LATAM Showdown and a Rio Wrist Slap

Drill season jukebox: There's really not much Aussie music in my library... For those who lost a bit of their heritage this week, the best I can offer are: 'The Cat Empire' (More cowbell calls at 7:30)

Featured Image: Rio Tinto were given permission to blast Juukan Gorge 1 and 2 under Section 18 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act.(Supplied: Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura Aboriginal Corporation)


4 exceptional competitors entered the room and only one left. Lake Resources, Aldebaran Resources and Chakana Copper Corp presented some really interesting projects, but the room’s vote is final! Solgold progress to the Ultimate final to face Regulus and 5 others tbc! (While it sounds like I’m brown-nosing in this summary… I obviously get to select the presenting companies, I wouldn’t have invited anybody I didn’t like to the show!).

While the voting went to the biggest player in the room, I think the investments that follow the talks may go another for now, with Sol having the most advanced project, but a brief stall in financing and a road ahead… I do honestly think they will bring a product out of the ground in Ecuador, but you’ll have to be a brave investor to hold on for it!

I personally bought Chakana Copper Corp at €0.11 (currently at a comfortable €0.14). I got worked up with excitement as a geeky geologist over their tourmaline breccia cores. When polished up and presented to a geo, these are like showing an underwear catalogue to an angsty 13-year-old boy… I had to buy in and follow their story, mostly because I’m already bored of seeing porphyry cross sections and needed some excitement, but I topped up again recently (€0.14) because they seem to have a real opportunity to crack open these breccia pipes and get some metal out of them, I just wanted a fun collector’s card and now I like their chances for development and some solid grades/newsflow.

Aldebaran are another sister company to Regulus (heat one winner!) so follow a similar storyline with a mid-level advanced story in Argentina, lots of shallow drilling and a real possibility of finding something in the gaps. Their value comes from a shared team, expertise and approach to Regulus, giving them an edge in the region and (I would assume) for fundraising in tight spots.

Lake Resources were something of an outsider as a lithium play among the copper-gold crown, but their direct extraction brine technology makes them a firm favourite for advancement, with pilot plants operating and a proven high-grade product.

My only worry is that manufacturers won’t favour the high purity product in the end and Lake will be competing with low-end producers. Manufacturers may choose the cheapest and dirtiest source to produce the cheapest dirtiest new vehicles they can. If humanity has shown us one thing throughout its short time on earth, it’s that we don’t really care about our planet or each other. I imagine those in control would rather develop the cheapest and most polluting batteries they can, sell them en-masse after banning diesel and oil, then sell people 10 more cheap ones in their lifetimes without bothering to recycle or deliver anything we promised originally, than develop one high quality product that actually helps the environment.

Just a thought, human stupidity, laziness and herd mentality drives economics, not human intelligence and innovation.

You can view the showdown replay HERE!


I can say confidently: this has been another week. Not a staggering one, unless you are an Australian aboriginal who just lost one of your oldest heritage sites thanks to a Rio Tinto oversight with some iron blasting.

UNESCO have commented on this with their cultural protection chair commenting:

"It's a tragedy that sits up there with all sorts of sites; the Palmyras, Mosuls and Bamiyan Buddhas of this world - They were not only extremely important sites for Aboriginal communities, but also they were extremely important sites for archaeological understanding of the distant past in Australia,"
Prof. Peter Stone

I’m going to throwforth a Spotlight wrist slap that I hope others echo for whichever absolute ****wits decided they should A) Apply to do this blasting B) Licence this blasting C) Put those explosives in the holes without raising any questions D) Ignored the aboriginal community’s protests several days before the blast E) Dribbled out pre-written press answers of apology from the Rio media office, knowing full well this was avoidable and intentional.

This is a tragedy for the local community, for the archaeological community and for us all. We lost a little of our past as a species this week, one piece of our human puzzle was literally blown up.
Less importantly (but more relevantly to us now), it is another possible tragedy for mining finance in the future… I don’t know which bit of ‘fighting for our existence’ miners don’t seem to understand, but the tide of public opinion is swallowing us right now.

We can see a wave of small app-based trades coming into the market in Europe which I am attributing to younger (20-35) newcomers via ‘Trade212’ or ‘Trade Republic’ etc… Finally joining our investing rollercoaster and putting a few hundred euros here and there, dabbling and researching and joining  groups… From these younger traders, we’ve had thousands of hits to our ‘how to start investing’ article, (mainly referred from Facebook groups) and views on educational videos on YouTube are rocketing up…

Today they’re not shifting markets… but they’ll be playing with 10k, 100k, maybe millions if they keep riding this money printing wave up and they’ll be the deciders as to whether you get to finance your project in 5-10 years’ time. (The iShares Clean energy ETF is a wonderful example of one riding up on small app based trades, to semi-prove my point).

Mr. ‘Mining’ (because we are still all one ugly fat bald bloke to most of these youngens) has just gone and kicked one of these newcomer’s main investment criterium in the knackers (again)… Young traders and investors want shiny modern environmental projects which respect and support local communities.

Vale’s dams in Brazil, Barrick’s environmental disasters in Papua New Guinea, Rio’s wilful destruction of aboriginal Australian heritage… What the hell are we doing guys?

So many smaller companies have switched on and upped their game… Like Resolute, FPX Nickel,  Nouveau Monde, Crystal Lake Mining and Mawson Resources (there are loads so, sorry for the short list) spend months and hard won investment dollars surveying Finish otter habitats, investing into hyper-efficient electric mining tech, cleaning up chemicals at historic BC camps and challenging the norm to engage young faces and change the game… And Rio, Vale and Barrick come along, undo their shiny brass belt buckles, drop their jeans to the floor and flood our hard-work, our genuine care for our environments and our junior projects with watery excrement. Their actions creating another wave of bitter investors who might now decide to stand with the protestors at PDAC, with their money invested into wind farms and EV tech, not with positive green-minded mining companies who tried so hard to do a good honest job.

I apreciate it's a lot tougher to operate a giant mine that it is to design and brag about an idealised one... But it's even harder to go back 46,000 years and ask for a replica down the road. Sort it out.

Cheers all!

Spotlight Mining

Spotlight Mining share and produce articles of interest for companies in the junior mining and tech sectors. While we're keen observers, we are not financial advisors, in fact we're not even very good investors ourselves. We encourage you to do your own due diligence and seek professional advice on the risks, before investing any funds. Only ever invest what you can afford to lose.

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Liam Hardy View posts by Liam Hardy

With a family background in African mining exploration and a degree in geology, Liam brings a mix of technical ‘on-the-ground’ ore hunting and suit-booted office experience to the team. Liam worked in Liberia with Hummingbird Resources and spent 4 years as a geochemical analyst, before focusing on streamlining communications and development in exploration businesses, through the founding of ‘Spotlight Mining’.