• Gold and copper hopeful Far Northern Resources is aiming to strike it big in Queensland and the NT
  • Prospectus lodged for CPS Capital led IPO to raise $4-6m at 20c
  • $5m IPO of Robert Martin’s Ontario lithium play Pioneer Lithium open

A host of new explorers are staring down a place on the boards of the ASX in a potential return to life for the junior exploration scene.

It’s been a couple of dry years following a scarily busy 2021, when well over 100 junior explorers hit the bourse.

In the past week campaigns have begun to get a couple of new offerings on the table, including North Queensland gold and copper play Far Northern Resources (ASX:FNR).

The hopeful is looking to raise between $4 million and $6 million through CPS Capital at 20c with a story hitched to the rising interest in gold and copper in the Sunshine State.

READ: These explorers think the Sunshine State can recapture its golden past

FNR, which is eyeing a late September listing with its offer closing on September 8, is planning to drill down into the Empire Gold Project 34km west of Chillagoe inland from Cairns.

Explored privately by FNR since 2018, the project already has a resource of 820,000t at 0.85g/t for 22,500oz, 16,890oz of those in the indicated category.

It sits within a marathon run of Chillagoe and two mines in Mungana and Red Dome that have produced gold in recent times.

When it closed in 1997, Red Dome had delivered over 700,000oz of gold and 29,000t of copper over a decade at a grade of 2.1g/t.

Surrounded by tenements held by majors including AngloGold Ashanti and Newcrest (ASX:NCM), as well as active juniors like Ballymore Resources (ASX:BMR), Prospective MD Cameron Woodrow says the market is waking up to the potential of Queensland to again become a major gold producing jurisdiction.

The appearance of major gold miners in the region reinforces that view.

“It has been locked up for so long that these guys haven’t been able to get their hands on the ground,” Woodrow said.

“I think they also recognise that subduction zone which is the Palmerville subduction zone or Palmerville Fault whatever you want to call it.

“And they know that it’s a hotspot in Queensland that’s probably under explored.”


Search for porphyries is on

Drilling is planned to upgrade indicated and inferred resources to measured and indicated levels and extend Empire both along strike and at depth 50-100m below surface.

But the big prize could be if FNR can identify a large copper-gold porphyry.

FNR is planning to drill below the Empire Stockworks, looking for extensions beneath the historic Beaverbrook and United Empire copper-gold mines to test anomalies at the south of the Empire mining lease and breccia targets at its Pinnacles prospect.

Another 18km to the west of Chillagoe it holds the Rocks Reef tenement which boasts the advanced China Wall prospect where some 155 air track holes have been drilled along major and minor epithermal veins, followed up by FNR with rock chip and soil sampling.

While that drilling has barely scratched the surface it’s returned results as positive as 5m from ground level at 5.62g/t gold. Deeper drilling is in the works there.

Another 4.5km from China Wall is a 7km by 1km copper anomaly known as Roadside.

“With the move to electric vehicles, copper is certainly on everybody’s radar and the world is consuming more copper now or will be in the future than what we have in the past because of the EV scenario,” Woodrow said.

Outside of Queensland, FNR is also planning to get the drill rigs out at the Bridge Creek gold project, located near the historic gold fields of Pine Creek and Cosmo Hawley.

Bridge Creek already boasts an inferred resource of 1.97Mt at 1.12g/t gold for 70,560oz.

Most drilling to date has been shallow, with the bulk under 70m.

“We’ll look at doing some drilling up there as soon as we possibly can. We’ll push some holes down a little bit deeper and test that for the Cosmo Howley Anticline and see if we can we can have some more success with the drill bit there,” Woodrow said.

That’s another area now where you’ve got some Kingsland (ASX:KNG) up there with their graphite project, you’ve got Prodigy Gold (ASX:PNX) next door to us with their gold-silver project.

“And then you got numerous guys up there looking for lithium and other anomalies.

“I was in Pine Creek not so long ago and it’s buzzing. There’s mining people and exploration people floating around everywhere. The town’s come back to life. It’s really good to see it.”


Familiar faces line up for Canadian lithium

If there’s a trend with real steam right now it’s the Canadian lithium craze.

In the last month we’ve seen Patriot Battery Minerals (ASX:PMT) announce a 109Mt at 1.42% Li2O resource for its closely tracked Corvette lithium discovery in Canada’s James Bay region, not long after followed by a C$109m ($123m) investment from US giant Albemarle, a maiden resource at Cygnus Metals’ (ASX:CY5) Pontax project and a 173% increase in the resource at Allkem’s (ASX:AKE) James Bay lithium deposit to 110Mt at 1.3% Li2O.

Outside of Quebec plenty of explorers are rushing to find the battery metal, especially in Ontario, where Green Technology Metals (ASX:GT1) and Critical Resources (ASX:CRR) have between them unlocked over 20Mt of lithium resources.

Looking to follow in their footsteps is Pioneer Lithium (ASX:PLN), another company from the stable of Robert Martin, whose lithium set includes CRR and Battery Age Minerals (ASX:BM8).

Pioneer’s main game is the Root Lake project, which covers 1927ha 100km of Sioux Lookout in northwest Ontatio, contiguous to GT1’s Root Bay and McCombe pegmatite projects. Together they host 12.6Mt at 1.21% Li2O.

PLN says drill permits are already in place, while it also owns the Lauri Lake project in Ontario and LaGrande project over 4687ha along trend from Corvette in Quebec.

“We are very pleased to bring this highly prospective lithium exploration portfolio to investors through the Pioneer Lithium IPO. The Root Lake Project represents an exceptional opportunity, lying between two existing deposits, with compelling potential for future exploration to extend this known lithium mineralisation onto Pioneer’s ground,” exec chair Robert Martin said.

“Previous exploration has already confirmed the presence of high-grade spodumene mineralisation at Root Lake and we are very much looking forward to getting on the ground to get our maiden exploration program underway as soon as we’ve completed our ASX listing.

“With drilling permits already in place, our aim will be to work towards the rapid delineation of a maiden Mineral Resource Estimate at Root Lake, while also progressing early exploration works at our other critical mineral projects, Lauri Lake and LaGrande.”

Along with Martin, Pioneer will count former Fortescue (ASX:FMG) Future Industries and Galaxy Resources executive Clinton Booth as its CEO, with BM8’s Gerard O’Donavan and Nigel Broomham also on the board of directors as NEDs.

It follows the successful listing of former Galaxy boss Iggy Tan’s Lithium Universe (ASX:LU7) and the planned IPO of fellow Quebec explorer James Bay Minerals (ASX:JBY).