• A newish player has entered the game to compete for formerly unloved coal stock Australian Pacific Coal
  • Production of spherical graphite from ore at ITech’s Campoona project meets industry standards for battery anode material
  • Desert Metals (rare earths, nickel), Golden Cross (copper, gold), GreenX Metals (copper, nickel, PGM) up on no news

Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Wednesday, September 14.




A newish player has entered the game to compete for formerly unloved coal stock AQC.

The JV comprising private Aussie co Tetra and Javelin – which calls itself “one of the world leaders in coal” – is proposing a JV between Tetra (40%) and the shellshocked AQC (60%) with respect to the mothballed Dartbrook coal project.

Unlike previous bids from Nathan Tinkler and M Resources this is a JV proposal, not a change-of-control transaction.

“Given the non-binding indicative proposal needs the support of the [major shareholder] Trepang Parties to proceed, AQC intends to seek advice from the Trepang Parties as to whether the Trepang Parties are willing to support the proposal,” says the AQC board, which probably hasn’t worked this hard in years.

“Shareholders are advised to take no action with respect to the proposal at this time.”

Chances are Trepang will be OK with this offer, seeing as directors of Tetra had already been nominated by Trepang to be appointed as directors of AQC pursuant to a notice under s249D of the Corporations Act.

s249D states that directors of a company must arrange a general meeting on the request of members with at least 5% of the votes.

In this case the meeting was a vote initiated by Trepang to spill the current board and fill those positions with Tetra lads and ladies.

“Tetra have advised that they will withdraw their consents to act as AQC directors should AQC enter into formal binding documents,” AQC says.

On September 8, former coal baron Nathan Tinkler via his company PPC upped his bid for control of AQC and its Dartbrook operation to $1 per share.

That dwarfed the 36c per share offered by M Resources — – largest shareholder in Bowen Coal (ASX:BCB) and significant shareholder in Stanmore Resources (ASX:SMR) – which also wants to acquire the former producing operation.

For Tinkler’s deal to go though, AQC’s largest shareholder Trepang would need to agree to convert the debt it is owed into a direct 40% interest in Dartbrook “on terms acceptable to PPC”.

This escalating bidding war has seen AQC gain 480% over the past month.



(Up on no news)

This formerly lethargic China-backed copper-gold explorer came out of a two-and-a-half-year suspension in Feb after completing a $1.5m cap raise and satisfying the ASX’s conditions of reinstatement.

GCR’s focus is the ‘Copper Hill’ project in the Macquarie Arc in NSW, home to mammoth porphyry copper-gold deposits at Cadia (Newcrest), Northparkes (China Molybdenum) and Cowal (Evolution Mining).

In early September Copper Hill’s resource was updated for the first time since 2015 to 470,000t copper, 1.3Moz gold and 7.9Moz silver.

This is contained in an updated resource of 148 million tonnes (Mt) grading 0.32% Cu and 0.28g/t Au, at 0.2% Cu only cut-off grade.

GCR says the revised MRE is expected to contribute substantially to the design of further feasibility studies.

Copper Hill is also sparsely drilled below 350m vertically “and there is good potential for depth extensions”.

Occurrences of mineralisation along strike from Copper Hill in a 5km-long corridor also provide scope for further resources in satellite deposits, it says.



(Up on no news)

WA explorer DM1 is now up 60% since late August, after announcing that a rare earths (REE) system at the Innouendy project could be The Big One.

A now completed 12,745m drilling program hit “encouraging” thicknesses of clays (up to 80m thick, average hole depth 41m) across an extensive area surrounding previous REE hits, like 20m @ 2139ppm from 16m.

Clay-hosted REEs, which make up the vast majority of rare earths produced in the world, are getting more attention following a spate of discoveries.

“If the high value REE grades previously reported are repeated over significant downhole thickness and areal extent, analysis from the current drilling program will be used to help define a resource,” DM1 says.

Drilling also followed up recent promising nickel (Ni) and platinum palladium (PGE) intercepts, including 4m @1.76% Ni within a 12m zone @1.17%.

Samples are currently in the lab for analysis. Assay results will follow.

The $17m market cap stock is up 12% year-to-date. It had $3m in the bank at the end of June.

READ: Why is everyone getting so excited about rare earths?



ITM says production of spherical graphite from a bulk sample of Campoona project ore has met (or exceeded) all industry standard parameters for lithium-ion battery anode material.

The process from the mine to battery is a complex one.

First, graphite ore is processed into a flake concentrate, which is then shaped in a process called ‘spheronisation’.

Then it must be purified to 99.95 per cent.

At that point we have a potato shaped particle, sized to a certain diameter, which is +99.95 per cent graphitic carbon.

Here’s a what that looks like:


Just joking, they’re tiny.

Then these particles must be coated. Once coated, spherical purified graphite is called ‘active anode material’.

Now it is ready for sale to a cell maker.

“These results demonstrate that Campoona has the potential to produce a high value spherical graphite, from an Australian project in a State with significant production of renewable energy and excellent infrastructure,” ITM managing director Mike Schwarz says.

Campoona contains a resource of 8.55 Mt @ 9.0% Total Graphitic Carbon (TGC), on a granted mining lease and with approved multipurpose licences for processing infrastructure and groundwater extraction.

ITM plans to significantly expand resources via an upcoming drilling program.



(Up on no news)

The explorer formerly known as Prairie Mining did a full 180-degree swivel by dumping fossil fuels in favour of sexier, ‘new age’ metals like copper, nickel and PGMs.

The main game is some newly acquired ground in Greenland called ‘Arctic Rift’, where historical exploration results show its potential to “host world-class copper deposits”.

GRX can earn 80% of the project by spending $10 million by October 2026.

Greenland is increasingly recognised as one of exploration’s final frontiers, as melting ice caps reveal more ground. All the big boys want a slice, GRX says.

As a potentially rather large bonus, GRX say a $1.3 billion (yes, billion) claim for damages against Poland is well advanced.

Claim costs are funded by Litigation Capital Management (LCM), which won’t get paid unless they win.

Since 1998 LCM have funded 237 disputes, with 226 of those being successful. That’s a success rate of over 95%, says GRX.

The $60m market cap stock is up 6% year-to-date.