Copper Stocks in South Australia

South Australia is the state to beat when it comes to copper — while it's home to only three operational copper mines, it sits on Australia's largest share of copper reserves.

The state of South Australia is home to the largest copper mine in the country Olympic Dam which is also the fourth largest copper deposit globally.

Olympic Dam, which is a polymetallic mine, is owned by BHP (ASX:BHP,LSE:BHP,NYSE:BHP), and produced about 171,000 tonnes of copper cathode in the 2019 to 2020 financial year. It's located within the Gawler Craton, which is described by the government of South Australia as one of the world's most significant deposits of copper, gold, silver and uranium.

South Australia is the state to beat when it comes to copper — while it's only home to three operational copper mines, it sits on Australia's largest share of copper reserves, accounting for 66 percent of the nation's reserves. Despite this high number, only 27 percent of Australian production is from South Australia.

Other operational mines are Prominent Hill and Carapateena, both owned by OZ Minerals (ASX:OZL,OTC Pink:OZMLF). Prominent Hill has shifted from open-pit to underground mining relatively recently, and is the company's premier copper producer, with 61,375 tonnes produced in the 2020 financial year.

The company's second South Australian mine, Carapateena, is located within the Gawler Craton, just like Prominent Hill and Olympic Dam. Carapateena is a smaller mine, but is newer and ramped up production through 2020 for total output of 27,623 tonnes. The mine only came online in the final quarter of 2019, and is expected to have a life of 20 years.

Beyond the producing mines, there are a number of exploration and development projects in the works, which means South Australia an attractive prospect for companies and investors.

Most copper deposits in the state are located underneath newer layers of rock, making extensive exploration a must. With the state already known to host 66 percent of Australia's copper reserves, it has a lot of potential.

The outlook for the state given the proven reserves and the number of development projects on the go is rosy. South Australia's government has long touted the strengths of its investment profile and its mineral wealth. According to the state government, South Australian copper grades are around 0.93 percent — higher than the global average of 0.65 percent, which continues to decline.

Copper stocks in South Australia

Besides the two companies with operational mines, there are a handful of explorers and developers at work in the state. Here's a look at copper companies with assets in South Australia; stocks are arranged in order of market cap from largest to smallest.

1. BHP

Market cap: AU$240.6 billion; current share price: AU$47.63

As the company sitting on the largest copper mine in Australia, it's a given that global mining company BHP is the premier company in the state. Olympic Dam is not BHP's largest copper-producing asset (contributing only 10 percent of the firm's 1.7 million tonnes produced in 2020), but it is the company's only Australian copper asset. BHP continues to plough money into the mine to realise its full potential, although it is also working on exploration further afield.

Speaking of exploration, efforts by BHP within Australia are focused on South Australia, with the Oak Dam project (near Olympic Dam) slated as a potential major asset for the company going forward.

2. OZ Minerals

Market cap: AU$8.4 billion; current share price: AU$25.01

OZ Minerals is focused on South Australia, with two operations copper-gold mines in the state. The company has another operational copper-gold mine in Brazil, where it also has ongoing exploration prospects, but South Australia is the jurisdiction that pulls in most of its income.

3. Rex Minerals (ASX:REX,OTC Pink:RXRLF)

Market cap: AU$110.9 million; current share price: AU$0.32

Rex Minerals is in the process of exploring the Hillside copper-gold project on the Yorke Peninsula. Besides Hillside, the company also has interests in Nevada.

In the most recent updated feasibility study, the company states that the Hillside copper-gold project has the potential to be a 13 year project producing 35,000 tonnes of copper per year. Hillside was discovered and drilled out by Rex Minerals, and it continues to work on moving it towards production, with funds from recent placements going towards pre-development.

4. Havilah Resources (ASX:HAV)

Market cap: AU$61.2 million; current share price: AU$0.22

Havilah Resources is a South Australia-focused company with multiple exploration projects on the go. Two of them — Kalkaroo and Mutaroo — are copper based, with Kalkaroo being the company's best prospect.

Kalkaroo is located to the far east of the state, up against the border with New South Wales. It has a JORC resource estimate of 1.1 million tonnes of copper. The project, should it reach production, is estimated to have annual copper output of 30,000 tonnes (along with 72,000 ounces of gold), with a 13 year mine life.

Towards the end of March 2021, the company lodged its final permitting documents for the West Kalkaroo gold project, which is a part of the larger Kalkaroo copper-gold project. Should everything go smoothly, the company estimates a three to four month assessment timeline with production estimated to begin in 2026.

5. Hillgrove Resources (ASX:HGO)

Market cap: AU$42 million; current share price AU$0.05

Hillgrove Resources is sitting on the Kanmantoo underground project. The copper mine in the south of South Australia is well located, near the capital city and major population centres, and exploration and development work over 2020 led to the company doubling the resource estimate for the project to 34,400 tonnes of copper metal. Kanmantoo was previously an open-pit mine for Hillgrove, but has not produced copper for many years. The company is also exploring around the mine.

For more on Australia's copper landscape, click the links below:

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Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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But by the end of the first quarter, prices started to stabilize as demand took a breather, particularly in China, where the government has imposed lockdown measures to contain a new wave of COVID-19.

“We expect lithium and cobalt prices to peak this year, from dented but still strong demand and supply chain challenges,” Alice Yu of S&P Global Market Intelligence said at a recent webinar.

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Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans said, “Canada and the US are working feverishly to develop an internal battery materials supply chain and we think we're going to play a critical role in that.”

Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans: Sustainable Hardrock Lithium Opportunities in Quebec

Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1) CEO Chris Evans joined the Investing News Network to discuss the company and its Cancet lithium project in Quebec, Canada.

"We listed on the ASX on November 30, 2021," he explained. "We're lithium focused but based in Canada, and we've been pretty successful in the last six months — our share price has done well. I think I've been putting this down to the success factors which we possess as a company, including the fact that we're into lithium at a moment with high demand. Any mining company that's associated with lithium has tended to do well.

“Our assets are in Quebec, a fantastic mining jurisdiction for all sorts of reasons. Also, being listed on the ASX — Australian investors tend to like early stage plays a bit better. They've certainly woken up to the electric vehicle and lithium revolution that's occurring in the world. And it's a pleasure having the assets in Canada.”

Next, Evans got into specifics about the company's flagship project. “The Cancet project is our flagship, in the James Bay region of Quebec. All our projects are hard-rock lithium; that's digging the rocks out of the ground and concentrating the lithium in them. Then it gets converted into the final product, which is lithium carbonate or hydroxide, that then goes into electric vehicle batteries,” he explained.

“Cancet’s had about 5,500 metres of drilling done on it historically, so we know that there's a great deposit of lithium at fantastic grades. It outcrops on the surface, the lithium-containing spodumene from the pegmatite rock, where we have 3.7 percent lithium oxide over a 17 metre interval from the surface at our most successful drill hole. We just completed 2,000 metres of drilling ourselves, increasing our knowledge of the orebody that's there, and also looking for extensions to the orebody. We've got 395 claims, and our drilling and exploration is only over about 15 of the claims. So we've got a lot further to look here and a lot more to develop.”

As for supply location, and the company's relationship with the international market, Evans said, “We think it's fantastic for us, and our shareholders, that we have assets in Quebec. Roughly 50 percent of the world's hard-rock lithium comes from Australia, where it’s mined and concentrated. The problem is that final conversion into lithium carbonate or hydroxide all occurs at the moment in China ... lithium is on the critical minerals list in Canada, the US and Australia, and Canada and the US are working feverishly to develop an internal battery materials supply chain. We think we're going to play a critical role in that.”

Elaborating on the sustainability industry that drives the battery revolution, he said, “(Nearly) all power in Quebec is generated by hydroelectricity and renewable forms of electricity. That’s very important, because the mining and concentration process for lithium products traditionally produces a large carbon footprint, because it's energy intensive. The EU, from 2024, has mandated that all batteries are labeled with the carbon footprint of all the materials that are contained within them. Then, by about 2026, there's specific targets that batteries have to meet in order to be sold in the EU. If you don't have a renewable source of energy to produce your lithium products that go into those batteries, it's going to severely restrict your markets — and that's another bonus for us being in Quebec.”

Evans said that Winsome Resources’ approach is to develop a mine itself, rather than selling or partnering. “We will approach this as if we are going to be developing the Cancet project, and producing lithium ourselves, in four or so years. And I think that'll best serve our shareholders.” With regards to other ways the company could benefit investors, Evans said, “Being listed on the ASX, and having access to a lot of capital, I think there's a great opportunity for us to acquire other projects in Canada. We're about to start our summer exploration. And we're on the lookout for a new project. So I think the good news is really to come.”

Watch the full interview of Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans above.

Disclaimer: This interview is sponsored by Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1). This interview provides information that was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Winsome Resources in order to help investors learn more about the company. Winsome Resources is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with Winsome Resources and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

This interview may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, receipt of property titles, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. The issuer relies upon litigation protection for forward-looking statements. Investing in companies comes with uncertainties as market values can fluctuate.


Where are the silver mines in Australia? You might be surprised to learn that the country is home to one of the world’s top primary silver producers.

Mining is a big part of Australia’s history, and it continues to shape the country’s economy and position in the world today. The nation is one of the world’s top producers and exporters of resources, with coal, uranium, copper and gold being some of its best-known commodities.

Australia is also a key producer of silver — it was the world’s fifth-largest producer of the metal in 2021, tied with Russia, putting out 1,300 MT. Interestingly, most of Australia's silver is produced from silver-bearing galena, but some is also produced from copper and gold mining.

Refined silver comes mainly from the Port Pirie lead smelter and refinery in South Australia, though silver is also refined at gold refineries in Perth, Kalgoorlie and Melbourne.

But where are the silver mines in Australia, exactly? While it’s interesting to know what types of deposits the precious metal is found in, many investors want to know what companies are producing silver and where their mines are located geographically. Read on to find the answers to those questions.

Where are the silver mines in Australia?

Silver has played a role in Australia since the mid-1800s — Wheal Gawler, Australia’s first metal mine, was a silver-lead mine developed in South Australia in the 1840s. And that’s not Australia’s only early silver-mining operation — the Broken Hill deposit in New South Wales and the Mount Isa deposit in Queensland are two other early Australian silver discoveries.

Broken Hill, a lead-zinc-silver deposit, was discovered in 1883 by German immigrant Charles Rasp, and the Broken Hill Proprietary Company was born in 1885; it ultimately merged in 2001 with another mining giant, Billiton, to form BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT). BHP Billiton is no longer involved with Broken Hill, but ore is still being extracted there today. Perilya now runs the southern and northern operations.

For its part, Mount Isa was discovered in 1923 by John Campbell Miles, and like Broken Hill is still producing today. It was acquired by Glencore (LSE:GLEN) in 2013 and in addition to silver is also a producer of zinc.

These major early Australian silver discoveries are not the country’s only sources of silver. Other silver mines in Australia include Cannington, one of the world’s top primary silver producers. It’s a fly-in, fly-out mining and processing operation that is owned by South32 (ASX:S32,LSE:S32), a diversified resource company spun out from BHP Billiton in 2015. Cannington also produces lead and zinc.

Australia holds the McArthur River mine as well, which opened in 1995 and is owned by Glencore subsidiary McArthur River Mining. The mine is one of the world’s largest zinc-lead-silver mines, and is located in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Glencore’s 2021 annual report claims total silver production reached 31.519 million ounces for the year, representing a 4 percent drop from 2020. That includes 625,000 ounces from McArthur River.

The Century mine, which previously belonged to MMG (HKEX:1208), shut its doors at the end of 2015, but was a major producer of zinc (and silver) until that time. It was reopened in mid-2018 by New Century Resources (ASX:NCZ) and the company says it now has an estimated annual production capacity of 264,000 tonnes of zinc and 3 million ounces of silver.

Independence Group (ASX:IGO) also produces silver, along with copper and zinc, at its Jaguar operation in Western Australia. Gold producer Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) owns some projects with silver reserves as well. As you can see, there are and have been many silver mines in Australia.

Future silver mines in Australia?

In addition to being home to a slew of large silver mines, Australia also plays host to many companies that are exploring and developing silver projects. Below are a few that have made recent progress.

Please let us know in the comments if we’ve forgotten to mention any Australia-focused silver companies. All companies listed had market caps of at least AU$5 million on May 19, 2022.

Argent Minerals (ASX:ARD) — Argent Minerals’ main asset is its 100-percent-owned Kempfield polymetallic project in New South Wales. In May 2018, the company announced an updated resource estimate for the asset — its silver equivalent contained metal now stands at an estimated 100 million silver equivalent ounces at 120 g/t silver equivalent; that’s approximately double the previous estimate.

In total the company has three projects, with all of them being in New South Wales.

Investigator Resources (ASX:IVR) — Investigator Resources is advancing silver, copper and gold deposits in South Australia. Currently its properties include the Peterlumbo/Paris silver project, the Eyre Peninsula and Stuart Shelf projects and the Northern Yorke Peninsula projects.

The total resource for Paris stands at an estimated 18.8 million tonnes at 88 g/t silver and 0.52 percent lead for 53.1 million ounces of contained silver and 97,600 tonnes of contained lead (at a cut off of 30 g/t silver). The indicated component is 12.7 million tonnes of silver (95 g/t) and represents 73 percent of the total estimated resource ounces.

Horizon Minerals (ASX:HRZ) — Horizon Minerals owns the Nimbus silver-zinc project in Western Australia. Nimbus has a high-grade silver-zinc resource estimate of 255,898 tonnes at 773 g/t silver and 13 percent zinc; the total Nimbus resource stands at 1.21 million tonnes at 52 g/t silver, 0.9 percent zinc and 0.2 g/t gold.

Silver Mines (ASX:SVL) bills itself as a leading Australian silver exploration company, and has spent a considerable amount of time acquiring Australian silver projects. Those include Malachite Resources’ (ASX:MAR) Conrad project and Kingsgate Consolidated’s (ASX:KCN) Bowdens silver project.

While the company’s main focus has been on the Webbs silver project in New South Wales, the Bowdens project represents the largest undeveloped silver project in Australia, and Silver Mines is working to get the project through the feasibility, environmental impact statement and permitting stages.

In a 2018 report, the feasibility study demonstrated an average silver production of 3.4 million tonnes per annum for the project, with 5.4 million during the first three years of operation. Estimations also included 6,900 tonnes of zinc and 5,100 tonnes of lead.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2018.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ryan Sero, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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