• Near term copper-gold miner Alara completes construction of 325-person accommodation village
  • Early-stage exploration kicks off at Resource Base’s Mitre Hill rare earths project
  • Arizona Lithium (lithium), Larvotto (lithium, copper) up on no news

Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Thursday January 27.



AUQ is on a tear in 2022.

The near-term producer is set to be a direct beneficiary of sky-high copper prices, with construction of its 51% owned ‘Washhi Majaza’ copper-gold project in Oman due for completion late 2022.

Today, it announced that construction of a 325-person accommodation village at the Wash-hi Majaza project site was complete.

The company had previously flagged first copper concentrate production by the fourth quarter of 2022, but it looks like this could be pushed back marginally.

“The [accommodation village] inauguration was a fantastic achievement by all involved, particularly given the run of challenges faced by virtue of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” AUQ managing director Atmavireshwar Sthapak says.

“Their concerted efforts mean the Project’s copper-gold mining-processing facility should be completed before the end of calendar 2022.

“We look forward to providing investors with additional procurement and construction updates over coming months, as we get ever closer to that exciting day when Alara moves from being an explorer/developer to a metals producer.”

A revised DFS envisaged a smallish open pit operation at Washhi Majaza producing 35,000tpa concentrate a year for ~80,000t copper and 21,800oz gold over 10 years. It will cost about US$60m to build, the company says.

These metrics are now enhanced by higher current copper prices.

At $US7,000/t copper earnings before tax (EBITBA) was $US208m. At a $US9,500/t copper price, project EBITDA increases to $US370m, AUQ says.

The current cash price for copper on the London Metals Exchange is $US9,960/t.

$25m market cap AUQ is up 35% over the past two trading days, and 95% year-to-date.



(Up on no news)

LRV is looking for gold, as well as and battery metals like lithium, cobalt, nickel, and copper across its three main projects — ‘Mt Isa’ in Queensland, ‘Eyre’ in WA, and ‘Ohakuri’ in NZ.

A lithium and base metals focused auger soil geochemical sampling program at Eyre will kick off soon as Native Title clearance is received, the company said January 6.

LRV says historical exploration has identified broad anomalous zones of lithium that have never been followed up.

“Geology and geophysics tell us the host rocks for the Liontown (ASX:LTR) lithium resource extend into our ground,” managing director Ron Heeks says.

“ … we have a robust lithium soil anomaly generated by Anglo Gold and confirmed by us, that is coincident with the extension of the Liontown host rocks into our project area.”

On January 12, exploration got underway at the Mt Isa copper-gold-cobalt project, which is directly along strike from Glencore’s (LSE:GLEN) large Mt Isa Mines operation.

Soil sampling and geophysics will be followed by drilling at advanced targets, LRV says.

The $7m market cap stock is up 58% year-to-date, but down marginally on its IPO price of 20c per share.



In late September, this newly listed copper-gold explorer joined the rare earths game, acquiring 1,380sqkm of ground in the Murray Basin (Victoria-South Australia border) prospective for ionic clay (IAC) hosted rare earths.

IAC deposits – like the ones exploited in southern China — are commonly considered to be some of the cheapest and most readily accessible sources of heavy rare earths.

Early-stage exploration at Mitre Hill has now kicked off, RBX said today.

The ‘Mitre Hill’ project is either side of Australian Rare Earths’ (ASX:AR3) ‘Red Tail’ and ‘Yellow Tail’ deposits which contain a JORC 2012 Inferred Mineral Resource of 39.9Mt @ 725ppm Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO).

$66m market cap AR3 is currently up 190% on its June IPO price of 30c per share.

“With further exploration results having been released by multiple parties in the area, our view that this is a significant regional scale rare earths system continues to be reinforced,” RBX chairman & CEO Shannon Green says.



RDM is a small cap monster hunter.

Drilling of two targets at the RDM-OZ Minerals (ASX:OZM) ‘Gulf’ copper-gold JV in Queensland is now complete, with one drillhole hitting a 44.4 metre interval of weakly disseminated copper sulphides.

The drilling into the second target encountered no mineralisation.

This ‘proof of concept’ drilling was designed to test the RDM theory that these magnetic anomalies could lead to the discovery of Iron Oxide Copper-Gold (IOCG) systems, like that hosting the large Ernest Henry deposit further to the south.

This is just one of several OZ Minerals Alliance Funded Projects, where the $8.73bn miner funds exploration to earn 51%.

RDM also has bunch of self-funded projects across Australia, and is currently prepping the Maronan Metals (ASX:MMA) spinout and IPO.

MMA would be focused on development of the Maronan project, a large base and precious metal deposit in the Mount Isa terrain of Northwest Queensland.

The project has JORC resource of 30.8Mt @ 6.5% lead with 106 g/t silver plus 11Mt @ 1.6% copper with 0.8 g/t gold. RDM will own 50% of the company on listing.

$30m market cap RDM is up 25% year-to-date.



(Up on no news)

AZL’s flagship ‘Big Sandy’ project in the US has a resource 32.5 million tonnes grading 1,850 parts per million lithium for 320,800 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent.

This covers just 4% of the project area, which contains an exploration target of between 271.1Mt to 483.15Mt at 1,000 – >2,000ppm Li2.

Recent met test work successfully recovered 71% of the lithium in 36% of the whole ore mass.

This could reduce projected acid consumption during processing, which AZL says “shifts the economics of the project, opening numerous scenarios for mining and processing”.

“This is a significant milestone event in the development of the Big Sandy Lithium Project,” managing director Paul Lloyd said January 20.

“At the onset of the development timeline, we quickly identified that the sulfuric acid consumption was the major cost driver. These results provide an exciting base to commence the studies in the coming months.

“With the processing flow sheet determined, we are now able to advance with our scoping and pre-feasibility studies.”

AZL is currently awaiting Bureau of Land Management approval to start a program of 145 exploration holes and bulk sampling.

$280m market cap AZL is up 16% year-to-date.