Resources Top 5: Investors still frothing over high grade rare earths, Canadian lithium acquisitions
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Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Tuesday April 18.
Despite rare earths prices plummeting over 50% from their early 2022 peak, good news stories in the exploration space are still being rewarded.
Today’s big winner is LRV which has drilled into super high grade clay rare earths up to 1.26% (12,611ppm) at the Merivale South prospect, part of the Eyre lithium-nickel-REE project in WA.
That 1m intercept was within a larger 12m at 2326ppm TREO.
The company says the mineralisation may be hosted within ionic clays, making it suitable for simple, cost-effective extraction.
Testwork to confirm this theory is currently underway.
If there is an ionic component the reported grades are very high compared to known deposits, which usually grade between 700ppm and 1500ppm.
The size is also potentially significant. LRV’s drilling targeted an 800m section within an 8km-long TREO anomaly, and mineralisation remains ‘open’ in all directions.
‘Open’ just means LRV hasn’t found the edges yet.
Results from the all-important met testwork – which will indicate whether a portion of the mineralisation is ionic (aka can be mined and processed economically) – will inform the next phase of exploration.
The $16m capped stock is up 60% year-to-date. It had $6.4m in the bank at the end of December.
More bonanza REE, this time from OD6’s Splinter Rock project.
Drilling is hitting consistently high grades up to 6605ppm “with extensive clay thickness of between 20 and 80m”, the company says.
74 of the 83 holes returning significant grades and thickness.
A new 188-hole, 10,000m drill program focused on the Centre and Prop targets is scheduled to begin in the current quarter.
“These exceptional drill results represent some of the highest rare earth grades, over some of the thickest intersections seen in an Australian clay-hosted rare earth project,” OD6 MD Brett Hazelden says.
“With thicknesses of 20m to 80m, grades in excess of 1,000ppm Total Rare Earths, and consistency across several kilometres of width, the Splinter Rock project has emerged as a globally significant discovery.
“Our strategy prioritises the ‘best of the best’ in terms of grade, magnetic rare earth content, thickness and metallurgical recovery, as we sharpen our focus towards the goal of delivering a high-quality maiden JORC Mineral Resource Estimate.”
OD6 is already on the ball with its met testwork, recently achieving “very high” magnet REE recoveries up to 96% from Splinter Rock using a simple hydrochloric acid leach.
Importantly, the company says the impressive leach response observed suggests reductions in acid strength are possible.
Discovery Alaska, which recently changed its name from Discovery Africa after buying an Alaskan lithium project, has today said it may buy more lithium projects in Canada.
Discovery North America, maybe?
DAF has exclusive rights to buy three early stage projects in the popular James Bay jurisdiction of Quebec: Mia Adjacent, Lac C and Corvette East.
The nearology is strong with this one. Lac C is a stone’s throw from Winsome Resources’ (ASX:WR1) Cancet project, while Corvette East 18km from Patriot Battery Metals’ (ASX:PMT) Corvette flagship.
DAF now has 75 days to conduct due diligence on the projects before choosing to buy or not.
If DAF acquires all three it will cost ~$5.2m in staged payments (cash and shares), plus a net smelter royalty.
The stock sank in the latter part of 2022 when early drilling results at the Coal Creek prospect at Chulitna didn’t meet expectations.
In its Dec quarter report DAF said it remained focused on proving up a maiden lithium resource at Coal Creek.
Chulitna is also prospective for a bunch of other metals, including gold, silver, tin, and copper.
The $10m capped stock is up 50% year-to-date. It had $1m in the bank at the end of December.
(Up on no news)
In late September, the long-time gold stock announced plans to raise $1.8m to fast-track WA lithium exploration and “assess new opportunities in the sector”.
It now has three main projects: Kirup, Marvel Loch-Airfield and the flagship, Brunswick, where the company has 11 pegmatite targets including one 2km long and 300m wide.
At Brunswick’s DBGM target, ~45km from the world’s largest hard rock lithium mine Greenbushes, a lithium soil anomaly has been defined to 1.7km length.
A “short, focused” scout drilling program is being planned.
The $5m capped minnow is down 40% year-to-date. It had $1.7m in the bank at the end of December.
(Up on no news)
KNB’s focus is its namesake gold project in NSW, where a maiden drill program was completed in the December quarter at the Lucky Sevens prospect.
The 11-hole, 2,258m program targeted 400m of the 4km long gold-in-soil anomaly, where historical drilling and costeaning has returned numbers like 5m @25.1g/t Au from surface.
However, the results were underwhelming, with a peak result of 2m @ 0.13g/t gold.
Even if Lucky Sevens turns out to be a dud, there are an abundance of targets waiting to be tested across the broader project area.
One of these is Bellagio, which turned up 22.5g/t gold in a quartz vein outcrop earlier this month.
“It is quite incredible that we can find gold mineralisation in outcropping quartz veins which have never seen a single drill hole,” KNB MD Dan Power says.
“This exciting result validates our exploration strategy and highlights the high-grade bedrock gold potential of the project with enormous upside for investors.”
The $5m capped stock is up 20% year-to-date. It had $2.9m in the bank at the end of December.