Resources Top 5: One of the world’s biggest undeveloped zinc-lead deposits just got the green light
Link copied to
Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Tuesday March 8.
The exploration minnow pulled up a “spectacular” close-to-true-width 50m at 2.7% copper intersection at ‘Bluebird’, part of the ‘Barkly’ project in the NT.
The true width is always the width of the vein etc at its narrowest point.
The intersection from 158m depth in hole BBDD0009 includes a 4.3m super high grade chunk grading 14.7% copper and 3.1g/t gold.
This thick high-grade copper-gold remains open ‘down plunge’, where assays from the last two holes of the drilling program are pending.
“BBDD0009 is the first hole drilled to test the Bluebird copper-gold zone below previous drilling, and to return a 50 metre intersection of high-grade copper with gold, that approximates true-width, is a spectacular result,” TMS chairman Matt Driscoll says.
“Adding to the excitement is that like BBDD0009, the remaining two holes of the current diamond drilling program also intersected thick widths of visible copper mineralisation, including native copper.”
The shoot currently being drilled at Bluebird may represent only the upper part of a much larger deposit, Driscoll says.
“The results suggest we could be on top of a very exciting copper-gold discovery improving with depth, and we will be accelerating our drilling and exploration programs as a matter of priority to test that potential.”
Priority follow-up diamond drilling is set to kick off late March at Bluebird to test the potential for a high-grade copper-gold resource which may ultimately rival other high-grade deposits at Tennant Creek such as Peko, 20km away.
Peko produced 147,000 tonnes of copper at an ore grade of 4%, and 414,000oz of gold at an ore grade of 10g/t.
This is a great result for budding turnaround story TMS.
The copper-gold explorer, which previously went by Blina Minerals, was suspended from the ASX in March 2020 on concerns over its financial condition.
TMS undertook a recap and acquired the remaining 50 per cent stake in the ‘Barkly’ IOCG copper-gold project in the Northern Territory before relisting in April last year.
The $30m market cap stock is up 87% year-to-date. It had about $2m in the bank at the end of December.
This explorer/project developer is juggling a few balls, including the ‘Bird in Hand’ gold project in South Australia – where a mining lease application has been submitted – and the ‘Tala Hamza’ zinc project in Algeria.
It’s news regarding the latter which caused the TZN share price to spike in early trade today.
Tala Hamza is one of the largest undeveloped zinc and lead deposits in the world, TZN says, containing 3.5 million tonnes of zinc with a resource of 53.0 million tonnes at 6.6% zinc, plus lead.
TZN says its Algerian joint venture partners have agreed to proceed with the development of the project, paving the way for a mining permit to be issued.
Great timing, considering zinc prices (~$US4,000/t) are currently significantly higher than forecast in the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS).
The 2018 DFS – an advanced look at the economics of building a project – envisaged production of 129,300tpa of zinc concentrate and 26,000tpa of lead concentrate over a 21-year mine life, peaking at 153,000tpa zinc and 36,000tpa lead.
This was based on metal prices averaging US$1.25/lb zinc and US$1.05/lb lead, which would still generate good returns. At current zinc spot prices of around $US1.78/lb, things look even better.
The project will cost ~$US341m to build. Terramin will retain a 49% interest in the project through its Algerian joint venture company.
The $68m market cap stock is down ~7% year-to-date. It had ~$5.7m in the bank at the end of December.
ESR has returned more “excellent” drilling results from the ‘Carr Boyd’ nickel-copper mine in WA, including 16.2m at 3.12% nickel and 0.6% copper.
Carr Boyd Mine was worked between 1972 and 1976 by Western Mining Corporation (now (ASX:BHP)) before being mothballed due to low nickel prices.
ESR is trying to prove that this Carr Boyd mineralisation is derived from a much larger ‘pool’ of sulphides located on the T5 basal contact, about 250m away.
In 2020, a spectacular intersection at T5 pushed ESR into #5 spot on Stockhead’s Best Performing Resources Stocks of 2020. In 2021, most drilling was around the T5 prospect, which remains open in multiple directions.
The explorer’s understanding of this large mineralised system is gaining with every drill hole, managing director Chris Daws says.
“The high-grade results received from hole CBDD064 beneath the historic Carr Boyd mine not only sees our geological model intact but also bolsters our confidence to unlock further massive nickel sulphides,” he says.
“With nickel prices now reacting to strong demand from the global EV and battery revolution, Estrella is in an enviable position owning numerous quality nickel sulphide projects with scope for significant discoveries.”
The Russian ivasion of Ukraine has seen nickel prices reach extraordinary levels overnight on the London Metal Exchange; more than US$21.80/lb, Daws says.
“These are prices that haven’t been seen since the resource boom in 2007 and in Australian dollar terms we haven’t seen such prices ever,” he says.
“We are also well funded to continue our drilling efforts to locate what we believe could be a world class nickel sulphide discovery at Carr Boyd and I look forward in providing further news as we push forward.”
The $38m market cap stock is up 13% year-to-date. It had ~$5m in the bank at the end of December.
(Up on no news)
AEV’s advanced but neglected ‘Wonarah’ phosphate project in the NT was dusted off and propelled to the front of its portfolio after prices began soaring late last year.
A scoping study (the first proper look at the economics of building a project) is now investigating the development of Wonarah to produce critical end products for LFP (lithium iron phosphate) batteries.
AEV has appointed a dedicated project manager and discussions with strategic downstream industry participants are also ongoing, it said late January.
The $20m market cap stock is down 15% year-to-date. It only had $900,000 in the bank at the end of December, which means some sort of cap raise is probs imminent.
(Up on no news)
The former NT uranium play changed focus – and location — buying “the world’s largest and only” cryolite mine in Greenland in January last year.
Over 120 years between 1865 and 1985, the ‘Ivittuut’ mine produced 3.8 million tonnes of high-grade cryolite, a rare mineral proven to reduce energy consumption in aluminium production.
Aluminium smelters use a huge amount of power as they run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Tomago smelter, for example, uses about 10 per cent of NSW’s total power supply each year.
The mothballed mine also contains rare earths (REE) and base metals. There’s an additional REE target 10km away called ‘Gronnedal-lka’, which has not been properly tested.
Early results confirm there is excellent REE potential at the surface in Gronnedal-lka, the company said late January.
“The REE prospectivity fits well with our mission to excel in the commercialisation of metals and minerals demanded in the production of green energy and required by industry to reduce pollutants,” it says.
“Historical exploration records indicate the potential for rapid development and production of cryolite, fluorite, quartz, REE, carbonate rock, zinc and siderite.”
The $62m market cap stock is down 44% year-to-date. It had about $1.5m in the bank at the end of December.