MinRex Resources’ planned acquisition of a cobalt, scandium and nickel project in New South Wales is delivering better-than-expected results.

The company’s (ASX:MRR) due diligence at its Pacific Express project has uncovered legacy drill hole results with encouraging intercepts of up to 6300 parts per million (ppm) cobalt, 159ppm scandium and 1.86 per cent nickel.

There is also evidence of extensive mineralisation across the legacy drill holes. Intercepts from these holes include 26m at 0.11 per cent cobalt from surface, 2m at 145ppm scandium from 6m and 18m at 0.86 per cent nickel from surface.

“The geology team has hit the ground running with the preliminary desktop work uncovering a plethora of encouraging findings for prospective cobalt and scandium mineralisation that are well ahead of the board’s initial expectations,” executive director Simon Durack said.

“The board has asked the geology team to expedite the desktop review for the Pacific Express project, particularly work on updating the legacy resource to comply with the JORC (2012) Code.”

JORC refers to the mining industry’s official code for reporting exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves, managed by the Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee.

MinRex Resources, Pacific Express project, proposed drill targets
Proposed drill targets at the Pacific Express project.

While the data validation process uncovered high-grade hits, the historic resource shows Pacific Express potentially hosts one of the highest-grade nickel deposits in NSW.

The legacy resource is 0.61 per cent nickel, with 1m intercepts up to 1.86 per cent – which is three times the average value.

Compared with other nickel and cobalt laterite deposits in NSW, the Pacific Express project stands out.

The high-grade nickel (0.61 per cent) and cobalt (0.09 per cent) results are similar to deposits owned by high-profile peers Clean Teq (ASX: CLQ), Australian Mines (ASX:AUZ) and Platina Resources (ASX:PGM).

Cobalt and scandium in short supply

While cobalt is becoming harder to get hold of, end users are finding it even more difficult to get their hands on scandium — with production estimated at just 15 tonnes each year.

Peer comparison - NSW nickel/cobalt grades. Pic: MinRex
Peer comparison – NSW nickel/cobalt grades. Pic: MinRex


The rapidly expanding electric car market is pushing up demand for cobalt, while the need for stronger, lighter weight aircraft and vehicles makes scandium a highly sort after substance.

Scandium is added to aluminium products to make them stronger, more corrosion resistant and heat tolerant.

It is also used in solid oxide fuel cells – a clean, low-pollution technology that can generate electricity at high efficiencies.

Moving to the next phase

This is the first phase of due diligence over the three cobalt, scandium, copper and nickel projects in NSW and Western Australia.

Desktop work on the Pacific Express project will now move to the next level, while preliminary reviews on the WA projects – Knight and Dragon – are scheduled to begin shortly.

MinRex will complete the data validation process for the boreholes, then commence work on producing a JORC (2012) resource model and progress the desktop study.


This special report is brought to you by MinRex Resources.

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