Firebird Metals is poised to become the newest manganese explorer after its parent Firefly Resources (ASX:FFR) closed the $5.5m initial public offering a week early due to the overwhelming response from investors.

While the offer of 27.5 million shares priced at 20c each was heavily oversubscribed, the spin-off of Firebird remains subject to Firefly shareholder and ASX approval.

The former will be sought during a shareholder meeting later this week.

Existing shareholders are also eligible for an in-specie distribution of 25 million Firebird shares.

Firefly is spinning off its Oakover manganese project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region about 85km east of Newman into Firebird to focus on its flagship Yalgoo gold project in WA.

Oakover manganese project

Oakover was once Firefly’s flagship project in its previous incarnation as Brumby Resources.

It has a current inferred resource of 64Mt at 10 per cent manganese, and is located 85km east of Newman in a region with known manganese deposits such as Nicholas Downs, Anthill and Sunday Hill as well as E25’s (ASX:E25) Butcherbird manganese project.

Mineralisation consists of very rich (up to 55% manganese) surface layers that overlie thicker deposits of layered manganese in shales varying in manganese content.

On listing, Firebird plans to complete infill and extensional drilling at Oakover to increase resources and increase the definition of higher grade domains.

It also plans to complete metallurgical beneficiation testing in parallel with assessing direct shipping ore opportunities.

Other projects

Oakover is not Firebird’s only project. The company has signed an option and exclusivity agreement to acquire two additional manganese exploration concessions (one still in application) that are also in the Pilbara.

Hill 616 comprises one granted exploration licence about 85km southeast of Newman within the Peak Hill mineral field while the Disraeli project is a pending exploration licence about 230km north-northeast of Newman.

Extensive reverse circulation drilling has been carried out at Hill 616 with 112 holes completed for 3,727m over a wide-spaced pattern.

High-grade manganese mineralisation was encountered in several small zones, both in the central and southern part of the prospect area, that had no significant surface expression of manganese.

This indicates that there is potential to find more high-grade mineralisation to the south of the prospect.

Meanwhile, Disraeli is an early stage project where limited historical sampling has returned manganese.

Further exploration is warranted including review of previous work, geological mapping and additional rock chip sampling along with further geophysical surveys to identify potential drilling targets.

Firebird Metals plans to carry out systematic exploration at both Hill 616 and Disraeli to deliver a maiden JORC resource.

It will also pursue mineral exploration and other resource opportunities that have the potential to deliver resource growth and consider other acquisitions that have a strategic fit.