Commodities have been on a tear in the past couple of months and for most part, they have taken resource companies along for the ride. Here are what some of our miners were up to in the March quarter.

Aura Energy (ASX:AEE)

Aura is cashed up to advance its Tiris uranium project in Mauritania after raising $8.8m through an oversubscribed placement and appointing Dr Will Goodall as its acting chief executive officer to lead the process.

The company has also distributed expressions of interest to qualified engineering consultants and has short-listed two companies to bid for the front-end engineering design and engineering, procurement and construction management contracts.

Bulk testwork to optimise the uranium circuit and assess vanadium production options have been initiated with ANSTO Minerals while work has started on the regulatory process for the export of uranium oxide concentrate.

Adding further interest, the company has also defined a vanadium resource that is expected to add significant value.

Alma Metals (ASX:ALM)

During the quarter, an initial 12-hole reverse circulation drill program on the Briggs porphyry copper deposit in Queensland confirmed extensive porphyry copper-molybdenum mineralisation up to 750m along strike from the published mineral resource estimate.

This means that porphyry mineralisation has now been logged in nearly every hole along a strike length of more than 1,500m below a surface geochemical anomaly which is over 2,000m long and more than 750m wide.

Alma is planning a major drill program to follow up on this success and is also waiting on the results from additional soil sampling over the deposit and its immediate surrounds.

Metallurgical testwork has also confirmed the potential for excellent copper recoveries across all mineralisation styles within the Central Porphyry Resource at Briggs.

Allegiance Coal (ASX:AHQ)

Improved coking coal sale prices of US$238/t in the March quarter allowed Allegiance to pen in sales of US$14.5m compared to US$8.1m in the previous quarter when prices averaged about US$118/t.

However, the company noted that it would have received US$32m if not for the delayed loading of an 80,000t vessel due to one of the three ship-loaders breaking down at McDuffie Coal Terminal, Alabama.

Black Warrior coal production for the quarter increased from 51,000t in the December 2021 quarter to 56,000t due to the commencement of three of the five 150t dump trucks replacing the 50t dump trucks in waste rock removal.

Likewise, gains in productivity sent Elk ROM production up from 77,000t to 92,000t with further improvements noted in April.

Allegiance expects production in April to better its performance in March, which was its best since start-up. Pricing is also expected to improve as the company clears its trial shipments and residual commitments on lower specification coal.

Arizona Lithium (ASX:AZL)

During the quarter, Arizona Lithium raised $32.5m through a strongly supported placement to fast track development of its Big Sandy project, which has an Indicated and Inferred Resource of 32.5 million tonnes grading 1,850 parts per million (ppm) lithium.

It also started the Scoping Study for the project while testing by Hazen Research continues to deliver highly encouraging results.

Separately, the company has appointed Brett Rabe as its chief technical officer and signed an MOU with Nikola Corporation to purchase battery electric vehicles to support the development of Big Sandy.

Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS)

Top on the list for Azure in the March quarter was the definition of a maiden resource of 4.8Mt grading 1.11% nickel, 0.47% copper and 0.05% cobalt (1.41% nickel equivalent) for its Andover deposit, most of it in the higher confidence Indicated category.

Drilling at the Ridgeline target has also delivered high-grade nickel intersections such as 6.3m at 3.59% nickel, 0.21% copper and 0.17% copper and 4.5m at 3.95% nickel, 0.8% copper and 0.16% cobalt, extending the prospect 140m along strike to the west.

Likewise disseminated nickel and copper sulphides were also intersected at the Skyline and Pipeline targets.

The company is also progressing development studies for a mining and processing operation and had completed a 21-hole RC drill program at the Barton gold project for which it is currently awaiting assays.

Caravel Minerals (ASX:CVV)

Caravel continued to progress Pre-Feasibility Studies for its namesake copper project in Western Australia during the March quarter.

This included engineering studies that increased the mill throughput capacity by 1.9 million tonnes per annum to 13.9Mtpa in the first stage and by 3.8Mtpa to 27.6Mtpa under the second stage.

The increased throughput will increase copper in concentrate production to 40,000tpa in the first stage and 61,000tpa in the second.

Delivery of the Caravel PFS is expected in May while the Bankable Feasibility Study is expected to start in June.

Over at the Bindi project, drilling east of the current resource has defined a 1km copper mineralisation extension corridor that trends north-northeast.

Meanwhile, drilling at Dasher has identified significant strike extension to the south with potential for additional resources.

Caravel is planning to raise up to $4.52m through a rights issue to fund initial stages of the upcoming BFS.


GBM Resources (ASX:GBZ)

GBM Resources has spent the last two years consolidating three historic gold districts across the Drummond Basin at Mount Coolon, Yandan and Twin Hills into one ‘processing halo’ and the strategy is getting some meet on its already chunky bones.

The small cap goldie now has 1.6Moz of gold across the deposits, going a long way towards the 2-3Moz resource goal it wants to reach to lay a platform to become a genuine mid-tier.

In the March quarter it crossed 3500m drilled of a 7000m program at Twin Hills’ 309 deposit, including impressive early results of 162m at 2.65g/t Au from 69 m (including 16m at 13.49g/t Au from 187m) in hole 1 and hole 2 recorded 79 m at 1.09g/t Au from 131m (including 7m at 4.41g/t Au from 152 m and 2 m @ 21.75 g/t Au from 301 m).

Decent stuff with more to come.

Drilling results are also due soon from a phase 1 diamond program at the highly prospective Malmsbury JV with Novo Resources 50km as the crow flies from the rich and high-grade Fosterville gold mine with 1200m drilled in six of the eight holes in a 1750m program at Belltopper Hill.

Meanwhile the White Dam gold-copper project in South Australia continues to deliver cash flow with 396oz produced in the March quarter translating to revenue of ~$1.04 million.

GBM finished the quarter with $4.035 million in the bank, bankrolling its ongoing gold exploration.

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