‘Guy on Rocks’ is a Stockhead series looking at the significant happenings of the resources market each week.

Former geologist and experienced stockbroker Guy Le Page, director and responsible executive at Perth-based financial services provider RM Corporate Finance, shares his high conviction views on the market and his “hot stocks to watch”.


Market ructions

It looks as if investors are feeling more comfortable to return to riskier stocks, particularly in the resources space.

According to Bloomberg data, miners and explorers raised nearly $2.1bn alone in May.

“We’ve had a general increase in sentiment with a belief in the economic recovery after the virus, so we’ve had a flow of funds back into the resources sector broadly and I suppose it’s risk-on again,” Guy Le Page told Stockhead.

“We continue to see some of the stocks we’ve mentioned like ABR (American Pacific Borates) make some very strong moves up over 70c, from the high 20s when we talked about it [in April].”

Le Page said China’s retaliatory tactics in response to Australia’s calls for a COVID-19 inquiry had, and would continue to have, little impact on the demand for iron ore.

“Interestingly, despite the noise that China has been making about tariffs on iron ore, Australian iron ore imports are just over 63 per cent of total Chinese imports, so I think that’s a game of brinkmanship that one,” he said.

“I think as long as Brazil, in particular Vale, is struggling with iron ore exports and that 100-million-tonne decline in shipments annualised, I think it’s going to be hard for China to muscle Australia to any significant level.”

Another thing working in Australia’s favour is the fact that Brazil is still battling to get on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Certainly in Brazil the virus is far from under control and I think that’s going to have a continued impact on global supply,” Le Page said.

He expects the impact of the pandemic to flow through to copper and nickel stocks also.

“That’s contributing to some fairly wild fluctuations in forecasts for in particular supply for the likes of copper and nickel,” Le Page noted.

“Interestingly copper has had a 14 per cent gain in imports into China year-on-year. On the other hand, nickel looks like it is in oversupply according to the consensus economics.

“Based on the review of forecasts we did last week, it will be interesting to see how prices actually respond with this anticipated improvement in the economy.”


Hot stocks to watch   

Le Page ran his ruler over some nickel stocks this week, saying it’s not easy to find good nickel sulphide plays right now.

“Aside from Rox (ASX:RXL), St George (ASX:SGQ), Poseidon (ASX:POS), Duketon (ASX:DKM), Cassini (ASX:CZI) and Mincor (ASX:MCR), there’s not that many active nickel sulphide explorers,” Le Page said.

One that has come onto Le Page’s radar is Auroch Minerals (ASX:AOU).

The junior, which has a market cap of just $10m, is exploring for nickel 65km northwest of Kalgoorlie at the Saints project and just south of Leinster at the Leinster project.


Le Page says the Leinster region is host to some “world-class deposits” such as BHP’s (ASX:BHP) Yakabindie nickel mine and Western Areas’ (ASX:WSA) Cosmos nickel operation.

“What’s interesting about that is that the Norseman-Wiluna Belt has obviously got a fantastic track record, but Auroch has a resource of about 1 million tonnes at 2 per cent. So it’s pretty high grade. It’s just over 20,000 tonnes of contained nickel,” he said.

Auroch recently booked some “pretty impressive intersections” like 31m at 1.66 per cent nickel, and it has done further drilling and down hole electromagnetics.

There’s “some pretty prospective ground along that belt” and the” mineralisation looks like it’s open along strike and down dip”, Le Page says.

“I think that’s going to get pretty interesting. I’m reasonably optimistic they are going to hit some high-grade nickel sulphide.”

Another stock to watch that Le Page briefly mentioned, and plans to elaborate more on next week, is Ansila Energy (ASX:ANA).

“It started off with some unconventional gas in Poland. That didn’t work out, so we saw the share price retreat from almost 6c back to 0.8-0.9c. It’s just poked it’s head up above 1.5c,” Le Page explained.


“They’re putting a bid in for the Hartshead gas project in the North Sea. So that asset could have a very significant valuation of well over $50m.

“That is definitely one to put on the watch list.”


At RM Corporate Finance, Guy Le Page is involved in a range of corporate initiatives from mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings to valuations, consulting and corporate advisory roles.

He was head of research at Morgan Stockbroking Limited (Perth) prior to joining Tolhurst Noall as a Corporate Advisor in July 1998. Prior to entering the stockbroking industry, he spent 10 years as an exploration and mining geologist in Australia, Canada and the United States.


The views, information, or opinions expressed in the interview in this article are solely those of the interviewee and do not represent the views of Stockhead.
Stockhead has not provided, endorsed or otherwise assumed responsibility for any financial product advice contained in this article.