On the back of a sustained period of production and marketing success – and soaring zircon prices – PYX Resources (NSX: PYX | LSE: PYX) has elevated itself even further onto the international stage with a successful London Stock Exchange (LSE) listing in mid-November.
A leading supplier of premium zircon to the global market, PYX is now dual-listed with the company a high-profile member of the National Stock Exchange (NSX) of Australia since February 2020.
PYX’s remarkable growth since that NSX listing less than two years ago has seen the company’s market capitalization leap from A$105M to approximately A$750M.
Led by the highly experienced and regarded business executive, Oliver B. Hasler, PYX’s run of impressive results since he took over the reins of the company in 2019 has perfectly matched the development strategy he envisaged. That game plan of identifying, developing, and acquiring undervalued, world-class mineral assets strategically located in countries participating in China’s Belt and Road initiative, that possess significant resources, long mine life and the highest zircon assemblage in the world, has already placed PYX firmly on the path to success.
The PYX chairman and CEO says the LSE listing is another key success in PYX Resources’ development.
“Our dual listing on the LSE marks a very exciting milestone for PYX, in both our development as well as our future plans as we focus on building a position as a key supplier of premium zircon to support world demand, which remains significant due to constrained supply and increasing applications for its use,” Mr Hasler said.
“The dual listing will give investors, existing shareholders, and the public a global access to participate in the growth and future potential of PYX Resources. We look forward to proactively engaging with the London market.”
A key plank of PYX’s dramatic growth since its NSX listing has been its high-quality Mandiri Deposit in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.
In March 2019, Mandiri’s inferred Mineral Resources were evaluated at 126 Mt (with 7.43% heavy minerals) within an area of 2,032 ha. Mandiri’s heavy minerals inferred resources have been estimated to exceed 9.4 Mt, inclusive of 6.0 Mt of zircon inferred resources. With a zircon content of 64%, Mandiri’s heavy minerals have best-in-class assemblage value compared to all out peers.
Mr Hasler says PYX’s unique, high-quality premium product, which boasts whiteness, low radioactivity, and low alumina content, is highly attractive to the global market.
In September, that attractiveness saw the company introduce its fourth price increase this year for its premium zircon. Since the beginning of 2021, the company has lifted its prices by a total of US$910 per tonne. PYX has already enacted price increases in March, May, and June driven by demand from China as its economy rebounded from COVID-19, supply issues from South Africa and low inventory levels in China, which left a void for premium zircon in the market.
The company’s next big plank is its acquisition of the world-class Tisma mineral sands asset consisting of a concession area of 1,500 ha, also located in Central Kalimantan.
In February 2021, PYX entered into a Share Purchase Agreement with the shareholders of Tisma Development (HK) Ltd to acquire 100% of the shares of Tisma and wrapped up the acquisition a month later.
The Tisma acquisition boosted PYX’s contained zircon resources by 75% and provides a strategic balance to the company’s plans to further expand the Mandiri project and PYX’s position as a premium zircon supplier on the world stage.
The market’s love of the Tisma deal was on full display in June when PYX received firm commitments to raise A$11.2M via a share placement to professional and sophisticated investors.
Proceeds from the placement, in combination with existing cash reserves, will be used to accelerate the development of Tisma including investing in its in-house mining at the Tisma deposit, together with the installation of a mineral separation plant.
The company is now the second-largest zircon producing mining company globally in terms of JORC- compliant zircon resources, following the Tisma acquisition and this month’s LSE listing opens up PYX to an expanded market with a real appetite for new tech metals, of which zircon is a critical member.
2021 has also been a highly successful year for PYX’s marketing team, with the company successful in signing up new customers and firming up long-term commitments from loyal customers.
With zircon demand continuing to grow at a rapid rate, the global zirconium market was estimated to be worth US$1.8B in 2020, with an expected CAGR for the period 2021-2026 of over 5%, while the zircon and derivative market has been forecast by TMR to rise at CAGR of 10.3% through to 2027.
Zircon has been labelled as one of the most important materials you have never heard of and has been in use for thousands of years, and now it is making a resurgence as a critical material for the modern tech world.
Known more widely for its use in ceramics, zircon’s use is expanding into many modern technologies with a major market developing for its use in the casing material for smartphones.
The Zircon Industry Association (ZIA) says zircon is now seen as a critical mineral for the ongoing development of a number of modern technologies, including the communications sector.
ZIA says companies in Korea and China are producing phones encased in zircon derived materials, and other leading smartphone manufacturers are set to follow suit with their next generation of 5G smartphones protected by the thin but tough ceramic material, rather than aluminium.
According to ZIA, the new tech opportunities for zircon and its derivatives is endless. Current applications for different zirconium compounds include kidney dialysis, coated paper (frozen food packaging), pigment coating (Ti02), paint driers, and thixotropic paints (paints that are free-flowing and easy to apply while being brushed on, but quickly reset into a gel).
With industry gaining a better understanding of the chemistry, it has been able to move into the growing market of advanced ceramic/oxide applications. Some applications of zirconium ceramics are piezo electrics (spark ignitors, sonar devices, and ultrasonics), thermal barrier coatings (turbine blades), solid electrolytes (oxygen sensors and fuel cells), and catalysts (cracking of petroleum and catalytic convertors).
It is expected that zircon and its derivatives may also be a player in the electric vehicle market.
It is not only in the marketplace that PYX is shining.
Mr Hasler is rightly proud of the community programmes the company has undertaken over the past 18 months.
One of the earliest initiatives he put in place after taking charge was the company’s “PYX Cares” programme, which has provided vital support to the local communities surrounding its operations.
PYX Cares takes its inspiration from the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations Development Programme and is the company’s blueprint for making a meaningful difference to the communities in which it operates and achieving sustainable growth.
Recent activities include:
- A major COVID -19 vaccination campaign which has also seen the company undertake a number of other key measures to prevent the spread of infection among its employees. These include focusing on educating its workforce, ensuring workplaces are clean and hygienic, promoting regular, thorough handwashing among staff, contractors and customers, and enacting regular testing for the virus
- Collaboration with Indonesia’s National Blood Donor Programme which saw the company’s Indonesian mining company subsidiary, PT Investasi Mandiri, participate in the commemoration of Indonesian National Blood Donor Day by contributing to the blood donation social activities under the theme “Give Blood, Save Life”
- Installing a new drainage system at the 1 State Elementary School (SDN) in Tumbang Lampahung, in the Kuala Kurun District, Gunung Mas Regency, which is located near its Mandiri mine site in Central Kalimantan. Historically, the school experienced regular flooding due to the absence of adequate drainage channels and uneven ground surfaces, which resulted in disruption to the children’s learning and playing activities.