News - Fitzgerald Articles

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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With the price defying analysts’ predictions of a sharp drop and BHP saying this week that it no longer expects “an abrupt step down”, juniors such as Fenix and Strike are feeling investors’ love. Plus, Chalice’s nickel-copper find attracts international attention.

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But while the argument rages, gold explorers such as Firefly and Kalamazoo prepare for potentially company-making drilling programs. Plus, Orion secures vital water licence, paving way for a strategic partner to come into its copper-zinc project.

It takes a brave person to call an end to gold’s run to record levels in nominal terms. But when the small and big financial papers start writing up calls for gold to hit $US3,000 from its current $US2,040/oz, you’ve got to start wondering. Using a safety in numbers approach, Macquarie’s “gold commodity desk strategy team’’ has been one of the few to urge caution. “Gold has pushed through the $US2,000/oz barrier which we believe to be an overshoot move, raising the risk of a sharp correction,” the desk penned this week.

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Plus, its Fosterville frustration as tensions mount over Victoria’s tardy bureaucracy, Hugh Morgan’s gold float starts rattling the can and Chalice’s gold cup runneth over.

There is nothing like a game-changing discovery to fire-up interest in a region’s potential to host another one. That’s what has happened in the Pilbara, where investor interest in its gold potential has long suffered in comparison with the Yilgarn down south. But De Grey changed all that late last year with its intrusion-related Hemi discovery about 80km south of Port Hedland.

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