News - Prospector's Diary

A new special series from Prospector’s Diary looks at four commodities and their key players. This first edition focuses on lithium.

Lithium returned back as an investment favourite last week, riding on the back of a super-charged share-price performance from leading electric car maker Tesla, leaving many investors questioning what’s the best way for them to re-join the lithium race. Lithium 101: Volcanic eruptions often begin with preliminary tremors, but knowing exactly when the earth’s surface might burst open is an event geologists can’t predict, they just know something big is on the way – or, might be on the way.

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Can both news reports and the flow of money be correct?

If you only read media headlines over the past week you might believe that the world is facing a great economic crisis caused by the China coronavirus, but if you skipped the headlines and looked only at share prices you might believe that nothing happened. Can both news reports and the flow of money be correct? Yes, they can, because the great unknown in the China virus panic is where it’s heading and it is that uncertainty factor which can weigh heavily on investor confidence.

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The coronavirus roller-coaster which drove industrial metals down and gold up is showing signs of slowing...

The coronavirus roller-coaster which drove industrial metals down and gold up is showing signs of slowing, which could be a time for investors to consider a spot of bargain-basement shopping – but there’s no need to rush. Risks remain high and the fear generated by a mutant killer virus is having a real effect on some sections of financial and commodity markets. But if the last virus outbreak, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 is a guide, then a strong recovery is likely.

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Continued consolidation of the gold sector could be a theme for the rest of 2020...

Continued consolidation of the gold sector could be a theme for the rest of 2020, according to the investment arm of Bank of America, which believes there is a wave of mid-tier mergers on the way thanks largely what’s happened at the top end of gold. The bank’s argument revolves around last year’s big North American deals which saw Newmont merge with Goldcorp and Barrick acquire Randgold a double-barrelled process which has also seen a large number of non-core assets sold, including the Kalgoorlie Superpit.

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Welcome back to Prospector’s Diary after a Christmas break that saw a number of significant developments...

Welcome back to Prospector’s Diary after a Christmas break that saw a number of significant developments, and while a trade-war truce might seem to be most important, there are other contenders, including a fall in the value of the US dollar and the overdue return of inflation. Taken collectively, it’s hard to not see 2020 being a good year for resources with a glimpse of what’s to come to be found in a stronger-than-expected price for iron ore, a rising copper price, heavy-duty support for gold and a record high for leading indices which track the Australian stock market.

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Whether it’s going long or short, the iron ore market is not for the faint-hearted, as its latest unexpected rise shows. And the coming year is likely to see more of the same, while copper looks set for good gains.

Iron ore wasn’t supposed to be the star commodity of 2019 but thanks to a shortfall in Brazilian production and stronger than expected Chinese demand, that’s how it turned out, and next year could be just as interesting, though perhaps with a “back-to-the-future” twist. The performance of iron ore, and a strong year for gold, were coloured by a terrible 12-months for battery metals and a roller-coaster ride for nickel, leaving open the critical question of what’s best for 2020 –with copper the early favourite.

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Gold mining stocks got a “triple-T” boost this week with Trade, Trump and Takeovers lifting its price to a one-month high and what could be the start of a drive back above the $US1500 an ounce mark.

Gold mining stocks got a “triple-T” boost this week with Trade, Trump and Takeovers lifting its price to a one-month high and what could be the start of a drive back above the $US1500 an ounce mark. The share prices of miners reacted modestly to the rising price for the yellow metal, which reached $US1483/oz on Wednesday before sliding back to around $US1475/oz – a gain for the week of $US14/oz.

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The pace of gold deals accelerated this week, but not everyone was happy as some prices started to looked stretched.

The pace of gold deals accelerated this week, but not everyone was happy as some prices started to looked stretched. Evolution led the way among Australian-listed stocks with the $US475 million acquisition of the Red Lake complex in Ontario from US gold major, Newmont. Investors liked the move, lifting Evolution’s share-price by 8c to $3.96. There were fewer smiles when Kirkland Lake, a Canadian company which has an Australian listing and owns the high-grade Fosterville mine in Victoria trundled out a $US3.7 billion all-shares merger with fellow Canadian Detour Gold.

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