St Barbara in the PNG tent as $206m Simberi decision looms

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 11-Jan-21

The mine life of St Barbara’s Simberi gold project in Papua New Guinea would be extended by about 11 years if a proposed $206m expansion proceeds. The gold miner’s board is slated to make a decision on the expansion in March, and CEO Craig Jetson is optimistic that the PNG government will approve the expansion. It would require changes to the mining permit for the Simberi project, at a time when the PNG government has been increasingly hostile toward foreign mining companies.

CORPORATES
ST BARBARA LIMITED – ASX SBM

Torrens Mining hits the ground running with buoyant listing

Original article by Cameron England
The Australian – Page: Online : 8-Jan-21

Shares in Torrens Mining closed at $0.295 on their first day of trading on the ASX on 7 January, having at one point risen by almost 50 per cent. The company has two gold projects in Victoria, a copper-gold prospect in Papua New Guinea, and the copper-cobalt ‘Elizabeth Creek’ project in South Australia, which is a joint venture with Coda Minerals. The project has a 159,000 tonne copper resource, and is located just 15 kilometres from BHP’s Oak Dam West copper discovery.

CORPORATES
TORRENS MINING LIMITED – ASX TRN, CODA MINERALS LIMITED – ASX COD, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, OZ MINERALS LIMITED – ASX OZL

SolGold boss wants to end brawl with BHP, Newcrest

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 16 : 6-Jan-21

SolGold MD Nick Mather says he wants to try to mend his strained relationship with BHP and Newcrest, which are SolGold’s two biggest shareholders. Both companies expressed concern during 2020 about his approach to governance and funding of SolGold, and he says he would like to create a more collaborative and constructive relationship with them in 2021. BHP and Newcrest are clearly not the only SolGold shareholders unhappy with Mather, with 44.7 per cent of its register voting against his re-election to the SolGold board at its AGM in mid-December.

CORPORATES
SOLGOLD PLC, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, NEWCREST MINING LIMITED – ASX NCM

Copper minnow jumps on drill plans

Original article by Cameron England
The Australian – Page: 16 : 5-Jan-21

Shares in Argonaut Resources rose by 50 per cent on 4 July after it advised the South Australian government had granted it approval under the Aboriginal Heritage Act to commence work on its Murdie Project. Argonaut Resources plans to spend $2 million on a five-hole drilling program, with at least one hole to be drilled in sight of Oz Mineral’s billion-dollar Carrapateena mine; that mine was officially opened in 2020 and is expected to operate for at least 20 years.

CORPORATES
ARGONAUT RESOURCES NL – ASX ARE, OZ MINERALS LIMITED – ASX OZL

Iron ore seen supported near $US180 a tonne into January

Original article by Timothy Moore
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 24-Dec-20

The spot price of iron ore fell by more than eight per cent in recent days, but Westpac is bullish about the outlook for the steel input in 2021. Justin Smirk of Westpac says iron ore inventories at Chinese ports remain at cyclical lows compared to steel production and imports, while the price of benchmark iron ore is trading at a significant premium to domestic Chinese iron ore. Westpac now expects iron ore to be fetching $US130 per tonne in March, compared with its previous forecast of $US105/tonne.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

Rio, traditional owners healing Juukan Gorge wounds

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 24-Dec-20

Resources giant Rio Tinto and the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura traditional owners have issued a joint statement about future co-operation in the wake of the destruction of ancient indigenous rock shelters in May 2020. The PKKP Aboriginal Corporation acknowledged that Rio Tinto has taken action to address the "hurt and devastation" caused by the blasting at Juukan Gorge, but noted that much more work must be done to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO

Australia’s iron ore miners cashing in

Original article by Shane Wright
The Age – Page: Online : 21-Dec-20

The federal Department of Industry has revised its export earnings forecasts in response to a surge in the iron ore price. It had forecast in September that the nation’s iron ore producers would boast sales of about $97bn in 2020-21, but this has now been upgraded to $123bn. The forecast for iron ore sales in 2021-22 has in turn been upgraded from $80bn to $95bn. However, thermal coal exports are expected to be lower in 2020-21 due to China’s restrictions on imports from Australia. Meanwhile, the nation’s overall resources and energy exports are now expected to total $278.7bn in 2020-21; this is $22.3bn higher than was forecast in September, but $11.9bn lower than in 2019-20.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, SCIENCE, ENERGY AND RESOURCES

Iron ore to defy probe threat

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 13 & 19 : 16-Dec-20

Shares in Australia’s major iron producers retreated on 15 December in response to the China Iron & Steel Association’s call for regulatory intervention to address the rising iron ore price. However, resources analysts expect the iron ore price to remain high in the near-term, due to continued strong demand for steel in China. Lyndon Fagan of JP Morgan expects the benchmark price to average about $US140 a tonne in the March 2021 quarter and $US126 a tonne for the calendar year.

CORPORATES
JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Rio head’s trip to heal Juukan Gorge wounds

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 2-Dec-20

A Rio Tinto spokesman has confirmed that chairman Simon Thompson has met with members of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people in Western Australia. Thompson was forced to quarantine for 14 days on arrival from the UK, before visiting the site where ancient indigenous rock shelters at Juukan Gorge were destroyed by Rio Tinto’s blasting program. The federal government is undertaking a parliamentary inquiry into the incident, which resulted in the departure of three senior Rio Tinto executives, including CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO

Sandfire bets on new Botswana mine

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 2-Dec-20

Sandfire Resources will proceed with the development its T3 copper mine in Botswana, with production slated to commence in early 2023. Sandfire will initially produce about 30,000 ounces of a gold a year at T3, which could increase to at least 50,000 tonnes annually via the nearby A4 deposit. The T3 project will offset the looming loss of copper production from Sandfire’s ageing DeGrussa mine in Western Australia, which is nearing the end of its mine life. However, Sandfire plans to begin gold production at DeGrussa.

CORPORATES
SANDFIRE RESOURCES LIMITED – ASX SFR