Hammer hitting copper in Queensland, Calidus eyes first gold as its lithium exploration fires up and gold hunts by Nagambie and Mamba attracting strong interest.

The copper price was doing nicely long before Russia invaded Ukraine, having risen 51% from its (calendar) 2020 average to a 2021 average of $US4.22/lb. The price has been swept higher in recent days to $US4.65/lb in recognition that, on Macquarie figures, Russia accounts for about 4% or 1mtpa of global copper supply, of which about 75% is – or was – exported. So while copper is not in the same basket as the energy commodities which have shot massively higher in response to the invasion, the copper price is certainly now consolidating in record territory levels.

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Plus, RareX set for its day in the sun as Cummins Range project gains size and grade in a world desperate for rare earths

Bustling Billy Beament has been threatening to pull off a signature deal ever since arriving from Northern Star at the base metals developer and mining services group Develop Global (DVP, formerly Venturex). He has done just that by securing a widely anticipated deal to acquire the mothballed Woodlawn zinc-copper mine near Canberra in NSW from creditors of Heron Resources for $30 million in cash and shares upfront, with $70m payable on success milestones being met.

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Alicanto’s exploration has extended high-grade silver and zinc mineralisation at its Sala silver-lead-zinc project in Sweden over 3km of strike (reports Stockhead).

Step-out drilling has returned some cracking results such as:

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Red ink ruled the stock market this week, as every investor knows, but there was a solitary flash of green which could be a pointer to what comes after the volatile shake-out underway across all financial sectors as central banks crank up interest rates.

Western Areas, a WA-focused nickel miner, added 11.5c to $3.55 thanks to the intervention of iron ore billionaire Andrew Forrest in what looked like a seamless and friendly merger with fellow nickel producer, IGO. Forrest, who is keen to rebuild his nickel credentials after the failure of Anaconda Nickel 20 years ago, demonstrated his willingness to pay a high price for nickel assets when late last year he outbid BHP in a battle for Canadian nickel hopeful Noront Resources.

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Plus, Red 5 eyes re-rating as first gold production draws near and Firefinch is a hot bird in demand with lithium feasibility study imminent.

The copper price is proving to be resilient in the face of all the uncertainty around the place. Last quoted at $US4.38/lb, the red metal remains a heady 56% up on last year’s (calendar) average. And why wouldn’t it be resilient when the likes of BHP, which is not known for exaggerating things, is running around saying the world will need almost double the copper in the next 30 years that it got by with in the past 30 years.

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A virus and a banker were a toxic combination on financial markets this week as the latest Covid strain rattled investor confidence and Jerome Powell, head of the U.S. central bank, warned that the punch bowl of free money could be removed sooner rather than later. The net result was red ink across most sectors with gold equities hit hardest as measured by a 5.5% fall in the ASX gold index, a drop significantly higher than what turned out to be a modest $US15 an ounce slide in the gold price over the week.

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The deepest and thickest drill hit to date from the Antler copper project has left little doubt New World Resources’ recent maiden resource is just the tip of a large iceberg (reports Stockhead). New World Resources (ASX:NWC) delivered a maiden high grade resource of 7.7Mt at 3.9% copper equivalent at the Arizona deposit earlier this month with 74% in the high indicated category, but already has an exploration target to extend it to 10Mt to 12Mt grading 3%-4% copper equivalent.

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For the first time in more than a decade, six of the world’s most vital industrial metals are flashing a rare synchronised warning over tight supply, as logistical turmoil and strong demand spark anxiety among buyers (reports Bloomberg).

From aluminium to zinc, spot prices for base metals on the London Metal Exchange are all soaring above futures — a condition known as backwardation — for the first time since 2007. Buyers are paying a premium for access to metal against a backdrop of plunging exchange inventories, supply-chain delays, production hiccups and surging demand for industrial commodities in everything from construction to consumer electronics.

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