The materials sector has held up on a second straight day in the new year, with gains for the miners being driven by iron ore, coal, lithium and gold.

Lithium stocks continued to rise more modestly than yesterday after bellwethers Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Allkem (ASX:AKE) both hit record highs yesterday following news that Tesla delivered its best quarter ever in December, shipping 308,000 EVs.

Iron ore miners have continued to pace ahead with Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) breaking the $20 per share barrier for the first time since September.

The ~$60 billion capped Pilbara iron ore giant is continuing to defy critics who placed bearish sell notices on the stock late last year as iron ore prices dived with lower Chinese steel production figures.

Morningstar notably sunk its price target on FMG to $10 late last year, it is now trading at double that level.

The driver was a slight jump in iron ore prices overnight to US$$123.12/t.

BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) were also in the green.

PLS and AVZ Minerals (ASX:AVZ) hit fresh highs this morning, but were more measured after ~10% gains yesterday, while coal miner Coronado (ASX:CRN) and Canadian gold miner Kirkland Lake (ASX:KLA) were also among the early winners.


Ground Breakers share price today:



Piedmont faces proxy pressure

ASX and NASDAQ listed lithium hopeful Piedmont (ASX:PLL) has called on shareholders to support its compensation proposals after learning a key US proxy advisor, ISS, had recommended shareholders vote against the measures.

The company, which is based in North Carolina near its flagship lithium operation and considers the NASDAQ its main listing, has called on shareholders to support the proposals including the issue of stock options and restricted stock units to CEO Keith Phillips and other board members.

The company’s annual meeting will take place next week on January 11.

“A key part of our ability to execute our strategy is building an exceptional leadership team, supported by an experienced and engaged Board of Directors,” Piedmont chairman Jeff Armstrong wrote in a letter to shareholders dated January 3.

“We are operating in an extremely competitive environment for the acquisition of talent and intellectual capital, and our compensation strategy directly impacts our ability to attract and retain the talent needed to bring our plans to fruition.”

“We understand that one of the leading proxy advisory and governance services in America, ISS, did not support our compensation proposals. ISS’s position is based on their interpretation of the convention in Australia, reflecting our dual-listing on the ASX and NASDAQ.

“We simply disagree with ISS in their interpretation and application of these conventions and believe that U.S. regulations and guidelines should be applied to Piedmont Lithium going forward.

“As of May 2021, Piedmont Lithium became a U.S. incorporated company, with our primary trading platform being the NASDAQ, giving us more direct exposure to the largest capital market in the world.

“All of our employees, and the majority of our directors are based in the U.S., as are our corporate headquarters and our main asset, the Carolina Lithium Project in Gaston County, North Carolina.

“Our primary regulator is now the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, not the ASX, and our core peer group for compensation reasons is comprised of U.S. companies in the specialty chemicals and minerals businesses.”

The company plans to make a final investment decision this year on its Carolina Lithium Project. A BFS last month outlined a path to production for the 30-year, 30,000t per annum lithium hydroxide operation in Gaston County.

Piedmont says it will cost $988 million to develop the integrated operation, which will include the construction of a lithium hydroxide plant to process spodumene from its Carolina deposit into chemicals for American auto and battery makers.


Piedmont Lithium share price today: