Iron ore prices have slumped in recent weeks, currently sitting at US$120/tonne, or around AU$164/tonne (reports Stockhead).

It’s sweet spot to be in for players like Fenix Resources (ASX:FEX) who hedged ~45% of their planned production from October 2021 to September 2022 at A$230/dry metric tonne. The company had entered iron ore swap arrangements for 50,000 tonnes per month of the Monthly Average Platts TSI 62 Index converted to AUD for the 12-month period as part of its price protection policy. The idea was to secure the medium-term future of the Iron Ridge project – whilst maintaining exposure to the iron ore price.

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Macmahon has finalised a $210 million contract for mining services at Calidus Resources’ Warrawoona gold project in the Pilbara as on-site construction heads towards completion (reports The West Australian).

The scope of work at the emerging gold producer’s development south of Marble Bar will include all open cut mining activities until December 2026. Macmahon is already engaged in separate civil works at Warrawoona where it has 65 workers on site. Calidus said the mill had been installed was now 60 per cent complete. Construction of the processing plant was now 63 per cent complete. Warrawoona is forecast to produce up to 105,000 ounces a year, with the potential to increase to 139,000oz when the nearby Blue Spec deposit is developed.

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Silver has long sat in the shadow of gold as a kind of poor cousin (reports Stockhead).

Silver is more abundant than gold and found in higher concentrations, but is still considered a precious metal and trades at a far higher price by weight than base metals like nickel and tin. After hitting levels of around US$40/oz a decade ago prices spent most of the next 10 years at under half those levels. Exposure to the commodity is sparse on the ASX, and prices have suffered some hard times, largely missing the boom gold miners enjoyed from 2017 to 2020 before spiking upwards during the pandemic.

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Kairos Minerals (ASX: KAI) has uncovered what it says is an “exceptionally high-grade gold zone” at its Mt York deposit, which is part of the wider Pilbara gold project in Western Australia (reports Small Caps).

Drilling at the 873,500 ounce Mt York deposit has led to the discovery of a new gold zone, which remains open at depth. The zone is located in “The Gap” between Main Hill and Breccia Hill historic workings. Drilling returned an “outstanding” new high-grade intercept of 32m at 3.79 grams per tonne gold from 124m, including 16m at 6.62g/t gold from 132m, and 4m at 15.7g/t gold from 144m. The company noted the intercept was the best in the company’s history of drilling at Mt York where 1,041 holes for 46,000m has been completed.

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Pilbara Minerals has underlined the strength of the surging lithium market with an online auction of product revealing price gains of nearly 80 per cent in just seven weeks (reports The West Australian).

The Ken Brinsden-led company late yesterday revealed its recently initiated Battery Material Exchange digital auction for 8000 dry metric tonnes of 5.5 per cent lithium concentrate (spodumene) received a highest bid of $US2240/t.

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A bunch of juniors are about to follow-up a test hole drilled by Geoscience Australia which revealed strong potential for IOCG copper-gold deposits near Tennant Creek. Greenvale, Inca and Strategic Energy among those about to try their luck at the big time. And Nexus defies gold gloom with some bumper results. It goes without saying that there is a strong appetite for copper exploration with some big upside potential now that the price of the red metal has well and truly consolidated around the $US4.20/lb level.

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Pilbara Minerals has confirmed Pilgangoora as one of the world’s largest hard rock lithium resource (reports MiningNews).

The company reported a 39% increase in measured, indicated and inferred resources to 308.9 million tonnes at 1.14% lithium oxide, 105 parts per million tantalum pentoxide and 0.59% iron oxide for 3.5Mt of containing lithium oxide and 71.7 million pounds of tantalum pentoxide at a 0.2% lithium cut-off grade. At a 0.5% cut-off, the lithium resource is 3.4Mt at 1.22%. Measured and indicated resources were up 59% to 2.46Mt of lithium oxide and 47.7Mlb of tantalum pentoxide.

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Lithium has a better claim than most commodities to be the “new oil.” It even comes with the latest geopolitical baggage (reports The Wall Street Journal).

Prices for the lithium-based chemicals that go into rechargeable batteries have soared this year as electric-vehicle sales have revved up, particularly in China. The average price for lithium carbonate, one of the two key compounds used by battery manufacturers, reached $US14,386 a tonne in August, according to Benchmark Minerals, up from $US6,124 in December.

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