Rising capital costs, longer lead times and the potential for higher taxes mean miners need copper prices to rise even further before committing to develop new projects, according to investment bank Jefferies (reports MiningNews).

"Even with the copper price recently reaching an all-time high, for example, the incentive price to build greenfield (and some brownfield) projects is still above the current price in some cases as longer lead times greatly impact project returns," said Jefferies. Copper is trading at around US$4.50/lb, up from about $3.50/lb at the start of the year. Prices have not been at such elevated levels for a decade.

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Perenti will lock in a $648 million contract to provide open pit mining at Sandfire Resources’ Motheo copper operations in Botswana if the project gets the green light (reports The West Australian).

The seven-year, three-month contract with Perenti’s African Mining Services will have a one-year extension offer and terms will be finalised if Sandfire is granted a mining licence by the Botswanan government. AMS is set to partner with a local firm for the project and transition to a 70-30 joint venture before the start of mining early next year. Perenti managing director and chief executive Mark Norwell said Motheo was a game-changing growth opportunity for AMS in one of the world’s most attractive mining jurisdictions.

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Australian investors moved heavily into gold during the crash last year with overall inflows up 100 per cent while high net worth investors tripled their holdings in the yellow metal (reports The Australian).

The swing by private investors – as opposed to big super funds – is revealed in a new research report from the Perth Mint’s investment research manager Jordan Eliseo. Needless to say most gold industry reports wax lyrical on the charms of the yellow metal and this report is no exception to the tradition. It does, however, put some very persuasive numbers around the case for gold as an investment choice: Importantly the case is made equally for global gold (always priced in $US) and for local investors using Australian dollars.

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Kairos Minerals (ASX: KAI) has defined a new exploration target at its Pilbara gold project south of Port Hedland containing between 4.4 million tonnes to 7.4Mt of gold bearing ore (reports Small Caps).

The exploration target, which has grades ranging between 1.5 grams per tonne gold and 1.8g/t, is located close to the company’s promising Mt York and Iron Stirrup deposits as well as to the Zakanaka prospect. It is possible that the new target area contains extensions of the mineralisation from the historical pits at Zakanaka, the company predicts. It includes untested greenfield exploration potential and is in addition to the current 873,500oz gold indicated and inferred mineral resource at Mt York, based on 20.9Mt at 1.3g/t.

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Canaccord Genuity has issued a Speculative Buy recommendation with a 30c price target for emerging copper explorer-developer New World Resources (currently 10c).

In an initiation note, Canaccord cautions that its valuation is preliminary in nature and should be viewed as a what-if case, given no formal mining studies have been published and a maiden JORC resource is awaited, but outlines what it describes as a “likely development scenario” for the company’s Antler project in Arizona, USA. “Based on the published drilling data to date, we have modelled a potential mine inventory for Antler,” Canaccord says. The project has a non-JORC historic resource of 4.7Mt at ~3.4% copper equivalent.

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Plus, strong copper price boosting Stavely’s story and it’s game-on at Colosseum for Dateline.

There is half a dozen or so good sized graphite stocks on the ASX with ambitions to become a producer of the key anode material in lithium-ion batteries. The world will need them too, with broad agreement that a supply deficit will emerge around 2023 as the electric vehicle and the storage of renewable energy revolution hits top gear. Prices for the material are reflecting that, having recently bounced from last year’s drastic lows.

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Another whiff of inflation and hint of rising interest rates stirred financial markets this week, along with a warning of greater risks ahead from two big name investors (and a long-dead economist).

Larry Fink and Jeremy Grantham sang from the same gloomy hymn sheet, which is a favorite of grumpy old men who have seen countless market cycles -- and so too would Adam Smith, if he had not died 231 years ago. Fink is the key man in the threesome because he runs BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund manager. He warned that stimulus spending would create an inflation spike which would be a “pretty big shock” for most people, especially novice investors who have little concept of the value-corroding nature of inflation.

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Selling the Arakaka gold project in Guyana allows Alicanto Minerals (ASX:AQI) to focus its financial and human resources on the 20,000m drilling campaign currently underway in Sweden (reports Stockhead).

The sale is subject to conditions, including that Canadian buyer Virgin Gold complete due diligence on Arakaka, obtain any necessary third party consents, and complete a reverse takeover of CSE-listed Goldblock Capital. In turn, Alicanto will be required to seek shareholder approval for the disposal of the Arakaka project. Under the agreement, Alicanto will receive C$750,000 cash and rights to Goldblock shares to a value of up to C$4 million when Goldblock hits certain NI43-101 compliant resource targets.

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