There are 729 metals and mining companies across the ASX, far and away the most of any sector in the Aussie market, and 554 of them at the rich opportunity end of the investing game with a market cap of under $100 million.

They may not be Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) or BHP (ASX:BHP) yet, but history shows almost all of the world’s biggest miners and hottest large and mid-caps start there.

Now, with the support of Stockhead, the Market Insights Lunchtime Series, will give you the chance to go 1-on-1 with leaders of some of the most exciting ASX small and mid-cap resource companies at Noosa on July 20 in a partnership between the west and east coast team of Resolve IR and Jane Morgan Management.

Often overlooked by the broader market, mining plays a critical role in our everyday lives, producing the raw materials essential for construction, home appliances, tech and energy.

Most importantly, accelerating the production of a new suite of commodities known as battery metals, critical minerals which can only be dug out of the ground, have emerged as the most important cog in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

No starker is this tectonic shift than in the exponential growth of the world’s electric vehicle industry, which has turned previously obscure or undervalued commodities used in massive quantities in batteries like lithium, nickel, graphite and manganese into ingredients as essential as water.

What do companies with these metals in their back pocket need? Capital to explore and develop what global consulting giant McKinsey says will be 400 NEW mines by 2030.

How can you as an ASX investor join in this critical (mineral) mission?


The Tinder of Finance

As Stockhead’s Gregor Stronach says “Picking stocks is (surprisingly) a lot like Tinder, that godforsaken app full of pretty pictures, slightly suspect half-truths and devastatingly empty promises.”

Just like love, how do you find someone who is not going to break your heart? In this case, knowledge is power.

There’s a lot to learn. What is their project plan? How do the economics stack up? How will they secure finance? Where is the market for their commodity heading?

There’s no better way to get a handle on those key questions that live, in person from some of our top emerging resource company leaders.

JMM founder and director Jane Morgan said the Markets Insights luncheon brings together companies, brokers, institutional investors, and shareholders, giving an insight into the prospects of mid-tier and junior resources stocks directly from the horse’s mouth.

“With both firms being leaders in investor and media relations, particularly in the mining, energy and resources sector, we are both committed to providing our clients with the best possible opportunities to connect with investors and showcase their company projects,” Morgan said.

ResolveIR director Evy Litopoulos said the Markets Insights luncheon is all about giving investors knowledge of junior players and the mining sector to help them make more informed decisions.

“Through our collaboration, we aim to provide investors with valuable insights and analysis on the latest market trends, as well as connect them with companies that are poised for growth and success in the Australian market,” she said.


Who’s on the bill? 

The Market Insights event will be even better than speed dating, because we have a guide here to help you learn more about your dates before you head down to Locale in Noosa at lunchtime on July 20. 

Ranging from lithium to gold, to helium, oil and gas, silver and more, there are plenty of opportunities and markets to get you head around.


Critical Minerals Group (ASX:CMG) – CEO and Managing Director for CMG – Scott Winter

Backed by an industry heavyweight in Japanese trading giant Idemitsu, Critical Minerals Group is one of the most advanced developers of vanadium, a key battery metal and steel hardening ingredient in the emerging Julia Creek region of north-west Queensland.

Covering almost 300km2, the Lindfield project contains a massive resource of 363Mt at 0.43% V2O5 and 4.8% aluminium oxide, making it a potential producer of both vanadium pentoxide and high purity alumina for long-life batteries. The former is expected to see consumption from batteries rise at a rate of 41% per year from 2022 to 2031.

A scoping study at Lindfield is due this quarter, with high-powered executive Scott Winter, previously COO of iron ore and lithium giant Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), on board as its new managing director.


AuTECO Minerals (ASX:AUT)  – CEO Darren Cooke

Backed by many of the same names who made ASX 200 listed gold miner Bellevue Gold (ASX:BGL) a rags-to-riches success story, AuTECO is a gold explorer advancing the high-grade Pickle Crow Project in the world-class Uchi sub-province of Ontario, Canada.

The project hosts an inferred JORC Resource of 2.8 Moz at 7.2g/t gold as of May 2023, a lift of 244% or 2Moz since its acquisition in March 2020.


Alicanto Minerals (ASX:AQI)  – Managing Director Robert Sennitt

One of Europe’s most advanced mining jurisdictions, Sweden has played host to some of the most significant deposits of base metals globally since Viking days.

Revived in the context of the green energy transition, Aussie explorer Alicanto owns some of the most impressive deposits of zinc, silver, copper and lead in the  history of the Scandinavian nation centred on its rich Bergslagen mineral province.

The Sala project, now the largest undeveloped zinc and silver deposit in Sweden, contains an inferred mineral resource estimate of 9.7Mt at 4.5% zinc equivalent including a high grade core of 4.5Mt at 6%ZnEq, including 311,000t of zinc metal, 15Moz of silver and 44,000t of lead.

That is complemented by the historically world class Falun mine, which has been little explored since its 1992 closure despite being regarded as the world’s major copper producer in the 17th century.

Falun produced a known 28Mt at 4% copper, 5% zinc, 2% lead and 35g/t silver with drilling planned this quarter.


ADX Energy (ASX:ADX) – Executive chairman Ian Tchacos

ADX is a European-focussed oil and gas explorer and producer with operations in Austria, Romania and Italy, and a focus on the implementation of low-carbon technologies.

The company has increasing cashflow and reserves growth with material exploration upside from an expanded near-term drilling program.

ADX’s primary goal is to become a leading onshore European energy producer and it has a sizeable inventory of gas and geothermal prospects – particularly in Austria – that could help it achieve this objective.


Noble Helium (ASX:NHE) – Co-founder and CEO Justyn Wood

By the middle of this decade Qatar, Russia and Algeria will control around 61% of the world’s supply of helium, a cocktail for geopolitical risk for a misunderstood commodity.

Formed in 2017, Noble Helium is poised to step into the gap to produce the lightweight gas, which has serious application in major modern technology like semiconductors, missile launches and magnetic resonance imaging scanners.

The global market size is project to expand like a helium balloon from US$5b in 2023 to over US$8b in 2030, with bulk wholesale liquid helium currently retailing at 50 times the price of LNG.

With a combined company-estimated prospective helium resource of 39 billion cubic feet, Noble recently received the renewal of its six exploration permits at the North Rukwa project in Tanzania, where it is on track to begin drilling its first wells this quarter after seven years pinpointing the ideal well locations in the East African Rift System.

A recoverable resource of just 6Bcf would be considered a ‘company maker’, Noble says.


Caspin Resources (ASX:CPN) – CEO Greg Miles

Caspin was built by the team behind Cassini Resources, developing its West Musgrave nickel and copper project before the future battery metals mine’s takeover by OZ Minerals.

It is now a $1.7 billion project being steered to production by BHP, the world’s biggest miner, a strong endorsement of the eye for quality and value held by Caspin CEO Greg Miles and his crew.

CPN is actively exploring the Yarawindah Brook Project in WA’s new PGE-Ni-Cu West Yilgarn province as one of the explorer’s most tipped to follow up Chalice Mining’s (ASX:CHN) game-changing Julimar discovery near Perth.

It also boasts the Mount Squires Project in the West Musgrave region, one of Australia’s last great mineral exploration frontiers.


Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM) GM Corporate Development John Khoo

QPM is focused on developing its 100% owned Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) Project, a battery metals refinery which will produce critical metals for the rapidly emerging lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle sector.

It has some heavy hitters on board.

Shareholders include global battery manufacturing leader LG Energy Solution, auto behemoth General Motors and major Korean conglomerate POSCO, all of which QPM has secured the support of as offtakers for nickel and cobalt from the TECH project.

According to a 2022 feasibility study, the plant would produce some 16,000t of nickel metal in battery grade nickel sulphate, 1750t of cobalt metal in sulphate, 610,000t of hematite and 4000t of high purity alumina in its $1.9 billion first stage, delivering annual EBITDA at steady state of almost $550m a year.

That would roughly double in metal production and earnings from a second stage, which has been studied to scoping level.


Ora Gold (ASX: OAU) CEO Alex Passmore

ORA holds a substantial package of tenements in the prolific Murchison goldfield near Meekatharra in WA.

The company is focussed on the Garden Gully Gold Project which comprises a 217km2 tenure package covering the Abbots Greenstone Belt and has multiple gold prospects along the belt.

The most advanced is Crown Prince, which sits on a granted mining lease, a major benefit when it comes to progressing an exploration project through development and into production in Western Australia.

Ora plans to update the Crown Prince resource estimate this quarter on the back of stellar high grade results at its South-Eastern Ore Body zone, which includes 6.8m at 17.74g/t Au from 142m incl. 1.5m at 72.75g/t Au from 145.7m in a maiden diamond drill hole.


Narryer Metals (ASX:NYM) Executive director Damon O’Meara

Narryer is focused on Ni-Cu-PGE and rare earth discoveries in Australia, chasing critical commodities the world needs for the switch to renewable energy.

The explorer views Australia as a key source for the rare earth metals which go into permanent magnets, used in decarbonisation technologies like EV motors and wind turbines, as the market diverges between China and the West.

Narryer has three significant opportunities to drill test this year, including rare earths in a conventional hard rock carbonatite setting at Rocky Gully in WA’s south, scandium in clays at Rocky Gully and Ceduna, the latter in regional South Australia, and ionic absorption clay rare earths at four projects across WA and SA.

Its first drilling at the Mt Nairn project in the Gascoyne-Murchison region of WA turned up best total rare earth oxide results of 13m at 1047ppm from 21m and 18m at 929ppm TREO from 29m, both with a 20% mix of magnet rare earth oxides.


Hampton Metals (ASX:HMT) – Managing director Graeme Gribbin

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Lefroy Exploration (ASX:LEX), HMT is planning an ASX listing in 2023 to spin out the copper and gold explorer’s bountiful nickel interests.

HMT holds a diverse portfolio of drill ready assets, including the Goodyear Nickel Project and its inferred resource of 319,250t at 3.78% nickel for 14,780t of nickel metal just 35km south-east of Kalgoorlie

HMT also hold the highly prospective nickel rights to the Carnilya South and Eastern Lefroy Projects over the underexplored Lake Johnston nickel belt south of Kalgoorlie, and significant exposure to an early-mover greenfields district at the Glenayle Project, with more than 3000km2 of tenure in application.


Lithium Plus Minerals (ASX:LPM) – Non-executive director Simon Kidston

LPM is focused on lithium exploration and development in the Northern Territory. Its flagship Bynoe Project is next to Core Lithium (ASX:CXO)’s Finniss mine at the northern end of the Litchfield Pegmatite Belt.

Finniss contains 30.6Mt of lithium ore at 1.31% Li2O, and is this year ramping up the first production line in Australia outside WA for spodumene concentrate. There remains plenty of ground to explore around the Litchfield Belt, which has seen a number of significant spodumene discoveries since 2017.

With a market cap of a little over $20m, LPM boasts more than 1690km2 of tenure at its Bynoe project in the same geological settings as Core.

It has had plenty to be excited about, with a diamond hole last year at its Lei spodumene-bearing pegmatite returning an intercept of 21.2m at 1.74% Li2O.


More information about the Market Insights Lunchtime Series at Noosa and registration is available on the website. 

Date: Thursday, 20 July 2023
Venue: Locale, 62 Hastings St, Noosa Heads, Queensland
Start time: 12.30pm