News

Chalice Mining has confirmed an institutional placement to raise A$100 million (reports MiningNews).

The issue price of $6 represents a 10% discount to yesterday's close of $6.67. The company will issue roughly 16.7 million shares, equating to about 4.7% of existing shares on issue. The placement, which is being managed by Bell Potter Securities and Macquarie Capital, is not underwritten. Chalice had $49 million cash at the end of April. The company owns the globally significant Julimar project, north of Perth, which is Australia's largest palladium discovery.

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A battery metals explorer backed by some big-name identities in the WA mining industry has defied volatile equity markets to make a strong debut on the Australian Securities Exchange (reports The West Australian).

Bellavista Resources has traded as high as 30¢, up 50 per cent on its 20¢ issue price after raising $6.5 million in a heavily oversubscribed initial public offering. The IPO was backed by Capricorn Metals executive chairman Mark Clark, chief executive Kim Massey, Bellevue Gold managing director Steve Parsons and former Alita Resources boss Mark Calderwood. The company holds the Edmund project in the Upper Gascoyne, 130km south-west of Newman, with its exploration efforts set to target four areas spanning a 130km-long corridor.

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Kerry Harmanis isn’t the first practising lawyer to throw in the towel (reports The Australian Financial Review).

But there aren’t many who quit to become a professional artist only to end up a mining prospector. It’s a twist of fate that paved the way for Harmanis to become a long-term member of the Financial Review Rich List. With a Frank Lowy-style knack for timing, Harmanis sold Jubilee Mines for $3.1 billion just as the nickel market peaked in 2007. He’d pocket around $470 million and leave corporate life to pursue his passion for surfing and tai-chi while toiling away at various equity and property investments.

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Bill Beament’s Develop Global has flagged a significant upgrade in the resource at its Sulphur Springs copper-zinc-silver project in the Pilbara following another batch of high-grade drilling intersections (reports The West Australian).

Develop unveiled a series of thick, high-grade intersections on Monday including 65.1 metres at 3.5 per cent copper equivalent from a $10m, 68-hole infill drilling program at the project near Marble Bar. The company said the results would feed into a resource upgrade next quarter for Sulphur Springs, which already hosts a resource of 13.8 million tonnes at 2.8 per cent copper equivalent including 9.4Mt in the indicated category. Mr Beament said the latest drilling results were even better than the company had anticipated.

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Plus, Chalice stablemate Minerals 260 hunting for a Julimar of its own.

The junior explorers have been down in the mouth of late as the big switch to risk-off in equity markets takes its toll on their share prices. Given the on-going supportive backdrop of historically high commodity prices, the painful sell-off in the juniors has been something to behold. But among the gloom, the explorers can be relied on to serve up a reminder every now and then that impressive exploration results will win out over broader market weakness each and every time.

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One decent discovery was not enough to totally wash away the negative sentiment that pervaded most sections of the Australian stock market this week, though Galileo Mining’s palladium strike near Norseman in WA went some way to improving the overall mood.

The highly encouraging 33 metre drill hit assaying 2 grams per tonne of three metals (palladium, platinum and gold), plus useful grades of copper and nickel from a depth of 144m triggered a spectacular surge in Galileo’s share price, which rose by 41c (192%) to 62c. News of the find reverberated around the world, fast becoming a talking point at the Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town and sparking interest among stockbrokers in London, from where this week’s edition of Prospector’s Diary is being filed.

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Nickel failed to dodge this week’s sector-wide mining sell-off, but with the battery metals and electric vehicle (EV) business model intact it could be the first commodity to recover (reports Tim Treadgold on Small Caps).

Strong demand is one of the reasons to feel confident that nickel will bounce back with the new market of EV batteries adding to the existing major use of the metal in the production of stainless steel. A second factor supporting most Australian nickel miners is that they’re producing top grade material, which is what EV battery makers want and which attracts a price premium over lower grade material produced in other countries, particularly Indonesia.

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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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