Top ASX Resource Capital Raisings in 2020

The Investing News Network lists the top ASX resource capital raisings done in a single transaction in 2020.

Australia saw a record year in equity raising activity in 2020 as companies across the board looked for ways to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

Government lockdown measures took a toll on project development, but several companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) were able to raise capital to weather the pandemic storm.

Here the Investing News Network lists the top ASX resource capital raisings done in a single transaction in 2020, using Refinitiv data for the metals and mining sector.

1. Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM)

Total raised in 2020: US$772.4 million

One of the world’s top gold producers, Newcrest Mining has operating mines located in Australia, Canada and Papua New Guinea. In 2020, the company produced 2.2 million ounces of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of US$862 per ounce and generated an underlying profit of US$750 million.

On April 30, 2020, Newcrest announced it was undertaking a AU$1 billion fully underwritten institutional placement, and a share purchase plan targeting up to AU$100 million. With the cash raised, the company intended to purchase the Fruta del Norte financing facilities and to fund future growth options, such as the construction of declines at Havieron and Red Chris.

The company went on to purchase the Fruta del Norte financing facilities for US$460 million, and both Havieron and Red Chris received funding and regulatory approvals earlier this year for AU$146 million and C$135 million, respectively.

2. IGO (ASX:IGO)

Total raised in 2020: US$577.271 million

IGO owns the Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation and holds a 30 percent interest in the Tropicana gold mine joint venture. At the end of last year, the company inked a AU$1.9 billion deal with top lithium producer Tianqi Lithium (SZSE:002466) that will provide IGO with a 24.99 percent indirect interest in the Greenbushes lithium mine and a 49 percent indirect interest in the Kwinana lithium hydroxide plant.

To fund the deal, IGO proposed to use a combination of AU$1,100 million in new debt facilities, an equity raising of up to AU$766 million and existing cash reserves of between AU$85 million and AU$149 million. The funding was successfully completed, and Tianqi shareholders also gave approval earlier in 2021.

3. Lynas (ASX:LYC)

Total raised in 2020: US$306.975 million

The second largest producer of rare earths, and the only one outside of China, Lynas operates the Mount Weld rare earths deposit in Western Australia. The company’s 2020 production was hit by COVID-19, as it closed its Malaysian plant for six weeks following guidelines from the government.

In Australia, Lynas plans to process low-level radioactive material from its Mount Weld mine at a new cracking and leaching plant in Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. That will allow the company to move part of its operations off its Malaysian plant. To fund the construction and its Lynas 2025 plans, the company was able to successfully raise AU$425 million.

4. Nickel Mines (ASX:NIC)

Total raised in 2020: US$306.975 million

Nickel-focused producer Nickel Mines holds an 80 percent interest in the Hengjaya and Ranger projects, both of which operate two line rotary kiln electric furnace plants producing nickel pig iron (NPI) within the Indonesia Morowali industrial park.

In the December quarter, Hengjaya produced 5,718.9 tonnes of nickel metal at an average NPI grade of 14.9 percent, while Ranger produced 5,808.1 tonnes of nickel metal at an average NPI grade of 15 percent. The company also launched and successfully completed a AU$364 million equity raising that month to fund the acquisition of its initial 30 percent interest in the Indonesia-based Angel nickel project.

5. Coronado Global (ASX:CRN)

Total raised in 2020: US$180.1 million

One of the world’s largest producers of high-quality metallurgical coal, Coronado Global owns a portfolio of mines and development projects in Queensland, Australia, and in Virginia and West Virginia in the US.

In August, the company launched a AU$250 million fully underwritten equity raising to improve its financial flexibility due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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