Australian expertise in operating remote mine sites could potentially be leverage for space exploration as efforts to send people back to the Moon and on to Mars build up steam.

Australian Space Agency deputy head Anthony Murfett told the ABC that “the robotics and automation that exist in our mining and resources sector” could help triple the size of the space economy to $12bn and create 20,000 new jobs.

However, while the Australian mining skill set could be soaring into space, the same cannot be said about the performance of the ASX this week.

While the market has picked up the pace after early gains today, it has not been enough to shake off the malaise that has seen the benchmark ASX200 fall 0.65% this week to 7,319.2 points.
 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for June 18 – June 25 [intraday]:

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Ragnar Metals (ASX:RAG) +129%

Finding what looks like a brand new nickel-copper-PGE deposit at its Tullsta project in Sweden has proven to be a winner for Ragnar with its shares topping the small caps chart.

Maiden drilling at the project had returned a significant 61.2m wide zone of sulphide mineralisation in the second stage of the program.

While assay are still pending, visual inspection of the sulphide mineralisation has uncovered similarities to Carr Boyd [Estrella Resources (ASX:ESR)] and Andover [Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS)] magmatic nickel-copper sulphide discoveries.

Future Metals (ASX:FME) +94%

Future Metals, formerly resources and energy explorer Red Emperor Resources, stormed the ASX after rebranding as a platinum group metals-focused play and relisting.

It holds the 23sqkm Panton PGM project in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, which has a pre-existing 2.06Moz palladium-platinum resource.

Vanadium Resources (ASX:VR8) +57%

The South Africa-focused vanadium developer climbed this week after releasing a study on its flagship 18,500 tonnes per annum Steelpoortdrift project that highlighted very robust economics.

These included a post-tax net present value of $US1.2bn, average annual cash flow of $US139 million, and very low operating costs of $US3.08/lb V2O5.
 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for June 18 – June 25 [intraday]:

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Mount Ridley Mines (ASX:MRD) -58%

Punters were not too impressed by the company’s latest drill results from Targets 1 and 2 at its Weld Range West iron project, which showed that haematite mineralisation – when intersected – was poorly developed and often siliceous.

This has led Mount Ridly to pause drilling to compare the results with recently acquired gravity and ground magnetic surveys.

However, the company said the project is in its infancy and that it still intends to systematically drill each of the targets developed for the first pass program.