Horizonte Outlines Plans for Araguaia Nickel Project

The company unearthed positive economic results after an assessment of a second-stage expansion at its Araguaia nickel project in Brazil.

Horizonte Minerals (TSX:HZM,ASX:HZM) has unearthed compelling economic results from an assessment of a second stage expansion at its planned Araguaia nickel project located in Brazil, the company announced on Wednesday (December 12).

The report for the second stage estimates post-tax net present value (NPV) of US$741-million and internal rate of return (IRR) of 23.8 percent using the base case nickel price forecast of US$14,000 per tonne. The company noted that using the consensus mid-term nickel price of US$16,800 per tonne, the after-tax NPV for the stage 2 option would increase to US$1.26-billion and the IRR to 31.8 percent.

“The stage 2 expansion would potentially increase annual nickel production from 14,500 tonnes per annum to 29,000 tonnes per annum whilst demonstrating economies of scale for both operating and capital costs,” said CEO Jeremy Martin.

Additionally, the expansion option is included as an opportunity in the National Instrument 43-101 technical report that Horizonte filed for the Araguaia project. In October, the miner announced the results of its feasibility study (FS) for the project, which allowed for the future construction of a second rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF).

“The FS design of the RKEF plant and all associated infrastructure was configured to allow a second RKEF line to be added at a future time, as such the stage 2 expansion benefits from the existing utilities and infrastructure expenditure,” stated Martin.

The company also noted that stage 2 assumes operating at stage 1 production rate of 900,000 tonnes a year for three years. Following the three years, free cash flows will be reinvested to expand the plant to 1.8-million tonnes a year as Horizonte adds a second line.

“For this scenario the upfront pre-production capital cost remains unchanged at US$443-million and the incremental capital expenditure to build the stage 2 expansion, is anticipated to be financed out of operational free cash flow,” explained Martin.

“Significant items such as the powerline, water pipeline, overall process plant site, utilities, and slag storage facility already have sufficient capacity built in during the stage 1 planning to meet the desired production increase,” he added.

According to Horizonte, results from the stage 2 study show that Araguaia’s resources could support the increased capacity over 26 years, with the first 10 years averaging 1.81 percent nickel.

Martin noted that despite the recent decline in nickel prices, they do not appear to have impacted wider consensus of the positive future for the nickel market.

“Demand versus supply deficits remain forecast for the short term. Inventories on the LME continue to fall with significant new supply required for the stainless steel market, which is growing at 5 percent year-on-year, with new demand driven from the electric vehicle (EV) battery sector,” said Martin.

Adding, “Araguaia is anticipated to come on line in 2021 and be placed in the lower quartile on the laterite C1 cost curve (year 1 to year 10) of US$3.08 per pound of nickel, making it one of the lower cost new nickel projects.”

Araguaia is positioned to produce ferronickel for the stainless steel industry. The deposit also has a limonite mineral resource, which could be treated to produce products suitable for the EV battery market.

As of 11:43 a.m. EST, Horizonte was flat, trading at C$0.03.

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

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

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Global News
ladder leading to the sky

An unprecedented increase in nickel prices pushed the London Metal Exchange to halt nickel trading.

Nickel doubled in price to hit a record level of US$100,000 per tonne before the London Metal Exchange (LME) decided to suspend trading on Tuesday (March 8).

The base metal, used mainly in stainless steel, but gathering attention for its use in electric vehicle batteries, was up an unprecedented 250 percent in two days on the back of a short squeeze.

The largest-ever move on the LME kicked off as investors' worries over supply climbed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia is a top nickel-producing country.

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wooden blocks showing sustainability-related images

As the world continues its transition towards a sustainable future, Australia has the potential to become a major player in clean energy and climate projects.

Sustainability is changing the course of multiple industries, with significant impacts on the investment sector.

Sustainable investing is the future — a means by which one can diversify their portfolio while also promoting positive societal and environmental impacts. This is arguably most evident in the energy and carbon markets.

"We're really in the middle of a low-carbon transition right now," said Adeline Aw, vice president of environmental sustainability at Singapore's Economic Development Board, according to a recent McKinsey podcast. "What's really important is to help finance and bring to life projects that can help us remove and to avoid carbon emissions."


The global push for sustainability

In 2018, scientists published a study in the peer-reviewed Earth System Dynamics, a scientific journal focused on climate change, geology and atmospheric science. According to that study, the world was fast approaching the point of no return for reversing global warming. Another report was published later that same year by the UN International Panel on Climate Change.

The second report has been the source of much confusion on the sustainability front. Many have grimly noted that it establishes 2030 as the point at which climate change is irreversible. What it actually says is that we need to significantly lower carbon emissions by that point — otherwise, we may be unable to stabilize the planet's warming.

This does not make the need for climate action any less urgent, nor does it undermine the importance of decarbonisation. It simply establishes a critical milestone for climate initiatives. That milestone has served as the bedrock for multiple countries as they lay out their environmental goals in both the short and long term.

Australia occupies a unique niche in that with respect to decarbonizing efforts. Although it was only responsible for roughly 1 percent of global carbon emissions in 2020, Australia is home to over 10 percent of the world's species. It’s also home to Daintree, the world's oldest known rainforest. Protecting the country's unique ecosystem, especially its forests, will be critical in the fight against climate change.

Australia has made great progress in this regard, and the country is currently on track to exceed its initial 2030 target for emissions reduction by up to 9 percent.

A closer look at Australia's climate change strategies

Australia has adopted what it refers to as a technology-led approach to emissions reduction. The country's Technology Investment Roadmap is foundational to this strategy, establishing a clear process for identifying, developing and deploying sustainable technology. Australia's investments are not solely domestic in nature either.

The country has also established low-emissions technology partnerships with several key global players, including South Korea, the UK, Germany, Japan and Singapore.

Australia has also established the Emissions Reduction Fund, the Safeguarding Crediting Mechanism and Climate Active initiative to incentivise decarbonisation and sustainability in both business and industry. Finally, it has defined comprehensive systems for emissions monitoring, reporting and accountability.

As some have noted, Australia could go even further than carbon neutrality with technology that already exists. It could achieve net-negative carbon, removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it creates. To that end, researchers at the Australian National University have created the ANU Below Zero Initiative, which sets the deadline for net-zero carbon emissions in 2025.

A net-negative approach to a sustainable future

Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM) is one of the companies currently leading Australia's transition towards net-negative emissions.

Its flagship project, the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH), will produce nickel through a proprietary process that requires no tailings dams and discharges no liquids. TECH will also leverage waste mine gas from the Bowen Basin in its production process, helping offset a major contributor to Australian emissions. Finally, the company is exploring productive uses for the residue created from nickel production, primarily silica.

Recognized as a prescribed project by the Queensland government, the TECH project is expected to reduce net emissions by 14.9 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent for every kilogram of nickel produced, a total reduction of 238,000 tonnes annually. The independent sustainability consultant Minviro undertook these CO2 emissions calculations in an ISO-compliant lifecycle assessment.

Australian Mines (ASX:AUZ) is another major player in the pursuit of Australia's net-zero goals.

The Sconi project, situated just 220 kilometres northwest of Townsville, aims to deliver the most sustainable, carbon-neutral-certified nickel and cobalt in the world. Australian Mines has placed its focus on developing an end-to-end production chain, including a 2 million tonne per annum ore processing plant. Expected to begin production in 2024, Sconi has a projected lifespan of over 30 years and will primarily supply materials to LG Energy Solution (KRX:373220).

As with TECH, Sconi has been identified by the Queensland government as a prescribed project.

Australia's second largest independent producer of oil and gas, Santos (ASX:STO) operates a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project known as Moomba, alongside partner Beach Energy (ASX:BPT). Developed to capture carbon produced by the nearby Moomba gas plant, the project will, upon completion, reduce Southern Australia's annual emissions by more than 7 percent. Captured carbon will be injected into depleted gas reservoirs via pipeline and is part of a plan to develop longer-term CCS capabilities in the region.

Finally, Anglo-Swiss mining and commodity company Glencore (LSE:GLEN) is currently developing its carbon transport and storage company project, which will capture emissions from a coal-fired power plant for storage in Queensland's Surat Basin. Speaking to Reuters, a Glencore spokesperson noted that if proven sustainable, the basin could hold "very sizable" volumes of carbon.

Takeaway

There are many carbon-focused projects in Australia across multiple industries and sectors, which together have the potential to greatly reduce the country's carbon emissions, while also providing compelling opportunities for sustainable investment.

This INNSpired article is sponsored by Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM). This INNSpired article provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Queensland Pacific Metals in order to help investors learn more about the company. Queensland Pacific Metals 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 Queensland Pacific Metals and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

QPM:AU

Indonesia, the Philippines and Russia were the top nickel-producing countries in 2021. Interested in nickel investing? Find out which other nations made the list.

As the electric vehicle (EV) industry continues to boom, the future of nickel looks bright in the coming years, and activity in the world’s top nickel-producing countries could increase.

With demand for the commodity continuing to grow, companies and countries alike have been eager to jump on the production bandwagon.

Having said that, it’s worth keeping the top nickel-producing countries in mind. Here the Investing News Network presents the top nickel-producing countries of 2021, based on the latest data from the US Geological Survey.

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Queensland Pacific Metals

Developing a Sustainable and High-Purity Battery Materials Refinery Project



Overview

The rapid growth of the electric vehicle (EV) industry has created a strong demand for battery materials. The expected demand has been intensified by efforts from various governments to support decarbonization goals. A key element of the EV industry is nickel, which is a base metal that is mainly used in stainless steel. The nickel industry’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials have recently received considerable attention as well.

Still, the most pressing issues facing the nickel industry relate to the environment –– specifically carbon emissions and environmental footprint. Even though nickel supports the EV industry and thus the green economy, current production comes largely from Indonesia. The country is the largest producer of nickel and it does not have a net-zero plan by 2050. New High Pressure Acid Leach projects being constructed in Indonesia will also require tailings dams and effluent disposal, which will leave a significant environmental footprint. As a result, companies with prospective nickel and battery material projects with strong sustainability credentials may present an exciting opportunity for investors.

Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM) is a company focused on developing its sustainable and high-purity battery materials refinery project in Townsville, Northern Queensland. The company’s fully-owned flagship Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub “TECH” project will be a modern and sustainable producer of critical metals for the lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle sector.

Queensland Pacific Metals

“We believe that the TECH Project can be a global leader in sustainable battery metal production, with our net-negative carbon emissions, zero liquids discharge and no requirement for a tailings dam. Methane emissions from coal mining in the Bowen Basin is one of Australia’s biggest contributors to carbon emissions. By working with our partners to capture the waste gas and utilise it at the TECH Project, we simultaneously reduce carbon emissions, whilst producing critical battery metals to enable the electrification of the automobile industry,” said Managing Director Dr Stephen Grocott in an interview with INN.

The company’s TECH project will process high-grade ore imported from New Caledonia to produce nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate, high purity alumina and other by-products –– maximising the value of the underlying metals in the ore. In November 2021, an ISO-compliant Life Cycle Assessment was completed by Minviro Ltd. The assessment highlights the TECH Project as not only net-zero carbon but significantly net Carbon Negative. The Life Cycle Assessment calculated that in steady state operation, the TECH Project will reduce carbon emissions by 238,000 tonnes per annum, the equivalent of 52,000 typical

Queensland Pacific Metals is committed to environmentally sustainable production. The company has entered into an MOU signed with Transition Energy Corp. to commission the supply of waste gas that will be used to fuel the TECH project. The company has also entered into an MOU with North Queensland Gas Pipelines for the transport of the fuel.

Queensland Nickel Production

In June 2021, Queensland Pacific Metals formed strategic partnerships with LG Energy Solution and POSCO to significantly advance its project. LG is the world’s largest battery manufacturer and this partnership represented their first investment in their nickel supply chain. POSCO is one of Korea’s biggest conglomerates and one of the largest steel producers in the world that is seeking to diversify its assets. POSCO recently purchased 30 percent of a significant nickel project from First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (TSE:FM) called Ravensthorpe. The partnership involved an equity investment of US$15M by LG and POSCO in Queensland Pacific Metals, resulting in the companies becoming shareholders with respective ownership interests of 6.4 percent and 2.8 percent. As part of the partnership, the company also entered into a binding offtake agreement with LG and POSCO for almost two thirds of its nickel and cobalt production.

The company’s 290-hectare TECH project is strategically positioned 40 kilometers south of Townsville in the Lansdown eco-industrial precinct. The precinct is anticipated to become Northern Australia’s first environmentally-sustainable advanced manufacturing, processing and technology hub. Ore will be imported from New Caledonia, unloaded at the Port of Townsville and transported by road to Lansdown. QPM products will then be transported back to the Port for export to global customers.

Queensland Pacific Metals’ TECH project is well supported by all levels of government. At a State level, the TECH Project has been awarded Prescribed Project status by the Queensland Government, making it a project of state significance.

QPM is currently completing a Definitive Feasibility Study for the TECH Project, which is expected to be completed mid 2022. Subject to financing and approvals, construction could start later this year with first production in 2024.

Company Highlights

  • Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM) is developing its sustainable and high-purity battery materials refinery project in Townsville, Northern Queensland.
  • The company’s fully-owned flagship Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub “TECH” project will produce critical battery metals, including nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate, high purity alumina and other by-products.
  • Queensland Pacific Metals’ TECH project has a minimal environmental footprint with zero liquids discharge and no requirement for a tailings dam. The project will also be net carbon-negative according to an ISO-compliant life cycle assessment.
  • The company has strategic partnerships in place with LG Energy Solution and POSCO with each party obtaining shareholder status in Queensland Pacific Metals and having signed binding offtake agreements for nickel and cobalt.
  • Queensland Pacific Metal’s TECH project is strategically positioned in the Lansdown eco-industrial precinct that is anticipated to become Northern Australia’s first environmentally-sustainable advanced manufacturing, processing and technology hub.

Key Projects

Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub “TECH” Project

Tech Hub

The Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub “TECH” project is located in the Lansdown eco-industrial precinct in Northern Queensland. The 290-hectare project has access to skilled labor, engineering services and infrastructure including port, rail, water pipeline, gas pipeline, electric transmission, fiber optic communications and solar arrays.

The company’s TECH project will process high-grade ore imported from New Caledonia to produce nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate, high purity alumina and other by-products –– ultimately resulting in almost zero-waste products for the first time in the world. New Caledonia hosts many ore supply partners with long-established mining operations. The ore would be transported by road or rail and unloaded at the Port of Townsville. The TECH project proposes to use a patented technology called DNi Process™ to process the ore in a processing plant.

Management Team

Dr. Stephen Grocott - Managing Director and CEO

Dr. Stephen Grocott is an accomplished executive in the mining and mineral processing sector with nearly 40 years of international experience. Dr. Grocott was the chief technical development officer at Clean TeQ Holdings Limited in which he was accountable for all technical and process development. He also supported technical marketing, due diligence and project funding for the A$2B Sunrise Ni-Co-Sc Project in NSW. Dr. Grocott’s exposure to EV and battery producers combined with his world-class expertise in process and development for minerals processing and battery chemicals will underpin the progress of the company

Duane Woodbury - Chief Financial Officer

Duane Woodbury has more than 25 years of experience in listed equity markets. His experience includes involvement with many organizations in Australia and overseas. Woodbury has worked with Macquarie Bank. He has also worked with Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. as CFO. His most recent role was CFO at Metro Mining Ltd. where he successfully procured all funding required to construct the Bauxite Hills mine. At Metro Mining Ltd., he also secured a loan from Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to fund expansion initiatives. During his career, Woodbury has managed large debt and equity raisings for development and operating companies primarily in the resources sector.

Barry Sanders - Project Director

Mr Sanders has over 30 years’ experience, including 20+ years in leadership and strategy roles involving the delivery of complex industrial, power, mining and oil & gas projects throughout the Asia Pacific region. Barry is highly regarded by industry and peers for exemplary leadership across construction, commissioning and project delivery with roles at GE, John Holland, Thiess, Jacobs and Clough.

Corinne Bufnoir - General Manager New Caledonia

Mrs. Bufnoir is a geologist engineer with 20+ years’ experience in the nickel industry. Corinne has had a public-private career in areas related to strategy and resource management in lateritic nickel mining operations and has strong New Caledonian relationships and ore supply chain operating experience. Corinne's most recent role was mining counsellor to President of the New Caledonia Government. Corinne has worked for a range of New Caledonian and international organisations including country manager for Transamine Trading SA and Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd. Previously, she held senior roles with the New Caledonian Department of Industry, Mines & Energy and Goro Nickel New Caledonia

QPM:AU
Cyprium
Cyprium Metals
Cyprium Metals

Cyprium Metals Limited (ASX: CYM) (“Cyprium” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce further assay results from 28 RC holes (for 7,504m) of the Nifty West drilling program. The drilling programme targeted a lightly drilled area, up-plunge of the former underground mine in the keel area of the Nifty Syncline, below the western end of the Nifty open pit (refer to Figure 1).

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CYM:AU
Centaurus Metals

Successful in-fill drilling continues to de-risk the Project by increasing confidence in the shallow open pit mineralisation that will underpin early payback of the planned mining operation



Centaurus Metals (ASX Code: CTM) is pleased to report outstanding new results from ongoing resource development drilling at its 100%-owned Jaguar Nickel Sulphide Project in the Carajás Mineral Province of northern Brazil. The results are expected to further increase confidence in the Mineral Resource before delivery of the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) and initial Ore Reserve estimate due by the end of calendar 2022.


  • Significant shallow results received from ongoing in-fill drilling at the Jaguar Central (JC), Jaguar South (JS) and Jaguar Northeast (JNE) deposits, demonstrating the continuity of the mineralisation within the current Mineral Resource model. New assay results include:
    • 46.0m at 2.17% Ni from 128.0m including 23.2m at 2.82% Ni from 148.0m in JAG-DD-22-274 (JC)
    • 49.3m at 1.20% Ni from 31.9m including 13.2m at 2.37% Ni from 53.5m in JAG-DD-22-262 (JC)
    • 38.3m at 1.16% Ni from 87.7m in JAG-DD-22-246 (JS)
    • 15.2m at 2.12% Ni from 187.8m including 2.6m at 9.14% Ni from 200.4m in JAG-DD-22-260 (JS)
    • 33.3m at 0.89% Ni from 136.3m in JAG-DD-22-282 (JC)
    • 26.9m at 0.93% Ni from 91.6m in JAG-DD-22-265 (JC)
    • 22.5m at 1.01% Ni from 116.5m including 6.0m at 2.29% Ni from 133.0m in JAG-DD-22-272 (JC)
    • 15.0m at 1.42% Ni from 122.0m including 5.5m at 2.82% Ni from 126.0m in JAG-DD-22-260 (JS)
    • 20.3m at 0.93% Ni from 62.5m in JAG-DD-22-265 (JC)
    • 13.1m at 1.40% Ni from 116.2m in JAG-DD-22-271 (JS)
    • 14.9m at 1.22% Ni from 90.4m in JAG-DD-22-277 (JS)
    • 9.3m at 1.51% Ni from 183.5m including 3.5m at 2.86% Ni from 183.5m in JAG-DD-22-282 (JC)
    • 14.0m at 0.86% Ni from 40.2m in JAG-DD-22-259 (JS)
    • 13.2m at 0.94% Ni from 162.0m in JAG-DD-22-260 (JS)
    • 12.6m at 1.05% Ni from 28.4m in JAG-DD-22-265 (JC)
    • 11.7m at 0.93% Ni from 88.0m in JAG-DD-22-259 (JS)
  • The Jaguar December 2021 Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE), comprising 80.6Mt @ 0.91% Ni for 730,700 tonnes of contained nickel, is already one of the largest nickel sulphide resources held by an ASX-listed company and the largest outside of the majors.
  • The next Mineral Resource update scheduled for Q3 2022 will underpin the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) and the Project’s first Ore Reserve estimate.
  • There are currently 15 rigs on site (13 diamond and two RC) drilling double-shift with the drilling currently focused on upgrading as much of the MRE into the Measured and Indicated categories as possible.
  • Centaurus is well-funded with cash reserves of approximately $65 million.

The resource definition drilling program currently underway is expected to upgrade more of the Jaguar MRE into the Measured and Indicated categories in advance of Ore Reserve estimation as part of the DFS.

Centaurus’ Managing Director, Mr Darren Gordon, said: “We are extremely pleased with how the resource definition drilling program is progressing, with the ongoing drilling continuing to de-risk the project by demonstrating the continuity of the mineralisation within the cornerstone Jaguar deposits.

“Seeing high-grade, shallow intersections like 46.0m at 2.17% Ni within a constrained US$22,000/t nickel price pit shell gives us a lot of confidence that the early stages of a future mining operation at Jaguar can support robust capital payback on the project.

“The target pit we are using for the in-fill drilling has expanded considerably since the Scoping Study was delivered, and this has resulted in most of the diamond rigs on site now being swung onto in-fill drilling so we can deliver the planned MRE upgrade by the end of Q3 2022. This updated MRE will, in turn, underpin the initial Ore Reserve for the DFS.

“In-fill drilling is a clear focus of our drilling effort right now. We expect a steady flow of results from this work over the next couple of months as reflected in the number of drill holes currently in the laboratory for assay. We currently have a total of 15 rigs operating on-site, with two rigs currently continuing to focus on resource growth step-out drilling and the balance currently dedicated to in-fill drilling. Once the MRE upgrade is complete, we will swing most of the rigs back to resource growth and discovery drilling.”

Resource Development In-fill Drilling

The December 2021 Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) comprised 80.6Mt @ 0.91% Ni for 730,700t of contained nickel (Table 2), with an Indicated component of the Resource being 43.4Mt @ 0.92% Ni for 397,000t of contained nickel, representing 54% of the Global MRE. The total MRE at Jaguar has increased by 30% since the Scoping Study Resource Estimate was announced in March 2021 and more than 40% since the Company’s maiden Resource was announced in June 2020 (Figure 1).

The focus of drilling during the first half of 2022 has shifted to resource development in-fill drilling at all of the Jaguar Deposits. In-fill drilling is designed to upgrade all resources within a constrained US$22,000/t nickel price pit shell limit into the Measured and Indicated categories.

The US$22,000/t pit shell limit is considerably bigger than the shell used for the Scoping Study, which was generated using a US$13,800/t nickel price. The Company is targeting more than 500,000t of contained nickel in the Measured and Indicated categories of the next MRE based on the extensive in-fill drill currently being undertaken and the MRE already in place.

Figure 1 – The Jaguar JORC Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) Growth


Click here for the full ASX Release

This article includes content from Centaurus Metals (ASX Code: CTM), licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.

CTM:AU

Interested in gold in Australia? Here's a brief overview of what investors should know about where the yellow metal is found in the country.

With gold in focus due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, some experts are expecting its price to reach all-time highs as investors seek traditionally safe-haven investments.

If you’re interested in investing in gold right now, you may want to turn your attention to Australia, which is currently the second largest gold-producing country in the world.

Read on for a breakdown of gold in Australia, including a look at how each state and territory contributes.


Gold in Australia: Australia's place in the world

As mentioned, Australia is currently the second largest gold-producing country globally, just behind China. Gold production in the country reached a high of 330 tonnes in 2021, up from 328 tonnes the previous year.

“There are three countries that combine the rule of law with significant gold production: Canada, the US and Australia. Outside of these three, there’s not much gold, or there’s not much protection for individual investors and companies,” Kevin McElligott, managing director of Australia at Franco-Nevada (TSX:FNV,NYSE:FNV), explained to the Investing News Network in a 2019 email interview.

According to the Office of the Chief Economist, Australian gold mine production is forecast to rise at an average annual rate of 8 percent from 2020 to 2021 and 2022 to 2023. Anticipated production of 374 tonnes by 2022 to 2023 will be propelled by both production from new mines and existing mine expansions.

Western Australia is the centre of gold exploration activity in the country, accounting for 70 percent, or AU$1.07 billion, of total gold exploration expenditure. In 2022, the Fraser Institute named Western Australia the best mining jurisdiction in the world. Its Pilbara region is a big part of why the state is attracting attention.

In recent years, Pilbara exploration activity has seen renewed interest and helped increase the country’s consistent gold output. Covering more than half a million square kilometres, the region has attracted major miners like Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO,NYSE:RIO) and BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BHP).

Western Australia accounts for the bulk of the country's gold output, and the geology of the Pilbara Craton has been compared to South Africa’s Kaapvaal Craton and Witwatersrand Basin. Witwatersrand is home to the Earth’s largest known gold reserves and is responsible for over 40 percent of worldwide gold production.

Both the Pilbara and Witwatersrand are similar in age and composition, sitting on top of the Archean granite-greenstone basement. The Pilbara area hosts numerous small mesothermal gold deposits containing conglomerate gold — mineralization known to hold large, high-grade gold nuggets.

Gold in Australia: Production by region

Click through the links below to learn more about gold mining in Australia's states and territories. The data used is from Geoscience Australia, and the 2018 gold production numbers are the latest available.

Gold in Australia: Western Australia

As mentioned, Western Australia is a gold powerhouse, and its output stands well above that of its fellow Australian states and territories, measuring at 211 tonnes in 2018.

Gold in Australia: New South Wales

New South Wales has a long history with gold, being the home of the first Australian gold rush in the mid-1800s, which helped kickstart the then-colony’s burgeoning economy. Gold found in Central New South Wales triggered an obsession with mining that burned for decades. In 2018, the state's production was 39 tonnes.

Gold in Australia: Queensland

Queensland may be best known for its coal exports, but the state is dotted with active mines, with a modest collection that produce gold. It put out 18 tonnes of the yellow metal in 2018.

Gold in Australia: Northern Territory

The Northern Territory produced only 15 tonnes of gold in 2018, but over its lifetime more than 20 million ounces have been pulled out of the ground in the region. The Pine Creek, Tennant Creek and Tanami goldfields are the primarily places where this metal has been extracted.

Gold in Australia: Victoria

Victoria also has a strong gold-mining history, although today it's a smaller-scale producer. In 2018, 13 of the 315 tonnes of gold mined in Australia came from Victoria from seven active mines — most of which are located within regions known for vast historical output of the yellow metal

Gold in Australia: South Australia

South Australia isn't a major gold miner, although it accounts for over a quarter of the country’s gold resources — in 2018, just 8 tonnes of gold were mined in the state. However, the area has potential, with a major geological region — the Gawler Craton — identified by the government and mineral explorers as being of extreme interest.

Gold in Australia: Tasmania

Tasmania is geologically diverse with a number of major operating mines, but it is not a significant gold producer. Its output of the precious metal clocked in at only 1 tonne in 2018.

This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2019.

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

Securities Disclosure: I, Matthew Flood, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

hydrogen symbol with globe

Wondering about the future of hydrogen in Australia? Here's an overview of investing in hydrogen in the country.

Hydrogen has long been touted as the most important clean energy source of the future. However, 99 percent of hydrogen produced today is derived from power generated by coal or gas.

Thanks to technological advances and massive new investments made by the public and private sector, the industry is now making the critical transition towards clean "green" hydrogen — in other words, hydrogen that is produced via zero-carbon and low-carbon energy sources.

Australia, like most western nations, is determined to decarbonise its economy as part of the global transition toward renewables. Many industries now face strict targets for reducing emissions as part of the drive to lessen the carbon footprint left by Australia's steel and coal industries.


Although hydrogen is generally seen as a long-term investment play given the many years it takes to build new plants and add capacity in the market, last year saw investors rush to get in on the ground floor of the rapidly expanding Australian green energy market as smaller players began to make their mark.

In 2021, the ASX hydrogen sector saw some exponential gains in the share prices of several up-and-coming players, including Province Resources (ASX:PRL), Pure Hydrogen (ASX:PH2), Sparc Technologies (ASX:SPN), Environmental Clean Technologies (ASX:ECT) and QEM (ASX:QEM). These five companies led the way in driving interest in the kind of opportunity that the Australian hydrogen industry represents, both in the short and long term. Several key public/private partnerships also played a role in stimulating market interest.

Hydrogen investing in Australia: What is hydrogen and how is it used?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element on Earth. It is a colourless gas that can be burned to generate electricity, or alternatively can be combined with oxygen atoms in fuel cells. Hydrogen can be produced in gas or liquid form, and has the ability to replace fossil fuels in household heating, transportation and industrial manufacturing processes like steelmaking, which consumes massive amounts of power.

As a fuel, the great advantage of hydrogen is that it produces no carbon emissions, only water as a by-product. First discovered 250 years ago by English physicist Henry Cavendish, hydrogen was initially used in combination with oxygen to power internal combustion engines, hydrogen gas blowpipes and hydrogen gas lamps. It was later used in the construction of hydrogen-lifted airships and German Zeppelins until passenger service was abandoned after the tragic 1937 explosion of the Hindenburg Zeppelin in New Jersey, which killed 36 people.

Currently, the hydrogen market is valued at over US$100 billion, with the material being used widely as an industrial chemical, mainly by the petroleum industry for the production of ammonia, a principal ingredient in the manufacturing of nitrate fertiliser.

There is also growing demand for hydrogen by companies anxious to harness its properties as an effective means of storing power. But none of these applications for hydrogen compare to its extraordinary potential as a viable clean energy fuel for transportation ― particularly in trucks, airplanes and ships.

These essential means of transportation are difficult to decarbonise due to the weight of batteries and their inability to hold sufficient charge for long-haul trips. Hydrogen, however, offers a much lighter alternative as a clean-burning fuel that would go a long way to eliminating carbon emissions in the transport sector.

Hydrogen investing in Australia: Big players and government investment 

Aside from the smaller-cap companies mentioned above, several major Australian energy companies, including Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG,OTCQX:FSUMF), Origin Energy (ASX:ORG,OTC Pink:OGFGF) and Wesfarmers (ASX:WES,OTC Pink:WFAFF), are now rapidly expanding their investment in the hydrogen sector.

Clearly, if hydrogen is now in the process of realizing its potential as a replacement for oil- and coal-generated electricity, the leading steel, coal and gas producers may be well-positioned to bring about this shift in the energy mix. They possess the requisite financial might and technological/engineering expertise to become dominant players in the hydrogen sector as they assume their role in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Aiding this growth in Australia's hydrogen industry is government support. The EU, for example, paid nearly half of the US$23 million cost of Shell’s (LSE:SHEL,NYSE:SHEL) Rhineland project, while Queensland has partnered with Fortescue on a AU$1 billion hydrogen project in Gladstone.

Last year alone saw a doubling in the number of newly announced large-scale hydrogen projects to over 500, as per a Hydrogen Council report. Nearly 75 percent of these long-term plant, port and pipeline projects are expected to be completed by the end of the decade, with 40 percent already funded or under construction.

Meanwhile, the Australian government is in the process of investing AU$1.4 billion in its domestic hydrogen industry as part of a growing global drive towards net-zero emissions. Australia's National Hydrogen Strategy intends to grow this industry and position Australia as a major player by 2030.

Aside from that, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has set out an Australian technology roadmap that intends to pour a total of AU$20 billion into clean hydrogen, energy storage, low-emission steel and aluminium, carbon capture and storage and solar.

In June 2021, Morrison announced a joint hydrogen development program with Germany under which Australia will gain access to highly advanced German hydrogen technology, strengthening Australia's ambitions of becoming a leading hydrogen exporter. This will help Australia build up its capacity to export significant quantities of hydrogen to Germany as part of the European country's policy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Australia will also be partnering with Japan (to develop new hydrogen fuel cell technology and establish the world's first clean liquefied hydrogen export pilot project), Singapore (to accelerate low-emission technologies) and Korea (to collaborate on hydrogen supply chain research and low- and zero-emission technology).

Hydrogen investing in Australia: Long-term outlook

The promise of Australia's hydrogen market is strong — indeed, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency believes the space could be worth up to AU$10 billion annually by 2040, at which time the country would be putting out over 3 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen on a yearly basis.

But putting matters into perspective, proposed long-term investments in transitioning towards hydrogen are still dwarfed by Big Oil's average annual expenditure on developing new fields.

In today's early stages, investors looking to enter Australia's hydrogen space have plenty of choices, whether they want to start with the larger players or try their hand at determining which earlier-stage stocks will be successful.

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

Securities Disclosure: I, Harold Von Kursk, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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