News - Fitzgerald Articles

BHP’s nickel chief paints very bullish outlook for his metal while Mincor tells Diggers & Dealers why it’s perfectly placed to cash-in on this forecast boom and Centaurus also aiming to help meet demand. Plus, Alkane and SolGold.

Diggers & Dealers was always going to be dominated by gold stories. But the nickel brigade, led by BHP’s boss of Nickel West, Eddy Haegel, made a good fist of diverting some of the attention of the 1900 delegates at the COVID-delayed conference. “You’ve heard me say this before - we are at the beginning of a revolution that will transform our world and materially increase demand for nickel. Nickel is a standout winner from a decarbonising world,” Haegel said.

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After a bumper year, the Goldfields air is thick with anticipation, if not planes. A “potential show-stopper” from Chalice and Greatland on finding gold in the Pilbara among the must-sees

Next week’s Diggers & Dealers bash beneath Kalgoorlie’s big blue sky will be a more sedate affair than usual. That’s a pity because there is lots for the annual gathering of mining and finance-types to celebrate. The Eastern State’s bloc of regular attendees at the three-day conference is trapped back home because of COVID-19, so it is case of them putting out the rubbish and feeding the cat rather than being free to enjoy a Kalgoorlie kebab at 3am.

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Plus, $20m Argonaut Resources offering leveraged exposure to the copper theme and Friedland named on Chalice’s top-20.

There is nothing wrong with a $US1,892/oz ($A2,635) gold price. It’s just that the metal has lost some of its shine of late as investors in the sector fret that circa $US1,900/oz gold could be good as it gets for a while. As mentioned previously, that has been encouraging a rotation in to base metals, or more particularly, copper, which avoided getting walloped in the recent metals sell-off. The red metal has returned to $3/lb to be comfortably ahead of its $US2.50/lb average in the June half.

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Meanwhile in Ecuador, anticipation builds around a possible BHP or Newcrest bid for SolGold and Sunstone looks set to rise on back of Bramaderos project.

There is a bunch of hopefuls on the ASX looking to become producers of high purity alumina (HPA), which is set to enjoy super-charged growth in demand for its use in LED lighting and as a heat separator in lithium-ion batteries. But it is FYI’s planned $198m integrated project in WA – it envisages the Cadoux kaolin mine 220km north-east of Perth supplying a HPA refinery at Kwinana – that has got the interest up of the king of metal-grade and chemical-grade alumina production, Alcoa. As far as project endorsements go, FYI could not have hoped for a better one.

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And speaking of red, US investment firm Bernstein is the latest to predict the red metal is about to get red hot.

Lots of gold deposits will support a new mining operation for the next 5-7 years or so thanks to gold’s elevated price levels. But few of the newbie operations - and lots of the established operations – will be around in 10 years, let alone 15 years. A long life has important valuation implications. If it comes with embedded production upside, all the better.

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Veteran geologist Neil Biddle is coming up to 40 years of knocking around the hard-rock exploration scene.

Veteran geologist Neil Biddle is coming up to 40 years of knocking around the hard-rock exploration scene. So after his success with fellow geologist John Young and accountant Tony Leibowitz in creating Pilbara Minerals ($750 million) and Bardoc Gold ($140m) before letting operating guys pick up the reins, Biddle’s thoughts naturally enough turned to a prolonged period of rest and recreation.

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Plus, DGO cleaning up on its 16% stake in De Grey and Firefly in a halt pending gold assays

Given De Grey Mining’s multi-million ounce Hemi gold discovery in the Pilbara, it’s not hard for a junior with exposure to gold exploration in the region to have a market cap of $50 million. And it’s not hard for a junior with a WA iron ore deposit and plans to become a boutique producer of the material to also have a $50m market cap, such is the allure of cashing in on $US127/t prices.

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The junior gold exploration space was in need of a tonic in the wake of the recent wobbles in the gold price.

The junior gold exploration space was in need of a tonic in the wake of the recent wobbles in the gold price. And thanks to some spectacular results in the latest drilling by De Grey Mining (DEG), which is 16 per cent-owned by DGO Gold (DGO) from the Crow zone at its Hemi gold discovery in the Pilbara, the required tonic has arrived on cue. A thick and high-grade intersection of 64m grading 13.4g/t gold from 141, including 19m at 42g/t from 170m, got the pulses racing again, with De Grey itself rising 11% to 98.5c for a market cap of $1.05 billion.

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