Resources Top 5: Aspiring battery metals heavyweight QPM now has $1.4bn of funding secured
Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Tuesday April 4.
This recently listed WA gold explorer is right in the thick of it with its Crawford and Gambier Lass North projects near Leonora, home to a bunch of mid-tier M&A action.
CVR’s ground includes the 117,800oz Crawford deposit which the explorer wants to get into production sooner rather than later.
It is now investigating a heap leach operation with met test work and mining studies now underway.
‘Heap leaching’ involves piling ore on a pad then irrigating it with chemicals to dissolve the metal into a solution.
“Recent M&A instability in the region has cast some doubt on the company securing viable toll milling options for the Crawford gold project in the near term,” CVR exec technical director Daniel Tuffin says.
“Given this situation, Cavalier has embarked on investigating the potential to mine and mill Crawford as an owner-operated heap leach operation.
“As part of this process, it has engaged heap leach processing experts Kappes, Cassiday & Associates Australia and signed a Heads of Agreement with Blue Cap Mining.
“These engagements come off the back of early-stage high-level internal studies that indicate the potential to extract and process the oxide portion of the Crawford Gold resource via heap leaching.”
The $4m capped stock is down 13% year-to-date. It had $2.8m in the bank at the end of December.
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The WA explorer is also looking for near term cashflow from the development-ready 47,900oz ‘Jeffery’s Find’ deposit.
AWJ has inked a deal to mine Jeffreys Find with mining contractor BML Ventures, who will be responsible for all mining-related costs.
Once all BML costs have been paid, surplus cash will be split 50/50 between BML and AWJ. There will be no cost to AWJ once a decision to mine is made, which happened late last week.
Mining is planned in two stages: a starter pit and final pit. The starter pit will be mined from April through to July. It is expected that all processing will be completed and gold delivered to the Perth Mint by end of September 2023.
“This is an important stage in Auric’s growth; to be generating cash within the next six months with negligible downside to Auric is a terrific result,” managing director Mark English says.
“The cash generated will be used to advance our exploration projects and Munda gold deposit. Our timing is perfect with the surging Australian gold price.”
The $8m capped stock is flat year-to-date. It had $2m in the bank at the end of December.
The goldie went parabolic in March after inking a $US300m non-binding offtake and funding deal with bullion dealer and major shareholder Quantum Metal Recovery Inc.
This cash – paid over 30 months against future production ounces — would cover development of its 3Moz ‘Bau’ project in Malaysia’s Sarawak region.
To settle the facility, BEZ would deliver up to 3Moz “according to an agreed percentage of production at an agreed floating gold reference price, but subject to a floor price (115% of AISC)”.
BEZ has now received initial payment of $US2m from Quantum Metal Recovery ahead of finalising the offtake funding facility. It is entitled to a further US$3m upon execution of the agreement, expected in late April 2023.
Meanwhile, the company is updating a dusty old feasibility study completed back in 2013, with initial results due in the second half of 2023. Pilot production is also pencilled in for later this year.
The $55m capped stock is up 210% year-to-date.
QPM now has over $1.4bn of conditional funding support to build its $1.9bn TECH nickel-cobalt project in Queensland following fresh financial support from two German financial institutions worth $860m.
Part of the deal requires QPM to buy a big chunk of the capital equipment required from German suppliers, which are in the process of completing design work and negotiating commercial terms with QPM.
“We have long identified that our German partners would be well positioned to supply commercially proven equipment required for the TECH Project,” QPM boss Stephen Grocott says.
“We have been actively engaged with [German manufacturers] Plinke, Andritz and Siemens throughout our feasibility work.”
According to a recent feasibility study, stage 1 of the TECH project would produce 16,000t nickel and 1750t cobalt in sulphate per year, with additional iron ore and high purity alumina credits.
With these credits TECH would be one of the world’s lowest nickel producers, QPM says.
Stage 1 steady state annual EBITDA would be $546m, it says, with a NPV and IRR (pre-tax) of $2.6bn and 18.4%, respectively.
Last year, it inked a long term collab deal with top carmaker General Motors, which includes a material $108m investment and long-term offtake agreement.
The $230m capped stock is up 18% in 2023. It had $45m in the bank at the end of December.
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Late February the company announced multiple near surface 1000ppm clay REE hits in maiden drilling along a 3km soil anomaly.
Of the 20-hole RC program, four were drilled into the sediments with all returning intersections grading +1,000ppm TREO.
This failed to get investors excited for some reason, but NWM believes this could be “a very large REE project”, with all clearances in place for a 22-hole follow-up drilling program starting April-May.
Metallurgical test work is underway (results due out very soon) and the calculation of a maiden REE resource estimate will following the second round of drilling.
NWM will also punch more holes into its promising Bail copper project, where maiden drilling last year hit a highlight 52m @ 1.4% Cu from 0m inc. 12m @ 4.4% Cu from 4m.
The focus will be the undrilled ‘Deep South’ where sampling identified seven copper-gold bearing quartz veins extending at surface for over 2.5km, with the 30 rock chips collected averaging 20% copper and 1% gold.
NWM is down 12% year-to-date. It had ~$3m in the bank following a recent cap raise.