The iron ore boom in the 2000s ushered in a new class of mining millionaires and billionaires. While vast iron ore fortunes were amassed in the Pilbara, a graveyard of broken hopes and dreams also littered the region’s harsh landscape.
And there’s danger of history potentially repeating itself via the latest Pilbara-focused lithium frenzy. The lithium industry is no stranger to a bubble. The first bubble well and truly burst by 2020, with Alita Resources and Altura Mining two notable victims.
Another one popped at the tail end of last year, collectively wiping out billions in value from ASX-listed lithium juniors as 2023 progressed. Those two bubbles were similar, driven by global supply/demand imbalances, but the latest potential bubble has closer parallels to the Pilbara’s famed iron ore boom.
As Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group broke the iron ore duopoly between Rio Tinto and BHP, a bevy of other iron ore hopefuls sought to replicate the extraordinary success story.