Morning News Bites – October 30

Liontown to Roar After $12.5 Million Raising.

Liontown Resources (ASX: LTR) has confirmed it has accepted firm commitments for a $12.5 million capital raising to underpin the continued advancement of its 100%-owned Kathleen Valley Lithium-Tantalum and Moora Gold-PGE- Nickel-Copper Projects in Western Australia.

As a result of the raising the Company’s flagship Kathleen Valley Lithium- Tantalum Project will be fully funded through to completion of a DFS in Q4 2021, underpinning the next stage of its journey to become a significant second-generation Australian lithium-tantalum producer.

The capital raising was undertaken at $0.23 per share and comprises:

– A $10.33 million placement via the issue of 44,923,913 New Shares to institutional and sophisticated investors within the Company’s 15% placement capacity in accordance with ASX Listing Rule 7.1; and

– A $2.17 million placement via the issue of 9,423,913 New Shares to the Company’s Directors (and their associates), subject to shareholder approval.

The issue price of $0.23 per New Share represents a 13.2% discount to the last closing price of $0.265 on Monday, 26th October 2020.

Liontown’s Managing Director, David Richards said:  This placement further de-risks Liontowns development pathway and puts us in a great position to advance our high-quality Kathleen Valley Lithium-Tantalum Project rapidly towards completion of a DFS and project financing. The strong demand from investors is testament to the quality, grade, scale and location of the Kathleen Valley Project – which is now firmly established as Australias fifth largest spodumene-lithium resource.”

Breaker Encouraged by Results at Lake Roe Project.

Breaker Resources (ASX: BRB) has reported strong drilling results from three areas outside the 1Moz open pit Resource at Bombora, situated within the Company’s 100%-owned Lake Roe Project, 100km east of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

The drilling is part of a major program underway to grow the Resource, expand an extensively de- risked open pit mining option and realise the full potential of a 30km gold system outlined by regional aircore drilling.

Breaker Executive Chairman Tom Sanders said the new results continued to demonstrate the growth potential at Lake Roe, where a pattern of drilling and consistent discovery has been established each quarter over five years. This bears all the hallmarks of new gold camp.

“We are now starting to close the drill spacing at Bombora and Kopai-Crescent in preparation for resource delineation drilling. It is too early to put a timing on the next resource update as we are still firming up the geometry and extent of the gold mineralisation in several areas.”

Pilbara Minerals to Acquire Altura Lithium Project.

Following the appointment of KordaMentha as the Receiver of Altura Mining (ASX:AJM), Pilbara Minerals  (ASX: PLS) has entered into an Implementation Deed with the senior secured loan noteholders of Altura which provides it with a path to potentially acquire the Altura Lithium Project through the purchase of the shares in Altura Lithium Operations Pty Ltd (“ALO”) for approximately US$175 million, subject to completion of the receivership process.

The acquisition of the Altura Project would provide Pilbara Minerals with an opportunity to consolidate the two neighbouring projects into a single integrated operation. Of particular interest to the Company is the opportunity to mine that section of the Altura orebody that is otherwise sterilised without access being granted to Pilbara Minerals’ ground to undertake mining activities.

Pilbara Minerals’ Managing Director, Ken Brinsden, said:  This potential acquisition represents a logical consolidation of two neighbouring operations to unite the greater Pilgangoora orebody, unlocking tangible synergies in both the short and long term”

If successful, Pilbara Minerals claims the acquisition will position the company as the largest pure-play ASX-listed lithium company by enterprise value and will provide strong leverage to the expected recovery in lithium prices, driven by the increasing demand for electric vehicles and energy storage applications evident across the world.

MACA and Carabella Place Mine in Care and Maintenance.

MACA Limited (ASX: MLD) in conjunction with Carabella Resources have agreed to place the Bluff PCI project mine on care and maintenance while the coal price remains below economic levels and uncertainty remains regarding Chinese Government policy relating to Australian metallurgical coal imports. The parties are working to fulfil current coal sales obligations with mining services expected to halt around the end of November 2020.

The carrying value of the receivable amount owing from Carabella for mining services performed and the working capital facility as at 30 June 2020 was $34.7M. Whilst the monthly balance fluctuates with the working capital cycle MACA expects the overall future recoveries to be materially in line with the carrying value of the receivable.

MACA CEO Mike Sutton said  “In conjunction with our client, Carabella, we believe it is prudent to cease operations until a sustained recovery in the PCI coal price occurs. MACA are able to redeploy the majority of the Bluff fleet to existing and new projects which are commencing shortly. A relocation of the Bluff fleet will reduce the expected capital expenditure for FY21 by $35M as a result.”

SOR Escalates Self-Charging Battery Development.

Further to an announcement they made earlier, Strategic Elements (ASX:SOR) subsidiary Australian Advanced Materials Battery has agreed to escalate development of the self-charging flexible battery technology under collaboration with the University of New South Wales . The team will fast-track ink scale up to achieve 1 litre of ink within the next 4 weeks. To provide perspective, 1 litre of Battery Ink has the capacity to produce more than 2000 printable battery cells.

SOR Managing Director Charles Murphy said: “It took years for our team to understand how to scale up our Nanocube Memory Ink to a 1 litre batch size. Achieving this within 4 weeks for the Battery Ink will provide strong evidence of the potential to harness our previous electronic ink experience. Its an ambitious goal but its a challenge the team have taken on. We have also agreed with UNSW to pursue Federal Government matching grant fundingopportunities for integration of the Memory, Battery and Electronic Circuit ink technologies”.

The self-charging battery technology is being developed under a collaboration with the University of New South Wales and CSIRO partially funded by the Federal Government . The Battery cells generate electricity from humidity in the air or skin surface to self-charge themselves within minutes. No manual charging or wired power is required. They are created with a printable ink and are ideally suited for use in Internet of Things (IOT) devices.

Todays Top Story – The EV and Battery Storage Revolution Is Now, Are We Ready?

There is a lot of talk about the future of motor vehicles, battery storage and all things green when it comes to electricity.  But the talk doesn’t seem to be reflected in the commodity prices of those materials required to make up batteries for our EV and home battery storage future.  Is it because that is all it is, talk, or are we waiting for the worlds collective mind to realise that the future is now and we need to start doing it now?

There have been huge gains in EV and battery storage and I think once we refine processes further and increase battery duration, especially in EVs, it will really take off.  If I was to build a new house today I would have to be talked out of a battery storage solution rather than be talked in to it.  As for EVs, living in the country and driving long distances, it doesn’t stack up and diesel is the go to for me.  I hope that can change but I can’t see it happening in the short term.

Regardless of when it really takes off the minerals will be needed.  However the commodity prices seem to be struggling.  Lithium carbonate was the market darling a few years back when it reached a peak of $25,000/mt.  It is now trading at about $9,000/mt.  With the downward spiral of the carbonate the share prices of many lithium miners has followed and their debt increased.

Yesterday came news that Altura Mining was forced into receivership and administration by its lenders.  It came as a surprise to the company as it was in the process of restructuring its debt and had not received any notification of the move by the current lenders when they had flagged October 31 as the deadline.  It has left 13,000 shareholders holding the bunny as it looks like their hard earned has gone down the gurgler.

Cobalt is the other battery metal trying to gain traction in the market.  Most of the cobalt is found in Africa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Politically it is not the most reliable place to do business and the rules often change, especially for operators from foreign countries.  Their human rights record isn’t squeaky clean either and the place is renowned for using child labour.  Cobalt could become the market darling as stockpiles are predicted to fall to critical levels by the end of the year.  Cobalt prices are about a third of what they were two years ago and are back at 2014 levels.

Nickel is fairing pretty well at the moment.  It is the main component in batteries and used in many products too numerous to list.  The price seems to be on the up at the moment and is giving some momentum to nickel miners across the world.

There is no doubt that the EV and battery storage revolution will come.  If you had listened to some people we would have all been driving EVs now.  Alas that market is only a fraction of the new car sales market world-wide.  In Australia the market is far below other countries uptake of the technology.

The critical metals used in batteries will have their day in the sun again.  When? I can’t tell you but it will be an interesting market to watch and hopefully, those Altura shareholder will be able to recoup their losses on the next big thing.

Morning News Bites – October 28

Galileo Confirm Prospective Nature of Fraser Range Lantern South Project.

Galileo Mining has announced assay results from recent diamond drilling have confirmed the prospective nature of the Company’s Lantern area in the Fraser Range Nickel Belt of Western Australia.

Commenting on the assay results Galileo Managing Director Brad Underwood said; These results are a very important step forward for the ongoing exploration programs at our Fraser Range project. For the first time we have identified a small section of primary massive sulphide with high levels of nickel, copper, and cobalt. This means we have identified a mineralised system that can produce high grade nickel and copper. Our job now is to focus on those areas that have the potential to hold large accumulations of economic sulphides. We currently have two advanced prospects at Lantern South and Lantern East where more drilling is required to follow up on the work completed to date. And, given that we have confirmed the fertility of the rocks on our tenements, we will also be increasing our efforts to build our earlier stage prospects into drill targets as we look to create a suite of high quality prospects for drill testing.”

  • Assays received for disseminated sulphides in LARC013D from the Lantern South prospect include;
  • 66 metres @ 0.19% nickel & 0.14% copper from 132.67m including 5.95 metres @ 0.36% nickel & 0.29% copper from 134.82m.
  • First occurrence of nickel and copper rich massive sulphides over 7 cm section of drill core with assays of 4.6% nickel, 2.2% copper, 0.15% cobalt & 0.7 g/t palladium from 136.2m (LARC013D).
  • Assays confirm the mineralised system at the Lantern Prospect is capable of producing high grade nickel-copper sulphide.
  • Wide intersection of disseminated sulphides (pyrrhotite dominant) at Lantern East (LARC008D) may represent a halo zone to remodelled conductive target located 150 metres north of current drilling.

Dampier Gold Release High-Grade Results From Zuleika Project.

Dampier Gold has released results from its Phase 2 drilling on the Paradigm East Project in the Zuleika Gold JV with Torian Resources. The Aircore program was completed at the end of September and comprised 21 holes for a total 1055m of drilling. Results have been received for the entire program on 4m composite samples.

The Zuleika Gold Project sits within the gold rich Kundana/Ora Banda district of the Kalgoorlie Goldfield and consists of a 223sqkm land holding along significant regional structures within highly prospective stratigraphy which has been the host to more than 20 million ounces of gold production over the last 30 years (still producing), with scope for more discoveries.

Best intercepts within the composite sampling were.

24m @ 6.4 g/t Au from 28m incl 4m @ 34.7 g/t Au from 32m and 8m @ 2.2 g/t Au from 48m including 4m @ 3.3 g/t Au from 48m.

Dampier’s Managing Director, Ms Annie Guo, said:

Our latest successful exploration results have vindicated Dampier’s strategy of maintaining an aggressive drilling campaign in parallel with our technical teams increasing understanding of the mineralised systems within the project area. I wish to congratulate Dampiers team for this outstanding result.

We have hit more high-grade mineralisation in previously untested areas. These results extend the known limits of mineralisation. This points to a larger mineralised envelope which in turn will give greater scale to the project.

The success at Paradigm East enforces the significant potential of Dampiers asset portfolio and together with the technical ability of its committed team, Dampier is on track with its focus of rapidly defining JORC Resources at its Zuleika project area which forms part of our Menzies/Kalgoorlie exploration strategy.”

Navarre Secures Lease in Victorian Goldfields.

Navarre Minerals believes it has strengthened its growth pipeline in the historical goldfields of Victoria, with the state’s Earth Resources Regulation granting the Company an exploration licence over the main producing areas of the St Arnaud Goldfield (EL6819).

Acquired after a competitive bidding process, the new ground is enveloped by Navarre’s broader tenement package at the St Arnaud Gold Project.  The tenure covers the majority of historical workings within the goldfield, which has produced 400,000 ounces of gold in the past.  Navarre has also lodged three exploration licence applications to secure a strategic tenement package, adjacent to its fully-owned St Arnaud Gold Project.

Managing Director, Ian Holland said;  The granting of the tenement validates Navarres aggressive exploration program at a time of record gold prices and intense interest in the Victorian gold sector,” said Navarre managing director Ian Holland.  The St Arnaud tenement package further strengthens the Companys hold over some of the most prospective ground in Victorias so-called Golden Triangle.”

The historical workings covered by exploration licence EL6819 include the Bristol, New Chum and Nelson lines of reef. These auriferous reefs extend for approximately five kilometres and dive under Murray Basin cover to the north, where Navarre’s drilling on an adjacent licence and identified gold and silver mineralisation extending for at least another five kilometres.

Ioneer Sign Contract for Caterpillar Machinery.

Australian based mining company, Ioneer Ltd, an emerging lithium– boron supplier, has released details of a partnership with Caterpillar as its exclusive heavy equipment partner for its Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada.

Caterpillar will supply haul trucks, hydraulic shovels, wheel loaders, and other mine site support machinery like track-type tractors (dozers), excavators, and motor graders. All equipment will feature the latest in high-precision GPS and real-time analytics in order to maximise efficiency and accuracy in material loading.

The equipment and services supplied by Caterpillar during the first five years of operation is valued at approximately US$100 million. In addition, Caterpillar will offer the Company finance solutions for the equipment through Caterpillar Financial Services. Both the supply of equipment and services and finance solutions are subject to a final investment decision being taken on the Project and definitive legal documentation.

The partnership will operate through Cashman Equipment, and will support the Rhyolite Ridge Project with technicians to assemble and service the equipment, operator trainers to assist with the most efficient machine operations, and product support consultants to facilitate a comprehensive Maintenance and Repair Contract (MARC) agreement.

Ioneer’s managing director, Bernard Rowe, said:  “We are extremely pleased to partner with the world’s leading manufacturer of mining equipment, Caterpillar. Ioneer is at the forefront of the US strategic imperative to develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain.”

Jupiter To Demerge Iron Ore Assets – Become Pure Manganese Company.

Jupiter Mines has announced that the Board has unanimously approved a demerger of its Central Yilgarn Iron Ore assets and subsequently an initial public offering.  The demerger will create an ASX listed company, to be named at a later date, which will work to progress the development of the Mount Mason DSO hematite project as its primary focus in the near term.

The demerger will be achieved via a distribution of the new company’s shares in-specie to Jupiter shareholders, in proportion to their existing shareholding in Jupiter.

Jupiter shareholders will also be offered the opportunity to acquire further shares in the new company above their in-specie allocation. Jupiter will retain a minority holding in the new company. Subject to all approvals, the demerger and listing is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. Full details and timetable will be announced in due course.

Jupiter has appointed Greg Durack as the Chief Executive Officer to lead the IPO and implement the new company’s strategy.  Greg will also serve as an executive director. Other board appointments will be made shortly.  The new company will be headquartered in Perth, to maintain proximity to the CYIP assets.  Post the demerger, Jupiter will become a pure-play manganese company, with the aim to continue to maintain its strong balance sheet and high payout ratio.

Todays Top Story – Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate Is Under The Pump, But Why?

Most people you ask wouldn’t know who Christine Holgate is and what she does. Those that do know of her, know that she has been a highly successful CEO at Blackmores and now at Australia Post.

But it would seem she is doomed to be the fall guy because four expensive watches were given to four people who pulled off what is being touted as a $1Billion deal with three of Australia’s big four banks.  Now when I say expensive, the grand total of the watches is reported to be ~$20,000, the expense pales compared to the extra revenue for the company and the dividend to its one and only shareholder, the federal government.

Let’s go back a step and look at what has happened recently at Australia Post.  Ahmed Fahour preceded Ms. Holgate as the CEO and was remunerated handsomely for his turn-around of the ailing service.  He recognised that parcel delivery was the way forward for the business (for a business it is now – not a service) and drove the company towards where it sits today – king of parcel delivery in Australia.  This was despite the best efforts of global companies wanting their share of the pie and failing to make the same impact Australia Post did.

He introduced higher postage stamp prices and slower delivery times, much to the chagrin of the Australian public but concentrated more on the lucrative parcel delivery.  As it turned out the results were stunning for the enterprise.

Not everyone took a liking to Mr. Fahour and one Prime Minister took exception to his salary and bonuses being more than ten times his own salary.  So, when Mr. Fahour departed from Australia Post it was decided that the next CEO would be paid a lot less.  Enter Ms. Holgate who left a lucrative role at Blackmores to take on the challenge of growing the business that had already grown extensively under Mr. Fahour.

Ms. Holgate joined Australia Post in 2017 and set about revitalising the ailing Post Office shops run by mums and dads around Australia.  These shops were integral to increasing revenue and Ms. Holgate knew that.  It came to be that a deal was done with three of the four big banks and these small shops were revitalised as they took on banking services, particularly regional stores.  So not only did this deal bring in a lot more revenue to Australia Post it gave a lifeline to struggling business working under the umbrella of the company.

As a result of this deal four people were given a bonus in the form of a watch.  I wonder if the same four people were given an equivalent cash bonus, or even triple the value, whether this would be even talked about?  Probably not, and there is no logic to it.  It is my opinion that given the size of the deal the $20,000 spent on watches was insignificant.  It’s taxpayer’s money you cry!  Technically yes, but without them doing the deal the government would be getting millions less as a dividend.  It was a win-win situation in my view.

I think both the government and the opposition are showing faux outrage on the issue as they try to outdo each other in clambering for the moral high ground in the eyes of the voters.  Behind closed doors they would be admiring Ms. Holgate’s business acumen to get the job done.

I think that Ms. Holgate has been thrown under the bus by the Prime Minister as he showed poor political judgement when he answered a question in parliament.  He stated; “She has been instructed to stand aside and if she doesn’t wish to do that, she can go.”  Maybe he has wanted her to go and this is the opportunity to make it happen.

This does not auger well for Ms. Holgate who deserves better than this.  More accusations of excessive spending have since surfaced, one in particular, her $34,000 hotel bill for nine months stay.  That is about $4,000 per month or $200 per night if you allow for 20 business days per month.  Hardly extravagant on a nightly basis.

If Ms. Holgate was not getting the job done and the business was going backwards, I could understand that people would be concerned, but when the business is growing and profits increasing it is hard to fathom the “outrage”. In isolation $20,000 is a lot for four watches.  When it is looked at as part of a $1Billion deal that will return millions to the government it is a trivial amount.

Morning News Bites – October 27

Wiluna Mining Excited About Latest Drill Results.

Wiluna Mining has released high-grade results from a further 45 holes and 10,534m of resource development drilling “under the headframe” at the Wiluna Mining Centre. So excited are they by the results that they titled their announcement: “The Giant is Now Very Much Awake.”

The Company is targeting infill definition and further extensions to high-grade sulphide zones in the initial areas to be mined, because every 1 g/t increase in the grade in the sulphides should result in an additional 25kozpa of production in Stage 1 and 50kozpa in Stage 2, resulting in lower production costs per ounce.

Wiluna Mining Executive Chair, Milan Jerkovic, commented:  “Exceptional drilling results continue to flow from high priority sulphide mining zones at the Wiluna Mining Centre. This is noteworthy because results will underpin our updated Ore Reserves estimate to be published in January 2021. The Company is targeting high-grade zones, because every 1 g/t increase in the grade should result in an additional 25kozpa of production in Stage 1 and 50kozpa in Stage 2.

Some of the results went ~11metres at 29.4g/t and 3 metres at 100g/t with other holes producing grades well over 5g/t.

They say that exceptional drill results from each of the priority mining areas continue to validate the Company’s Stage 1 target of mining approximately 750,000 tonnes of underground sulphide ore per annum to produce, when fully ramped up, approximately 120,000oz per annum in gold doré and gold in concentrate commencing in October 2021.

Stavely Reports Biggest Hits Yet at Cayley Lode.

Stavely Minerals released resource drilling within the high-grade Cayley Lode discovery at the Thursday’s Gossan prospect, part of its 100%-owned Stavely Copper-Gold Project in Victoria, has returned one of the most significant intercepts since its discovery in September last year.

The spectacular new intercept in diamond hole SMD104, located ~275m south-east along strike from the discovery intercept of 32m at 5.88% Cu, 1.00g/t Au and 58g/t Ag in SMD050 continues to reinforce the scale, continuity and shallow nature of the copper-gold-silver mineralisation within the Cayley Lode.

An intensive resource drill-out is continuing with a focus of extending to the northwest within the 1.5km long discovery zone, with in-fill and step-out drilling continuing based on a roughly 40m x 40m drilling grid.  The Mineral Resource drill-out is well advanced and progressing well.

Very broad zone of significant copper mineralisation intersected from shallow depths in the Cayley Lode in drill hole SMD104:

144m at 1.04% Cu, 0.15g/t Au and 3.4g/t Ag from 35m down-hole, including: ▪ 84m at 1.55% Cu, 0.23g/t Au and 5.0g/t Ag from 95m, including: 28m at 3.31% Cu, 0.49g/t Au and 7.1g/t Ag from 151m

Resource drilling will continue on a 40m x 40m drilling grid with four rigs operating and two further large-capacity rigs expected on-site within the fortnight.

RareX claim Bonanza Grades for Rare Earths in Latest Drill Campaign.

RareX reported further significant results from recently completed in‐fill and extensional drilling at its 100%‐owned flagship Cummins Range Rare Earths Project in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Results from the two latest RC holes include significant widths of high‐grade rare earths and niobium mineralisation with broad zones of bonanza grade mineralisation encountered in one of the holes.

The north‐west trending channel of mineralisation encountered in previously released drill holes has been confirmed in the latest results, further enhancing the potential size and grade of the Resource in this area.

Previous historical drilling on surrounding sections had confirmed the presence of high‐grade mineralisation down to 70m below surface. The current drill program has now extended the zone of high‐grade mineralisation to 130m below surface.

One of the holes contained wide ultra‐high grade zones including 13m at 10.7% TREO and 1.04% Nb2O5 from 76m and 8m at 9.1% TREO and 0.58% Nb2O5.

RareX Managing Director, Jeremy Robinson, said: “We continue to be impressed by the consistency of this thick, high‐grade mineralisation within this north‐west channel within the Resource. These impressive results provide strong support for the potential both to upgrade the Resource and to define a high‐grade component within the broader Resource.

“Understanding the controls on the high‐grade mineralisation in the weathered zone will also assist with targeting potential high‐grade primary mineralisation in follow‐up drilling to further expand the overall size of the Resource.”

Horizon Says Pre-Feasibility Results Are Positive.

When releasing the pre-feasibility results for Horizon (ASX:HRZ) Managing Director Mr Jon Price said:  “Our Joint Venture partner RVT has done an excellent job demonstrating the quality and viability of this world class oxide vanadium resource. The Lilyvale deposit alone can provide globally significant supply for the next 100 years and easily expand production to meet the increasing demand from both the steel and emerging battery storage markets.”

“With this increase in demand in coming years and the reduction in the supply of vanadium from steel slags, we see the vanadium price continuing its steady climb and look forward to advancing the project to DFS level and commencing commercial production discussions with interested offtake partners.”

The Richmond – Julia Creek Vanadium Project is located approximately 50kms north-west of Richmond in North West Queensland. Richmond is a regional service town of 520 people situated 500kms by road to the west of Townsville and 400kms east of the mining town of Mt Isa.

The Mineral Resource update has resulted in improved grades over the previous Mineral Resource Estimate, and led to 76% of the Mineral Resource upgraded to the Indicated JORC Category for estimation of maiden Ore Reserves. In addition, the drilling enabled a large metallurgical sample representative of the orebody for additional concentration and downstream processing test work to also feed into the Pre-Feasibility Study.

A couple of nibbles for our News Bites:

Dacian Gold has re-negotiated their gold hedging for the next couple of years with 27,324 ounces moving from FY20121 to FY2022.

Managing Director, Leigh Junk, commented: “The restructuring reduces our obligations during FY2021, providing additional cash flow over the remainder of the current financial year by increasing our spot gold exposure. Now that our hedge profile is aligned with our production profile, the Company will be in a stronger position to pursue its corporate objectives.”

It would seem Mr Junk is turning the fortunes of the company around since coming on board.

Strategic Elements is developing a self-charging battery that it says will self-charge, be non-flammable, flexible, light and thin and environmentally friendly when compared to lithium batteries.  The batteries are “printed” and ideal for Internet of Things (IOT) devices.

SOR Managing Director Charles Murphy said: “Early stage results are extremely promising as we apply years of experience and intellectual property in electronic inks into the development of a Battery Ink that generates electricity from the environment. From the Automated Robotic Security Vehicle we are building with US giant Honeywell, the ongoing commercialisation of the Nanocube Memory Ink, this new development in Battery Ink and other commercial activities on the horizon, SOR is generating significant momentum”.


Tonight’s Top Story – Will the New Work Health and Safety Bill Solve More Problems Than it Causes?

The new Work Health and Safety Bill introduced and passed in the WA State parliament lower house in February and last week passed in the upper house, advances new industrial manslaughter laws that have been mooted for some time now. In essence it means that individuals and business entities can be held responsible for the death of a worker and face serious penalties of incarceration or hefty fines. Some amendments by the upper house will need to be ratified in the lower house but it is expected to go through.

After the death, earlier in the month, of a worker on a construction site in Perth, unions staged a protest to put pressure on upper house members to act on the stalled legislation. Whether this was the catalyst for the upper house to finally vote on the legislation is hard to determine.

What is important now is that it has passed. There has been an outpouring of relief in some quarters that this has finally come to pass. Families Left Behind spokeswoman Regan Ballantine welcomed the passage of the bill. She has been the passionate spokesperson for the group since losing her 17 year old son in a workplace accident in 2017.

Unions and Families left behind have been campaigning for sometime now for the legislation to pass as they believe it will make a big difference in the way business conducts itself in regards to safety.

However not everyone is happy with the new legislation that exposes businesses owners, management and directors to large fines and incarceration. Some groups are saying that the new legislation goes too far and exposes employers to penalties for things that happen that are not within their control. Unfortunately because there are employers or people who work under them that like to cut shortcuts or do other things that put themselves or others at risk we will need legislation like this. I hope that these are the people that the legislation will target and not those that place the safety and well being of their health as a priority.

Lets look at an example that highlight what I mean. There are two companies in the same sort of business operating the same sort of machinery – The Good People Company and the Bad People Company. Both companies receive an urgent memo from a machinery manufacturer that says a piece of machinery they are operating could lose a rotating part that could cause serious injury or death to the operator or someone in the vicinity.

The Good People Company immediately take the piece of machinery out of service and advise their employees through a memo and a follow up toolbox meeting that until the manufacturer rectifies the problem the machine is not to be used.

The Bad People Company, knowing the machine is integral to the production process says nothing and their employees are allowed to continue using it, oblivious to the fault.

An employee from the Good People Company, anxious to get the job done quickly, and without the knowledge of anyone else uses the machinery he knows he shouldn’t use. In doing so the rotating part comes off, strikes him and kills him.

Over at the Bad People Company, a worker oblivious to the fault of the machinery, uses it as he has done many times before and the rotating part comes off and kills him.

Now when it comes to the Bad People Company, providing it can be proved that the company new of the fault and advice from the manufacturer, it would be a fairly easy decision to charge those who concealed the fault under the new legislation. I think most people would say it is obvious that the employer has culpability in this situation.

The Good People Company, under the new laws would still come under a lot of scrutiny, even if they proved they did everything in their power to inform employees and take the machinery out of service. Unfortunately, you cannot legislate for stupidity, which is what happened here but some groups are concerned that the new legislation will not take stupidity into account when dealing with workplace deaths.

On the whole I think it is good legislation, I just hope that businesses that are doing the right thing aren’t caught up in a piece of law that is intended to stop cowboys causing so much suffering.

Morning News Bites – October 26

Saturn Expands Apollo Hill Gold System.

Saturn Metals (STN) has released further strong results from ongoing RC drilling at the Apollo Hill deposit within its 100%-owned Apollo Hill Gold Project, 60km south-east of Leonora in the Western Australian goldfields. The project is on the Leonora – Wiluna belt and is on strike in the Keith Kilkenny Shear.

The deposit and the Apollo Hill project are 100% owned by Saturn Metals and are surrounded by good infrastructure and several significant gold deposits. The Apollo Hill Project has the potential to become a large tonnage, simple metallurgy, low strip open pit mining operation.

A further resource upgrade is targeted for late 2020, incorporating results from drilling conducted since October 2019 when the resource estimate was last updated. It is shaping up to be a shallow project with consistent grades and open to the south and east.

Saturn Managing Director Ian Bamborough said: “Results continue to extend gold mineralisation and improve continuity in shallow hanging-wall positions along the deposit’s strike length. Extensional drilling on the main lode is returning some excellent intersections. Assays remain pending for a further 60 holes and drilling continues to home in on key growth areas of the deposit. We look forward to receiving and reporting on the next batch shortly and to incorporating them into the next resource upgrade process planned for later this year.”

Catalyst Finds New Gold Mineralisation.

Catalyst Metals (CYL) has advised that new zones of gold mineralisation with values of up to 43.5g/t have been intersected east of the Boyd’s Dam trend which may represent the Eagle 5 structure. There is virtually no previous drilling in this area which is interpreted to potentially contain a mineralised structure at least 1.5 kilometres long. Further shallow high-grade gold mineralisation was intersected at Boyd North (8m @ 4.9g/t Au, 3m @ 19.4g/t Au, 7m @ 5.7g/t Au) and has potential to continue southward at greater depth beneath Boyd’s Dam.

Mr Bruce Kay, Catalyst’s Technical Director, stated, “The air core program in 2020 was partly disrupted by weather events and COVID-19 restrictions but generally was successful in testing many reconnaissance areas. It is very encouraging to see a new structure with high grade gold mineralisation emerging east of Boyd’s Dam as well as further high-grade zones in the Boyd North area.”

The Four Eagles Gold Project is situated along the Whitelaw Fault which is considered to be a major structural control of gold mineralisation at Bendigo in Victoria, and to the north. Catalyst manages the entire Whitelaw Gold Belt and has interests in fourteen Exploration Licences and two Retention Licences which extend for 75 kilometres along the Whitelaw and Tandarra Faults north of Bendigo and in other areas north of the Fosterville and Inglewood goldfields.

Navarre Finalises Agreement to Acquire Jubilee Gold Project.

Victorian gold exploration company, Navarre Minerals (NML) has finalised an agreement to acquire 100% of the Jubilee Gold Project following transfer of exploration licence EL6689 and a final cash payment of $20,000 to the vendor. The deal delivers the Company full control over a complementary and strategic high-grade gold exploration asset, 25km south-west of Ballarat, Victoria.

The 122Sqkm Jubilee Project includes the historical 619m deep Jubilee Gold Mine (mined 1887 – 1913) that produced approximately 130,000 ounces of gold at a recovered grade of around 12 g/t from a single east-west trending quartz reef. Since the mine closed, there have been no reported modern attempts at sustained exploration and no drilling.

The property occurs within a highly prospective and prolific mining district, in close proximity to a significant operating gold mine and processing facility located nearby within the historical 12 million-ounce Ballarat Goldfield.

Since gaining access to the property, Navarre geologists have uncovered three main target areas thought to be potential repetitions and extensions of the historical Jubilee quartz reefs (

Navarre’s Managing Director, Ian Holland, said: “This acquisition is an exciting expansion of the Company’s regional gold assets in Victoria.  The Jubilee mine workings have seen no real exploration in over a century despite having a history of delivering relatively uniform and continuous high-grade gold mineralisation from within quartz lode structures, all just 25 kilometres from an operating mine with significant processing capacity. The existence of transverse quartz reefs represents a rare opportunity for exploration as these structures have never been drill tested.”

Cyprium Metals Launches Share Purchase Plan and Raises $5M in Oversubscribed Placement.

Cyprium Metals (CYM) has secured $5.0 million through a highly oversubscribed placement from sophisticated, professional and institutional investors of 33,333,333 fully paid ordinary shares in the Company at $0.15 per Share. The Placement comprises:

Tranche 1: 11,505,120 Shares to be issued under the Company’s existing placement capacities (5,899,172 Shares under Listing Rule 7.1, and 5,605,948 Shares under Listing Rule 7.1A); and

Tranche 2: 21,828,213 Shares, which is subject to approval by the Company’s shareholders (Shareholders).

Additionally, in recognition of the support that has been received from the Company’s existing members, eligible Shareholders will be offered to participate in a Share Purchase Plan, which is aimed to raise a further $1 million, at the same issue price of $0.15 per Share.

Executive Director Barry Cahill commented: “We would like to thank the existing and incoming Cyprium shareholders for their support in this heavily over-subscribed capital raise. The Company is now well funded to advance the potential development of our Cue and Nanadie Well Copper-Gold Projects by commencing geophysics and drilling campaigns to target extensions to the existing resources whilst also testing other high priority targets. With the injection of new capital and strong copper fundamentals, we are excited for what is to come.”

Fennix Executes Contract for Road Haulage at Iron Ridge Project.

Fenix Resources Limited (FEX) is pleased to announce that it has executed a contract for the road transport component of its Iron Ridge Project with Fenix Newhaul Pty Ltd. Fenix Newhaul is the incorporated joint venture company established to implement the strategic alliance between the Company and Craig Mitchell, the founder and former owner of Mitchell Corp, a major supplier of transport and logistics services to the Western Australian mining industry.

The contract is valued at around $360 million for the estimated 6-year life-of-mine, based on a terminal gate diesel price ex Geraldton of around $1.34 per litre (current diesel price is around $1.05). It is due to commence in December 2020, in line with the current project development timeline.

Fenix Managing Director Rob Brierley said: “Road transport was quickly identified as the largest cost component for the commercialisation of Iron Ridge. We took an innovative approach to optimise this aspect and we strongly believe that the joint venture concept with Craig Mitchell has been the right way to go. Fenix Newhaul plan to commence operations with a mix of sub-contract and owned fleet and they are actively recruiting for personnel, with most of their employees to be Geraldton-based”.

The Company’s 100% owned, flagship Iron Ridge Iron Ore Project is a premium DSO deposit which hosts a JORC 2012 compliant resource located around 490 km by road from Geraldton port.


Morning News Bites – October 23

Dacian Hits High Grades at Mt Marven

Troubled miner Dacian Gold (DCN) has released drilling results from its initial drilling program along strike from the Mt Marven open pit at its 100%-owned Mt Morgans Gold Operation, located near Laverton in Western Australia.

The newly defined continuation of high-grade mineralisation is currently delineated over a length of approximately 800m beyond the limit of the current open pit design for Mt Marven, and remains open at depth and along strike.

Infill drilling to 40m x 40m spacing to assess the continuity of the structure will commence immediately with Mineral Resource estimate work to follow.

The Mt Marven open pit is situated in the Mt Margaret dome area and is currently in production. As part of a first-pass assessment into the prospectivity of the Mt Marven Shear Zone (MMSZ) south of the active Mt Marven open pit, a total of 44 Reverse Circulation holes were completed on an approximately 80m x 120m drill spacing.

The program was aimed at testing future open pit potential in the vicinity of an existing Ore Reserve. The drilling highlights a strong mineralised trend coincident with the strike of the MMSZ and linking with the active open pit.

This will be good news for Leigh Junk, who was brought in to turn the fortunes of the company around when it hit trouble about 18 months ago.

Gold Road Resources Paves the Way in Gold.

Gold Road (GOR) is still kicking goals with its Gruyere Gold Mine which it shares 50:50 with Gold Fields.  The mine approximately 200 kilometres North-East of Laverton produced 55,919 ounces of the precious metal which was in accordance with their guidance.

Average grade for the quarter was 1.03 g/t with a recovery rate of 91.5% which came from 1.9 MT processed ore.  AISC was higher for the quarter at A$1,488, but for the year to date sits at $1,276.  With average gold sales at A$2300 for the year the mine is a good earner for the companies involved.  Production for the year is still expected to be in the range of 250,000 to 270,000 ounces.

Although no exploration work was carried out on the joint venture tenements Gold Road was busy exploring other tenements it has around Gruyere.  There are 4,500 kilometres of tenements for Gold Road to explore at the Kingston, Hirono, Savo, Beefwood and Gilmour South sites.

The Gruyere joint venture has 6.6 million ounces in mineral resources with an ore reserve of 3.7 million ounces.  With a lot of exploration upside for Gold Road their current plans of 12 years of production will surely be very conservative.

King Island Scheelite Raises A$2.5 Million.

King Island Scheelite Limited (KIS) has received binding commitments for A$2,568,000, in its recent capital raising.

The Placement has been oversubscribed by a range of institutional and sophisticated investors including Director Chris Ellis and other large shareholders, including Elphinstone Holdings Pty Ltd.  The Placement will result in the issue of approximately 46.7 million new fully paid ordinary shares at A$0.055 per share, with one free attaching listed option for every two New Shares issued in the Placement.

Funds raised through the Placement will be used to further advance the Company’s 100%‐owned Dolphin Tungsten Mine located on King Island, Australia.  KIS is continuing discussions with the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office (“CMFO”) as well as other State agencies regarding support for the redevelopment of the Dolphin Mine, given its strategic and regional economic importance.

King Island Scheelite Executive Chairman, Johann Jacobs, said:  “We are delighted to welcome several new institutional investors to support KIS at an exciting stage of the Company’s story. Our strategy has positioned us well to move forward with our plans to redevelop King Island’s Dolphin Tungsten Mine. The capital we raise through this placement will empower us to see the project through to financial close.

“We thank our existing shareholders and incoming investors for their support and look forward to executing the Company’s growth strategy through what we expect will be a highly active FY21.”

TNT Mines Acquires Historic WA Gold Projects.

TNT Mines Limited (TIN) is pleased to announce that it has signed a binding share sale agreement to acquire 100% of Warriedar Mining Pty Ltd, which owns the Eureka Gold Project 50km north of Kalgoorlie in the Western Australian Goldfields and the Warriedar Gold Project in WA’s Murchison region.

Both Eureka and Warriedar have a history of gold production, are located close to established infrastructure including operating gold mills. Eureka, which is under granted Mining Leases will be the initial focus of exploration, containing an existing JORC2012 Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource of 762,000 tonnes at 1.80 g/t Au for 43,100 ounces of contained gold.1

Further detail on the Eureka and Warriedar assets, the consideration to be paid for the acquisition, capital raising, proposed Board and management changes and next steps is provided below.

TNT Executive Director Brett Mitchell said: “Warriedar stands out as a unique opportunity to acquire two Western Australian gold projects with a history of production that are positioned with immediate access to infrastructure and operating gold plants. This presents a unique opportunity to join forces with a management team that has a very successful track record in the exploration and redevelopment of ex-production gold assets in WA. Given the outstanding value creation they delivered for Spectrum Metals shareholders, Alex and James have developed a strong and loyal following and we are excited by the possibility of recreating their Spectrum success with TNT.”

Aus Tin Mining to Acquire Mackenzie Coal Project in Bowen Basin.

Aus Tin Mining Limited (ANW) has signed a binding Term Sheet with Resources and Energy Investments Pty Ltd (REI) to acquire its interests in the Mackenzie Coal Project located in Queensland’s premier coal province the Bowen Basin. Mackenzie includes a previously announced Indicated and Inferred JORC Resource of 138.1Mt of potential low volatile Pulverised Coal Injection (PCI) quality coal, and is being acquired by REI from the liquidators of previous owner MRV Bowen Basin Coal Pty Ltd. The proposed acquisition of Mackenzie complements the previously announced proposed acquisition of the Ashford Coking Coal Project in NSW.

Mackenzie comprises Mineral Development Licence (MDL 503) and Exploration Permit Coal (EPC 1445) both located approximately 30km north-east of Blackwater in the Bowen Basin which is well serviced by road, rail and port infrastructure at Gladstone. Mackenzie is adjacent to producing coal mines at Jellinbah and Yarrabee  with collective coal production of approximately 8.4Mt in 2019, of which the quality is primarily a low volatile PCI for export markets. Mackenzie is also proximate to coal projects subject to notable transactions including Curragh (Wesfarmers sold to Coronado Coal in 2018 for $700M) and MDL162 (Peabody sold to Wesfarmers in 2014 for $70M).

Tonight’s Top Story – Is Modern Communication Leading to Social Isolation?

Close-up Hands Using Mobile Phone Stok Videosu (%100 Telifsiz) 6580247 | Shutterstock

Modern Communication; Or at least that what it is called.

Having been born in 1957 I can remember when the forms of conversations we had were face to face and telephone chats.  Other means of communication were radio, newspapers and the telex that was mainly used in business.  Wonder of all wonders in Australia in the 70s a fax machine became viable to use to transmit documents from one side of the world to the other.  Behold the 80s when the first mobile phone reached Australia’s shores.  Since then there has been an avalanche of technology unleashed on us and none more productive and destructive as the internet.  At this point you can probably see where I am going with this.

Let’s start with what I think are the positives of our modern-day communications.  The mobile phone has evolved to be a supercomputer in our hands.  Not only can you make phone calls on it, but you can surf the net, order your shopping and find out information in a heartbeat.

The use of home computers has provided the same benefits, with easy access to information that 40 years ago required a family to have a set of encyclopedias that took up a lot of room on any bookshelf and was invariably out of date the day you bought it.  Computers are no longer restricted to being big boxes that get in the way in the office.  They can be laptops or tablets that provide the same features but provide more mobility as the car becomes an office.

Emails are fantastic for doing business and a great way to keep a record of who said what if a dispute arises.  They may have replaced letters but at least some writing skills are still required.

Social media can be useful in much the same way as emails and they are good at getting information out to the masses.  That ticks off what is good in my view and I am sure others can add to the list.

Now I will look at what I perceive to be the bad of modern-day communication.  Have you ever been on public transport, in a waiting room or just anywhere public where a person has to talk at the top of their voice into the mobile phone and the conversation is so banal that you want to scream at them?  I have but have refrained from screaming at them.  What is the point of having a phone if you are going to yell into it?  What is it that makes people think I want to hear their part of the conversation?  Please, if you are one of these people, stop it!

Spam emails are now a fact of life no matter how annoying we think they are.  That Nigerian prince just won’t leave me alone even though I have no interest in him (or her) knowing my bank details so that they can fleece me.  And why do I have to use a service that insists on knowing my email details as part of the service, only to bombard me with offers I don’t want to know about and then ignore my requests to unsubscribe?

My favourite annoying feature is social media that I like to think of as anti-social.  People brag about having so many friends on social media but probably could not name one personal feature about the bulk of those “friends”.  What is the point?  And why do people jump on social media when they have had one too many and type something stupid that inevitably upsets one of their real friends?  It doesn’t make sense to me.

And social media is the major communication tool that actually stops us from communicating in an intimate way with the people we should be doing so with.  You can probably pick up at this point that I don’t use social media: so why should I care what other people do on social media?  I care because face to face communication is declining.  Next time you want to communicate with a friend, why don’t you pick up the phone, or better still if they are in the same community, buy them a coffee and have a chat.

Don’t get me wrong, the communication tools we have today are first class and when used properly can enrich our lives.  Used in the wrong way and we diminish the essence of our social beings.

Written by Gary Brown

Morning News Bites – October 22

Saracen Releases Quarterly.

Hot of the press is Saracen Minerals (SAR) quarterly report.  In brief the main points from the report are;

– Quarterly gold production – 154,388oz at AISC A$1,169/oz.

– At 30 September – Cash / liquids A$467m, debt A$321m.

– Quarterly cash build – A$98m.

– Record quarterly unaudited NPAT – A$70m to A$80m.

Growth projects: Carosue Dam mill expansion, Thunderbox Underground development accelerated, Thunderbox D Zone, KCGM Morrison and OBH open pits. A$14m invested in exploration, Group Reserves and Resources updated to 8.6Moz and 17.0Moz respectively. SAR FY21 guidance of 600 – 640koz at an AISC of A$1300 – A$1400/oz unchanged. Saracen will pay a special, fully franked A3.8cps dividend, conditional on the Scheme becoming effective and banking consents.

OZ Minerals Quarterly report.

It would seem that OZ Minerals (OZL) have kicked some goals in the quarter if the enthusiasm in their quarterly report is to be believed.  They reported that production was up in the quarter and as a result of that production guidance will be increased.

The quarter saw underground ore movement records at both Prominent Hill and Carrapateena, with further AISC and C1 cost guidance reductions assisted by an increase in the assumed 2020 full year gold price to US$1,758/oz and favourable exchange rates.

Projects have been completed including the 270 km Prominent Hill power transmission line, consolidation of our ownership of West Musgrave and safe resumption of exploration drilling. We’ve also advanced a number of our growth options with updates to come in this final quarter on Prominent Hill expansion and the West Musgrave project.

Managing Director and CEO, Andrew Cole said, “Our financial position remains robust with $18 million net cash at the end of the quarter after further investment in growth capital, as well as payment of US$50 million in deferred consideration following achievement of contractual milestones at Carrapateena.

“Further progress was made on accelerating our strategic aspirations through Project Beyond including advancing our organic growth pipeline with work starting on developing the accelerated decline at Prominent Hill and with resumption of exploration and resource drilling in Australia and Brazil.”

Metalicity Report Significant Drilling Results.

Metalicity (MCT) has announced the return of further assays from the Drilling Programme at the Kookynie Gold Project in the Eastern Goldfields, Western Australia, approximately 60 kilometres south southwest of Leonora.

They received assays for a further 14 drill holes from the McTavish Prospect of the expanded drilling programme currently underway at the Kookynie Gold Project. The drilling has confirmed significant high-grade gold mineralisation at the Leipold Prospect and that mineralisation at the McTavish Prospect continues at depth. McTavish is circa 2 kms to the north and is along strike from Leipold. Metalicity has defined a significant anomaly between the two mineralised prospects where there is essentially no drilling and which the Company plans to test shortly.

Metalicity Managing Director, Jason Livingstone said:  “The intercepts returned from McTavish are incredibly encouraging. The results from just north of the Leipold Pit were in line with observations from the drill chips, however the drilling to date continues to illustrate the well-endowed area that is the Kookynie Gold Project.”

“The end of the year is fast approaching, and we at Metalicity are working hard to ensure we finish the year off well and set ourselves up for further success in 2021.”

Warrawoona Gold Project Gains Momentum.

Calidus Resources (CAI) reported what they say is good progress in the development of its Warrawoona Gold Project in WA’s Pilbara, with some key early works already completed.

Orders have been placed for long lead items, including the SAG mill, in preparation for the commencement of the main Project construction in the March Quarter of next year.

The early works include the site access road, installation of the 240-room accommodation village, establishment of the communications network and installation of water bores that will be utilised for construction, dewatering and production.

The early works programme is designed to provide the backbone of infrastructure ahead of the Final Investment Decision and the completion of permitting to facilitate main project construction.

Calidus Managing Director Dave Reeves said: “Ordering the mill is a significant milestone for Calidus because it sets our construction schedule and with final project permitting and debt finance anticipated to be completed by early next year, we remain on track for commencement of main construction activities in the March Quarter of 2020.

“Our operations team is in place and supervising the current early works scope on site. A Marble Bar-based contractor, Hawkezone Contracting, has completed the 7km Access Road and the site village installation is underway. All water bores have now been completed which will provide water for both construction and production activities.”

Confidence by Investors and lenders Sees Money Pouring into Mining.

It would seem by the amount of money being raised at the moment that confidence is high amongst investors and lenders.  Could this be because of high gold prices and other commodities that are doing well, like iron ore and nickel and also speculation that minerals in the battery markets are set to go with more governments talking about a “green” future?

Late last year Saracen Minerals and Norther Star Resources each raised circa AU$1 Billion to buy 50% each of the Superpit in Kalgoorlie.  That is a lot of money in anyone’s eyes.  Admittedly it was for a first-class asset with lots of upside, but nevertheless it got done and showed others there was a bit of confidence around.

Mining companies have never been shy when it comes to putting their hands out to funds and shareholders, but at the moment there appears to be a bit of eagerness in those funds and shareholders willing to cough up.  As usual funds for exploration are high on the list as companies can’t make money until they found whatever they are looking for.

Funding for plant builds or upgrades seems to be on the up and a lot of explorers are starting to talk big about their projects with a view to going to the market to raise cash for the next stage.