Lithium exploration stocks continue to provide the lion’s share of excitement in the ASX junior mining and exploration sector.

Come to think of it, make that the ASX generally. Wildcat (ASX:WC8) was the latest to feel the warm glow that comes from a surging share price in response to impressive lithium hits.

It surged 72% to 43c on Monday after reporting that latest drilling at its Tabba Tabba project in the Pilbara indicated the project had the makings of becoming a major discovery.

Now it has to be said that the drilling program at Tabba Tabba was highly anticipated as being a success based on all of the preliminary reconnaissance and surface sampling that goes ahead of a rig being rolled up to drill a target.

So the stock had been on the march since Tabba Tabba was picked up in May. The 72% bump on Monday was the reward to those investors who read the early signals that Tabba Tabba could deliver in a big way.

Wildcat gave up some of Monday’s closing price in the following days which is to be expected after a 72% jump. Now the stock goes in to a waiting period for more drilling to confirm Tabba Tabba is so good they named it twice.

Garimpeiro spent the week looking for another lithium explorer with a highly anticipated drilling program pending. He settled on Bulletin Resources (ASX:BNR) which was trading mid-week at 8.2c for a light market cap of $24 million.

A pending drilling program at its Ravensthorpe lithium project in WA’s Great Southern region is highly anticipated all right. The project sits 12km southwest and along strike from Allkem’s (ASX:AKE) ageing Mt Cattlin mine, itself all of 2km from the town of Ravensthorpe.

On current planning, Mt Cattlin could come to an end in August 2027 unless life extending resources are found to feed the existing 1.8mtpa processing plant. Bulletin’s project might well be the solution.

But before it can be thought of in that strategic sense, Bulletin has to confirm the potential of its ground with the drill bit and establish a resource with the critical mass to support a mine development.

It is keen to do just that, with preliminary surface and remote sensing work having confirmed the presence of high-grade spodumene and lepidolite bearing pegmatites on two main trends. And it has $12m in cash and liquids to comfortably fund a drilling program.

But it is waiting on the final OK to start drilling. It has a granted exploration tenement, native title clearance, and independent flora and fauna advice that there would be no material impact from the proposed drilling.

What is missing at the moment is a ground clearance licence which is being held up while the EPA decides whether it will “assess’’ the project or hand it back to the Dept of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) to manage through the normal mining and exploration process.

Bulletin chairman Paul Poli told Garimpeiro during the week that the company thinks that when the EPA makes a decision, it will elect not to assess it, and it will hand it back to DMIRS to manage.

“And that is what we are waiting for with bated breath,’’ Poli said.

“We think that is not in the too distant future.’’

“We have done substantial flora and fauna surveys, and we have had independent experts review them, and the advice that we have received is that there is no material impact to any species of fauna and/or flora,’’ Poli said.

Garimpeiro asked Poli if Bulletin would hit the ground hard once the OK to drill was in.
“We will progress the drilling program in an environmentally responsible manner,’’ he said.

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