Ahoy, punters! Today the annual Diggers and Dealers mining forum kicks off and Deloitte has released the ‘Deloitte WA Index: Special Edition’ to mark the occasion.

The value of WA-based listed companies has been on a tear, Deloitte says, with the WA Index remaining above $190bn ($190.9bn) for only the second time since May 2011.

  • Scroll down for our Day 1 presentation & exhibition highlights >>

It comes off the back of two years of spectacular growth — 13.5 per cent and 26.8 per cent in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

And even adjusting for the impact of the $17bn demerger of Coles from the Wesfarmers group in November 2018, WA Index growth outstripped the All Ordinaries, 7.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent.

At Diggers, Deloitte will also recognise the top three movers in the WA Index top 20, in terms of market cap growth, for the year ended 30 June 2019. They are:

  • Growth focussed gold producer Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR), which increased 240 per cent from $302m to AU$1.027 billion;
  • Iron ore producer Mount Gibson Iron (ASX:MGX), which was up 141% from $386m to AU$1.151bn;
  • And Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) which jumped 103 per cent from AU$13.6bn to a whopping $27.76bn.

But in terms of market cap growth over the same period, these three small cap explorers are the ones to beat, says Deloitte.

High grade explorer Bellevue Gold (ASX:BGL) was up 417 per cent, from $68m to $351m;

Lithium darling Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) jumped 396 per cent, from $31m to $153m;

And advanced graphite play Walkabout Resources (ASX:WKT) soared 234 per cent, from $40m to $135m.

Presentation Highlights: Monday

  • In 2016, when Bellevue Gold (ASX:BGL) picked up its namesake historic mine, the explorer noted that major miner Barrick had offloaded it years earlier because there was no ‘Barrick sized targets’.Unfortunately for Barrick, Bellevue has now defined 1.8moz grading 11.1 grams per tonne (g/t) gold in less than 18 months — making it one of the fastest and highest-grade gold discoveries in the world.
  • On several occasions in the past five years, BHP has tried to sell its WA-based nickel division, Nickel West.The ‘for sale’ sign is now officially gone. It’s not at all coincidental that nickel has major part to play in lithium-ion battery markets going forward. Perhaps we’ll hear more about that today.
  • And Rio Tinto Exploration is here (probably) talking about its Winu copper discovery – enough said.


Exploring the Exhibition Floor:

    • For Rio Tinto JV partner Antipa Minerals (ASX:AZY), the Winu hype that has emerged over the past few months is further vindication of its decision seven years ago to make the Paterson the sole focus of its exploration activities.
    • High grade goldie EganStreet Resources (ASX:EGA) has just received an attractive $52.2m takeover bid from Silver Lake Resources, while S2 Resources (ASX:S2R) aka ‘the guys that unearthed the world-class Nova deposit’, are now searching for the next Tier 1 in Finland.

READ: The Explorers: S2 Resources’ Mark Bennett on the secret recipe to finding big deposits

  • Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX) is up over 56 per cent in the last three months on the back of its advanced Ta Khoa nickel project in Vietnam, and De Grey Mining (ASX:DEG) has 1.7moz and counting at its gold-rich Pilbara gold Project.


At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Antipa Minerals, Blackstone Minerals and De Grey Mining are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.