Monsters of Rock: Battery metals, resources and energy stocks lift, Aeris plans copper upgrade
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The S&P/ASX 200 Resources index stormed home to close 0.84% up today as miners enjoyed a broad range of rallies across the commodities.
But it was energy and battery metals companies that flew highest despite a tidy rise in gold prices on some bad looking CPI numbers out of the States overnight.
But the real gains came in the lithium sector, where mid-tiers who have taken a breather over the past week or so returned with a bang.
They were led by Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA), which is back to five year highs after lifting 16.39% on no news to 35.5c.
Also up big was AVZ Minerals (ASX:AVZ) which toasted a significant development for its Manono lithium project in the DRC.
It received a favourable technical opinion from the local Department of Mines for the Manono lease, the precursor for a decision on the award of its mining licence.
“The receipt of the favourable technical opinion for the DFS is the final procedural hurdle ahead of the Minister of Mines pending decision on the award of the Mining Licence which we now eagerly await,” AVZ MD Nigel Ferguson said.
“This will also be the catalyst to advance the Collaboration Development Agreement which will underpin the partnership between the Government and the developers of the Manono Project.”
Aeris Resources (ASX:AIS) was one of a handful of gold stocks who survived the industry’s malaise to prosper in 2021, largely off the back of the Constellation discovery in New South Wales.
Constellation is a high grade discovery located near the Tritton copper mine, a small scale producer of the red metal, which surged to record highs last year and remains at extremely healthy levels in excess of US$10,000/t.
While gold stocks are stronger performers in 2022 — with the All Ordinaries gold index up around 13.91% YTD — Aeris has come off ~14% after weak production results and guidance at Tritton, characterised by high production costs of $4.60-4.85/lb.
But it has laid down plans today to grow its production at Tritton — one of two major mines in Aeris’ portfolio along with the Cracow gold mine in Queensland — as it revealed an eight year life of mine plan today.
The Andre Labuschagne led company (yes, he is Marnus’ dad), expects to churn out 18,500-19,500t in FY 2022 as it works through the challenging areas of the Tritton Deeps before higher grade ore sources from satellite deposits come online over the course of the next year.
In FY23 that will lift to 20,000-22,000t, then 21,000-23,000t in FY24 before the real step change in FY25 to 30,000-33,000t, well above the 25,000t rate Aeris was producing at back in FY20.
Three ore sources in Budgerygar, Avoca Tank and the Murrawombie Pit will come online in FY23.
Longer term Aeris is looking to drill further to develop its Constellation, Budgery, Kurrajong and South Wing deposits.
Constellation is the most enticing, with a resource of 3.3Mt at 1.4% copper but a broader exploration target of 6-8Mt at 1.7-2.2% Cu for 100,000-180,000t of copper metal.