• Mining major MinRes inks deal to farm into Lord Resources’ Horse Rocks project
  • C29 inks deal to buy the Ulytau uranium project in southern Kazakhstan
  • Junior explorer Parabellum has pulled up several “very encouraging” high grade, near surface nickel-cobalt hits

Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Wednesday March 20.



Serial lithium acquirer MinRes (ASX:MIN) is at it again, inking a deal to farm into Lord Resources’ (ASX:LRD) early stage Horse Rocks project near the 66Mt Mt Marion mine.

The terms of the deal – MIN will spend $1m to earn an initial 40% of the project – aren’t exactly transformative for LRD, but the market likes it in early trade Tuesday.

If the deal goes ahead, MIN can increase its stake to a total of 85% by funding the project through to a decision to mine.

It means a cash-strapped LRD can maintain exposure to Horse Rocks while focusing exploration dollars on its nearby Jingjing lithium project.

The deal is the latest in a series of WA land grabs by Ellison-led mining conglomerate MIN, which spent $840 million last year to build stakes across several junior lithium stocks and acquire the Bald Hill mine near Kambalda.

This splurge on early stage lithium investments shows no signs of abating in 2024, with farm in/JV deals already inked with  Dynamic Metals’ (ASX:DYM), as well as Voltaic Strategic Resources (ASX:VSR) and Reach Resources (ASX:RR1) (via MIN controlled Delta Lithium (ASX:DLI)).



C29 is the latest exploration minnow to jump on the uranium bandwagon, inking a deal to buy the Ulytau project in southern Kazakhstan for $4m worth of shares in staged payments.

C29 director James Myers is a shareholder in one of the vendors, CA Metals, which means he will receive three million C29 shares as part of the deal.

Ulytau is 15km south of BotaBurum mine, one of the largest uranium deposits mined in the former Soviet Union.

It hosts a historic 9.95-million-pound resource, which C29 hopes to upgrade to JORC status (a must have for ASX-listed companies) via drill programs beginning Q3 this year.

While Canadian and French majors Cameco and Orano have assets in Kazakhstan — which produces over 40% of the world’s yellowcake — there are very few Western exploration companies, with Russia the dominant international player.

Amid rising tensions with the Western world, Russia now controls 25% of Kazakhstan’s uranium production.

The recent uranium price boom has been helped along by a recently passed US law to restrict imports of low-enriched uranium “that is produced in Russia or by a Russian entity”.

Whether this helps or hinders Kazakhstan, which currently walks a tightrope between entrenched political/economic ties with Russia and the need to maintain relations with the West, remains to be seen.



Junior explorer PBL has pulled up several “very encouraging” high grade, near surface nickel-cobalt hits in drilling at the Miandetta-Redlands prospects in NSW, including 36m at 1.1% nickel from 4m.

These higher-grade results appear to be developed predominantly in ‘saprolite’ material, the company says, which is considered more amenable to atmospheric leach processing techniques than ‘laterite’.

Nickel ore usually comes from laterites, saprolite or sulphides.

Sulphides are still the holy grail because they are ostensibly easier and cheaper to process than laterites, with saprolite somewhere in between.

PBL has launched into metallurgical test work, which will demonstrate how easily and cheaply nickel metal can be recovered from the ore using low cost atmospheric leaching.

“This Phase 2 drilling program completed in February 2024 has confirmed the potential of both the Miandetta and Redlands prospects to host significant, near surface nickel-cobalt mineralisation,” PBL boss Pete Secker says.

“The drilling has significantly expanded the footprint of the nickel-cobalt mineralisation and the results obtained are considered very encouraging.

“The company is currently reviewing all assay, geological and geophysical data in order to undertake appropriate systematic metallurgical test work focused on determining whether the mineralisation intersected responds well to low cost atmospheric leaching.”