Resources Top 5: REEmarkable rare earths grades, monster resources light a rocket under these ASX explorers
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Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Thursday March 30.
REE increased its rare earths (REE) resource at the flagship ‘Cummins Range’ by a massive 500% to 397Mt at 0.33% TREO and 4.2% phosphate.
That’s 1.3Mt of contained TREO and 16.7Mt of phosphate, which makes Cummins Range as the second largest undeveloped Australian rare earths project, the company says.
High value NdPr – which sells for ~US110/kg — makes up 21% (280,000t) of the total.
The phosphate could also be a money spinner, with REE believing its “highly favourable for organic phosphate production with potential to also use in lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries”.
An additional phosphate-rich resource estimate from the ‘Phos Dyke’ area is due late April, which means even more resource growth.
An updated project scoping study/pre-feasibility study – an initial look at the economics of building a project – is now underway.
“Cummins Range has today been unequivocally confirmed as the second largest undeveloped rare earths deposit in Australia and as a potential long-term source of both rare earths and phosphate for Australia’s critical minerals and agricultural industries,” REE managing director Jeremy Robinson says.
“This is an exceptional result which positions RareX at the forefront of the critical minerals sector in Australia.”
The $34m capped stock is up 24% year-to-date. It had $6.7m in cash and investments at the end of December.
WC1 is hitting more high-grade clay REEs in drilling at the ‘Salazar’ project in WA, including a highlight 1m at 22,316ppm (2.2%) TREO inside a larger 11m section grading 3,682ppm.
Clay REE grades usually range between 700ppm-1500ppm.
And even if we remove that super high grade 1m chunk, the remaining 10m still runs at a very respectable average grade of 1818ppm. No dodgy grade smearing here, according to the internet.
Assays for 164 of the 283 holes drilled as part of the maiden program have now been received, WC1 says. The remainder are due out in April.
These results will be integrated with the historical data to update the existing 43.5Mt at 1192ppm resource in June quarter.
Beneficiation studies and metallurgical testwork are also underway.
The $12m capped stock is down 20% year-to-date, and well off its September 2022 peak of 31c per share. It had $3.9m in the bank at the end of December.
Another big REE resource upgrade, this time at ARR’s Halleck Creek project in Wyoming, US.
The upgraded 1.43bn tonne resource at 3309ppm – containing an estimated 4.72Mt of REEs – makes in one of the largest projects in North America.
It’s also low grade for a hard rock deposit. Comparing projects is a bit like comparing apples to bananas, but Lynas’ (ASX:LYC) Mt Weld deposit, one of the highest grade in the world, averages 5.4% (or 54,000ppm).
(Ed: this is easy, apples are better.)
And while REE’s Cummins Range sits at a comparable 0.33% (or 3300ppm), ARR doesn’t have appear to have the phosphate kicker.
However, ARR reckons met test work thus far points to low mining and processing costs at Halleck Creek, which runs from surface to 150m depth.
Punters will have a better idea on the economics of a potential operation when a project scoping study is released later this year.
The $111m capped stock is up 34% year-to-date. It had $15.5m in the bank at the end of December.
One of today’s strangest winners.
The stock formerly known as Rafaella ‘pivoted’ to Canadian battery metals recently after butting heads with Spanish authorities over its advanced Santa Comba tungsten and tin project, which it purchased early 2019 for an initial $3.5m in shares.
It was the flagship until mid 2022 when the company started buying up Canadian projects like Horden Lake, a big 27.8Mt at 1.49% copper equivalent resource in Quebec.
Which is handy, because today PVT announced that the Department of Mines in Galicia finally cancelled the Santa Comba concessions following a four-month review process.
“The cancellation of the mining concessions, despite repeated efforts by the company to satisfy the requirements of the government to meet the requirements of the underground permit, is disappointing,” managing director Steve Turner says.
“The operational challenges around Santa Comba have been recognised for some time by the company and as a result it has repositioned itself as a critical metals developer and explorer with an exciting portfolio in Quebec, Canada.” Good move.
The $18m capped stock is down 24% in 2023. It had $2.4m in the bank at the end of December.
The explorer listed in May last year with a bunch of zinc, copper, silver, PGE and uranium projects in WA.
It is backed by heavy hitters like Bellevue Gold (ASX:BGL) founder and managing director Steve Parsons and Capricorn Metals (ASX:CMM) executive chairman Mark Clark, with each having a significant 10% stake in the company. Parsons is also a corporate consultant to the company.
A seven-hole, 1500m diamond drilling program is now underway to test a bunch of targets at the ‘Brumby’ zinc-silver-copper project, where BVR believes it could be sitting on a sedimentary exhalative (SEDEX) deposit.
SEDEX are monstrous accumulations of zinc and lead, originally formed by the discharge of metal-bearing fluids onto ancient seafloors.
These super giant Tier 1 deposits account for 25% of global zinc and lead production, and six of the 10 largest active zinc mines globally.
They are also an important source of silver and copper.
Drilling will take about four weeks to complete, the company said yesterday.
The $7m capped stock is down 20% year-to-date. It had $3.6m in the bank at the end of December.