As lithium demand grows, priority will be given to the supply chain that offers the cleanest of clean vehicles and renewable energy storage.
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As lithium demand grows, priority will be given to the supply chain that offers the cleanest of clean vehicles and renewable energy storage.
A historically important industry for the country, gold mining in Australia continues to boom.
Gold prospecting and mining helped to build Australia into the nation it is today, and, nearly two centuries later, gold mining in Australia continues to be a vital industry for the country.
Ever since the first discoveries of gold in the 19th century, gold mining has been a key contributor to the Australian economy, and the land down under has been integral to the global gold industry. As one of the world’s top gold-producing countries and one of the top-ranked mining jurisdictions, Australia has been attracting some of the industry’s premier mining companies for decades with no sign of slowing down. The geographically fortunate country boasts the largest gold reserves on Earth, easily extractable material due to natural weathering and a supportive yet responsible regulatory climate, all resulting in strong potential and high margins for the country’s mining industry.
Some of the oldest mineral formations on Earth are located on the continent of Australia, making for a vast richness of mineral deposits including iron, uranium, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, platinum, diamonds and, of course, gold. Australia currently hosts 66 active gold mines including 14 of the largest on Earth. Of those gold deposits, the vast majority are located in Western Australia.
The very first confirmed gold find in Australia occurred in 1823 with the discovery of riverbed gold particles in the Bathurst region of New South Wales. The next 27 years would see the odd small discovery, mostly in New South Wales and Victoria. In 1851, a prospector named Edward Hargraves, who had just come to Australia with new prospecting methods from the California gold rush, made the discovery that kicked off the first Australian gold rush. Hargraves’ discovery was near Orange, New South Wales, but the discovery, along with the introduction of the panning and cradling methods, brought prospectors from all over the world to any part of the country that had seen so much as a hint of gold discovery in the years prior.
The resulting influx of immigration transformed Australia into the country we know today. Major discoveries in Western Australia sparked another major gold rush in the late 1890s, bringing a wave of prospectors to the region and resulting in the beginning of some of the country’s major mines, one of which, the Super Pit in Kalgoorlie, is still operating today.
This mining heritage and the understanding that mining helped build the Australian economy into what it is today informs government support for the industry. The Australian federal government and the state governments understand that their economic prosperity relies on the success of mining and exploration. Australian states have industry-friendly but responsible regulatory systems and supportive infrastructure to help ensure a smooth regulatory process with a predictable outcome. As the second-largest producer of gold in the world behind only China, Australia extracted 301 tonnes in 2017, up 3 tonnes from the year before, for its highest production since 1999.
A significant part of the appeal of Australia as a premier mining jurisdiction comes from low production costs and high margins. Not only does Australia have some of the world’s largest gold deposits, but the age of these deposits combined with extensive weathering means that many of these are near surface. This allows for easy, low-cost extraction. However, it isn’t only geological factors lowering gold exploration and production costs. The Australian dollar is weak compared to the US dollar, allowing miners operating in Australia to increase margins by selling gold in US dollars.
The largest gold-mining company in Australia by market cap is Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM). Newcrest has been operating in Australia since 1975 with the discovery of the Telfer open-pit mine in Western Australia, which continues to produce today. Newcrest’s Cadia Valley operations produced 599,717 ounces of gold during the financial year ended June 20, 2018.
Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST,OTC Pink:NESRF) became Australia’s second-largest gold miner in 2005 when it first began operations at the low-cost Paulsens gold mine in Western Australia. Since then, the company has expanded its assets in Western Australia with the acquisition of the Kanowna Belle mine and a 51 percent stake in the East Kundana mine.
Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN,OTC Pink:CAHPF) owns five Australian gold operations in three states, while AngloGold Ashanti (ASX:AGG,NYSE:AU) owns two facilities in Western Australia, the Sunrise Dam and the Tropicana mine. The northeastern goldfields of Western Australia produced 559,000 ounces of gold in 2017.
Throughout 2018, Canadian junior gold miner NxGold (TSXV:NXN) conducted exploration on its promising Mount Roe gold project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, an area known as one of the world’s largest iron-ore-mining regions. According to the company’s January 2019 exploration update, recent sampling has returned a high of 4.8 g/t gold. The area in which the Mount Roe gold project is located has the potential to host a range of gold systems. The flattened, rounded gold nuggets recovered at Mount Roe suggest that the property contains similar gold geography to that of adjacent Novo Resources (TSXV:NVO,OTCQX:NSRPF), Artemis Resources (ASX:ARV,OTCQB:ARTTF) and De Grey Mining (ASX:DEG,OTC Pink:DGMLF) properties.
Macarthur Minerals (TSXV:MMS,OTCQB:MMSDF) is another junior miner in Australia and owns 18 exploration licenses in Western Australia accounting for 325 square kilometers in the Pilbara region. These properties were originally acquired with lithium in mind, but as gold exploration in the region has heated up, Macarthur has recognized the properties’ potential for gold production. Junior miner Pacton Gold (TSXV:PAC;OTC Pink:PACXF) controls one of the largest land packages in the Pilbara region.
From the first discoveries of the 1850s gold rush to the modern boom that we’re seeing in Western Australia, gold mining continues to provide enormous opportunity for low costs and high rewards for miners of all sizes and for the economic benefit of the nation.
This INNSpired article is sponsored by NxGold (TSXV:NXN). This INNSpired article provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by NxGold, in order to help investors learn more about the company. NxGold is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this INNSpired article.
This INNSpired article was written according to INN editorial standards to educate investors.
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 NxGold and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.
Australia’s cannabis extract market is growing its presence in the country’s medicinal cannabis industry.
The high-barrier to entry in Australia’s cannabis extract market is developing a foothold in the country’s medicinal cannabis sector and is a growing opportunity for investment.
Australia’s cannabis market is still in the early stages of growth, having just legalized cannabis for medical use in February 2016. Similar to Canada’s early-stage medical cannabis landscape, Australian lawmakers are still working through the best approach for implementing and improving the regulatory framework and licensing system.
The resulting short-term high barriers to entry in Australia’s medicinal cannabis sector are an opportunity for early-entry cannabis companies to establish a foothold into an industry that is on track to become the world’s fifth-largest legal cannabis market.
“While the valuations seem rather high in Australia, the country is in the early stages of its federally legal medical cannabis program — and it’s moving in the right direction,” said Alan Brochstein, the Cannabis Capitalist.
In a country of 24 million, forecasts for growth in Australia’s legal cannabis industry show its value increasing from $52 million in 2018 to $1.2 billion by 2027. The significant size of this opportunity is also attracting Canadian cannabis companies looking to expand their global reach, especially in the cannabis extracts sector which is overtaking dried flower in the medical cannabis market.
In February 2018, Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON,TSX:CRON) launched Cronos Australia, a joint venture with New Southern Capital, which in June obtained a manufacturing license from the Australian Office of Drug Control. The license grants Cronos Australia the ability to manufacture value-added cannabinoid-based products, including those for Australia’s cannabis extract market. Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY), through a distribution agreement obtained by its subsidiary Tilray Australia New Zealand Pty. Ltd., is exporting CBD extracts to three hospitals in the Australian state of Victoria for use by children with intractable epilepsy. MediPharm Labs Corp. (TSXV:LABS) has also completed the application process for a license to extract and import medical cannabis products in Australia which the company anticipates receiving in Fall 2018. These cannabis oil products will be used for research studies with healthcare and educational partners.
In a medical cannabis market like Australia, cannabis extracts have the potential to become a bigger market than cannabis dried flower. Medical cannabis consumers who are looking to ease pain, anxiety or inflammation to improve their health and wellbeing most likely want to avoid the negative health impacts of smoking cannabis, and prefer a more discreet treatment option. Cannabis extracts also allow medical practitioners to better control proper dosing for patients, and the extraction process allows manufacturers the ability to isolate specific cannabinoids meaning patients can get the medical benefits of cannabis without the high.
While stats are limited in Australia’s emerging market, we can look to Canada’s maturing medical cannabis market as an example of the medical cannabis consumer’s preference for cannabis extracts.
Health Canada’s most recent statistics show that sales of cannabis oil in the first three months of 2018 bested those of dried flower by 56 percent. In terms of year-over-year (YOY) growth, extracts surpassed dried flower with a substantial increase of 82 percent over the same period in 2017 compared to a scant 13 percent in YOY performance for dried flower.
While Canada’s cannabis climate has warmed to the point of legalizing recreational use nationwide this year, Australia is a country where cannabis is just beginning to emerge from the realm of the taboo. Not surprisingly, Australia initially took a conservative approach to cultivation, manufacturing and distribution licenses as well as stock exchange listing conditions. As of July 2018, the Australia’s Office of Drug Control (ODC) has only issued 18 cultivation licenses, 10 research licenses and 13 manufacturing licenses. At the same time, however, the ODC received 171 applications, most of which were new entrant cultivators. As most early-entrants are vertically integrated, this presents a significant opportunity for cannabis extracts manufacturers, as cultivators must now align to a manufacturing partner in order to obtain a license.
In January 2018, looking to reflect the country’s agricultural prowess, Australia joined the handful of nations that permit cannabis exports internationally, including Canada, Uruguay and the Netherlands. Australia’s medical products are quality controlled by the nation’s Therapeutics Goods Association (TGA), which is seen as the gold standard of GMP. As such, Australia is on its way to becoming one of the largest exporters of medicinal products globally.
For those cannabis companies that have been able to secure footing in the tight Australian market, the ability to export cannabis products into the Asia-Pacific region and other markets on the global stage offers further expansion opportunities. An export license also lowers the risk of a slow in the build of a domestic market for companies with Australian based operations.
Long wait times for access being addressed
The absence of recognized qualifying medical conditions for cannabis treatment in Australia is one of the challenges holding back growth in this market. However government funded research is allowing Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) — which oversees the country’s medical cannabis access framework — to better understand how cannabis can be used in palliative care as well as to treat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and pain.
In March 2018, the New South Wales government reduced the approval process for medical cannabis access to a single clinical assessment by the TGA, drastically cutting the wait time for patients; additional Australian states are following suit.
Securing a domestic supply chain
While imports (such as those delivered by Tilray) are important to the nation’s nascent medical cannabis supply chain, medical cannabis supporters and industry leaders say it’s crucial that Australia further develop its domestic production. Doing so will bring about the reduced costs and improved access necessary to bring more patients out of the black market, away from dangerous opioids and into the Australian medical cannabis market.
Australian-produced medical cannabis would also improve access for the research studies needed to fully convince medical practitioners and policymakers about the safety, efficacy, and benefits of medical cannabis extracts for a wide range of indications.
“(When importing) you have to consider the laws of each state and countries and there’s so much extra paperwork and red tape,” said Australian Medical Association (AMA) Council of General Practice chair Dr. Richard Kidd. “If it was produced locally and rigorously and legally and was a great quality product then it might lead to good studies to help people in the future.”
Victoria, the Australia’s most populated state and the first to legalize access to medical cannabis patients, is becoming the major hub for medical cannabis in the country. An example of the state’s proactive stance toward improving access for medical cannabis, government leaders recently signed a MOU with Canopy Growth (TSX:WEED) “to further develop research and technical capabilities in the production of medical cannabis in Australia.”
MediPharm Labs Australia Pty Ltd is constructing a 10,000-square-feet state-of-the-art extraction facility near Melbourne, Victoria. The company is a subsidiary of MediPharm, the first cannabis company in Canada to become a Health Canada-approved licensed producer of cannabis oil without first receiving a cannabis cultivation license. MMJ PhytoTech Ltd. (ASX:MMJ), an Australian company with a diversified portfolio in Australia’s emerging cannabis market, is a strategic shareholder in MediPharm Labs.
MediPharm Labs’ Ontario, Canada based operation consists of a 70,000-square-foot facility designed and built to European GMP standards with ISO rated critical environment clean rooms. The Victoria, Australia based facility is designed to the same standards. MediPharm Australia anticipates receiving its cannabis oil manufacturing license from the Office of Drug Control in the fall of 2018 and the facility is slated to begin commercially producing pharma-grade cannabis oil extracts by spring 2019.
“There are different parts of this industry, whether it’s cultivating or growing these particular plants or turning them into the oils and other products that can be lifesaving,” said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews. “We’ve seen very exciting announcements from some very big multinational companies who are making Victoria their base for medicinal cannabis production and medicinal cannabis growing.”
Australia’s leaders are serious about further decriminalizing cannabis use, as evidenced by a recent bill proposal aimed at legalizing cannabis for personal use. Australians themselves are becoming more open to cannabis as both a medicine and an adult-use product. A recent national survey, nearly 85 percent of Australians support legal medical cannabis, while support for recreational cannabis has increased from 26 percent in 2013 to 35 percent in 2016.
Australia’s legal medical cannabis market is in its early stages and the challenges its facing is par-for-the-course. Industry analysts expect regulators to slowly but surely open the pathway to further legalization of cannabis much in the same way as we’ve seen in Canada, the US and Germany. There are increased growth opportunities ahead, especially for domestic cannabis product producers and those interested in investing in cannabis extraction.
This article was written according to INN editorial standards to educate investors.
Galaxy Resources Limited advises that the following announcement has been made to the Australian Securities Exchange which appears on the Company’s platform : Change of Director’s interest Notice – MR The announcement can be viewed at: SOURCE Galaxy Resources Limited View original content
Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX: GXY) ( Company ) advises that the following announcement has been made to the Australian Securities Exchange which appears on the Company’s platform (ASX):
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SOURCE Galaxy Resources Limited
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Rio Tinto has started operations at a new commercial scale demonstration plant to produce high-quality scandium oxide at its Rio Tinto Fer et Titane metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. The $6 million project, in which the Government of Quebec contributed approximately $650,000 through the Quebec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals, was completed on time and on budget, less than six …
Rio Tinto has started operations at a new commercial scale demonstration plant to produce high-quality scandium oxide at its Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec.
The $6 million project, in which the Government of Quebec contributed approximately $650,000 through the Quebec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals, was completed on time and on budget, less than six months after the start of construction.
Six employees have been hired to operate the plant, which uses an innovative process developed by RTFT to extract high purity scandium oxide from the waste streams of titanium dioxide production, without the need for any additional mining.
Commissioning work is now being undertaken as production ramps up to a capacity of three tonnes of scandium oxide per year. RTFT is already considering the potential for further investments to add additional modules in line with market demand.
Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium managing director Stéphane Leblanc said: “For the first time, customers will benefit from a North American supply of scandium oxide for applications in solid oxide fuel cells, lasers, lighting products or as an additive to produce high-performance alloys. In less than two years, we have gone from testing a process to extract this critical material in a lab to being able to supply approximately 20% of the global market. This is a testament to our team’s capacity to think outside the box and deliver on our commitments.”
Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonatan Julien said: “I am very pleased to see this major critical and strategic minerals project come to fruition in Quebec. It will help strengthen the security of our supply and add value to our industrial waste from the mining sector. It is also consistent with the government’s vision of creating wealth in a greener economy. I wish Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium and the team at this new plant every success!”
This project is part of a series of innovations supported by Rio Tinto’s Critical Minerals and Technology Centre in the field of critical minerals and materials, including the recent launch of a water atomized steel powder for 3-D printing applications.
With its world-class aluminium business, Rio Tinto is also well positioned to produce aluminium-scandium alloys to meet customer’s needs. In March, the company announced an agreement to provide a first batch of high-performance aluminium-scandium alloy from its North American operations to Amaero, a leader in metal additive manufacturing.
To learn more, visit www.elementnorth21.ca
Notes to editors
RTFT operates an open cast ilmenite mine at Lac Tio near Havre-Saint-Pierre, on Quebec’s North Shore. The ore is used to produce high-quality titanium dioxide feedstock, pig iron, steel and metal at RTFT’s metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. Together, the sites employ over 1,600 people.
RTFT has operated in Quebec for 70 years and pioneered the process of removing iron from ilmenite. In the last decade, RTFT has focused on developing, marketing and fine-tuning the UGS process, which produces slag with a very high titanium dioxide content sold to pigment producers.
Founded in 1967, RTFT’s Critical Minerals and Technology Centre conducts research on process improvement and develops new products. The Centre features state-of-the-art equipment and highly specialised instruments, such as inductively coupled plasma spectrometers, X-ray diffractometers, atomic absorption units, image analysers, scanning electron microscopes and powder metallurgy testing laboratory.
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