• Diggers and Dealers returns next week in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, with 2500 delegates signed up
  • 66 companies will present, headlined by 29 gold names and a growing stable of battery metals presenters, with lithium, rare earths and nickel making up 40% of the card
  • We give you five key pressos to look out for


A look through the Diggers and Dealers programme is typically a good way to take the pulse of the resources sector and the appetite of the investment community.

And despite the generally bearish outlook for the global economy, there are indications the rise of battery metals and the energy transition narrative is keeping excitement in the mining sector higher than you would expect at a time marked by a looming risk of recession.

Diggers organisers say around 2500 delegates are expected to fly into the famous mining city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder from Monday to Wednesday next week.

66 company speakers (though just two outside of the keynote speaker, Oxford University economics fellow and business broadcaster Dr Linda Yueh, will be female) will take the stage at the Goldfields Arts Centre over the next three days.

Attendance could push as high as 2600, equivalent to around 12% of the host city’s population. That puts an obvious strain on accomodation services in town — some private homes are going for five figures. Good money, if you can earn it.

For the first time they’ll witness a line-up of speakers almost as interested in lithium and rare earths as they are in gold, just kilometres from the site of Australia’s largest and most enduring major gold rush in 1893.

Of the 66 companies on the bill 29 are in gold, still the standalone leader. But there will be 11 focused on lithium, seven in rare earths or niobium and eight in nickel, collectively making up almost 40% of the presentations.

Five copper companies will present, with two uranium developers and standalone plays in vanadium, lead, mineral sands and cobalt also on the bill. No iron ore companies make the card, with none of BHP (which normally presents on its nickel division), Rio Tinto, Fortescue, Roy Hill or Champion Iron on the list.

You can follow along online.


But here’s a few of our key picks:


AZURE MINERALS (ASX:AZS) – 10.45am Wednesday August 9

You could not get a hotter lead-in to Diggers and Dealers than Azure, which heads into Wednesday’s presentation as a $1 billion company for the first time on an 1100% gain in 2023.

The reason is of course its massive Andover lithium discovery near Port Hedland, where a pegmatite hit of over 200m (134m true width) at 1.42% Li2O saw its shares shoot up over 23% yesterday.

Mark Creasy owns a decent chunk of the company and 40% of the project, but there’s a big player on the AZS register with Chile’s SQM, the world’s second biggest lithium producer sitting at just under 20% after making a cornerstone investment early this year.





Not too many private companies take the stage at Diggers and Dealers, but when it’s Andrew Forrest’s private nickel miner you can’t say no.

It just paid cold hard cash to pick up Mincor Resources, Kambalda’s premier nickel producer, moving the investment vehicle from an explorer and backer of resources companies to a miner for the first time.

Plugged right into the energy transition thematic given its sister company Fortescue’s (ASX:FMG) forays into green energy, Wyloo also has investments in nickel in Canada, rare earths and gold.

It will be interesting to get Twiggy Lieutenant Luca Giacovazzi’s take on the direction of the mining industry and Wyloo’s expansion plans, which could include a JV nickel refinery in Kwinana with Nova nickel mine owner IGO (ASX:IGO).



Lynas MD and CEO Amanda Lacaze is always box office.

Head of the largest rare earths producer outside China, Lacaze’s market updates are essential viewing for anyone with an interest in the NdPr and magnet metals markets.

One of just two female presenters alongside fellow rare earths play Australian Strategic Materials (ASX:ASM) and its boss Rowena Smith, Lacaze has stood out as a star leader and one of the shining lights of the entire market in what remains a male-dominated industry.

Lynas is just months away from commissioning a $575 million cracking and leaching plant in Kalgoorlie, down the road from its growing Mt Weld mine, where it announced a $500 million expansion at Diggers and Dealers last year.

Meanwhile, Lynas has also secured US$258 million of funding from the US Department of Defense to build separate light and heavy rare earths separation plants at a site in Seadrift, Texas.




PATRIOT BATTERY METALS (ASX:PMT) – 11.05am Tuesday August 8

There are plenty of bigger lithium companies on the bill, including Allkem (ASX:AKE), IGO, Liontown (ASX:LTR) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS).

Some will have already shared the big news with analysts and investors on site visits ahead of the event, while some like Allkem don’t have their top dogs presenting.

Patriot however doesn’t fall into either camp. Its exciting Corvette discovery, now subject to a cornerstone investment from Albemarle after being revealed as the 8th biggest spodumene resource globally, is all the way over in Quebec, Canada.

The speaker will be non-exec chair Ken Brinsden, an industry legend known for his frank takes on the lithium market borne of his experience as the former managing director of Pilbara Minerals.

He caused a stir in 2021, foreshadowing the coming of the lithium bull market after announcing the first sale of spodumene through Pilbara’s Battery Material Exchange auction platform.




DE GREY MINING (ASX:DEG) – 8.50am Wednesday August 9

RBC pre-empted De Grey’s presentation next week by initiating on the stock with a screaming buy notice, predicting some 35% upside in its share price.

De Grey’s 9.6Moz Hemi discovery in the Pilbara has been the talk of the gold world for some time, and a DFS is imminent.

The study could be the trigger for the project’s development into one of Australia’s biggest gold mines, but it could also trigger a major M & A standoff between some of the gold sector’s biggest players over just the third world-scale gold development in WA this century.

It comes on a big morning for gold stocks. De Grey’s Glenn Jardine will be following the always interesting Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) chairman Jake Klein and gold legend Raleigh Finlayson, back to outline Genesis Minerals’ (ASX:GMD) strategy after picking up his Gwalia gold mine prize from St Barbara (ASX:SBM).



Other standouts?

Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) managing director Alex Dorsch – 1.25pm Monday

Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) managing director Duncan Gibbs – 3.50pm Monday

Gold Fields Executive VP Australasia Stuart Matthews – 5.15pm Monday

Capricorn Metals (ASX:CMM) exec chair Mark Clark – 8.50am Tuesday

Karora Resources (TSX:KRR) managing director Leigh Junk – 12.05pm Tuesday

Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) CEO Ian Purdy – 3.10pm Tuesday

Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) COO Simon Jessop – 10.25am Wednesday

Lindian Resources (ASX:LIN) CEO Alistair Stephens – 3.15pm Wednesday


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