News

Any doubts about battery metals dominating the resources sector for the next decade, and beyond, were washed away this week when BHP and Rio Tinto made overdue expansion moves into nickel and lithium.

Both mining giants have been tinkering around the edges of batteries and energy transition, but they showed their hands when BHP lobbed a bid for control of a Canadian nickel discovery and Rio Tinto giving the go ahead to the Jadar lithium project in Serbia. Fat profits from mining iron ore, and selling coal and oil assets, are funding the shift into energy metals with more to come in the next few weeks with BHP expected to take a bolder step into “green” commodities with a commitment to finish building its Jansen potash project also in Canada.

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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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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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Gateway Mining’s Gidgee gold project in WA is turning up more high-grade results, with infill RC drilling at the Evermore prospect returning coarse visible gold (reports Stockhead).

Highlight results from 10 of the 91 hole 14,311m RC program included: 10m at 2.8g/t from 101m, directly ‘up dip’ of a previously identified high-grade intercept (7m at 11.7g/t from 97m); and 2m at 10.8g g/t from 87m. In addition, the first diamond drill hole results from the six hole 2,550m program returned 1.9 metres at 22.4 g/t, including visible gold:

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One of the great unknowns about Chalice Mining’s exciting Julimar project is whether its proximity to Perth is a blessing or a curse (reports The Australian Financial Review).

The PGE (platinum group element) discovery – which includes nickel, copper, cobalt, gold and palladium –- sits a little more than 70 kilometres north-east of the city in farmland and state forest. Chalice is waiting for permission to drill in the state forest as it tries to establish just how big a deal it has on its hands with Julimar, and if it is of a size that supports one or more mines.

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There are times when Chalice Mining managing director Alex Dorsch looks out of the window of his West Perth office and shakes his head in wonder (reports The Australian Financial Review).

Less than 80 kilometres from the suburb, which is home to Australia’s greatest concentration of junior mining and exploration companies, sits the company’s Julimar discovery. Julimar is a rare beast: a shallow nickel-copper-cobalt-palladium-gold deposit in a nation where there have been few platinum group element (PGE) discoveries, let alone many of size.

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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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Iron ore, coal and oil ore will be the commodity winners when the financial is ruled off next Wednesday. Gold, however, will end flat when looked at over the full 12-months, while copper and other battery metals continue to shape as next year’s winners.

In a nutshell, that’s where we have been in financial year 2020/21 and where we appear to be headed as financial markets say goodbye to a roller-coaster ride dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic and government spending designed to stave off a depression. By this time next year, a different picture will emerge, probably one dominated by the struggle to reel in the excess cash created in reaction to the pandemic which means inflation and interest rates will be one of big issues to watch, with energy transition another.

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