21st May 2021
Well, this is Spotlight Mining, so we could hardly send out the Friday newsletter without giving top billing to the fact that BHP wants to restrict beer at its Australian operations. The new rules would ban mine workers from drinking after 9:30pm and limit them to 4 standard drinks per day. This is not the mining industry as most of us know it, you can say that for sure.
The more serious news this week is still around hot commodity prices. Copper has bounced back after a dip last week, iron ore is still strong despite China taking steps to cool demand, zinc is the new kid bringing the highs, and metals such as gold, silver and uranium are all trucking nicely for investors who got in during the lows. This is to say nothing of battery metals, which are finally experiencing the increasing prices that have loomed on the horizon since words like “green revolution” started being thrown around. Reuters reports that investment in the mining sector by generalist funds has also seen a significant increase, and we’ll certainly be watching closely to see what happens as the supply issues caused by COVID-19 are slowly ironed out across the world. It might not be enough to completely cool the prices of booming metals like copper, but when major producers such as Chile are no longer hampered by efforts to fight the virus, it could at least slow their recent meteoric rise.
The price highs of the last few months represent good news for junior miners, who rely on strong demand to secure funding for exploration and development projects. But the boom and bust cycle can be cruel as well as kind, and in order to meet the needs of a greening economy and (before COVID) generally rising living standards across the world, it would be great of funding also flowed more freely during the bear markets so that, when prices do eventually rise, the supply is there to meet demand with well-advanced projects ready to go. Of course the market doesn’t work that way, so let’s call it the swansong of my youthful idealism.
Around the Traps
An absolutely stunning video from Origin Exploration came out this week, entitled ‘West Africa’s Last Frontiers’ and focusing on their work in the under-explored Liberia, on the hunt for gold.
If you prefer getting your news straight from the source rather than reading dry news releases, you can tune in to a presentation by Contact Gold (TSX.V: C, OTCQB: CGOL) on the 2nd of June. CEO Matthew Lennox-King will provide updates on drilling in 2021, what to expect in upcoming results, and an update on the Pony Creek Project.
For those interested in Asian Mining, check out the 7th Mining Investment Asia meeting here, which is running in a hybrid format from Singapore this year. You can meet investors and network, just like the good old days!
And to round out the conference suggestions, MINEX Kazakhstan is also running a hybrid format this year, on the 14th and 15th of September. This looks like a diverse showcase of mining and regional expertise.
That's all for this week, have a good weekend!
- Jane Lockwood