Resources Top 4: Armada finds its groove on high grade rhodium hits
Here are some of the biggest resources winners in the day’s trade, Monday February 5.
Armada Metals shares have been sliding precipitously in 2024 so far with the African nickel and copper explorer tumbling in January as the lithium market softened, leading it to jettison a highly touted move into Brazil’s white gold party.
Nickel’s been little better off, but it’s catching the eye today after returning high grades of the platinum group metal rhodium in assays from its re-prioritised Bend Nickel Project in Zimbabwe.
It comes after the explorer previously reported a hit of 5.45m at 2.46% nickel, 1.03% copper, 0.03% cobalt, 1.28g/t platinum, 3.22g/t palladium and 0.33g/t gold from 375.55m in diamond drill hole BNDDD002.
Armada has now lifted the lid on rhodium assays, with 0.46g/t in that intersection.
A 0.78m segment grades higher at 10.33% Ni, 2.25% Cu, 0.1% Co, 4.3g/t Pt, 11.97g/t Pd, 1.48g/t Rh and 0.19g/t Au from 379.38m.
“This is another exciting new development in the unfolding story at Bend and these results support the previously released PGE results for the project. Rhodium is a valuable metal with nearly 80% of the world’s supply coming from the Bushveld Complex, South Africa, just down the road from us,” Armada’s Superstylin’ MD and CEO Ross McGowan said.
“Results like this, while early days in the project cycle, support our plan to accelerate drilling at Bend and provide more confidence in what we believe is the potential for a real critical metals resource and future value.
“Bend is becoming a more compelling project as results come in and 2024 will be an exciting year for the Company as we assess its true potential.”
The big deal with rhodium is that it is a small and highly concentrated market. Almost 80% of supply for the PGM – used in catalytic converters and alloyed with platinum or palladium in corrosion resisting coatings and high temperature industrial application – comes from South Africa’s Bushveld Complex.
Prices have fallen hard over the past year from over US$12,000/oz to around US$4450/oz, but that’s almost five times the price point of platinum and palladium. Its price is extremely low by the metal’s standards, having made numerous attempts to break through US$30,000/oz in the past, the latest in May 2021.
That came despite expectations of major deficits last year as car sales recovered — estimated by Metals Focus at ~77,000oz.
In December the World Platinum Investment Council estimated around 25% of platinum group metal supply was loss making, predicting a worsening of long term deficits that could see customers pay more down the line.
(Up on no news)
~$13m capped Belararox has surged almost 60% today on no news. That’s right 60%.
The last peep we heard out of the explorer’s camp was that it was on the way to completing fieldwork at three of the 12 copper and gold targets at its Toro-Malambo-Tambo project in Argentina.
It’s looking in an unexplored area between the prolific El Indo and Maricunga belts for a big-time porphyry discovery.
That’s the style of low grade, bulk tonnage copper deposit which is the source of most of the world’s giant mines – think the 1.2Mtpa Escondida, for an obvious example.
In January BRX reported it had conducted geochemical sampling of outcrop and colluvium at its Toro North, Toro Central and Toro South targets, with Toro North showing “B-type” quartz veins with “minor chalcopyrite, hydrothermal alteration mineral zoning and increased fracture abundance”, the company said, “consistent with that found associated with global porphyry systems”.
Chalcopyrite is a copper sulphide mineral. Meanwhile, the Toro South target boasts copper oxide minerals and geology BRX says is consistent with the intermediate to upper levels of a porphyry system.
“The exploration results to date in our initial season have delivered outstanding results and indicates that the entire project area is conducive to potential large scale porphyry systems. Geochemical sampling results of outcrop and colluvium are due soon at the Toro North, Toro Central, and Toro South targets which we anticipate will identify drill target areas,” BRX MD Arvand Misra said in January.
His exploration director in Argentina, Jason Ward, said drilling would take place later this year on the targets identified, with geochemical samples having been sent to ALS for multi-element assay and spectral analysis.
Alongside the larger scope of its TMT project, BRX also boasts the Belara project in New South Wales, which contains a JORC resource of 5Mt at a 3.41% zinc equivalent grade, the Bullabulling gold project near Coolgardie in WA and announced plans last year to acquire exploration licences in the Zambian copper belt.
According to its latest quarterly, BRX had $1.406m in the bank at December 31.
Mako Gold is one of a number of juniors who have flown into Cape Town for the annual Mining Indaba conference, the flagship corporate shindig in African mining.
At a market cap of almost $14 million, MKG is up a handy 27%-plus today, running higher after releasing its presentation for the famous festival of mining.
Led by the husband and wife team of Peter and Ann Ledwidge, who played key roles in the discovery of the 2Moz Boungou mine in Burkina Faso which led to Orbis Gold’s $178m 2015 takeover by Canada’s SEMAFO, Mako boasts the 868,000oz Napié gold project in Cote d’Ivoire.
Located in the same belt as Tietto Minerals’ (ASX:TIE) 3.4Moz Abujar mine, which has made that company a $629 million takeover target for China’s Zhaojin Mining, Mako holds 90% of the deposit along with the 100% owned Korhogo project — the subject of a new manganese discovery — and the Brobo lithium and rare earths exploration permit application.
There are other Tietto links there, with the gold miner’s founder and former MD Dr Caigen Wang set to come on board as a proposed strategic advisor alongside a deal to acquire Goldridge Resources’ Konan project.
Located to the north of Napié, Goldridge has the right to earn up to 93% of the 150km2 tenement, where aircore and RC drilling is planned at the shallowly tested Felix prospect.
The deal would create a 374km2 district scale gold camp, with aircore already drilled by Goldridge coming in at 8m at 4.26g/t gold from 34m to end of hole, including 2m at 16.63g/t from 40m in hlle KBAC22-144.
Mako is now up over 150% YTD, hot on the heels of our expert Barry Fitzgerald’s eagle-eyed overview of the explorer.
Graphite has been a tough wicket to play on over the past 12 months, with strong supply from China outweighing the positive long-term fundamentals for the EV material.
Around 100 million light EVs are expected to be sold by 2030, Ghana-focused penny stock Castle Minerals says.
Its Kambale project is one of a number in Africa, where processors outside China are hoping production can be ramped up to wean them off the Middle Kingdom’s teet.
The dangers of China’s dominance of the supply chain of graphite and anode materials was highlighted late last year when, in a tit-for-tat cold trade war the Chinese Government announced export restrictions on graphite products commonly used in lithium-ion batteries.
Castle’s lift today came off the back of “outstanding” purification testwork, that showed a representative sample of mineralisation at its Kambale project was upgraded in lab settings to a purified product of 99.97% total graphitic carbon.
Using a fine flake graphite concentrate grading 95.1% TGC, the sample produced by German tester ProGraphite GmbH was above the benchmark for manufacturers of lithium ion batteries.
Castle says it has a reource at Kambale of 22.4Mt at 8.6% TGC, containing some 1.9Mt of graphite.
“With no impurities of concern this exceeds the stringent specification benchmark set by off-takers who manufacture lithium-ion battery anodes used in electric vehicle, stationary power storage units and consumer electronics,” MD Stephen Stone said.
“Kambale mineralisation is now confirmed as a bona-fide source of natural fine flake graphite which is the exact form of graphite forecast to move into a substantial supply deficit as the rapid take up of EVs continues.
“The billions of dollars that the USA and EU are directing to establishing and securing reliable non-China dependent supply lines of critical minerals like graphite means that Kambale is well placed to participate in this paradigm shift in market structure.
“Kambale is already large enough and at 8.6% TGC is of excellent grade to underpin a long life operation in Ghana, one of the most favourable mining jurisdictions on the African continent as exemplified by the number of Tier-1 gold miners having operated there for decades.”
At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Mako Gold and Belararox are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.