Great Boulder Resources appears to be morphing into a battery metals player after putting its foot on what it thinks is a large copper, nickel and cobalt system.

The company (ASX:GBR) was originally exploring for gold in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia when it made its debut on the ASX in late 2016.

At the time it considered its Balagundi project, which is 20km from the massive Kalgoorlie Super Pit, as its flagship asset.

The Yarmana project, according to boss Stefan Murphy, was the company’s lowest priority at the start.

But that changed after drilling at a Yarmana project called “Mt Venn” hit strong copper, nickel and cobalt mineralisation over an extensive strike length.

Copper, nickel and cobalt have all been added to the basket of battery metals that industry watchers predict are set for big growth.

That November announcement last year sent Great Boulder’s share price up 200 per cent to a 52-week peak of 71c.

Great Boulder Resources (ASX:GBR) shares over the past year.
Great Boulder Resources (ASX:GBR) shares over the past year.

The Mt Venn discovery is considered to be the tail-end of a mineralised system, with a major source nearby.

Great Boulder revealed last week that it now thinks the Eastern Mafic target – which has only ever been tested for its gold potential by past explorers – could host that source.

A recent airborne survey over the Eastern Mafic identified more than 30 conductors.

Great Boulder is now tapping investors for $2.5 million to drill these new targets.

“Everything seems to be lining up pretty well for us at the moment,” Mr Murphy told Stockhead.

“Because we have so many targets out there – over 30 conductors from the airborne survey – we know that we’re going to need a reasonable exploration push and that’s why we wanted to go and secure some additional funding for that.”

Potential company-maker

Mr Murphy believes Great Boulder now has a company-making project on its hands.

“Ninety-five per cent of our activity is focused on the Mt Venn deposit now,” he said.

“These types of deposits are typically very large.

“The last main discovery of this type of system was Nova-Bollinger – and that would be wonderful if we ended up with a Nova-Bollinger – but it’s a similar sort of magnetic system.”

The Nova-Bollinger mine was discovered by Sirius Resources in 2012 and was taken over three years later by Independence Group (ASX:IGO) in a $1.8 billion deal.

So is Great Boulder becoming a battery metals player?

“It looks that way doesn’t it?” Mr Murphy said.

“It certainly wasn’t the intention. But what we found in the initial metallurgical test work that we’ve done at Mt Venn is we’ve got a clean copper concentrate, which is a readily saleable product, and our nickel and cobalt we’re taking through a leach process to produce a nickel and a cobalt sulphate for the battery market.

“There aren’t, that I’m aware, of any other projects around that produce a copper concentrate as well as the nickel and cobalt sulphates directly marketed into the battery sector.

“So from that perspective yeah absolutely.”