There’s lots of discussion around when the share price gains being posted by the gold and copper producers in response to prices being in record territory will start to trickle down to the junior explorers.

It hasn’t happened in any meaningful way yet. But the longer gold and copper prices stay at these elevated levels, the more likely it is that the trickle-down effect will take hold.

With that in mind, Garimpeiro went rummaging through the true junior space – active explorers with good management, good projects and a market cap of less than $5 million for maximum leverage to future exploration success. He came up with these two:

KILLI RESOURCES (ASX:KLI): A relative newcomer to the ASX trading mid-week at 3.7c for a market cap of all of $4.44 million. Talk about leverage to the upside with this one which unashamedly has virgin large scale copper/gold discoveries as its battle cry.

If it was possible to re-float the company on the ASX with its current interests, it is likely the IPO would raise a multiple of the current market cap, such is the inexplicable way junior explorers get valued at times.

All that can be said Killi on the strength of its coup earlier this month in signing up the likes of the $22 billion Gold Fields to a $13 million joint venture agreement over Killi’s West Tanami gold project in Western Australia.

The project area covers 100km strike of the belt of rocks that host Newmont’s 14 million ounce Callie gold mine across the border in the Northern Territory, and a host of other gold deposits either side the border.

Still, the Killi ground is frontier stuff which requires deep pockets to fund a broad and systematic exploration program in the hunt for the next big deposit in the belt. Gold Fields doesn’t get out of bed unless it is chasing 5 million ounce-scale targets.

If Gold Fields were to spend the full $13m over 7 years it would earn up to an 85% interest. First up it has the right but not the obligation to earn an initial 60% stake by spending $5m over three years, with a minimum of $2 million in the first two years.

Gold Fields cemented the deal by taking up a 10% placement of Killi shares.

Yes, little Killi is letting go upside to a discovery. But then again, the deal with Gold Fields is the best chance of making a discovery on the virgin ground.

We only have to think of the value uplift to more than $550m for the London-listed Greatland on the strength of its 30% interest in the Havieron gold discovery in WA’s Paterson province where deep pockets Newcrest (now Newmont) came in for a 70% interest.

With recent placement proceeds taking its cash kitty to $2.05m, Killi can now let Gold Fields get on with things in the Tanami while it devotes itself to its Mt Rawdon West and Ravenswood North copper/gold projects in Queensland.

Mt Rawdon West is another belt-scale land holding in a region known for gold and copper, including the 2Moz Mt Rawdon gold mine 10kms along strike where the owner Evolution is planning to develop a pumped hydro storage facility at its end of days.

Initial exploration by Killi on its virgin ground has been encouraging, with two large scale copper-gold-molybdenum targets identified. More work to do before a drilling program kicks off but inside a $4.44m company, it will be could be worth the wait.

EASTERN METALS (ASX:EMS): This copper and gold junior really is a junior with a market cap of $3.2m at its mid-week share price of 3.2c a share.

It was running low on cash but has just pulled in $1m from a placement after its shares went on a bit of trot after its neighbour in the South Cobar region of NSW, Australian Gold and Copper (ASX:AGC), reported some spectacular results from drilling at its Achilles prospect near Lake Cargelligo.

AGC was a 10c stock before its May 15 report of a best hit of 5m grading 16.9g/t gold and 1,437g/t silver, along with 15% combined lead-zinc. It is now a 39c stock (mid-week). The grade of the hit was impressive all right, but what got the wider industry excited was the precious metals component.

The South Cobar region is well known for its lead and zinc but not precious metals. It is why the area around Lake Cargelligo has been dubbed a new exploration hotspot.

And tiny Eastern Metals is in the thick of things. Detailed mapping and surface sampling on its coverage of the prospective Woorara Fault, as a precursor to eventual drilling to the north of its Browns Reef base metals project, is underway.

So potentially exciting times in NSW’s newest hotspot for Eastern Metals. But the company’s Home of Bullion copper deposit, just off the Stuart Highway between Alcie Springs and Tennant Creek in the NT, is part of its $3.2m market cap deal.

It has a resource too – 3.1Mt tonnes grading 2.9% cu equivalent. The plan there is to generate exploration targets along a 9km magnetic trend with the aim of bulking up the copper tonnes to development scale.

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