It was a tale of two markets in the resources sector of the Australian stock exchange this week with the top end sagging and the bottom end on fire, especially battery metals, where cobalt burned brightest.
The Pilbara gold rush reached fever pitch this week with some explorers exposed to the “conglomerate nugget” theory doubling in a day, perhaps influenced by a well-timed television promotion at the annual Denver Gold Forum in the US.
Battery metals provided the positive spark for investors in mining stocks over the past week, neutralising to some degree the negative effect of a sharp fall in the price of gold after the US central bank signalled the start of a period of rising interest rates.
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.