of the belief - given the gold price hasn't tanked - that the increasing interest rate cycle now underway many not be as prolonged or as significant as some may fear because debt levels are so high and economies wouldn't be able to bear major hikes.

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