Resources Top 5: Explorers soar 130%, 40% on niobium-REE and lithium project acquisitions
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Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Wednesday November 23.
This $2m capped gold explorer is finally getting traction with investors after buying into a niobium-rich rare earths project called Karloning in the WA wheatbelt.
Popularised by WA1 Resources’ (ASX:WA1) recent discovery on the WA/NT border, niobium is mainly used to make steel better, but also has growing uses in lithium-ion batteries, intelligent glass, solar panels, 5G tech, and nuclear energy.
Ferroniobium metal (65% Nb) sells for ~US$45,000/t.
CDR has inked a deal to earn up to 90% of Karloning, where a large 1.5km long and 200m wide pegmatite has been shown to host niobium alongside magnet REEs like dysprosium, neodymium, terbium, and praseodymium.
Early-stage rock/soil sampling returned highly anomalous REEs and +5000ppm (0.5%) niobium.
(Because 5000ppm is the detection limit of the tech used, assays are awaited for exact numbers, which will probs be higher.)
“We secured this opportunity as part of our ongoing business development activities to add further depth to our existing portfolio of gold projects in Australia and the USA,” CDR managing director Shannan Bamforth says.
“We are attracted to the rare earths sector because of its strong fundamentals and the relative scarcity of quality exploration opportunities.
“The Karloning pegmatite is in an existing quarry, providing us with a unique opportunity to see the geology and make a rapid assessment of the exploration potential.
“We believe the pegmatite has significant scale, and grab sampling has returned impressive grades of the four key REEs required in the manufacture of permanent rare earth magnets.
“This is a walk-up exploration opportunity, and we are looking forward to getting on the ground as soon as possible to commence initial exploration activities with a view to firming up targets for drilling in early 2023.”
Initial work programs at the site include soil sampling and either drone or ground magnetics and ground radiometric surveys “as a priority”.
The results of these surveys will underpin the maiden drilling program, planned for Q1 CY2023.
CDR is the third ASX junior exploration stock in three days to make +100% gains at the open.
Recently listed LRD has uncovered “Mt Marion style” lithium anomalies at its Horse Rocks project in WA.
Horse Rocks and Mt Marion (51.4Mt @ 1.45% Li2O) share the same source granite within 8km of each other, LRD says.
Three priority 1 anomalies and four priority 2 anomalies have been identified. The most significant is 1.4km by 700m in size.
Geological mapping has identified further lithium bearing pegmatites, to be systematically explored in the coming weeks, LRD says.
Planning is underway for follow up sampling and mapping to define drill targets for an “imminent” initial drilling program.
“We are extremely excited about the first stage exploration results at our Horse Rocks project,” managing director Barnaby Egerton-Warburton says.
“Elevated near surface lithium and Mt Marion-style indicator mineral anomalies within the geochemical sampling, along with the significant lithium within rock samples is an excellent first step for the project.
“Aggressive exploration is planned for the coming months.”
MMC is adding to its critical minerals portfolio, buying early stage lithium projects in the Pilbara and Mt Ida regions.
The East Pilbara project has known pegmatite outcropping and high priority untested lithium stream sediment anomalies, the company says.
The unexplored Mount Alexander project is in the Mt Ida district near Red Dirt (ASX:RDT), Zenith Minerals (ASX:ZNC), and St George Mining (ASX:SGQ).
Meanwhile, veteran mining and exploration boss Ray Shorrocks will join the board.
In 2016, tiny explorer Bellevue Gold (ASX:BGL) — then Draig Resources — acquired Bellevue, a historic WA gold project that was very much viewed as ‘old and tired’.
Driving that deal was chairman Ray Shorrocks, an investment banker of 30 years.
Bellevue has now defined 3.1Moz grading 10 grams per tonne (g/t) gold — making it one of the fastest and highest-grade gold (re)discoveries in the world.
The mine is currently under construction and set to enter production in the second half of 2023.
(Up on no news)
GSM is hunting for gold and lithium deposits in the Pilbara.
GSM’s recent exploration efforts at the Yule project have focused on lithium, with its latest campaign uncovering some targets based on the presence of LCT pegmatite pathfinders.
GSM’s increasing confidence in its lithium potential at Yule led it to dub the target area Nomad – an upgrade from its previous moniker ‘Target 2A’.
Priority drilling programs are now in planning for Nomad.
In the meantime, Golden State has turned its attention to the recently acquired Payne’s Find lithium project in the Murchison, where regional geochemical work is underway.
(Up on no news)
PSC recently sold its 72.7Mt Arcadia lithium development in Zimbabwe to a subsidiary of lithium-ion battery material producer, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co, for ~$466m net.
It returned most of that to shareholders.
Now PSC Version 2 is going back to its exploration roots with the Omaruru lithium project in Namibia, which offers potential “to establish a resource quickly, with walk-up drill targets and a great operating environment,” boss Sam Hosack says.
The company will progressively acquire up to 51% in Omaruru, with an option to go up to 85%.
The project contains over 60 visible, outcropping pegmatites of variable size, some of which (notably Karlsbrunn) have been subject to limited, near surface, historical lithium and beryl mining.
Only three pegmatites have been the subject of drilling to date, which returned results of up to 23m grading 0.99% Li2O from a downhole depth of 130m and 10m at 1.06% Li2O from only 2m.
A ground penetrating radar surveying, airborne DTM surveying and geochemical soil sampling program is now underway.
PSC also plans to quickly undertake a 2,000m reverse circulation drill program to evaluate the prospective Karlsbrunn and Brockmans pegmatite targets.