US markets rise, April 1-5: Lithium Americas, Sibanye-Stillwater, First Majestic

The spot gold price fell 0.04% to US$1,291.40 per ounce. The Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index rose 0.62% to 76.84 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.9% to 26,424.99. The S&P 500 Index rose 2.6% to 2,892.74.

Shares of Lithium Americas rose 27% to US$4.80, after the company announced that Ganfeng Lithium would invest US$160 million in its Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project by buying new shares in Minera Exar, the holding company for Cauchari-Olaroz. After the deal closes, the two companies will each own 50% of Cauchari.

The project is on track for first production in the second half of 2020. The companies plan to undertake a feasibility study at the project that contemplates expanding its initial production capacity from 25,000 tonnes per year to 40,000 tonnes per year. Lithium Americas is funded to produce under the current 25,000-tonne-per-year development plan, with US$250 million in undrawn debt facilities.

As of March 1, 2019, Cauchari has 17.9 million lithium carbonate equivalent tonnes grading 581 milligrams per litre lithium in the measured and indicated categories — a 53% increase over the previous resource.

Shares of Sibanye-Stillwater rose 11.4% to US$4.60. The company released an independent study that indicates the NUM, UASA and Solidarity unions collectively represent most of its employees at its South African gold mines, and, as a result, the ongoing strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is unprotected. The company hopes the study will help it peacefully end AMCU’s strike. While AMCU has challenged the outcome of Sibanye’s study, the company says it will under no condition consider revising the current wage agreement, or “any other type of settlement that undermines” its other stakeholders.

AMCU began its strike in late November 2018, after Sibanye reached a three-year wage agreement with the other three unions. The company claims that despite attempts to negotiate with AMCU, the organization’s leadership has made unaffordable demands.

Shares of First Majestic Silver fell US13¢ to US$6.45. The company drilled more than 211,000 metres at its operating mines in 2018.


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