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Iron Ore And Metallurgical Coal Are Counterintuitively Moving In Wildly Diverging Directions

In one of the most surprising steel-related commodities markets ever, the price of one key ingredient in the steel-making process,
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This article was originally published by The Deep Dive

In one of the most surprising steel-related commodities markets ever, the price of one key ingredient in the steel-making process, iron ore, is collapsing, while the price of another key element, metallurgical coal, is hitting record levels. In rough terms, about 1.2 tonnes of iron ore and 0.5 tonnes of metallurgical coal are needed to produce one tonne of crude steel.

China’s government has targeted the steel industry, which is one of the biggest polluters in the country, reportedly accounting for 10-20% of carbon emissions in China, to reduce overall carbon emissions. Remarkably, the government now wants steel production in the country to be flat to down for the full year 2021, after rising around 12% in the first half of 2021. This of course requires a marked reduction in steelmaking in 2H 2021. (It has the side “benefit” of slowing China’s economy — a goal of the county’s leadership after strong government stimulus-fueled growth put in place to combat COVID-19.)

In turn, China steel production dropped in July 2021 and August 2021 by 8% and 12%, respectively, versus the corresponding 2020 months. Nevertheless, 2021 steel production through the first eight months is still up 5% versus the first eight months of 2020.

Steel mills have turned to dumping their contracted iron ore cargoes at fire sale prices. The price of benchmark 62% iron-content iron ore delivered to China has been cut in half in a period of just six weeks. Slowing construction activity in the property development sector, due in no small part to the potential collapse of the giant, heavily indebted property developer China Evergrande Group, has also impacted iron ore prices.

Meanwhile and counterintuitively, metallurgical, or coking, coal prices are soaring. The reason: China has imposed tough environmental and safety restrictions on local coal mines, and COVID-19 curbs are hampering shipments to China from Mongolia.

Perhaps most importantly, China has effectively banned imports of Australian metallurgical coal for some time. In the spring of 2020, Australia’s prime minister called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, and China bristled at this call. In response, China imposed economic restrictions on Australia, including a reported order to stop accepting Australian coal imports in October 2020 and possibly before. For many years, Australia had supplied substantial quantities of coking coal to China’s steel mills.

Two possible ways to play the strong met coal price trend are Alpha Metallurgical Resources, Inc. (NYSE: AMR) and Colonial Coal International Corp. (TSXV: CAD). Alpha expects to ship 14.3-15.8 million tons of metallurgical coal in 2021 and has 560 million tons of metallurgical coal reserves in West Virginia and Virginia.

Colonial Coal, a smaller, more speculative coal company, is a motivated seller of its British Columbia-based metallurgical coal properties. The company is led by an experienced CEO with a significant financial stake in the company and a shareholder-friendly track record. 

Alpha Metallurgical Resources, Inc. last traded at US$45.78 on the NYSE. Colonial Coal International Corp. last traded at $1.04 on the TSX Venture Exchange.


Information for this briefing was found via Sedar and the companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

The post Iron Ore And Metallurgical Coal Are Counterintuitively Moving In Wildly Diverging Directions appeared first on the deep dive.






Author: Jim McFadden

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Monsters of Rock: Lithium shares flush with positive sentiment to dominate the gains

Lithium miners were the kings, queens, jacks and aces of the bourse on an avalanche of positive news around the … Read More
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Lithium miners were the kings, queens, jacks and aces of the bourse on an avalanche of positive news around the sector.

The biggest trigger was probably the incredible rise in value for Tesla overnight, which soared beyond a US$1 trillion valuation on news Hertz would order US$4 billion worth of electric vehicles from the automaker.

As the leading electric vehicle maker in the western world, and with a big presence also in China and energy storage, Tesla is one of the biggest end users of lithium products globally.

Its boss Elon Musk, now the richest man ever, has a fair bit of sway on the market as well.

On top of that Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), up 525% over the past 12 months since spodumene prices bottomed out at under US$400/t (it sold a batch for upwards of US$2000/t last month), gained 7.66% after formally announcing plans to develop a lithium chemical plant in a JV with South Korea’s POSCO.

Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) declared the start of construction on its Finniss Lithium Mine in the Northern Territory. That will be shipping concentrate from the end of 2022.

$550 million capped Neometals (ASX:NMT) was up 14% after announcing its battery recycling demonstration plant in Hilcenbach, Germany, had been fully commissioned.

The one time lithium miner is up 405% over the past year.

Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL), Sayona (ASX:SYA), Liontown (ASX:LTR) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) were among the lithium miners to dine out on the day’s news, while rare earths miner Lynas (ASX:LYC) was also up.

On the flippity flip, iron ore miners were weak with Fortescue (ASX:FMG) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) cancelling out a gain from BHP (ASX:BHP), while Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) cancelled out the gains it made with yesterday’s announcement the Wodgina lithium mine would be coming back online with news it ate a 48% price discount on iron ore sales in the September Quarter.

MinRes’ average realised prices fell from US$178/t to around US$78/t between the June and September Quarters.

The bright green is all lithium baby. Pic: Commsec

 

Base metals inventories falling, but can it be sustained?

Base metals were back up on Monday, with production cuts in energy starved China and Europe hitting primary supply.

Inventories held by the major exchanges are being chewed up.

While price moves among the miners was muted, nickel rose 3.2% to climb back over US$20,000/t overnight after hitting US$21,000/t briefly last week.

“Nickel rallied after Eramet disclosed a 19% drop in ferronickel production from its operations in New Caledonia,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

“The market is also showing signs of tightness, with cash contracts closing at their biggest premium to futures in two years. LME inventories are down nearly 50% since April.”

LME stockpiles for copper hit their lowest level since 1974 last week, but Commbank analyst Vivek Dhar says it is too early to say whether the market is as tight as it seems, or whether some traders are hoarding to capitalise on high prices.

The market is expected to be in a small deficit at the end of this year to a 328,000t surplus in 2022 on rising supply (about 1.3% of global demand).

Mined supply is expected to increase 2.1% this year and 3.9% in 2022, but Dhar warned copper miners had a history of underwhelming.

“The rising forecasts for copper mine production reflect 5 major copper projects due to arrive by the end of 2022,” Dhar said.

“That compares with just two major copper projects in the last 4 years.

“Given the track record of mine disruptions (i.e. labour strikes, power and water scarcity and geopolitics) and the decline in copper grades, elevated copper mine production growth forecasts don’t tend to last long.

“We think it’s worth considering that new mine supply may take longer than currently expected to hit the market.”

The post Monsters of Rock: Lithium shares flush with positive sentiment to dominate the gains appeared first on Stockhead.







Author: Josh Chiat

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Lefroy Exploration secures major nickel frontier land package in WA

Special report: In line with its multi-commodity gold and base metals strategy, Lefroy Exploration has pegged five exploration licence applications ……

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In line with its multi-commodity gold and base metals strategy, Lefroy Exploration has pegged five exploration licence applications over a new nickel project named Glenayle.

The Glenayle Project covers a massive contiguous 2735sqkm of the Proterozoic age Salvation Basin that is intruded by multiple dolerite sills which extend over the entire land package.

These dolerite sills are part of the Warakurna Large Igneous Province (LIP), which extends west to the Bangemall Basin and east to include the Giles layered intrusive complex. More importantly, they are considered prospective for nickel mineralisation.

Glenayle represents a first mover approach by Lefroy (ASX:LEX) into a frontier nickel-copper exploration project with its stake over the Warakurna LIP.

New wholly owned subsidiary to list on ASX in 2022

The Glenayle tenement package is held by a new wholly owned LEX subsidiary, Johnston Lakes Nickel (JLN), which Lefroy aims to list on the ASX in 2022 subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

JLN will also hold other nickel assets currently held by LEX at Lake Johnston and at Carnilya South in the Lefroy Gold Project.

The company expects the tenements to be granted in Q4, 2022.

While the explorer aims to expand its portfolio in search for nickel, the focus remains on exploration at Eastern Lefroy and the Burns gold-copper prospect.

A rare opportunity

LEX managing director Wade Johnson said it is not often that an opportunity like this presents itself.

“It is a monster land package,” he said.

“We have taken the first mover approach into a new area that has seen very little exploration.

“We are very keen to further develop and apply knowledge learned about nickel mineralisation in large igneous provinces that will provide exploration targeting criteria for target selection,” he said.

“Glenayle adds another wholly owned project to the LEX greenfields exploration portfolio and complements our other nickel assets at Lake Johnston and Carnilya South.”

The Glenayle project relative to the other company projects and key geological rock units in Western Australia. Pic: Supplied

Identified in desktop assessment

The Glenayle nickel project was identified after a desktop assessment to identify new areas in Western Australia considered prospective for nickel mineralisation.

Prior geological knowledge of the area from a field reconnaissance trip in 1998 by Wade Johnson and the subsequent review of the research paper by Pirajno and Hoatson (2012) supported LEX’s acquisition.

What’s next?

Lefroy has kicked off compilation and assessment of previous surface geochemistry, geophysical and drilling data from WAMEX at Glenayle.

The location of drill core from the only three diamond holes drilled at Glenayle is being sourced, with two of the three holes being located.

Geophysics, and in particular interpretation of gravity survey data, will play a key role in guiding exploration targeting within the project.

Development of a detailed aeromagnetic and gravity dataset is underway and will be the primary exploration tool in the interpretation of the distribution of the mafic rocks such as feeder sills, layered intrusions and dykes within the Salvation Basin.

This will then be followed by targeted stratigraphic diamond drilling in 2023.

The company will apply for funding support through the WA State Governments Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) for this drilling where applicable.

LEX has also commenced land access negotiations with the determined Native Title group.

 


 

 

This article was developed in collaboration with Lefroy Exploration, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

 

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.

The post Lefroy Exploration secures major nickel frontier land package in WA appeared first on Stockhead.





Author: Special Report

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Resources Top 5: Investors pile into ASX stocks as global magnesium shortage bites

China is slashing magnesium production due to ongoing power crisis and buyers are getting desperate ASX magnesium stocks Korab, Latrobe … Read More
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  • China is slashing magnesium production due to ongoing power crisis and buyers are getting desperate
  • ASX magnesium stocks Korab, Latrobe and Magnotec soar in early trade
  • Emmerson hits visual copper in drilling, Aguia inks phosphate sales agreement

Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Tuesday October 26.

 

KORAB RESOURCES (ASX:KOR)

(Up on no news)

There are only a handful of current or likely magnesium producers outside China, which is slashing production due to an ongoing power crisis. Buyers are getting desperate.

$20m market cap KOR is currently in a pause pending a further announcement after shooting up almost 100% in early trade.

This sleepy explorer has been trying to develop, or sell, the ‘Winchester’ magnesium project in the NT for over a decade.

Over the last few months, KOR says it has been approached by two separate groups expressing an interest in developing Winchester.

The latest unsolicited proposal would see the two parties “jointly develop the Winchester quarry where the other party will fully fund the development in exchange for sharing the future profits from the quarry”.

No commercial terms have been met as yet, KOR said September 30.


 

LATROBE MAGNESIUM (ASX:LMG)

(Up on no news)

LMG plans to develop a 3000tpa operation which will convert fly ash from the Yallourn coal operations in the Latrobe Valley into magnesium and a host of other industrial products.

Latrobe still has engineering and other studies to complete before issuing tenders for construction of its plant in January next year but managing director David Paterson said end users facing supply woes out of China were already desperate to get their hands on mag product.

“That’s why we keep on talking about diversity of supply,” he told Stockhead on September 30.

“We’ve had probably at least three or four inquiries a week, probably one a day.”

“We’ve had two today just on can we supply mag at a price, at any price, because they can’t get supply.”

 

MAGNOTEC (ASX:MGL)

(Up on no news)

China and Europe-based MGL isn’t a miner, but it does sell primary and recycled magnesium alloys into the auto, power tool and electronics sectors.

In the first six months of 2021 the metals businesses experienced a ‘difficult period”. The principal constraint on Magontec’s metals business in China is the absence of raw material supply, it says.

“Auto sector output was constrained, logistics costs rose sharply, magnesium prices were volatile and Magontec’s key magnesium alloy cast house at Golmud, Qinghai province, PRC continued to source its raw material from regional Pidgeon producers pending resumption of supply from the Qinghai Salt lake Magnesium Co Ltd (QSLM),” the company says.

“Until this supply re-commences the MAQ business will continue to be unprofitable at the EBITDA line and, with depreciation charged on this currently non-performing asset, will continue to negatively impact reported profit.”

MGL’s other metals businesses — recycling of magnesium alloy scrap in Germany and Romania — is also challenged.

“A slowdown in the automotive sector due to chip shortages, among other issues, has reduced volume throughput for the European recycling facilities over the last 12 months and we don’t expect a recovery in the short-term,” the company says.

 

EMMERSON RESOURCES (ASX:ERM)

A maiden drilling program pulled up visual copper at ‘Hermitage’, one of a cluster of targets held by ERM in the 5.5Moz gold, 470,000t copper Tennant Creek Mineral Field (TCMF).

Drill hole HERC002 and HERC003 intersected thick zones of malachite (copper ore) chalcopyrite (copper ore), interspersed with native copper.

Here’s what that looks like:

Native copper in RC drill hole HERC003.

HERC003 terminated in mineralisation at 192m, ERM says.

Drilling continues, and first assay results are expected in the current December quarter.

Hermitage has not seen any systematic, modern exploration since the 1980s.

The first phase of this exploration is aimed at following up historic hits like 9m at 12.8g/t gold from 176m and 23m at 4.84g/t gold and 3.7% copper from 203m.

$37m market cap ERM has been treading water, up 7% over the past month and down 6% year-to-date.

 

AGUIA RESOURCES (ASX:AGR)

This aspiring fertiliser miner has presold 30,000 tonnes per annum of natural phosphate fertiliser from the ‘Três Estradas’ Phosphate Project (TEPP) in Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state of Brazil.

The MOU — with well-known fertiliser and agribusiness distributor Tuch — potentially represents well over half of AGR’s projected first year of TEPP sales, estimated at 50,000 tonnes, the company said.

The sale price from AGR to Tuch is $74 per tonne FOB for the product in bulk. Operational expenditure has been estimated at just $11/t.

The project, which will cost just $8m to build, is expected to produce 306,000tpa over 18 years following a three-year ramp up, AGR added.


The post Resources Top 5: Investors pile into ASX stocks as global magnesium shortage bites appeared first on Stockhead.




Author: Reuben Adams

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