A who’s who of ASX listers and investment brokers gathered around the Cottesloe Beach Hotel in Perth earlier this week to listen to presentations by critical mineral explorers making headway on their respective projects.

Hosted by Jane Morgan Management, the one-day event was designed to showcase nine carefully selected, high growth companies at various levels of development in the resources sector.

The format was a series of 10-minute speeches which centred on exciting, upcoming exploration plans and near-term growth outlooks.

Stockhead was there to catch all the juicy details.

Ora Gold (ASX:OAU)

Alex Passmore, CEO

Ora Gold is on the fast track to resource growth and exploration activities at the Crown Prince prospect in WA’s Murchison gold field following a $5m placement in November 2023.

The company kicked off the new year with a resource update to 240,000oz at 4.1g/t gold at Crown Prince, with 68% of ounces in the higher confidence Indicated Resources category, meaning OAU has sufficient information on geology and grade continuity to support mine planning.

Passmore says Ora Gold has a busy 2024 planned with more drilling at Crown Prince, updates on metallurgical test work and getting the Crown Prince project further along the development pathway ahead of production.

“We’ve got a 677km2 tenement package covering an area called the Abbotts Greenstone Belt which is one of the largest yet under-explored areas in the Murchison goldfield with several gold prospects within that belt,” Passmore says.

“They are all at various, different stages of development but the flagship project is Crown Prince, a high-grade, shallow gold resource which looks to us like an open pit followed by an underground.”

“We can develop that project fairly easily, given it’s on a mining lease and we have our native title agreements in place.”


Intra Energy Corp (ASX:IEC)

Benjamin Dunn, MD 

Intra Energy Corp acquired an 80% interest in the Maggie Hays Hill lithium project in mid-January within WA’s Lake Johnston region, 25km north of the recent Burmeister and Medcalf spodumene discoveries.

The company is moving quickly to progress exploration works including a soil geochemistry program with an ambitious target for drilling to start by June/July this year.

Dunn says the company is very excited about the prospects of a clean energy future and the opportunities it will present.

“We transitioned out of coal mining in Tanzania a couple of years ago and have fully embraced the clean energy and battery materials thematic with our portfolio of projects in Western Australia and Canada,” he says.

“For the first half of the year our focus will be on the Lake Johnson project where we’ve already outlined drill targets and as the Northern Hemisphere summer evolves, we’ll be turning to our Llama lithium project in Quebec.

“But we’re also assessing further opportunities for the company in the battery materials and new energy space that we think will add value for our shareholders.”


Loyal Lithium (ASX:LLI)

Adam Ritchie, CEO

Loyal Lithium made several significant discoveries in 2023 across its hard rock lithium assets at Hidden Lake within Canada’s Northwest Territories, 45km east of Yellowknife.

The company found six additional spodumene-bearing dykes, which extended strike to an additional 1km and increased the project’s total strike length to 3.52km2.

Over at the Trieste project, Ritchie says the company landed on a big spodumene hill following a helicopter borne survey and has since discovered around six spodumene bearing dykes, which are currently undergoing drilling.

“We are doing about 2,500m of drilling across dykes 4 and 5 at Trieste to try and understand the mineralisation at depth and what the geometry looks like,” he says.

“From there we will probably plan some more geophysics in the summer to help refine the drilling programs and should have assays out in the next month or so.”


Power Minerals (ASX:PNN)

Nick Lindsay, technical adviser  

Power Minerals significantly de-risked development of the Incahuasi salar within its Salta lithium project in Argentina towards the end of 2023 following the execution of a binding term sheet with Summit Nanotech.

Under the binding terms sheet Summit Nanotech, PNN’s direct lithium extraction technology partner, can earn 30% in the joint venture over the Incahuasi salar by completing a strategic investment of up to US$3m in PNN and by completing a pilot test of Incahuasi brines to provide data for a pre-feasibility study.

“This is very exciting because it allows us to fulfil our concept for the project which is to take it from brine right through to lithium carbonate in one area and in one place,” Lindsay says.

“It is going to involve two main work streams, the first which includes working on the reservoir itself where we are currently drilling two pump test wells.

“But in parallel to that, Summit Nanotech have a large facility in Santiago where they process our brines in the form of pilot plant test work, allowing us to generate processing information such as how much it will cost to process this brine to take it to its final product, which is lithium carbonate.

“We expect the results to generate information for engineering, design work, and cost studies which will allow us to take the project to the next level.”


Arizona Lithium (ASX:AZL)

Paul Lloyd, MD

Arizona Lithium is focused on unlocking a vast untapped lithium brine resource at its Prairie lithium project in the heart of Saskatchewan’s resource-rich Williston Basin, where a PFS in December 2023 sketched out operating costs of US$2,819/t, amongst the lowest globally.

The company has processed more than 200,000L of brine and 13,500L of lithium carbonate over the past three months at its DLE pilot plant, exceeding expectations.

“Our management team are very excited about those results,” Lloyd says.

“The implications are two-fold, it is about the recovery of the lithium from the brine, which is effectively salty water, and also the rejection of the impurities.

“We have a recovery rate of about 94.5% which is well beyond our expectations and a rejection of impurities at 99.9% so we couldn’t wish for better results,” he adds.

The pilot plant is now in its final stages of operation as AZL looks to take the upgraded brine to a lithium research centre in Phoenix to undergo another two processing steps before it becomes lithium carbonate.


Capella Metals – IPO

Cain Fogarty, MD

Capella Metals is a copper-uranium explorer with projects in Mt Isa, Queensland.

The company is targeting an early April listing, raising $7m, to carry out early exploration works across its 2,000km2 of tenure within the same regional structures that host Glencore’s Mount Isa operations next door and Paladin’s (ASX:PDN) Valhalla uranium project.

With the tailwinds behind both uranium and copper, Fogarty says shareholders should be rewarded as the exploration story unfolds through 2024 at its two main discovery targets, Conglomerate Creek and Carlton Hills.

“What sets us apart from other explorers is our uranium assets, which surround Paladin’s Valhalla project, the third largest uranium project after Olympic Dam and Jabiluka.

“Our ground was explored in the past, we have a modest, initial uranium resource, high-grade rock chips of up to 2.86% uranium and walk-up drilling targets,” he says.

“We expect to be drilling before the end of the year.”


ZRX Limited – IPO

Paul L’Herpiniere, MD 

ZRX is currently in the final stages of its IPO process which has been ongoing since July 2023.

The company is aiming to list by the middle of April 2024 following a raise of ~$10m which will be spent on advancing its portfolio of projects including the advanced Rogozna project in southern Serbia.

With its highly skilled, low-cost workforce and favourable tax regime, Serbia has attracted the presence of several major miners including BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto.

L’Herpiniere says Rogozna has had about $60m spent on it to date in the form of various drilling program and technical studies.

“We’ve got over 100,000m of drilling, four defined gold-copper-zinc deposits, with two of those projects holding a JORC resource with a combined 5.4Moz,” he says.

“The other two have an exploration target of over 150Mt, so this is a really rare project both in terms of the fact that it is advanced but also… it’s massive.

“We are really confidence with this project, we see so much upside there that we want to bring to market now to take it to the next step.”


OAU,PNN,IEC, AZL share prices today:

At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Power Minerals and Arizona Lithium are Stockhead clients, they did not sponsor this article.