PM Announces Biggest Economic Stimulus To Date

In Canberra on March 30, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a massive stimulus package for employers to keep paying employees who are affected by the Coronavirus. The Federal Government is committing $130 billion over six months to support up to 6 million Australians which equates to around $1500 per fortnight.

This will be known as a Job Keeper payment.

The PM said “We are introducing a $1500 per fortnight Job Keeper,  payment, We will pay employers,  to pay their employees and we will make sure that happens”The Job Keeper Supplement will apply to part timers, full timers, sole traders and casual staff who have been in employment with their employer for over 12 months. Those made redundant after March 1 are also eligible.

This news is on the back of the ASX 200 closing at 5181 points up 7%. Health, financials and consumer facing sectors were strongest.


Saracen Response To Covid 19 While Keeping Financial Guidance

In a buck against current trends, miner Saracen has announced it will not be reducing its guidance at this point. The company remain on track for upwards of 500,000oz as part of their FY2020 guidance, but are also taking huge measures to protect staff and production at this time. The guidance for the FY2020 will continue to be monitored.

There has been a range of procedures implemented by Saracen to ensure health and safety of Staff is paramount. This includes:

  • Bans on all non-essential travel
  • Cessation of all discretionary expenditures and associated personnel
  • Remote working arrangements where practicable both on and offsite
  • Longer FIFO rosters for all personnel to at least 3 weeks on / 3 weeks off (from 15 days on / 13 days off and 8 days on / 6 days off i.e. 4 panel structure maintained)
  • FIFO travel restricted to charter flights only with strict health screening before departure
  • Employees and contractors living out of WA cannot travel to site unless 14-day quarantine period is met
  • Additional charter flights and buses added to ensure sufficient seating to support social distancing
  • Changes to the operation of mine camp facilities including kitchens, bars and closure of the gyms

Managing Director Ral Finlayson said in relation to the approach by Saracen on Covid19 “Our number one obligation is to protect our people and, in the process, the wider community, While the measures taken so far have had minimal impact on our production, these are not ‘business as usual’ times.

“The controls and restrictions we have put in place in recent weeks are likely to impact our mining production rates in the coming quarter. At this stage, with the benefit of substantial ore stockpiles, we expect the impact to be limited on mill production, but we will ensure we keep all stakeholders informed if and when circumstances change in the future.

“It may also become necessary to implement further measures, which we will do without hesitation if circumstances require.”

In other details on the production and operations news, there is a record group production of between 150,000 and 155,000 ounces estimated for the March quarter 2020; Production in the six months to December 31 was 216,452 ounces. The commissioning of the Carosue Dam mill to 3.2Mtpa is likely to be slightly delayed until the March quarter 2021, but Saracen has large ore stockpiles available for milling (more than 1.7Moz attributable) which will help insulate the business should mining be further restricted

A further update on current ore stockpile levels was provided:

  • Carosue Dam – Approximately 9 months processing
  • Thunderbox – Approximately 13 months processing
  • KCGM low grade – Approximately 25 months processing
  • KCGM sub-grade – Approximately 92 months processing

A pause has been placed on in-mine activity which includes definition drilling into Fimiston South at KCGM.


Gold Hits Australian Record Overnight

Its been on one rollercoaster ride lately, but overnight gold hit a record Australian price $2828.99 While restrictions on business, major disruption of industries and so much uncertainty loom, Gold has started to become the beacon for the world to look towards with much needed positivity. 


Gold is safe haven buying. It provides comfort to markets in times of crisisNot since 2011 have we seen the price of gold at levels we have right now The all time high for gold was $1917.90US/oz. At that time, the Australian dollar had parity with the US in sight, now it’s a different world. The Aussie dollar is buying just under 60¢ US at time of print.  
It has been an interesting time for gold according to analysts. However now its believed we are seeing the tradition response to the metal during uncertain times.
Platinum and Palladium have also had a run early to mid-week on markets. 

Price via Kitco

Galileo Hits Intersect At Lantern Project

Galileo Mining has announced some significant results from its Lantern Project,  as part of the Kitchener northern tenement as part of the Fraser Range Zone.

Reverse Circulation drilling revealed a source of geochemical anomaly by intersecting nickel and copper sulphidemineralisation in fresh rock.  Of three RC Drill holes, the following results have been revealed with a reported 0.1% copper cut off grade.

  • LARC001 10m @ 0.21% nickel and 0.14% copper from 62m (weathered rock)
  • LARC002 21m @ 0.19% nickel and 0.18% copper from 59m (weathered rock)
  • LARC003 12m @ 0.38% nickel and 0.33% copper from 124m (sulphide)
  • LARC003 5m @ 0.13% nickel and 0.13% copper from 150m (sulphide)

LARC001 and LARC002 confirmed the anomaly while LARC003 identified the source by intersecting it.

“This is an excellent result from the first ever RC drilling program at the Lantern Prospect. We have now discovered a fertile mineralised system containing nickel and copper sulphides. Our next step is to define the extent and quantity of the target metals and, given that we have over two kilometres of untested strike length at this one target alone, the potential for a large discovery is outstanding.” According to Brad Underwood, Managing Director of Galileo Mining.

Galileo now has further downhole EM surveys on LARC003 to complete as well as step out aircore and RC drilling around the LARC003 hole. There is also planned aircore and diamond core drilling as part of the upcoming drill program.

With assistance – Galileo Mining

Maiden Air Core Drilling By Krakatoa At Belgravia

A maiden air core drilling program has been completed by Krakaota Resources at its Belgravia Project  7km east of Molong and 20km NW of Orange in New South Wales.  A total of 128 holes were conducted for 2358m, but also expanded high resolution aeromagnetic survey of the Project was completed as well.  

In a release to market by Krakatoa, the following revealed some results of the program. “As part of the drilling program the presence of (high potassium) shoshonitic intrusive and volcanic rocks which are more widely distributed than previously believed. Alkaline rocks have been established as being closely related to certain times of gold and base metal deposit.” 

 Further details were released on the aeromagnetic survey as well. “The aeromagnetic survey was completed across the Sugarloaf Creek, Guanna Hill, Shades Creek, Nandillyan and Strathmore target areas. The survey will highlight possible intrusive bodies, porphyry style alteration and potential mineralising structures.” 

Krakatoa’s Belgravia project is part of the East Lachlan Fold Belt and has targets for porphyry Cu-Au and associated skarn Cu Au. It is part of the largest porphyry province in Australia.  


With assistance – Krakatoa Resources.


Diggers And Dealers 2020 Date Change Announced

The highly regarded Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie Boulder has today announced a change of dates for 2020.

Forum Chairman Jim Walker announced the details today via email.

We have been paying close attention to the developments in Australia and Internationally in relation to the outbreak of COVID-19. With our focus being on the safety and health of delegates, and the increasing uncertainty around large events, we believe that moving the Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum to 12,13, and 14 October 2020 is the responsible action to take.

By moving the event out of the winter period, we believe we are allowing more time for authorities to assess information and guide our decision making.

We also want to provide reassurance that we are committed to supporting the Goldfields community, resources industry and our suppliers. We have consulted with industry colleagues for their input on this decision. Their full support has been provided given the measures the broader mining community has implemented and are planning to implement if necessary. Due to the lead times and logistics associated with holding the event in Kalgoorlie we do need to have a date to work towards. We believe this is the responsible action to take in these unprecedented circumstances.

 Mr Walker also went on to thank sponsors, presenters, exhibitors, media and delegates for their understanding at this time.

Diggers and Dealers was originally set for August 3,4 and 5 2020 in Kalgoorlie Boulder. Professor Ian Goldin was also announced last month as the Forum’s key note speaker. 

Virgin Australia Response To Coronavirus

Earlier this week Qantas announced flight changes and capacity reductions related to Coronavirus. Today, Virgin Australia Group has announced a cut in international and domestic services, but remains positive on the effect of its business.

Flights on the International Virgin Australia Network to Los Angeles, Japan and Trans Tasman flights will be reduced while Virgin Australia will exit Auckland and Tonga and Tatotonga services. Domestically, capacity will reduced by 5%, Mainly with markets that have multiple daily flights.

Virgin Australia have also suspended earning guidance for FY20 as well as several cost cutting exercises from marketing, discretionary spends, board payments and more.

An update on the cleaning processes on the Virgin Australia Web site highlights daily cleaning, sanitation, overall practices in place. 

In a positive for  the Virgin Australia Group, bookings to Western Australia and holiday destinations Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Hamilton Island continue to be ahead of where they were this time last year. 


Alkane Resources EFA Confirmation Gives Support For Dubbo Project

Alkane Resources are an Australian gold producer and rare earths developer and have moved to develop their project around Dubbo. This comes after Australia’s export credit agency Export Finance Australia (EFA) confirmed they seek to develop new export markets with a focus on “Critical Minerals” sector. The EFA sent confirmation to Alkane with the following points

  • EFA would be pleased to be part of the financing consortium in providing the required financial support for the development of the Dubbo Project, subject to finalisation of normal due diligence, acceptable financing structure and the resultant transaction meeting the EFA’s eligibility and credit requirements;
  • The Dubbo Project closely aligns to the recently announced initiative by the Australian Government to develop its “Critical Minerals” sector; and
  • • EFA has provided a letter of support to strengthen ASM’s ongoing discussions with potential strategic investors, other Government financiers and off take parties for the Dubbo Project.

This bodes well for the Alkane Toongi mine – 25 kilometres south of Dubbo.  The Dubbo Project is an advanced ploy metallic project with resources in zirconium, hafnium, niobium, tantalum, yttrium and rare earth elements.

Alkane’s Managing Director, Nic Earner, said “After extensive engagement with the Australian Government, particularly recently as part of its Critical Minerals initiative, it is pleasing to see that stated support is translating into preparedness for government agencies to act, in this case with EFA providing confirmation of its interest in being part of the financing consortium for the Dubbo Project.”

In recent drilling at San Antonio and Roswell at the Alkane Tomingley Gold Operation has found some notable results ahead of its maiden resource calculation. Highlights include:

Roswell: 49 metres grading 8.71g/t Au from 218 metres; incl 2 metres grading 60.5g/t Au from 243 metres;

San Antonio: 15 metres grading 4.33g/t Au from 141 metres; incl 3 metres grading 12.4g/t Au from 144 metres;

With assistance Alkane Resources

NT Mine Closure Affects Around 250 Workers

As gold hits record highs in AUD, a gold mine closure has hit the Northern Territory. Kirkland Lake Gold announced the news to workers at the Cosmo mine and Union Reefs processing plant near Pine Creek. A closure which affects around 250 workers.

According to reports from the ABC Rural, it appears that Kirkland Lake were impacted by government decisions and mining approvals processes.

Production ceased at Cosmo when it was placed into care and maintenance in June 30 2017. Its believed Kirkland had been working to get the mine restarted with advanced and extensive exploration assessing the potential of a resumption of operations.

Cosmo Operations – via Kirkland Lake Gold Website

In a letter that was circulated to employees, Kirkland stated the NT mine would be designated non core. Kirkland also own the Fosterville mine in Bendigo, Victoria which had production figures in 2019 of 619,367oz. Gold today, was trading at $2560.88. 

New Chair Appointed To Building And Construction Industry Training Board

Former Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy, Reg Howard-Smith has today been announced as Chairperson of the Building and Construction Industry Training Board.

The position which was appointed by the McGowan Government, coincides with the introduction of new legislative changes relating to the Building and Construction Industry Training fund to further support construction training in WA.

Mr Howard-Smith has had previous experience dealing with high level government as well as being an industry spokesperson. These skills will be used in the ongoing management of the resources industry’s contributions to the fund, following on from the removal of its exemption to the levy in 2018.

The Minister for Education and Training – Hon Sue Ellery said “Reg Howard-Smith has the right mix of knowledge and skills to effectively lead the Building and Construction Industry Training Board in a time of significant change.”

“He will provide a strong, independent voice backed by leadership experience and a deep knowledge of the construction and training sectors.

“Importantly, I have asked him to work closely with all stakeholders – existing and new – to ensure all points of view are explored.

The Minister also thanked the previous Chairperson – Ian Hill, “I would also like to acknowledge and thank Ian Hill who was the former Board chair and who made such an important contribution to helping the building and construction industry meet its demands for skilled workers.”

Mr Howards Smith commenced in this role March 9.