Rare earths, that most fickle family of the mining world, are today’s stars of the Australian stock market. But whether they will shine for long or do their usual shooting-star trick should keep investors on high alert for a possible bust to follow the boom.
A global flight to safety returned gold to its pedestal this week as Australia’s investment favourite, though other factors helped make for a busy week, including more examples of “nearology” at work and the return of executives who once helped drive the almost forgotten uranium producer, Paladin.
Fresh capital flowing into the mining sector was one of several significant events over the past week but the most important was proof that the lithium boom is more than a stock-market phenomenon, with two early movers posting better-than-expected profits.
Nickel was the metallic star of the week, beating off competition from the Pilbara gold rush being driven by a South African goldfields-look-alike theory - though the real winners on the ASX were the “pick-axe” sellers; contractors, engineers and equipment vendors.
Everything old was new again on the Australian stock market this week as technology and battery metals were joined (and overtaken in some cases) by the traditional players in the mining game - copper, zinc, aluminium and gold.
It’s been a long time since Josef El-Raghy was active on the Australian stock market, but a return visit is on the way for the man who, with his father Sami, turned a small ASX-listed gold explorer called Centamin Egypt into a $3 billion London-listed gold producer simply called Centamin.
Dr Copper returned to the Australian stock market this week and his diagnosis was that the mining sector is in rude health, fuelled by a solid gold price, ever-increasing interest in the family of battery metals and a surprise return to the scene of almost forgotten rare earths.