Monsters of Rock: Gold miners the big winners, Liontown secures native title deal for Kathleen Valley lithium
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Gold miners took first place on the ASX today as the sector led the materials index to a 0.68% gain, beating the broader ASX 200.
Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) was the top large cap in any field, adding 6.31% and taking its market cap to $10.5billion.
Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) (up 4.79%), Newcrest (ASX:NCM) (up 3.55%) and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) (plus 3.37%) were among the big boys to hold their gains in afternoon trade.
Dual-listed Kirkland Lake (ASX:KLA), soon to be part of one of the world’s biggest gold companies via its merger with fellow Canadian major Agnico Eagle, was almost 7% better off after releasing its quarterly earnings.
Kirkland Lake fell just shy of the record gold production result of 379,195oz it hit in the June Quarter, producing 370,101oz in the September Quarter, up around 9% on the same period in 2020.
Its rich Fosterville mine in Victoria’s Bendigo gold fields produced 134,772oz in the quarter with sales of 146,600oz, down from 154,739oz a year earlier as Kirkland Lake scales back production to sustain the mine while it advances exploration for new ore sources.
That was more than expected because of grade outperformance at the Swan Zone, one of the highest grade orebodies being mined anywhere in the world.
While Kirkland Lake, as planned, mined lower grades and higher tonnages than in previous quarters, Fosterville has produced 401,445oz already in the first nine months of the year against full year guidance of 400,000-425,000oz for 2021 at operating costs of US$230-250/oz.
Liontown has secured a native title agreement for the project, one of the largest undeveloped lithium deposits in WA, with the Tjiwarl People.
The Tjiwarl were acknowledged as the native title owners of land around the town of Leinster in 2017, a territory including a number of major mining operations including BHP’s Nickel West northern operations, Western Areas’ Cosmos nickel complex, Gold Fields’ Agnew mine and Bellevue’s Bellevue gold mine.
Liontown said in a statement a signing ceremony will take place between the company and the Tjiwarl traditional owners on November 17 in Leinster.
“The official signing of the Agreement will represent a significant milestone for Liontown in advancing the development of its world-class Kathleen Valley Project,” the company said in a statement.
“The Agreement will provide the framework for both parties to work together to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals to advance the Project towards construction and operations, while also respecting and protecting the heritage and cultural values of the Kathleen Valley Project area.”
Surging lithium prices have driven Liontown to an all time high of $1.94 per share with a market cap of $3.7 billion, even though it remains around three years off being a lithium producer.
According to an updated DFS in January, the mine will cost around $325 million to build, producing ~350,000tpa of spodumene for 40 years.