Northern Star Resources announced today that the Company yesterday hit its production rate target of 600,000ozpa. Production for the June quarter to date is 150,000oz. This takes the total for the financial year to date to 540,000oz, meaning Northern Star is on track to beat the top end of its FY2018 guidance of 540,000-560,000oz. All-in sustaining costs will be within the guidance range of A$1000-1050/oz. Northern Star Executive Chairman Bill Beament said the Company was poised to maintain the growth trend on the back of its highly successful exploration strategy and increased processing capacity.
“The recent acquisition of the 1.2Mtpa South Kalgoorlie mill, combined with our ongoing exploration success, will underpin continued production growth in our Kalgoorlie operations,” Mr Beament said. “This additional milling capacity provides increased flexibility in Kalgoorlie, where we have also just declared commercial production at the Millennium mine. “At Jundee, we are experiencing a similar scenario, with the processing plant now running at the rate of 2Mtpa on fresh underground ore.” Northern Star will provide production and cost guidance for FY2019 as part of its wider Strategic Update in early August.
The BHP last night approved US$2.9 billion ($4 BILLION AUD) in capital expenditure for the South Flank project in the central Pilbara, Western Australia.
BHP President Operations, Minerals Australia, Mike Henry, said the South Flank project will fully replace production from the 80 Mtpa (100 per cent basis) Yandi mine which is reaching the end of its economic life.
“South Flank is a capital efficient project which offers attractive returns, and which was approved following a thorough evaluation under BHP’s Capital Allocation Framework,” Mr Henry said. “The project will create around 2,500 construction jobs, more than 600 ongoing operational roles and generate many opportunities for Western Australian suppliers. It will enhance the average quality of BHP’s Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) production and will allow us to benefit from price premiums for higher-quality lump and fines products.”
The South Flank project expands the existing infrastructure at Mining Area C, and involves construction of an 80 Mtpa crushing and screening plant, an overland conveyor system, stockyard and train loading facilities, procurement of new mining fleet and substantial mine development and pre-strip work.
First ore from South Flank is targeted in the 2021 calendar year, with the project expected to produce ore for more than 25 years.
South Flank iron ore will contribute to an increase in WAIO’s average iron grade from 61 per cent to 62 per cent, and the overall proportion of lump from 25 per cent to approximately 35 per cent. It is expected to have a strip ratio in line with the WAIO average.
In June 2017, BHP approved an initial funding commitment of US$184 million (BHP share), primarily for the expansion of accommodation facilities to support current and future workforce requirements.
Mineral Resources Limited announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. to acquire the assets that were used, to run its Koolyanobbing iron ore operation in the Yilgarn region of Western Australia. The assets that MRL will acquire include Cliffs’ tenements and all remaining iron ore as well as the fixed plant, equipment and non-process infrastructure items on those tenements. In addition, MRL will assume ownership of Cliffs’ fixed infrastructure assets at the Port of Esperance, which include the railcar dumper and two large storage sheds. Koolyanobbing is located approximately 50km north of Southern Cross and immediately adjacent to MRL’s existing Carina Iron Ore Project.
The acquisition of the remaining iron ore in the Cliffs deposits will enable MRL to realise further value from the investments it previously made in fixed plant, mobile equipment and rail rolling stock, which the Company has used to operate Carina since 2011. This transaction will also see MRL commence an iron ore export business from Esperance using larger and more cost-effective cape-size vessels.
Mineral Resources Managing Director Chris Ellison said:" I would like to thank Cliffs, their local management team and their advisers KordaMentha and Norton Rose Fulbright for working tirelessly with the MRL team over recent weeks to successfully conclude this transaction. I particularly wish to acknowledge the efforts of the State Government, the Premier Mark McGowan and his Ministers whose commitment to preserving jobs in Western Australia and getting better results for the Yilgarn has been plainly evident in our dealings with them. I also wish to thank the team at Arc Infrastructure for their pro-active approach in agreeing an acceptable below-rail access arrangement that recognises the challenging conditions in the lower-grade iron ore market. Our combined efforts have culminated in a transaction that delivers a win-win outcome for all parties involved:
- Cliffs achieves a clean exit from Australia on economic terms that are more favourable than if they were to have simply shut down the Koolyanobbing operation;
- The remaining iron ore left on the Cliffs tenements will be extracted and sold to create ongoing economic activity and benefit for Western Australia; and
- MRL will continue sending tonnes down the rail to Esperance and by doing so continue to provide jobs for hundreds of West Australians for the next five to six years.
“I can confidently say that this transaction, and the many benefits it will create for Western Australia, would simply not have been possible without the cooperation and commitment from Cliffs, the State Government and Arc Infrastructure.”
Joint venture partners Tawana Resources and Alliance Mineral Assets announced today a 105% Reserve upgrade for the Bald Hill Lithium‐Tantalum Mine located in the eastern goldfields of Western Australia The Reserve upgrade reflects pit design changes resulting from increases to Indicated Resources following infill drilling completed in the second half of 2017. The Total lithium Resources of 26.5Mt at 1.0% Li2O now supports 9 years of production. The JV partners are currently reviewing options for significant expansion in processing capacity and concentrate production.
Tawana Managing Director Mark Calderwood said: “The increased Reserves along with the potential for additional Reserves resulting from infill drilling of Inferred material, provide strong support for significantly increasing processing throughput rates. We are actively reviewing the options to best increase throughput in the existing plant and/or add an additional DMS circuit and fines circuit. There has been strong interest from a number of parties to obtain concentrate supply from Bald Hill.”
Westgold Resources Limited announced today an update of its underground exploration into virgin areas of Paddy’s Flat ore system at its Meekatharra Gold Operations.
Their first underground drilling into the virgin zones beneath the Fenian’s–Consol’s spurs have returned spectacular results providing high-hopes for a continuation of these prolific high-grade lodes at depth, and importantly an impending boost to the overall ounce per vertical metre of the ore system. Best results include:
- 0.55m at 20.35 g/t Au from 324m
- 0.33m at 15.84 g/t Au from 304m
- 6.3m at 9.99 g/t Au from 327m
Gascoyne Resources Limited advised today that it has poured it's first gold bar from the new 2.5Mtpa processing plant at the Company’s 100% owned Dalgaranga Gold Project.
Dalgaranga contains a Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resource of 31.1Mt @ 1.3 g/t for 1,320,000 ounces of contained gold, which is inclusive of Proved and Probable Ore Reserves of 15.3Mt @ 1.3 g/t for 612,000 ounces of gold. The Company remains focused not only on ramping up to full production, but also an ongoing aggressive exploration effort aimed at increasing the mine life towards 8-10 years, as well as progressing the Glenburgh Gold Project, the Company’s second +1.0 million ounce gold project in Western Australia.
Mike Dunbar the Company’s Managing Director said:
“To say that I am pleased to have poured our first gold would be a massive understatement. The Company has managed to put together a fantastic team which has grown the global resource base from under 200,000oz on listing, to now having two gold projects which each contain more than 1 million ounces, and progressed Dalgaranga through feasibility. We have built a 100% owned new gold processing facility and associated infrastructure under budget and ahead of schedule, and now poured first gold.
The construction of the Dalgaranga mine would not have been possible without the Company’s Director of Operations and Development, Mr Ian Kerr who with his highly experienced (but small) development team of Warren King and Garry Moore, along with GR Engineering’s Team of Andrew Bennett and Matt Gordon have delivered the project ahead of schedule and under budget. A very rare feat indeed.
With the plant now operational, the aim for the next few months is to achieve consistent performance from all aspects of the process plant.
While the recent attention has been on delivery of the Dalgaranga Gold Project, the Company remains focused on continuing the exploration success that has so far resulted in discovery of over 2 million ounces of gold since listing. The current 75,000 metre drill programme is split between Dalgaranga, to extend the mine life to 8 – 10 years, and Glenburgh, where exploration outside the known 1.0 million ounce resource base is aiming to increase the global resource prior to feasibility and ultimately development.”
Artemis Resources Limited advises today that it has submitted a wide-ranging Programme of Works (“POW”) with the Western Australian Government’s Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety (“DMIRS”) to start an extensive drilling, trenching and bulk sampling programme immediately west of Novo Resource Corp’s (“Novo”) Comet Well Project. In addition, Artemis also provided and update on gold nuggets recovered (3.6kg) from the current ground rehabilitation works underway at 47K Patch.
David Lenigas, Artemis’s Executive Chairman, said “Artemis has now identified ~67 kilometres of potential gold-bearing conglomerates associated with the Mt Roe Basalt contact, immediately west of Novo Resources Comet Well 6 kilometre long conglomerate gold project. Our exploration and bulk sampling programme is about to commence in earnest at 47K Patch, the source of the many gold nuggets reported today. Applications have also gone in with the DMIRS for an extensive exploration programme immediately to the west of Novo’s Comet Well.”
Syrah Resources Limited announced today that it has signed a purchase agreement for an industrial site for its Battery Anode Material (BAM) development in Vidalia, Louisiana. Under the terms of the agreement, the purchase price of US$1.225 million is for a 25 acre site with an existing building.
Shaun Verner, Managing Director & CEO said, “With the purchase agreement for the Vidalia site, we continue to progress our initial entry into the BAM market. Consistent with our approach in Mozambique, Syrah is committed to environmental sustainability and community engagement through development and into operations. The Company’s recently awarded ISO Certifications for Health, Safety and Environmental management systems for its Balama Operation demonstrates the Company’s commitment to global best practice.”
In a strategy to focus its efforts on its larger long-life Murchison gold assets, the Board of Westgold Resources Limited has agreed to sell its South Kalgoorlie Operations to Northern Star Resources Limited.
South Kalgoorlie Operations operates Jubilee Processing Plant as its mining hub. In recent years the HBJ Underground Mine has operated as the core feed with additional smaller open pit and low-grade stockpile sources providing approximately 60% of plant capacity. The remainder of plant capacity has been filled by toll processing third party ores from the region.
Westgold has agreed to sell its wholly-owned subsidiaries that collectively make up the South Kalgoorlie Operations; Dioro Exploration Pty Ltd, HBJ Minerals Pty Ltd and Hampton Gold Mining Areas Ltd. The consideration for the sale is $80 million (with working capital adjustments). The purchase consideration is made up of $20 million in cash and $60 million in unrestricted fully paid ordinary shares in Northern Star calculated at a backwards-looking 10-day VWAP.
Westgold will retain its lithium royalties over the Mt Marion Lithium Mine and the rights to lithium exploration and mining over Location 53 and 59.
Westgold Managing Director Peter Cook said:“This is a nice deal for both parties. It provides Northern Star with additional and instant plant capacity in the Kalgoorlie region for its expanding gold operations. For Westgold, it divests our shortest life asset, provides a cash boost and upgrades the overall quality of our gold portfolio. As at June 30, 2017, South Kalgoorlie Operations had Ore Reserves containing 252,000 ounces which was 7.45% of the groups total Ore Reserves. SKO has produced 24,000 ounces in the first half of this financial year”.
Blackham Resources Limited announced an operational update for the month of January at its Matilda-Wiluna Gold Operation. Access to high-grade zones in the M4 and Galaxy Pits was achieved late in the Dec’17 quarter, enabling record monthly gold production of 6,498oz. This resulted in Blackham achieving a record low monthly AISC in Jan’18 of A$1,158/oz, in comparison to an average realised gold price during the month of A$1,663/oz, demonstrating a clear step change in economics. Milled grade and gold production are expected to continue to improve. The operation is now building high-grade stockpiles for the first time since March 2017.
“With the Operation’s production at record levels and a significant reduction in AISC having already been achieved, the Company is clearly demonstrating that its operational turnaround is well underway. This operational performance, in conjunction with the current strong AUD gold price, is expected to make 2018 a transformational year that is expected to generate significant cash flows and value for Blackham and its shareholders.” Blackham’s Executive Chairman, Mr Milan Jerkovic, said.
After a protest at the steps of Parliment house today, the WA state Liberals unanimously decided to block a move by the WA state government to raise the gold royalty rate from 2.5 percent to 3.75 percent.
Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said after the meeting "This royalty increase would have imposed a significant risk to jobs in the industry, it is our view that the McGowan Government did not seek nor have a mandate to increase the gold rate"
The state government now has to hope for a win on the GST after a report suggested changes which could send billions back to Western Australia which will help fill a deepening black hole.
Australian lithium developer, Pilbara Minerals Limited announced today that it has executed a binding terms sheet with Great Wall Motor Company, one of China’s largest automotive manufacturers, to further underpin the Stage 2 expansion of its 100%-owned Pilgangoora Lithium/Tantalum Project in Western Australia.
The agreement – encompassing up to 150,000tpa of Stage 2 chemical-grade spodumene concentrate off-take, Stage 2 debt financing support and a $28 million upfront equity subscription for Pilbara shares – represents the first direct investment by an automobile manufacturer into an upstream supplier of lithium raw materials.
“This marks an important milestone for Pilbara and the Pilgangoora Project and is a significant development for the rapidly evolving lithium-ion raw materials supply chain globally,” said Pilbara’s Managing Director and CEO, Ken Brinsden.
“It highlights the strategic importance for the global automotive sector of securing access to large-scale, consistent, high-quality sources of battery raw materials in low-risk jurisdictions. Attracting a company of Great Wall’s size and calibre as a long-term off-take and funding partner is a strong endorsement for the Pilgangoora Project and the Company. We are also delighted that they will be joining our share register as a strategic investor.
While this deal reflects the remarkable progress being made in China, we are also witnessing increasing interest from battery and automobile manufacturers outside of China looking to secure their future lithium requirements, in response to an increasing global market shift towards electric vehicles and off-grid storage.
In conjunction with the rapid expansion in spodumene conversion capacity currently being rolled out in China to supply the battery market beyond electric vehicles, these themes highlight the fundamental demand for lithium, which comes at an opportune time for the Company as we look to complete our Stage 1 development at Pilgangoora and pursue further growth via the Stage 2 expansion,” Mr Brinsden added.
Australian Private equity house EMR Capital to take 80 pct stake in Zambia copper mine at the cost of $125m after it purchased copper zinc mine Golden Grove from MMG in December. The Lubambe Mine held equally by ARM and Vale International. EMR chief executive officer Jason Chang said the Lubambe acquisition reflected the firm’s confidence in the quality of the project as a long-life copper producer located in Zambia’s most prolific mining region, the Copperbelt. "We are pleased to enter into an agreement to acquire Lubambe, which offers exceptional quality and growth potential and which will substantially enhance the value and depth of our copper portfolio. "EMR will continue to focus on copper, gold, potash and coking coal acquisition opportunities globally,"
St Barbara Ltd was last night named ‘Digger of the Year’ at the 26th Diggers & Dealers mining forum in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The prestigious award recognises the significant turnaround achieved by the St Barbara team over the past three years.
The award citation presented by Nick Giorgetta, Chairman of the Diggers & Dealers forum, highlighted the achievement by St Barbara to “convert a company that was previously considered to have an uncertain future into a company that consistently meets or exceeds expectations. This turnaround is a credit to the entire St Barbara team because it was a genuine team effort that we should all be proud of. The challenge for us now is to use the same energy and commitment that drove the turnaround to drive the next chapter in St Barbara’s growth.”
The award recognises the huge effort by all of St Barbara's employees during an at times difficult period and the turnaround has positioned St Barbara with world-class operations, a first-rate team culture, no debt and an exciting future.
St Barbara Managing Director and CEO, Bob Vassie, accepted the award on behalf of the Company at last night’s Diggers & Dealer's gala dinner.
Metals X Limited recommenced underground drilling in November 2016 shortly after taking control of the Nifty Copper Operation. To date, approximately 20,000 metres of diamond drilling outside of the mining area has been completed with the objective of extending the Ore Reserve up plunge, down-plunge and within the limbs of the folded carbonate units within the Nifty syncline. Although a substantial number of assays are still pending, results to date confirm significant extensions of mineralisation outside of the current mining areas.The drilling has returned some exceptional and long intercepts of well-developed copper mineralisation which are analogous to the Nifty ore system.
Metals X Managing Director, Warren Hallam, said: “We are very pleased with the results to date that clearly confirm the upside potential of this outstanding ore system. We are confident that we will grow Nifty into a large, long-life mine and that Nifty will continue to be a significant copper producer for years to come”. “We are excited by the exploration potential within the Throssell Ranges and believe that there is substantial opportunity for further discoveries. We have commenced our regional exploration program with the drilling of a Nifty look-alike target at the Finch Prospect, 20 kilometres south-east of Nifty that is also on the same regional copper-trend. A second rig has also been deployed to test the down-plunge extent of the Nifty syncline on the basis of results from the recent deep seismic surveys.” “In addition, drilling will commence at our Maroochydore Prospect in August after the completion of the current Finch program. Maroochydore is located approximately 85 kilometres south-east of Nifty and already hosts a large copper oxide deposit with over 500,000 tonnes of contained copper metal at a grade of approximately 1% copper. More recent deeper drilling has also identified the upper zones of the primary chalcopyrite sulphide mineralisation. The objective of the program is to explore for another Nifty at depth”.
According to a job vacancy report by Engineers Australia, demand for mining engineers has almost doubled in Western Australia over the last year.
Industry leaders say the turnaround signals growth in mining activity, as small and medium-sized companies move towards production, particulary in the gold industry.
Our clients are saying it is getting harder to find the right candidates for their vacancies.
The Australian Statistics Bureau said today that Australian employment surged in May, fueled by a large uptick in full-time jobs, underscoring a strong labour recovery through the first half of 2017 with the jobless rate declining to 5.5% from 5.7%
Doray Minerals Limited announced today initial results from its ongoing Resource infill and extension programme at the Deflector Gold Copper Operation. This drilling is part of Doray’s aggressive strategy of upgrading the Inferred sections of the Mineral Resource to Indicated category, and extending it at depth, which will allow additional Ore Reserves and mine life to be delineated at Deflector. Drilling has primarily focussed on the extremities of Mineral Resources on the main Western and Central Lodes, with additional intersections of the Contact Lodes. A total of 19 diamond drill holes for 6,103m have been completed to date, with drilling continuing.
Outstanding intersections include:
- 0.3m @ 349g/t Au and 2.1% Cu from 256.8m
- 0.3m @ 118g/t Au and 3.7% Cu from 92.3m
- 0.3m @ 156g/t Au and 1.0% Cu from 306.3m
- 2.1m @ 10.9g/t Au and 0.5% Cu from 323.3m
- 3.1m @ 14.5g/t Au from 227.0m
- 0.95m @ 56.3g/t Au and 0.8% Cu from 276.4m
Doray’s Managing Director Mr Leigh Junk said the Company was excited by the excellent results that have increased the understanding of the orebody and confirmed that strong mineralisation continued at depth beyond the boundaries of the current mine plan. “The Deflector orebody is open at depth and these drilling results highlight the many opportunities we have to define further extensions, and strengthens our confidence that the mine life can be extended beyond the current five years” Mr Junk said.
Australian lithium developer Pilbara Minerals Limited advised today that it has received its environmental approval for its 100%-owned Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project in Western Australia, marking the last of the major approval milestones for the project and clearing the way for construction to proceed.
The approval of the Company’s Mining Proposal by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (“DMP”), in combination with previously approved Native Vegetation Clearing Permit and Project Management Plan, authorises Pilbara to commence major site works.
Pilbara’s Managing Director and CEO, Ken Brinsden, said the completion of the extensive environmental approvals process by the DMP was a significant milestone for the Company, securing the necessary approvals to enable fullscale construction activities to begin.
“Pilbara has achieved an enormous amount in a very short period of time and, with these final environmental approvals now in place, the Company is firmly on track to becoming the next major lithium raw materials supplier globally,” he said. “With the achievement of each of these important milestones, we have continued to de-risk the Pilgangoora Project. “Now, with project financing just around the corner, our shareholders can look forward to steady news-flow as we complete major construction milestones on site and move into the full-scale development phase – putting us on track to begin commissioning the project from the first quarter of next year.”
Mount Gibson Iron Limited (Mount Gibson) was pleased to announce Board approval to redevelop and restart production from the high grade Main Pit iron ore deposit at its Koolan Island mine in Western Australia, after a feasibility study confirmed compelling economics for the Project.
Extensive technical evaluation carried out over the last two years, including detailed design and multiple peer reviews by independent engineering experts, has confirmed a safe and viable design and construction method to rebuild the Main Pit seawall, which is required to dewater the pit and recommence production from the Main Pit Deposit. Seawall construction, pit dewatering and all other activities associated with restarting production are anticipated to take approximately 24 months to complete with Mount Gibson targeting first ore sales in early 2019.
Mount Gibson Chief Executive Officer Jim Beyer said:
“After two years of extensive work to identify and confirm a safe and effective design and construction method for rebuilding the Main Pit seawall at Koolan Island, it is extremely pleasing to commence construction on what is undoubtedly one of the world’s premier and most compelling high grade iron ore investment opportunities. Coming shortly after extending the life of our Mid West operations, the redevelopment of Koolan Island also re-establishes Mount Gibson’s status as one of Australia’s premier high-grade producers at a time of rapidly growing demand for premium quality iron ore products. Importantly, it also provides a long term platform for further value creation. Our substantial cash reserves and cashflow from existing operations give us the capacity to undertake this investment without any need to take on debt for the project and still pursue other attractive opportunities which may arise in the months and years ahead.”
Today Yancoal Australia Ltd (“Yancoal”) anounced they have received confirmation from the Foreign Investment Review Board (“FIRB”) that the Commonwealth has no objection to Yancoal acquiring 100 percent of Coal & Allied Industries Limited (“Coal & Allied”) (“Transaction”), which owns an interest in the Hunter Valley Operations (“HVO”) mine and the Mount Thorley Warkworth (“MTW”) mines (together with associated assets), subject to compliance with existing governance conditions, which already apply to Yancoal’s current assets and standard tax conditions now applied to all FIRB approvals. Satisfaction of the FIRB condition precedent represents a critical milestone.
“Today’s FIRB approval is a positive step forward for Yancoal, its shareholders and the Hunter Valley, demonstrating the Australian Government’s support for continued investment into the local resources sector,” said Reinhold Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer. “Yancoal remains a key provider of employment, training and investment within New South Wales and we look forward to continuing to grow our operations.”
The Transaction remains subject to a number of further closing conditions, including Rio Tinto plc and Rio Tinto Limited shareholder approval and Yanzhou Coal Mining Company shareholder approval. The Transaction is expected to complete in the 3rd quarter of 2017
The acquisition of Cosmos from Glencore in 2015 is now paying dividends for Western Areas. Western Areas announced the results from the Cosmos Odysseus Pre‐feasibility Study, which demonstrates commercial viability of the Odysseus Project and the potential re‐start of nickel mining operations at Cosmos. With the successful completion of the PFS, the Western Areas Board has approved the Project to progress to the Definitive Feasibility Study stage.
The PFS base case findings indicate robust economic and nickel production metrics together with further significant upside opportunities, as well as a very low all‐in sustaining cash cost of operations. The decision by the Board to commence a DFS underpins Western Areas’ strategy to develop a second operating region and thereby consolidate its position as a leading Australian nickel producer.
Western Areas Managing Director Dan Lougher said that the PFS results demonstrate the healthy operational and financial characteristics of the Project.
“The positive results from the PFS, combined with the recent drilling success achieved within 18 months of acquisition, demonstrate Western Areas’ ability to accelerate and deliver value from the Cosmos acquisition,” Mr Lougher said.
“Odysseus represents Western Areas’ next mining operation and the results presented today show that a significant nickel operation can be established for substantially less capital outlay than a stand‐alone greenfields development.”
“We are particularly pleased to have an operation that will have very low all‐in sustaining unit cost at US$2.77/lb, but also a project that does not require a significant capital investment over the next two years, which provides optionality and flexibility in development decisions. Depending on market conditions, the Company also has the opportunity to complete early works where practicable and economic to do so.”
“We believe there are significant opportunities to drive further improvements in returns on this investment, including the potential for significant high grade resources below the existing deposit, as detailed in our announcement on 13 February 2017 of massive sulphide intersections of 5.3m at 15.2% nickel, including 3.4m at 22.0% nickel. The assay from this intersection is the highest grade over a reasonable width ever recorded at Cosmos from 446,000 prior assays under different ownership.”
“Odysseus is a core growth asset for Western Areas with exciting upside potential and progressing this to DFS stage will ensure that Western Areas is ready to leverage an upswing in nickel prices. Being a conventional underground nickel sulphide project, it is a great fit with our core skills and experience in hard rock underground mining and conventional nickel flotation at Forrestania,” Mr Lougher said.
What is happening to the iron ore price?
Fundamentals suggest, US$90 a tonne is a really good number and the iron ore producers have all suggested the $90 will not be supported for too long.
Supply continues to increase, particularly from Brazil and low cost sources and combined with higher production, and higher stocks at the ports, fundamentals all point down.
On the other hand, China's demand for higher grade iron ore continues to support these "high" prices.
Western Areas Ltd, was pleased to announce yesterday that the Company has intersected a new massive sulphide zone, including two super high grade results, immediately below the Odysseus North orebody at the Cosmos Nickel Complex (Cosmos).
The new intersections are 160m south of a high grade Inferred Mineral Resource of 0.05Mt @ 11.6% which forms part of the Odysseus North orebody. These intersections, when combined with results from geophysical surveys, represent a potentially significant extension to the high grade Resources at the broader Odysseus Project.
Key highlights include:
- WAD002A intersected massive sulphide comprising 2.6m at 12.6% nickel, including 1.6m at 18.0% nickel;
- WAD002W1W1W1 intersected massive sulphide comprising 5.3m at 15.2% nickel, including 3.4m at 22.0% nickel;
- Down-hole electromagnetic (DHEM) surveys successfully completed in WAD002 identified two strong responses at downhole depths of 1,240m and 1,290m respectively. The 1,240m response is confirmed by drilling as mineralised massive sulphide; and
- Potential to significantly extend existing high grade Resources at Odysseus North
Western Areas Managing Director, Dan Lougher, noted that the underexplored potential of the Cosmos Nickel Complex was one of the key drivers of the acquisition.
“On acquiring Cosmos, we had the clear view that the true potential of the project, both for more nickel near existing known orebodies and for new discoveries in a wider regional setting, had not been adequately tested,” Mr Lougher said.
“We’ve begun testing this view which has resulted in both strong potential for adding more high grade Resources near Odysseus North and some very promising exploration hits at Neptune, as reported recently. Additionally, we expect to convert more quantified Mineral Resources at Odysseus North to a higher confidence category and enhance our understanding of this significant deposit.
“Cosmos is starting to deliver on the opportunities we believe exist at the project, and we look forward to continuing this progress throughout the year,” Mr Lougher said.
Mount Gibson Iron Limited (Mount Gibson) advised today that it has commenced development of its Iron Hill iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Mid-West region following receipt of final statutory approvals.
Iron Hill is located 3km south of the Company’s recently depleted Extension Hill open pit and this close proximity enables the utilisation of Extension Hill’s substantial existing workshops, processing facilities, camp and transport infrastructure, as well as the Extension Hill workforce comprising approximately 160 employees and contractors.
As a result, negligible capital is required to be spent, and first product sales are targeted to commence in May 2017.
Mount Gibson Chief Executive Officer Jim Beyer said: “We are very pleased to gain the final approvals required for Iron Hill, which are the successful culmination of a huge effort by our permitting team since the initial application was made over two years ago. Obtaining these approvals in a large part reflects our proven record of, and ongoing commitment to, responsible resources development in the state’s Mid-West and Kimberley regions. We now look forward to rapidly developing this attractive high value, low-capital production opportunity, thereby extending the life of our Mid-West business. It is also very pleasing to be able to deliver additional value for our shareholders while continuing to provide much needed economic activity in the Mid-West region by way of direct employment and the engagement of local business.”
The jobless rate in Western Australia increased from 6.5 per cent to 6.9 per cent last month, which is the highest level since 2002. The state Opposition leader blamed Premier Colin Barnett for the rise.
"6.9 per cent is catastrophic. The Government has its head in the sand," Mr McGowan said.“Mr Barnett thinks everything’s okay. It is clearly not okay. That’s why we need a change, we need a fresh start, we need a plan for jobs. They failed to diversify the economy, they failed to ensure there was significant financial capacity left from the boom times, for the lean times that followed.”
But the Western Australia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) used the jobless figures to again call for changes to payroll tax.
“This unemployment rate is unacceptable,” CCI chief executive Deidre Wilmott said.“It’s the highest that it’s been since 2002 and it calls for urgent policy announcements by our political parties going into an election.The CCI wants the current $850,000 payroll tax threshold immediately indexed to the Consumer Price Index , and then increased by $50,000 each year to eventually reach $1.5 million." CCI fundamentally wants to put an end to payroll tax.
WPG Resources Ltd advised that the Tarcoola gold mine was officially opened yesterday at the South Australian minesite, located approximately 3km from Tarcoola.
On the 11th November WPG announced that a Decision to Mine had been taken and the project’s immediate development was progressed following the approval of the project’s Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation. Within 2 weeks of the Decision to Mine, work commenced on developing the Tarcoola pit.
The first ore from Tarcoola is anticipated to arrive at Challenger in the coming weeks.
Independence Group NL advised that the first nickel concentrate has been transported from the Nova Project to BHP Nickel West Pty Ltd in Kambalda. Peter Bradford, Managing Director and CEO of IGO said:
“The first shipment of concentrate is another important milestone for the Nova Project and this took place earlier than contemplated by the Feasibility Study and in line with the guidance we provided to the market in our ASX release of 26 October 2016.”
Two three-year off take agreements are in place for the nickel concentrate from Nova, each for 50% of production; the first with BHP Nickel West for delivery to Kambalda, and the second with Glencore, to be shipped offshore via the port of Esperance. All copper concentrate will be shipped offshore via the port of Esperance under a three-year off take agreement with Trafigura with the first shipments expected in the June 2017 quarter.
The next major milestones for the Nova Project will include; Complete drilling and resource estimation at Conductor Five, expected in the March 2017 quarter; First offshore shipments of nickel and copper concentrates, expected in the June 2017 quarter; and Ramp up to full production rate, expected by mid CY17.
Saracen Managing Director, Raleigh Finlayson today said the A$42m exploration budget had already made substantial inroads towards achieving the goal of growing group production and mine life.
“ We see outstanding potential to grow our gold inventory in the coming quarters, laying the foundations for future production growth above the 300,000oz pa production rate we anticipate by the June quarter,” he said.
Drilling continues at Thunderbox with two surface diamond rigs; the program is progressing well, to-date a total of 11,100m have been drilled with full results for 11 out of 14 completed holes.The results confirm that the Thunderbox mineralisation is consistent and persistent.
Significant results from the drilling include:
- TBDD0101 – 52m @ 3.0 g/t (incl uding 19m @ 4.8g/t)
- TBDD0109w1 – 47m @ 2.3 g/t (incl uding 19m @ 3.2g/t)
- TBDD0109 – 28m @ 2.4 g/t (incl uding 14m @ 3.3g/t)
- TBDD0107 – 25m @ 3.0 g/t (incl uding 10m @ 5.8g/t
- TBDD107w1 – 25m @ 2.4 g/t (incl uding 11m @ 4.0g/t)
- TBDD114w1 – 23m @ 2.4 g/t (incl uding 11m @ 3.1g/t)
- TBDD125 – 14m @ 4.1 g/t.
The new results are adding to the confidence and scale of the upside opportunity that is present at the Thunderbox operation, which is focused on the thicker, higher grade shoots.
Drilling at King of the Hills has been focused on grade control activities in the active mining areas, and near-mine extensions to the high-grade Lower Kingdom lode.
- Flagship co-funding program encourages exploration investment
- The EIS was established in 2009
The Liberal National Government announced today the 42 successful projects which will share up to $4.75 million under Round 14 of the Exploration Incentive Scheme’s (EIS) Co-funded Drilling Program.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Sean L’Estrange said the highly competitive drilling program, heading into its ninth year, provided companies with added incentive to drill in underexplored regions.
“Encouraging exploration is the key to the continuity of Western Australia’s vital resources industry, which will underpin the State’s economy for decades to come,” Mr L’Estrange said.
“This very successful program has already resulted in a number of major discoveries. Among the success stories is the Nova discovery east of Northam, supported by EIS geophysics data and co-funding in 2011-12, with production having commenced in November this year.”
Other EIS successful discoveries include the Camelwood nickel deposit 500km north of Kalgoorlie, Yeneena copper deposit in the Paterson Province, Millenium zinc in the East Pilbara, and Dusk Til Dawn gold discoveries north-east of Wiluna, as well as deep gold at Gruyere east of Laverton and the nickel discovery at Emily Ann near Lake Johnson.
The Co-funded Drilling Program refunds up to 50 per cent of direct drilling costs with caps of $150,000 for a multi-hole project, $200,000 for a single deep hole and $30,000 for a prospector’s project.
Refunds are made after completion of drilling and the submission of reports which are released publically on the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s WAMEX and WAPIMS databases, after a six-month confidentiality period.
The Minister said the information submitted added to the geological knowledge of the State, and helped reduce risks for subsequent explorers. An economic impact study released early in 2015 showed that every $1 million spent by the EIS generates $10.3 million of exploration activity and a longer term benefit to the State, in terms of higher Gross State Product, of $23.7 million
Western Areas Ltd announced that it has negotiated and entered into an Offtake Contract with the Tsingshan Group, through its associated entity Golden Harbour International Pte Ltd, to import raw materials for the production of stainless steel. Tsingshan is China’s largest producer of stainless steel, particularly the high nickel content 300 stainless series. Tsingshan has advised that it is the largest consumer of nickel products in China and use approximately 25% of China’s total annual consumption of nickel.
Western Areas Managing Director, Dan Lougher, said the agreement with Tsingshan was many years in the making and followed from the Company’s desire to capture as much value as possible for the nickel in concentrate sold by Western Areas.
“Over three years ago, Western Areas recognised Tsingshan as an innovator in the production of stainless steel and since then we have developed a close working relationship through the sharing of technical knowledge and many site visits,” Mr Lougher said.
“Tsingshan is clearly leading the charge in China to produce a greater proportion of the higher quality 300 series stainless steel product, which contains up to four times the amount of nickel than 200 series stainless. With this in mind, it has been a specific Western Areas strategy to innovatively position itself in the stainless steel supply chain, with the ultimate objective of delivering a stronger bottom line to our shareholders through investigating non-traditional markets and thereby capturing a greater share of the value of the nickel we produce.
“Together with Tsingshan, we are capturing this additional value as Tsingshan intends to utilise a proven and highly integrated process to produce stainless steel, incorporating roasting of the nickel concentrate, which has significant productivity benefits over the conventional smelting and refining processes.
“As Tsingshan is China’s largest consumer of nickel and producer of ferro-nickel, it makes clear strategic sense to take the advantage of linking our company directly with the end user,” Mr Lougher said