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Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum 2023: Day 1

The Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum, an annual event that brings together industry leaders, investors, and experts in the mining sector, was held for the 32nd time in the historic goldfields town of Kalgoorlie. This year’s forum was marked by the presence of 2,500 delegates representing nearly 1,000 companies. The event served as a platform to discuss the current state of the mining industry, economic outlook, and the growing demand for critical minerals that are essential for the global economy.

Keynote speaker Dr. Linda Yueh, a prominent economist, took the stage to shed light on the uncertain short-term economic landscape, where central banks are striving to avoid a repeat of the Volker shock experienced in the 1970s. Dr. Yueh emphasized that we are living in an era of power competition, likely to persist for a considerable time, and highlighted the surge in demand for critical minerals like rare earths, lithium, and cobalt. She predicted a potential 600% increase in demand for these minerals over the next decade, reminiscent of the surges seen for iron ore and copper in the early 2000s.

Throughout the event, various companies made presentations, updating attendees on their recent developments, resource discoveries, and plans for the future. Here are some of the notable highlights:

Pilbara Minerals (PLS-ASX):
PLS presented a significant increase in its Pilgangoora Mineral Resource, now estimated at 414 million tonnes at 1.15% Li2O. The company plans to further extend the resource with an additional 20,000 meters of drilling in FY24. This reaffirms Pilbara Minerals’ position as a key player in the lithium market.

Jervois Global (JRV-ASX):
JRV faced challenges due to poor cobalt pricing but reported inbound interest on all assets, especially from western governments looking to secure strategic metals like cobalt, highlighting the growing importance of these minerals in various industries.

Predictive Discovery (PDI-ASX):
PDI showcased an impressive 29% increase in total ounces at its Bankan Gold Project in Guinea, now standing at 5.4 million ounces at 1.66g/t Au. With 77% of the ounces in the Indicated category, the company is poised to deliver a study outlining a significant West African gold mine.

Boss Energy (BOE-ASX):
BOE shared progress on the Honeymoon restart, with critical path items on track for delivery. The company has completed three startup wellfields and is now focused on structured pumping tests, a crucial step towards successful production.

Peel Mining (PEX-ASX):
PEX provided an update on its combined Mallee Bull and Wirlong pre-feasibility study, set for release in December 2023. The study centers on a 10.6 million tonnes at 1.85% Cu resource and has significant greenfield exploration ground with multiple targets.

29 Metals (29M-ASX):
29M highlighted its resource base and exploration potential at existing sites, with a focus on feeder zones at Golden Grove and depth extensions at Esperanza, Capricorn Copper.

Global Lithium (GL1-ASX):
Following the recent resource upgrade at Manna to 36 million tonnes at 1.13% Li2O, GL1 is implementing ore sorting technology, promising increased efficiency and value in its mining operations.

Gold Road Resources (GOR-ASX):
GOR’s Gruyere mine has shown robust production growth, and the company stands apart from peers by reporting all-in sustaining costs (AISC) inclusive of all growth capex and being fully unhedged.

Liontown Resources (LTR-ASX):
LTR is set to commence its DSO campaign targeting 250-300 kilotons, and a UG mining contract is expected soon, both feeding into updated estimates for the Kathleen Valley project. Additionally, LTR will explore downstream lithium products in collaboration with Sumitomo Corporation.

Azure Minerals (AZS-ASX):
AZS unveiled an exploration target for the emerging Andover lithium discovery, estimating a considerable resource grading between 1.0-1.5% Li2O, presenting significant potential for future development.