• Coal miner Coronado clobbered as market digests big cost and price miss
  • MinRes Lake Johnston lithium plant deal in rough water
  • Gold miners among those hit in poor day for materials


There was little to be enthused about after Wall Street was crunched overnight as the materials sector copped a 1.59% flogging punctuated by a bloodbath for gold and iron ore producers.

Even more desperate was the coal space, where the second day of trade after Coronado Global Resources’ March quarterly saw the US and Queensland met coal miner cop a near 8% hiding.

CRN sold 3.7Mt of coal at an average price of US$204.30/t and told the market it was not impacted by a bridge collapse in Baltimore (a port famously depicted in US TV classic The Wire).

That realised price reflected just two thirds of the average Aussie premium hard coking coal index price of US$308.40/t across the quarter, with Aussie sales running at a realisation of 73% and US sales at a realisation of 55.4%.

Goldman Sachs’ Paul Young and Caleb Heiner said the company will need to demonstrate improved performance in the December half, with first quarter coats of US$126/t also well above the top end of its US$95-99/t guidance.

They said the result was weaker than expected, with saleable production 14% down QoQ and 12% against pre-release estimates and impacted by wet weather in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

“Sales volumes of 3.7Mt were down 10%/11% QoQ/vs. GSe and EBITDA was just US$13mn, again in a high met coal price environment. The weather impacts at Curragh were broadly consistent with other major open cuts in the Bowen Basin in the period and CRN brought forward and completed scheduled maintenance on the 2 wash plants (~2 week shut) into the quarter,” Young and Heiner said in a note.

“Run of Mine (ROM) coal production of 6Mt was broadly in-line with 4Q23 and GSe with a recovery in the US offsetting lower than expected volumes form Curragh.

“CRN has seen an improvement in production in April and has maintained operating guidance for 2024 of 16.4-17.2Mt (now GSe 16.4Mt, down from 17Mt).

“The group realised met coal price of US$204/t (FOB/FOR) was below our forecast due to lagged met coal prices and higher % of PCI coal at Curragh compared to hard coking coal with more volumes mined from the Curragh South pits.”

GS’ analysts think Coronado will see costs of US$108/t this year.


Coronado Global Resources (ASX:CRN) share price today



MinRes lithium plant not a formality

A reported attempt to renegotiate the terms of a deal to acquire a processing plant in the Goldfields have seen Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) fall out with the seller Poseidon Nickel (ASX:POS).

POS took a dispute over the agreement public yesterday having previously announced a deal worth up to $15m to sell its Lake Johnston nickel concentrator near Norseman to MinRes, which wanted to use its flotation circuit to process third party lithium ore.

It now says MinRes came to Poseidon with a reviewed set of terms Poseidon says are materially different and not in the interests of its shareholders.

“It is disappointing that MRL have sought at this late stage to amend the transaction as agreed,” Poseidon CEO Brendan Shalders said yesterday.

“The alternative deal structure presented by MRL did not represent a compelling value proposition for Poseidon’s shareholders at this time. Poseidon is considering its legal position and options, but we remain hopeful that MRL will either complete the original deal as documented in the Binding Heads of Agreement or that Poseidon and MRL negotiate a new deal structure which reflects the value we see in the Lake Johnston project.”

MinRes had been intending to repurpose the plant to provide a hub for third party feed and process fine grained spodumene from its Mt Marion and Bald Hill projects, which require flotation to be beneficiated.

Meanwhile, analysts from Goldman and Jarden have taken a glass-half-full approach to IGO’s (ASX:IGO) announcement that Tianqi would purchase 200,000t of spodumene concentrate from the Greenbushes mine at an implied price of US$940/t, a discount to last quarter’s US$1034/t average.

“On one hand, Tianqi might be viewed as being opportunistic, noting the average realised price for GB otherwise was US$1,034/dmt across the quarter (on a combined basis for technical and chemical grade – c1:9 ratio) as well as 180-day payment terms,” Jarden analysts led by Jon Bishop said.

“On the other, Tianqi was of a view that prices were likely to rise later in the year, consistent with our previous observations that recent lithium prices were cutting into the cost curve.

“It might also be suggested that this sale was atypical and otherwise served to clear a bottleneck that was causing GB to compromise its operations. The resumption of dividends should also assuage any concerns on IGO’s ability to receive profits from TLEA.”

While Jarden increased its PT on IGO from $9.65 to $9.82, it sunk its PT on Core Lithium from 15c to 12c, saying project economics for a resumption of mining at the Finniss lithium project ‘remain optimistic’.


Today’s Best Miners 🚀

Deep Yellow (ASX:DYL)  (uranium) +6.5%

WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1) (niobium) +6.1%

Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) (uranium) +5%

Silex Systems (ASX:SLX) (uranium) +4.3%


Today’s Worst Miners 😭

Coronado Global Resources (ASX:CRN) (coal) -8.4%

Emerald Resources (ASX:EMR) (gold) -7.9%

Red 5 (ASX:RED) (gold) -7.8%

Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) (gold) -6.7%


Monstars share prices today



ASX 300 Metals and Minings Index today