Often referred to as a patron saint of smart investing, Berkshire Hathaway vice-chairman Charlie Munger’s advice is that “the big money is not in the buying or selling but in the waiting”.
Patience is a challenge in a red-hot market like this year’s though the astute investor will have followed Munger’s sage words and focused on strong investment narratives and a diversified portfolio.
The battery metals thematic dominated the mining sector in 2021 as iron ore came off the boil and gold eased, in favour of lithium, copper, nickel and rare earths.
With Christmas just around the corner, Cannings Purple’s Investor Relations team has taken stock of the performance of the Investor Insight 20 (in alphabetical order).
At a glance, a $200,000 investment spread evenly across the stocks would gain a 11.1% increase to net a total of $22,200 profit for the year. Not bad compared to the S&P-ASX 200 benchmark, which rose 10.76%.
Aeris Resources (ASX: AIS): 2021 start 10.6¢ per share; last trade 16¢ per share. Having gold and copper production in its portfolio is paying dividends, with the Andre Labuschagne-led company able to deliver particular value from the Tritton copper operation in NSW this year. The newly discovered Constellation deposit is shaping as a key to Tritton’s future, with news in the run-in to Christmas of a maiden Mineral Resource of 3.3Mt at 1.4% Cu for 47,000t of contained metal just the fillip. Mineralisation remains open at depth.
Artemis Resources (ASX: ARV): 2021 start 12¢ per share; last trade 7¢ per share. The company has been reworking the resource potential at its Carlow Castle gold-copper-cobalt project in the West Pilbara region of WA and ended the year with a swing of significant intercepts. Artemis also begun working on what it hopes is the main exploration upside – the exciting Central Paterson project on the boundaries of the world-class Havieron discovery in the East Pilbara – with encouraging results from drilling results to aid the company’s understanding of what may lie beneath the surface.
BMG Resources (ASX: BMG): 2021 start 11¢ per share; last trade 5.1¢ per share. Drilling in July at the Abercromby gold project near Wiluna in WA followed up on holes from the highly-successful December 2020 program and delivered strong results as BMG builds a better understanding of the project’s potential. With rigs on site again, the company will keep the drill bit turning throughout the Christmas period and into the new year as it continues to identify more high-priority targets into the new year.
Buru Energy (ASX: BRU): 2021 start 12.5¢ per share; last trade 21¢ per share. A high-impact exploration campaign at the onshore Canning Basin in WA’s Kimberley region has investors excited about the Rafael-1 discovery, where the company will commence flow testing in mid-January. Rafael-1 is just 40km from Buru’s Ungani oilfield, where the Ungani 8H well is due to spud within the week. In the meantime, Ungani continues to deliver dependable cash flow with every oil cargo lifted and sold to BP.
Core Lithium (ASX: CXO): 2021 start 18¢ per share; last trade 51¢ per share. A stand-out performer for the year, Core perfectly timed the start of construction of its Finniss lithium project on the outskirts of Darwin. The lithium price is soaring as EV manufacturers scramble to meet surging demand for the key battery metal. The company kicked some serious goals this year, raising $125 million for construction and working capital at Finniss, secured an offtake agreement with key Tesla supplier Yahua and bolstering the mine life with strong exploration results across its tenements.
FBR (ASX: FBR): 2021 start 4.4¢ per share; last trade: 3.8¢ per share. The robotic bricklaying pioneer met every proof-of-concept milestone laid before it this year. To wrap up the year, FBR completed a $10 million capital raising strengthened the balance sheet that stands it in good stead to deliver a strong pipeline of work for its Hadrian X robot in 2022. Standout agreements in 2021 included a term sheet for 5,000 homes in Mexico, an MOU with the United Arab Emirates to conduct a feasibility study into the use of Hadrian X in residential construction and, at home in WA, the company has completed a series of builds in Baldivis, signed on for the build of 16 homes in Willagee – the company’s largest ever project.
Finbar (ASX: FRI): start 82¢ per share; last trade 79¢ per share. Few ASX stocks can be regarded as a better barometer of the West Australian economy than the State’s leading apartment development company. WA’s economy is strong, the housing market is strong, and Finbar’s growth pipeline is strong – most recently gaining the tick of approval for the Garden Towers JV project on the eastern edge of the Perth CBD. As Finbar told shareholders at its AGM in October, it sold 486 apartments in the past year and is forecasting another strong year.
Focus Minerals (ASX: FML): start 39.2¢ per share; last trade 27¢ per share.A significant one-for-one entitlement issue to raise up to $45.96 million is due to close next week [Dec23] to bookend a year of significant advances for Focus. The primary target is the resumption of gold mining at Focus’ Coolgardie project, where the company’s technical team has been rebuilding and greatly enhancing the gold resource footprint. In the meantime, exploration work also continues at the less-advanced but arguably larger Laverton gold project. No wonder Focus attracted a surprise scrip takeover bid from minnow Theta Gold Mines on the eve of Christmas.
Gold Road Resources (ASX: GOR): start $1.40 per share; last trade $1.51 per share. This year will go down as one where Gold Road paid its maiden dividend, demonstrated its fiscal discipline and focus on shareholder value but also asked for patience while Gruyere – the world-class gold mine it co-owns with operator Gold Fields – works towards achieving its potential. Gold Road lost no friends with its disciplined approach towards bids for a stake in Tropicana and, later in the year, smaller peer Apollo Consolidated. All the while, dividends kept getting paid and the drill rigs kept spinning at Gold Road’s South Yamarna project area in WA’s northern Goldfields.
Hastings Technology Metals (ASX: HAS): start 18.5¢ per share; last trade 23¢ per share. The Yangibana rare earths project in WA’s Gascoyne region has some of the best neodymium and praseodymium (together, NdPr) grades in the world and the company is busy finalising project economics and debt financing to be in a position to push the go-ahead button early in 2022. Early civil works at Yangibana are also underway. Project development progress may not be happening as quickly as hoped though this is more than offset by the soaring NdPr price, which augurs very well for the high-grade and long-life Yangibana’s future.
Lykos Metals (ASX: LYK): start 32¢ per share; last trade 28¢ per share. Lykos Metals listed on the ASX in October after completing a heavily oversubscribed $12 million IPO priced at 20¢ a share. The company has three highly prospective battery metals projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina and early soil samples show outstanding results for nickel and cobalt at the Sockovac project, and gold and copper at the Sinjakovo project. Drilling was rescheduled due to severe weather on the ground, but the company has attractive targets when drilling commences in the new year.
Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN): start $38.54 per share; last trade $49.48 per share. A mining services provider at heart, MinRes’ strength is not just a strongly performing iron ore business but significant exposure to lithium through the Mt Marion mine in WA’s Goldfields, the soon-to-restart Wodgina in the Pilbara and the Kemerton lithium hydroxide plant, which is nearing first production. Cash flow has rarely been stronger and MinRes’ status as a dividend payer and uber-achiever on the ASX look set to continue.
Northern Minerals (ASX: NTU): start 3.6¢ per share; last trade 5¢ per share. The company’s Browns Range pilot plant is one of the only producers of the heavy rare earths element dysprosium outside of China. Dysprosium is a key ingredient in the permanent magnets needed to build electric motors and many other clean energy applications. A new-look board that includes Nick Curtis, founder of industry leader Lynas Corp, Forge Resources and BBI Group, have perfectly complemented the global run of rare earths prices.
NRW Holdings (ASX: NWH): start $2.96 per share; last trade $1.63 per share. NRW booked a record $2.3 billion revenue in FY21 to vindicate an aggressive growth-through-acquisition phase that earlier this year netted Primero Group. NRW made a strategic shift this to enter the market ownership and operation of processing infrastructure, which was crystalised by build-own-operate contracts such as Atlas Iron’s Miralga Creek project and Core’s Finniss lithium project. Despite the logistical challenges of operating a national business in the midst of a pandemic, NRW has enjoyed a strong year.
Rox Resources (ASX: RXL): start 78¢ per share; last trade 34¢ per share.The company is progressing the historic Youanmi gold mine in WA’s Goldfields toward a restart by applying modern technology to historic resources. Rox kept the drill bit spinning throughout a year that included welcoming Hawkes Point onto the register as a cornerstone investor. Investors will be awaiting a resource upgrade at Youanmi early in 2022 that will incorporate all of the drilling in 2021.
St George Mining (ASX: SGQ): start 10¢ per share; last trade 6.3¢ per share. The potential of the high-grade Mt Alexander nickel field in WA’s Goldfields is only matched by its complexity – the mineralisation is high in nickel, copper and PGMs but not easy to find. The year’s highlight was a maiden discovery at depth to complement the hitherto shallow high-grade deposits found at Mt Alexander and St George ends the year with momentum in its step and two stand-out deep targets to drill early in 2022. And a maiden drilling campaign at St George’s Paterson project in the Pilbara delivered some early wins.
Torrens Mining (ASX: TRN): start 29.7¢ per share; last trade 16.5¢ per share. One of the first of more than 260 companies to list on the ASX this year, Torrens has had the dual focus of its flagship Mt Piper gold project in Victoria – in the neighbourhood of the high-grade Fosterville gold mine – and a 30% stake in the emerging, deep Emmie Bluff copper-gold discovery operated by Coda Minerals in South Australia. Mt Piper is progressing to plan while Emmie Bluff seems to be getting bigger.
Vimy Resources (ASX: VMY): start 8¢ per share; last trade 20¢ per share. As owner of one of Australia’s best uranium projects, Vimy put foot to the pedal late in the year to secure confirmation from the WA Government of substantial commencement of works at the Mulga Rock project in the State’s north-eastern Goldfields. Approvals and technical study work continue in parallel as Vimy develops what will become WA’s first uranium mine, coinciding with a global push to get this carbon-free fuel into the energy equation.
VRX Silica (ASX: VRX): start 39.5¢ per share; last trade 16¢ per share. There is no doubting the world-class quality of VRX’s silica sands at the Arrowsmith North, Arrowsmith Central and Muchea projects north of Perth. The approvals process has been slower than expected though VRX pleased investors with news late in the year that it had signed a detailed offtake termsheet with South Korean groups, Dong A Heung Eop Mining Co., Ltd (Dong A) and DongNam Corporation (DongNam) for product from the company’s Arrowsmith North project, setting the scene for positive newsflow in 2022.
Zenith Minerals (ASX: ZNC): start 12.8¢ per share; last trade 21.5¢ per share. The explorer has enjoyed a strong year, delighting investors with outstanding results from the Earaheedy zinc-lead-silver joint venture project in WA’s Wiluna district. Never a one-trick pony, Zenith also kicked goals at its Split Rocks gold project in the Southern Cross Region of WA, where intercepts included grades up to 10.2g/t gold, and – in Queensland – the Red Mountain gold project.
It has been a huge year in the Australian capital markets and 2022 is shaping up to be just as exciting. The world is opening back up from COVID-19, and the Investor Insight team with join Western Australia to emerge from our cave to re-join the rest of the country.
Investor Insight will be back online in January to continue doing what we do best – delivering insights that matter for investors in ASX-listed companies.