Who Made the Gains? Here are June’s top 40 miners and explorers
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What happened to the most talked about commodities in June?
Star performer iron ore hit US$US220/tonne (again) late in the month to be up ~38% year-to-date.
The benchmark lithium price in index was up another 2.9% month-on-month, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
A year ago, Aussie lithium spodumene producers were in dire straits and accepting sub-$US400/t.
Prices have now punched through $US600/t, with Chinese major Ganfeng now expecting prices to keep rising back to the 2018 level of +$US1,000/t.
Copper prices softened ~8% in June after hitting record highs in May, but Citi have upgraded their near-term outlook in light of the recent sell-off and remain bullish on prices over the next 3-6 months.
Nickel, meanwhile, continued to shrug off Chinese scare tactics to surge past $US18,500/t.
Gold did it tough, posting its worst month since November 2016 in June.
On a positive note, experts say the drop in gold equity valuations could create a buying opportunity.
And guess what investors? There’s still a tonne of money to be made in coal – especially the steelmaking stuff — as the dark clouds surrounding the sector in 2020/ 2021 begin to lift.
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In June, the Malawi government recommended Globe Metals & Mining (ASX:GBE) receive a mining licence in a “significant step forward for the company’s goal of becoming a niobium producer”.
Alloys containing niobium are used in jet engines and rockets, beams and girders for buildings and oil rigs, and oil and gas pipelines.
The company surged +310% on the news to its highest point in about nine years.
Meanwhile, junior joint venture partners Coda Minerals (ASX:COD) and Torrens Mining (ASX:TRN) hit 200m of “intense IOCG alteration”, including ~50m of copper sulphides at the ‘Elizabeth Creek’ project in the Stuart Shelf region of South Australia.
This could be huge.
Iron oxide copper gold ore deposits (IOCG) — like BHP’s Olympic Dam mine or more recent Oak Dam discovery — can be tremendously large, and simple-to-process concentrations of copper, gold and other economic minerals.
The catalyst appeared to be positive results of a two-year field study around quality and yield from the phosphate fertiliser product, which has resulted in a steady stream of orders from new and existing clients.
Canada-focused lithium play Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) gained another 91% in June for an eyewatering year-to-date gain of 880%.
In June, a Canadian court approved Sayona’s ~$107 million acquisition of the mothballed North American Lithium (NAL) operation, which will be integrated into the nearby Authier project to create a world scale lithium hub.
The wider lithium cohort also continue to perform well — June winners Prospect Resources (ASX:PSC), Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), Lake Resources (ASX:LKE), Galan Lithium (ASX:GLN), European Metals (ASX:EMH) and Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL) are now up 50%, 95%, 360%, 150%, 28%, and 175% respectively in 2021.
The coal sector was hit by a confluence of shit in 2020 and early 2021. COVID-19, followed by China’s ban on Australian coal, was a one-two punch.
The irony is that while the price of Australian met coal fell to ~$US100 per tonne, Chinese steel mills were forced to pay up to $US265 per tonne for lower quality domestic coal — and much higher prices than benchmark for other imported coal.
But things appear to be coming good for ASX coal stocks.
In June, Bathurst Resources (ASX:BRL) (+45% in June) announced it would exceed 2021 financial year (FY21) earnings guidance of $55.4m as prices recover.
During the last quarter the premium coking coal benchmark price surged from $US110/tonne to a recent high of US$182/tonne, it says.