Who made the gains? Here are July’s top 50 small cap miners and explorers
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What happened to the most talked about commodities in July?
Gold bounced back from recent lows to record a solid 2.54% gain (that’s +4.12% in Aussie dollar terms).
The base metals suite – aluminium, copper, lead, nickel, tin and zinc – all finished higher.
Battery metals, led by lithium, are absolutely flying.
The only downside in July was iron ore, which happily bounced between $US210/t and $220/t for most of the month, before plummeting to ~$US180/t when China dusted off ‘straight-from-the-playbook’ rhetoric about cutting steel production in efforts to dampen prices.
Experts are divided on whether significantly cutting steel production is even possible.
The same ploy definitely didn’t work for coal, which was the biggest gainer last month.
What were the top 50 resources winners for July searching for, and where?
Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort. Best viewed on a laptop
The battery metals shortfall is coming sooner than expected, experts say.
A predicted 2023-2024 demand-supply pinch point for lithium appears to be happening right now, with the inaugural Battery Material Exchange auction for spodumene from Pilbara Mineral’s (ASX:PLS) Pilgangoora operation settling at a record-high $US1,250/tonne for a 10,000/t cargo.
That’s well above prevailing market price, and streets ahead of the ~$US380/t spod producers were accepting last year.
Stocks – from early-stage explorers and project developers, through to veteran producers — are reaping the benefits.
Just check out this list of lithium-facing stocks in July’s top 50:
A coal shortage in China – the world largest user by a significant margin — has been aggravated by lower global production and an ‘officially unofficial’ ban on Aussie imports.
Prices for Australian coking and thermal coal have recovered this year but are well short of the crazy prices China is paying after cutting off Australian imports, which have been redirected to other markets.
A bunch of non-Australia-based ASX stocks are benefitting.
In Atrum Coal’s (ASX:ATU) case, its gains over July were really just a partial recovery from early 2021 losses.
The Canada based coking coal stock plunged in Feb when its neighbour — Gina Rinehart’s Riversdale Resources, — copped a call from authorities that its $800 million Grassy Mountain mine was not in the public interest.
Cokal (ASX:CKA) has a bunch of coking coal projects in Indonesia.
Its focus is the Bumi Barito Mineral (BBM) coal project (CKA 60%), which is being developed into a 2mtpa open cut mine as we speak.
Last month, Cokal made its first drawdown of $US2 million from a $US20 million facility which will fund development of BBM “through to first production and sales, which is anticipated to occur in Q4 2021”.
New Zealand-focused producer Bathurst Resources (ASX:BRL) won an appeal in New Zealand’s Supreme Court that prevented a US$40 million payout to NZ based royalty holder L&M Coal Holdings.
It was the second lot of good news for Bathurst in as many months, after announcing in June it would exceed its revised EBITDA guidance of $55.4m just months after knocking it down on the back of a stunning recovery in coal prices.