Five things you need to know before the markets open in Australia.

Mondays come and Mondays go and here’s another one for you to negotiate.

1. Lithium hits the headlines again but maybe for the wrong reasons this time. Lithium Australia hit a speed bump in their take-over bid for Lepidico when the target of their bid made inappropriate comments about Lithium Australia’s Sileach technology. At the end, after the lawyers have finished their battles, we, the public, will know the difference between hydrofluoric acid and hexafluorosilicic acid, apart from the spelling. It’s doubtful this legal problem based on a safety concern will stop the eventual change of ownership of Lepedico.

2. Nano-satellites and ASX listed Sky and Space Global will be able to provide narrow band communication services in South America as they have signed a customer agreement with South American satellite service provider, Globalsat Group. The synergies that exist here are Sky and Space Global’s innovative miniature satellite devices and Globalsat’s huge presence in Latin American countries. Surely a partnership made in the heavens.

3. Some further developments in the sad saga in South Australia on their power supply shortfalls. The government has made the decision to build a new gas-fired power station for ‘emergency’ purposes. At $550 million that’s an expensive emergency. You can see the SA government’s 6-point plan here. Part of their plan is $150 million to be spent on green, renewable energy. This would be a good opportunity for an Australian owned technology company like Kinetic NRG to do a quick sell job on their Tidal Energy Generators. This very clever design can put turbines anchored to pontoons or jetties into tidal rivers, streams and channels and simply by utilising the power of flowing water, generate sufficient electricity to light up quite a few homes and businesses.

4. Still surging on with electricity – The Federal Government announced a $2 billion upgrade to the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme that will provide power to about 500,000 homes and, in fact, lift the output of the station by 50%. In a bit of ‘one-upmanship’ the Prime Minister stated that their plan would be superior to the South Australian one. At a cost of four times as much, one hopes so. The statement that it will ‘mean cheaper power prices and more money in the pockets of Australians’ might be a statement that comes back to bite him.

5. Looking at the prices of metals, you will notice the very high price of Cobalt at $53,000 USD / tonne. They are amazing prices for an amazing metal that has some interesting properties apart from its colour (think cobalt blue) and its ability to be magnetic. If you ever wondered why the price is so high and what we actually use the element for, take a read here as it will help you to understand a lot more.

If you want to watch something that offers a balanced view on the media, then a great show is the ABC’s Media Watch. It doesn’t mind taking a swing at the ABC either, if warranted. More cuts at the ABC didn’t affect Media Watch, so take advantage and be entertained for a few minutes. Here’s the link.

This week’s Mining Trivia

The opal mining town of Coober Pedy in central Australia was actually an Aboriginal word meaning “fella down a hole”. That certainly reflects exactly what is happening in Opal City, much of which exists underground.
They say once you have been bitten by the opal bug, admittedly a beautiful stone, it’s almost impossible to rid yourself of the effects of the sting.

The population is around the 1700 mark and it is famous enough for John Williamson to have written a song about it.

“In a dusty lean-to town with a dusty digger’s face,

Where you can find an opal if you can stand the pace,

Where you can be a miner no matter what your race,

Where you can dig a hole and live and die without a trace.”

The ‘Olympus Australis’ was the largest opal ever found in 1956. It weighs 17,000 carats and was valued at $2,500,000 in 2005. It is so unique, it remains in its uncut state.

Andrew Mortimer
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