On the last day of the Mining Indaba event, I had the opportunity to accompany the management team and directors, analysts and others on a visit out to see the Steenkampskraal rare-earth project first-hand.
Gold and silver have recovered somewhat from slight falls in Asia overnight. With geopolitical instability looking set to climb and possibility of a military confrontation in the Mediterranean, any sell off of precious metals will likely be tentative.
The Australian government has recently compiled a database of Australian resource sector projects in Africa and the companies involved. There are over 220 Australian companies with nearly 600 projects in Africa spread across 42 countries.
Severe and widespread flooding several weeks ago in Queensland - Australia's main coal producing region - sent shock waves through the already under-supplied coking coal market. Prices briefly ratcheted up to what some termed hysterical levels.
Copper production is likely to continue to fall short of demand into 2012 and possibly 2013, driving prices to an average of $9,200 per tonne this year and $10,000 per tonne next year, an analyst with Standard Bank told the Mining Indaba conference.
Diamonds were hard-hit by the global economic dislocations of 2008-2009, along with other asset-class commodities including gold, but the industry is now in a recovery phase that looks poised to accelerate.