OceanaGold reported its financial and operational results for the quarter ended June 30, 2020.

/NOT FOR DISSEMINATION OR DISTRIBUTION IN THE UNITED STATES AND NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO US NEWSWIRE SERVICES./

(All financial figures in US Dollars unless otherwise stated)

OceanaGold Corporation (TSX: OGC) (ASX: OGC) (the “Company”) reported its financial and operational results for the quarter ended June 30, 2020. Details of the consolidated financial statements and the Management Discussion and Analysis (“MD&A”) are available on the Company’s website at www.oceanagold.com.

Highlights

  • Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (“TRIFR”) of 2.7 per million hours worked compared to 3.0 per million hours worked at the end of the first quarter of 2020.
  • First half of 2020 consolidated production of 139,385 ounces of gold at All-In Sustaining Costs (“AISC”) of $1,237 per ounce on sales of 153,343 ounces of gold.
  • Consolidated second quarter gold production of 58,678 ounces at AISC of $1,265 per ounce on sales of 61,955 ounces of gold.
  • First half revenue of $234.0 million with Earnings before Interest, Depreciation and Amortisation (“EBITDA”) of $54.8 million.
  • Second quarter revenue of $95.8 million with EBITDA of $12.4 million.
  • Cash balance and total immediately available liquidity of $147.7 million; net debt of $169.6 million.
  • Subsequent to quarter-end, the Company delivered the Waihi District Study Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) with after-tax IRR of 51%, net present value (“NPV”) of $665 million and 2.2 million gold ounces produced over 16 years.1
  • Advanced Martha Underground development with 1,342 metres completed in the second quarter and 2,855 metres year-to-date (“YTD”).
  • Revised 2020 production guidance from 360,000 to 380,000 to 340,000 to 360,000 ounces. On a gold sold basis AISC is reduced from $1,075 to $1,125 to $1,050 to $1,100 per ounce sold.
  • Guidance reduction due to lower Macraes production primarily related to the impact of the 5-week New Zealand COVID-19 restrictions which were lifted on April 27.
_______________
1 The PEA is a preliminary technical and economic study of the potential viability for the Waihi District project. The production target and financial forecast referred to in the PEA are comprised of 51% Indicated Mineral Resources and 49% Inferred Mineral Resources. Inferred Mineral Resources are considered too geologically speculative to have economic considerations applied to them in order to be categorized as Mineral Reserves. There is no certainty that further drilling will convert Inferred Resources to Indicated Mineral Resources or that the PEA will be realised. Further drilling, evaluation and studies are required to provide any assurance of an economic development case. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have a demonstrated economic viability.

Michael Holmes, President and CEO of OceanaGold said, “We look forward to the second half where we continue to expect a material increase in production at both Haile and Macraes at lower AISC plus continued advancement of our key organic growth projects including those recently outlined in the Waihi District Study.

The second quarter was expected to be our weakest in terms of production, but the results also demonstrate the impact the global COVID-19 pandemic has had on our business. We have worked hard to safeguard the health and safety of our employees through the implementation of rigorous protocols including health screening, physical distancing and disinfecting throughout our operations. These protocols include the mandatory self-isolation of those exhibiting COVID-like symptoms, plus anyone with exposure to those exhibiting symptoms. This resulted in approximately 170 workers at Haile having to self-isolate at some point since the beginning of March. Despite this, Haile continues to increase mining rates at reduced unit costs.”

“In New Zealand, the Government mandated lock-down extended to five weeks during which time operations at Macraes included only limited processing with all mining suspended. This resulted in weaker than expected production for the quarter. Although the operation has recovered well, delivering near record mining rates in the month of May, the resulting shortfall in mining progress will impact the planned access to higher grades later in the year. As a result of this timing change, combined with the impact of the second quarter restrictions, the full-year guidance for the operation will be impacted and we are now expecting Macraes to produce between 140,000 and 150,000 ounces of gold at correspondingly higher cash cost and AISC.”

“Progressing our organic growth projects is a key deliverable this year. We completed 2,855 metres of development at Martha Underground in the first half, and first gold production remains on-track for the second quarter of 2021. We were pleased to release the strong results from the Preliminary Economic Assessment[i] of the Waihi District subsequent to quarter end. The study highlighted the district’s potential, including production of 2.2 million gold ounces over 16 years of additional mine life at sub-$650 AISC per ounce sold. At Macraes, we expect to release results of the Golden Point Underground in the second half of the year.”

“Given the year-to-date impact at Macraes we are revising our consolidated full year 2020 production guidance to 340,000 and 360,000 ounces of gold (excluding Didipio). Lower operating costs and sustaining capital are expected to offset the production revision with consolidated AISC revised downward slightly to $1,050 to $1,100 per ounce sold. Consolidated cash costs remain unchanged at $675 to $725 per ounce sold. Haile’s gold production remains unchanged and we continue to expect increased production at lower AISC in the second half from both Haile and Macraes with the fourth quarter expected to be the strongest quarter of the year.”

Table 1 – Production and Cost Results Summary

Quarter ended 30 Jun 2020 Haile Didipio Waihi Macraes Consolidated
Q2 2020 Q1 2020
Gold Produced koz 30.7 27.9 58.7 80.7
Gold Sales koz 31.7 30.2 61.9 91.4
Average Gold Price US$/oz 1,712 1,729 1,523 (1) 1,509(1)
Copper Produced kt
Copper Sales kt
Average Copper Price US$/lb
Material Mined kt 10,155 3.8 10,495 20,654 21,185
Waste Mined Kt 9,416 0.7 9,218 18,635 18,839
Ore Mined Kt 738 3.1 1,277 2,019 2,346
Mill Feed Kt 934 1,247 2,181 2,264
Mill Feed Grade g/t 1.33 0.88 1.07 1.37
Gold Recovery % 77.1 79.2 78.3 80.9
Cash Costs US$/oz 994 896 946 802
Site AISC(2) US$/oz 1,410 965 1,265 1,218
Year to date 30 Jun 2020 Haile Didipio Waihi Macraes Consolidated
YTD 2020 YTD 2019
Gold Produced koz 60.1 12.2 67.1 139.4 255.0
Gold Sales koz 65.0 6.8 13.5 68.0 153.3 246.8
Average Gold Price US$/oz 1,645 1,652 1,572 1,654 1,515 (1) 1,320
Copper Produced kt 7.9
Copper Sales kt 6.9
Average Copper Price US$/lb 2.85
Material Mined kt 18,757 57 23,028 41,842 37,618
Waste Mined kt 17,357 1 20,117 37,475 31,701
Ore Mined kt 1,399 56 2,911 4,366 5,917
Mill Feed kt 1,803 57 2,585 4,446 6,738
Mill Feed Grade g/t 1.34 7.21 1.00 1.22 1.40
Gold Recovery % 77.2 87.9 80.4 79.2 83.6
Cash Costs US$/oz 1,073 443 432 784 860 686
Site AISC(2) US$/oz 1,482 444 376 1,106 1,237 1,073
(1) Realised gains and losses on gold hedging are included in the consolidated average gold price.
(2) Site AISC are exclusive of corporate general and administrative expenses and have been restated in prior periods accordingly; Consolidated AISC is inclusive of corporate general and administrative expenses.

Table 2 – Financial Summary

Quarter ended 30 Jun 2020

(US$m)

Q2

30 Jun 2020

Q1

31 Mar 2020

Q2

30 Jun 2019

YTD

30 Jun 2020

YTD

30 Jun 2019

Revenue 95.8 138.2 186.0 234.0 365.5
Cost of sales, excluding depreciation and amortization (61.8) (74.0) (99.7) (135.8) (200.7)
General and administration – other(1) (20.6) (19.4) (11.9) (40.0) (23.5)
General and administration – indirect taxes (2) (0.9) (1.2) (4.5) (2.1) (7.3)
Foreign currency exchange gain/(loss) (4.3) (1.3) 0.2 (5.5) 0.0
Other income/(expense) 4.1 0.1 0.6 4.2 1.1
EBITDA (excluding gain/(loss) on undesignated hedges
and impairment charge)
12.4 42.4 70.7 54.8 135.1
Depreciation and amortization (39.4) (50.1) (41.7) (89.5) (82.1)
Net interest expense and finance costs (3.1) (2.8) (3.5) (5.9) (7.1)
Earnings/(loss) before income tax (excluding gain/(loss)
on undesignated hedges and impairment charge)
(30.1) (10.5) 25.5 (40.6) 45.9
Income tax (expense)/ benefit on earnings (1.5) (0.2) (3.4) (1.7) (7.8)
Earnings/(loss) after income tax and before gain/(loss) on
undesignated hedges and impairment charge
(31.5) (10.7) 22.1 (42.3) 38.1
Write off exploration/property expenditure / investment (3) (6.8) (6.8) (4.6)
Gain/(loss) on fair value of undesignated hedges 9.6 (21.2) (9.5) (11.6) (8.1)
Tax (expense) / benefit on gain/loss on undesignated hedges (2.7) 5.9 2.7 3.3 2.3
Net Profit/(loss) (31.4) (26.0) 15.3 (57.4) 27.7
Basic earnings/(loss) per share $(0.05) $(0.04) $0.02 $(0.09) $0.04
Diluted earnings/(loss) per share $(0.05) $(0.04) $0.02 $(0.09) $0.04
(1) The Company did not record any revenue or cost of sales from the Didipio mine during the second half of 2019. In addition, General and Administration – other, includes non-production costs related to maintaining Didipio’s operational readiness of $7.9 million in the second quarter of 2020 compared to $8.4 million in the first quarter of 2020.
(2) Represents production based taxes in the Philippines specifically excise tax, local business and property taxes.
(3) Impairment expense in relation to land at Haile of $4.1 million and write-off of deferred exploration related costs/investment in Locrian Resources Inc.

Table 3 – Cash Flow Summary

Quarter ended 30 Jun 2020

(US$m)

Q2

30 Jun 2020

Q1

31 Mar 2020

Q2

30 Jun 2019

YTD

30 Jun 2020

YTD

30 Jun 2019

Cash flows from Operating Activities 16.7 120.6 86.2 137.3 125.2
Cash flows used in Investing Activities (50.9) (33.8) (71.6) (84.7) (134.0)
Cash flows from / (used) in Financing Activities 3.5 44.8 (10.1) 48.3 (12.7)

Operations

In the first half of the year, the Company produced 139,385 ounces of gold, including 58,678 ounces of gold in the second quarter. Gold production in the first half of 2020 was 45% lower than the same period in 2019 primarily due to the temporary suspension of operations at Didipio. Quarter-on-quarter gold production decreased 27% with the completion of mining at the Correnso orebody at Waihi in the first quarter and lower than planned production at Macraes due mainly to COVID-19 restrictions in place during the second quarter.

Increasing consolidated AISC of $1,237 per ounce sold YTD and $1,265 per ounce sold in the second quarter reflected the lower sales. Cash costs for the first half of the year were $860 per ounce while second quarter cash costs were $946 per ounce, higher than the previous quarter and prior year due to mine sequencing and corresponding lower grades, partially offset by lower total operating costs.

During the second quarter, restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted operations in New Zealand and Haile. In New Zealand, the government imposed a mandatory five-week shutdown at the end of March that restricted non-essential business operations, including gold mining. As a result, development of the Martha Underground at Waihi was temporarily suspended then resumed after lifting of the restrictions on April 27. 2,855 metres of underground development have been completed year to date, including 1,342 metres in the second quarter despite the development hiatus. Martha Underground remains on-track for first production in the second quarter of 2021.

At Macraes, mining was suspended and processing was restricted to remaining broken stocks and low-grade stockpiles during the five week COVID-19 lockdown. This, combined with an inability to effectively assay feed stocks during the suspension, resulted in lower than expected recoveries and production in the second quarter. Despite mining a record 5.2 million tonnes in May and 4.5 million tonnes in June, the five-week cessation in mining has adversely impacted our full year outlook at Macraes by delaying access to higher-grade ore from Coronation North in the fourth quarter. This material is now expected to be mined in the first half of 2021 and as a result some production will be deferred. The full year production for Macraes is now expected to be 140,000 to 150,000 gold ounces at an AISC of $1,100 to $1,150 per ounce sold.

At Haile, additional health and safety protocols were put into place, including health screenings for workers entering and exiting site, staggered shifts, social distancing, and where applicable mandatory self-isolation for members of the workforce. Though these additional measures impacted mine productivity and equipment utilisation rates, the Haile operation doubled mining movements and increased mill feed year-over-year while decreasing unit costs. Production from Haile increased slightly quarter-on-quarter, benefitting from higher mill throughputs despite record average monthly rainfall in May that, along with COVID-19 productivity impacts, limited access to higher grade ore zones in the open pits. The operation will deploy a further four Komatsu 730E haul trucks in the third quarter. The Company continues to expect Haile production of 180,000 to 190,000 gold ounces at lower site AISC of $1,020 and $1,070 per ounce sold with cash costs unchanged.

The Didipio mine remained suspended during the quarter due to ongoing restraints placed on the operations by local government units and anti-mining blockade of the access road. The Company has maintained Didipio in a state of operational readiness for rapid re-start on the expectation that a resumption of normal operations could be achieved in 2020, either through lifting of restrictions imposed on access, or completion of a renewal of the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA). In the second quarter, a working team created by the President completed a review of the FTAA renewal which included engagement with the Company before re-endorsing the renewal to the Office of the President where it remains for a decision. The Company is unable to provide timing on when a decision will be made, however by mid-October the Company is required to decide on the on-going status of the Didipio workforce as temporary lay-offs commenced in mid-April.

Financial

In the first half of the year, the Company generated $234.0 million in revenue, a decrease from the prior year period mainly due to limited sales from Didipio and reduced sales from Waihi. Quarter-on-quarter revenue decreased 31% with no sales recorded at Didipio, the completion of mining at the Correnso orebody at Waihi, and lower sales from Macraes where production was impacted by the New Zealand Government’s COVID-19 lock-down.

First half EBITDA of $54.8 million decreased 59% year on year, primarily reflecting limited sales from Didipio and lower production from New Zealand partly offset by steady production from Haile at improved cash costs. The quarter-on-quarter decrease in EBITDA reflects reduced revenue from lower sales in New Zealand.

Net loss before unrealised losses on undesignated hedges was $31.5 million or $(0.05) per share on a fully diluted basis in the second quarter and $42.3 million or $(0.07) per share on a fully diluted basis YTD. The quarter-on-quarter and year-over-year decrease was mainly a function of the lower revenue from reduced sales volumes. Total net loss was also impacted by an income tax expense of $4.1 million compared to a tax benefit of $5.7 million in the previous quarter. The second quarter tax expense was higher despite a larger overall net loss primarily due to the operational profits in New Zealand and unrealised foreign exchange gains on non-New Zealand currency denominated loans. Additionally, there were no potential tax benefits recognised associated with the costs incurred to maintain Didipio in a state of operational readiness.

Operating cash flows YTD were $137.3 million, an increase year-over-year, mainly attributable to $78.5 million received from the gold presale in the first quarter, partly offset by lower operating cash flow from Waihi and Didipio. YTD fully diluted cash flow per share before working capital was $0.09, excluding the impact of the gold presales, and $0.02 for the second quarter.

First half investing cash flows of $84.7 million were 37% lower than the prior year period, primarily due to lower capital expenditure at Didipio, reduced capitalised pre-stripping activities at Haile and Macraes, lower exploration, and proceeds from the sale of a non-core equity interest.

As at June 30, 2020, the Company’s cash balance stood at $147.7 million, and net debt increased quarter-on-quarter to $169.6 million, reflecting the decrease in cash and increase in equipment finance associated with the progressive upgrade of the mining fleet at Haile and the refinance of recently acquired mining equipment in New Zealand. The Company has fully drawn down its $200.0 million revolving credit facility, which currently matures on December 31, 2021.

Growth

The Company continues to advance its organic growth pipeline including the Waihi District opportunities. On July 16, the Company announced the results of the Waihi District Study Preliminary Economic Assessment which demonstrated positive results with an after-tax IRR of 51% and NPV of $665 million over a 16-year mine life. Readers are cautioned that the PEA is preliminary in nature. It includes Inferred Resources that are considered too geologically speculative to have economic considerations applied to them in order to be categorized as Mineral Reserves, and there’s no certainty that the PEA will be realised. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have a demonstrated economic viability.

The results were based on four distinct opportunities that included the Martha Underground, WKP, Martha Open Pit and Gladstone, each with different points of entry, capital requirements, production levels, cost structures and mine life.

The Martha Underground is fully permitted and in development with first production expected in the second quarter of 2021. The other opportunities are not permitted and will have permit applications lodged in 2020. The Company continues to drill mainly at Martha Underground and WKP with a focus on resource conversion and expansion.

The Macraes Golden Point Underground study continues to advance with expected completion in the second half of the year. While at Haile, the Company is further optimising the Horseshoe Underground mine sequence and expects to complete this work by the end of the year.

Conference Call

The Company will host a conference call / webcast to discuss the results at 7:30 am on Friday July 31, 2020 (Melbourne, Australian Eastern Standard Time) / 5:30 pm on Thursday July 30, 2020 (Toronto, Eastern Daylight Time).

Webcast Participants

To register, please copy and paste the link below into your browser:

https://produceredition.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1341360&tp_key=2f24cc1848

Teleconference Participants (required for those who wish to ask questions)

Local (toll free) dial in numbers are:

North America: 1 888 390 0546

Australia: 1 800 076 068

United Kingdom: 0 800 652 2435

Switzerland: 0 800 312 635

All other countries (toll): + 1 416 764 8688

Playback of Webcast

If you are unable to attend the call, a recording will be available for viewing on the Company’s website.

Authorised for release to market by OceanaGold Corporate Company Secretary, Liang Tang.

www.oceanagold.com | Twitter: @OceanaGold

About OceanaGold

OceanaGold Corporation is a mid-tier, high-margin, multinational gold producer with assets located in the Philippines, New Zealand and the United States. The Company’s assets encompass the Didipio Gold-Copper Mine located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. On the North Island of New Zealand, the Company operates the high-grade Waihi Gold Mine while on the South Island of New Zealand, the Company operates the largest gold mine in the country at the Macraes Goldfield which is made up of a series of open pit mines and the Frasers underground mine. In the United States, the Company operates the Haile Gold Mine, a top-tier, long-life, high-margin asset located in South Carolina. OceanaGold also has a significant pipeline of organic growth and exploration opportunities in the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions.

OceanaGold has operated sustainably since 1990 with a proven track-record for environmental management and community and social engagement. The Company has a strong social license to operate and works collaboratively with its valued stakeholders to identify and invest in social programs that are designed to build capacity and not dependency.

For 2020, and subject to the cautionary statement below, the Company expects to produce between 340,000 and 360,000 ounces of gold from Haile, Waihi and Macraes combined at a consolidated All-In Sustaining Costs ranging from $1,050 to $1,100 per ounce sold.

Technical Disclosure

Mine Designs, schedules and economic analysis for Waihi District Study have been verified and approved by, or are based upon information prepared by or under the supervision of, T. Maton. T. Maton is a Member and Chartered professional with the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Mr Maton have sufficient experience, which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposits under consideration, and to the activities which they are undertaking, to qualify as Competent Persons as defined in the 2012 Edition of the “Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves” (“JORC Code”) and all are Qualified Persons for the purposes of the NI 43-101. Mr Maton is an employee of OceanaGold and they consent to the inclusion in this release of the matters based on their information in the form and context in which it appears. For further scientific and technical information (including disclosure regarding Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves) relating to the Waihi PEA and Operation, please refer to the PEA which will be filed on SEDAR on or before 30 August 2020, and NI 43-101 compliant technical reports available at sedar.com under the Company’s name.

Cautionary Statement for Public Release

Certain information contained in this public release may be deemed “forward-looking” within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements and information relate to future performance and reflect the Company’s expectations regarding the generation of free cash flow, achievement of guidance, execution of business strategy, future growth, future production, estimated costs, results of operations, business prospects and opportunities of OceanaGold Corporation and its related subsidiaries. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, “plans”, “estimates” or “intends”, or stating that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements and information. They include, among others, the outbreak of an infectious disease, the accuracy of mineral reserve and resource estimates and related assumptions, inherent operating risks and those risk factors identified in the Company’s most recent Annual Information Form prepared and filed with securities regulators which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com under the Company’s name. There are no assurances the Company can fulfil forward-looking statements and information. Such forward-looking statements and information are only predictions based on current information available to management as of the date that such predictions are made; actual events or results may differ materially as a result of risks facing the Company, some of which are beyond the Company’s control. Although the Company believes that any forward-looking statements and information contained in this press release is based on reasonable assumptions, readers cannot be assured that actual outcomes or results will be consistent with such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and information. The Company expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements and information, whether as a result of new information, events or otherwise, except as required by applicable securities laws. The information contained in this release is not investment or financial product advice.

OceanaGold Q2 2020 MDA (CNW Group/OceanaGold Corporation)

OceanaGold logo (CNW Group/OceanaGold Corporation)

SOURCE OceanaGold Corporation

Cision View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/July2020/30/c4122.html

Investor Relations: Sam Pazuki, Tel: +1 720 602 4880, IR@oceanagold.com; Media Relations: Melissa Bowerman, Tel: +61 407 783 270, info@oceanagold.comCopyright CNW Group 2020

News Provided by Canada Newswire via QuoteMedia

Featured

On 2 March 2021 the Australian Taxation Office issued Rio Tinto Limited with amended assessments related to the denial of interest deductions on an isolated borrowing used to pay an intragroup dividend in 2015. The borrowing was repaid in 2018. The ATO has today issued further assessments in relation to the same transaction levying penalties of A$352m and reducing the original interest assessment from A$47m to A$27m …

On 2 March 2021 the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) issued Rio Tinto Limited with amended assessments related to the denial of interest deductions on an isolated borrowing used to pay an intragroup dividend in 2015. The borrowing was repaid in 2018.

The ATO has today issued further assessments in relation to the same transaction levying penalties of A$352m (US$257.9m) and reducing the original interest assessment from A$47m to A$27m (US$19.8m).

read more Show less

Ioneer Ltd is pleased to announce that the Company has reached an agreement to establish a joint venture with Sibanye Stillwater Limited to develop the flagship Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project located in Nevada, USA . Under the terms of the agreement, Sibanye-Stillwater will contribute US$490 million for a 50% interest in the Joint Venture, with ioneer to maintain a 50% interest and retain operatorship. ioneer …

Ioneer Ltd (“ioneer" or the “Company") (ASX: INR) is pleased to announce that the Company has reached an agreement to establish a joint venture (the " Joint Venture “) with Sibanye Stillwater Limited ( “Sibanye-Stillwater" ) to develop the flagship Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project located in Nevada, USA (the “Project" ). Under the terms of the agreement, Sibanye-Stillwater will contribute US$490 million for a 50% interest in the Joint Venture, with ioneer to maintain a 50% interest and retain operatorship. ioneer has also agreed to provide Sibanye-Stillwater with an option to participate in 50% of the North Basin 1 upon the election of Sibanye-Stillwater to contribute up to an additional US$50 million subject to certain terms and conditions.

read more Show less

Perth, Australia – Australia’s next rare earths producer Hastings Technology Metals Ltd is pleased to announce that it has received the commendation of Premier Mark McGowan and the Western Australian Government for the Company’s development of the Yangibana Rare Earths Project in the State’s Gascoyne region. Premier McGowan said Hastings’ development of Yangibana was expressly aligned with the State’s Future Battery …

Perth, Australia (ABN Newswire) – Australia’s next rare earths producer Hastings Technology Metals Ltd (ASX:HAS) (FRA:5AM) is pleased to announce that it has received the commendation of Premier Mark McGowan and the Western Australian Government for the Company’s development of the Yangibana Rare Earths Project (Yangibana), in the State’s Gascoyne region.

Premier McGowan said Hastings’ development of Yangibana was expressly aligned with the State’s Future Battery Industry Strategy, which aims to expand the range of future battery minerals that are extracted and processed in Western Australia. Appendix 1 provides a copy of the public commendation that Hastings has received.

The Premier’s commendation follows the West Australian Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI) acknowledging that the Yangibana Project represents a strategic opportunity for investment and growth to position the State as a reliable supplier of speciality rare earth minerals.

read more Show less

Australia took a stand against Facebook and Google earlier this year, and the move could have long-term implications for tech investors.

It was a ban that sent Australians wild and had the whole world watching.

Back in February, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stopped users in Australia from posting news in a week-long blackout, reacting to proposed legislation that would have forced the social media behemoth to pay publishers for content.

What prompted Facebook to "friend" Australia again, and what are the potential long-term implications of the squabble? Read on to learn what tech-focused investors in Australia should know about the situation.


Australia squares off against Facebook

On February 25 of this year, Australia's federal government passed the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code. It was developed after extensive analysis by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and is aimed at ensuring that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for their content.

It stipulates that digital platforms such as Facebook and Google (both named in the documentation) must pay news outlets whose content they feature — for example, if content is shared on Facebook or shows up in Google search results. The idea is that this will help to sustain journalism in Australia.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook and Google didn't react well to the code, which was first introduced in 2020.

Google didn't make any moves after it passed, but Facebook quickly made it impossible for Australian users to share news content, and pages for both local and international news organisations went blank — a major concern given the COVID-19 and wildfire concerns that were circulating at the time.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was scathing about Facebook's decision — which he ironically shared in a Facebook post — declaring the tech giant's actions "as arrogant as they were disappointing." He added, "These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them."

Despite strong feelings from both Australia and Facebook, the dispute was resolved fairly quickly, with the country agreeing to make four amendments to the legislation and Facebook restoring Australian's access to news.

Implications for Big Tech and news organisations

Both Australia and Facebook have claimed victory in the dispute, with a Facebook representative saying the company will be able to decide if news appears on the platform — meaning it won't automatically have to negotiate with any news businesses. Changes were also made to the arbitration process.

Tech experts have pointed out that larger news companies may ultimately benefit from the changes, but smaller ones could be pushed to the side. Major publishers that have struck agreements with tech giants, such as News Corp, Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC,OTC Pink:NNMTF), Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) and Guardian Australia, may be able to increase their market share while smaller independent players lose out.

A business that is in full support of the laws is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). During the conflict, President Brad Smith came out loudly in favour of Australia's law, and advised that his company is willing to step up with search engine Bing should Google and/or Facebook pull out of the Australian market.

"In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pushed forward with legislation two years in the making to redress the competitive imbalance between the tech sector and an independent press. The ideas are straightforward. Dominant tech properties like Facebook and Google will need to invest in transparency, including by explaining how they display news content," he said in a blog post.

"The United States should not object to a creative Australian proposal that strengthens democracy by requiring tech companies to support a free press. It should copy it instead."

Global reach and tech investor impact

Six months down the road from Australia's landmark legislation, it's tough to say what the long-term impact may be.

That said, market watchers do believe the country is part of a new precedent of forcing Big Tech into paying for journalism — something giants Facebook and Google are not used to.

Countries looking to pursue similar legislation include Canada, where Facebook agreed in May to pay 14 publishers to link to their articles on its COVID-19 and climate science pages, as well as other unspecified use cases. Canada is pursuing other avenues too. Meanwhile, in France, Google said it will pay publishers for news content after the country took up new EU copyright laws that make digital platforms liable for infringements.

For investors, the takeaway is perhaps that while companies like Facebook and Google may seem too big too fail, they too can fall subject to new regulations that can change how they do business. As nations around the world look to take back control from these mega companies, it's important to be aware of possible effects on their bottom lines.

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

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

Queensland is the 16th most attractive jurisdiction in the world, sneaking in above BC and the Yukon in Canada, and just behind New Mexico in the US.

Queensland is one of the top three Australian jurisdictions for copper.

While it's well behind South Australia, a behemoth in the country for resources and production, Queensland hosts some 12 percent of all known Australian copper deposits, level with its southern neighbour New South Wales.

A premier mining jurisdiction globally, Queensland is ranked third out of all Australian jurisdictions for mining investment attractiveness, according to the Fraser Institute. Globally, it's ranked as the 16th most attractive jurisdiction, sneaking in above BC and the Yukon in Canada, and just behind New Mexico in the US.


The state is renowned for its mining prowess in Australia, and is known as one of the resource states, with a large chunk of its economic heft coming from the mining industry and its operations across the vast state.

Overall, mining accounts for 11.7 percent of Queensland's economy, with coal and liquefied natural gas being the primary focus of output. Together, coal, gas and mineral exports account for over 80 percent of Queensland's exports, according to the state government.

Having said that, copper plays a large role, and Queensland is home to the second biggest producer of copper in Australia in the form of Glencore's (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) Mount Isa mining complex in the northwest of the state. There, Glencore owns and operates the Enterprise and X41 mines.

Aside from Mount Isa, Glencore owns the nearby Ernest Henry copper mine. Combined, Glencore's Queensland operations produced 138,800 tonnes of copper in 2020 — accounting for a little over 10 percent of the company's global copper production. Glencore isn't listed on the ASX, but can be found on the LSE.

Besides the Mount Isa complex itself, there's also a handful of other operational mines in the northwestern portion of the state, although most of them are privately owned, such as the Capricorn copper project, which is a joint venture between EMR Capital and Lighthouse Minerals; it secured itself "prescribed project" status in 2017.

Other privately owned projects include Round Oak's Barbara project (in care and maintenance), Chinese-backed CuDECO's Rockland copper project (mothballed, CuDECO in liquidation) and Chinova's Osborne mine — which was originally set up by Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN,OTCQX:IVPAF). There's also the Balcooma mine, which Royal Gold (NASDAQ:RGLD) has copper royalties on, and the privately owned Mount Cuthbert mine.

Many of the mentioned projects ran into trouble in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting company operations.

All in all, Queensland has 13 operational copper mines, but as can be seen many are in private hands, making investment opportunities somewhat slim. Aside from previously mentioned Glencore operations, there's Red River Resources (ASX:RVR,OTC Pink:RRRDF), which owns the Thalanga operations near Charters Towers. Red River acquired Thalanga in 2014, and has been working to develop the legacy site back into a viable investment.

From the beginning of production in 2017, the operations have a lifespan of some 10 years, according to Red River, with further development and exploration options on the table. In its most recent quarterly report, Thalanga reported output of 3,086 tonnes of copper concentrate.

The remainder of the options on the table for investors are exploration focused, such as Copper Mountain Mining (ASX:C6C,OTC Pink:CPPMF) with interests in the Eva copper project, which is — unsurprisingly — in the northwest of the state, near the town of Cloncurry. Eva is in the development phase, with a feasibility study completed in early 2020 envisaging a 15 year mine life with an annual expected output of 106 million pounds of copper equivalent.

There's also Global Energy Metals (TSXV:GEMC,OTCQB:GBLEF), which like Glencore isn't on the ASX, but has interests in the Millenium cobalt-copper-gold project and others near Mount Isa — all in the exploration stage.

Aside from that, Strategic Energy Resources (ASX:SER) acquired exploration licences from Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM,OTC Pink:NCMGF) in May 2021 for licences around Mount Isa, and Zenith Minerals (ASX:ZNC) is exploring the Develin Creek copper-zinc project. Zenith recently divested from another copper project, Flannagans, in June 2021 by selling its interests to a private company for $450,000.

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

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

Top News