Special Report: The past few years have largely been dominated by the battery metals, but it looks like 2019 is going to be the year for good old traditional, “safe-haven” gold.

There have been some pretty hefty deals done lately like gold mining’s biggest ever merger – the $US18 billion ($24.8 billion) tie-up between Barrick Gold and Randgold Resources – and the $US10 billion marriage between Newmont Mining and Goldcorp.

But for the first time in quite a while, cash is starting to flow down into the junior gold explorers that play a key role in finding new discoveries.

This will be one of the themes discussed at the upcoming Resources Rising Stars conferences being held in Sydney on February 12 and in Melbourne on February 14. Attendance is free for investors.

Keynote speaker Lion Selection Group’s Hedley Widdup will delve into how the juniors have fared compared to the rest of the market.

He will also discuss the step up in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity and the fact that the bigger guys are now executing their growth strategies and what that means for the smaller players.

“They’re thinking about growth, as opposed to this time last year I think you could probably say that a lot of the bigger end of the industry was still just getting their shops in order,” Mr Widdup told Stockhead.

“There’s a bit of a contrast of that M&A style.”

Mr Widdup said gold in particular had become the “standout” this year.

The price of the precious metal touched as high as $1851.78 an ounce on January 2 in Aussie dollar terms.

While it has come back a bit, it is still fetching over $1800 an ounce and the consensus is that there will be a longer-term bull run, with several market watchers suggesting further rises through to at least 2021.

“When the gold price spiked, fairly large amounts of money were raised for junior companies in the market,” Mr Widdup noted.

“So this gold price tick up, as much as it might be driving behaviour in the majors to an extent, I think at the junior end that’s going to be an exciting thing for the next three months or so.

“It’s going to be the opportunity to raise money to explore, to develop or perhaps even to acquire.”

Some of the gold players that will be presenting at the Resources Rising Stars event include producer Millennium Minerals (ASX:MOY), and explorers Egan Street Resources (ASX:EGA), Chalice Gold Mines (ASX:CHN), Bardoc Gold (ASX:BDC) and Kairos Minerals (ASX:KAI).

Attendees will also hear from leading business and financial commentator Peter Switzer.

Mr Switzer has been writing in The Australian newspaper for 20 years and regularly appears on Sky TV and Radio 2UE.

Let’s talk graphite, lithium and copper 

Other junior explorers that will be presenting include graphite player Battery Minerals (ASX:BAT), lithium hopeful Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) and Alaskan copper and gold contender PolarX (ASX:PXX).

See the full program here.

Mr Widdup, who has attended quite a few of the Resources Rising Stars events, says it’s a great platform for getting a large number of companies — from exploration right through to operations — and putting them in front of an audience of investors “who are prepared to put their hand in their pocket”.

“I’ve seen people come out of a session, get on the phone to their broker and buy,” Mr Widdup said.

“It’s a vibrant audience and it’s a meaningful presentation sequence.

“They mix in a few topical things as well, but it’s just enough to set the scene and it’s not enough to distract you from the real game, which is putting the companies in front of an investment audience.”

The one-day conference is being held at the Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park from 8am on Tuesday February 12 and Sofitel Melbourne on Thursday February 14.

For more information, visit the Resources Rising Stars website.


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