• Boss Energy gets key approval for restart of Honeymoon uranium mine
  • Pilbara Minerals soars to new high as Fastmarkets reports spodumene prices above US$7000/t
  • Whitehaven Coal and New Hope Corp also hit fresh records

While Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) continues to battle with minority shareholders over the future of the Ranger uranium mine owned by its subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia (ASX:ERA), a new player is quietly emerging in Australia’s south.

$938 million capped Boss Energy (ASX:BOE) has taken a major step towards the redevelopment of its Honeymoon uranium mine in South Australia today, announcing it had received the key approval for the mine’s restart.

An updated Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation has now been ticked off by the SA Department for Energy and Mining.

It will enable Boss to carry out a number of changes from its feasibility study, designed to improve the economics of a project which shut down amid a collapse in uranium demand under previous owners in 2013.

The PEPR will enable Boss to expand its mining footprint over the mine’s 11-year life with a maximum allowable production capacity of 3.3Mlbs of U3O8 pre annum, with processing plant upgrades approved to replace solvent extraction with ion exchange processing and a new calciner to produce a higher value yellowcake product.

Boss, which entered the ASX 300 in the September rebalance, is hoping to tap into expected demand in the coming years from a shortage of nuclear fuel and the revival of interest in nuclear energy amid a push away from fossil fuels.

“We are making rapid progress on site, we are fully-funded through to production, and the outlook for uranium demand is extremely strong as the world prepares to meet its energy needs and carbon emission targets at the same time,” Boss MD Duncan Craib said.

Production at Honeymoon is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023, hitting a run rate of 2.45Mlbpa within three years.


Boss Energy (ASX:BOE) share price today:


Lithium plays continue to hit new highs

Only two days ago Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) crossed the $5 per share barrier for the first time, a dramatic 50,000% increase on its penny stock status when it made the fateful purchase of the Pilgangoora lithium and tantalum project in 2014.

It’s up 9.2% again this morning to a new record of $5.585, continuing the escalating gains the lithium market bellwether has seen in 2022, now up almost 60% year to date.

One of the key triggers was a big pricing update, with Fastmarkets lifting its mid-point spodumene spot price by a massive US$600/t to US$7350/t.

No prizes for guessing the other companies in the winner’s circle today as materials gained 0.57% this morning, with fellow lithium miners Allkem (ASX:AKE), Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), rare earths producer Lynas (ASX:LYC) and coal miners Whitehaven (ASX:WHC) and New Hope Corp (ASX:NHC) all making strong gains.

Now up 271% year to date, Whitehaven shares (and New Hope alike) are also punching through record highs today. The coal miners are now worth $9.8 billion and $5.6 billion respectively.


Energy stocks were up 1.75% after OPEC+ moved to reduce oil supply by 2 million barrels a day.

High oil-linked gas prices continue to support the uptake of coal for energy in Europe and Asia. Thermal coal out of Newcastle is fetching US$404/t at the moment, helping maintain Australia’s strong trade balance in August.

Coal, coke and briquettes were the main factor behind a $1.4 billion increase (2.6%) in goods and services credits, with coal production in August recovering from flood related shortages in July.

However, higher than expected growth in imports saw the surplus fall from $8.967 billion in July to $8.324b in August.


Ground Breakers share prices today: