Stocks to Watch: September

AS EARNINGS season winds down, MiningNewsPremium highlights what to look out for in September.
Stocks to Watch: September Stocks to Watch: September Stocks to Watch: September Stocks to Watch: September Stocks to Watch: September


Kristie Batten

A big concern continues to be the falling iron ore price, which posted its eighth consecutive loss on Thursday to $US87.30 per tonne before gaining 0.7% to $87.90 on Friday.

The Thursday price marked a two-year low for the commodity, near its lowest point since 2009.

On Thursday, Macquarie estimated that iron ore inventories in China would fall about 6-8 million tonnes in August.

“While the market may be in deficit, the elevated level of inventory means that there is not yet a shortage of ore,” analysts said.

“Prices can stay low and probably fall further until destocking comes to an end and this would be our base case for the near term.

“However, with supply clearly responding to lower prices, once this destocking comes to an end and purchasing activity recovers, there is potential for a squeeze into year-end, which implies that prices should recover.”

Atlas Iron managing director Ken Brinsden last week said the company remained comfortable with the current price.

“Nobody likes to see their margin squeezed and we’re starting to fall into that category,” he said.

“But at today’s pricing paradigm, we still have what we think is a reasonable cash margin.

“We also have more headroom coming in over time as we continue to strip costs out of the business.”

The big news of last month was BHP Billiton’ demerger. While no fresh details about the new entity are likely to emerge before November, investors will be keeping a close eye on the Nickel West sale process.

Recent media reports suggest the remaining two bidders are Glencore and Jinchuan, despite earlier reports that Glencore had withdrawn from the process.

Producer Western Areas and developer Sirius Resources are also looking to secure nickel offtake deals and potential buyers will no doubt be hoping to secure feed for the Kalgoorlie smelter.

The market will also be awaiting progress on Sirius’ financing talks after it completed a $A189 million raising last month to fund a chunk of the $473 million capital cost for the Nova project.

Also on the nickel front, Cassini Resources is expected to release the first batch of results this month from the Nebo-Babel project in Western Australia, which it acquired from BHP earlier this year.

Aurelia Metals, which won “best emerging company” at Diggers & Dealers last month, is set for first production from the Hera underground project in New South Wales in the current quarter.

Gold producers Doray Minerals and Regis Resources are among the companies left to report results, with both flagging impairment charges.

Fellow gold miner Saracen Mineral Holdings is set to release guidance for the 2015 financial year, based on an updated mine plan for its Red October underground.

Rio Tinto shareholders will be watching closely for progress with the Mongolian government as the deadline for $US4 billion ($A4.3 billion) in expansion financing looms at the end of the month.

On the events front, Africa Down Under kicks off on Wednesday in Perth.

The three-day conference will feature a record 20 African mining ministers and a keynote address from ebola virus expert Professor David Heymann.

Later in the month, the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), incorporating Mines & Money Australia, will be held in Melbourne.

The conference will feature keynotes from Ivanhoe Mines founder and chairman Robert Friedland, Fortescue Metals Group CEO Nev Power and MMG CEO Andrew Michelmore.