Resources Top 5: A pack of popular rare earths, graphite, and lithium stocks
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Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Thursday February 10.
ABx’s decision to add rare earths to its stable of projects seems to be paying off, with the explorer today announcing the discovery of a new prospect in Tasmania.
Results from the ‘Portrush’ discovery — 52km east of ABx’s ‘Deep Leads’ REE project in northern Tasmania — include grades of up to 4,800 ppm total rare earth oxides (TREO).
A third discovery at ‘Wind Break’, 16km northeast of Deep Leads, confirms that this is a REE Province, ABx says.
Latest drilling results at Deep Leads also indicate thicker and higher-grade mineralisation. While a bunch of holes were stopped by the wet clays and broken ground, those that managed to break through “show a wide distribution of thicker, higher grade REE mineralisation that extends for several kms”.
The best intercept to date in hole DL190 is 5m thick, including a metre at 3,943ppm TREO.
A more powerful multi-purpose drill rig is being deployed to drill major step-out holes.
ABx reckons it is the first company to discover clay hosted REE in northern Tasmania.
Clay deposits, typically found in southern China, are commonly considered to be some of the cheapest and most readily accessible sources of heavy rare earths.
These deposits make up a significant percentage of the world’s total output.
“We are discovering better grades and thicker mineralisation over a much larger province than thought possible,” ABx exploration manager, Paul Glover says.
“Our next drill program will sample the full thickness of this shallow, clay-hosted REE and give us some indications of how large these discoveries can be,” ABx operations manager, Nathan Towns added.
“It’s time to step-out much wider.”
The $25m market cap stock is up 15% year-to-date. It had $6.1m in the bank at the end of December.
The small cap graphite producer-battery anode hopeful has been selected to supply coated purified spheronised graphite (PSG) for a US gigafactory that is expected to start operations in 2025.
There isn’t much info about the gigafactory developer — a company called Energy Supply Developers (ESD) — but CEO Jeff Yambrick says it is “committed to … bringing the entire battery supply chain including cell manufacturing to America at our dedicated battery industrial park”.
PSG is a value-added product used to make the battery anode. Pricing agency Fastmarkets says PSG prices were up 40% over the 12 months to November 2021 to between US$3,100 and US$3,300 per tonne.
The battery anode materials will be produced from flake graphite sourced from VC’s 70%-owned operating ‘Zavalievsky’ mine in Ukraine and the undeveloped ‘Bunyu’ graphite project in Tanzania.
$63.5m market cap VRC is down 16% year-to-date. It had just $894,000 in the bank at the end of December, which means it will probably need to raise more cash soon.
INF has successfully scaled up production of battery grade lithium using a new process as part of Feasibility Study on the flagship ‘San Jose’ project in Spain.
The process, which includes reuse of key chemicals, significantly reduces the environmental impact of the lithium chemical conversion process when compared to traditional practices, INF says.
This pilot-scale test work (a smaller version of the real processing plant) has confirmed that this process can be scaled up from the bench scale (lab) test work, INF says.
“The next stage of test work will progress locked cycle test work (‘LCT’) and advancement of the engineering design criteria for the Project Feasibility Study with an underground mine providing lithium bearing mica ROM to feed a fully integrated, on-site lithium chemical conversion plant capable of producing both battery grade lithium carbonate and hydroxide,” it says.
Samples from this production run will also be given to potential offtake partners for testing.
INF is currently in court fighting the cancellation of its project permit.
“The Company is contesting the cancellation of Investigation Permit Valdeflorez (‘PIV’) and has lodged a contentious-administrative appeal,” it says.
“The Company strongly disputes the basis of the decision of the cancellation of PIV and retains all legal rights against the Junta of Extremadura.”
$77m market cap INF is flat year to date. It had $18.7m in the bank at the end of December.
(Up on no news)
The recently listed explorer is flying, up +100% on its IPO price of 20c per share.
Its main game is the ‘Belara’ project in NSW, which includes two historical copper-zinc mines; Belara and Native Bee.
~5,600m of drilling will kick off towards the end of February ahead of a resource update mid-year.
Non-executive chairman Neil Warburton been on the board of miner IGO and other companies as Mark Creasy’s representative. He was also CEO of large mining contractor – Barminco – for about a decade.
Speaking with Stockhead, Warburton said Belara has some solid exploration history and the company’s goal post-IPO is to bring up the resource to JORC 2012 compliant standards.
“The project is very much in the clean energy space with zinc and copper being on the critical list that’s outlined by the USA,” he said.
“And it’s not grassroots exploration, we know at Belara that these resources actually outcrop and historically have been mined for copper and zinc, going back around about 90 years ago.
“It’s been drilled by various parties, so it’s really an advanced exploration project and we expect to extend the current mineralisation.
“We expect to come up with a quite a sizable resource by the middle of the year.”
PVW has been surging on the back of early success at its rare earths projects, but today’s news is all about gold.
Drilling has kicked off at the 2km by 1.2km ‘King of the West’ gold anomaly, which is stone’s throw from some big deposits near Kalgoorlie.
Norton Goldfields’ newly developed ‘Jakarta’ gold mine is within 100m of PVW’s tenement boundary:
The aircore drilling will cover the anomaly with a 100m by 400m grid pattern. A phase two program – proposed for mid 2022 — will be prioritised to ‘infill’ (closer spaced drilling) Phase 1 drilling and target other anomalous zones.
“This significant soil anomaly is an exciting target for PVW,” exec director George Bauk says.
“Over the past 12 months the company has undertaken exploration that has developed this target which warrants follow up drilling.
“We have consolidated this land package over the past six months, increasing the land holding to over 150km2 within 30km of Kalgoorlie.”
The $54m market cap rare earths-gold stock is up 76% year-to-date. It had $2.4m in the bank at the end of December.