• Copper hunter Cobre rears up +110% after selection for BHP’s Xplor program
  • Hamelin Gold also joins the BHP program based on its nickel-copper-PGE activities
  • Meanwhile True North Copper has only gone and signed a huge offtake deal with Glencore

Here are some of the biggest resources winners in early trade, Tuesday January 23.


Cobre (ASX:CBE)

Pure-play copper explorer Cobre, hunting for the red metal in the Botswana Kalahari Copper Belt and in Western Australia, has surged ahead of the ressie pack so far today with a stupendous 110% gain.

We checked CBE’s market cap just now and it was around $18m. We refreshed the page and it’s now $26.4m and climbing.

There’s a very clear reason for this – it’s one of six companies (just two are listed on the ASX) selected to take part in the 2024 BHP (ASX:BHP) Xplor cohort.

What’s that? It’s an accelerator program designed to support early-stage mineral exploration companies in their hunt for critical resources, in particular those that are fuelling the energy transition.

In Cobre’s case, the program will assist in its advancement of exploration plans on its Kalahari Copper Belt projects.

BHP will provide Cobre with US$500k in non-dilutive funding to push its exploration plans and operations for the course of the Xplor Program period, as well as provide full access to BHP’s expertise and global partnerships.

Cobre joins the cohort, selected from a pool of more than 500 applicants, so needless to say, this is a very big deal for the low cap copper hunter.

Commenting on Cobre’s selection, Cobre CEO Adam Wooldridge said: “The Xplor program provides us with a unique opportunity to partner with BHP experts to further our Kalahari Copper Belt targeting criteria and exploration programs.”

Is there any love for lithium-focused companies in the new BHP Xplor cohort, by the way? Hmm… not a lot, no…

CBE share price


Hamelin Gold (ASX:HMG)

Here’s the other BHP Xplor ASX winner today, although it’s not got the afterburners on quite like Cobre.

Still, a 20% gain is nothing to sneeze at.

Like its name suggests, Perth-based Hamelin is a goldie – a junior with a market cap of just over $14m – but it’s also staking out nickel-copper-PGE mineralised intrusions over in the Tanami Gold Province in Western Australia.

It’s the Ni-cu-PGE aspect that has landed Hamelin in the BHP program, which will see BHP provide HMG with up to US$500,000 in non-dilutive funding to support its exploration plans for those minerals in the Tanami region.

Hamelin Gold MD Peter Bewick expressed excitement on the company’s inclusion, adding: “The identification of Ni-Cu-PGE mineralised, mafic-ultramafic intrusions by the company in mid-2023 was a first for the Tanami region.

“The Xplor funded program will be completed in parallel to our ongoing gold exploration in the Tanami which includes a planned RC drill program at the Sultan prospect commencing in March-April 2024.

“This program is following up the identification through aircore drilling of extensive bedrock gold mineralisation at Sultan announced earlier in January 2024.”

HMG share price


True North Copper (ASX:TNC)

Copper’s killing it on the bourse today, and seems to be having a moment more broadly.

True North is benefitting, but it also has some fresh news out today that’s helped push it well into double-digit gains territory as we type.

The company has signed binding offtake and toll-milling agreements with one of the world’s largest natural resource companies, Glencore International AG, for its Cloncurry Copper Project (CCP) in Queensland.

Under the agreement Glencore will receive 100% of copper concentrate from TNC’s CCP, and toll-milling services, up to 1 million tonnes of ore per year for the CCP “Life of Mine”.

Big for TNC, because it clearly provides certainty of concentrate sales.

The company also notes it will be “entitled to claim 20% Queensland State Royalty discount for all material processed through the Mt Isa Smelter.”

True North Copper MD Marty Costello said: “Executing binding offtake and toll-milling agreements with an industry major such as Glencore is a significant milestone for TNC and our Cloncurry Copper Project.

“CCP is fully permitted and TNC is on track to soon be in production for copper with CCP located in a Tier One jurisdiction.

“We aim to create as many jobs and opportunities as possible for the people, businesses and communities of northwest Queensland.”

TNC says it aims to commence copper metal production at the CCP with mine plans combining the Great Australia Mine Reserve and the Wallace North Resource (into a single mining operation.

Full dates regarding the final CCP mine plans are slated to be announced early this year.

TNC share price


Waratah Minerals (ASX:WTM)

This gold-copper mineral explorer was, until very recently, known as Battery Minerals, trading under the ticker BAT.

Hmm, is this a reflection of the state of play with perception of the bruised and battered battery metals sector right now?

Waratah MD Peter Duerden noted: “The new name reflects the company’s emergence as a dynamic explorer and its progress building a portfolio of high-quality, gold-copper discovery opportunities.”

Fair enough then.

WTM has some fresh news today, which is why it’s seeing a 23% gain at time of key tapping.

The company now has the drills engaged at its highly prospective Spur gold-copper project, in the Lachlan Fold Belt, NSW.

The drill campaign is targeting down-dip and down-plunge extensions from shallow gold-copper intercepts, including 86m at 1.56g/t Au, 536ppm Cu.

WTM notes that the relogging of historic drill core indicates mineralisation is largely associated with intermediate-sulphidation epithermal sulphide stringer and proximal porphyry alteration.

First assay results can be expected in March.

WTM share price


Mayur Resources (ASX:MRL)

Diversified PNG-based MRL is up 20% at time of writing on funding news for its Orokolo Bay industrial sands project in Papua New Guinea.

The small cap has signed a deal to sell 51 per cent of the project to an Indonesian group called PT SEA First Nickel Industry (PTSFNI), a metals extraction tech firm, which will fund up to $25 million in development expenditure to buy the stake in Orokola Bay.

Mayur has also agreed for PTSFNI to become a significant shareholder in the listed parent company via an off-market placement that would see the Indonesian outfit spend about $7m to acquire 9.9% of the company at a 15% premium to Mayur’s last close.

The project has projections of 400,000 tonnes of vanadium titano magnetite concentrate, 100,000 tonnes of dense medium separation material, 1 million tonnes of construction sand and 10,000 tonnes of zircon concentrate.

The $80m capped stock is up 23% so far this year.

MRL share price